Friday, April 30, 2010

My review of THE THORN by Daron D. Fraley

The full book title is The Thorn: Book One The Chronicles of Gan by Daron D. Fraley.

From the back cover: Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ’s birth on an unknown world—Earth—is about to appear in the heavens.
During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discovered the intentions of a far more dangerous foe—a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others.

This was my first sojourn into speculative fiction, and LDS speculative fiction no less. Color me pleasantly surprised. I liked it. I found The Thorn to be compelling and interesting.

I'm not going to give away too much. But I will say while reading The Thorn, I drew visuals of Bible stories and Book of Mormon stories. After I put the book down I had to separate in my mind what was real scripture and what was Fraley's fiction.

Fraley has created realistic characters. Then he went and set them in a world full of vivid description and unique style. The man has a gift, and The Thorn is only the beginning.

Snatch your copy HERE. Before it's too late.

Z is for...


Outside of my writing, and sometimes in it, there's lots of zany. I credit most of the zany in my life to my kids. Seriously; they're nuts. Before I had kids--and the people in my life before can attest to this--there was very little zany.

But I like the zaniness in my life. I needed more laughter in my little world. It's not always laughter, but I appreciate their contributions nonetheless.

For this post, this final Blog Challenge post, quite a few Z words came to mind. Zephyr, as in the west wind. Zenith, as in the pinnacle or top or utmost. But zany seems to fit best. I'm not too sure what that says about me and my reality, but there you have it.

There's already quite a bit of ZANY in my memoirs. :)

This has been an intensely fun and challenging A-Z Blog Challenge. I had a great time coming up with posts, giving glimpses into my books, and meeting new people. Thanks to everyone who has visited and/or posted on my blog.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Y is for...

YA, or Young Adult.

Why have I chosen to write for the YA genre?

You might say it chose me. In today's world, it seems that there is very little interest in a novel for grown ups (notice I don't say adult books lol) that doesn't have swearing, sex and violence. The problem is, I'm not the only one to have noticed this.

Years ago, when I WAS a young adult, or a teen, YA books were pretty much limited to a handful of classics and Sweet Valley Twins books. There was so little to read most of us just jumped up to grown up books.

Now, the YA market is inundated with books. I mean, there's really tons of them. Most authors I meet these days write YA. Granted, many of them are still unpublished--but they're all working toward publication. I don't see this as a bad thing. After all, how many of us ever read only one author? There's nothing wrong with a little market diversity.

But I don't consider myself a YA author. Perhaps 4 or 5 of my titles are YA. Recently, the projects that have hit me really hard have been middle grade fiction. For the time being, since we live in the now, my current projects are YA fantasy so I am a YA author.

I bristle at this. It feels like pigeon-holing and I've never been a fan of being categorized--good or bad--by any title. Maybe that's why my other age group projects have so much appeal. I even have a couple of grown up projects in the works--okay, the idea stages. One of the problems of having a prolific brain is I always have ideas, but not always the time to see them through. Gah. Some days I get up and already feel like I've fallen behind.

I'm glad the YA novel market has come so far. And I'm also glad that many people find comfort in reading books marketed to youths--even well into middle age and beyond. We shouldn't be limited to what is considered appropriate for our age level. I've already told the newest reader in our home, my 6 yr old, that she can read anything in my library.

But then, I don't go for those ADULT types of books. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

X is for...


I honestly don't know why blogger and word both believe xenophilia is spelled wrong. That's the spelling straight from my dictionary. Stupid programs. Ah, well. Moving on.

Xenophilia is defined as an attraction to or admiration of strangers or foreigners.

Xenophobia, conversely, is defined as a fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or anything foreign or strange.

Off the top of your head, can you name any xenophiles you know? How about xenophobes?
I bet you can.

As a writer, I have a natural interest in anything foreign or strange, since I write fantasy and the unusual plays a heavy part in designing a fantasy world. But in my life, I have tended to shy away from strange or foreign things. Is it possible to be both a xenophile and a xenophobe? Interesting thought.

Aren't we all full of contradiction?

I've grown quite a bit, most noticeably since I have taken my dream to be a writer to the next level--that level being to stop dreaming about it and actually work to make it happen. It's a long, slogging, uphill battle where I often feel as though I'm sliding backward more than inching forward.

But then, what's that great quote again? "The harder I work, the luckier I am."

