Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MidWinter's Eve Hop

This Giveaway is now closed! Thank you all who entered!

Welcome to the MidWinter's Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. For this giveaway I am offering a chance to win a $10 gift card. I am also offering a chance to win a free kindle version of my book The Alias. To enter simply follow the rules posted below.

1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
2) Follow me on Face Book (+1)
3) Add The Alias on Good Reads (+2)
4) Leave a comment telling me the steps you've completed and don't forget your email address so I can contact you if you win!

5) HavE a MerRy ChrIsTMaS

Don't forget to check out all the other amazing blogs listed below for your chance to win more awesome prizes!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fractured Light

A novel by Rachel McClellen

Publisher's Note: I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After the Vykens killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something even bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

In this breathtaking and romantic adventure, Rachel McClellan delivers a truly mesmerizing story that will keep you guessing to the very end.

My Review: Llona Reese is a young teenage girl who has been given an extraordinary gift. Able to manipulate light, Llona is an Aura and must learn to harness the light's energy if she is to survive. The Vyken are determined to take her light and because of this, she is forced to move with her Uncle every couple of years, upsetting her life. But when she and her Uncle Jake settle in Bountiful, Utah, her life is turned upside down and she is forced to face the Vyken and use her gift as a weapon with the help of her new friends and family. I liked this book. The author did a wonderful job keeping readers engaged. The twists and turns leave you guessing until the very end. Llona is a very well-developed character and you will cheer her on throughout the story. May, Llona's best friend who has a secret of her own, is a fantastic character as well. Filled with romance and suspense, this paranormal YA is a definite must read for anyone who loves a great book and congratulate the author on a job well done.

To Pre-Order your copy of Fractured Light visit Amazon today!
To learn more about Author Rachel McClellan visit her website today...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Texting Through Time

Texting Through Time: Trek With Brigham Young

Written by Christy Monson

Publisher's Note: When 12-year-old Micah “borrows” his father's experimental time-travel phone, his hopes for seeing the future are dashed as he and his sister, Alicia, end up trapped in the past at Brigham Young’s boyhood home. This book is a fun way to discover Church history and learn that no matter what time period you are in, God is still aware of you.

My Review: I LoVe this book! What a fun concept. Texting Through Time: Trek With Brigham Young by author Christy Monson is the perfect book for middle-grade readers. When Micah and his sister Alicia borrow their father's experimental phone they hope to see the future. But when things go wrong, they quickly find themselves trapped in the past. Stuck in the early 1800's they meet Brigham Young on his 11th birthday. Thus begins an adventure that will lead them through Brigham Young's life as they try to get home. Both Micah and Alicia learn they must rely on each other and especially the Lord as they progress through time. This book brings history to life and will enlighten readers at any age. The author does a wonderful job bringing the audience right into the heart of the story. This quick read is written in a way that is both fun and unique and will leave you with a greater understanding of early church history. I congratulate the author on a job well done!

To purchase a copy of Texting Through Time visit Amazon Today!

**In compliance with FTC guidelines I am disclosing that I received a pdf version of this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion and review**

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No Holly For Christmas

By Julie N. Ford

Publisher's Note: As Brian McAlister struggles to move past being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he's ever loved, he's all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he crosses paths with ex-socialite turned social worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter-and romance blossoms.
Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at WalMart, Holly is dreading the approaching Holiday Season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but because of a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas.
Love at first sight quickly turns frigid for Brian and Holly when Holly gets pulled into a manhunt for an accused murderer who now has his sights set on her. His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.
A heart-warming story of suspense, healing, giving and receiving, No Holly for Christmas is the perfect addition to everyone's holiday reading list

My Review: No Holly For Christmas is a fun-filled, romantic suspense that comes just in time for the Christmas Holidays. I really enjoyed this book. I think the publisher's note sums up the story very well. In the beginning, Holly is just the sort of character that you love to hate. An ex-socialite, she at first appears shallow and obsessed with wealth and social status, but as the story progresses, the author does a wonderful job engaging readers in Holly's thoughts, exposing her insecurities and true feelings. In the end, you really feel for this character and connect with her story. The romance at times is a little heavy, but the author does a great job creating passion without crossing borders. The story definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat and pulls readers in. I think the characters and plot are believable, well-defined and well-written. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance....

