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Showing posts from July, 2013

Wherein I sing Happy Birthday and drive more than 5000 miles!

Happy Friday Everyone! Today is my beautiful Teen's birthday - so before I can do/say/write anything else, I MUST wish her the very best of birthdays. This one is particularly impacting to me - the LAST birthday of her HS career, my teen is driving, preparing for college and standing on the threshold of adulthood! It is a strange place for me, indeed.

We are having a very small celebration for her birthday this year - just a bunch of her family and friends enjoying Wreck It Ralph at our community movies-at-the-park Friday. Fun, low key and perfect given our epic road trip starting on Sat...

Which leads to the next part of the conversation. As I am on the road (literally! Just check out the picture above - we are literally driving across country and back) for the next 2 weeks, and starting school immediately after that, the blog is going dark until 8/11. At that time, I am revealing a new blogging schedule, a new look (part of which you can see here already), and other exciting news.

An End to a Great Series - ABANDON by Elana Johnson

It's Bookanista Thursday and time for a new review. Today, I am thrilled to be talking about ABANDON, fellow Bookanista Elana Johnson's exciting conclusion to the POSSESSION series. I was fortunate enough to read both POSSESSION and SURRENDER in early forms, watching the story expand and grow with each revision. It was such a treat. With ABANDON, I waited until the book was released to finally be able to see how everything ended up. It was a long and hard wait, but I certainly was not disappointed. 

More on that in a moment. First, let's see what the rest of the Bookanistas are up to:
Nikki Katz is delighted by CHARM AND STRANGE by Stephanie KuehnStasia Ward Kehoe meanders into adult fiction to ponder LIFE OF PI by Yann MartelJessica Love has cheers for CHALKLINE by Jane MitchellGretchen McNeil  sings out for SECOND VERSE by Jennifer WalkupShari Arnold adores ALSO KNOWN AS (AKA) by Robin BenwayTracy Banghart delves into TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly SabatiniChristine Fons…

Author Spotlight: Jennifer Allis Provost and Copper Girl

Welcome to another Author/Book Spotlight feature. Today I am spotlighting Jennifer Allis Provost and COPPER GIRL, a book I am DYING to read!

Before I tell you about the book, here is a little about the author:

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, two cats, a maroon-bellied conure, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.
And now, a little about the book, COPPER GIRL: 

COPPER GIRL (Spencer Hill Press, June 2013)

Sara had always been careful. She never spoke of magic, never associated with those suspected of handling magic, never thought of magic, and never, ever, let anyone see her mark.  After all, the last thi…

The Benefits of Imagination and Failure...Thank You JK Rowling

I will admit it - I don't get a chance to read magazine and news articles as often as I'd like to. But, I always manage to find the articles online or elsewhere that speak to me in just the way I need them to, at just the right time. Divine intervention? I would like to believe so, yes.

While doing some research for a particular JK Rowling quote, I stumbled across her Harvard commencement speech from 2008 and both read the transcript and listened/watched her commencement speech. Holy Cow - there is little wonder why she tops my list of the people I most want to meet in my lifetime. She is amazing!

Her speech speaks of the benefits of both imagination and understanding/embracing failure. It is a lesson I strive to teach my own children, though I admittedly forgot these lessons myself. In this speech, I was reminded of so many things. Here are a couple of extended quotes from the transcript to relish:

"...failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretendi…

Living An Authentic Life: Confession Time

Happy Friday everyone. In sticking with my themes of late, I thought I'd share a little confession. I am fat. Not PHAT, but fat. You know, obese. Seriously so, actually. I also happen to be tall, so I hide my weight well. But that doesn't change the fact that my weight and BMI easily classify my in the obese range.

This isn't an easy admission for me. As a child, I managed my weight through extreme ways - juggling and eating disorder along with everything else. I alternated from anorexia to bulimia, all in an effort to manage a weight problem that didn't actually exist. It took years of therapy to no longer have body dismorphia and to see the truth of my size. But fixing that, changing that behavior, didn't solve some of the underlying issues. That took years more work.

Now, having come to terms with all that is true about me - the things that are broken, as well as the strengths I have as a result of my life experiences, I am willing to admit my weight problems an…

Dan Brown's Inferno - It's Dante, Italy, and Mystery!

As I mentioned on Monday, I've decided to review adult and nonfiction books in addition to my normal Bookanista features. Today, I am gushing over Dan Brown's latest thriller, INFERNO. I am a HUGE Dan Brown fan. From his first, relatively unknown book, DIGITAL FORTRESS, to the ground-breaking DaVINCI CODE, to this latest book, INFERNO, Dan Brown always takes me on a ride that ensnares my mind, delights my senses and keeps me engaged from the first page to the end. He researches his material and presents a familiar thriller arc in a way that never bores me. Maybe it's the settings he so carefully describes, or the research he includes, but every book leaves me better than before I read it. He is, in many ways, the type of author I strive to be one day.

