Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Graphic Guestpost on the Weirdness of Writing and TWO Giveaways

By Annette Lyon
A few year ago, I pulled one of my many reference books from my office bookshelf so I could get a few details for an upcoming scene I’m writing. 

Holding the book in my hands, I immediately felt transported back to the time I first read it, and I had to smile. Suddenly I felt sentimental. 

It was the Christmas holidays, visiting my in-laws, during the time I was still a hopeful writer who hadn’t yet been published. I remembered the manuscript I was working on and why I needed this particular book to help me with certain details—and I still remember what those details were. Snow fell; holiday cheer abounded; carols drifted through the house.

And here I was engrossed in Body Trauma, where every chapter follows an organ system, explaining injuries and how they affect the human body—and even better, how those injuries can be used by writers in their work. 

I know; you don’t have to tell me. I’m morbid.

It’s great to be reading along about blood and guts, then have the author insert something along the lines of, "Use this injury if you need your character’s future to be uncertain," or "This is a good one to use if a character needs to be ill, recover, and then relapse."

Okay, so I’m not just morbid; I’m weird.

I’m aware of that.

But sometimes I forget that others don’t share my bizarre curiosity.

You should have seen the faces of my brothers-in-law when they saw the book. "Light reading, huh?" they asked as they inched away from me.

"No, really, it’s so fascinating," I said as I stepped forward, eager to share gems I had just learned. "Did you know that if someone has a bad impact—say they fell from a cliff—and it’s so bad you can’t tell where their face is, you look for air bubbles?"

They sank into the couch, eyes wide with horror.

The reality is that I am weird.

I’m a writer. That makes me a little bit off the beaten path.

How many other people do you know who have conflicts appear in their imaginations in the middle of the night? Who else hears people talking in their heads (and no, they don’t need medication or a strait jacket). Who else finds joy in the discovery of new information that will help make their pretend world a little closer to reality?

And how many people do you know who are so obsessed with punctuation rules that they cringe when they see a T-shirt with a comma splice?

So yes, I’m weird. And I celebrate that weirdness.

Weirdness is the quality that brings me the wonder of the written word, characters, storylines, creation, and so much more. It’s what brought me to the place of—finally—getting published. 

And yes, in case you’re wondering, that first manuscript I read Body Trauma for did end up published several years later, complete with injuries for three victims of a drunk-driving car accident.

That book is now known as At the Water’s Edge. 

A few months after reading Body Trauma I brought my next bit of light reading while visiting family—Cause of Death. I had to chase people around the house so they’d pay attention to the diagrams of autopsies. "No really. Check this out! It’s totally cool!"

They’d block their eyes and run the other way, saying, "Man, are you kidding me?"

Sheesh. Some people just can’t appreciate a good reference book.

Annette Lyon is an award-winning novelist (Whitney Award, Best of State), freelance writer, and editor when she is not wearing her mother and wife hats. She craves chocolate, books, knitting, and lunch with friends.

If you haven't already stopped by her blog you are missing out.  She has great grammar post on her Word Nerd Wednesdays. I always feel at home reading her posts and walk away knowing more about writing than I did before.

You can find her at these websites 
Annette Lyon 
The Lyon's Tale 
Writing on the Wall 
The Newport Ladies Book Club 
Out of the Best Books

Annette has also been so very generous to offer two of her wonderful books for giveaway.

 The out of print novel
  Spires of Stone. 
Description: Bethany Hansen wasn't sure when or if she would ever see Benjamin Adams again. She also told herself that it didn't matter. But when Ben and his two brothers come home after more than two years of serving a mission to the Eastern states, her feelings of heartache and anger also return—fiercer than ever. And so do Ben's feelings for her.
Good-naturedly, Ben's brothers attempt to reunite the two, even as they separately vie for Bethany's younger sister, Hannah. What follows is a charming historical romance complete with wonderful characters and witty dialogue that explores the redemption and power of finding—and rediscovering—true love.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Because Giveaways are SO Totally Cliche.

There's me with my very own paperback copy of Totally Cliche! Yes. A real live book. With my name on the cover. Awesomeness.

It's the second-to-last day of January which means that it is my LAST day for a giveaway! And, well, not to brag or anything, but I happen to have written a book.

Well, not a whole book. I wrote part of a book.

Okay, not really, I just wrote a story and they put it in a book. :-) But it's a great book! And a fun story!

So today I'm giving you a chance to win your very own ebook copy of Totally Cliche by ME and some other fabulous Mormon Mommy Writers!

But that's not all...

There's MORE!

When I entered the Totally Cliche contest and my little fingers got to typing my little story (Alice in Clicheland) they got a tad bit carried away and wrote WAY more than they were supposed to. Way more than the 3500-word limit.

Sooooo....I had to take out my writing shears and *snip* *snip* those words away. Poor little words. They looked so sad sitting there on my virtual cutting room floor. I just couldn't stand to see them that way.

So I scooped them up and put them into a TOP SECRET FILE for only ONE LUCKY WINNER to see!

That's right. You win not only the ebook, but BONUS text!! Cool, right?