To purchase a copy of No Holly For Christmas visit Amazon today!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Hop

Welcome to the Book Lover's Holiday Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer! Today on my blog I am giving away 2 kindle copies of my new book The Alias. For a chance to win simply follow the rules below and have a VeRy MerRy CHriStMas!!

To Enter:
1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
2) Add this book on Goodreads (+1)
3) Follow me on FaceBook (+1)
4) Follow me on Twitter (+1)
And leave a comment letting me know what you have completed so I know how many times to enter you. Also, don't forget your email address so I know how to contact you when you win!!

Visit all the other amazing blogs participating in this hop!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bitter Blessings...

A Novel by Christine Mehring

Publisher's Note: Megan has the perfect life, but when her mother dies in an accident, everything spins out of control. With the rest of her family falling apart, Megan must confront her past to uncover the truths that will keep everyone together. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book shows that even in times of trial, you can often find blessings.

My Review: Christine Mehring's debut novel is a beautifully written story of family, enduring love, hope and faith. Megan's life is completely turned upside down when her mother is suddenly killed in a car accident. Left in her grandmother's care, she must face the realities and heart ache of losing someone she loves. She is also faced with the dilemma of  making grown-up choices as she tries her best to help her grandmother take on the responsibilities for her two younger sisters. Megan is a very likable character with honest qualities. She makes mistakes just like any other person and your heart aches for her and her struggles. Mehring's writing is open and honest, and I thought this story touched on several important topics such as grief and the importance of coping skills. Megan is left with much of the responsibilities while one sister turns to alcoholism and the other hides in the past. I believe Mehring's portrayal of each individuals' grief is very real and there will be many readers who can easily relate. I liked the flow of the novel. It was a fast read and kept you turning the pages. It was a difficult book to put down. Mehring's characters were well-rounded and believable, and I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fast, touching read. Well done, Christine!

To learn more about Bitter Blessings please visit
To purchase a copy of Bitter Blessings visit Amazon Today!

Monday, November 28, 2011

White Chocolate Almond Divinity

This time of year my very favorite thing to cook is candy cAnDy candy! I lOvE making toffee, fudge, truffles, carmels, and especially divinity! This is one of my favorite recipes. I like to add this-and-thats to my candy to create new recipes. Last year this was a hUgE hit at the family party!


2 2/3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup slivered almonds
6 to 8 oz white chocolate chips

Cook sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 2-quart pot over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. (On humid days, use 1 tablespoon less water.) Cook, without stirring, to 260 degrees on candy thermometer (or hard ball stage).
Beat egg whites in 1-1/2-quart bowl until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat while pouring hot syrup in a thin stream into egg whites. Add vanilla; beat until mixture holds its shape and becomes slightly dull. Fold in nuts and chocolate! 
Drop from buttered spoon onto waxed paper. Let stand at room temperature, turning candy over once, until outside of candy is firm--at least 12 hours. Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Geek Girl

To Enter Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop 

Please visit the link above 

Review of GEEK GIRL by Cindy C. Bennett......

Publisher's Note: "Think I can turn that boy bad?" 17-year-old Jen turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek Trevor into someone like her. Instead, the goth girl finds herself sucked into his world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even-ugh!-bowling. To truly belong with him-and with her new foster family-she must first come to terms with her violent past. 

My Review: Beautifully written, Geek Girl is one of those stories you will fall in love with fast. Author Cindy C. Bennett weaves a fun, witty, and very enjoyable plot.  A typical goth girl makes a bet that she can win over  typical geek, Trevor. 17-year old Jen has had a rough life. Living with foster parents she resents and a past that has left her hard to reach, she soon finds herself immersed in a world very unlike her own.  But against all her better judgement, she can't help succumbing to the charms of Trevor's world. This story is a fun, quick read. Jen is a very likable character right from the first page. The author did a wonderful job engaging readers in Jen's story and psyche immediately. Each character is important and adds dimension to the plot. The author also tackles tough subjects such as child abuse and drug use in a very tactful way. This book is definitely thought provoking, but will leave readers smiling. I recommend Geek Girl for anyone looking for a  clean, really fun, and very well-written story.  I loved it! It will leave a grin on your face and I congratulate the author on a job well done! 

