Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Come to Me

Today I'd like to tell you about a cute romance, Come to Me, by Shannon Guymon.  This is the first book in her Love and Trust trilogy, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the second!

We meet Rob Downing, a former baseball player who now owns a restaurant. He has two sisters and a mom that he loves. His mom really wants him to get married, but he's had a breakup and while he wants to be married, he hasn't found the right girl.

Enter his sous chef at his restaurant.

Wren is sweet and everyone loves her.  She's got a past she's trying to overcome, though, and just wants to keep her job and keep her head down.  The head chef pretty much hates her and makes her life miserable. Rob steps in to help and well, things just go from there.

A fun story, with the twist of the restaurant background and food talk.  It seriously made me hungry while I was reading it. A sweet romantic read!

Here's the back copy:

Will the past repeat itself? Rob hasn't had the best of luck when it comes to women and his epic failure with Kit Kendall is still very fresh. Rob might be successful in sports and in business but does he have what it takes to be successful in love? When Rob gets to know Wren Tyler, his sous chef, he's willing to try again even knowing he could get hurt. 

Wren on the other hand, is very attracted to Rob, but she knows she's not in his league. So when he starts to pay her attention, who could blame her for being a little suspicious? But have Wren's past heartbreaks destroyed her ability to trust? And will Rob be able to overcome his past failures and become the man Wren needs him to be? Only true love will be able to heal Wren's heart and help her trust again

If this looks like something you're interested in, you can click here Come To Me: Book 1 in the Love and Trust Trilogy to get this book for 99 cents on Kindle!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Freebie Friday--Tales of Myrick the Magnificent

Today's Freebie Friday is a light middle grade fantasy, The Tales of Myrick the Magnificent by Berin Stephens---for all those kids home for the summer who say they don't have anything to do. (I know I'm going to download it for my son.)

Here is the back copy:

Are you sure you want to be an adventurer?

Believe me, there are plenty of dragons, moronic guards, golems, evil sorcerers, zombies, blood-thirsty plants, undead necromancers, bandits, and troglyns out there who do NOT have your health and happiness in mind. If it weren't for my friends—the squirrel-like Nut-boy, the beautiful yet brawny Princess Frederica, and the ever-loyal but brainless Nonac the barbarian—I wouldn't be alive today to warn you about the many dangers out there. Of course, possessing magic running socks helps a lot, too, even though they seem to get me into trouble as fast as they get me out.

So, I've compiled a few of my life experiences in an effort to convince you, my good friends, to just stay home, lock your doors, and keep a loaded crossbow handy. Oh, and have a barbarian around in case something needs to be thumped senseless.

If Tales of Myrick the (Not So) Magnificentlooks like something you're interested click the link to download your free Kindle copy!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Five Steps for Marketing Your Ebook

Eschler Editing had an article today that really made me stop and think.  It's one of the best marketing articles I've read in a while and I learned several things from it, even though I've been in this business for a while.

The article first introduces things that we've talked about on the blog before, but bear repeating, especially for anyone who is self-publishing.  For example, you must write a good book and present it with a professional cover (and a back blurb!) You want your first impressions to be good. (Remember when we talked about writing great back cover copy on this blog. Click here for that post.)

Have a professional looking and easy to read Amazon author page. Know your keywords and your subcategories that best fit your work.  Now, we've talked before how important key words are and how to do them right (click here for that post), and I don't think authors can hear it too much. Go tweak your Author page. Make it the best it can be and make sure your work will be seen!

But where the Eschler Editing article really hit a home run was with all the marketing resource they cite in finding your audience.  You can see it here.  I know I'm going to check out several sites mentioned. Definitely a keeper in your marketing arsenal.

Part of being a writer, whether you are traditionally published or self-published, is knowing how to market your work.  Study it. Know what you're doing and your readers will come.  (Hey, that sounds like a movie I saw when I was a kid.)  I've been trying different things that I'm comfortable with, including having a street team, and I'm really loving the process. Sometimes marketing can be hard, but the more I learn, but more I think it doesn't have to be.