So, what's your dream? And what are you doing to work toward making it a reality?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

W is for...

The WILD QUEEN, of course!

You've met Roweena in my R post, so you know who The Wild Queen is. Personally, I love that title for a book. But then, that shouldn't surprise you. I chose it after all.

The Wild Queen is the second book in my trilogy. It's the story of Gregory's parents--mostly Gregory's mother. What makes her wild? In this case, wild means untamed, headstrong, not easily broken. She is not a child of the wilderness--Roweena was raised by cultured parents to someday be a queen.

Right now, The Wild Queen is the bane of my existence. I'm in the process of revising my draft to turn it into a manuscript worthy to send to my publisher in the hopes they will want it.

I realize the idea of putting The Peasant Queen ahead of The Wild Queen is a little George Lucas (because the events of TWQ come way before the events of TPQ), but I felt the readers would connect better to the story of Gregory's parents if they'd already met Gregory. The Peasant Queen just seemed to me to be the best introduction into my little world.

Now, back to those revisions...

Monday, April 26, 2010

V is for...

Voltimande. This pic is Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt Chamberlain from Conan the Destroyer. Sure, the setting of my book is different and, because of that, Voltimande would be wearing more clothes, but this is the best the internet could do for me.

Not many people would dedicate an entire blog post to a minor character. Or a secondary character. No one can call someone as large as Voltimande a minor character. In The Peasant Queen, Krystal first meets Voltimande accidentally. He is a guard in Gregory's castle. But, as it turns out, there is more to Voltimande than there seems to be.

This is Michael Clarke Duncan (left) from The Scorpion King. He's another Voltimande contender.

Voltie (sorry, couldn't resist) is the only son of the palace healer, Gerta. She's a wise woman, and probably the only woman Gregory actually respects--because her skill and experience cannot be replaced. I describe Voltimande as the largest, darkest man Krystal has ever seen. Truth is he towers over everyone, but as a background character. He does come to Krystal's rescue at a certain, crucial moment--but then she turns around and rescues him right back. There's that spunk again.

I adore Voltimande. He plays pretty heavily in the third book, mainly because I just think he's the coolest character I've created--primary characters not included, of course. He's brave, courageous, noble--and is happy in his place. He has no ambition to be the king of the universe (for once). And he becomes a vital member of the castle's family.

My favorite scene is in The Tyrant King, when Krystal finally makes good her threat and throws up all over Voltimande's boots. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My review of SECRET SISTERS by Tristi Pinkston

Occasionally I receive books to review free from the publisher. This in no way affects my review of the book.

From the back cover: Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd Ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low, and she learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods . . . well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

With the help of her counselors, Arlette and Tansy, Ida Mae soon learns that there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

"The persons depicted in this book are professional fictional characters. Do not try this at home."

And if that's not enough to clue you in that you're in for a great ride, you don't read enough.

Sure, Secret Sisters is in a niche market. Unless you're LDS, much of what is discussed by the main characters may be confusing. But considering the millions of LDS Relief Society members, that's a nice sized niche. So, what did I think of this book?

In all fairness, I adore Tristi Pinkston's writing style. I've read all of her books and they make me laugh, cry and keep me reading--sometimes all night long. I found Secret Sisters to be up there among her best work. From the beginning, when I first stepped into Ida Mae's world, I felt like I was right by her side experiencing everything she did. It's a special author who has a talent to queue you into a character's thought processes, but I could with Ida Mae. At times I laughed. I also smiled--a lot. And, at one point, she made me hungry. (Chapter 13 has chicken enchiladas. Consider yourself warned. Oh, and her cookies, and brownies--man, I may have to go bake something.)

Secret Sisters is a delightful, face-paced read with something going on at every turn of the page. And, as you can see from the picture, it's a beautiful book too. Pick up your copy HERE. And get ready to giggle your socks off.

U is for...

United States of America!

I just want to start out by saying I LOVE my country. I love our history; I love our diversity and I love patriotism. (of course, we all know anything--good or bad--can be taken too far. I'm in reality for this post)

My youngest came in two times this past week to tell me she was red, white and blue. She had chosen to dress in those colors for the day. It's easy when all she has is white socks lol.

My three boys are scouts and know how to raise and lower the flag. I can't tell you the depth of emotion that wells inside of me when I watch them do it.