Release Date: 11/21/2011

Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting ne…

Blog Chain: Summer is for...

Welcome to another installment of the Blog Chain. There was a little mix up with this round's topic, so I took it upon myself to just come up with one...

How do you spend your summer? Catching up on writing projects, taking time off of writing? Getting inspired? Inquiring minds want to know.

First, let me say that I love summer. Not only do I get a large hunk of time to regroup and rebalance, but my family all has the time off too. From mid/late June through early August, we relax and play. And usually this includes getting caught up with our reading and other hobbies that seem to fall by the wayside during the busyness of the school year.

This summer I have finished three books, with about four more I'd like to get through. I have also managed to repaint the house, reorganize the garage and start eating healthy again (more or less!).

But this question was specifically about writing. I use summer to revitalize my writing endeavors, my creative side. This is particularly true t…

Author Spotlight - Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley's Extracted

I am thrilled to finally be back to hosting my Author/Book Spotlight features. Today is a special two-for-one deal with authors Sherry Ficklin and Tyler Jolley and their upcoming book, EXTRACTED.

Before I tell you about the book, here is a little about the authors:

Tyler H. Jolley was born in the era of the Star Wars and the Indiana Jones sagas and has been enamored with science fiction and adventure stories ever since. Snowboarding, mountain biking, road biking, fly fishing, bird hunting, camping, hiking, and backpacking are all things he enjoys doing with his family. However, his true passion has always been fiction writing. Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she's on deadline at which time she, like t…

Monday Musings: Letting Go

Hi everyone! I can't believe we are half way through July...summer seems to be going SO FAST. And yet, as I reflect on what I have managed to accomplish so far, I can happily say it has been productive.

I spent this weekend cleaning out the garage among other things. My goal - purge the boxes and boxes of photographs and clean out the arts & crafts cabinets. It took more hours than I'd like to admit to get through everything, but I did it...I cleared out and organized 15 years worth of things.

When the work was done and I had a chance to reflect, I felt as though an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Not just because I could cross this off the to-do list finally. No. It was more than that.

Releasing the unnecessary, letting go of things that didn't make sense to keep, freed up the creative aspects of my thoughts, enabling me to think of new things, new ways to utilize some of the things I kept, new ways to use some of the pictures, etc. The cleaned out …

Fabulous Friday: Things I Love

As I mentioned on Monday, I would be starting a "things I love" feature on the blog. I am deep in the throes of rediscovering myself. I know that may sound a little strange, but the truth is, I lost a deep part of myself when my mom passed away in 2010. Since then I haven't felt grounded or secure, haven't really felt like I knew who I was. Her death just shook my very foundation.

Healing from the loss has been a journey in-and-of itself. I have tried out different lifestyle changes (looks, home decor, hairstyles), made some changes in career and friends, etc. In short, I have been on a journey of rediscovering who I am - the things I like to do, the things I am passionate about, etc.

And I wanted to share some of those discoveries with you! Taking a page from my own advice offered to young girls in The Girl Guide, I am doing something I haven't done since my early twenties - I am make a scrapbook of the things I love, a digital collage of sorts. And I am using P…

Bookanista Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

It's Bookanista Thursday and time for a new review. Today, I am fawning over THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. I am such a huge fan of both authors. Why it took me SO LONG to read this book is beyond me! I had received it from my aunt who lives near SLO and goes to all of Jay's local signings. It's a book I told her about after attending a SCBWI event in which Carolyn Mackler talked about the process of writing this book...something I would love to do with some of my writing buddies one day. Anyway, this has been sitting on the shelf waiting to be read forever. I am so glad I finally pulled it out.

But, before I tell you my thoughts, here are the other Bookanista reviews this week

Lenore Appelhans adores THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie WestChristine Fonseca fawns over THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn MacklerElana Johnson is wowed with DUALED by Elsie ChapmanNikki Katz is speechless over UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees BrennanStasia Ward Kehoe flips for ALL …

Wherein I talk about goals

Hey everyone -
As you can tell, I've been madly working on my branding - the blog, a website not yet revealed, etc. I've been reading a ton of branding articles (like this one by Indie Author Ali Cross), looking at literally hundreds of author websites and blogs, and researching marketing and branding.

In addition to that, I have been spending a lot of time thinking. That's right, stewing on what I want from my career: where I want to be in a few years, what I want to focus on, etc. It isn't that I never think about this stuff - I do. A lot, actually. It's more that I just haven't really determined what my short-term and mid-term goals are (long term goals I have in spades!). Yes, I know I want to write. And yes, I know I want to move into that direction with the hopes of eventually leaving or significantly modifying the day job. But what steps do I want to take to get there. Am I Indie bound, or do I want to look for an agent - a partner.