What else is in your marketing arsenal? Do you have anything to add?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

I'm still in edits, but my word count did pick up this week since I've added several new scenes.  I added a new character, too, that I'm excited about.  There's just something about breathing new life into a scene by adding a brooding, mysterious, Navy SEAL that makes me smile.  Can you tell I'm excited about the new character? Yeah. I am.

I also deleted a chapter which was hard because I liked that chapter a lot. But, alas, it's always the stuff I like that seems to get cut. Maybe I should add a deleted scenes page to my website for all of my beloved cut file stuff.

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A New Ribbon of Darkness Review

My book Ribbon of Darkness was reviewed by Julie Spencer on Opinions Are Just That.  This is one of my favorite books because I loved my main character, Ethan, and how gray he was.  He had done some bad things in Dangerous Connections, and we see just how far he can be pushed in Ribbon of Darkness before he pushed back.

Julie Spencer calls it "a nail-biter from start to finish," which really made my whole day.  You can read the entire review here

In other news, I bought my tickets for the RONE awards ceremony next month. I'm so excited! Even if I don't win, there's just something about being in the company of so many other wonderful authors that is invigorating. I can't wait to go!

Are you looking forward to anything this summer? Read any good books lately?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Ruby's Secret

I have read a few of the Newport Ladies Book Club, but I think Ruby's Secret by Heather Moore is my absolute favorite.  

Ruby is the one who starts the book club (that all of the books are centered around) and she's trying to spread her own wings after her husband's death. Her daughter-in-law is encouraging her to do things with people her own age, so just to say she'd tried, she goes down to the local seniors center.  While there, she meets some interesting people who encourage her to talk about the travels she took with her late husband. Before you know it, Ruby is off on her own adventure to Greece.  (And I have to admit, having been to Greece myself I loved the fact that this was where the book was going. Sigh. I'd go back there in a heartbeat!)

Things get complicated for Ruby because she's promised never to give her heart to another man again. Her husband was unfaithful to her and really wounded her soul and she just doesn't want to open herself up to that kind of hurt again.  But she meets Gabriel, the tour guide on the trip, and ooh the sparks are flying.  I seriously wanted to read this book in one sitting it was so good, but I had to stop for meals and mom duty. Every second I had, though, I picked it up.  And the ending was totally worth the sacrifice. Sigh-worthy!

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to the Newport Ladies Book Club series:

At age sixty-two, life is finally beginning for newly widowed Ruby Crenshaw. Her son is grown and gone, and after long years spent as a loyal wife to her charming but unfaithful husband, she’s ready to live the life she’s always dreamed of. Her resolve is firm: she’ll never make the mistake of giving her heart to another man.

The first step in Ruby’s quest for a carefree lifestyle was to create the Newport Ladies Book Club, an unlikely gathering of women who have been her haven. Now she’s ready to take her newfound independence a step further—along with her friends from the local senior center, Ruby is jetting off to a much-needed Greece adventure. What she isn’t prepared for is Gabriel—the group’s tour guide—a native Greek and a true gentleman. His unquestionable charm is hard to resist. But resist she must—because no matter their growing attraction, Ruby is not about to fall for charming again!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Freebie: Witch Song

Today's Friday Freebie is a YA fantasy with a touch of romance and mystery. (Cool cover, don't you think?)

I haven't read it, but I did download it because I'm awesome like that and love free books.

If this book looks like something you're interested in, click here to download your free copy!

Here's the back copy:

The Witch Hunters have come for Brusenna, for she is the last. All the others have been captured by the Dark Witch. And without their magical songs to control nature, the world is dying.

Though young and untrained, Brusenna must succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the Dark Witch. Fight her. Defeat her. If Brusenna fails, there will be nothing left to save—for the Witches, for mankind, or for the young Guardian who has committed his life to protecting hers.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Double Book Review: Above & A Kiss of Lies

The first book I want to tell you about is called Above by Isla Morley. Now, I don't usually read YA fiction, but this one's back cover blurb intrigued me so I picked it up.  Now I can't stop thinking about it.

