Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #8

My first top ten list was about Disneyland rides. Oh, how I love Disneyland! Today is the companion list with my favorite rides in California Adventure. One difference. This one will include a few attractions instead of just rides. I smile just thinking about them!

Today's Topic: Favorite Rides/Attractions in Disney's California Adventure

10. Grizzly River Run. I hate getting wet on rides, but this is totally worth it. If I have a poncho. And the weather isn't too cold.
9. Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
8. The Aladdin Musical Spectacular.
7. World of Color. Great show, but not as great as Fantasmic. I should have included that in my Disneyland list.
6. Soarin' Over California. Love the fake orange smell.
5. Toy Story Midway Mania
4. Animation Academy
3. Radiator Springs Racers. Wish it was a longer ride
2. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
1. California Screamin'. Rode this in the rain once. No one else was there except me and my parents. Now I know why. Rain + rollercoaster = ouchie!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cover Reveal for Taela!

First of all, I want to thank those who voted in the poll. I had hoped for a little more input, but even a few responses are greatly appreciated.

There was a tie between #1 and #2, which works out well, because a couple of people suggested I put the title style of #2 on #1, which I did. It's not exactly the same, but I really like the result. Hopefully you do too! Unless something unforeseen happens, this it the one! Yay!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

ABC Books "G"

I had a hard time remembering books I've read that start with "G". So, unfortunately, there will only be two this time.

The Grapes of Wrath-- John Steinbeck. Yet another book I read in high school, and this one was probably my least favorite. It's long and depressing. Perhaps I'm not giving it the credit it deserves, but I was a teenager when I read it. My opinion might be different if I'd read it as an adult. We'll never know, because I have no plans to read it again.

A Great and Terrible Beauty-- Libba Bray. Okay, now one I did enjoy. I was fascinated by this story with its intriguing characters and hidden world of magic. I read the second and liked it slightly less, and started the third. It went down hill from there. I was so disappointed that my interest dropped somewhere around the first part of book three that I didn't even finish it. I'm not really sure what went wrong.

If you haven't participated in my book cover poll yet (see the post below) please do so now! I'm excited to find out which picture is the most popular. If you're using an iPhone and can't see the poll, go to the very bottom of the post and you should see an option to view the full web page.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Choice Is Yours

I'm having a very hard time deciding which cover picture to use. I've narrowed it down to three choices. They're all pretty similar, mostly just different colors and fonts. Now, I haven't had overwhelming success at getting responses/participation from readers, but I'd like to give all of you a chance to help me out. I've created a poll on the right hand side of the page where you can vote for your favorite pic. You have until Monday morning, 8:00 am Mountain Time USA, to vote. (Please vote only once) I will then pick the pic with the most votes and reveal the winner on Monday. I appreciate the help!

The poll will ask for a number, so pay attention to the numbers beside the pictures.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #7

I usually get a list ready beforehand, but I've been busy getting things ready for my new book. Now I'm kind of thinking off the top of my head, which is not a good idea for me. I'm a planner. A list-maker. A pre-list list maker, if you will. I don't do on the spot. This may be the lamest list ever, but it's what I got.

Today's Topic: Things I Do Rather Than Housework

10. Read. I have too many books on my To Read list.
9. Paint my toe nails.
8. Play My Singing Monsters. I have four islands. Need more coins.
7. Watch Frasier on Netflix.
6. Watch Alias on Netflix
5. Listen to Michael Jackson while grooving around the living room.
4. Watch anime. INUYASHA!!!
3. Eat. I have cake in the fridge.
2. Work on stuff on my computer/internet. It's kind of like a real job.
1. Repeat.

I must apologize to my poor husband, who is working 12-14 hours a day, and I'm at home doing the above. I'll do better, I promise! After more cake.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Excerpt Day!

I hope you are excited to read this small portion of Taela. I have to confess that I'm more nervous about the release of this book than I was for The Bride. I've mentioned before that Taela is the first book I ever wrote and it's gone through many rewrites and changes. It's been with me for 13 years. Letting it go is borderline terrifying.