To learn more about Author Cindy C. Bennett( Heart on a Chain, Geek Girl) visit her blog today!
To purchase your copy of Geek Girl visit Cedar Fort Books. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Only Way to Paradise...

To Enter Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop 

Please visit the link above 

The Only Way to Paradise:

By G.G. Vandagriff

Publisher's Note: What causes picture-perfect suburban Oakwood residents, MacKenzie, Roxie, Sara, and Georgia to desert their therapist fly off to Florence? Answer: A romantic Italian movie that prompts Roxie to ask: “If Italy is so healing and therapeoutic what are we doing in Ohio?” Even Sara, the most duty-bound of the group, finally joins the pact they dub “The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood,” and they all find themselves in Florence a week later. As they feel themselves embraced by the entire province of Tuscany, each woman falls and becomes entangled in experiences she could never have foretold. Not only do they find the fascinating Italian men that Georgia promised, but new sides to themselves and each other. Against the glittering background of Florence, their dramas play out: MacKenzie returns to her student days as an art historian, discarding her identity as the controlling Oakwood charity patron and society hostess. Renewing her acquaintance with the David, she vows to let herself be sculpted rather than trying to sculpt others. MacKenzie finds not only a new talent, but a new man who appreciates it, just as her husband decides to re-enter her life. Roxie, who has always approached life as a circus, is drawn unwillingly into a passionate romance with a gorgeous Italian professor, Stefano. Her physical response to Stefano taps into lost memories, causing her to literally run from him. Roxie, normally a colorful Cubana, senses danger in visions and smells that resurface of a rotting summerhouse behind her Florida home. With his nurturing and passionate love, Stefano helps her to face the “broken piece” inside her. Sara, a Xanax addict, unveils part of her that no one but her instructors knows. She is an extraordinarily talented concert violinist. Normally trapped in the demanding life of an ob-gyn (scripted for her by her Vietnamese immigrant parents), she is temporarily freed. She performs for others for the first time, and experiences unprecedented joy. She also falls in love unexpectedly with a man who is not only a famous Chinese actor, but has a mysterious side business. Her defense of him gives her the courage to loose the vice-like hold of her parents and step into her own script. Georgia, a grieving widow, processes her life without Ben and without her violin career that ended early because of arthritis. Looking for a new passion in life, she finds that satisfaction comes to her in “giving back” to those around her the lessons and knowledge she has learned through her successes and mistakes in La Dolce Vita. Just as her perspective is changing, she reunites with her first love, Arturo, and must make a decision about the direction of her future life. Though ages have passed since the rebirth called the Renaissance, Florence still inspires change by breathing out its creative mix of energy, beauty, and courage. Where Michelangelo “set free” the David by sculpting a block of marble, each “crazy lady” finds her exterior “Oakwood” self burnished away by new experiences, revealing a new self. This burnishing is not a gentle process, but exuberant Italians help them through it with their all-embracing agape, or unconditional love. Though they do not know it, each of them hungers for agape’s healing power. They discover in it a balm that binds them together and puts them on the road to recovery, the road that is “The Only Way to Paradise.” Enjoy this first of four novels of self-discovery and romance.

My Review: The Only Way to Paradise by G.G. Vandagriff is a memorable women's fiction.  The story line is complex  with interesting, dynamic characters. The four women who come together in a therapy group decide to holiday in Italy. Each woman must face their own individual challenges and you are drawn into their lives as they each express their dreams, hopes and fears. The book takes place in Florence and I can't imagine a more superb setting for such a heart-warming story. Vandagriff's vivid descriptions immerse readers in Italian culture and add depth to the emotional journey of Georgia, Sara, Roxie, and MacKenzie. The story is filled with romance and true-to-life scenarios. It's a story that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I give The Only Way to Paradise 5 out of 5 stars. Well done! 