(I'm sure by now you have NO idea how I could POSSIBLY accidentally write over a word limit, right? Shocking, I know.)

So if you wondered why Castle Cliche is sitting atop a mountain of boulders or what other peculiar artifacts lurk within the walls of Castle Cliche's biggest department store, then here's what you need to do:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. Follow the MMW blog (say you're a follower in your comment!)

3. Follow MMW on facebook (say you've done so in your comment)

4. Advertise this giveaway or the month of giveaways (I know we're approaching the end, but still) on your facebook or blog (tell me in the comment!)

Winner will be posted in the Winner's Circle tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back and see if you've won!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Guest Post: Nikki Wilson??!!

Wait...I guess I'm not really a guest, but I didn't want to mess with my Sunday theme this month.  Plus, it makes me look important!  
This past three years on Mormon Mommy Writers has been completely surreal.   I can't believe it has gone by so fast.  This blog is my constant in my writing journey.  When life is too crazy to write anything else, I still write here once a week.  It gives me the chance to still feel like a writer and keep my dream alive.  Cuz I've found that as long as the dream is alive, life seems a little bit easier.  This past year has been full of change for my family. I have four children and one is in high school and two others in junior high and they all keep me so busy. If that's not enough, my husband and I found ourselves needing to make some tough financial decisions this year and we moved from our home that we've been in for the past 12 years.  But every single one of these changes has been a blessing in our lives.  Even losing our house was definitely for the best.  All these things have helped me to see the Lord's hand in my life.  I see him shaping me into the person He knows I can become, and little by little, I can catch a glimpse of the person I can be too. My writing is the same way. No I haven't taken the publishing world by storm yet, but I have found so much more through my writing journey, I have found myself. Writing was a roller coaster for me the past few years, I would be excited about what I' d written , then I'd query and get the rejection blues. Then I'd stop writing and feel like a failure. But through much soul searching and many prayers I am no longer on that roller coaster. Now I only feel hope when I write. Hope that I can be the person my Fathr in Heaven wants me to be, and hope that I will reach my potential.
This blog also gives me hope. I see each one of us writing because God gave us this gift, and I know that we are together in trying to reach our divine potential one word at a time. So today, you are all my guest and I ask you this, what has writing taught you? Has writing helped you to grow as a person?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review, Banana Split by Josi Kilpack

Today's post has been a really exciting one for me because not only did I get to read one of Josi Kilpack's awesome culinary mysteries...I got to read Banana Split before its release date of March 5. It's such an honor. I can't even tell you how cool I feel.

Banana Split is the seventh book in Josi Kilpack's  Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sadie Hoffmiller series click here to learn more about it. For those of you who don't know what a culinary mystery is...let me just say it's like having a great story made even better with some great recipes. A two-for-one that you don't want to miss.

Here's the back cover blurb for Banana Split:

A woman can only be expected to fight for justice, and her life, so many times before the trauma starts to take it’s toll. In an attempt to heal, Sadie accepts the offer to stay at a friend’s condo on the island of K’auai—the perfect place to center herself and process all that’s happened over the last year and a half.

Unfortunately, the isolation only enhances her anxiety. During a snorkeling trip with the Blue Muumuu’s, a community group made up of adventurous older women, Sadie experiences a panic attack which finally convinces her that she has to get some professional help if she can ever hope to return to the woman she once was. No sooner has she made that decision, however, then she finds herself entangled, quite literally, with the dead body of Noelani Pouha, a local drug addict.

The police are convinced they know exactly what happened to Noelani and Sadie has no interest in involving herself in looking for other possibilities until Noelani’s son presents her with a reason to gather her inner strength and use what she’s learned from her past cases to try and find closure . . . for both of them.

What do you get when you combine a tropical mystery and several great new recipes? You get a banana split...or at least Josi Kilpack's Banana Split.

I have to admit I haven't read every book in this series so when the book started I was a little confused as to why Sadie was just a shadow of the woman I remembered from before. I found her anxiety riddled and filled with so much fear I couldn't see how in the world she was going to manage solving a mystery. Now let me say that while I wish I'd read the previous book (Pumpkin Roll) I wasn't lost by any means. Josi did a good job of sharing enough about Sadie's past for me to understand what was going on.

This is a great character driven story and I found Sadie's transformation from panic attacks on the street corner to super sleuth completely believable. It was nice to see Sadie conquer her own demons while she unraveled the mystery behind Noelani's death.

One thing I love about Josi's books is that I never manage to figure out who the "bad guy" is. Banana Split was no different. She had me guessing and re-guessing and then going back to my original suspicions only to make me change my mind when some new clue comes into play. In other words...she kept me guessing.

The cherry on top of this great story is found at the end of the book where Josi has included a QR Code (you know those weird looking squares you scan with your phone) and a link to a website where you can get "The Story Behind the Story." This is a really cool feature that takes the reader into a behind the scenes chapter that isn't included in the book. I loved this bonus chapter—though caution is advised here because it's a spoiler so make sure to read the book before you sneak to the back and scan the QR code.

I highly recommend this book. So much so that I'm including links to pre-order it so you won't miss out!
Pre-order at Amazon
Pre-order at Deseret Book

You can check out Josi's website here and her blog here. For more information on Banana Split click here.

