Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Kindle Freebie is If Not For Love (A Highland Romance) by Jewel Adams. It is billed as a sweet romance, so nothing explicit.

Here's the back copy:

Escaping the immoral advances of her publisher, Adia Stone takes her career into her own hands and starts over. Scotland seems like the perfect place to get her creative juices flowing again, and being there also fuels her fascination with her family's Scottish history. The last thing she expects to find is love.

After watching Tavish MacLachlan walk by her apartment every day for two months, Adia officially meets him and the budding friendship quickly turns to love.

But there are forces at work around them that they are unaware of, and people willing to do whatever it takes to keep them apart. Adia is not so sure their love will be able to survive the secrets that come to light.

If you are interested in downloading this Kindle title, click here

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Some Really Good News!!

I just want to share my excitement with you.  *deep breath*

My book, Pocket Full of Posies, was reviewed in InD'Tale magazine today and it got the Crowned Heart for Excellence and a FIVE STAR review!  Woohoo! I'm so excited!

The reviewer had so many nice things to say like, ""with superb characters and a plot that is a real page-turner, readers will not be able to put this modern day narco-cartel thriller down." She thought it was "spine-tingling" and will "rivet readers to the edge of their seats." You can read the full review here

Some much needed good news for this author.  *happy dances*  Come celebrate with me!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

Well, as you all know, I've been in a writing slump lately, but last night I went to critique group and really felt my muse stirring.  Besides the fact that I have to give them something to critique in about six weeks.  That's definitely motivating.

So I have some writing to do and I'm hoping in the next few weeks, I'll have some amazing word count for you and from you!

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Castle That Wasn't & Do You Know a Good Joke?

I was so disappointed last night. The TV Guide advertised a new Castle and I was excited to sit down and enjoy the episode after such a rough day, but instead it was a rerun of Number One Fan.  Sigh.  That was so how my day had gone.  Nothing turned out how I'd planned.

I switched over to The Blacklist because I had liked this show so well in the first ten episodes, but it's a hot mess now.  Way too violent and everything is so confusing.  The main character, Lizzie, is like watching a tennis match.  She wants to stay home with her new baby, no she doesn't.  She wants to work on her marriage, but really, she doesn't.  She wants a baby, she doesn't.  She didn't trust Red, now she does.  We have a mole that makes no sense and doesn't even really know who she's working for. Red killed his random butler, but for what? And why does every killing have to be so ultra-violent?  The white lady is shot over and over again, for what? Nothing is making any sense. I even watched the Beyond the Blacklist vids on Youtube to try to make sense of it, but what started out as a promising premise is not engaging me anymore because the writers are going for mysterious, but losing me as an audience in the process.  Go back to the start and give some answers to questions to help make sense of things instead of giving the audience nothing solid to even cling on to.  Seriously.  Please do that.   We don't get any more new eps until after the Olympics, so maybe I'll give it another episode or two to redeem itself (James Spader is great) but then again maybe not.

I did manage to lose myself in a book to salvage the day.  Thank heavens for books.

How's your week going?  Tell me a joke or something that will make me smile, will ya?  I could use that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Sun and Moon

We've had a bit of excitement at our house today. My husband and daughter were broadsided in a car accident.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but it isn't looking good for the car.  Sigh.  But the bright spot to the day is the book I'm going to tell you about---Sun and Moon by Lee Strauss.

When I first started reading this book I was a bit put off because the first chapter starts out great, then goes to a flashback and down a road with a main character I wasn't sure I wanted to go.  I was so glad I read on, though, because there was an unexpected twist and the author made the situation into something that really drew me to Micah, our hero. Boy, did that keep me turning pages.  Micah is a mysterious man and a gentleman, and I couldn't wait to see how our couple overcame the obstacles in their way and how his secret would be revealed.  Really well done!

I liked how the author brought the indie music scene into the book and really folded that into the characters' lives.  She does a good job keeping the romantic tension between the two main characters and I enjoyed the happy ending.  Ms. Strauss is a new author to me and I will be looking forward to the second book in the series.

Read on if you want to hear a bit of the soundtrack and learn more about the author and her book!