Without further ado, here it is. Taela (This link now includes chapters 1 and 2)

P.S. I'm planning to reveal the cover next Monday. That is, if I've made a final decision by then.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

ABC Books "F"

I've been looking forward to letter "F" for a while. It includes two books I read in third grade that made me fall in love with fantasy. Actually, the made me fall in love with reading in general.

The Fairy Rebel- Lynne Reid Banks. This is such a sweet little story! It's about a lady, Jan, who wants a baby but she and her husband haven't been able to have one. She meets Tiki, a spunky fairy who isn't supposed to interact with humans. Well, Tiki helps Jan get her wish and both must contend with the angry Fairy Queen.

The Farthest-Away Mountain- Lynne Reid Banks. Same author, another fun story. Dakin is a girl who wishes for two things--to visit the farthest-away mountain and to marry a prince. She sets out to tackle the first, meeting fun and scary creatures along the way. Now she just needs to find that prince!

Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury. I read this for one of my English classes in high school, not very confident that I would like it, but I did. It's more than a surreal, disturbing future where books are forbidden. It's society's complacency for mindless media instead of truth and knowledge. Makes me want to read more books instead of watching so much TV.

Make sure you come back Monday for the link to an excerpt from my upcoming book, Taela!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Just Curious + News

I enjoy blogging. Sharing my thoughts and experiences is nice, but I often wonder who is actually reading them. Sometimes I check the viewer stats to see how many people visit each day. Are these people new every time or do I have some regular visitors? Either way, I'm happy to keep writing, but I AM curious. I wonder if my "regulars", if you're out there, would be so kind as to leave a little comment after this post, even if its just a smiley face. It's nice to get a little feedback once in a while. Maybe this is a silly request. I really do appreciate anyone-- new or not new, comment or no comment-- taking time to read my ramblings.

Anyway, I've been looking at the calendar and have picked Aug. 10 to be the (tentative) release date for Taela. This may change due to scheduling conflicts with my editor. In the meantime, I will be adding a link on Monday's post that will lead to a little excerpt from the book for anyone interested. The cover art ordeal is still being worked on, though I am closer to finalizing. The reveal is coming soon. And, FYI, there will be special, temporary deals for both The Bride and Taela during the two weeks following the release. If you've been waiting for a price reduction, this will be your time to shine!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #6

I watch a horrendous amount of TV. We haven't had cable for the past couple of years, but I still manage to watch plenty of TV (Netflix, I'm looking at you). This list is all about the Sitcoms. Does not include cartoons or improv/variety shows.

Today's List: My Favorite Sitcoms

10. M.A.S.H.
9. Third Rock from the Sun
8. Keeping Up Appearances
7. Full House
6. The Cosby Show
5. Bunheads
4. Friends
3. Frasier
2. The Office (US)
1. Modern Family

I've watched all the "finished" series multiple times. Just waiting for ALL of them to be on Netflix so I can watch them again! And again. and ...


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

I briefly mentioned my next book project here and have more news on the matter. My editor finished her part and I'm currently fixing it up real nice. I hope to be done in the next few days. The projected release date for Taela: Book One of The Vessel, is early August. A lot of it depends on the cover art. I've chosen to do my own cover art for two reasons: 1) I am very poor and it costs nothing for me to do it, 2) my love of art is second to my love of writing. Hopefully my creations in both areas will help me reach the success I dream of.

Here's a little taste of Taela:

A little adventure was all Taela wanted to relieve some of the predictability of her life. When she heard a rumor that the king's city would be attacked, she set out to investigate, bringing her sister along with her. But things did not go as she had hoped. Her sister was captured and in order to attempt a rescue, Taela had to reveal a closely guarded secret of her own. She was quickly learning that her life was about to become anything but predictable.