Now on to the contest...

For our lucky winner Josi has generously offered to give away a signed copy of any book from the Sadie Hoffmiller series. That's right! The winner gets to pick any book from the series and Josi will sign it and pop it in the mail. Before you jump at getting Banana Split check out the rest of the books in the series. Who knows, you might find another one that wets your appetite (literally and literature-ally).

Book 1

After the body of Sadie Hoffmiller's neighbor is found in her backyard while a Lemon Tart is baking in her oven, Sadie finds herself smack dab in the middle of her first murder mystery. Who killed Anne Lemmon and where is her two-year-old son?

Book 2

When Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, go to England over the holidays, it's supposed to be a vacation. When murder takes place and the body disappears, Sadie finds that she can't return home until the case is solved.

Book 3

Thom Mortenson is a local celebrity in Garrison, Colorado, but no one expected his return to end in a bang—literally. Sadie doesn't mean to get in the middle of the investigation, it just sort of happens.

Book 4

Following her new friend, Eric, to Florida was supposed to be a friendly gesture, but true to form, Sadie can't seem to keep out of a brewing investigation. Once there, however, she begins to wonder if the disappearance of Eric's daughter is the only mystery in need of solving.

Book 5

After finding herself in the middle of so many murder mysteries, Sadie is hired to look into the suspicious death of a businessman in Portland, Oregon. What starts as a basic investigation, however, quickly turns into far more than Sadie bargained for.

Book 6

A week in Boston with her boyfriend, Pete, and his three grandson's seems like a great idea, until too many unexplained events make it impossible to not try and figure what is really going on. Sadie's never believed in ghosts, but all too soon she's beginning to wonder.

Here's how to win:
ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE by 11:50 MST tonight, January 28, 2012. Check back tomorrow morning in our "Winner's Circle" to see if the lucky winner.

There are multiple ways to earn entries. Take advantage of them all!

1.  Comment on this post.
2.  Be a follower of this blog.

That's six chances to enter!

Be sure in your comment on this post to tell us all the ways you have entered to win and which book in the series you'd like to win. If you tell me in your comment why you picked the particular book you want to win I'll give you an extra entry. Instead of six ways to enter it's seven.

Good luck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Queen in Exile by Donna Hatch

This is a book I've wanted for a LONG time. I won one of Donna's other books, The Guise of a Gentleman, and since then I've been pretty much hooked on her writing. Here's a little about Queen in Exile, the e-book YOU have a chance of winning: Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah's peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telepathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death and tyranny.

Are you completely salivating yet, because I am--and I can't even enter the contest. :D Seriously, though, give it a shot and try to win this fun, fun read.

And, of course, don't forget to check our Winner's Circle page tomorrow to see if you've won the Queen in Exile e-book copy. Good luck!

Entry Rules:

1. You can leave a comment about today's blog post.
2. Follow Donna Hatch's BLOG. Then leaving a comment on this post telling us.
3. LIKE Donna Hatch's author page on Facebook. Then leave a comment below letting us know you have done so.
4. Follow Donna Hatch on TWITTER. Don't forget to tell us you have done so.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Giveaway and a Book Music Video??!!

We live in a time where technology allows our creativity and innovation to soar to heights once unimaginable.  The same thing goes with not only writing books, but marketing them as well.  The authors of today's giveaway were tasked with coming up with a creative way to market their book, "The Mark of Royalty".  Their solution?  How about a music video?

Isn't that amazing?  If a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder how many words a music video is worth?  But just in case that wasn't enough to tell you about this book, here's the description of "The Mark of Royalty" by Jennifer K. Clark and Stephonie K. Williams:

 Sarah doesn't know much about where she was born or the circumstances that brought her to another country.  In fact she doesn't know that the mark on her shoulder identifies her as the first born and heir to the throne, that she was secreted out of her country as an infant in order to save her life, and that her twin brother took her place.  What she does know is that her love of horses and sometimes unladylike behavior has landed her between two men and their fight for their own crown.  However, things drastically change when someone discovers Sarah’s mark and knows what it means.

 What people are saying about this book:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! I can't wait to let my sisters and nieces read it as well! I loved the heroine and hero of the story! I thought it was beautifully written, clean, and so fun! I can't wait to read more from these two talented authors! I would definitely recommend this to anyone!”  -Forevertime  on Amazon

Today's giveaway is the book, "The Mark of Royalty" AND the DVD that includes the music video, the book trailer, and a video about the Friesian stallion that isn't even on youtube! 

Entry Rules:

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE BY 11:59 PM MST tonight, January 26, 2012. Winners will be posted tomorrow morning in our Winner's Circle (tab at the top of the blog home page).

As usual, there are multiple ways to earn entries into this drawing, make sure you take advantage of ALL of them.

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. Become a follower of this blog or tell us you already are (you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you are a follower to receive credit for this).

3. Follow MMW on Facebook (again, you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you have done this to receive credit).

