Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Review: Transcendent by various authors

Repeat after me: You WANT to be part of this blog tour. Go enter to win fun prizes. Lots of prizes. Go, NOW!

Why are you still here? Oh, you're back. Ok.

Transcendent is a fun, fun collection of short stories by various authors, some of which you may have heard of. Others, you will.

The first story starts out with a hilarious twist on an old tale, and it just gets better from there.

Oh, and don't forget to check out the other participating blogs:

If paranormal is your thing, or if you're wanting to try something new, you won't be disappointed. You can click on over to GOODREADS and see what people are saying about it. Then, you can head over to AMAZON to pick up the e-book, or wait for the paperback coming SOON!

Click HERE to show these fun authors some Facebook love.

And happy reading. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Poem

**I posted this last year, but it bears repeating. This is probably the best poem I've ever written.**

"Jesus Child"

The star shone high and bright,
in the sky above our heads.
We tried to tend our flocks,
but followed it instead.
How far it led us, we know not.
Nor do we really care.
For we'd have trod a thousand steps
to see who we saw there.
He was so small, this Son of God,
an infant child who lay
in a manger, with Mother dear
on a bed of hay.
His eyes, so bright, just like the star
that shone in Heaven above,
looked on us with approval
as we gazed at him in awe.
Others came, but we were first
this sweet child here to see.
And we knew then, deep in our hearts
our Savior he would be.

December 19, 1994

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Cloth Tree

Many years ago, I lived with my husband and small son in a tiny little house. One particular Christmas season, we'd just found out we were expecting twins and were in the process of looking for a larger house. As you can imagine, the tiny little house was in disarray. We only had a four foot tree, but we had simply NO room to put it. What to do? How will we put up a tree this year?

Feeling creative, I used an old sheet as a backdrop and cut out a large green triangle that I sewed to the sheet. Then, my husband and stepdaughter helped me "decorate" our tree. We hung it up over a window and strung lights around it. The gifts stacked underneath it against the wall.

Each year following, I would come across this silly little tree as I unpacked the Christmas tree and decorations. Usually, I'd just refold the cloth tree and put it back in the box. But, the tree held a special sentiment to my husband, and I guess to me as well, because I could never bring myself to throw it away.

This year, when I unpacked the boxes, I had an idea. With the help of my 5 children, we spent a fun evening cutting out and decorating little paper "gifts." My husband laminated each one, and I attached velcro to the backs and to the old, white sheet. I also used different strips of felt to create a border--no, I had never actually "finished" the edges of the tree backing.

Now, each day from December 1 to December 24, someone puts up a numbered gift as we count UP to Christmas. By Christmas eve, the little cloth tree will be surrounded with 24 happily colored gifts. Now, at last, our little cloth tree serves a purpose in our home. And each member of the family has a part in it.

I'm curious. What family traditions have you started? Or what traditions do you carry on from generations past?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What do You Think?

Pulling up to the house always felt like entering some exclusive club. Sure, nearly every other house in the cul-de-sac had desert landscaping and a three car garage, but this house stood out. Maybe it was the cascading waterfall in the front yard, surrounded by just enough rock-lined grass to frame it. Maybe it was the double solid oak doors you could see from the street. Maybe it was just because it was home.

Have you ever read a book where each chapter begins with a short letter or journal entry? What do you think of such a device? In Consequences, I'm struggling with the right balance between two points of view. There isn't enough story to give the second character her own chapters or segments, but there are aspects of her experience and feelings that the reader would benefit from knowing.

I actually kind of like the glimpses into a character's "diary" so to speak. I once read a book where the chapters took place in real time, but each one was prefaced with a short letter from the past--of either the children to their mother, or the mother to her children. I may be in the minority, here, but I enjoyed it.

Which is precisely when I'm asking. What do you think of such a storytelling tool?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Review: The Assassination of Governor Boggs by Rod Miller

About the book: Twenty-five years ago, governor Lilburn Boggs was shot in his home, but the gunman was never found. Now Detective Calvin Pogue has been hired by the Boggs family to open the cold case. From one end of the country to the other Detective Pogue follows clues that lead him relentlessly to the legendary Mormon gunman Porter Rockwell–who still isn’t making things easy for anyone!

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and found myself caught up in it from beginning to end. I do enjoy historical fiction, and I'm finding LDS historical fiction equally enthralling. It's cool to read fictional stories based in times and places we study in Sunday School.