If you're interested in buying your own copy click here

Sun & Moon by Lee Strauss
(Book One in the Minstrel Series)

Coming January 26th! If you’re a fan of the movie Inside, Llewyn Davis, ABC television’s Nashville or Colleen Hoover’s upcoming novel, "Maybe Someday", the Minstrel Series is for you! The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each are complete standalone stories with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

Katja Stoltz is a risk-taking singer-songwriter hoping to make it in the indie music scene in Dresden, Germany. Micah Sturm's a brooding uptown banker on a quest. Driven to the streets, Katja is picked up by Micah - but he doesn't want what she thinks he does. There’s an undeniable attraction between them, a gravitational pull they both struggle to resist. Katja knows she mustn’t fall in love with this handsome enigma. There’s something dark lurking beneath the surface. He could be dangerous. And even if her life isn’t on the line, her heart most definitely is. *not erotica - no explicit sex or coarse language

This series is an exciting collaboration between Lee Strauss as an Indie Author and several very talented Indie Singer-Songwriters. Four original songs produced by Norm Strauss are featured in Sun & Moon and are performed by award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter Kim McMechan. MP3 links are included at the end. Check out the music video! All the songs from the Minstrel Series can be found at Bandcamp. The Minstrel Series also has its own Facebook page. Go Like it to follow all the upcoming Minstrel Series news! Pre- orders now available at the pre-release price of 2.99! (Price goes up after launch) itunes | kobo | Barnes & Noble

Lee is giving away prizes to celebrate the upcoming launch of Sun & Moon

Enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card, MP3s of all four songs featured on Sun & Moon, and a 12 month calendar from Dresden, Germany featuring many of the settings found in Sun & Moon.
Dresden, Germany

Friday, January 24, 2014

Freebie Friday

Today I'm letting you know about a Marcia McClure book The Rogue Knight that is being offered for free today on Kindle.

Here's the back copy:

An aristocratic birthright and the luxurious comforts of profound wealth did nothing to comfort Fontaine Pratina following the death of her beloved parents. After two years in the guardianship of her mother's arrogant and selfish sister, Carileena Wetherton, Fontaine's only moments of joy and peace were found in the company of the loyal servants of Pratina Manor. Only in the kitchens and servant's quarters of her grand domicile did Fontaine find friendship, laughter and affection.
The life of a wealthy orphan destined to inherit loomed before Fontaine--a dark cloud of shallow, arrogant associations--of aristocracy, void of simple joys--and void of love. Still, it was her lot--and she saw no way of escaping.

Yet, one cold winter's night, a battered stranger appeared at the servant's entrance, seeking shelter and help. He gave only his first name, Knight--and suddenly, Fontaine found herself experiencing fleeting moments of joy in life. Knight was handsome, powerful--the very stuff of the legends of days of old. Though a servant's class was his, he was proud, strong and even his name seemed to validate his persona--and he blissfully distracted Fontaine from her dull, hopeless existence.

Still, there were devilish secrets--strategies cached by her greedy aunt--and not even the handsome and powerful Knight could save her from them. Or could he? And if he did--would the truth force Fontaine to forfeit her Knight, her heart's desire--the man she loved?

I haven't read this one, but know that some of my readers like her work.  If you're interested, you can click here to download your Kindle copy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cover Reveal and a Contest!

I am so happy to be part of the cover reveal for Jordan McCollum's new novella, Spy Noon. Her series is so well done, I know you won't want to miss this one.  And entering the contest for the advanced reader's copy is easy.  Go on, you know you want to!

Spy Noon, a prequel novella to I, Spy, is coming February 3, 2014!
Already know you’re going to read it? Add Spy Noon on Goodreads.

Today, we’re especially excited to reveal the cover and give away an ARC! But first, a little more about the book.

About the Book

Canada's the last place you'd expect to find an American spy, but CIA operative Talia Reynolds has problems piling up higher than a Canadian snowbank. When Elliott Monteith, her ridiculously handsome new coworker, shows up (and shows her up), Talia decides it's game on. She'll be the first to track down a dangerous counter-spy, and she'll give Elliott an unforgettable souvenir of his time in Ottawa: some humble pie.