4. Advertise this spectacular month of give-aways on your blog or Facebook page. (clearly state!)

5. Follow Jennifer K. Clark or Stephonie K. Williams at one of the below sites and let us know by clearly commenting below.
Links for readers to follow
My blog-  http://stephoniekwilliams.blogspot.com/
Jennifer's blog-  http://jenniferkclark.blogspot.com/
Here's a link to purchase "Mark of Royalty" by Jennifer K. Clark & Stephonie K. Williams
What are you waiting for?  Enter NOW!!  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Next Door Boys Giveaway!

I'm really excited for this giveaway. I have been cyberfriends with Jolene Perry for over a year now, and all I can say is she is REALLY COOL! (And not just because she lives in Alaska.) She has a great sense of humor, a bizarre (to me) way of writing her books (she writes all the scenes she sees in her head, out of order, however they come, and puts the concoction together in some witchy writer's brew), and a personality that is palpable via the internet.

Her first book, "The Next Door Boys" (Cedar Fort, Oct. 2011) is our offering for today. And it's coming, signed, all the way from Alaska. They can actually do that these days.

So on to my review...

I read this book over the holidays as we were doing a mad week long dash as a family through Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California, visiting MORE family. I stuck it on my iPod and read and read and read while my hubby drove. And drove. And drove. 

Frankly, I couldn't put it down. This is a contemporary,  clean romance with location very familiar to me: BYU. I've been there, lived that life she describes so effortlessly. I really liked Leigh Tressman, her main character. She is a well rounded, flawed, living, breathing person. She's someone I would have wanted to room with.

Here's the "elevator pitch": With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, the ever-expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her--not to mention the physical frustrations and spiritual dilemmas Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but comfortable places.

And Leigh isn't the only character so real you think you've met them at church already. Her brother, Jaron, is the best older brother. His "newly returned missionary" zeal  has him hovering over her as Leigh struggles to learn how to grow up after her traumatic diagnosis and treatment, but he grows as well in a natural progression. As does her relationship with Brian, Jaron's roommate, and part of the "Next Door Boys". It's a relationship that grows slowly, respectfully, and deepens into something Leigh never expects when she left for school, determined to make it on her own.

I think the think I loved best about this book were these characters that seemed so real I felt like a voyeur, peeking in through the windows. All their behavior was a natural outgrowth of who they were. There were no obvious contrivances. I fell completely into the story from beginning to end.

Don't take my word for it, though. Here are a couple of other endorsements of  Jolene's book:

This book is filled with heart. I loved Jolene's easy going pace, her characters, the romance, and the beautiful message she imparted. Definitely recommend this book!
- author Rachael Ranee Anderson

I loved this book! Touching and heartfelt, Next Door Boys introduces Leigh, a young woman who is struggling to find independence and normalcy after a year of dealing with cancer. This is an engaging story that stayed with me long after I read it.
- author Kaylee Baldwin

Enter today to get a chance to win this fabulous book. And if you don't, go buy it. You won't be disappointed!

Entry Rules:

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE BY 11:59 PM MST tonight, January 225, 2012. Winners will be posted tomorrow morning in our Winner's Circle (tab at the top of the blog home page).

As usual, there are multiple ways to earn entries into this drawing, make sure you take advantage of ALL of them.

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. Become a follower of this blog or tell us you already are (you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you are a follower to receive credit for this).

3. Follow MMW on Facebook (again, you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you have done this to receive credit).

4. Advertise this spectacular month of give-aways on your blog or Facebook page. (clearly state!)

5. Follow Jolene at one of the below sites and let us know by clearly commenting below.
Places to read and follow Jolene:
Places to buy "The Next Door Boys"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway

With a Little Help from My Friends
Post by Tristi Pinkston

People are always asking me how I manage to do everything I do.  I’ll admit it—I am a pretty busy person.  I’m a mom with four kids, and we homeschool.  I am an author, a freelance editor, a virtual book tour coordinator, an online writing instructor, and I’m also the Cubmaster in my ward.  I have a whole lot of plates spinning at once, and sometimes they all manage to stay upright, and sometimes they all come crashing down. 

When it comes to my writing, there’s one major reason why I’m successful—I have excellent friends.  My critique group has been invaluable, pointing out my flaws and helping me strengthen my weak spots.  Last night, I needed help reading through some typeset proofs, and several of my friends stepped up to the plate and read thirty pages each, looking for typos.  My friends support me at my book signings, comment on my blog, retweet my Tweets, share my events on Facebook—they have my back.  Likewise, I have theirs. 

Writing is a solitary endeavor.  It’s just you and the computer … or you and the notebook.  But then it becomes the work of a village.  We can’t be successful if we remain closeted away.  We must reach out and create a writing community, a group of friends who understand what we’re going through and will be there for us to answer questions, to cheer us on, and to be honest with us.  We can’t survive in this critical world without a support system, and we must be willing to listen to that support system when they’re telling us we need to make a change.

I love my friends.  I’m so grateful for them.  They have been in my corner all the way, and I’m honored and excited to be in their corners as well.  You might think that authors are competitive, and I’ll admit that some are.  But the happiest authors are the ones who understand that we’re all in this together. 

