Sunday, May 29, 2011

3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win! Contest

Welcome to our 3rd Annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win Contest!” This is becoming an exciting tradition, both for our sponsors and hopefully for all of you! 29 writer friends and I have banded together to present a month-long contest where we will give away a prize a day for the entire month of June. That’s right! 30 awesome prizes, running the gambit from books books books! (romances, fantasies, mystery/thrillers, inspirationals, children’s books, and various non-fiction), as well as Amazon gift cards, a Mary Kay gift set, a vinyl lettering gift certificate, a hand-sewn weekly planner with ribbon bookmark, a crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case, and again for you aspiring authors, TWO free edit/critiques of a partial manuscript. Many of the giveaways are open to International entries, though always check to be sure before you enter for a particular prize.

And how exactly do you enter for these amazing prizes? By following these rules:


You can send in one entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRES to I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

All winners will be draw by

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd – July 1st to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, please email Joyce DiPastena at

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1
SPONSOR: Canda Mortensen
PRIZE: A $25 Amazon gift certificate
QUESTION: What is the title and artist of the Princess song on Newbie's playlist? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and read “Newbie Teaser”. Match the number of “Princess” with the same number on the Playlist box (you may have to scroll down the playlist to find this, too). It will give you the title and artist.)

June 2
SPONSOR: Jennifer Griffith
PRIZE: Delicious Conversation (LDS romance, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion, set in a chocolate shop in Salt Lake City), by Jennifer Griffith
QUESTION: Name at least 5 kinds of candy I ate at the last writers' conference I attended AND share YOUR favorite candy. (HINT: Read the April 20, 2011 post. Click on April under the Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)

June 3
SPONSOR: Peggy Urry
PRIZE: Choice of book: Villette by Charlotte Bronte (romance, paperback); Airframe by Michael Crichton (thriller, paperback); The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell (contemporary crime, paperback); OR The Mist of Quarry Harbor by Liz Adair (LDS romantic fiction, paperback); AND choice of Jelly Belly Gel Case for iPhone 3G/3GS or Jelly Belly Strawberry Cheesecake Gel Case for iPod Touch.
QUESTION: What is the name of my Work In Progress (WIP)? (Hint: It's the title of my March 12, 2011 post. Click on “March” under Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)
3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win! Contest

June 4
SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne
PRIZE: Josette (sweet Regency romance, E-book) AND Southern Girl, Yankee Roots (poetry), both by Danielle Thorne
QUESTION: Danielle supports what wildlife conservancy organization? (HINT: See right hand column of website)

June 5
SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Microdermabrasion Set
QUESTION: What are the names of my two WIPs? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and click on “Work in Progress” under Labels)

June 6
SPONSOR: Susan Kaye Quinn
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (YA love story), by Susan Kaye Quinn
QUESTION: How many days do David and Eliza have on the cruise together, before they’re forced to go their separate ways? (HINT: Click on the “About Me and My Books” tab and read the blurb for Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)

June 7:
SPONSOR: Anne Bradshaw
PRIZE: True Miracles with Genealogy: Help from Beyond the Veil (non-fiction), by Anne Bradshaw – 1 print and 1 eBook – Print copy can be autographed. (Yes, there will be TWO winners drawn for this prize)
QUESTION: Which TV station interviewed Anne? (HINT: Answer is a short way down the middle column.)

June 8
SPONSOR: Cheri Schmidit
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Fateful (YA paranormal romance), by Cheri Schmidt
QUESTION: Who is the prince of darkness? (HINT: Click on “April” under Blog Archive in the left hand sidebar and read the April 12, 2011 post)

June 9
SPONSOR: Mary Fremont Schoenecker
PRIZE: Moonglade (a sweet cozy mystery, Book Two in the Maine Shore Chronicles series), by Mary Fremont Schoenecker The prize is an autographed First Edition hard cover print book.
QUESTION: What special skill does character Tante Margaret use that puts her in danger during Remi's murder investigation? (HINT: Click on the “About Her Books” tab and read the Publisher’s Weekly Review.