The first half of the book is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Blythe who is abducted from her town's celebration. The boy she's waiting for doesn't show up and she walks home. While on the road home, the town librarian named Dobbs, offers her a ride home and she accepts.  It's the last time she breathes free air.

The librarian is an extreme prepper and he's kidnapped her because he's convinced the world is about to end and he's saving her. Of course he's chosen her because she's healthy, etc., so she can repopulate the world after the end.  He puts her down into an old missile silo deep in the earth.  Darkness.  Fear. Her world is forever changed.

I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see if Blythe would escape and how she would handle her new circumstances. Her experiences were riveting. Disturbing. Complicated. Unimaginable.

And then Part Two came along.

Honestly, part two was a lot different than part one and featured a big twist that I didn't see coming.  Some things were glossed over and it wasn't as tense as the first part, but it was still tense enough that I finished the book in one day.

I can't decide how I feel about this book. As a mother it makes me cringe imagining something like this happening and with stories like Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart, it hits close with a ripped from the headlines feel.  But then there were elements that were less realistic that helped me remember this is fiction.

So, it's a raw book full of emotions and memories and awfulness with a twist of fiction that brings you back from the brink of getting lost in the story.

Here's the back copy:

I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. 

But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

The second book I want to tell you about is a romance by Bronwen Evans called A Kiss of Lies.

This book started out with promise---a wounded hero, an understanding yet wary heroine and the author delivered with a solid romance.

I loved all the interactions with Christian Trent, the earl of Markham, Sarah Cooper, his new nanny, and Christian's  new ward, Lily. It was like having a front row seat to watch Christian, Sarah, and Lily slowly come to care for each other as a family.  It's a beautiful romance, with the only thing marring it was how often we were told that the hero was disfigured.  It was like the author thought we would forget or something.  I loved how Christian was slowly brought back to living life and how he fought to regain his honor against unjust accusations.

Sarah had a great backstory, but some of it didn't jive. She was from a horrifically abusive marriage, yet she didn't act like it at times.  She had depth, but was not as fleshed out as Christian was.  However, she did add another layer of mystery to the story and I enjoyed the ending and her actions regarding Lily.  For my gentle readers, there were some intimate scenes, but they were brief and easily skipped over.

Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon read and I will pick up the next book in the series.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

Well, since I've been sick in bed for what feels like forever, I didn't get any writing done. I thought about it. But then I was wishing for death from the sickness I had, so the writing thoughts went away.

I did read three books, though. One of them was a big departure in books I normally read and it has really stuck with me. I've been thinking about it all day. In fact, I may do a review of it tomorrow and share some of my questions/thoughts/reactions.  (It's called Above by Isla Morley).

Anyway, if you have any good writing news or want to share how you did in your word count this week, please do! Jokes are also welcome. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CD Review: The Missionary Collection

I have been sick as a dog, flat in my bed for the past couple of days, so my review this week will be of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's new release, The Missionary Collection.

This release is four albums in one collection, "Praise to the Man, Called to Serve, Teach Me to Walk in the Light, and This is the Christ."  

To tell you the truth, I've needed some uplifting lately.  This collection really transports me to somewhere beautiful and peaceful.  The rich voices are so soothing, yet stirring at the same time. I loved every song and that's saying something!  There are songs for every mood and for every age, whether you are a missionary or not.  Member or not. So incredibly beautiful.  

Here is the official press release:

SALT LAKE CITY (May 13, 2014) – The world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir will release The Missionary Collection today, featuring four best-selling albums in one set.

The albums Praise to the Man, Called to Serve, Teach Me to Walk in the Light and This is the Christ feature arrangements from the 360-member choir that uplift and inspire missionaries at home and abroad, of any age and of any calling.