People have gladly fought and died so we can enjoy the freedoms we have. I have nothing but respect for that sacrifice, and for their willingness in doing so.

God bless the U.S.A!

Friday, April 23, 2010

T is for...

Theatrics and The Tyrant King.

First, let me explain. Theatrics. As I mentioned in my S post, I am raising 2 daughters. Theatrics are a way of life. In fact, my youngest girl was in her first play last fall. In her age group, she had the only speaking part. Not that I'm a proud mama or anything. :)

But, really, let's be fair. My boys have a penchant for theatrics as well. One of my sons--ironically the one who had surgery at ten months of age--is the biggest boober of them all. Slight scratch. The smallest pinch. And he yowls like there's no tomorrow.

My girls really keep me hopping. It takes some time to sift through the theatrics and figure out what the real, underlying issue is. And, since they're 8 and 6, I'm pretty sure this has only just begun.

Now, as for The Tyrant King. If you've been reading my blogs since the beginning of the month, you'll automatically assume I mean King Gregory. Sadly, no. This particular tyrant is Donovan Vincent Gildresleve--Gregory's son.

In my third novel, the last of the trilogy, I continue Krystal's story with the introduction of the long-lost son of King Gregory. Donovan is a fascinating character and has been a TON of fun to write. He makes his daddy look like a misbehaving little boy.

The Tyrant King does not have a cover yet. But when I think of it, I envision the Chateau D'If in France at sunset. Imagine the picture above with red, gold and bronze streaking the sky. Oh, baby. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

S is for...


Why silver? Silver is easily my favorite metal. My wedding colors were silver, royal blue, royal purple and white. Beautiful, no? I wear silver better than gold--I have a gold allergy and silver simply looks better on me.

Sisters. Ah, well. I did not grow up with sisters. All I had were those dang four older brothers. But I have sisters now. This is Mel--my hubby's brother's wife--my sister in heart. If you can read that tiny type, she's an author too. :)

Here are a couple more of my sisters in heart. I'd post them all, but I don't have all their pics. Sad, huh? Jen and Tawnya. I used to change their diapers, giving me the unusual feeling of what it felt to be an older sister lol.

And here are my favorite sisters--my daughters and my stepdaughter. We had this drawing of them done in Disneyland.

Years ago, I married a divorced man with a child. The first thing this child asked of me was to give her a brother. So I did. Well, as I like to remind her, she DID pray for him. And even before he was born, she would kiss him goodnight.

Then, she asked for a sister. But she didn't pray for one. She got twin brothers. I'm just saying. :)

When she was almost 10, she got that long awaited sister.

But I didn't want my little girl growing up as an only daughter, like I did. Her Sissy lives in another state and is 10 yrs older. They love each other to pieces, but it's not the same as growing up together. So we tried one more time.

Sometimes it's funny the way life works out. Like it's all part of a grand plan. Oh, wait. IT IS! :)

And lastly, I'll mention Setarra. Setarra is a character I wrote about half my life ago. Setarra is the Daughter of the Goddess of the Twin Moons, "born" in the Kabiliste wood and raised by the Keepers of the Unicorns. There's a whole world, magic, quest, and a prince to be rescued in that story. One of these days I'll actually finish it.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Dad. He was born 4/22/42 and died 5/9/83 at the age of 41. I've been told he smiles down on me. Yeah, I can deal with that. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

R is for...

ROWEENA! Or, in this case, my daughter dressed up as Roweena last Halloween.

Roweena is the featured character in my second novel, The Wild Queen. She is extremely noble and headstrong and, because of that, often misunderstood.

Just as an aside, these are not the final covers for the books. But note how awesomely they complement one another?

As a child, Roweena tries to be a good daughter to her parents, the king and queen of Norvallen. Her childhood is laced with tragedy, as often happens, and she doesn't always get what she feels she needs from those around her. She struggles to control an almost overwhelming desire to act out--and often fails.

At fourteen, she is entered into a marriage contract with Lucien of Demarde. They are to marry after she turns 17.

But real tragedy strikes; the kind that redesigns Roweena's past, present and future. Desperate, she turns to Lucien for help. As King of Demarde, he has connections.

Roweena becomes a mother--I believe I've stated this before in my blogs. She's Gregory's mother, the very same Gregory who is controlling, despotic and tyrannical in The Peasant Queen. Then she has Falina, who grows up to become Jareth's mother. (see my J post if you don't recall him)

After that, Roweena's life takes another unexpected turn. It's this event that ends up shaping her son, and her daughter, into the people they become.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Q is for...

