Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Simple Request

I need a favor. It's nothing hard or unpleasant. If you've been one of the wonderful people who has read and enjoyed any of my books, I ask that you take a few minutes to write a simple review on amazon and/or Reviews really do help sales, and I could use all the help I can get. I don't expect writing to be my full time job (at least not yet) but it would be so nice if it could supplement our income. Last year was a tough year financially at our house and we're still feeling the effects. I know we're not the only ones having a hard time. Anyway, if you could help me out, I'd be very grateful.


The month is almost over and I'm still working on book 2 of the Vessel. I'm getting closer to the end. It's pretty much all planned out. I can probably by finished by next week. I'm starting to think about the cover reveal and giveaways I'd like to do once this book is ready to be published. The cover is actually finished and I think it looks awesome. I might even have a contest to see if people can guess what picture is on the cover. We'll see!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #34

Lay's potato chips is doing a contest for people to come up with a new flavor. I've contributed several ideas in the hopes of winning the 1 million dollar prize. It likely won't happen, but it's been fun thinking up flavor combos. This led me to thoughts of chips and chip-like snacks that I enjoy eating.

Today's Topic: Chips That Are Tasty

10. Potato Chips. Doesn't really matter which brand. Crispy, salty goodness.
9. Tortilla Chips. Again, the brand doesn't really matter. I don't even need something to dip them in.
8. Lay's Sour Cream and Onion. These usually win for stinky breath too.
7. Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream. I like cheese.
6. Gardetto's. They're not really "chips", but close enough. I used to eat these all the time in high school.
5. Cheetos. I have times when I love them or hate them. As long as I don't have them too often, I love them.
4. Fritos. I especially like the scoopy kind, dipped in chili. Mmmmm...
3. Doritos Nacho Cheese. My parents usually have a stash of these when I visit.
2. Tostitos Roasted Garlic and Black Bean. These are heavenly.
1. Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar. My all time favorite. I could eat these every day.


My sister-in-law has recently opened an etsy shop to sell her fabric tote bags. (here's the link) They are beautiful! She sewed each one, using a variety of colorful fabric. She gave me one for Christmas (orange and white chevron) and I love it! Right now, she's doing a giveaway on her Facebook page. All you have to do is "like" the page to enter! A winner will be selected on Friday. The giveaway is for US residents only.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fun With Cake

The birthday party for my nephew was a success and the cakes were (almost) perfect. I'm still getting the hang of it. I finished up the fondant part this morning, which led to a minor tantrum when it stuck to the counter and I had to roll it out again. The kitchen was a mess. When we came home from the party, my wonderful, awesome, handsome husband offered to clean up and wouldn't let me help. I felt kind of bad, but on the other hand, I really didn't want to do it. He's my knight in powdered sugar-covered armor. The birthday theme was Super Mario.

Here is the big cake.

And here is the little cake the birthday boy got to attack.

Our present for him was a plush Koopa Troopa. This was the best picture I could get because he kept moving around.

All in all it was fun and the cake was delicious. That's probably the most important thing.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shout Out! (and More)

I thought it might be fun to do a shout out to some of my fans every now and then. I don't have a ton of fans yet, but that doesn't make the ones I have any less important. If you're mentioned, I hope you don't mind having the spotlight on you for a bit. First is a person who has been super supportive and enthusiastic about my books. She has read all three of my books and has posted a review for each on She follows me on Facebook and Twitter, and has even retweeted some of my tweets. She has participated in my giveaways (and has won each time). I've never met her, but I think she's pretty awesome! Thanks, Katrina!

For any of you who are members of Amazon Prime, did you know you can borrow Soulless for free? The best part is that I'll still get a royalty from amazon. Then, if you like the book, you can get it free for keeps on Feb. 21 or 22. I think that's pretty cool.

I have a goal to finish writing book 2 in my Vessel series by the end of January. I'm thinking I might not make it. I'm about 2/3 of the way done. I still have some time, so wish me luck!

If you remember a while back, I made a birthday cake for my niece. (Here's a picture) One of my nephews is having a birthday party this Saturday and my brother asked if I would make the cake. Now that I have a bit of experience, I'm hoping things will turn out even better. The theme is Super Mario. I'll post pictures of the finished project sometime next week. I'm excited! Plus, cake is delicious.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #33

While doing some kitchen cleaning, my husband unearthed a coupon I got from work a year or so ago for a free hamburger. Fortunately, it doesn't have an expiration date on it. I'll be using it soon. This got me thinking about all the burger places I've been to and the ones I like the most. So....