Tristi Pinkston is the author of (soon to be) eight published novels and one cookbook. 
You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com

She is also the author of today's giveaway a copy of her e-book Season of Sacrifice

Book Description: Sarah Williams is a young Welsh immigrant, coming to Utah to join her sister Mary Ann Perkins and her young family. When the Perkins' are asked to join the San Juan mission to pioneer a trail through Southern Utah, they take Sarah along to help care for the children. But a six-week journey turns into six agonizing months of hard work and toil as the Saints blast their way through a cliff to bring their wagons through what would become the famous Utah landmark "Hole in the Rock." This LDS historical fiction novel is based on the life of the author's great-great-grandfather and accurately depicts the experiences of these intrepid pioneers as they sought to be obedient to a higher call.

Entry Rules:

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE BY 11:59 PM MST tonight, January 24, 2012. Winners will be posted tomorrow morning in our Winner's Circle (tab at the top of the blog home page).

As usual, there are multiple ways to earn entries into this drawing, make sure you take advantage of ALL of them.

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. Become a follower of this blog or tell us you already are (you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you are a follower to receive credit for this).

3. Follow MMW on Facebook (again, you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you have done this to receive credit).

4. Advertise this spectacular month of give-aways on your blog or Facebook page. (clearly state!)

5. Follow Tristi at one of one of the below sites and let us know by clearly commenting below.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Angelfall (READ THIS BOOK!) and Angelic Earrings

I am SO excited to be back this week with another fabulous couple of giveaways! First up, Susan Ee is offering up her ebook, Angelfall. I'll let you read the description first before I start gushing.

Click on the image above to find out more about Angelfall!
It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Want to know what others think of this book? Check out these reviews:

Tell Great Stories - "The Best Book of 2011"

The Happy Booker - "Ultimately, this is one of the best, if not the best, book I have read in 2011"

The Book Pushers - "I can't say enough good things about this book and…it has definitely topped my top ten this year, and is a standout debut."

The Procrastinator's Corner - "It's been so long since I read a book that has rendered me absolutely speechless….The good scenes just keep coming and coming."

Bite Me, Book - "this is now one of my favorite supernatural/dystopian books."

Boekie's Book Review - "Wow! Angelfall is gritty, horrific, fantastic and captivating!"

My turn to gush! When I found out I'd be giving this book away, and I saw that it was available on Amazon for only $0.99 (I hesitate to admit it b/c I still want you to enter the giveaway), I decided it might be worth the read. WOW was it ever (incidentally, 158 other 5-star reviews on Amazon appear to agree with me). I read it nearly a month ago and I still find myself thinking of this book at least once every other day. This was one of those books I just couldn't put down, and it was a good thing I was reading it over my birthday because otherwise I wouldn't have had the luxury of devouring it in 2 days.

As I was reading, I could see the little bar at the bottom of my screen creeping closer and closer to the end, and, I admit it, I yelled at it to stop. I literally did not want this book to end. Fortunately, once I got there and I looked at the title again I saw these words, "Book One." I breathed a sigh of relief, because it meant that a "Book Two" would be coming sometime in the (hopefully NEAR) future. Trust me, the end of this book has many unanswered questions and a lot of opportunities for expansion- not so much that you'll feel like you're at a cliffhanger, but enough loose ends that you'll be craving more resolution.

This book is definitely in league with The Hunger Games series- got some gore, lots of life-and-death intensity, and never knowing what will happen next. Ee does an amazing job at creating memorable atmospheres within her scenes and bringing complex characters to life, unfolding them like blossoming flowers. The relationship between the main characters is layered and certainly not simplistic. What exactly do you do when you start to care about someone whose main purpose on earth is to destroy the human race? I found myself constantly having to remind myself that Raffe was not the handsome hero my brain wanted him to be- he was the enemy, and I think Penryn and I shared our frustration with that contradiction.

So anyway, I strongly encourage you to enter this giveaway, but if you don't win, you gotta go buy this book from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And once you get completely addicted as I am, be sure to follow Susan Ee on her blog, SusanEe.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Goodreads.

Author Susan Ee


For the crafty end of our giveaway today, I am pleased to be able to offer this lovely set of beachy blue earrings from my good bloggy friend Alyssa!

Can't you just see yourself throwing on a clean white button-up blouse, putting your hair up and then wearing these fresh-as-the-ocean earrings? I'm talking effortless casual chic, ladies.

Alyssa practically gives her gorgeous jewelry away over at her etsy shop, Little Lovely Things- everything there is under $5! I've purchased from her before and her pieces are high quality, stylish, and completely unique.

By the way, did I mention that Alyssa is 16?

Seriously! This girl is amazing. She is a strong Christian, such an amazing example to her peers, and truly a beautiful person inside and out. For those of you working on those YA novels- this is the kind of girl we could use as a heroine (no superpowers, but she's wicked good with a can of spray paint). Go check out her blog at Live. Love. Craft.

Here's how to win!

Just like last week, we will have TWO winners- one for Angelfall and one for the earrings. You can let me know which prize you'd like to win as I will do two separate drawings- one for the book, one for the earrings. You are allowed to enter both drawings- just let me know in your comment that you'd like to be entered to win both. If you don't specify which drawing in your comment, then you will be automatically entered to win both prizes. You can only win ONE prize! If you are a winner in one drawing, you will be out of the running for the other.

ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE BY 11:59 PM MST tonight, January 23, 2012. Winners will be posted tomorrow morning in our Winner's Circle (tab at the top of the blog home page).

As usual, there are multiple ways to earn entries into this drawing, make sure you take advantage of ALL of them.

1. Leave a comment on this post (don't forget to specify which prize you'd like to claim if you win!)

2. Become a follower of this blog or tell us you already are (you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you are a follower to receive credit for this).

3. Follow MMW on Facebook (again, you must clearly state in your comment on this post that you have done this to receive credit).

4. Advertise this spectacular month of give-aways on your blog or Facebook page. (clearly state!)

5. And, because I want to give you even more ways to win, you can earn an extra entry this week by visiting Alyssa's blog over at Live.Love.Craft. and following her over there- don't forget to let me know in your comment HERE if you've done that.

I will be back here next Monday with one last great giveaway (well, the last one for me, anyway) that you don't want to miss!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Post: Jenn Johansson

Next we get to hear from the fabulous Jenn Johansson!!  Take a look at all the wonderful things she has accomplished this year!!!

2011 was a fantastic year for me. In the spring, I started querying my new YA Supernatural Thriller, INSOMNIA, and was offered representation by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Just after we went out on submission with INSOMNIA, we were contacted by a literary scout who had gotten her "sticky scout fingers" on my manuscript and loved it. She recommended it to all of her clients and within a week we sold at auction in Germany to Heyne: Fliegt and shortly after to Newton Compton in Italy. It's been crazy, but I'm having a great time. My family and I are so excited to see what happens next on this roller coaster of a career, but we're holding on tight and enjoying the ride.

That's about it! Let me know if you have any questions!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Stories, Linda Boulanger

Today's guest for Saturday Stories is someone you may not know by name but you've seen her influence. Her publishing company is the home to Elizabeth Mueller's Darkspell and Silvina Niccum's Veiled (among many others). Along with being a guest on our blog today she has also donated three amazing self-publishing prizes that anyone interested in self-publishing will surely want to win.

To kick things off let's start with our Saturday Stories interview.

Q—Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Along with being author Linda Boulanger, book cover designer, book formatter, and publisher, I am the mother of four 8-17 year olds that keep me running. My headquarters reside within my laptop, netbook, Kindle Fire, cell phone, and spiral notebooks with ample supply of pens for that very reason – It’s all portable. I’ve written, edited, formatted, anything to do with books, while waiting for my children to get out of school, between matches at a tennis tournament, at the dentist … just about any place you can think of.