I'm pretty thrilled about this book! Stay tuned for more teasers and the cover art reveal!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

ABC Books "E"

It took me a while to remember some of the books I've read that start with E. Just wait till I get to letter Q or X...

Eragon and Eldest-  Christopher Paolini. The first two books in his Inheritance Cycle are pretty awesome. Magic, dragons, elves, the fight for good. I intend to read the next two, but haven't gotten around to them. Just after Eldest came out, Christopher made an appearance in my home town for a book signing. I went and was able to get my copy signed. I think that's pretty cool.

Enchantment- Orson Scott Card. This is the only book of his I've read. It's sort of a Sleeping Beauty retelling. I don't remember much about it, though I do remember not really liking it. I think there was a part that just rubbed me the wrong way, which is disappointing because it has all the elements I like about a story. Magic, romance, etc.

Entwined- Heather Dixon. This was a fun read. Again, this one is based on a well-known fairytale. Twelve Dancing Princesses. I do like my magic mixed with romance. I need to find out if the author has written anything else.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An Experiment That I Hope Doesn't Explode

I bought a copy of my book on amazon by accident. I was updating something and wanted to make sure it was still available for purchase during the review process, so I clicked on the button that said "buy now". I suddenly had a copy of my own book. I wasn't taken to a page to confirm the purchase, it just sort of happened. Anyway, now that I have it, I discovered I can "lend" it to someone for fourteen days. This got me thinking. I can give someone the chance to read my book for free. This is where the experiment comes in.

If you'd like the chance to read my book for free, you can go to my facebook page, click "like" and leave me a message that includes your email. I'll accept messages starting now until midnight (Mountain Time USA). I'll randomly pick from those people and send the ebook to the lucky person tomorrow morning.

Remember, this is a borrowed copy that lasts only 14 days. If you end up really liking it, you'll still have to buy your own copy, but at least you already know you like it. I would also REALLY appreciate a review on amazon.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #5

I'm a pretty big Beatles fan so a top ten list of Beatles songs seemed like a no brainer. At least until I started making a list. It's much longer than 10. So, I'm going to break it down into smaller chunks, starting with--

Today's Topic: Beatles Songs With Paul McCartney Singing Lead.

10. Altogether Now
9. Drive My Car
8. Here, There, and Everywhere
7. I Saw Her Standing There
6. Eleanor Rigby
5. When I'm Sixty-Four
4. I'll Follow the Sun
3. Blackbird
2. Tie: I Want to Hold Your Hand & Can't Buy Me Love
1. I've Just Seen a Face

There were many, many contenders and my favorites change from time to time depending on my mood and such.  Hmm, I think I'm going to watch HELP! today.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coming Soon . . .

I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but maybe building up a bit of anticipation won't hurt.

The first book I ever wrote was the first in a YA fantasy series. It has been through more rewrites than I can count, which is why, thirteen years later, I'm only just getting it finished. It's called Taela, and is book one in The Vessel. It was originally going to be a trilogy, but now it will be a sextet. My editor has been working on book one for the past month or so and MIGHT be done with it by the end of this week. If that happens, I'm going to start posting teasers and such before publication. This book is definitely my special baby and I'm excited it's going to be out soon!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ABC Books "D"

Here's my list for "D" books.

The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown.  Another Dan Brown. I read this before Angels and Demons, even though I believe the events of the latter happen before the The Da Vinci Code. Even though I don't agree with most of the speculations in this book, I like this one the most so far and look forward to reading the latest Robert Langston adventure, Inferno.

The Dark is Rising- Susan Cooper. I read this in elementary and I must have been absent one or two days when the class read a few chapters, because I was kind of lost throughout the book. When I read it again later in life, I really enjoyed it. There's a lot going on, but the magical elements are pretty interesting.

