Monday, July 30, 2012

Using Fiction in Homeschooling - Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet 16th Century

Using Fiction in Homeschooling
Guest post by Rachel Harris

Hello, my name is Rachel, and I am a bookaholic. There is nothing I love more than losing myself in the world of story. Okay, maybe that’s not true, I do love chocolate….and Diet Mt. Dew. But seriously, how awesome is it that I can simply break the spine of a new book-- or power up my lovely pink Kindle—and transport myself to another time, another country, another age, or even another gender?

Along with being a bookaholic (and an author), I’m also a homeschooler. My princesses are six and seven and we’ve been homeschooling them since they were one and two years old. They both taught themselves how to read by the age of four and now they never leave the house…or their bedroom…without a book in hand.

I love being able to pass along my love of reading to my children, and I do that by stuffing our shelves with books filled with rich words and settings, characters that exude strength and imagination, and stories that challenge their minds. My six-year-old has worked her way through the entire Ramona series and she loves reading collections of poetry and pretty much any book that has anything remotely to do with fairies. My seven-year-old, on the other hand, is my Greek mythology buff. She reads Percy Jackson and Goddess Girls and collects collections on all the myths. She’s my own personal resource on all things mythology.

Another way I encourage their love of reading is by not only feeding their interests and encouraging them in everyday life, but by using story and fiction in our day-to-day homeschooling. Instead of using dry textbooks, written by several people regurgitating tired, boring facts, we use books written by one or two authors who are wildly passionate about the subject. Then, we follow those readings with visual-heavy encyclopedias from DK and Usborne. We listen to songs to help memorize facts and bring the material even further to life. And we always have read aloud time.

Yes, the girls have their individual books they read daily (most likely hinting on our school theme/topic), and they have private reads that are totally delight-directed, but along with that we gather together every day on the sofa—regardless of Mama’s writing deadlines—and I read a chapter…or two…or three from a book. These are the classics that no child should be deprived of, books like The Cricket in Times Square, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Gooney Bird Greene, Homer Price, Tales of Robin Hood, and The Door in the Wall, along with fun, new books like Detectives in Togas, or books about real people who did amazing things like Gladys Aylward and George Muller. And yes, these are just some of the books that will make up our upcoming school year.

What has all this reading and exposure to great writing done for our family, besides making us a household of readers? Well, it made me a writer. After rediscovering my own love of reading two years ago, I decided to write my own book. And my debut hits shelves this September, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century with Entangled Teen, and I have two more books coming in 2013, A Tale of Two Centuries and Rearview Mirror.

My children are also storytellers. My oldest writes poetry and is forever coming up with complex stories to tell us at dinner time, prompting her father and I to issue the constant suggestion to take out a notebook and write it down. And my youngest, though she has a vivid imagination in her creative play, prefers not to write but to use her spare time to act out all the stories we read together. She is never without a literary imaginary friend in tow, and she loves dressing up like her favorite characters.

And finally, reading has seeped into other areas of our lives. My girls can never just watch a movie or television show. They want to discuss the black moments and turning points, the inciting incidents and climaxes. And our debates on motivation and character arcs are nothing if not entertaining. 

I’m so grateful for the written word and all that it has brought into my life, and I am passionate about kindling that flame in my children and then fanning it to a burning inferno that will last for the rest of their lives. Great fiction does this. It brings families together, it expands imaginations, and it helps us explore things otherwise impossible. 

About the author:
As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate. 

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel.  She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.
Find out more at, on Twitter, and Facebook. 

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
by Rachel Harris  
Expected publication: September 11, 2012 by Entangled Teen

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Add on Goodreads, and pre-order from The Book Depository. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

God Has Better Things to Do Than My Laundry by Heather Nestleroad - Excerpts

God Has Better Things to Do 
Than My Laundry... and Other Observations From an Overly Dramatic Mom
by Heather Nestleroad

If you've ever tackled a mound of laundry taller than you, made reservations instead of dinner, turned to prayer to deal with your teenage daughters, and accidentally wet yourself laughing at your best friend, then you'll like God Has Better Things to do Than My Laundry (and Other Observations by an Overly Dramatic Mom). Heather Nestleroad gathers all of her blog posts from the last few years into a comprehensive book that can be enjoyed by parents, chocolate lovers, and coffee drinkers of all types. Read about how Heather learned to like (and order) coffee, explores her questions about the purpose of our lives, bares her neurotic confessions, and details conversations you'll swear you just had with someone in your family.

Add on Goodreads, or buy on Amazon, or Smashwords.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I used to drink milk and root beer out of the containers and swish them around together in my mouth. That way I could have a root beer float at any time during the day. I’m not actually allowed to do that anymore. Those were good times.


I love to throw a kid party. However, I secretly believe that the mom is the one who should get the party instead of the kid. After all, we are the ones who carried them for 9 months, gave birth to them, changed their diapers, fed them, clothed them, and did all the work. They … showed up crying and have complained ever since.


Having been married with children for some time now, I know how important it is to keep things fun and interesting. One way I like to do this is to kiss the hubby in front of the kids. This does a couple of things. 1. Lets them see you love each other. 2. Grosses them out, which then inspires me to tell them that I think it would be nice to relive our wedding kiss in front of their friends. After all, we did kiss in front of a group of people when we wed. They are then filled with terror at the prospect of such a sight. This is a good time to ask them to clean their rooms. (Isn’t parenting fun?)