I liked the character of Detective Pogue, and found myself hoping he could resolve the issues that kept him from his child. I really appreciated that he was a character of some depth, with his own background, and not just a vehicle to tell the assassination story. I will warn you, though, there's a twist in the end that some readers will find frustrating because it is unresolved by the end of the book. I won't say that Pogue behaves out of character at the last, because I'm not convinced he does, but it was enough for me to grumble a bit on the last page. :)

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I'm no historian, so I can't say for sure where the lines of fiction and fact blur, but it is nonetheless an entertaining and enlightening read. Rod Miller does an excellent job weaving a convincing story with compelling characters. Go for it.

You can purchase the book HERE.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book for review, but that did in NO way sway my opinion of the story.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Chloe

Dear Chloe, (From Consequences)

I’ve figured something out about myself. I can’t love anyone halfway. I guess that’s what makes me such a lousy stepmom. It’s hard for me to step back and not take part in your life because I love you like my own. I know you aren’t my child; I know you have a mother and she loves you and you love her. I’m not trying to replace anyone or edge anyone out. But I love you with my whole heart. It’s impossible for me to love a child part-way.

Having the day care taught me this. Remember when little Mae burned her hands? Her mom called to tell me what happened and I couldn’t sit still—I had to do something to help. And when she came back to day care with her hands all bandaged and only one little thumb sticking out my heart just bled for her. I’m not her mom. But I love her. Just like I love you and just like I love all my biological children.

Love isn’t a part time thing for me. Once a child pulls me into their world, that’s it; I’m hooked. I think about the kids I babysat in my teens. I wonder about the kids I took care of in the church nursery over a decade ago. The human heart has an unrelenting love capacity with no boundaries. If we allow our hearts to love, then the love just grows and grows.

You have grown up right before my eyes. The last 13 years have flown by; I swear just days ago you were that 4 year old who captured me so completely.

I saw you first. I don’t know if you know that part of the story, but I saw you long before I saw your dad. I fell in love with the little girl skipping circles around her dad long before your dad told me his name. And I knew I wanted to marry him because of the way he treated you. I wanted that kind of love and devotion for my children someday, and I got it.

If only we could have lived forever in those first months I knew you. You accepted me and we had fun together. You have a capacity to love that is unparalleled. I know why it happened. The "honeymoon" had to end at some point. Then you started treating me like I had become something forbidden. Once, you called me late at night just to whisper “I love you” and hang up. I cried. Not for me, but for what you had to change to please the people you love.

I love you. No matter what.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What it Really Means

Not too long ago, I blogged about going OLD SCHOOL, and how much it meant to try to write a novel long hand again. Today, I'm going to update you on my progress.

5700 words. That's about when my brain started going faster than my hands, and I couldn't keep up. Transcribing those last 5 or so pages into the computer, for instance, was a fight to read my own chicken scratch. Not that I've ever had stellar handwriting, but let's just say it gets much worse when I'm in a hurry.

One of my friends, when I told her what I was doing, quipped, "learn shorthand." That might work, but I struggle with the old dog/new tricks reality I realized I didn't want to take time away from my writing to learn another way of writing.

Here's the thing: I may start all my novels long hand from now on. I may write the first chapter without using a computer because it DOES do amazing things to the human brain--or at least my (mostly) human brain. I found the experience to be much richer, and I got to know my characters quickly and I tended to do more description.

Or not. I may just end up doing extensive drafting by hand, so it helps me develop my characters before I actually write the story ON MY COMPUTER.

Because that's what all this boils down to. I can ALMOST match my thought speed with a keyboard. Haven't got a prayer of doing that with a pen and paper.

So, for now, it's keyboard all the way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bella's Shower--Come Party!

I'm totally stoked to be one of the sponsor's of Bella's Totally Awesome Bridal/Baby Shower on Inksplasher. We’ve had some fun games and prizes already, with more to come. Be sure to go visit Inksplasher every day to enter to win!

In addition to her daily prizes, she's invited sponsors (like me) to give away very cool prizes, like this!

See, I figure you’re going to want to be all prepared when Breaking Dawn comes out on DVD, so here’s a package to keep handy. And the copy of The Peasant Queen is to help you kill time while you wait for them to release the movie.

How do you get entered to win my prize? It's easy!