Death Be Not Proud- John Gunther. I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of sad books/endings, but this true story of a young man's fight with a brain tumor, told by his loving father, was well worth the tears and heartache I felt. If you've never read this book, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Writing Process or How I Manage to Get Books Written Despite Procrastination and Book Hopping

I try to write something every day, whether it's a few chapters or a few sentences. Though, there have been times when I haven't written a single word for a month. I don't like those times, but they happen. Typically, I'll work on two or three books at a time. At the moment, I'm working on four, one being nearly ready for editing. It's not hard to see why I've only had one book published in the 13 years I've been writing. I have a hard time sticking to one project and getting it done before moving on to something else. My brain doesn't work that way. When I have an idea for a particular story, I have to get it written down soon or I'll forget. Then I'll jump to another book. This process doesn't really bother me. I like being immersed in different worlds with different characters all at once. I'm not a very social person, so I guess you could say these characters are like friends of mine. Wow. Lame-o. I'm not a complete dork, but near enough.

I prefer writing in first person, present tense, usually with a female lead. I'm a girl, so it comes pretty naturally. I do have one story that is third person present, because I needed to use the point of view of several characters throughout the story. Giving a voice to more than one character is enjoyable and gives me more than one way to tell a certain part of the story, depending on whose point of view I use. If I don't like the way a character's point of view is going, I can always give another character the chance to lead.

The way I come up with story ideas is kind of bizarre. A word or two can come to my mind and quickly turn into an idea. I also dream strange things and in the morning I think to myself, "If I change this or that, it could be a cool story." I also get ideas from TV, movies, and other books, but always with my own ideas mixed in. Sometimes coming up with stories is almost more fun than writing them. I have about two hundred story outlines, so I'm going to be busy for a long time. Good thing it's something I love to do!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #4

We all have our favorite children's books. And who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?

Today's Topic: Dr. Seuss Books

10. Horton Hears a Who
9. Hop on Pop
8. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
6. The Sneetches
5. Yertle the Turtle
4. Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?
3. Green Eggs and Ham
2. There's a Wocket in my Pocket
1. The Foot Book  This one has a special place in my heart, and not because I loved it as a child. I've worked with Special Needs students for MANY years and one particular student loved this book. I probably read it to him once (or more) a day for almost the entire school year. We'd read it fast or slow, upside-down and backwards, and with funny voices. Though there were times when I would have been glad to never see that book again, having read it dozens and dozens of times, I will never forget how happy this sweet boy was each time I read it. I even drew a picture of the guy on the front cover for him.

Dr. Seuss, you were a genius!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Character Bio: Callia Hurnel

In my mind, I have a life history laid out for all my characters, yet I don't include everything in my books. I thought it might be fun to give more background on some of my characters, hopefully without spoiling anything for those of you who still haven't read my book. (You really should, you know)

The main character in The Bride is Callia Hurnel. As the story opens, Callia is nineteen years old, living with her parents in one of three villages in the kingdom. I didn't offer a name for her parents, the villages (except one called Jor) or the kingdom. They weren't really important for the story to progress. Well, they do have names. Callia's parents are Tavish and Lucia Hurnel, both in their forties. They have no other children because, like most other parents, they fear the Choosing. They live in Wistry, which is the largest of the three villages. I already mentioned Jor. The third village is Cumro. All three make up the kingdom of Fraysong.

Callia loves flowers and gardening, which is mentioned in the book. Other hobbies include sewing (she made most of her own clothes), cooking, collecting unique rocks which are used by her father in his job as a jeweler, and reading. She can be opinionated and stubborn, yet she is kindhearted. These characteristics are shown throughout the book. She and her best friend Kerya have known each other all their lives, but they didn't become good friends until they were about nine years old. Kerya, who is more shy than Callia, was being teased by some older children on their way home from school one day. Callia stepped in without hesitation, giving the other kids a good tongue-lashing. They've been inseparable ever since.

I've loved creating this character. I tend to write stories with girls as the voice/main character, but not always. I have a book ready for editing that I hope to publish by the end of the year that is told from a guy's point of view. I've eluded to it in an earlier post-- click here to see it. I'm pretty excited about it.

If there is a character you'd like to learn more about, let me know!