Her plans don't work as well as she expects, though. Elliott's over-the-top flirting dredges up too many painful memories for Talia and undermines the confidence she's worked hard to regain. To do her job and keep her integrity intact, she'll have to keep her personal feelings at bay. Now Talia must find a way to work alongside Elliott—and maybe even trust him—to outsmart the enemy.

And now for the cover!

The Spy Another Day series

I, Spy
Book One
Spy for a Spy
Book Two
Mr. Nice Spy
FREE Prequel novella
To save her secrets and her country, CIA operative Talia Reynolds must sacrifice the man she loves.Talia's new boss is her ex-boyfriend. And that's the just beginning of her problems.Elliott Monteith must choose between his fiancée and his fellow spy. Cake.
Chronologically, Spy Noon is the first in the series.

Praise for the series

A fast-paced, crisply written story with entertaining plot twists, told in a first person, wryly self-deprecating narrative voice. . . . I, Spy is a well-crafted romantic suspense with humor, heart, and a uniquely engaging heroine.

I knew by the first page that I was going to love [I, Spy]. I absolutely loved Talia's inner voice. . . . The plot is enjoyable and I loved the action! I really could not guess what was going to happen next. There were so many surprises at the turn of each page, especially during the climax, it didn't matter what time it was, I had to finish.

The series has this great combination of sarcasm and wit in the MC, great chemistry and dialogue between her and her love interest, and then a whole slue of spying, deception, intrigue, and danger. Especially of that last one. . . .
I thoroughly enjoyed [Spy for a Spy]! I would definitely read it again and I am highly anticipating the next book that Jordan McCollum writes! If you enjoy action-adventure, suspense, or books about characters who are spies and some romance, then I would definitely recommend this.

Win an Advance Reader Copy!

Enter to win an electronic Advance Reader Copy of Spy Noon!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom.

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Website/Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Email newsletter 

Add Spy Noon on Goodreads today!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

Well, I didn't add any word count to the novella this week, but I did have the first chapter of the captain's story come to me one night when I was lying in my bed, exhausted from the day's events.  It's so funny how complete ideas, characters, setting, dialogue, etc., seem to come to me at times when I'm not really prepared to do anything about it.  But I'm still glad it comes.

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Don't Have Much To Say About Last Night's Castle

I hesitated in even writing this blog today because I don't have much to say about last night's Castle. It was just sort of blah.  There were a few cute moments, like at the beginning when Castle and Beckett are on the couch talking about the gossip in the paper that Castle was out with his ex-wife canoodling at a lunch date and how she knows it's not true, but she's not ready to announce their engagement. Oh, but she likes the ammo so she can tease him about it.  Then Castle deadpans, "the student becomes the master." Haha!

Then Pie (or is it Pi?) comes over and kills the vibe.  The murder case about a dead teen star who turns out not to be so dead was just okay.  And Alexis is still annoying me to no end.  After all she and her dad have been through, couldn't she have given him a call before they went to that bar?  She is just coming across so incredibly immature and naive now, where the show introduced her as a smart and older than her years, with a bit of sass to her.  What happened? Sigh.  At least it looks like she might be dumping Pie.

The ending was cute, with the announcement of Caskett's engagement in the paper and the boys having their faces pop up right in the middle of Caskett's "moment," and I think that was my favorite part.  So, other than the beginning Caskett banter and the ending moment, the rest was just forgettable.

Sorry to be a downer. Not every episode can be stellar I suppose. Here's hoping next week is better!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Indie Author Resources Blog Fest

Today I am participating in the Indie Author Resources Blog Fest put together by Jordan McCollum.  

One question I get asked all the time is if I have recommendations for editors and cover designers and here are the ones I always give because of their awesomeness.

My cover designer, Karlene Browning, at LibrisPro  The thing I like best about Karlene is that I can tell her my vision, give her all my ideas, and she incorporates them or tells me what will work and what won't. It's really a team effort with her and I love that. She's also very reasonably priced and always on time, even when I'm up against a deadline, she always comes through. Click here to see more of her portfolio

The second recommendation I always make is Precision Editing Group. They do great work and offer the first ten pages edited for free to see if you are a good fit for them.  You can find out more about the company and their services here

To see more resources and recommendations from the blogfest, click here

And just to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. day, I want to share my favorite quote of his, hate cannot overcome hate, only love can do that.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Deal of the Day--Seven Full Length Novels for 99 Cents!