June 10
SPONSOR: Shaunna Gonzales
PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages
QUESTION: What do his lips taste like? (Hint: click on “Sizzling Kiss” under Post Subjects in the left hand sidebar)

June 11
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: The Stranger She Married (Regency romance), by Donna Hatch
QUESTION: What poses the greatest danger to Alicia’s heart? (HINT: Scroll down underneath the book cover of The Stranger She Married, and read the paragraph directly below.

June 12
SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams & Planet Play Productions, LLC.
PRIZE: Award winning glossy cover children’s snuggle, giggle picture book, Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today, signed by the author and the real Chase McKay.
QUESTION: What is the name of the dragon in the upcoming fantasy, Thundertail’s Tale: The Legend? (HINT: click on the Blog tab)

June 13
SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley
PRIZE: Motorcycle Woman (sweet contemporary romance, E-book), by Larry Hammersley
QUESTION: What kind of motorcycle does Tess, the motorcycle woman, ride? (HINT: Read the blog post “Motorcycle Woman from Red Rose Publishing”, May 5, 2011)

June 14
SPONSOR: Cheryl Cory
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Must've Done Something Good (romantic comedy), by Cheryl Cory
QUESTION: What is Sylvie's all-time favorite movie? (HINT: Click on the "Info" link in the left-hand column)

June 15
SPONSOR: Valerie Ipson
PRIZE: $15 Gift Certificate for Vinyl Lettering (
QUESTION: What is Valerie's writing goal for 2011? (HINT: Look in the right hand sidebar)

June 16
SPONSOR: Rachel Rager
PRIZE: Wednesday Romances - romance (obviously), ebook, by Rachel Rager. This is a compaliation of three different love stories, A Season for Love, The Tiger Unleashed, and The Feather Kiss. (All sweet romances)
QUESTION: Every week I have post a new chapter of a book on my blog. What are these posts called? (Hint: These posts are featured every Wednesday.)

June 17
SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: Autograhed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ (non-fiction/self-help) by Danyelle Ferguson & Lynn Parsons, M.S.)
non-fiction/self-help, autographed book
QUESTION: What is the name of the non-profit Danyelle co-founded? (HINT: Check out Danyelle's author bio)

June 18
SPONSOR: Teresa Thomas Bohannon
PRIZE: A Very Merry Chase (Regency Romance novel), by Teresa Thomas Bohannon. AND a $5 Amazon gift certificate. Winner's Choice: PDF with personalized dedication, or Ebook format for Kindle or Epub format for Nook. (HINT: Read “A Very Merry Chase Excerpt” under “A Very Merry Chase” in the right hand sidebar)
QUESTION: What did Lady Bethany do and why?

June 19
SPONSOR: Diane Daniels
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Over the Moon (YA fantasy romance, print copy), by Diane Daniels
QUESTION: Who is Andrew's evil x-girlfriend, Sonya, named after? (HINT: Read the May 14, 2011 blog entry)

June 20
SPONSOR: Margaret Larsen Turley
PRIZE: critique for up to 5000 words
QUESTION: Margaret Larsen Turley is administrator for ______________________________ group. They hold fund-raising events for Cancer Research. (HINT: You’ll find the answer in one of her website tabs)

June 21
SPONSOR: Anna Arnett
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Lolly's Yarn: a memoir (older YA to adult), by Anna Arnett, with a hand-crocheted bookmark
QUESTION: What was the verdict regarding Anna's radar photo speeding ticket? (HINT: Click on the Blogs tab and read “I Fought the Law and Guess Who Won?”

June 22
SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Loyalty’s Web (sweet medieval romance), by Joyce DiPastena
QUESTION: How do people win Joyce’s “Light Bulb Award”? (HINT: Answer is found in the right hand column of the blog)

June 23
SPONSOR: C. Michelle Jefferies
PRIZE: 52 page hand-sewn weekly planner, with ribbon bookmark.
QUESTION: What rank is Michelle in martial arts? (HINT: Look in right hand sidebar under “MY TANG SOO DO PROGRESS”)

June 24
SPONSOR: Valerie J. Steimle
PRIZE: Choice of two books: Home Is Where The Learning Is (homeschool how-to book, non-fiction; autographed print copy) OR Dogs, Blogs and Hobbits: Writings from a Widows Perspective ---(non-fiction articles about everything from being single and single moms to inspirational stories; autographed print copy), both by Valerie J. Steimle
QUESTION: How many children does Valerie have? (HINT: Look in the right hand column in "About Me")