1. FOLLOW ME: Become a follower of my blog & leave a comment on this post telling me you're a follower. If you're already a follower, just say so in the comments.

2. Answer my Trivia Question: Email the answer to the question below to bellasshower@gmail.com. Put my name, Cheri Chesley, in the Subject line of the email & include your mailing address—in case you win. Deadline: midnight, November 19, 2011.

It’s that simple. And not only will you be entered to win my prize, but you'll also get THREE ENTRIES for the Grand Prize!

So are you ready for my question? Here it is...

Earlier this month, I shared the first chapter of City of Light with my blog readers. Which 4 blogs did the segments of chapter One appear? (Hint: The answer is on my blog)

Please DON’T post the answer in the comments. Send it via email to bellasshower@gmail.com. All emails with the correct answer will be automatically entered to win my book and the Grand Prize.

The answer to the question and the name of the winner will be posted on the Inksplasher blog on November 21st. Winner must have a shipping address within the U.S. Prize will be shipped at the end of the contest.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My review: Become by Ali Cross

Last weekend I attended a writers' retreat. If you've never done one, it's awesome. I doubt non writers would get as much out of it, but there's something about having over a dozen people in a house, and hearing only the clickety clack of their keyboards for hours at a time.

I also got my hands on some fantastic books. I've teased you before with news of the DARK CARMA tour, and now you're going to hear about the A. Ali Cross' book, Become.

How can you not LOVE that cover?

From the back cover: Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

My take: Ali is a genius. Seriously. I was at a WRITERS' retreat, people, not a READERS' retreat. But I wanted to see what she wrote when she signed it. Then I thought, oh, I'll just read the prologue. Then my eyes flicked--flicked--to the first chapter and caught a few words.

I was 183 pages in before I forced myself to stop.

I love Desi--her struggles, her weaknesses, her strengths. It can't be easy to make Satan's daughter a likable character, but Ali does it with such finesse you kind of don't realize it's happening until you find yourself rooting for her. I love the Norse mythology tie-ins, but I love mythologies. This story is all about the murky gray, but none of the characters leave you guessing whose side they're on.

Ali's writing style fit me. Become Does not have the rough feel of an author's first book. I actually found myself imagining editors kicking themselves for letting this one slip through their fingers (as I read). It's that good, that compelling.

I honestly can't wait to see what she does next. And, if enough people know about Become, it could easily become a best seller.

**Disclaimer, if you want one. I bought this book with my hard-saved money, so you can bet I'd let you know if I'd been disappointed!**

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Beginning, part 1

When does a story begin? It begins with the action. While authors may develop a whole, complex back story it's never a good idea to start your book with it. This is one of the reasons I've worked at doing away with prologues. Mine were always heavy with back story, because I loved the story part. But readers want action.

Last night I watched The Fugitive with the boys. At the end, my son complained that we didn't see the part where they officially cleared Richard Kimble's name. Technically, at the end of the movie, he was still a convicted murderer. I told him that's the boring part and nobody wants to see the boring part. His brother reminded him of his previous complaints at every scene that wasn't packed with action.

It's the same with books. Nobody wants to see the boring part.

I'm going to share a little journey with you this week. If you blog hop with me, you'll get the entire first chapter of the story I teased you about a few weeks back. We're starting here and now. Tomorrow, if you hit my MOMMY BLOG, you'll get the second installment. Thursday, the third will be at LDS WRITERS BLOGCK. Friday you can tie it all together over at MORMON MOMMY WRITERS. Have fun and happy reading!

by Cheri Chesley


The voice came from everywhere and nowhere, echoing off the beautifully polished building walls so that every ear in the City could hear it. People of Light, my shadow creatures have long watched you. In two days’ time my servant shall walk among you. He will claim my bride, the maiden Aisilyn. Our union will allow me to cross the Barrier of Light, and bring your destruction!
Gennavieve, shopping in the marketplace with her sister, froze when she head the voice. Everyone around her paused to listen. Genna’s eyes sought her sister’s face; at the mention of her name, Aisilyn closed her eyes and swayed a little. Genna clutched her arm, the silk she’d been holding slid back to the merchant’s table. Aisilyn opened her eyes, and Genna saw.

She knows it’s her, she thought. Just as I know.

The voice ended, and, as though bidden, the sun slid from behind the clouds. Genna became aware of the excited voices around them, fearful and urgent.

“Let’s go home,” she said. “Mother will be worried.”