Typical Sunday night conversation:
Vaughn: Did you set the alarm?
Me: No, why? I don’t have school in the morning.
Vaughn: So you are not getting up with the kids?
Me: I don’t need an alarm to get up with the kids. Even if you get up, the kids always come in and make sure I know they’re up, thereby waking me up and ruining my sleep pattern.
Vaughn: Didn’t you say you aren’t sleeping well anyway?
Me: Well sure, but I like deciding when I’m done. It’s kind of like when you use public toilets that flush by themselves.
Vaughn: You don’t like public toilets?
Me: Well, no. Sometimes you are just doing your business and the thing flushes on its own. I always think “How do you know I’m done? I’ll let you know when I’m done.” What kind of technology is that, anyway? Is it a motion detector? Is it Pee Pee Technology?
Vaughn: You are considerably faster when using a public restroom than you are at home.
Me: That’s because half the time at home, I’m just hiding.
Vaughn: OK, can we go to sleep now?
Me: Sure, knock yourself out.


When my house is particularly messy and I’m the only one to clean it, I like to put on my tiara when I clean. That way while I’m grumbling about what a hot mess it is, I can remember that even Cinderella had to clean up after people, and she was a princess.


I used to pray for patience. I now know that if you pray for patience, God just gives you opportunities to be patient.


I have not been to the restroom by myself since 1995. As a child, I was taught to go to the restroom in pairs, for safety reasons. As teenagers, we travel in packs to talk about boys. I believe this is all preparation for marriage and children. Once you have them, you will never attend alone. They either walk right in, or knock until you have no choice but to answer. In my house it usually goes something like this:

<knock knock>
Me: Yes?
Kid 1: Can you do my hair?
Me: Um, no, I’m busy at the moment.
Kid 1: OK.
<knock knock>
Me: What?
Kid 3: The girls won’t play with me!
Me: Can I do something about that later?
Kid 3: OK.
<knock knock>
Kid 2: Man, grouch. I was just asking when we are going to eat.
Me: When you learn to cook.
<knock knock>
Kid 1: Whatcha doin’?
Me: My taxes. Go away!


Things mom never told me, about being a mom:
1. It’s your fault. It doesn’t matter what the situation, and doesn’t even matter if you were there, it is your fault.
2. If something is missing, you hid it from sight to spite them. It is your job to find it.
3. Laundry miraculously gets washed, dried, folded, and put away. You have nothing to do with it; therefore, why should they thank you? Also, if it’s not done, it’s your fault.
4. You will need to remember everything you have ever learned in school. You are not allowed to have forgotten anything. If you forget how to do something, you are considered stupid.
5. Food just happens. You will need to make sure it is ready, or if it’s not ready in time for the stomach growling, you will need to have a backup plan. (I like to refer to my backup plan as “going out tonight.”)
6. You will either have to get up before everyone else to get a hot shower, or wait at least an hour after everyone is gone for the water to replenish to a temperature above Arctic Ocean. 


I think perhaps that women who have lived through their childrens’ teenage years (with girls especially) have formed a secret society of sorts. They are all sitting around in their little clubs, watching the rest of us flail around, and enjoying the show. They won’t get involved because they have already lived through their fair share of drama. (It’s either that or they are mostly institutionalized.)

A friend of mine suggests that perhaps they are sitting around sipping their drinks and waiting for the next survivor to arrive. I am not a drinker, so I said, “What will I do? Learn to drink?”

She said, “Well, I didn’t say they are drinking alcoholic drinks. You could have an orange mint julep.” I asked her what that was. Apparently that is what Reese Witherspoon served at her wedding. It’s some kind of a southern drink. I persisted in asking what exactly this was. Her reply was, “I don’t know, I don’t live there!”

My friend has two daughters. Neither of which are yet into the teenage stage. While I love her dearly, if she had teenagers herself, she’d understand that perhaps I may need to learn to drink. And as to whatever an orange mint julep is, it may not be enough to get me through this stage of life. But I am willing to give it a try at this point.


My girls got the scared, “Please don’t cry, why don’t you listen, what can I do, I’m messing this up” mommy. My son got the relaxed “I’m old, you’ll live if you fall down, sure, spill something on the floor, it needs to be cleaned anyway, if you want to eat Cheerios from the floor, the ten second rule applies here, go ahead, stick the binky in diet soda to clean it off and give it back” mommy.
Boy: Is Shamu a boy or a girl?
Me: I don’t know, but I think Shamu must be a girl, because did you see all the water that whale was retaining? That thing looked like I feel a week out of every month.
Boy: But mom, I thought Shamu was a boy?
Me: Well, that explains why he gets such great service, and why no one ever mentions that he needs to lose weight.


The Stay-at-Home Mom Poem
Oh give me a home,
Where a maid does so roam,
And the skies are not cloudy all day,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the house stays clean every day.
Home, home in never, never land,
Where the dishes do themselves,
Where the meals are all free,
And the laundry all clean,
And you can relax and read books all day.

About the author:
Heather Nestleroad was born in a small Midwestern town to parents who loved each other, until they didn't anymore. She then spent the rest of her childhood watching family shows and dreaming of one day having a family just like on TV. After getting married and having children, one day she discovered she did have a family like that, only funnier. Heather now lives in yet another small Midwestern town with her husband, three children, and two cats. When she isn't writing, she is working with preschoolers, going to Bible study, driving her children around, searching for the best place to have lunch, and looking for ways to get out of cooking dinner. 

You can Heather on her blog,, and Facebook.