June 25
SPONSOR: Karen Adair
PRIZE: Crocheted Book Tote with matching cell phone case.
QUESTION: What commenter recently called me (Karen) "The Queen of Sugar Land?" (HINT: Select “January 2011” under Archives and read the COMMENTS on Karen’s January 6, 2011 post on “The 20 Minute Sprint”)

June 26
SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant ( and/or TreasureLine Books & Publishing (
PRIZE: Winner's choice of 1 of 5 Regency romance eBooks by Jaimey Grant (Honor, Betrayal, Deception, Spellbound, or Redemption. Please note: Honor contains some marital "heat".)
QUESTION: Which of Jaimey's previously self-published titles has recently been picked up by a publisher? (HINT: Click the "Purchasing Options" tab)

June 27
SPONSOR: Heidi Murphy
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Small Deceptions (sweet Regency/Georgian romance), by H. Linn Murphy
QUESTION: In what country is the bridge found over which 'we' were fighting? (HINT: Find “Blog Archive” in the right hand sidebar, click on April and read the post titled: “The Far Bridge”)

June 28
SPONSOR: Kenneth Rosenberg
PRIZE: One e-book copy of my new romantic comedy, Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues, any format
QUESTION: What instrument does the character Warren August play? (HINT: Click on the cover image for Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues. Read the first few paragraphs of the excerpt.)

June 29
SPONSOR: Michael Young
PRIZE: Autographed copy of The Last Archangel (YA Urban Fantasy, print copy - Release date July 14th)
QUESTION: What is the name of the fallen angel who is the main character in "The Last Archangel"? (HINT: Click on the Reviews tab. Frank Cole thinks this character “rocks!”

June 30
SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: The Star Prophecy: a Book of Mormon Adventure (LDS novel), by Joan Sowards
QUESTION: Why do Enoch and his friends sail to Jerusalem? (HINT: Read the blurb under The Star Prophecy book cover in the right hand column of the blog)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What do you tell your readers?

In the first chapter?

I recently entered a first chapter contest. While I didn't place, I got some good comments on my prospective stories. I actualy entered to get those opinions, and not to win. Although winning would have been nice.

The comments left me with some general questions though. What exactly do you put in that first chapter? Some of the judges told me that I didn't draw it out enough and needed to give them more information. Others told me that I drew the story past the ending point and that the chapter should end on page three. While none of them told me I had too much information regarding the plot, some told me they wanted to see more.

My question is this. Where is that level of information where the first chapter entices the reader to pick the book up and buy it, but doesn't tell you the whole story and ruin the reading of the book?

If I tell you that Dave is a unwilling superhero and if he doesn't hurry and finish his cereal in time to rescue the lady who is going to be pushed in front of the bus at 9:12 and that she is the one person who is going to be able to save the earth from destruction by discovering a new element that afternoon. Why even bother turning to page two?

I ran into this problem early in my writing career and thought I had come to a reasonable answer regarding the problem. Which is why I am asking you guys. I went to a writing website and entered my first page and the critiques were asking for more information, who what where why etc etc etc. Problem is, if I give you the who what where why etc in the first half page of the book it isn't enticing, it becomes an info dump. Why bother reading the book if all the questions that should be discovered in the process of the text is given to you right away?

For example, I opened a book at a used book store and read the prologue. By the time I finished it I knew exactly what would happen in the rest of the book. Why, at that point bother reading it? On the other hand, I read a book where the first chapter was exciting and full of action I couldn't wait to get home and finish the rest of the book. Sadly the writer had worked so much on drawing the reader into the book that by chapter TWO it fell flat and I never finished the book. The first chapter was completely diferent, only the names were the same. It seemed to me that the writer worked so hard on the first chapter but not the rest of the book. What about the writer that gives you detailed information of the world for the first quarter of the book and the characters and plot start after chapter 10? Or the writer that starts the book in chapter 1 but the story started in either chapter 5 or -5?

What do you think? What is necessary in the first chapter and what isn't? What point in the plot is the first chapter written? How much back story, character development and setting is necessary? Do we always have to drop the reader into the action on page one?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Celebrate the good things in life

Yep, life is good.