Aisilyn nodded, but didn’t pull away from Genna’s grasp. Genna inclined her head to Sorai, who snatched up their purchases and followed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oops...and YAY

Today turned out to be kind of a wash. After I sent the kids to school and Bryan off to his new job (who, seriously, gets a job after being in town 2 days?), I went back to bed. Slept till noon. Had lunch while watching last night's Castle. Showered. Did all that email and socializing stuff. Honestly, by the time I sat down to write it was 20 min till the kids get home. Bah.

So I'm putting up my post rather than waiting till later. I'll write a little tonight when I have a minute. I did want to share some news, something I've been anxiously sitting on for a little while now.

My sis, Mel Chesley, got her publishing contract today!!!!! Dontcha love the look of her blog? I totally do. Whenever I go there it always reminds me of those pirate stories I'm waiting to write/rewrite. Sigh.

I'm so happy for her. So incredibly excited! Can't wait to put her book, alphabetically of course, on the shelf next to mine!

Way to go, Mel!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life Edit

Occasionally a writer has to eat her words, and even those words aren't terribly tasty. A few weeks ago I told you all about The Price of Love, my "perfect for Halloween" story I planned to launch as an e-book last week. Lacking the huge fanfare and announcement that it's actually for sale now, I'm sure you've guessed where this is heading.

I got into the story to edit it, and found it needs SO much more work than I first thought. My initial fondness for the story had made me blind to how much I have grown as a writer since. And, so far, only one scene has been rewritten. Oddly it's a really critical scene near the end of the story.

Now, I'll let you in on what's going to happen from here. I'm going to work on this story off and on in my "free" time and get it nicely polished for NEXT Halloween. I may release it before then, if I'm really happy with it, but I doubt sales will be that good until the creepy season hits again.

I'm sorry to have disappointed you. Trust me, I'm disappointed too. But, sometimes, we just can't have what we want.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My review: The Armor of Light by Karen E. Hoover

I reviewed the book HERE on Mormon Mommy Writers Friday. Today I'm going to explore the book in more depth, so I'll dispense with the description. You can already tell by the cover it's going to be cool. Click HERE for the complete cover blurb.

I love this series. I'm going to tell you up front I would pit Karen's Wolfchild Saga against any bestselling fantasy series out there. If she keeps writing like this, she's going to be absolutely huge (fame-wise). And, having TRISTI PINKSTON for an editor can't hurt. ;)

In The Sapphire Flute, you met three primary characters--Ember, Kayla and C'Tan. Ember and Kayla are our protagonists; C'Tan the antagonist. In The Armor of Light, we get to learn more about these characters as their adventures continue and the dangers heighten.

What I'm loving is how each character grows. The girls are really coming into their own, while C'Tan is becoming an even more complex villain than we first saw. You know me; I have a documented weakness for complex villains. Click HERE if you don't believe me.

The magic woven throughout the story is believable, without being convenient. In fact, some things happen that the characters find downright inconvenient at the time. Ember makes a few new friends, and Kayla really comes into her own. I love the power and strength Kayla manifests by the end of the book.

The short is that these are characters you will love, and continue to love. Karen does a great job of finishing the story while leaving us longing to read more. I can't wait to see what's going to happen in book 3.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I know karma starts with a K, but Christine Bryant's name doesn't. CARMA stands for the first initials of each of the authors presenting books in their Dark CARMA tour. Check out my button (on the right side bar), and check out these BOOKS. They are amazing, and you're going to want to join the fun!

For My Next Trick

"Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat."


I have no idea where Rocky and Bullwinkle came from this morning. There's really no point in asking. Let's just hope it's not going to be a Rocky and Bullwinkle kind of day.

Get moose and squirrel!

K, I think I'm done.

As I tie up the edits for The Tyrant King, I find myself looking ahead to those days when I wait to hear back from my betas and then the days (and weeks) while I wait to hear from my editor. What should I work on next? The obvious answer is The Lost Princess. She's actually my November project this year. What do do in October?

I think it's time for another e-book, myself.

The Price of Love, tentative release HALLOWEEN. Set in beautiful Scotland in an ancient manor house, this is one love story gone wrong that will send shivers up your spine.

Alita is thrilled to travel to Scotland to meet her future in-laws and plan the final details of her wedding. That is, until she meets her fiance's mother. Then Alita starts having strange dreams, dreams of dying a horrible death--dreams that spur her to dig into an ages-old mystery, and in the process learn not everyone is as they seem.