With books like The Peasant Queen and The Wild Queen, what else would you expect me to post about today? That's right! QUEENS

Let me start out by saying, though, that in reading other bloggers' posts, I feel bad that I've lost out on commenting on some of them. We had a rash of sicknesses go through the house--and like any other mom I work through mine but lose ground in blogland when I take care of my kids. Sorry to those I have missed.

As I gingerly stepped into the world of Google images to look for crowns for this post (You have to be careful when googling images of queens lol), I found a few that were simply odd and others that were delightful. I chose the one pictured above because of it's simplicity. I look at it and see QUEEN.

I introduced you to Krystal in a previous blog. She's my peasant queen. This picture is a close up of my youngest daughter dressed up as Krystal for Halloween. It's pretty funny how that came about, but I can guarantee you the idea of dressing up as my invented characters was not mine.

Now this delightful little creature is my older daughter dressed up as Roweena. You'll meet Roweena in tomorrow's post. She is the evil king Gregory's mother, and my wild queen. As you can see, Roweena has gallons and gallons of hair. Not quite to Rapunzel standards, but it's a healthy amount to be certain.

Like most queens, Roweena and Krystal are princesses first. Roweena is born into it. Krystal is recruited, or assigned, the title. And though they are a couple of generations apart--and not related in any way--they have a similar trait or two. Stubbornness comes immediately to mind. Hmm, wonder where they got that? ;)

Monday, April 19, 2010

P is for...

Thank goodness my kids are out of diapers, or this might be a totally different P post.

For your reading pleasure, we have PEGASUS. Or Pegasi. Seriously, how do you pluralize that?

Now why, you may ask, am I blogging about a Pegasus? Well, see, the thing is--in The Peasant Queen, Krystal has a Pegasus. But not at first. I mean, how and why would a peasant have a Pegasus?

Peasant, another P word. Krystal starts out as a peasant, the daughter of a dead farmer. She's thrown into a world of royalty and magic, and introduced to White Lightning. White Lightning, in this case, is not moonshine. She is a fully grown captive Pegasus. Which by itself is both awe-inspiring and heart breaking.

White Lightning's story is familiar. She was just a baby when her mother was found by Queen Falina (Jareth's mother, for those of you paying attention lol)in the enchanted gardens of Fayterra. White Lightning's mother was dying. Though Falina tried, nothing could be done. But the filly could be saved, so that's what the queen did.

When Gregory turned Fayterra upside down, White Lightning could have become collateral damage. But for reasons only he (okay, and I) understand, Gregory spared her. Perhaps the Pegasus reminded him of his sister. Perhaps he kept her alive because she has monetary value. After all, if magical creatures exist, it stands to reason there is some sort of black market for them. The interesting thing about people is what motivates them is essentially the same, in any given setting or time.

White Lightning grows up in the enchanted gardens Falina cultivated. When King Gregory gives her to Krystal, the first thing Krystal wants to do is set her free. But can she, while still a prisoner herself?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

O is for...

ONOMATOPOEIA--the use of words whose sounds reinforce their meaning. Yeah, here's a word we don't use very often but--when reminded--we go, OH YEAH! lol

This isn't a word post, but as an aside, how many of us wonder how on God's green earth some of these words originated? Sheesh. Like, why is the word DYSLEXIC so dang hard to spell? Especially for a dyslexic person. That's just cruel.

I am not a poet--at least, I don't consider myself one. But I appreciate a good rhythm and really do love onomatopoeia when used properly.

Another O word I thought would be good for a mention is OVERWHELMED. Yes, I know I'm the only person to ever feel like they've bitten off more than they can chew--or that the issue or issues they face are more than they can ever manage. Like my 5 children. Or, on any given day, one of them. My writing projects. Maintaining a healthy, productive relationship with my spouse. And sometimes, just getting up in the morning.

But, with God, all things are possible. Surely He has borne our griefs.--that's from Handel's Messiah.

I'm so glad we don't have to walk our individual paths alone.

Friday, April 16, 2010

N is for...

NOT what you might think!