The conference was awesome, I almost have 100 followers, I'm almost to my 300th post, My birthday is in a few weeks, and I got a request for a full.

Yes! You heard me, a full request.

So in honor of these awesome events I am giving away two books.

One, Blackberry Crumble a cullinary mystery SIGNED by the author Josi Kilpack.

Two, A copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This copy has an exclusive sneak peak of the next book Beautiful Darkness.

How do you win one of these awesome books?

Here's how:

I want followers.

If you are all ready a follower, great, leave me a message, that's one point. However if you want to get more points get a friend to stop by and become a follower. Have the friend leave a message with your name and you get another point. New followers get two points just to even it up. Lastly, either facebook, blog or twitter it and get a point each. That's a total of 5 chances!

Don't forget to come back and leave me a message with your points.

The 100th follower will get one book and each point entry will get a chance to win the other.

Keep coming back and reading new posts, and leaving messages. I have someting awesome planned for my birthday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Conference thoughts

I wish i could tell you what is going through my mind right now. the conference was so awesome and in someways it was felt and can't be written down.

If you are a writer and are near SLC in the spring you NEED to be here. I learned so much from every class.

One thing I learned from David Farland was that he takes a walk with his sweetheart every day and talks to her about his ideas and stuff. How cool is that? He also says its important to get daily exercise so his body works right and he can write.

I learned from Julie Coulter Belon how important setting is to the story. That is a place where i seriously lack skills. I need to work on setting.

I am also going to keep in contact with my friends this time i let them just fade away last year. not this time. It's my friends that buoy me up and cheer me on and keep me going. I love them a ton.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Storymakers was awesome!!!!!!

Here are the awesome highlights of the conference. For me at least. :)

1) I was one of the ten that managed to get their query in Sara Crowe's short
synopsis class. She said I had a great hook and a good length there was only one
thing she said to fix and I think I already have the solution for that. She said
that the ten she and her assistant read were really good and for us to re-submit
them as querys. Whoot!

2) Clint Jhonson's class was awesome. I learned so much about emotion and

3)The publication primer class was as equally awesome. We had an awesome group
of women and a wonderful group leader. Julie Belon. I got some really good
comments on my WIP and know where to start the female characters plot line.

4) I entered the first chapter contest with no intention of winning, Gasp!
(which I didn't) but the intention to see what people thought of my two new book
ideas. It was well worth the money I spent because the judges really liked the
ideas and first chapters.

5) I pitched a nonfiction book to Cedar Fort, Covenant and Leatherwood (at the
publishers mix and mingle) and they all liked it, and want to see it. In fact I
think all three said they were looking for something along that line.

6) I made a new good friend and we are going to crit each others work.

7) I got to meet Larry Brooks, got his book and had him sign it.

8)I got to see a ton of my friends and meet new ones.

There, was that awesome enough?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Passing through the gates of knowledge

Yes I have gates on my mind. While I have prepared for the upcoming conference I have been bombarded with ideas for a new book I am writing. I feel bad because in between what needs to be done there's little time to actualy time to sit and give this book the time it wants. I am also working on a second set of MS's and characters to accompany my first and premiere series The "Prophecy Rising" series.

It's been an interesting year. I've learned alot about writing without writing much. While I will allways be learning something new in the realm of writing I feel as if i have passed through the "begining writers gate" and into the realm of seasoned writer. I feel as if I can now look at a piece of work and identify what might need work, and what is good. Sadly it is easier to look at someome elses work than my own. Probably because I am "in love" with my prose and it hasnt worn on me yet. (Although by the time I am done editing like I am on Emergence I am sick of it.)

I have also passed through the "know nothing about submitting gate" and started to shop my MS. I am pretty sure I won't make a fool of myself when i send something off now. I can rattle off the industry standard guidelines for a "standard submission" without thinking about it.

Last but definitely not least I have passed through the "knows nothing about plotting and pacing a novel gate". I now have the knowledge and skills I need to take an idea and develop it fully into a real story. I have evolved from the just write a cool story to I can write a cool story that people curse me because they are still awake at 3:oo am.

While these last seven years have been long and I am impatient as I wait to get an agent, I have learned so much and passed through many gates on my way to being a published author.

P. S. Gates are SO relevant to my YA fantasy/SF WIP. :)