Featured tracks in the four-disc set include Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, The Spirit of God, If the Savior Stood beside Me and I Believe in Christ.

The Missionary Collection has a list price of $39.98 and is available at Deseret Book, iTunes, and other select retailers.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is comprised of 360 volunteer voices and serves as a musical ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Orchestra at Temple Square is a 150-member, all-volunteer symphony orchestra organized in 1999 as a companion ensemble. The Choir’s work has garnered a Grammy award, 2 Emmy awards plus 5 gold and 2 platinum albums. Its music transcends cultural and generational boundaries to unite people through music around the world. Follow the Choir on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Passing of A Friend

The world is a little sadder today. My son's close friend lost her battle with leukemia yesterday and it was incredibly difficult to break the news to him while he's serving his LDS mission. It has made me stop today and be grateful for life, for health, and for knowing exceptional people.

The community of Pleasant Grove is holding a fundraiser for her family, so if you are in Utah County this week, you can help. Here's a little bit more about her: (And you can read her blog here if you want to see her journey.)

Just a couple of days before Michalla Beardall's LDS Mission farewell, her doctors called to tell her that her Leukemia was back. Michalla was diagnosed the first time in August 2012. After a very brutal and long treatment process, including chemo and a bone marrow transplant, Michalla had beat cancer and prepared to fulfill her lifetime dream of serving an LDS mission. She was called to serve in Knoxville, TN. Michalla stood in front of a large group who had gathered to celebrate this exciting adventure she was about to experience, and instead of reporting on her opportunity to serve the people of Knoxville, she told everyone that she was diagnosed with Leukemia and would be serving in a different way.

And serve she did. Michalla was determined to comfort and spread hope to all of the other patients with cancer at Primary Children's Hospital. Although her own pain and sickness was insurmountable, she spent her days losing herself in the service of anyone she could get to in the hospital, especially the younger children with cancer. Her example of selfless service was one of the most inspirational acts to witness.

Michalla fought very hard, but just a couple of weeks ago, as her body tried to cling to the marrow she had received, Michalla's diagnoses started rolling in at a faster pace than her body could handle. After a long fight, and countless miracles, Michalla Beardall, at age 19, returned home to her Father in Heaven at 2:41am this last Sunday morning.

We sincerely hope that as a community we can unite to help this great Pleasant Grove family. Cravings Alisha's cupcakes, Cravings Bistro, and Firebirds will be donating all week 10% of their total sales for Strawberry Days to the Beardall family. The hospital bills are never-ending, and now they have funeral expenses to add to that pile. We can help them carry this burden, as they grieve the loss of their beautiful Michalla. Any little bit you can contribute will help immensely and be greatly appreciated!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Girls On Fire---TEN Books for .99 Cents!

Today's Nearly Freebie Friday features TEN books for only 99 cents. You can't beat that!  They are different genres from fantasy to romantic suspense, but they look good!  If you're interested in downloading, click here

Here's more information:

*Purchased individually, these books cost nearly $18 - List price $9.99 - Save 90% - Now on sale for only .99 cents!*

This multi-author boxed set features 10 titles from popular YA authors, all centered around GIRLS ON FIRE -- a powerful YA heroine kicking butt and fighting for love.

Over 1400 virtual pages, with a brand-new YA title from Elana Johnson, and extras for fans of Rachel Morgan, Lee Strauss, Laura Howard, Lani Woodland, Christy Dorrity, Tamara Hart Heiner, Amber Argyle, Angela Corbett, and Cindy Hogan.

WITCH FALL – Amber Argyle

High Fantasy

Supreme in their dominion over seasons, storms, and sea, the witches have forgotten the unmatched destructiveness of mankind. And among the weapons men seek are the magical songs of the witches. Born of witches but raised among their enemies, Lilette searches for a way to heal the rift between mankind and the witches. But it may be too late to save either. For if there is one thing Lilette has come to know for certain, it’s that all things fall.


Paranormal Romance

For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie Starling. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she’s not the person she thought she was, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.