I also have four rescue pets: 2 big dogs and 2 little cats. My How Sadie Learned To SMILE: See Magic In Life Everyday fully illustrated children’s book which is now available for Kindle, in color, on Amazon, features my local Animal Rescue Foundation, where we adopted three of our four fur babies. The youngest, a gray Tabby/Russian Blue mix, is diabetic and I have to give him insulin shots twice a day even though I am needle phobic to the point that getting shots myself or seeing others get them usually makes me extremely light headed and/or pass out. I’m okay as long as I don’t accidentally touch myself with the needle! One gross fact about my animal ownership (and something my FaceBook friends seem to think is oddly funny) is that I get some of my best writing ideas or my stories often come together while I’m scooping poo in the back yard. Eeeww!
Q—How did you get into writing?
Growing up on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, you’d think I would love the snow … but I don’t! I do have to credit the snow for keeping me indoors quite a bit, which led to entertaining myself with a lot of reading and by writing stories. I learned to love the written word.
I wrote my first full-length novel at 26 though thinking about it makes me shudder, and not in a good way! It’s a Historical Romance, but I really didn’t want to take the time to do the research to make sure I was getting it right. I still love the premise of the story so maybe someday I’ll revive it.
Early marriage and a decade of childbearing saw me putting my writing dreams on hold. It wasn’t until my youngest started Kindergarten that I pulled out that old dream. It was awfully dusty, though thanks to the encouragement of my social networking friends, I blew it off and opened up to a blank page in a new chapter of my life.
Q—What was your publishing journey like?
Author and awesome video producer Patrick Sipperly probably helped me the most in taking my first steps toward being a published author. I think he knew I would never do it alone so he took his place as co-writer and hand holder. He found places for us to submit our writing. Amazingly, my shorts started winning weekly challenges immediately and one was even chosen as an Editor’s Choice to be included in a printed anthology. I was ecstatic.
I went from being satisfied with that to wanting a hold-in-your-hand book and Pat once again stepped in. We decided on a collection of short stories that we would publish ourselves, opting to use Amazon’s own CreateSpace. It turned out to be a great option for us and eventually for the authors I published through my own publishing company: TreasureLine Publishing.
Honestly, I didn’t have the patience to go through the game of submit, reject, submit, do it again, that is required so often when working for a Traditional Publishing deal. I also needed flexibility since my family always comes first. My greatest concern about self-publishing was the cost. I knew we would need to do the majority of it ourselves, so Pat and I taught ourselves everything we needed to know, which I have perfected over the years with my own books as well as those I have helped get published.
Q—How did TreasureLine Publishing come about?
Working through the process myself, I ran across numerous authors who had the same dream of seeing their work in print but had no idea how to go about it. I’d had hand holders, and since I knew the steps to take, I wanted to be that person for others. I started out offering limited book services only and evolved from there to Traditional Publishing, structuring my company to treat the authors as I’d want to be treated. Amazingly, all the authors working with TreasureLine Publishing (both Traditional and Work-For-Hire authors) have forged a generous and caring family that help each other with every aspect of this crazy life we have chosen.
Q—What is your favorite part about working with authors?
Making dreams come true is what it’s all about for me. The excitement of knowing an author is going to see his or her work in a format that the rest of the world can readily enjoy makes me as giddy as it would if it was my own work. I’ve lost track of how many happy tears I’ve cried after opening a box containing another book that I know I’ve helped create in some way, whether it’s by designing the cover, formatting the interior, championing the author along, or simply putting the TreasureLine name on it. Okay, so I’m an emotional person and cry at silly things! But these books truly become a part of me.
Q—What is your least favorite part about working with authors?
Other than feeling frustrated sometimes when authors don’t understand the demands, I don’t really have a least favorite part. It can get difficult when I’m juggling odds and ends for upwards of 25 different authors on any given day. There’s also a lot to getting everything done for a polished book. Even though I tell everyone that anyone can learn formatting, there are little tricks and tweaks that have to be performed and it takes time if you want it done right. Cover design as well. It may look easy, but there’s a lot of work that goes into every layer of that design. Sometimes even just getting an author to submit the manuscript formatted the right way is like pulling teeth. Thankfully, with four children, I’ve learned to be extremely patient over the years. It helps to love what I do as well.
Q—A lot of people refer to writing as therapeutic. Have you ever discovered personal truths or gained better insight into your own life through the characters you create?
Although I’m not sure if I’ve discovered personal truths, I’ve always used writing as therapy. Last year, my oldest daughter collapsed from a massive brain hemorrhage and writing played an important role in my ability to cope through it all. Although the book has nothing to do with the incident, I wrote Arms of an Angel  during her initial hospital stay and healing time before she could have actual brain surgery. My daily escape with those characters was extremely therapeutic for me.
Q—What one author (living or dead) would you love to have the opportunity to sit down and visit with? What would you like to ask them?
Don’t shoot me, but I don’t have a favorite author that I don’t currently call friend, whether they are a flesh and blood - let’s get on the phone or meet for lunch – friend, or an internet friend. I have the ability to visit with them just about any time I want. And I do. Social networking has been amazing in bridging gaps and bringing our worlds together.
As far as what I ask them – we talk about everything from story ideas, to book cover designs, to the keys to the magical kingdom of getting your book into the hands of readers, and more.
Q—What’s your take on the self-publishing industry? Where do you see it going and what pitfalls do you think writers should watch out for?
Today’s ability to self-publish has changed the playing field beyond what most authors could have ever imagined. As I mentioned above self-publishing provides a flexibility and release from the hassles that can be associated with trying for traditional publishing. I think those are just two of the benefits of pursuing self-publishing.
There are some great books out there today that would never have seen beyond the slush pile had the authors not taken the initiative to self-publish. My very good friend, bestselling author Andrew E. Kaufman, is a prime example. He was told over and over again that his first book, While The Savage Sleeps, was fantastic but they just didn’t know how to market it because it didn’t fit the mold. It’s a Paranormal Suspense Thriller that broke out onto four of Amazon’s bestseller lists, including the top spot on Movers and Shakers. And now, more than a year after its release, it’s still on the top of several bestseller lists. Had he not self-published, his book would probably still be sitting on his computer!
Pitfalls. Yes, there are pitfalls that I see. Soooooooo many books, many of them slapped up there without proper editing or formatting. Don’t let yourself get overly excited just because there’s an open door. If you want people to read your work, you’d better be taking the time to make it the best you can, giving them a pleasant read all the way from your awesome cover, to your well formatted interior, to a well-polished and fully edited absolutely fantastic story!
The sheer number of books out there also makes it more and more difficult to get noticed. Authors so very often think just writing the book is it. Even if you were to get picked up by one of the Big 6, unless you have a recognized name, you’d better be prepared to do the majority of your own marketing. And that’s where your true work will come in.
Q—If you were given the opportunity to spend one evening with a personal chef who not only could expertly cook anything you wanted but also had access to the ingredients, what would be the one meal you’d request?
Cringing again. Do I admit that I am not overly domestic in the kitchen so anything a chef would like to prepare for me would be greatly welcomed! I think rather than concentrating on the food as a meal, I’d like to use the opportunity as a writing exercise. I like to study people, to see how they do things, how they react in certain situations.  Do I also admit that this question has given me a story idea? A man with superb culinary skills meeting up with a woman who thinks there’s nothing wrong with TV Dinners or Cheetos for lunch! Thinking that would take a lot of research on my part…
Q—What is your favorite genre of books to read and why?
I am pathetically and completely 100% Happy Ever After. I joke that it’s because I was born so close to Valentine’s Day that I am in love with love. I see it everywhere and, if it’s not there, I make it up!
Romance has always been my favored genre to both read and write, though I prefer what Regency Romance author Jaimey Grant and I call Love With The Lights Off.: Romances that fall somewhere between “clean” and “graphic”. As a reader and a writer, I enjoy the tension without the details, if that makes sense. Jaimey and I have even created a Goodreads Group for others who enjoy the same thing:  http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/48377.Love_With_The_Lights_Off
Q—What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring authors? 
I almost always give new authors the same advice because I think it is outrageously important, especially in this day and age where so many books are available. That advice is KEEP WRITING. No matter what you’re doing, make sure you are working on your next piece. When readers finish one of your books, if they like it, they will immediately want more. If they can’t get that from you, guess what? They are going to jump to another author. Then, when you get your next book done, you get to go out and find readers all over again! Oh, you’ll have those who wait for your work, but mostly you’ll be reinventing yourself every time. One bestselling author recently mentioned that she has to put out at least four books this year to maintain her foothold. FOUR BOOKS! That’s one every three months just to keep herself on the bestseller list.
At the same time, though, you shouldn’t rush it. Seems impossible to do both, huh? No matter what, even if you have to work harder at your marketing, you don’t want to put out bad stuff. A book that is poorly written, edited, formatted … those can all turn away future readers or even those who might have picked up your great story because of word of mouth.
So, bottom line, my advice is to write constantly because that will help you hone your skills while pushing you toward completion of that next book and don’t skimp on polishing your beloved story. Remember none of those things: formatting, cover designing, etc, none of it has to cost you a fortune to get it done right. There are places out there like my TreasureLine Publishing Book Services that can help you without a huge cash outlay that you may or may not ever make back. It’s a tough business, this business of writing, so use sound judgment, not your heart, when making decisions.
One thing I always tell people is that “talk is free” - which means I have no problem advising or sharing what I know to get you from a manuscript sitting on your computer to a book on Amazon dot com! I also do those things through the Book Services section of my publishing company … and I know what I’m doing! I’ve walked the road of aspiring author as well as held the hand of many, many other authors in those same shoes. If you find yourself tying up your laces as you contemplate entering into the big race, please feel free to drop me an email. I’d love the opportunity to champion you along. Just remember, if you ever send me a copy of your book, I require tissues to go along with it.