My original N post was going to be on NUMBERS. Not the show, actual numbers. I was going to start with my age--34--the number of books I've completed--7--my poems--60. The number of unfinished stories I have--70 (guesstimate--about 10 yrs ago it was 50) And maybe go from there to some personal stats. Like my husband's age--42. His daughter's age--18. The number of kids I've given birth to--5. The number of miscarriages I've had--1. How many sets of twins I've had--1. Number of pregnancies I've had--5. Then my kids' ages--12, 10, 10, 8 and 5. And their ages this time next week--12, 11, 11, 8 and 6. Number of brothers--4. Number of stepbrothers--2. Number of blood-related sisters--0. Number of sisters in heart--6. Number of sisters in law--5.

Seriously, there are a lot of numbers in my life.

But, then I got to thinking. Really, my N post should be about NAMES. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE names. Seriously. I have name books (plural) and most of my kids have names that have meaning. As do my numerous characters.

When I choose a name for my characters, I have several criteria. First of all, the name has to sound right for the character. Unless I'm really wanting to confuse my readers, I won't give my villains names that sounds heroic, or my heroes names that sound villainous. Many times I will research the meaning of names that appeal to me for that character to decide which one seems to fit best. And lastly, the name has to feel right. And that's a big one. Like with my kids, it has to be a name I can say, read or spell over and over without coming to loathe it. Some of my primary character names are: Krystal, Jareth, Gregory (obviously), Roweena, Kendrick, Cassandra, Deyanna, Lucien, Aiden, Miraya, Calum, Demetria, Caresse, Kytarina, Phelan, Chloe, Nicholas, Shannah, Donovan, Khiley, and Julienne. That's a mix of heroes, villains and secondary characters. There's even a handful of pirates in there.

That said, I hated my name growing up. My given name is Cheryl Lynn, though from birth I have always been Cheri. Except at school and church, where I had to choose to either let the teacher call me Cheryl (shudder) or correct them and insist on being called Cheri. I swore once I turned 18 (another number lol) I'd change my name. Except I never found one I really liked, or that I felt fit me. Plus by then I was writing, and needed to be consistent when it came to choosing a name that would be on book covers.

Then, in August 2006, my cousin died at age 34. She wasn't just any cousin--she shared my name. She was named Cheryl Ann, and always went by Cheryl. It suited her. It fit her. And now, I don't mind being called Cheryl so much anymore. But I still prefer Cheri, because that's who I am.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for...


Ok, not really. I just think he's cute. :)

As an author of fantasy, I love reading about myths and mythology. Not a personal fan of Zeus, mind you (philanderer), but I do appreciate the stories.

Then there's the mystical stories--legends, fairies, unicorns, etc. All of it has been looped into the same magic heading these days, but in reality it's not the same thing.

What I find interesting is how the perceived facts about legends are manipulated throughout history to suit an ideal. Vampires come strongly to mind here. The sun kills them. No, not really--it just makes them glimmer. They can't stand crosses. No, actually, the cross does nothing. They stay away from garlic. Actually, they love Italian food. And so on. Werewolves. That's all I'll say about that lol.

Unicorns, for instance, are seen as the symbol of purity. In some circles they are likened to Christ, though generally in those comparisons the unicorn is a solitary creature--and not seen as a participating member of a herd.

I have always loved unicorn myths. Growing up, I had a picture in my room my 3rd grade teacher had found in a magazine. Someone had tied a horn to a white horse and taken pictures to prove the unicorn was real. I don't have the article, but I still have the pictures. They were pretty good, considering it was the 80's. I've got books--stories, legends, etc--because I love drawing comparisons. Everyone seems to have a slightly different variation. No two stories are the same.

Which, of course, is true of life and writing. Even when I do my edits on existing stories, I never do the exact same thing twice. There's always a slight variation.

It's like magic. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And here's to you!

I'm just gonna say I have the most amazing people in my life right now. I'm so humbled; you all just ROCK!! My blog is buzzing like never before, and my brand new Twitter account and FB AUTHOR PAGE are exploding with fans and followers. And the book doesn't come out till later this year. :) Thank you all so, so much!

L is for...

Love. or Lucien. Oooh, you'd like Lucien. :) (kinda looks like James Caviezel)

Lucien became King of Demarde at a young age--so young most of his decisions were controlled by the Council. At 18, when he officially claims the throne, he works to protect his borders and his people--often neglected by his father. Then he decides to treaty with the kingdom of Norvallen for a controlling share in the Salve of the Enchanted Wood. And his world changes forever.