AWAKENING – Christy Dorrity


When an ancient curse threatens McKayla McCleery's family, she must decide what in her life is real and what is fantasy. Based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy that is rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

INEVITABLE – Tamara Hart Heiner


Visions of death plague Jayne, who thinks watching her sister die is the worst that could happen to her. But when she witnesses a murder, Jayne realizes that the next death she sees might be her own.

WATCHED – Cindy M. Hogan

Romantic Suspense

Change. She longed for it.

A murder. She will never be the same.



Allison O'Malley doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his fairy tale about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.


Futuristic Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Kilpatrick can shoot fire from her hands, which would be great if she didn’t get blamed for a blazing inferno that kills 17 schoolmates. Gabby will have to learn who she can trust, how to control her own power, and most of all, how to lead a Council of Elementals, most of whom have more control over their power than she does. If she can’t, she’ll find herself just like those 17 schoolmates: burned and six feet under.



Kickbutt faerie Violet is about to graduate as the top guardian trainee of her class, but when an assignment goes wrong and the human boy she’s meant to be protecting follows her back into the fae realm, a dangerous plot is set in motion.

PERCEPTION – Lee Strauss


Eternal Life is to Die For.

A spoiled genetically altered girl needs the help of a jaded “natural” boy to find her missing brother.

INTRINSICAL – Lani Woodland


The gene that allows the women in Yara’s family to see and communicate with spirits seems to have passed her over. Until the night she rescues a local hottie from an attacking ghost. Her act of heroism attracts the attention of the evil spirit, and she finds herself entrenched in the middle of a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening her own life as well as that of her friends.

Together, these books have over 500 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Lovers Make Fast Friends

photo credit: aurelio.asiain via photopin cc

I was browsing in a bookstore today, when the lady next to me struck up a conversation. "I'm from out of town," she says, "and I can't get my favorite books in the small town where I live."  She was here stocking up on titles to haul home to somewhere back east.

I looked at the books already in her hand and asked if she'd ever read any of Josi Kilpack's culinary mystery series.  She said no, and I led her over to Lemon Tart.  We chatted about her love for Mary Higgins Clark and the lady down the row came over.  "I like mysteries, too!"  So, of course I had to tell them about Stephanie Black and her amazing mysteries.  We chatted about romantic suspense, historical romance, straight action books, our favorite authors, and what books we considered a must-read this summer.

It was SO. FUN.

As I stood there chatting with Iris and Jan it felt like I'd been friends with these ladies forever, even though we'd barely met.  We laughed as we went from shelf to shelf, pulling out books, deciding which ones would be leaving with us today, and which ones would have to wait to fit in the book budget for next month.  We talked about Kindles, and husbands, and living far away from family.

And when I waved goodbye to them today, I thought to myself how awesome it is that just because I'm a book-lover, I made two new friends today.

Books connect people. They just do.  And that fact makes me happy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Word Count Wednesday (When Being a Writer Sucks)

Writing is a terrible profession.

*deep sigh*

It has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

I had given my story to my critique group and was making the suggested changes.  I was loving my story. Feeling the writing high.

Then some other opinions started rolling in from an editor I trust and a beta reader that knows her stuff.

Now I want to scrap the whole thing.  Burn it. Never let it see the light of day.

*opens a chocolate bar*

*eats said chocolate bar slooooowly*

My word count is terrible this week.  My story is terrible this week.

(Anybody know any jokes?  Funny ones?)

Tell me you had a good writing week this week, will you?

Let's hope this week is better.  Please.  Let's pay homage to the muses of writers, maybe sacrifice some really good chocolate to them, do what we have to do to get some writing love flowing.

*looks around for any more chocolate*

I might have to go back to the store.

Wait, maybe I should sacrifice some carrots.

*eats a carrot*

Never mind. *sigh* This is going to be a long week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Author Interviews--What Do You Want To Read?