Today I want to tell you about seven full length romance novels that are at a pre-order price right now on Kindle. Only 99 cents! 

It will be released Feb.1, so this price won't last.  I've read a few of them (The Reluctant Bachelorette, My Own Mr. Darcy, and Heart of the Ocean---loved them all!) and am excited to read the others, so I thought I'd pass this deal along to my readers.

Here's the back cover copy for the novels in the set.

*7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*

99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only! A $26.00 savings!

RUNNING BAREFOOT by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings. *Over 260 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon*

MASQUERADE by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

THE RELUCTANT BACHELORETTE by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go. *Over 230 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon*

PRIDE AND PRECIPITATION by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery. *Over 80 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon*

MY OWN MR. DARCY by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place. *Over 120 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon*

SHE OWNS THE KNIGHT by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him? *Over 50 4 & 5 star reviews on Amazon*

HEART OF THE OCEAN by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust. 

If you're interested, click here for the purchase link

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Copyright and Piracy---My Opinion

There's been a link going around Facebook lately where you can download a certain movie (that is still in theaters) for "free."  As I watched it get passed around and around it began to weigh heavily on my mind.

I wondered if anyone had really educated themselves on what they were doing.  When you download a movie that is still in theaters, or a book that hasn't been released yet, you are probably downloading a pirated copy---an illegal copy that violates copyright laws.  

Copyright laws? You might shrug and say pshaw, who cares about those? Or everybody is doing it, what's the harm?  Or, those people make millions, what does it matter if I get it for free?  But the fact is, it is wrong and against the law.  And these laws are in place for a reason---to protect those who created that story/movie that you enjoyed.

So many people work hard to provide escapes for us in books and movies and their work is hurt by these illegal copies.  When we pass on the links to these illegal sites, we are, in effect, supporting the people who are breaking the law and stealing intellectual property---whether a book or a movie.  Why doesn't that matter to us?  Would you want something that you had worked months, or even years, to produce and then have someone steal it and give it to thousands of people for free?  How would you feel if your rights and control over something you created were illegally taken away from you so that these sites could provide something for "free?"  Sadly, it happens all too often.

A good way to help put these illegal sites out of business is to not give our support to them. Don't pass around the links, don't download the pirated property.  If you can't afford to go to the theater, it will be out on DVD next month.  If you can't afford the book, it will most likely be in your library.

However, if you can afford the book or movie, buy it and support the creative people who have worked hard to produce something that entertained you. This sends a message that you want more of that kind of entertainment and gives them the incentives they need to keep writing and producing. 

I think that's something we can all do and feel good about, don't you?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

I have a couple of things I want to tell you about.  I did a guest post on Shirley Martin's blog about my publishing journey with both traditional and indie publishing here

Pocket Full of Posies was reviewed by Cathy Jeppsen here  I'm so glad she liked it!

Well, you are never going to guess what I did.  I pulled out my novella! And I added words to it! It's like a miracle.  It was only about 550 words, but that's the most I've written in well over a month, so I'll take it.  It feels good to finally be writing a bit.  Hopefully next week I'll have more to report.

(Oddly, after I wrote those words I felt like cleaning my whole house. I've never had that reaction before!)

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review of Castle: Daddy Dearest Returns

I was torn last night between watching Castle and The Blacklist, but I chose Castle and I was glad I did. Some of my kids were still up when it was showtime and The Blacklist was very, very violent, more violent than I am comfortable with so I was glad I didn't watch that with my kids anywhere near the room.  I hope it doesn't have many more episodes like that because I can't watch that level of violence at all.  Sad!  Don't ruin a good show for the shock factor!

Ahem.  Okay, on to Castle.  Kate and Rick are trying to settle on a wedding date, but nothing is working.  Martha suggests they elope and Beckett's phone rings.  They've caught a case. It starts out with a dead guy in the shower and someone calling 911.  The team is called in and Castle finds a secret compartment in the floor with a laptop in it.  The laptop has a high level encryption system and the team finds out the victim was a convicted hacker.  The search leads them to Anderson Cross, a "banker" but just before they meet him, Castle gets a phone call from his dad which says something is about to happen, but don't react, and then Anderson Cross a.k.a Castle's dad Jackson Hunt walks out.