Lucien, you see, is Gregory's father.

That's right. The evil king Gregory had to come from somewhere, right? In my book, The Wild Queen, which hopefully will be released after The Peasant Queen, my readers will meet Gregory's parents and his younger sister, Falina (Jareth's mother). Through this brief glimpse into their lives, you'll learn what it takes to turn Gregory down his path of destruction.

L is also for LOVE. The love of one character for another. The love of one person for another. The love of a parent and child. The love of the author for her characters.

Our worlds are full of love. We're surrounded by it. Inundated with it. And we can either embrace it or reject it.

Which would you rather do?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

K is for...


Bear with me; this is going to be somewhat of a soul-baring post. Krystal has come a long way, as have I. When I initially wrote the story, Krystal was me. So, I envisioned myself when I thought of her--only prettier.

Years later, I got that in my girls. Last year my youngest even wanted to be Krystal for Halloween--how special is that?

But if they decide to make a movie about my book, they wouldn't use either of my girls. So I had a few other suggestions. Like Sara Bolger from The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Or Abigail Breslin. When she's a little older.

Krystal is more than the sum of her beauty, though. She's spirited, sassy, resourceful and pretty good with a sword. She grew up on a farm with her family. When Krystal was 7, her father died and left her oldest brother--Andrew--as the head of the family. He was 15. Their mother let her grief consume her. She lost her husband and her eyesight inside of a year. This left Krystal to become the woman of the house--and with four older brothers that's a lot of responsibility.

When she ends up in Fayterra as a captive of King Gregory, Krystal uses her skills to do what anyone would do--get away. No matter how hard he tries to make her his queen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

J is for...

Jareth. Prince Jareth. Or, in this case, Oliver Coleman. But he looks like Jareth to me.

In The Peasant Queen, Jareth is Krystal's love interest--but I didn't want to wait until my L post to post love interest, you know? Good thing I didn't name him Zerin or something, right?

Krystal's nearly halfway through her adventure before she meets Jareth under unusual circumstances, but she's immediately drawn to him. He's got appeal--tall, handsome, blonde, blue-eyed, and MAGIC. But that doesn't make him perfect. Which is okay. I mean, who wants Mr Perfect? Ugh.

Jareth hasn't had it easy. With Gregory for an uncle--an uncle who hates him, mind you--challenging is rather a minor word for it. What if your guardian wanted you dead?

In addition to wielding magic, Jareth has his own unique set of skills. For one, a wicked sword arm, though he is a bit rusty when Krystal first meets him. Good thing he's got a camp of rebels to help him warm up. After all, Prince Jareth has a kingdom to save.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

And a bit about our Spring Into Reading BLOG CONTEST!!

I'm loving this A-Z Blog Challenge. Not only am I meeting new people, but I'm getting some great comments on my previously quiet blog. Thanks to everyone who has joined me in my writing quest.

Now, on to that contest. The newcomers to my blog likely don't know what I'm talking about. Last month, my sister in law Melissa Chesley (check out here blog HERE) and I are in a quest to gain 100 blog followers each. That means, to any of you who aren't math challenged like me, joining BOTH our blogs gives you extra entries to the contest.

Now, we're not picky on how we accrue followers. You can follow us through Blogspot or through FaceBook, and you'll still get those entries.

Did I hear one of you ask about prizes? You bet we have prizes. There are three prize categories--Mystery, Fantasy and Romance. Each prize package has autographed books genre specific, as well as bonuses. (Check out the post picture for a peek at Writers' Blocks--quirky and fun)

So, if you're a generous person--tell your friends and invited them to join our blogs! The sooner we get to 100 followers each, the sooner we will hold our drawings and notify the winners.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I is for...


Okay, so most icebergs don't look like this. But at least it doesn't make me think of the Titanic.

I like this picture. It makes me think of lots of fascinating things. Like, why is that castle built right there? And what's with the water life down underneath? Are they the royal couple of their world? What issues plague their society? Who is the bad guy? Maybe they are the bad guys...

You may have put it together, but authors have overactive imaginations. And when I see this picture, I start thinking. And then we're all in trouble. Let's not even start on my dreams.

That's a really scary proposition.

Friday, April 9, 2010

H is for...

lots of things.

I turned to the dictionary, one of my favorite books. At a loss for my H post, I thought I'd play around a little.