(photo credit: via photopin cc)

I was interviewed on Anna Del C.'s blog today and I mentioned a few things people might not know about me---like who has made the greatest difference for me as a writer.  (You can read the interview here)

But as I was thinking about it today, I wondered, do readers have something specific they'd like to read about in interviews? Do they ever feel redundant? What's the best interview question you've ever seen asked and answered?

I was trying to think of one since I've done a lot of interviews.  All I can think of is the hard ones like which writer has influenced your career? What's one thing you love about writing (I can't pick one!) What's your favorite book (Again, can't pick one!) and other questions like that. (Yeah, I know, it doesn't seem hard at first, but it really is!)

So, what do readers really want to know?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review: As You Are

Today I want to tell you about Sarah Eden's book, As You Are.  This is another installment of the Jonquil brothers and even gives me an update on my favorite couple, Lord and Lady Cavratt.  Sigh. Still love them.

Anyway, this book is about Corbin Jonquil who has been admiring the new widow in the neighborhood from afar.  Well, the closest he's gotten is sitting behind her in church.  He thinks of all the things that he might say to her, but when it comes right down to it, he's so incredibly shy he can't speak to her beyond a sentence or two.  This character trait is so well-written I seriously felt sorry for him.  He stutters and is so painfully shy it's painful to read!  But he has a heart of gold and loves his family, his horses, and his staff.

Clara Bentford is trying to keep a low profile, but with all the tongues wagging she's the object of curiosity. She's so grateful when Mr. Jonquil saves her from a flurry of questions she'd rather not answer, but when she invites him for tea to express her gratitude, he acts like he disapproves of her and is very aloof. But there's something about him and the more she gets to know him, the more of a puzzle he seems.

I loved their stories---individually and together---and how genuine it seemed with these two lonely people trying to overcome their obstacles and find love.  Ms. Bentford's backstory was particularly difficult to read because of its realism, especially in the parameters of the times when women were little more than belongings to some.  I loved that she'd overcome so much, though, and it really fleshed out her character and added a layer that drew me to her.

There were some very tender moments, some really great dialogue, and an excellent backdrop of the Jonquil family.  I loved that we got an update on all the other brothers, and that there were some fun scenes with the family we've previously met. I really hope we see Jason's story at some point. And Charlie's. As you can see this is a family I would like to read about for a long time to come!

A definite two thumbs up from this Sarah Eden fan!

Here's the back copy:

A horse breeder by trade, Corbin Jonquil is more at home in the stables than in the ballroom of his sprawling estate. Corbin is the quietest of the Jonquil brothers and has always faded into the background, contentedly unnoticed. When a mysterious young widow, Mrs. Clara Bentford, moves into the neighborhood, however, Corbin quickly comes to realize that being noticed has its advantages. But how to catch the eye of the lady?

According to his brothers, Corbin need only make a few simple changes to transform himself into the object of any woman's desire - dubious advice, indeed. Following a series of misadventures, Corbin and Clara slowly lower the facades behind which they've been hiding, leaving Corbin shocked by the horrors that haunt the woman he's coming to care for so ardently. When the menace of Clara's past threatens to tear them apart and tensions mount, will the couple have the courage to fight for the promise of forever?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Saints and Soldiers: The Void (And a Giveaway!)

As many of you know, today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.  D-Day marked the turning point of World War II when the Allied forces (from what I always understood it was mostly U.S., Canadian, and British forces that day) landed on Normandy Beach in France and began their liberation of the French people. The Allies kept going, of course, and stopped the German war machine, eventually defeating the Third Reich.

In commemoration of D-Day, today I want to tell you about a movie that is coming out on August 15th.  It's another installment of the Saints and Soldiers series and is about a U.S. tank crew that discovers a platoon of Germans lying in wait to ambush the Allied supply trucks.  It sounds like a great military suspense!

Here's the official press release about it:

Saints and Soldiers: The Void in theaters August 15th

Germany, May 1945, the twilight of WWII. On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.