Yeah, you're right. I need to work on that synopsis. It's early, mind, and I haven't had a lot of sleep. :P

Look for more updates on The Price of Love in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

But, I'm Published!

Last week, I heard from a friend of mine. We've kind of had mirror lives--our first novels came out around the same time, we sent our second ones to our publishers around the same time, we got rejected with requests to rewrite and resubmit--you know the drill. My friend, who'd worked very hard to rework her novel and has a much better book now than before, found out after 11 weeks that her publisher declined to publish it. I feel for her, particularly since I'm not as fast as she is doing rewrites, not to mention my crazy summer, and am on the verge of resubmitting my reworked novel. I'm confident my friend will move forward, but her experience has made me take a step back from my own life and think.

What will I do if my publisher declines to publish my second book?

First off, there's a reason I don't have a wireless keyboard (imagine keyboards sailing across the room to hit the far wall). My initial reactions to disappointment are sometimes unpredictable.

I know I'm not a bestselling author. I know having a published novel under your belt does NOT guarantee future publication. I've met really amazing authors with 6 or 7 published novels who still get the dreaded "no, thank you" from their publisher at times.

But, I also know I have certain obligations.

One, to myself. I'm a writer. What I love is to create stories and share them with others. Two, I have a modest fan base--actual living, breathing people who are anxiously awaiting the next installment of this series. I've heard it from them and bookstore owners alike. Granted, they aren't in the thousands, but they exist. And they matter to me. Three, I have an obligation to show my children that just because our dreams aren't easy doesn't mean we can give up. I read a great quote recently: Don't follow your dreams. Chase them!

But none of that changes the basic, economic fact that my publisher may not feel my book is strong enough to warrant their taking a risk on it. In fact, publishing my first book may have taught them I'm not as good a risk as they thought. As a writer, I have a distinct detachment from that side of the coin, and I don't know where they stand. Which is probably for the best.

The question remains: what will I do? I have options. I can try other publishers. I can search for an agent. I can self publish. In fact, in the next couple of months several of my writing friends are self publishing really incredible books. That will mean it will be harder to get my book in stores, but it will also mean I will have the book out to the public sooner than expected.

I really don't believe there's an easy answer here. Each process has its positive and negative sides. Shopping the book around could take the extra time my readers need to forget they're anticipating the next book. I need to evaluate my position, my goals, and see where I stand. What will be best for me, in both the short and long term? The other issue I have is that this is the continuation of a series, and how many publishers would be willing to pick up a series on the second book?

Decision, decisions. But at least I have options. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As Promised--my Newest Idea

The City of Light and its inhabitants have long been protected from The Dark by the aura created by the actions of their pure hearts. One day a booming, horrible voice resonates throughout the city. “People of Light, my shadow creatures have long watched you. In 2 days’ time my servant will enter your city to claim my future bride, the maiden Aliyah. Once I join her to me I will learn the secrets of Light and will finally be able to destroy you.”

I've thought for a couple weeks about this, long and hard, trust me, but I'm 99.9% sure this is my voice. This is something I wrote, and not just because when I transcribed it to the computer I could remember the sentences exactly as written without looking.

The thing is there are 5 maidens in the city named Aliyah. One has a younger sister, Gennavieve. Suspecting her sister is the demon’s chosen bride, Genna starts sleeping in her sister’s room. In 2 weeks, Aliyah will marry her one true love and create a bond not even a demon can break. Genna plans to protect her sister and save her from a terrible fate.

I love my strong female characters, as I'm sure you know by now. Genna is certain she can make a difference, and is even willing to sacrifice her life if it means her sister will be safe.

The demon’s servant sent to retrieve Aliyah is a Dark Warrior trained from birth to serve this demon. He is a tall, muscular mortal man endowed with special strengths to fulfill his destiny. Because the People of Light are not warriors they cannot oppose him. Instead they wait in fear, each of the 5 families praying it is not their Aliyah he wants.