A haboob, for instance, is a violent sandstorm. (No, I am not making this up)

A hake is a hook from the shape of the jaw.

A hallux is the first toe on either of the hind legs of a terrestrial vertebrate.

I adore the dictionary. I am a lover or words. But it comes with risks. For instance, I can't eat marshmallows anymore. Look it up, if you dare.

In addition to my many dictionaries, various sizes and colors, I also have several Thesauri. Which I suppose is the plural of Thesaurus. Seriously, I love words. Lots.

Heave-ho is actually in the dictionary. Huh.

As are head start, headpiece, heavy breathing and hectare.

So, now you know one of my dirty little secrets. Dictionaries. Thesauri. Sigh. Words. Books. As you may have guessed, I'm a reader as well as a writer. :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

F is for...


Come on--dragons, fairies, princesses and king--you know you love it! Ever since we were little kids, our imaginations took us places. Some of us never outgrew that. We're called fantasy authors.

Sometimes authors of fantasy get a bad rap. I mean, all we have to do is dream up scenarios and places and things and words and stuff. It's not like we research, right?


WRONG! Any idea how much work is involved in creating a world all your own? You have to reason out standard laws of physics, laws of magic, laws of mythical creatures--and let me tell you, there are tons of resources out there to research. Yes, I said it--research. We do it. And we work hard at it. Designing a lineage for an entire set of kingdoms or countries can be tough. It's not like we can just throw any old thing together--the worlds, places, people, and things we create have to make sense!

Because if our worlds and stories don't make sense, no one will read them.

I'm not going to get into a debate of who has the harder job--the fantasy author or the nonfiction author. That's not what this post is about. It's like comparing the stay-at-home mom with the working mom. Each role has its own unique challenges.

I just feel fantasy authors don't always get respect. I've seen it--I've felt it. The patronizing, "Oh, you write fantasy," accompanied by the patronizing pat on the head or back or shoulder.

Please, spare me. Fantasy is hard work. lol

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

E is for...


This is my tentative book cover. I say tentative because Cedar Fort's design team is going to tweak it a little. Exciting, isn't it?

Perhaps it's time to share a bit more of my story with you. In The Peasant Queen, as the title implies, Krystal starts out a mere peasant. But she's not even a peasant of the kingdom of Fayterra, where the story takes place. She's from Brynne, two kingdoms over. How does she end up in Fayterra, you may ask? (I won't tell, but you can ask ;)) Let's just say the evil king (nameless for a few more posts) and magic play a part.

Exciting, isn't it?

Krystal's got spunk. Every main character should. Do you think she'd stand for this upheaval in her life? Of course not. Silly king should have chosen a more submissive victim. But then, that wouldn't be much of a story would it?

And what would be a romantic fantasy novel without the romantic interest? You'll meet him in a few posts, too. Trust me--he is so worth the wait!

Monday, April 5, 2010

C is for...


I am Cheri Chesley, and this is my author blog. Since I'm accruing new followers like quicksilver, I thought I'd take the C post to tell you a little about myself.

I was born in a little log cabin on the outskirts of . . . wait, that wasn't me. Sorry. Sometimes the voices in my head are a little louder than usual.

In truth, I was born in General Hospital. Ok, ok--Mesa General Hospital. I've always been a bit impatient, starting from being born 9 days early and NOT bothering to wait for the doctor across the room. Good thing the table was long, right? I am the last of 5 children and the only girl born to my parents. They divorced just before I turned 5, and my father passed away the spring before I turned 8.

I was an introverted, quiet child. It's not terribly surprising I turned to my imagination. At fourteen, I started writing my first novel. 282 hand written pages in a year and ten months. My sweet friends were nice enough to hang on every word as I wrote and read to them. Cool, huh? Talk about an ego boost.

I have dabbled in poetry, some of which isn't bad. I write in several genres, though YA fantasy is my current passion. And yes, I did manage to do something besides writing. In 1996 I married a great guy and we had 5 kids together--3 boys and 2 girls to add to his one girl from his previous marriage. Yep, that's 6 kids. Ages 18 to 5. And three of them are born on the same day, though not on purpose.

Last month, some of my work was published in a book called Angels Round About by Judy Olsen. In January, I was offered a contract to publish my YA romantic fantasy, The Peasant Queen, by Cedar Fort publishing. My tentative release date is Dec 1, 2010.