Today's Topic: My Favorite Burger Places (Some are only in Utah)

10. A&W. Nothing fancy, but the burgers are good.
9. Apollo Burger. Used to go here all the time as a kid. Good fries, too.
8. Red Robin. Good variety.
7. Fuddruckers. I like being able to choose my own toppings.
6. JCW's. Only been here a couple of times, but it has good stuff.
5. Smashburger. This is the place for the free burger I mentioned. If I had a car, I might go there right now.
4. In-N-Out Burger. The burgers are good, but I'm not a fan of the wimpy fries.
3. Taste Pilot's Grill (California Adventure). Good burgers, awesome waffle fries. And, hey, it's Disneyland!!
2. Five Guys. Love this place. There's one by a movie theater we frequent and it's usually where we eat after watching a movie.
1. Ab's. This is a Utah treasure. There are only two locations. I haven't been in a while because I no longer live near one of them, but it has delicious burgers and thick fries. The next time I visit my parents I might have to make a stop there.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Jar

I spend a few minutes each day browsing through Pinterest. Okay, it's more than a few minutes. I collect recipes, pictures of things that interest me (including a whole board devoted to the geeky stuff I like), and DIY projects I hope to do someday. Yesterday I found something super easy that I actually got right up and made it. I call it my 2014 Memory Jar. The concept is simple. Have a jar somewhere handy and every time something memorable happens throughout the year, jot it down and put it in the jar. Then at the end of the year, go back and read them all! It'll be especially fun if family members do it secretly because you might write something no one else did and then everyone will have reminders of things they had forgotten. Now, I'm not too good at keeping up with new things, so by the end of the year there might only be a few memories in the jar, but I'm going to try. So far there are two in there. Now I just need to start doing fun things so I can add more!

You can follow me on Pinterest if you want. Here's the link to my profile.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mark Your Calendar

I've picked the dates for my first free days for Soulless. February 21 and 22. This is for amazon only. (This should include international amazon sites) I'm hoping this will get some attention for my other books as well. I'll be posting a reminder or countdown somewhere on my blog soon. (it's there now!)---->

Side note, Lindsey Stirling, my new favorite violinist, is making a new album! I'm excited! I listen to her first album all the time. Great stuff.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #32

Have you heard of Hayao Miyazaki? He's a Japanese genius. More specifically, he makes animation movies with Studio Ghibli, which is pretty much Japan's version of Disney. In fact, the two companies often work together to produce the English versions. I adore his movies.

Today's Topic: My Favorite Miyazaki Movies

10. Princess Mononoke. The ending wasn't what I had hoped for, but the whole story is very good. A prince is cursed and must find a way to save himself. He meets San, a wild girl, who reluctantly helps him even though she hates humans for their disregard for nature.
9. Ponyo. A story about a fish girl who wants to see more of the human world. Very cute.
8. Tales From Earthsea. It's based on the books by Ursula Le Guin.
7. Whisper of the Heart. A girl falls in love with a boy who wants to make violins. Sweet love story.
6. Castle in the Sky. A strange girls wants to find out where she's from--a place called Laputa. With the help from a boy, they fly through the air to reach a floating island.
5. From Up on Poppy Hill. A young girl takes care of her family while her mother is away. Someone writes a poem about her. She and the author eventually become friends.
4. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Nausicaa is a princess who struggles to stop a neighboring kingdom who is trying to use an ancient weapon to kill mutant insects whom she has befriended.
3. The Secret World of Arrietty. It's adapted from the story The Borrowers.
2. Spirited Away. A young girl is transported to a fantasy world where she meets all sorts of strange people and creatures, including a dragon. Such a great movie.
1. Howl's Moving Castle. Based on the book by the same name. A young girl is cursed by a witch to look like an old woman. Hoping to break the curse, she searches for the infamous wizard, Howl. Love this movie!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Internet: Is There Anything It Doesn't Know?