The Only Way to Paradise is available for purchase on Amazon Kindle for the amazing price of $3.99

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop

This Giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all those who entered!!!

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and All-Consuming Books!! Today on my blog you can win a signed copy of my new book The Alias !

All you have to do is follow my blog to enter and leave a comment letting me know how to contact you if you win!! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Check out The Alias today in paperback on or Amazon kindle for only $3.99

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Arthurian Omen...G.G. Vandagriff

Publisher's Note: Is the story of King Arthur history or myth? In this spellbinding novel, a Celtic scholar is murdered when she finds a clue to a priceless 13th century manuscript that will provide the true identity of King Arthur. The victim's sister takes up the quest to uncover the relic, but quickly realizes that someone close to her is the murderer. As pursuit of the manuscript winds through the ruined castles and monasteries of Wales, more than one reason emerges for keeping the manuscript and the legend buried in the past.

My Review: The story of King Arthur has always been one filled with mystery and intrigue. Purported as folklore by some and history by others, King Arthur has developed as a character of international interest and I have to admit, I fall in with the crowd. I love stories that evolve around the mystical King Arthur, so when asked to review The Arthurian Omen by G.G. Vandagriff, I happily jumped on board. The author weaves history, suspense, mystery and romance in a way that will leave readers turning the pages long into the night. Maren Southcott is a character who you can easily relate. She's vivacious, strong-willed, compassionate and makes mistakes like everyone else. Vandagriff does an excellent job capturing the essence and unique culture of the UK and her vivid descriptions will leave you yearning for a trip through Wales. I loved the images of the ancient ruins alongside green rolling hills and miniature streams. I thought the author did an excellent job keeping the suspense high until the very end. Throw in history, drug cartels, ancient manuscripts, and a kidnapping and I'm hooked. I give The Arthurian Omen 4.5 out of 5 stars.

To purchase a copy of The Arthurian Omen visit Amazon today.
To learn more about G.G. visit her new Blog.
Check back on Friday for my review of G.G.'s The Only Way to Paradise

Also today, I've been given the opportunity to feature a guest post from the author. I appreciate the time G.G. took to write a short post today!!

Meet G.G. Vandagriff.........

Question:  People say you should write about what you know. Do you have any personal experiences that helped you while writing your book?

G.G. Vandagriff: I definitely agree with that statement on many levels.  I started writing genealogical mystery novels, because i loved genealogy and I loved mysteries.  I solved my genealogical puzzles like mysteries.

But in the meantime I had a big novel in the background  that was waiting for me to have the experience of suffering and overcoming suffering.  I had been too young when I began my epic The Last Waltz.  It wasn't until I went through 25 years of suffering and an eventual healing of bi-polar disorder that I felt I could enter my heroines heart and define the feelings she had after World War One when she lost everything.  She rebuilt her life by acquiring knowledge and applying it in a determination that such a war would never take place again.  As WWII threatens, she doesn't give in. But you will find all about that in the sequel.

At that point, my novels became emotionally autobiographical.  I still wrote mysteries, but I also wrote Pieces of Paris about saving a marriage threatened by PTSD.  And my latest novel, The Only Way to Paradise gave me great scope!  Not only did it take place in my beloved Florence, but it had four crazy ladies in it each one saddled with one of my hangups.  They learn about the saving "agape" or selfless love that the Italians seem to be born with, and that paves the way for them to put their feet on "The Only Way to Paradise.

I never could have written any of these books without the emotional, intellectual, and travel experiences that I had. I wonder what awaits me in the future?  Do I really want to know?

GG Vandagriff

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Giveaway Hop

*****This Giveaway is now closed****

Welcome to the November Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and best-selling author Tristi Pinkston! Today on my blog you have the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Just follow the rules below for a chance to win.

Also, check out The Alias, available on Amazon Kindle for only $3.99 today or in paperback at a bookstore near you!