All of this stewing a…

The Requiem Facelift Continues: A New Cover for Libera Me

I am so excited to bring you the new cover for LIBERA ME today. The cover was designed by me based on background material from and, and the model photo by Osipova Anastasia (all under a Creative Commons License) and like LACRIMOSA, it captures the heart of the story.

Let's start with a little more about LIBERA ME, book 2 in the Requiem Series:

The line between good and evil has never been so blurred. Aydan wants to believe Nesy has returned to him in Vanessa. But her lack of memories and incessant nightmares begin to erode his faith. Zane is used to trusting his mind, his wisdom and his angelic senses. But these attributes are no help with Vanessa. He has no way to be certain of her true identity. That is, unless he listens to the one thing he has refused to acknowledge throughout his existence - his feelings for Nesy. 

Blind to both angel and demon, Aydan and Zane must now figure out the truth behind Nesy's identity before all is lost, Az…

The Week Ahead...

It is going to be a busy week around the interwebz this week, and I am thrilled to be sharing things with all of you.
First, I am releasing the NEW COVER for Libera Me TOMORROW on my blog, and releasing the ebook by Friday (I hope). In honor of everything, I will be hosting a little giveaway with books and beautiful posters of the book jackets. 
On Weds, I am back to WIP Wednesdays for the summer, an opportunity to share what I am working on and hopefully hear from all of you!
On Thursday, my Bookanista reviews are back with a review of The Future of Us.
Friday features something new - a chance to get personal and share something I love that I've recently discovered. Hopefully you all will share something too!
For today, I wanted to share a little news...
Michelle Zink, author of the highly acclaimed Prophesy of the Sisters series and one of my all time FAVORITE authors, graciously blurbed The Girl Guide and I wanted to share the blurb with all of you:
"The Girl Guide is chock…

Happy INDIEpendence Day and a Special Offering

Happy 4th to my US friends. I hope you are going to have fun spending some time with family and friends. I wanted to take a quick moment and let you know that LACRIMOSA (second edition) is now out in the world!

I am so excited to bring you the book at a great price - Just .99 for the ebook in mobi (kindle) or ePub (nook) formats, and 12.99 for paperback.

Here is a little more about the book:
Some sacrifices should never be made, even for love. Nesy is the best of an elite group of angels, warriors called Sentinals, charged with one job—vanquish the UnHoly. She’s never made a mistake, never gotten emotionally involved, never failed. Until she comes face-to-face with Aydan. He is evil incarnate. A fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the human love of her life; a love she was never supposed to feel. Now she must choose between doing her duty or saving Aydan, a choice that will cost more than her life...
Or his…

Blog Chain Confessions Get Steamy...

Happy Summer!!!

Today the Blog Chain gets a little steamy with this topic from Demetria:

What are your guilty pleasure books/genres?
Ooooooooh, guilty pleasures! I love me some guilty pleasures. And my guilty pleasure romance. Yep, I'll admit it. Not 50 shades of Gray, but just

Sylvia Day's Crossfire series: Bared to You, Reflected in You and Entwined with You (saving that one to read for my vacation time)

There is just something about this storyline I love. It's steamy and forbidden like 50-shades, but better somehow. The romance, the passion, and yea...the heat. It is all in this book!!! And I love it.

Whew - it feels good to just admit it!

What about you? Any guilty pleasure books you are willing to admit to?
For more on this topic, check out Sandra's from yesterday, and Katrina's post tomorrow.

LACRIMOSA gets a new cover!!!

I am so excited to bring you the new cover for LACRIMOSA today. The cover was designed by me based on background material from and the model photo by Osipova Anastasia and captures the essence of the story in a way I just love.

Now, before I reveal it, I want to also share the new blurb:

Some sacrifices should never be made, even for love. Nesy is the best of an elite group of angels, warriors called Sentinals, charged with one job—vanquish the UnHoly. She’s never made a mistake, never gotten emotionally involved, never failed. Until she comes face-to-face with Aydan. He is evil incarnate. A fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the human love of her life; a love she was never supposed to feel. Now she must choose between doing her duty or saving Aydan, a choice that will cost more than her life...
Or his soul.  
I also redesigned the interiors of the book with a little help of some …

Summer Bucket List

As most of you know, today is Day 1 of my summer break - six glorious weeks of renewal. THIS is the reason I continue to work in education - the fabulously long summer!!!

So, what will I do for the break?

Here is the bucket list my kids have (courtesy of PBTeen):

My summer is filled with home renovations, re-branding, new words, and an epic road trip as I open myself to inspiration this summer. Too fun, yes?!?

What's on your summer bucket list?