**dramatic pause lol**

He comes in the night. Finding 2 maidens in the room there is first some confusion about who he must take. Genna convinces him to take her. He gives her 2 gifts from the demon—a bracelet that both marks her as the demon’s bride but also magically compels her to his lair. The other gift is a cloak. The demon has enchanted these cloaks. Through them he can read a person’s thoughts and when he wants to speak to them the hood comes up and only the wearer can hear his voice. His servant also wears one of these cloaks, though one has never before been used by a Person of Light. The demon finds reading Genna to be like finding the way through a maze. Her thoughts seem to hide from him, and sine her plan to save her sister is her purest thought he does not find it, keeping her identity secret from him.

Now, I know he's the Dark Warrior and all, servant to a demon, but I like him already. Don't you?

Genna has a loyal maid, Sorai, who insists in going with her. The Dark Warrior tries to talk her out of it, even offering to kill her quickly because the demon will not be as kind in her death. The chances she will be allowed to live and serve Genna are slim to none, but she insists.

Again, strong female characters.

Because the demon can read his Dark Warrior he knows the man may betray him. As the Dark Warrior takes Genna along the perilous road back to his master, he falls in love with her. Finally he chooses to defy the demon and save Genna, but the demon has foreseen this, and compelled Genna through the bracelet to move through the night, putting her ahead of the warrior. Now he must race to find her before she reaches the demon’s lair.

Classic good vs. evil conflict, but with some fun twists. I'm really looking forward to fleshing out this story, but don't look for it to be a series. I don't think it's THAT fleshy! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From the Other Side of the Move

I'm getting all my posts in early this week, in case I end up with no internet. Kinda hard to blog post with no internet. :)

What's new in my writing world? Well, the publisher rejected Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks, as their children's book quota has been realized this year. I'm going to shop it around for next year. Hopefully I'll find someone who will want it.

Nothing new to report on The Tyrant King. I'm not writing/editing much, but I am learning quite a bit about how to improve my writing and look forward to making it a real knockout book once the kids are back in school. Yes, my kids haven't started yet. It's a casualty of the move, but they start today. Hooray! Tomorrow, I plan to be home all morning and afternoon with nothing but my thoughts. I almost can't believe I'm looking forward to that.

Still adjusting to small town living. That will take some time. But, I think I will enjoy the quiet. Less hustle and bustle. More writing time. More time with my kids. More bloggy time. :) More writing time. Wait, did I say that already? lol

In the move, I found something truly exciting--a fresh, new story idea that I'd written down forever ago and just can't wait to develop. In my next post, I'll give you the basics so you can tell me if you've seen or heard it before. One of my biggest fears finding something like this is that it's not my idea at all, but one I summarized from another source. I'd hate to be repetitive. If feels like mine, but seems so brilliant I can't quite bring myself to claim it. Make sense?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It just Keeps Coming

We are moving in 6 days. Good thing I've got these great pain killers to keep me from freaking out too much. :) I guess something good can come from having your wisdom teeth yanked the week before a cross country move. And, if something in this post doesn't make sense--you now know why.

Saturday night I had this fantastic story idea just hit me out of the blue. I'm not ready to share it yet (mean, I know--sorry!) because I'm still working out the kinks, but I just love it when inspiration strikes like that. It's such a great feeling to have a wealth of ideas to choose from when I sit down to write, although I know it's going to be a little while before I get to actually write it. But it's a twist on a missing person story, actually a couple of twists on your basic missing person plot. The inspiration, I can see now, came from a combination of a movie I watched (and thought it could have been better), a book I read a few weeks back, and my own brain.

What's really cool is when the main character just starts telling her story, right out of the blue. I admit that I hear stories in first person, though I often adapt them to 3rd person. This one I may not, because I like the 1st person "voice." She's capable, yet vulnerable, with a healthy dose of suspicion. And I like the way she describes the people she meets and interacts with. She's a little irreverent. :)

I promise, I will share more when I can. Stay tuned for a first scene, or even a brief synopsis in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

From Unlikely Sources

It started out as such a nice, pleasant slave auction.

I'm going to use that sentence, or some derivative thereof, in a story someday.

Now you want to know where it came from, right?

My imagination? No. From the mouth of my 12 yr old son.

Actually, he said something similar and I can't remember his exact wording, but I wanted to tweak it anyway. I think it makes an interesting start to a story. I mean, who expects a slave auction to be nice or pleasant? Certainly not the slaves. Certainly not any of us with a shred of compassion for our fellow man. I love how those words contrast slave auction.