Heather is having a book release party on the day of this post. It will take place at the Tree of Life Christian bookstore on Saturday, July 28, from 2-4 p.m. The address is 4601 S Western Ave., Marion, IN. They are offering free refreshments, 50-cent coffee specials, a book signing, and readings by the author. If you are in the area, stop by and meet Heather! And please come back here to let me know how it went!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Self Publishing or Small Press, Which is Right for You?

Self Publishing or Small Press, 
Which is Right for You?
Guest post by Michelle Birbeck

A lot of authors are taking the DIY route with publishing these days, and some of them are even making good money at it. There’s a lot to be said for going it alone, too. No editors to ask you to change things. No contracts to sign where you only get a certain amount per book. No one telling you that the cover you want isn’t what you’re getting because it’s not something that’s popular or saleable at the moment.

And perhaps one of the biggest lures of self-publishing; no rejection letters.

I like the sound of that! One of the hardest parts of becoming an author for me was the rejection letters. Time after time I sent my work out into the world only to be told it wasn’t good enough, wasn’t what they were looking for. In some cases it was clear that the work hadn’t even been read.

So I can certainly see the allure of self-publishing. But it isn’t all click a couple of buttons and start making money. If you want to do it properly, then you need to do it right. This is where some of the downsides of self-publishing come into play. It might be nice to not have editors telling you things need to be changed, but if those things really do need to be changed? Plot holes that you can’t see because you’re too close to the work? Spelling mistakes you’ve gone over time and time again but still missed?

I can’t tell you how many times I went over my own novel before my editor got hold of it. Countless. Yet when it came back, I’d missed basic spelling mistakes, grammatical errors I didn’t even know existed, as well as plot holes and timeline errors. So as much as it will hurt your bank balance (unless you’re lucky enough to have a good friend who’ll do it for free!), it is worth paying for an editor.

Then on top of that, you’ve got blog tours to organise, marketing and distribution to organise, signings and talks to set up. All to be done whilst you’re working on your next novel, and maybe even at the same time as holding down a job and taking care of a family.

Yet there’s another option that people seem to forget about. The publishing world isn’t just self-publishing and traditional publishing. There are small press publishers, too.

Where self-publishing is strictly DIY, traditional publishing the opposite, small press publishing is somewhere in the middle. You don’t need an agent, so no rejection letters, and though there’s no guarantee your work will be accepted, the small press people tend to be a lot nicer about things.

There are also some advantages of going with a small press publishing house. If you get a full service one they’ll provide editing, marketing, distribution, cover design… all the things you’d have to pay for with self-publishing or have little to no say in for traditional publishing (unless you’re earning them millions like Anne Rice or JK Rowling, in which case I’m pretty sure the publisher asks how high when they say jump).

So which one is right for you?

If you’re serious about becoming an author then it’s always best to weigh all the options. Look at the pros and cons of each. Check out which option will earn you more, which will cater to your needs and provide the right package.

For me it was simple. I don’t have the time or money to invest in self-publishing on any kind of novel length scale, but the finances of a traditional publishing deal weren’t right for me either. So small presses, with royalty based earnings and full service was perfect. For me.

The key questions I boiled it down to are these:
Do you have the time to invest in self-publishing? Time for finding editors, marketing, organising blog tours.
Do you have the money to invest in self-publishing? Paying for distribution, editors, marketing and advertising.

If you answered yes to those questions, then it might just be that DIY is the way to go. If not, then look at the other options, see what’s out there, and above all, do what’s right for you, not what everyone else is doing. 

About the author:
Michelle Birbeck has been writing and reading her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was when she was five and decided to try and teach her fish how to read, by putting her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them. Since then her love of books has grown, and now she is writing her own, and looking forward to seeing them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank. When she’s not writing, she’s out and about on her motorbike, or sat with her head in a book.  

Find out more at and on Twitter.

This post is part of a weekly feature of guest posts about various topics related to writing and publishing. If you are interested in doing a guest post, please contact me.

Most recent post - With All the Publishing Options, What's an Author to Do? by Monique Domovitch.

While you are here, please also check out the previous posts included in this feature.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Win a Book of Your Choice - Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop

This giveaway is part of the Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Colorimetry! There are a lot of great blogs participating in this hop. After you enter here, hop over and enter their giveaways too.

While you are here, please also check out the other giveaways I have going on. They can be located in the right sidebar.

My Giveaway:
It's that time again! Win the book of YOUR choice! (Up to $10.) This time it will come from The Book Depository. You know, since they offer free shipping and all. 

How to enter:
Free entry! Just fill out the form below. 

Additional optional entries:
+1 Follow Krazy Book Lady on Twitter.
+1 Like Krazy Book Lady on Facebook.
+1 Add Krazy Book Lady on Google+.
+1 Leave a comment about what book you would choose if you win.

Giveaway Details:
Giveaway is open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your location.) Giveaway is open until midnight EST on August 1. Winner must be 13 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen using Winner will be emailed, and this blog post will be updated to include the name of the winner. Winner has three days to respond, or a new winner will be selected.

Sorry, this giveaway is now over.
Winner: Brandi

Life in Death by Harlow Drake - Trailer Spotlight & Giveaway

Today I am hosting Harlow Drake, author of Life in Death. At the end of the post there is a giveaway where Harlow is giving away 3 autographed paperbacks and a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Check out this great novella and enter to win!


Life in Death
by Harlow Drake

When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful—and the feeling is mutual. But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari’s old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket. The evidence against Kari is damning. Rance’s personal and professional lives collide. Does he blindly believe the woman he’s falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon. 