Follow this blog (mandatory)
Follow me on Facebook (+1)
Add The Alias on Goodreads (+2)

Then leave a comment below letting me know what steps you have completed. Also, don't forget to leave your email address or a way to contact you if you win! Thanks a bunch for entering and I hope you take a chance to visit all the other amazing participating blogs below.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finding Your Inspiration Through Life (Part 2)

Finding Your Inspiration Through Life (Part 1).....continued.....Everyone is unique. Each person has something amazing to offer the world. No one person is the same. I love to watch people. I stare…a lot… but I stare because I am so amazed by the different personalities that make up society. I love watching how other mothers interact with their children, how couples interrelate, and how we as strangers affect each other’s lives. I love to combine different characteristics to develop my characters... because just as we are all uniquely different, so too are the characters in books. Like Jacey, who is the main protagonist in The Alias and John, her ex-husband, the antagonist, these two characters are a conglomeration of me, my friends, my family members, people I see on the television or in movies, and strangers that I meet throughout life. My characters are a mix of everything that I love and hate, everything that I want to be, and everything that I hope I never am. Those around us-- our family, our friends and even other people’s stories-- can inspire new stories as well. Something as simple as watching the news can open endless possibilities for a new, suspenseful story. "There is nothing more inspiring than humanity."...Leo Babauta.

The next thing I'd like to highlight is finding your inspiration through objects....(Next post)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hope's Journey...

Publisher's noteSydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

My Review: Based on real-life events, Stephanie Worlton's debut novel Hope's Journey is a definite must read for any teenager, young adult or parent of a teen. The author tackles the sensitive subject of teen pregnancy in a very tasteful and mature manner and I thought the emotions expressed by both the adults and teenagers were as real as it gets. The author did a great job grabbing your attention by emerging you in both Alex's point of view and Sydney's point of view. It was difficult to get through this book without tears. Sydney's and Alex's characters were defined and well-rounded, the plot was very well developed, and the story is definitely heart-rendering. Stephanie did a wonderful job showing the growth and development of the characters as they progress on their journey of denial, anger, acceptance, forgiveness, and ultimately hope. I had a difficult time getting into the story at first, but once in the heart of the plot, it was impossible to put down.  I think this is a wonderful debut novel. Well done!

To purchase a copy of Hope's Journey visit Amazon Today!
To learn more about Stephanie visit her BLOG!

Also, today I am excited to feature an author interview! Stephanie is an amazing person and just the sort of mom who I would love to hang out with! I hope you enjoy meeting Stephanie Worlton, and I appreciate the time she took to answer a few questions. 

1.       Tell us about yourself

I was raised in Sandy, Utah and studied Architecture and German language at the University of Utah. I’m a very visual person and creating stuff is as natural to me as breathing. I’m lucky enough to be married to my best friend and high school sweetheart and together we have four children who are amazingly independent and smart. I’m a warm-weather, outdoors kind of girl. I love the summer sun and I honestly enjoy getting my hands a little dirty. We spend a lot of time camping, 4-wheeling, and even fishing (which to me is simply a boat ride with a book!). I think the seasons are overrated and would love to live somewhere where it was summer all the time.

2.       Tell us about your book, Hope’s Journey.

Hope’s Journey is the story of high-school sweethearts, Alex and Sydney, who have big plans for their futures. Sydney’s got several scholarships on the table and Alex is preparing to serve an LDS mission when all of their carefully constructed plans collapse because Sydney gets pregnant. Separately, they venture through self-doubt, confusion, heart-ache and failure as they try to piece their broken lives back together. Their journeys lead them to discover the power of faith, forgiveness, and ultimately…. hope.

3.       What inspired you to write Hope’s Journey?

Simply put, I was told to do it… and I do what I’m told (most of the time, anyway). Beyond that, I’ve had the opportunity to work with youth (kids 12 -18) for most of my adult life, and over the years I’ve shared my personal teen-pregnancy story both privately and publically (in small groups) with some of them. As a result I’ve seen the influence that honesty and understanding can have on changing lives. In recent years, society has glorified teen and single-parent pregnancy and honestly, there simply isn’t anything glorious or fun about it! There are a handful of books with the subtext of teen-pregnancy, but when I read them not once did I feel like they’d captured the reality of what that young woman – or young man for that matter – were going through.  I wanted to tell a story that was authentic, but more than that, I wanted to breakdown some stereotypes, persuade girls to strengthen their resolve to make good choices, and to create an atmosphere of hope for those who’ve already crossed the line.