Castle is so torn between wanting to tell Beckett who he is and keeping his dad's secret.  I think the funniest part of the whole show was when Beckett is laying out the case and looking for a crazy theory from Castle, but he's so rattled he just says something logical like, we don't have enough evidence to draw any conclusions.  The look on her face was funny. (There was also a funny scene where Ryan is showing pics of his baby girl and Beckett says, hey, don't you think Sarah Grace looks like Esposito? Ryan's reaction was hilarious.)

Castle meets up with his dad and gives him some information about the case after reminding him how dangerous his life is.  I mostly like James Brolin, but there are times when his acting is a bit stilted.  Beckett eventually realizes where she has seen Anderson Cross before--- when Alexis was kidnapped. Then the team gets footage of where the victim was killed and they also see Anderson Cross right behind the guy so they're pretty sure they've got a solid suspect. Castle tries to frantically meet with his dad, but he doesn't show at the meet.  Castle goes home to talk to his mom and the doorbell rings---it's Hunt with a gunshot wound.  Martha and Castle treat his wound and I admit I winced when Castle was digging the bullet out.  There's some good wordplay between Martha and Hunt, and they still had spark I thought.  Kate comes to the apartment and Castle introduces her to her future father in law.  She's mad and wants to take him in.

Hunt convinces them that a mole has stolen the CIA's deep cover list and is going to sell it to Iranians.  He has to stop the exchange, but Castle doesn't think Hunt is in any condition to do any of it and says he and Kate will do it.  They go to the library to hijack the wi-fi and Castle is taken hostage.  Before Castle is hurt, his father swoops in and kills the mole.  Kate comes down to the basement looking for Castle and when he goes to show her the body, of course it's gone.  The murder weapon was left behind, however, so the NYPD can close the hacker's murder case. The episode ends with Rick and Martha talking while looking out the window of the loft and Hunt is watching them from the street below.  Creeper!  I'm not sure if I'd like to see him back.  He's one of those characters that are tough to like at times, but you want to anyway.  I guess we'll see where they take us.

One of the best scenes of the episode was when Martha tells Castle that his father gave her two of the greatest gifts of her life---the first one was Rick and the second was closure.  Awww. Loved that.

The second was when Castle says they'll get married in September, book tour or not. Awww.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: The Accidental Marriage

Today I'm excited to be part of a blog tour and to tell you about a book called, The Accidental Marriage.  When I first picked it up I thought I would be getting a fluffy romance (mostly because I think the cover gives that impression).  There is romance in it, but it's much more than that.  It's a gritty look at a marriage between two people from very different backgrounds, set in the 70s, when women's roles and rights were being explored.

I really enjoyed the heroine of the story, Nina Rushforth.  She's been given everything her entire life and incredible opportunities to really find her strength.  She's tall, great at tennis, and her dad wants her to be an attorney.  While she's on study abroad in Scotland, she meets a young LDS missionary named Elliott Spencer after warning him and his companion away from a hostile crowd.  There's a connection between them, but they wisely wait to explore it until he's home from his mission.

They have so many ups and downs to their courtship and marriage.  I loved how torn Nina seemed between being accepted and being in love.  To do what she wants instead of what the people around her want her to do.  The contrast in their families and the impact both sets of in-laws made on them was so real and raw.  I loved the subjects the author delves into between these families because I think it's a reality that most couples face.  Everyone has quirks to their families and subjects that are never brought up and we all have to find ways to compromise and reconcile what each person's background brings into a marriage.

This book had a very literary style to it and the description was almost lyrical. The author does a wonderful job in portraying the nitty gritty to "happily ever after" and that in order to have that sort of ending you have to work for it.  (Although I did wish for a tiny bit more closure to the ending because I like happy bows, but there was still enough to make me feel satisfied.)

So, if you want a story that has great characters and romance mixed with reality in the 70s era, this is one to put on your to-read list.