Author Bio: 
Author Harlow Drake was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow's positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain. She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH, is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on, Twitter, or on Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hunting Up An Editor - Shannon Mayer, author of Sundered

Hunting Up An Editor
Guest post by Shannon Mayer

Editor hunting is a hard, frustrating task, one that can leave you exhausted, confused and more than a little unsure of yourself. How do I know? Because over the last two years I’ve had the chance to work with a number of editors. Six to be exact.

My writers group teases me that I’m too picky and that’s why I go through editors so quickly, but that isn’t the case (says me). Looking for an editor is no different than looking an agent and I’ve learned things the hard way. To start you off, here’s your checklist.
  • The editor must work in your genre so he/she can understand the nuances your readership expects.
  • The editor needs to respect you when you stand your ground, yet still push you to improve your writing.
  • The editor should be able to communicate with you in a timely manner whether that is by email or phone.
  • The editor should be able to meet deadlines and keep contracts.
  • The editor should be able to give you a rough quote of the cost and it should not be astronomical.
Above all those things, your editor should be someone who clicks with your writing. Let me highlight that for a moment. Your editor, just like your agent, should be engaged in making your manuscript the best that it can be. This is a reflection on them as well as you and that reflection should be important to them. The more you work with your editor, the more they will begin to see your style and voice which will help them bring out the best in your characters, plot and dialogue.

So why did I go through so many? Because I didn’t have a checklist and didn’t understand what makes a good editor. I thought if someone said they were and editor then it was so and I believed them.

My first editor was not familiar with my genre of paranormal romance and urban fantasy which gave her difficulties in understanding the direction the book should take.

The second editor was only interested in getting her money and doing as little as possible, yet taking as much time as she could to make it look as though she was doing something. A lot of money went into learning that not all editors are created equal. Or priced fairly.

The third editor did not respect my work and tried to turn it into a feminist rant (which really was not the point of the story).

Though these three editors were not a good fit for me, I still learned from them and I’m sure they do a great job for other authors within other styles.

My fourth editor is Jessica Klassen and FINALLY, I’ve found a great editor who is talented, hard working, good at communicating and most important, we click. She brings out the best in my writing in a way that no other editor has and I’m very happy to have her on board for my current series.

So where are the other two editors? I’ve worked with one copy editor, who is no longer copy editing, and so I’m starting to work with another copy editor, Melissa Breau. And yes, you should have more than one editor. It gives your manuscript a second set of eyes to pick up any mistakes the first editor might have missed.

If you’re hunting for an editor, there are a few places to start.
·       Universities & Colleges.   I had the chance to meet Jessica at Simon Fraser University during an editing course I was taking. Jessica was in for the two year editing program and was extremely good, something I saw right away. We chatted and a few months later I hired her for my next project.
·       Other Writers Talk to other writers about their editors. We all have an opinion on the subject (as you can see) and often you can be directed towards some great help.
·       Twitter   This is really like talking to other writers, but it gives you a far broader spectrum.  I met Melissa through Twitter and she did a guest blog for me on the importance of using an editor even when you are self publishing (I whole heartedly agree!). I realized that her style and quick communication skills were right up my alley and after a discussion on the phone; we are all set to work together.
·       Editors associations I’m not going to list them all as they are often broken down into genres, but they are there for you to find!

A quick word of caution. There are a couple of places you DON'T want to go hunting for editors.
  • Friends and Family  This is pre-cautionary. Do you really want your best friend to tell you how to write your story when all she had was a single editing course in high school? I thought not. Cheap is one thing, there are editors out there who aren’t over the top expensive, but if you can avoid it, stay away from family and friends. They take longer than they should and they don’t like to keep to your deadlines, mostly because you are paying them a cut rate or nothing at all. This makes for bad relationships and frustration that will eventually pour out of your mouth at those you once cared for. Usually at a family reunion or another inappropriate time.
  • Your Agent  Again this is a slippery slope. If the agent recommends someone to you, and the editor doesn’t mesh well with you, this will put you in a tight bind.  A veritable rock and a hard place. You will end up paying for work that you don’t want done and will find yourself no further ahead. This is a position I’ve been put in so I know what I’m talking about. Politely decline and offer to find your own editor.

My final piece of advice when hunting for that perfect editor is this. Don’t be afraid to hire and then fire an editor. You have to do what is best for your manuscript, and sometimes just like finding the right agent, it can take more than one go round.

Sundered by Shannon Mayer
Nevermore Trilogy #1
September 2011 

A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, no matter how unhealthy it is and yet still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking the drug.

As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world, a species bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.

But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other.

The secret forces Mara to make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?

Add on Goodreads, and buy on Amazon.

About the author:
 Reading and writing from a very young age I learned early on that stories built in a fantasy world were where the fun was at. Reading books by Robert Jordan spurred me on and it was the first real epic fantasy that I fell in love with. After that came Piers Anthony, Melanie Rawn and into my older teen years, Anne Rice.

It was in Rice's novels that the idea of urban fantasy really bloomed for me and it was about that time that my grandmother was letting me read her Harlequin Historical novels. (Okay, actually she was slipping them to me when my mother wasn't looking, but let's not get picky.)

The combination of love stories and darker fantasy stuck with me and it's now not only what I gravitate towards to read on my off time (Kelly Armstrong, Laurell K Hamilton, Kim Harrison), but has become the style I love to write in.

Besides writing, I love to spend time with my family and animals, horseback ride, garden and hike with my husband.

Find out more at, on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Are Your Writing Goals - Suzanne Anderson, author of God Loves You. -Chester Blue

God Loves You. -Chester Blue
by Suzanne Anderson
Published: June 24, 2012
by Henry and George Press

What if when you most needed help, a blue bear appeared with a note from God? 