If you'd like to learn more about TreasureLine Publishing click here to visit their website or click here to visit their blog.

If you'd like to learn more about Linda you can click here to visit her website or click here to visit her blog.

Facebook links:
          TreasureLine Books & Publishing
          The Shelf Life of Linda Boulanger

Now we can focus on the fun stuff, the prizes. To do that I'll turn things over to Linda...

Hi! I’m Linda Boulanger, owner of TreasureLine Books & Publishing. At TreasureLine, our dream is your dream ~ filling shelves one book at a time. That’s why we’re excited to participate in the awesome month-long celebration of the Mormon Mommy Writers Anniversary.
Because your books are our business, we’re giving away 3 different Author’s Treasure Packages. That’s right! 3 prizes ~ 3 winners. Specifically geared toward authors, we are offering:
1 ePub Book Publishing Package ($125 value) -- an author's already fully edited manuscript formatted and placed in Amazon's Kindle store. This package includes a front cover.
1 Paperback Book Internal Format ($75 value) -- an author's manuscript formatted into a layout appropriate for POD publishing (does not include the actual publishing of the book or a cover). This package includes mentor services for an author unfamiliar with process of getting his/her book on Amazon.com via CreateSpace.
1 Full Cover via the custom book cover service ($125 value) -- winner may substitute 2 ebook front cover only services ($75 each).
The winners will be chosen randomly from those who comment on this post, however, we’ll need to know that you’re interested in the prizes and not just offering comment love (which we love very much!) – so, how about telling us if you’re interested in a particular one of the 3 prizes we’re offering. Make sure to leave an email address and feel free to give us the elevator pitch for your book.
If you’d like more information on TreasureLine and our services, please visit us at: treasurelinepublishing.com.

Thanks Linda!

If you are interested in self-publishing then these prizes are exactly what you're looking for. Just because it's called self-publishing doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Sign up for the contest so Linda can help you.

Just to give you guys a little more insight into what great prizes these are here's a little testimonial for you... (it's on the right)

Here's how to win:
ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE by 11:50 MST tonight, January 21, 2012. Check back tomorrow morning in our "Winner's Circle" to see if you're one of the lucky winners.

There are multiple ways to earn entries. Take advantage of them all!

1.  Comment on this post.
2.  Be a follower of this blog.
3.  Be a follower of Linda's blog.
4.  Be a follower of TreasureLine's blog.
5.  Follow MMW on Facebook.
6.  Follow Linda on Facebook
7.  Follow TreasureLine on Facebook.
8.  Post your elevator pitch in your comment.

That's EIGHT chances to enter!

Be sure in your comment to tell which prize package you'd like to win. If you're interested in more than one package let us know and we'll split your contest entries between multiple prizes.

Good luck!


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