I also sew, play around with photography, bake when I'm stressed and love to travel with my family.

What else? Life is good. I struggle, I stumble, I learn, and I love God and Christ. God has given me all I have, and the mind to do something good with it. And I plan to.

B is for...

BOLD. There's a truck company out there. "Go bold, or go home."

Or it could be for Bones. Like my little friend here.

For the moment, let's be bold.

Authors these days need to accept the days of secluded writers penning bestsellers from their home in the wilderness are over. In order to compete with everything out there, we need to be bold to sell our books. Not pushy, mind you. Not obnoxious. But bold.

Bold as in willing to attend book signings and special events.

Bold as in willing to go to schools and speak to kids about writing and following our dreams.

Bold as in looking people in the eye and telling them you write books--whatever the genre--in a calm, straight-forward manner and not like we are apologizing for the act.

Because I'm a writer, this is my focus. But boldness can carry you whatever your quest in life.

So, walk up to someone today, smile, shake their hand and introduce yourself. Then tell them what you are, and what you do.


A is for...(toldja I'd catch up)

ABOMINABLE...AS IN SNOWMAN. This is a photo from Valentine's Day 2008 when we had an official snow day. But it fits.

As a writer, my productivity is deeply affected by external influences. So, family stresses, weather, financial issues--all of this plays into how productive a writer I am. And, you know what? I AM TIRED OF THE SNOW.

It's April, people. (Another A word :)) This morning the weather man announced we'd have 5-10 inches in our area of UT over the next two days. Please don't misunderstand--I grew up in Phoenix, Az. I understand the importance of moisture to a metropolis full of people. I get it. I also desperately want it to be Spring now.

I want to feel the sun shine on my face. I want to feel a warm breeze. I'm tired of feeling like an arctic resident.

The abominable snowman is on my roof, and I want him to take a hike.

Ok, I love rain. Rain is good. Even cold rain. Can we have rain, please?

D is for...


Yes, I am participating in the Writing Challenge. I'm a late starter, but I do plan to make up my A-C's here in the next couple of days.

To start off my part of the challenge, I'm going to give you all a little peek into my upcoming novel, The Peasant Queen. Why Dungeons, you ask? It's simple. In one of the drafts of my novel, my main character has a short stint in a dungeon after being recaptured by the evil king intent on making her his bride. Fun, huh?

Dungeons are inherently dank, dark and dismal (check me out--more D's lol). The dungeons of the castle of Fayterra are no different. The huge doors are almost too big for one person to open and close alone. In Krystal's cell, the only light is what is brought to her by the maid serving her food, or the king when he comes to gloat. Dungeons aren't particularly sanitary, either, if you think about it. But at least Krystal doesn't have to use the same hay she sleeps on for her toilet.

Fortunately, Krystal's time in the dungeon is brief. She sustained an injury during the battle that led to her recapture, which of course became infected in the dungeon's less-than-clean conditions. When this is discovered, she's taken to a bedchamber, cleaned up and put under the care of the palace's chief healer (in some ways, it's good to be the object of desire of the king).

It may be mean of me, but I'm going to stop there. I'm not about to give everything away. :)

Tomorrow: the elusive E!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Review: Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore

Review disclaimer: Sometimes I receive free books to review. This in no way influences my opinion of the books I review.

When I am asked to review a book, I studiously avoid all other reviews of that book until I have put my own review together. This has been no exception. I don’t want my opinion influenced by that of others.

Women of the Book of Mormon is the kind of book I would like to see in every LDS home in the world. What a delightful, insightful look into the quiet lives of the women we rarely hear about.

Heather B. Moore continues to impress me with her painstaking research into Mesoamerican cultures and their practices. She has a definitive skill for bringing ancient people to life, simultaneously making them real and sympathetic to her readers.

This book brought to life women I had never deeply contemplated. When I read about Abraham taking his son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice, I don’t think about Sarah—waiting at home to hear the fate of her precious, only son. When I read about Mormon and his son, Moroni, I don’t consider his wife, who remained at home while he went to battle. Moroni was in large part shaped by this brave woman, his sole parental influence for much of his childhood.

I adore Women of the Book of Mormon for shedding light on these often overlooked women. What a brilliant, inspired idea! Thank you, Heather, for putting this wonderful book together.

Pick up your copy HERE.