One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a special note. 

Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most. 

During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce. 

If you ever needed a message from God, it's here... 

Add on Goodreads, and buy from Amazon.  

What Are Your Long-term and Short-term Writing Goals?
Guest post by Suzanne Anderson

One of the best books I’ve read on goal setting is by Debbie Macomber’s Knit Together: Discover God's Pattern for Your Life. In this short, readable book, Debbie outlines how she has used goal setting throughout her writing career to keep herself moving forward. This has been essential in times of obstacles to help her persevere, and in times of success, to raise the bar. It’s one of my all-time favorite motivational books.

What I’ve learned about goal-setting from this book and others like it are a few simple but crucial rules about effective goal setting: 1) write down your goals. It doesn’t matter whether you ever look at them again or not, but write them, get them out of your head and onto paper…this gives them a greater reality. 2) revise your goals. As you accomplish your goals, create new ones, so that you always have a sense of forward momentum and accomplishment.

With the publication of my second book, God Loves You. –Chester Blue, and my first children’s book, I find myself re-evaluating what my writing goals will be going forward. Writing Chester Blue has made me realize how much I enjoy children’s literature and wish to add it to the genres that I will continue to write in the future. Knowing how much books meant to me when I was a young girl, deeply motivates me to provide that joy for a future young reader. 

Short-term Goals: In the next twelve months…I want to re-write and self-publish the rest my unpublished ‘back list’, which includes five children’s books and two women’s novels. 

Long-term Goals: I’ve got the beginnings of a romance-foodie three book series I’d like to write next. And beyond that distant horizon (let’s say the next 12 – 36 months) I’d love to try my hand at historical romance since I’ve become such a big fan of the genre. 

Most of all, the ultimate achievement of all of these goals is to find readers who enjoy my work enough to keep reading each book that I produce. Which is exactly the other side of every writer’s coin….we come to this avocation because we feel a burning desire to share a story, or perform on the written page. But like any performance, an author finds their sweetest satisfaction in discovering that their story is enjoyed and shared by an audience of readers. And like any other performer, we are only as good as our last entrance onto the stage!
About the author:
Suzanne Anderson was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and then worked on Wall Street. She left the bright lights of the big city fifteen years ago and traveled the world. She now lives in the mountains of Colorado, where she pursues her dream of writing novels. 

Suzanne is also the author of Mrs. Tuesday's Departure.

Find out more at, on Twitter and Facebook.  


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Work in Progress by Brad Cotton - Win 100 Dollars to Amazon

A Unique Lit Fiction Novel with Moving Dialogue!

A Work in Progress is a new literary fiction novel by author Brad Cotton. The book has received great reviews and is on sale from July 23rd to August 3rd!

Get your copy of A Work in Progress today! On sale on Amazon only.

In addition, Brad is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon and signed copies of his book!

Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About A Work in Progress 
Writer Danny Bayle’s life is in shambles. His true love has left him and his grandfather — the last and most important influence in his life — has just passed away. Danny has spent the last few months languishing, unable to write a single word, but at the urging of a friend ventures out into the world in an attempt to jumpstart a new life, befriending in the process an interesting assortment of characters including an author, a musician, an artist, and an elderly retired nurse. Garnering the attention of more than one woman, Danny sees his new friends unwittingly begin to shape what could just be the story of his life. But will he ever let go of the girl that got away?

About the author 

Born and raised in Toronto, Brad Cotton has been writing professionally for over a decade. An average guitarist, a subpar painter, and a horrible juggler of anything larger than a tangerine, he is currently married to a woman, but does not have a cat, a drum set or any children. A Work in Progress is his first novel. 

Learn more about the author and his work at:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mishap & Retribution by M.M. Shelley - Character Interview & Giveaway

HI Everyone, I’m M.M. Shelley and I would like to thank Tami for having me as a guest today. I would like to share an interview with Kye Wailele from Mishap and Retribution. So please pour yourself a cup of your favorite Latte and if you’re at work, hang up your “On Break” shingle as we take five with Kye.

What is your full name?
Kye Wailele

What is the Hawaiian meaning of your name?
Kye means Rejoice and Wailele is waterfall. The name Wailele was given to my father from his mother Pele.

When is your birthday?
April 12, 2028

When did you first learn about magic?
From my father, who learned from his mother, Pele, the Hawaiian goddess.

What kind of school do you go to? Do they teach magic?
After my parents died, my uncle Kona thought it was for the best that I was home schooled. My uncle moved my cousin Kana’i and me around the islands a lot, so we were never in one place for too long. With our magic we have the ability to control fire and lava. The Hawaiian gods are always at war with each other, always fighting for control of the islands, it’s amazing that there are not more islanders who don’t know us.

How do you like having Pele as your grandmother?
We’re not entirely close.

Having lived in Hawaii all of your life, is there any place you would like to see?
I’ve been to Australia once, I would like to go back and spend some more time there.

What is your favorite pastime?
Whenever I get the chance I like to spend it in the ocean, I do a lot of surfing, nothing competitive. I don’t think it would be fair to everyone else if I did enter considering I’d have an unfair advantage. Sometimes when I’m out in the water and I want a really good wave I will control the waters current, make it do what I want.

Mishap & Retribution 
by M.M. Shelley
Mishap series, book 3
July 11, 2012

At the Dawn of Time a curse against Man was made and only Death will satisfy it.