Here's the back copy:

Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

Publication Date: December 10, 2013
ISBN: 9781462113743
Publisher: Cedar Fort Publishing

Buy links:


“A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”

--Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”

--Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy

“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”

--Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over

About Annette: Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Social Media Links:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hawaii Five-O Review--Some New Beginnings

Hawaii Five-O is back and last night was like three little glimpses into the new beginnings of our characters.

Let's start with Danny.  He's dropping his daughter off at cheer camp and she has barely a glance and a "bye, Danno," for him. He's disturbed by this sign of her growing up and gets on the phone with Steve to "discuss" it.  Steve is trying to listen and help his friend out, but Captain Grover, who is sitting next to Steve in the car demands the phone.  He proceeds to tell Danny that he hasn't seen anything yet. Wait until his daughter wants him to take her bra shopping or when the first boyfriend shows up.  So Danny needs to put his big boy pants on and suck it up.  Haha. Man, I loved that conversation.  Danny doesn't and asks to be put back on with Steve.

While this conversation is going on, Danny is filling his car up with gas and a beautiful woman is there asking for directions.  He gives them to her, tells her he's from New Jersey, and they go their separate ways.  Sort of. Danny decides to help her find where she's going and takes off after her, only she's shot while driving and he ends up getting an ambulance for her instead.  And then investigating who the shooter was.  I liked their little hospital scene and it seemed really natural between them. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

The second "new beginning" was Kono finding Adam as a dishwasher in a restaurant.  All I could think when I saw him was how far he'd fallen, really, from his position as head of his family and a worldwide business to a dishwasher. And that he knows his way around a sink.  Kono hugs him and tells him that it's okay to go home now and they do.  The welcome scene back in Hawaii where the team "and friends" hugged them both was great.

The third was Steve and Captain Grover. I like them as partners because Grover doesn't take any of Steve's crap. It's funny.  "It's called being humble, you should try it sometime."  Haha. Steve's face when Grover makes these kind of comments cracks me up.  They're looking for Grover's friend, a bartender that was jumped by two guys, but ended up killing one and putting the other in the hospital. There's the requisite twists and turns where it comes out that this philanthropist bartender who donates to law enforcement causes is actually wanted by the FBI for armed robbery and killing a woman when he crashed the getaway car into her car.  It comes out that the victim's husband has put out a hit on him for revenge, but Five-O catches him and orchestrates a little scene between the two men so apologies can be given.  I liked the emotional scenes with the bartender and his family, but the true gem was Grover and Steve's banter.  I hope that Steve and Grover will have more cases to work together in the future. 

Did you see it? What did you think?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Deal of the Day--Finding Sheba

I am a big Heather Moore fan, so when I saw her international thriller, Finding Sheba, is on sale for Kindle today for 99 cents, I knew I had to pass along the deal to my faithful readers!  This book is one you don't want to miss if you love a good mystery/suspense/thriller book.  I reviewed it last year and you can read that here

Here's the back copy:

An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false.

For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

“FINDING SHEBA is excellent. Fast-paced, intriguing, fantastic characters, and full of surprises. Highly recommended.”
—James Dashner New York Times bestselling author

If you are interested, you can click here to download your copy!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Didn't Want To Write Today, So Guess What I Did?

I'm still having troubles getting into a writing rhythm, or really getting anything remotely writing related started.  I want to, but the joy hasn't been there.

I've had writer's block before, and this isn't that, it's just a writer blah sort of feeling that I've been dealing with for a while.  I know, I know, weird.  But true.

Today, instead of writing during my allotted writing time, I spent some time watching JAG clips on Youtube. (Don't judge, I loved that show! Except for the ending. That sucked.) Now, don't laugh. There's a point to this.

As I was watching JAG, I was looking at what the writers had done with the show and several key episodes.  There's some great chemistry with the lead actors that is completely exploited as they work their cases and deal with a boatload of obstacles. (Boatload, get it? haha Sorry.)  There's a supporting cast that emphasizes the lead people as more than just military cut outs.  That emotion adds an extra layer to the believability and connection the audience feels.

This got me thinking about my Hostage Negotiation Team series and the characters I've created. Not to mention what happens to them all in the Captain's story.  It really spoke to me about layers and connection and chemistry.  It gave that little seed of joy some sunshine to grow in.  All just in watching clips from a favorite TV show. Who knew?