I'm like most people. I spend a good deal of time browsing the internet. Most of the time there is a purpose, but other times I find myself looking at . . . unique things. I frequent a site called where people upload videos, much like youtube, but these particular videos are always family friendly. There are usually 5-6 new videos a day. Some are funny, some inspirational, others just plain weird. These videos often lead me to seek out more information on whatever I might have just watched. For instance: there are quite a few TED videos (it's an ongoing series that features speakers on various subjects). This leads me to find other TED videos, because they are always interesting and fun. Yesterday I watched a video on a professional Hurdy Gurdy player. (here's a link if you're interested) I've heard the term before, but honestly didn't know what it was. It's kind of hard to explain. Let's say it's a crank powered stringed instrument from medieval times. I like medieval-inspired music, so I ventured to youtube to find more Hurdy Gurdy players. I spent a good twenty-thirty minutes clinking on videos. Now, I probably could have spent my time doing something useful, like the dishes, but even though listening to Hurdy Gurdy music seems like a waste of time, I was learning. I like to learn. The internet is a great tool for this. So, now I'm off to to watch more videos and hopefully learn something in the process. Dishes can wait.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Little More

To help inspire more sales for Soulless, I thought I would offer a glimpse into chapter 2. This is an important chapter because it's where the course of the main character's troubled existence begins its drastic change. I'm also giving another link to the prologue and chapter 1 for those of you who haven't taken the opportunity to read from the beginning. Now, read! It's good for you.

Prologue and Ch1
Part of Ch2

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #31

Thought I'd go back to my Beatles lists and finish songs by singer. This time, it's Ringo's turn.

Today's Topic: Favorite Songs Sung by Ringo

10. Boys
9. Honey Don't
8. Yellow Submarine
7. Octopus's Garden
6. I Wanna Be Your Man
5. With a Little Help From My Friends
4. Good Night
3. Don't Pass Me By
2. What Goes On
1. Act Naturally.

Though Ringo doesn't have the best singing voice, he had some fun songs. I think I might look back on all four lists and compile a list of favorites from them. That might help me figure out if I really do have one favorite song.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dreamy Stuff

I'm one of those people who is often able to remember most if not all of the dreams I have after I wake up. Sometimes this is a bad thing, especially when my dreams include being chased by bears or dinosaurs or my teeth crumble in my mouth and fall out. (These happen more often than I'd like) But when I have a fun or interesting dream, I can pick bits and pieces from them and turn them into book ideas. Several of my ideas have formed this way. This past week I've been able to outline two new stories from dreams. I find it rather enjoyable. Here's a couple of hints.

One is about military training for teens, but with a secret agenda.

The other is about an alternate earth with nearly identical alternate selves for everyone. The main character's alternate self is determined to kill her.

Whether or not these ideas will result in actual books remains to be seen. Creating the outlines is fun too.

The ebook for Soulless is now enrolled in Kindle's Select program, which means it is only available on amazon. One of their promotional tactics is for me to choose five days during the next three months when it will be free to download. I will let you know when these free days will be. The first one or two will probably be in Feb.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Dreaded Two Star

I have received my first not-so-positive review for one of my books. I've been expecting it. I know perfectly well that not everyone in the world will like what I write. And, as I also expected, it kinda hurt. A couple of months ago I contacted this person, who does book reviews on her blog, and offered her a free copy in exchange for an honest review. She posted her review on her blog yesterday. After reading what she thought of the book, my first instinct was to email her and either a) defend my book or b) critique her review. I decided not to do that, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, there are a couple of things I wanted to touch on. For anyone who writes a book review, whether positive or negative, it is helpful to readers and authors if you are specific in your opinions and constructive in your criticism. This particular review for my book, I feel, accomplished neither. I'm always looking to improve upon my writing, but that's difficult to do when the people who read what I write don't give helpful feedback. I'm not trying to sound complainy, even though getting a negative review isn't fun. It's how the business goes. Thankfully I have plenty of positive reviews, so her negative one doesn't mean much. Time to move on and keep writing.

I had a goal to finish writing book 2 of my Vessel series by the end of December. The holidays proved to be busier than I anticipated. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it. I think it'll be done and ready to send to my editor by the end of Jan. Hopefully sooner. As for the second book I plan to finish by the end of the year, I have several prospects to pick from. It could be book 3 of The Vessel. It could be the first in a whole new series, of which I have several. It could be another stand alone. It will definitely be something that has a large chunk already worked through. I have high hopes for 2014!