The year is 2045 and twins Grasiella and Tatiana who are Cinerian, Fae and Human must choose a side and may find themselves on different sides of an ancient war.

With Tatiana trapped in the Fae realm and learning what life has been like, she has found herself bonding with the Fae. Grasiella seeking the whereabouts of her twin has come to a crossroads of her own.

Separated and neither knowing the fate of the other, each make their way to an uncertain future.

Death has swept across the Hawaiian Islands and the cost of peace may be too high.

Add on Goodreads, and buy from Smashwords or Amazon.

About the author:
M.M. Shelley is a storyteller, word smith and dreamer. She has traveled the world extensively in search of the magic which is often overlooked in every day life. M.M. Shelley is a native of southern California, and a student of mythology from which she gets much inspiration.

Find out more at

There are 2 giveaways! One is a giveaway on this blog, and one is a tour wide giveaway.

1st giveaway: An e-book copy of Mishap & Retribution. Winner will receive a Smashwords code to download the format of choice.

2nd giveaway: For the tour wide giveaway, there is a Kindle Touch and 5 paperback copies up for grabs!

How to enter:
Simply fill out the form below. (For the giveaway on this blog only.) 
For the tour wide giveaway, see the Rafflecopter below.

Giveaway details:
(This applies to the blog giveaway only.)
The giveaway on this blog will end at midnight on August 15. Giveaway is open internationally. Must be 13 or over to enter. Winner will be chosen using Winner will be emailed, and this blog post will be updated to show the winner. Winner has three days to respond, or a new winner will be selected.

Sorry! This giveaway is now over. 
Winner will be announced soon.
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Wanting Rita by Elyse Douglas - Guest Post

Wanting Rita by Elyse Douglas
Published: May 1, 2012

When his high school sweetheart experiences a devastating tragedy, Dr. Alan Lincoln reluctantly returns to his Pennsylvania hometown to see her. It’s been 15 years. Rita was a small town beauty queen—his first love whom he has never forgotten. He was a nerd from a wealthy family. Her family was poor. They formed a strong connection during their senior year, but Rita married someone else, and the marriage ended tragically.

Alan’s marriage of three years is disintegrating, and he sees in Rita the chance to begin again with the true love of his life. Rita has been mentally and emotionally shattered, but she reaches out to Alan and fights to build a new life with him. During a passionate summer, however, the past and present converge and threaten their rekindled love, as Alan and Rita must struggle with old ghosts and new secrets.

Buy on Amazon.

Guest Post:
Looking for Work

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt. - Henry J. Kaiser

I worked as a graphics computer consultant while also working on a novel. An agency called and asked if I would handle a “difficult and challenging assignment.” It was at a leading investment banking firm on Park Avenue. I said yes. I dressed appropriately—corporate casual: khakis, button down shirt, loafers.

I entered the soaring-to-the-heavens building, going through 5 minutes of grueling security, but was respectively called Mr. Pennington, because I looked akin to investment bankers who are important and prosperous.

I played the part, carrying an impressive shoulder bag that had nothing in it except a protein-packed peanut butter bar and edits for a new women’s fiction novel entitled, Wanting Rita, that my wife, Elyse, and I were writing.

I was whisked to the upper floors that looked out over the impressive, gleaming towers of Manhattan. I stepped across gold carpeted hallways and passed shimmering enclosed offices, where determined men and women worried and jousted over important financial issues.

I was led across the trading floor, around islands of printers and computers, down corridors that opened, vast and wide, to more cubicles and computers, with even more people, dressed like me, hunched over keyboards, working assiduously. I was about to be involved with powerful people doing important work and I was ready for it. I was ready for the difficult and challenging assignments that lay ahead.

I was shown my desk, my computer and my printer. I lowered my shoulder bag with a dramatic sigh, aware that curious eyes were watching, and pretended to strain under its weight. Let them think I have important documents inside, I thought to myself. Let this first impression be one of “this guy has come to do difficult and challenging assignments.”

I sat, adjusted my ergonomically designed chair—one that was so carefully and skillfully designed that I could have been shot to the moon in ease and comfort. I booted up the computer. I logged on, using the highly secret passwords. I waited.

A tall, focused supervisor arrived, quiet and serious. “Welcome. Good to have you with us. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

He drifted away into the endless corridors and cubicles and glass-enclosed offices. I waited.

The district supervisor soon arrived. She was easy, friendly and attractive. “We have so much work to do. So glad you’re here to help us, Douglas.”

“Good to be here,” I said earnestly.

She soon ambled away, to some distant shore, where security doors released you through a hallway that led to more security doors and corridors and stairs and a bank of elevators.

I waited… At 1pm, I was told to go for lunch and return at 2pm. I did. At 6:30, I was kindly instructed to go home. Being the last worker on the floor, I did, shutting down the computer on which I had stared longingly for stale, protracted hours. I then wandered through the maze of cubicles and silent offices until I arrived at the bank of lonely elevators. They seemed to speak to me.

“Ah…Douglas, the vicissitudes of life: up and down, down and up.”

A week passed—one day looping into the next—each following the same familiar and grueling pattern. I never was given any work to do. Often, in quiet desperation, I worked on Wanting Rita.

One night, as I prepared to leave after a particularly fallow day, a co-worker drew up, flushed, perspiring and weary. “What a kick-ass day, huh? I’m beat.”

I mopped my brow with a tissue. “Oh, yeah. A real pressure cooker.”

On another evening, I left the hushed, empty cubicles, slouching my way to the elevators. I stood in an awkward silence. The CEO of the company was standing beside me. He stood aloof, dressed smartly in a suit and tie. No doubt he’d spent endless challenging hours wrestling with problems, financial quagmires and near life-and-death issues.