Have you ever had the writer blahs? How did you get through it?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Word Count Wednesday

My critique group is starting back up and things are getting back to normal, so my word count is going to start going up again. Yay!

I'm so excited for the new year and the writing goals I've set.  I think I needed that rest time to really recharge my writing batteries, read some great books, and just let my imagination run free for a few weeks without being tied to anything, you know?  It feels good to think about getting back in the writing saddle.

What about you? How did you do this week? Working on your writing goals?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Holy Smokes Did You SEE Castle?

Last night's Castle was amazing---tense, emotional, and very well-acted.  I even shed a tear at the phone call between Jenny and Ryan. So, so good.

We start out with Kate on the phone with Jenny, telling her to remain calm as a huge fire rages in the background.  Then we switch to twelve hours earlier and the team is investigating a burned body in a building that was burned down by an arsonist.  The building is structurally damaged and when they hear a few creaks and are told to get out of there as soon as they can, Castle practically runs away. That made me smile.

They bring in the building's owner and question him since he gets an insurance settlement from his burned out building and he has ties to the mob. But he also has an alibi, so he is ruled out.  Castle and Beckett go to talk to Lainey, and while she's giving the scant amount of information she has on the identity of the victim, the fire investigator comes in and says she knows who the body is---it's her partner, Blake McCann.

Apparently Blake is a fire investigator, too, and had been investigating a serial arsonist all on his own. He must have found him and received a bullet to the head for his trouble.  Ryan and Espo go to his house, realize his car isn't in the garage and head over to the burned out building to see if it's there.  It is and it has files in it that lead them to an old shoe factory.  Once inside, they find the arsonist's lair, but it's been wired to explode and they are caught in the explosion.

Castle and Beckett have been following up on leads with a website for pyros that features the crime scene.  The owner of the website keeps getting texts about a three alarm fire in an old shoe factory and Beckett and Castle both get the same look on their face as they realize what that means. They head over to the fire to check on Ryan and Espo, where the fire chief is pulling everyone back since the fire's so bad.  Beckett says her guys are in there, but there's really nothing they can do. They stand there, looking at the fire with such horror on their faces, it was heart-wrenching.  But not as much as when Ryan's wife Jenny calls. She's about to have the baby and has been "testing" Ryan's phone for when it's "go time," but he hasn't been answering. Beckett tells her to remain calm, there's been an incident.

We see Lainey's reaction as she comes to the fire scene as well as the entire precinct when they're told of the situation.  Gates takes matters into her own hands and interrogates the website owner.  She gets a few clues as to the arsonist's identity, but is it too late for Ryan and Esposito?

Jenny shows up, in labor, but wanting to be there for Ryan. Lainey convinces her to go to an ambulance so they can make sure everything is all right.  Then we see Ryan and Esposito alive in a sub-basement, trying to hotwire an old phone to alert someone that they're alive.  They get through to Beckett and it's bittersweet.  The sub-basement isn't on the building's plans and they don't know how to get to them.  The carbon monoxide is setting in and Beckett gives the phone to a laboring Jenny so she can talk to Ryan for what may be the last time.  They talk baby names and decide on Javier if it's a boy and Sarah Grace if it's a girl.  The funniest line of the night was Esposito commenting that Ryan was going to name a white Irish kid, Javier. Haha!

The phone line goes dead and Ryan decides to fight this and is almost frantic in looking for a way out when he realizes that Esposito has gone to sleep.  There is such a desperation to this whole scene it was incredibly well done.  I love Espo and Ryan. 

With the information the website owner gives, combined with the fire investigator realizing that the buildings that were burned all had the same inspector, they figure out who the arsonist is and he's at the scene filming.  Beckett convinces him to tell her how to get to Ryan and Esposito and the next scene is of fire crews getting to the unconscious men.  I was on the edge of my seat to see how this would play out and when they see the rescuers bringing out Ryan and Esposito, there was such relief for Castle, Kate, and me!  Ryan runs to the ambulance where he meets his new baby girl, Sarah Grace.  The family is all together, Castle, Beckett, Lainey, Espo, all looking on the happy family scene. 