To read more about the BACKSTORY, check out my blog:

4.       What first sparked your interest in writing?

I think writing is something I’ve always enjoyed although up until a few years ago I’d have never believed that I’d actually write a novel – being an author wasn’t on, or even near, my to-do  list. But, writing Hope’s Journey was something I knew I had to do. And, it was definitely a learning process. I guess it goes to show that you absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks! I’ve learned just how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to write and hope to be able to publish many more works.

5.       What are some of your favorite hobbies, besides writing?

My husband accuses me of being the energizer bunny because I have such a hard time sitting still. I love to draw and paint and build things. I frequently can be found sitting on my porch swing, tape measure in hand, designing one project or another – and when I say project I don’t mean cute little crafty things… Think bigger scale, like furniture, or lighted crown-molding, or (my current distraction) a cute cottage looking shed for all my gardening tools.   

6.       What is your favorite food?

There was a time I would’ve said ice cream but I’ve concluded that it’s really the hot fudge that I love. I have the most irresistible recipe for fudge and, honestly, it doesn’t have to be hot to be delicious, nor does it need to be accompanied by ice cream.

7.       What are you current projects?

I have a really hard time focusing on one project at a time (I think I may have adult onset ADD – if there is such a thing). I have two projects however that are continually on my mind (and on my laptop screen). Both are novels about strong women – one about overcoming domestic violence and the other about how thin the veil between this life and the spirit world is. I’m also writing a children’s book that my brother is illustrating, and developing a series that I will be co-writing with my brilliant husband. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop...

******This Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations Elizabeth!******

Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Diary of  a Bookworm!!

On my blog you can win a signed paperback copy of my new book "The Alias"by Mandi Tucker Slack, which is available on Amazon Kindle today for only $3.99 and is available in paperback at a book store near you... AND....

100% Jute/Cotton Blended Ghost Tote to collect all your yummy candy and treats....

To enter follow the rules below:

1) Follow this blog (mandatory)
2) Like my author page on Facebook (optional)
3) Share this post with friends on FB (optional)
4) Follow me on Twitter (optional)
5) Leave a comment on the feed below letting me know what steps you have completed so I know how many times to enter your name. Don't forget your email address so I can contact you if you win!

That's it.....thanks for entering my giveaway!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finding Your Inspiration Through Life (Part 1)

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a talk on what inspired me as an author. I am not an eloquent public speaker. I usually muddle my words and I tend to leave people more confused than enlightened. So today I thought I should post my talk for those who were left wondering what I was really trying to say :)....

Finding Your Inspiration Through Life (Part 1) 

My journey as an author started when I was a child. For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This wasn’t an easy thing to live with. I was often in trouble, and I spent most of my school days in special needs classes. I daydreamed all the time. When I was a young girl, I’d often imagine that I was a hero on an amazing adventure or I’d imagine I was a great explorer. I craved adventure, and more often-than-not, my teacher or parents could find me hiding in a corner talking to myself, because I even had imaginary friends. My mind was constantly racing—popping up with new ideas and thoughts all the time. I never thought that one day my ADHD would actually work to my advantage, but to this day, my imagination and ability to day dream has become one of my greatest strengths. My day dreams are what have carried me through life, even though at times, it has been a source of grief. So what I’d like to talk about today is this—every daydream starts with a tiny spark. There is always something that is the catalyst to a new idea or dream. Have you ever seen that commercial for Moen where a couple sits with a designer? They place a faucet on the desk and say, “Design a house around this.” Well, this concept is exactly what I would like to get across today. I’d like to highlight a few of those "things" that you can design a story around. These are often the catalysts for my ideas…my sparks!