I, on the other hand—for nearly three months—had done absolutely nothing.

He eyed me suspiciously. I could hear him thinking: “Humm…last man out. Obviously, a dedicated employee. No doubt he’s been working on difficult and challenging assignments.”

I left the building with all the other essential people. I kept my head held high, but my shoulders a little slouched to show that I, too, had done important work and I was weary from it.

I never saw the supervisor again. I returned several times a week for about a year and was rarely given any work. When work gratefully arrived, it was elementary at best. Anyone could have done it.

Whenever I asked if there was any work for me, I was told “Oh, yeah, we’re going to be busy today.”

Then the day finally came: the assignment came to an end. Not with a bang but a whimper. “Good job,” I was told. “Thanks for all the hard work.”

Two weeks later, I received a call from the agency.

“Douglas, they want you back. They said you’re the only one they trust to handle the workload. Are you available?”

About the author:
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Columbia University. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist. She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed three novels: The Astrologer’s Daughter, Wanting Rita and a Christmas novel to be released later this year.

Douglas grew up in a family where music and astrology were second and third languages. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and played the piano professionally for many years. With his wife, Elyse, he has helped to pen The Astrologer’s Daughter and Wanting Rita.

When asked how they write a novel together, Doug often answers, “Well… If Elyse is dismissive and quietly pacing, then I know something’s not working. If I’m defensive, dramatic and defiant, then I know Elyse will soon be scowling and quietly pacing. We remind ourselves of Rita and Alan James in our novel, Wanting Rita. How the books get finished, I don’t know.”

Elyse and Douglas live in New York City. 

Find out more at and on Twitter.

Elyse Douglas and Pump Up Your Book Tours are hosting a Kindle Fire Giveaway. Click here to find out more details.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rock and a Hard Place by Angie Stanton - Review & Giveaway

Rock and a Hard Place
by Angie Stanton
The Jamison Collection #1
First published: April 2011
Published by Vanguard Management

One day while watching the Interstate exit for her dad’s long awaited return, Libby’s life is rocked when Peter Jamieson steps off his tour bus and into her life. After a couple chance meetings with Peter, Libby breaks away from her rule abiding behavior and her life changes course.

Peter longs for normalcy away from the screaming fans who know nothing about the real him. He is amazed to discover Libby has never heard of him or his band. Soon their friendship turns to love. While Peter battles his family's growing interference so he can spend time with Libby, she struggles with her eccentric aunt who turns more bizarre each day.

Their lives are torn apart when Peter's family intrudes and Libby disappears. Peter’s desperate search for her comes up empty. Can they find their way back to each other while the world plots against them?

Add on Goodreads, or buy on Smashwords or The Book Depository

Darian's Review:
The premise of this book sounded interesting, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting to get really into this book.  Boy was I wrong. 

From the start, we’re shown what a lonely life Libby leads, and I just wanted to hug the poor girl.  But when she meets Peter, one of three brothers in a hit boy band, she gets her first taste at what it’s like to feel alive again.  From their initial meeting there is a strong connection between them that neither can understand.  Peter finds himself doing something he never thought he would, ditching his band obligations, just to squeeze in time to see Libby.  I loved the connection between Libby and Peter; it brought me right back to the first time you fall in love.  The author did a fantastic job of pulling you back to those emotions; how strong and yet simple they are.

Aside from the difficulty with Peter’s hectic schedule, there stands another obstacle between their being together; Libby’s lunatic aunt.  I really, really, hated this woman.  Not because she was a poorly created character, but because she was a wonderfully created, evil woman.  This woman keeps Libby cooped up in the dilapidating farm house, hurling insults at the poor girl for her own amusement.  I hoped this woman had a terrible fate, she surely deserved it.  But being with Peter helps Libby come alive again and find her strength, and she’s finally ready to stand up for herself.  Then someone else tries to tear Libby and Peter apart.  And he does.  Libby’s life spirals out of her control.

I have to say, I really felt for Libby.  Just when her world finally has a spark of life in it, with a blink, it’s gone, and she’s faced with one horrible situation after another.  I got so wrapped up in the story, I was fully prepared to be mad at the author if Libby never got a break.  I was very (pleasantly) surprised by the suspense in the last half of the book.  Just as you thought Libby and Peter would find each other again, bang, they didn’t.  I had full intentions of reading this book over a few days, when I could squeeze it in, but I ended up so hooked I stayed up late and finished it in one night.

The author had a wonderful mix of description, setting, and dialogue.  She pulled the elements together flawlessly, like a true pro at the craft.  Anyone can learn to write, it can be grammatically correct, follow all the ‘rules’ of writing – but it takes a writer's heart to make a book feel real.  This author, no doubt, has a writer’s heart, and the talent to match.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is a YA or romance fan.

About the Author:
Angie Stanton never planned on writing books, she wanted to be a Rockette. However, growing up in a rural setting with her brothers' 4-H pigs as pets, dance didn't work out. Instead she became an avid daydreamer. After years of perfecting stories in her head she began to write them down and the rest is history.  She loves dipping french fries in chocolate shakes, all natural disaster movies and Broadway Musicals. Angie is a proud double finalist of the 2011 National Readers Choice Awards for Love 'em or Leave 'em, as well as a finalist for the Golden Quill Award.  When not writing, Angie is concocting ways to make more dreams come true, whether it be tickets to a Broadway show or convincing her family they should rent an RV and travel the country.
Snapshot, The Jamison Collection #2, was recently released in June 2012.