Sigh. One of the best Castle episodes ever.

Did you see it?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?

(I'm sorry for the delay. I'm still having problems logging onto Blogger. Hopefully I can get this resolved soon.)

Today I am part of a blog tour for the book, Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat? by Michelle Wilson.  Just the title alone had me smiling.  It was the book I wanted to start the new year off with and I'm so glad I did.

This is an amazing book that talks about perspective and purpose and addresses expectations and guilt and insecurities that we all put on ourselves, especially women.  I loved the down to earth stories and the way the author connected them to divine principles. The way she presented her ideas and stories really resonated with me, especially in the area of how I can improve myself without comparing myself.  She put forth some things in a way I'd never really thought of before and I loved that.

Some of the stories in the book, like Lucy's Hands, will stay with me for a long, long time.  Lucy was a little girl who had her hands burned and part of the process of healing was to stretch the skin grafts every hour.  If they didn't go through this painful process her hands wouldn't heal properly and she wouldn't be able to use them.  The author talks about how she witnessed one of these "stretchings" where Lucy began to whimper because she knew what was going to happen. It was going to be painful.  But her mother was there whispering how great Lucy was doing, that she was right there, and she loved her.  The author related this to our Father in Heaven and how He loves us and even though we go through painful trials, there is a purpose for it and He is right there and He loves us. I can't do it justice here, but it was a very powerful point in the book for me.

Of course, not all the stories were serious, there are some that are laugh out loud funny that include everyday things like choosing ice cream and feeling cool in a Charger as opposed to a minivan.  This author has an easy to read style that will have me anxiously looking for her next book.

Definitely one to be put at the top of your to-read list!

Here is the back copy:

• Why do clothing stores hang fun-house mirrors in their dressing rooms?

• The laundry doesn’t cry when it’s not folded, so why should I?

• Can I be confident even if an elevator calls me fat?

Michelle Wilson’s humorous yet poignant insights help women examine the limitations we place on ourselves out of insecurity and self-doubt. We have faith in God, but do we know that He has faith in us?

When we see ourselves with God’s eternal perspective, we can feel confident and whole—even in our imperfection. Just think what we might accomplish if we truly believe that we are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Price of Ebooks, How High is Too High?

One of my favorite authors has a new book coming out and when I went to buy it on Kindle, I looked at the price and about fell over.  The ebook was over $10.

This presented a dilemma to me.  I really, really want to read her new book. But, on the other hand, that's a lot for an ebook. It's almost the same price to buy the print book. (And I saw that Amazon has a new program for some of their books, that when you buy the print you get the ebook for a discounted price, which is awesome, but sadly not offered on this particular title.)

So, I wavered.  Ten dollars. Or wait and hope it would be discounted at some future date. Or available at the library.  Sigh. 

For me, I have no problem paying $5 or $6 for my favorite authors' books---especially a new release.  But over $10 seemed a bit too much and, you guessed it, I didn't buy it. 

Here's my question to you:  how much is too much for an ebook? What are you comfortable paying?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 2014 Goals and A Favorite List!

I was so happy to see that my novel Ashes Ashes made it onto Meridian Magazine reviewer Jennie Hansen's Favorites of 2013 list! Woohoo!  Click here for the whole list.  I think it was my favorite list of the whole year.

So, I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2014 and I've whittled it down to a short list of goals.  Here it is:

Make a t-shirt quilt
Do one cross-stitch from my Unfinished Projects box
Release the fourth book in the Hostage Negotiation Team series
Write two novellas
Read 114 books
Go through all of the paper in my filing cabinet
Work on my super secret project
Take a vacation

I know, I know, some of those may seem silly, but I'm really happy with the goals and I think I can accomplish them.  If nothing else, this is my accountability post, to help motivate me.

Did you finish your goal list?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! What Are Your Writing Goals for 2014?

Happy New Year!!!

(I saw this pic on Facebook and really liked the sentiment).  

I'm in the process of making my writing goals for 2014.  So far, I know for sure the Captain's story from my Hostage Negotiation Team series will be out in May. 

There's a few other things on my list, but I'm going to sit down today and really plan it out.

What are your writing goals for 2014?