The first thing is Destination and Setting…

Have you ever passed a field of wild flowers or taken a walk through the forest just after it’s rained? Have you ever seen an area that simply leaves you breathless and you just want to grasp that place and hang onto it forever? Its those moments when a photo simply isn't enough. I love nature, and whenever I come across a town, a field, a mountain, or even a place in the city that touches me, I just want to hang onto it. I can do this in my books. I can live in that area while I create my story.

Most of my novels take place in areas that I love—areas that have left a lasting impression on me. I live in Santaquin, Utah, and when we first moved there, I loved to drive to Mona. I loved the open spaces, the farms, the community, and just the general feel of the area. It felt natural to create a story there. The Alias takes place in Mona on a ranch. I’ve never lived on a ranch before, but through this book, I was able to experience ranch life. I was able to capture that dream and capture the emotions and feelings I had when I first discovered that area. I can include my memories, my dreams, and my love of any place that I feel inspired to write about in my books. My stories are sort of like a souvenir, and just as an area can inspire a story, so too 
can the people who live in a particular place… So my next inspiration is “People”…which I’ll highlight in the next post.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Barnes and Noble Authorpalooza....

I'm so excited for my 1st Authorpalooza. I'll be in attendance with some amazing authors and I can hardly wait. There will be over 30 different authors representing a variety of genres! If you get a chance, come out and see me. I'll be passing out candy, bookmarks, and signing books! 

When:  Saturday, October 22nd 

Where:  Barnes and Noble 
33 E. University Parkway 
Orem, Utah

Jewel Adams
            Legacy, Wishing Hour

Marie Higgins
           Heart of a Hero, Hearts Through Time, Winning Mr. Wrong

Carol Thayne Warburton
            Just Shy of Paradise, Sun Tunnels and Secrets, False Pretenses, Question of Trust

Mandi Slack
            The Alias

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
            Trapped, Missing

G.G. Vandagriff,
           The Last Waltz, Pieces of Paris, Foggy w/ a Chance of Murder, Hidden Branch, Poisoned Pedigree, Tangled Roots, Arthurian Omen

Carla Kelly
            Here’s to the Ladies, Borrowed Light, Mariah’s Christmas Wish

Tristi Pinkston
            Secret Sisters, Dearly Departed, Agent in Old Lace

Jason Anderson
             Starrider 1&2

  Jessica Day George,
            Dragon Slippers Series, Princess of Glass, Princess of the Midnight Ball, Sun & Moon, Ice & Snow, Tuesday’s at the Castle

Joy Spraycar,

Kristen Chandler,
            Wolves, Boys and other Things that Might Kill Me, Girls Don’t Fly

Jennifer Laurens
            Season of Eden, Penitence, Over Protected, Nailed, Magic Hands, Heavenly, Falling for Romeo, Absolution

April White-Touchette
            Parole at Camp Summerset

Paul Talbot
            Wizard Magic

Cindy Hogan 

Debbie Hulet
        Independence Rock

Frank Cole,
       Hashbrown Winters Series, Guardians of the Hidden Scepter

Kim Justesen,
            My Brother the Dog, Hey Ranger Series

Berin Stephens,
            Dragon War Relic

Valerie Mechling & Samuel Stubbs
            Tale of Telsharu

B.K. Bostick
            Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure

Wendy Paul,
            101 Gourmet Cupcakes, 101 Gourmet Cookies, 101 Gourmet Cake Bites

Laura Powell
            Real Mom Kitchen

Nancy Miles
            In Good Taste:  Your Family History Cookbook

Marry Muller
            The Guardians of Innocence

Nichole Giles
            Mormon Mishaps and Mischief

Russell Estlack
            Shattered Lives, Shattered Dreams

Taylor Hartley
            Sinner’s Advocate

Marilyn Brown
            Images of America:  Provo

Caleb Warnock
           Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers

Connie Sokol
            Faithful, Fit and Fabulous

J. Kevin Morris
            Strangely Normal

Hope To See You There.....!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet Theresa Sneed...

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Theresa Sneed, author of No Angel. I just love Theresa! She is such a nice person, who care deeply about others and I am very excited to interview her today! Her book, No Angel, has had fantastic reviews and is a definite must read! Meet Theresa Sneed....