You can connect with Angie on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook. 

1 winner will receive an e-book copy of Rock and a Hard Place.

How to enter:
Just fill out the form below!

Additional optional entries:
+1 Follow Angie Stanton. (Her social media links are included above.)
+1 Leave a blog post comment.   

Giveaway Details:
This giveaway is open internationally. Giveaway will close at midnight on August 4th. Must be 13 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen using Winner will be emailed, and this blog post will be updated to include the winner. Winner has three days to reply, or a new winner will be selected.

Sorry! This giveaway is over.
Winner: Franchie15

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Religion in Indie Publishing - Brian Holers, author of Doxology

Religion in Indie Publishing
Guest post by Brian Holers
We all know the basic structure of fiction is conflict which leads to crisis and, ultimately, a resolution.   Those are the macronutrients, in a sense, of fiction. But much like plant and animal life, fiction also requires its micronutrients, without which the fictive body would wither and die.

A crucial element in fiction is yearning.  A character must want something he doesn’t currently have. Be it fame, money, power.  A feeling of contentment he sorely lacks. What makes us care about an imaginary person in a novel is her yearning. We find out what she wants, we begin to see her side of things. We know what she has, what she doesn’t have, and what she may have had, and then lost. We start to see she is just like us. That’s why we care.

The search for God, a desire for something greater than the day-to-day, is a common yearning. Most of us carry what may seem like conflicting desires—a need to transcend our earthly experience, with all its limitations, and at the same time a need to be part of something greater. 

Traditionally published religious fiction has the disadvantage of being drawn through multiple filters.  One, content must be consistent with the doctrines and mores of the religion portrayed. Two, where there are multiple views on those doctrines and mores, traditional publishers tend not to take risks.  While the market for Christian fiction, representing the world’s largest religion, is potentially huge, the body of work out there seems narrow. In this realm, independent publishing creates an opportunity to expand the market.

Most readers aren’t moved by another person’s religious experiences. Some are, sure, or claim to be. More often, readers want to read stories. We live life in stories, and we relate to one another through stories. Whether religious or not, whether a person is saved or protected from the shortcomings of this world by his religion or not, she still has to live here. She still has to go to work and to the grocery store, eat, sleep, get along (or not) with others. And, at times, he gets to enjoy a summer drive down an endless road on a cool evening, watching pink-and-darkening striations in the sunset sky. With his arm out the window, marveling at all the bounty around him, and feeling grateful toward its source.

Fiction portrays yearning, and plays out conflict. Most importantly, a story has greater potential to make an impact, and for its characters to live on in the minds of readers, when the writer takes risks. When characters do and say things that may not seem consistent with religious mores, but clearly are consistent with human behavior. As independent writers, and independent publishers, we can choose not to sanitize our characters.  Sanitized characters are dull, and readers don’t care about them.   Fully human characters, when clearly drawn, matter. And make life better.

In my youth I knew a man in rural Louisiana who bought an old building in the country when he decided to break off from his old one, and start a new church. His efforts were met with fervor in the beginning, when quite a few of his former congregants broke off with him, began to show up at his building on Sundays, and looked to him as their spiritual leader. But, as it turned out, Mr. Bobby wasn’t that good of a preacher. He was a magnetic man, but he had no education in the Scriptures, and after a handful of Sundays, his gig was played out. People went back to their old church, and the money ran out.   Mr. Bobby lost all hope.

Then, he made a choice. Despite all his church tradition had to say about the evils of alcohol, he turned his country church into a bar. Now, he was in business. He made a change in his life because he wanted people to come into his presence and be filled with a spirit. Only when he turned his church into an enemy of his church, did he find what he was looking for. Mr. Bobby learned what we all as independent publishers learn. When you’re on your own, you can do whatever you want.

Doxology by Brian Holers

Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss and the healing power of community and family.

Vernon Davidson is an angry man. After a lifetime of abuse and loss the 61-year-old is ready to get back at God, his co-workers, and everyone else is in his north Louisiana hometown. He drinks too much to numb the pain, shuns his friends and embarrasses himself in the community. The once-cautious Vernon spirals into a reckless mess.

Only when he is reunited with his estranged nephew Jody is he forced to confront his situation. Jody is struggling in equal parts after inflicting a self-imposed exile upon himself by fleeing the family, and thereby himself, for a new life thousands of miles away. Now his father, Vernon’s brother, is dying and Vernon agrees to retrieve him for his brother’s sake.

Jody embarks on a reluctant journey back to his Louisiana home and the two men together embark on a journey that will ultimately change their lives.

Brian Holers’s Doxology examines an impossibly difficult question: how does a man go about forgiving a God he has grown to despise after the tragedies and endless disappointments he has faced?

Add on Goodreads, or buy from Amazon.

About the author:
An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian’s head is filled with stories which can’t be contained. Be it writing, blogging or ranting to friends, his voice is passionate and compelling.

Brian’s fiction is inhabited by characters who, like people everywhere, search for resolution and connection. Characters of faith appear to show God meeting people wherever they are, whether celebrating victory or learning to live with loss.  Ultimately they must, in keeping with the words of the prayer, gain the serenity to accept the things they can’t change, and the courage to change the things they can.

Raised Christian, Brian now lives in a Jewish home in Seattle, Washington with his wife and son. The family spent 2006 traveling through East Africa, Southeast Asia, Israel and New Zealand. His experiences have given Brian a lifetime of stories to tell.

Find out more at


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