Before the war, private Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. Now, Owens fights the greatest tyrant in history, knowing the tyranny of racism will be waiting for him back home if he can survive the war.

With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. As the German tanks bear down on his unit, Owens has to fight for freedom on two fronts. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

"As we approach the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we pause to honor those who demonstrated unselfishness and commitment to freedom. The tradition of unselfishness continues today. God Bless those then and now who serve our country." ~ Adam Abel, Producer

"During the original SAINTS AND SOLDIERS film festival run around the world we were honored to meet many WWII Veterans in person. It has been 10 years now. Many of those Veterans have passed. For those WWII vets remaining and all men and women of the armed forces since we salute you. The SAINTS AND SOLDIERS movies are intend to honor you."
~ Ryan Little, Director

"Our reason for making SAINTS AND SOLDIERS: THE VOID was to explore the story of those African American soldiers who fought for freedoms abroad they didn't entirely enjoy at home. We learned from their stories freedom is and was worth the fight...regardless of race."
~ Adam Abel, Producer

You can read more about Alex Boye and Matt Meese being cast in the movie here (and see an international trailer!)

Here's the teaser:

And a giveaway!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Switching Genres--Can A Writer Do It Successfully?

I was talking to an editor friend of mine today about what genre I read most.  Right now (and for probably the last year or two) it's been historical fiction.  I really enjoy the regency period and all the different rules of society that were in place then.

I was wondering to myself if my editor friend thought that since I write suspense, I should read suspense.  I mean, isn't it generally accepted that the best writers are really good readers?

But as I thought more about this, I decided that nowhere does it say you have to be well-read in the genre that you write. I can glean the same information about rhythm, dialogue, setting etc., from a historical as I can from a suspense.  Granted, suspense has different beats to it, but the basic structure is very similar from the writing aspect.

So, my conclusion is, I don't have to read a lot of suspense to be a good suspense writer myself.  And I also realized that I might want to write a historical sometime.  Even typing that scares me a little, because I have always written romantic suspense and I'm comfortable there.

But maybe I'm closer to the time where I want to shake things up.  Change genres.  Write a historical! *covers mouth*  But not today.  It's still a bit too scary.

What do you think? Can writers successfully switch genres and write something completely different?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Word Count Wednesday (And A Weird Writer Problem)

So, in coming out of my slump, I've been doing A LOT of preparation in anticipation of my book RING AROUND THE ROSIE being released at the end of the month. Woohooo!

The problem is, when I was in my writing slump, I didn't really take all my critique group's notes and make the changes as we went along. I was struggling, down in the dumps, whatever you want to call it, so the critique group notes just piled up on my desk.  All twenty-one chapters worth.  That, my friends is a big problem.

Do you know why that is a problem?  Because when you are dealing with multiple critiques and you haven't done it as you've gone along, you have a BOATLOAD of notes and changes and even an organization issue in trying to figure out which critique partner said what for which chapter so you can figure out if what they said there has any bearing on previous chapters . . . well, you get the picture.  My living room floor is currently covered with paper piles while I sort it all out.  Bad Julie. (I know, I know, I have weird writer problems.)

The good news is, I'm plowing through all the changes and I'm SO HAPPY to be writing again. There is something really happy about writing. I'm glad I'm a writer.

Since I'm making changes and not much else, my word count has been small, just over 2000, but I love how the story has been shaped and molded and I can't wait to see what you think of it!

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How We Do Our Family Summer Book Club

Summer is here! Isn't it crazy! Lazy days at the pool, roasted marshmallows, summer evenings swinging in the porch swing with my husband and a tall glass of lemonade.  Ahhhh. I love summer.

One thing our family does in the summertime is to have a Family Book Club.  When I first started this, we all read the same book and it took forever and some of my kids didn't like it because they didn't like the book and (gasp!) I had a child who didn't like reading.  So I thought and I thought and I thought. (Too much Winnie the Pooh? Haha)  How could I make this fun?