Tell us about your book.
No Angel is the story of a reluctant guardian angel named Jonathan Stewart. He had a bad experience as a mortal and doesn’t want to return to earth as a guardian angel, but it’s required of all post-mortal spirits to do just that—at least one time. He makes it quite clear on the Guardians Unlimited application, that he is not at all interested in being a guardian angel, and even requests an EMD (a spirit marked for early death) just in case. Several years go by and he’s settled into his job as a director of H&EB (Heaven and Earth Bound) where he meticulously runs a smooth operation making sure that the departing and arriving spirits are on the right passageways at the right time. It’s a complete shock and an obvious inconvenience to him when his presence is request in HR (Heaven Resources) and he discovers that he has been chosen to be a guardian angel by the beautiful Celeste Knight. Because he never took the required classes in heaven and did not read his client’s manual in preparation to be her angel, what Jonathan does not know is that an EMD is also a Death Resistor and she can choose the time of her death. Celeste has no intentions of dying early and now Jonathan is stuck in a place he only wanted to forget, as a guardian angel to someone he really could care less about.
You will not like Jonathan at all at the beginning of No Angel, but at the end you will absolutely love him!

What inspired you to write No Angel?
I have a strong belief in the unseen spirit word that surrounds us, and wanted to write a ‘fun’ book that used that knowledge as a backdrop.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?                         
There are several messages in No Angel—first and foremost that we came from heaven and will return there after our own mortal experience is over. Other strong themes in No Angel are love, choice, accountability, loyalty, honesty, faith, hope, forgiveness, patience, and endurance.

When and why did you begin writing?
My first published poem was in 3rd grade, but because I gave it to a friend who was struggling with our writing assignment, it was actually published in the local newspaper under her name! That’s the when of it, but the why is much more involved. I believe that writing is the easiest way to have your voice heard. I write, because I want to share who I am and what I believe, feel, desire, and even fear. As a youth, I derived so much pleasure and hope from reading—it’d be so awesome if I could do that for someone else!

Any ideas on a sequel for No Angel?
Yes! Occasionally Yours is the prequel to No Angel and is in the final stages of editing right now. Lip Reader is the sequel to No Angel.  The rough draft for Lip Reader is complete, but it hasn’t gone through the beta-reader, revision, editing process yet. Once Occasionally Yours is in the hands of my editor, then I’ll revise/edit Lip Reader.

Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! Though I have a BA in Education, I see writing as my career.

Do you have any advice or tips on writing you would like to share?
I do! The greatest thing that you MUST have to be a writer—is the desire to write, honestly!  There has to be a reason for that desire, and I believe that the reason is a deep understanding of an important part of who you are. But, you MUST be willing to develop that desire into something tangible. You MUST be able to take constructive criticism. You MUST be willing to take that constructive criticism and learn from it! I recommend building up a writing resource library. Read about point of view, how to develop scenes, characters, settings, etc. Study grammar as needed, especially if someone critiques your work and points out specific problems—take those really seriously and dive into everything that you can to understand and improve that part of your writing. I also strongly suggest that you find a reputable writing group that shares your standards, otherwise you might be reading things you’d rather not. I’m a member of an LDS women writers group named ANWA—it is a perfect fit for me and has helped me to hone my craft more than any other thing I have tried. On that note, don’t be afraid to step out of your writing group from time to time and learn from the many other talented authors in your community. Check out your local colleges and libraries for guest speakers and go to their classes prepared to learn all you can about the writing craft. It’s also important to commit to a schedule to write—put aside a time every day and stick to it. I wrote No Angel by committing to writing just one page a day six days a week. Most times that one page morphed into many more! Lastly—you MUST, MUST, MUST read! The best writers are avid, passionate readers! You learn TONS from reading—read with a critical eye—identify what works, and what doesn’t work in the books you choose.

Thanks Mandi!

A big thanks to Theresa for taking a moment to let me interview her! I was glad to have her on my blog today!

             To purchase your copy of No Angel visit Amazon today or a book store near you!!!