So, this is what I came up with and what has worked for our family for the last few years.  Everyone gets to choose a book---whatever book they want.  From my oldest child still at home to the youngest.  And as you can imagine we have a wide range of choices from Captain Underpants to Star Wars to short autobiographies about basketball stars.  But that's okay, everyone is reading a book! Hooray!

We each have a week to read our book. (And yes, I read a book, too.)  Then, on Saturday afternoon we gather for ice cream and go around the table and discuss the books we read.  Each person tells the title, what the book was about, and their favorite parts (and not so favorite parts.)

I've learned a lot about a wide range of books by doing this. I had one of my kids read the How To Train Your Dragon series. So awesome and even better than the movie! I've learned a lot about Michael Jordan and John Stockton and even memorized the little book about this kid who goes to the zoo because that was a particular favorite of a child learning to read. (And they read it every week for a few weeks. Usually we have a no repeat rule, but we made an exception here.)  I've also learned a lot about my kids and what they like in a book.  It's a really fun way to encourage summer reading and have a lot of laughs in the process.

Do you do summer reading? How do you do it?  What's on your to-read list?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice

Today I'd like to tell you about a regency romance, Miss Armistead Makes Her Choice by Heidi Ashworth.

This book is reminiscent of Jane Austen's style with witty dialogue, great historical setting and detail, and some fun twists and turns on the road to love.

We are first introduced to Miss Armistead, a young woman who has come from India to England to get ready for her marriage to a Mr. Cruikshank.  While she is in England, her carriage breaks down and she is forced to knock on a gentleman's door and ask for assistance.  This certain gentleman, a Mr. Lloyd-Jones is cynical of women and their trustworthiness since he's just had to cry off his engagement to a woman who wasn't what he thought she was.  He isn't very kind to Miss Armistead at first, but soon becomes intrigued with her forthright manner.

I loved the interactions between Miss Armistead and Mr. Lloyd-Jones.  Their attraction is forbidden of course, since she is betrothed and he has promised his best friend to avoid all entanglements of the heart.  This makes it easy for them to be in one another's company since they feel safe that nothing emotional will happen between them.  But sometimes it's hard for the head to rule the heart when you meet the person you know you were meant to spend your life with.

I won't tell you how it all ends when Miss Armistead's betrothed eventually comes to England, but it is heart-wrenching and wonderful all at the same time.  A really well-written story that I enjoyed immensely. If you like historical romance, this must go on your to-read list.

Here's the back copy:

Miss Elizabeth Armistead, India born and raised, is happily betrothed to British soldier, Duncan Cruikshank. When she arrives in London a month prior to the wedding she meets Mr. Lloyd-Jones and soon finds that he has invaded even her dreams. Besides Duncan, Mr. Lloyd-Jones is the only man who makes her feel as if he sees past her exceptional beauty to the person within. Her mother would prefer Elizabeth marry the rich and well-connected Mr. Lloyd-Jones while his sister is ecstatic that he is now free to woo Miss Armistead since he has broken off his engagement to the disgraceful Cecily Ponsonby. However, Elizabeth's commitment to the man she promised to marry is at odds with the likes of Mr. Lloyd-Jones who has cried off from one engagement already. How can she betray the man she believes to love her for her virtues so as to indulge her love for a man she fears she cannot trust?

Jaded and betrayed, Mr. Colin Lloyd-Jones and Sir Anthony Crenshaw make a solemn vow to avoid the Marriage Mart for the duration of the London season. When Sir Anthony is called away on a journey in the company of his grandmother's ward, Miss Delacourt, Colin finds he cannot abide by their agreement, especially when his father expects him to squire his sister to society's endless balls and routs. When Colin encounters the breathtakingly beautiful Miss Elizabeth Armistead, he is intrigued by her lack of fascination for his great standing in society, family fortune, and captivating charm. When he learns that she is already betrothed, he feels himself safe from hurt in her company until he discovers the secret she has been guarding, one that threatens to batter his vulnerable heart all past mending.

You can get your copy here