What brought this on? We were watching Voyage of the Dawn Treader (yeah, FINALLY), and Lucy had just been sold at auction. The man hung a crude "sold" sign around her neck and brought out her sniveling cousin, and about that time the cloaks came off, the good guys revealed themselves, and the fighting began. Watching the structure of the scene disintegrate, my son made his comment. Gotta love his wry sense of humor.

I was told once that I would receive inspiration from my children. This one came easy. He spoke. My brain lit up. I had to write it down. Yes, this is the same child with the twisted brain that I've talked about before. I've shared some of his writing on my other blog, the one strictly about my family. Here's a LINK if you haven't had a chance to check it out. :)

And here's a fun LINK to a giveaway my friend is doing on her blog. She's helping me in that final push to raise money to help another FRIEND with her cancer expenses.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This is an actual letter I sent to my publisher, with a few changes to protect the innocent. :) What do you think?

Dear (name withheld):

This submission is in response to this publisher’s public request for Mother’s Day book submissions. I offer you a children’s book with a twist that will appeal to mothers and children alike—as a gift, or for themselves. It is called Lizzie Lilac and the Left Socks.
Lizzie Lilac is a little girl with a passion for socks, so she notices when her favorite socks come up missing. Determined to solve the mystery, she finds herself following a troll to a secret world where she discovers an entire troll village. Lizzie learns trolls steal only “left” socks, because they only know how to knit “right” socks. Caring as only a young girl can, Lizzie solves the trolls’ problem, and earns a reward.
When she wakes up in her bed the next morning, Lizzie isn’t sure if her adventure really happened, or if it was just a dream, but she does find that all of her missing socks have been restored, and someone has left a mysterious gift under her pillow.
I wrote this story with the help of my ten year old daughter, Kylie, and hope to include her name on the cover. Kylie and I have friends, Rebecca and her daughter, Lizzie. Rebecca was diagnosed in May with breast cancer, and her strength and courage has been an inspiration. She makes beaded butterfly breast cancer awareness pins. I’ve included one. Please wear it with our compliments. In my mind, the Lizzie in the story has a mother who is recovering from chemotherapy. She can have either a scarf on her bald head or wear a cute hat. The treasured socks Lizzie misses are socks her mother sewed little, beaded butterflies on while she was sick. I believe, through the combination of the words and strong pictures, adult readers will easily see the deeper meaning behind the book as they read the entertaining story to their child(ren).
I currently serve as President of the League of Utah Writers’ Tooele Chapter. My first novel, The Peasant Queen, is now being sold in stores and online. You can also find my name as one of the contributors in Covenant Communications’ inspirational compilation, Tender Mercies, released Spring 2010, and its upcoming sequel. I appreciate your time and consideration.


Cheri Chesley

Cross your fingers! :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tristi's New Book!

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.

Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.

Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.

Second, come to the book launch!

You are invited to an

August Authorama!

Saturday, August 13th

Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

12 – 4 pm

Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,

and Dutch oven cobbler

prepared by world champion cook

Keith Fisher.

Authors Tristi Pinkston, J. Lloyd Morgan, Cindy Hogan,

Nichole Giles, and Heather Justesen

will all be there to sign books.

This is one book launch event

you will not want to miss!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My review: A Countess Below Stairs

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

From the cover: After the Russian Revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination. Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties, not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there's the small matter of Rupert's beautiful and nasty fiancée. . .

My opinion: I've been trained as a novelist not to "head hop" or, if you're unfamiliar with the term, not to show too many different character POV's in one book, or even one scene. That aside, this book is one of the best I've read in a while. The author had a way of making the protagonists characters you absolutely invested in, while making the antagonists utterly despised for their ideals and actions. Seriously, give it a shot. I read it in an evening because I couldn't put it down. Check out this LINK to find the paperback and the Kindle version.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


He Smiles No More

We have pictures on the wall of him,
his mouth always a smile.
Time passes, and when we look at him,
we see it has faded.
The pictures never tell the truth.
The smile, warm and loving, is never seen.
Now we see a child, a mere babe in years,
carrying the torture, pain, and tears
of someone older than us all.
The child, so loving and dear,
cries himself to sleep now.
When I look at the pictures on the wall
of him so young and innocent,
I think to myself,
"He smiles no more."
The pain he carries weighs him down.
How can we expect an angel to fly
when he carries all our burdens
on his wings?
Some say he'll outgrow it all,
and be a normal person.
They say sensitivity is weak.
In this world, today, I know it is,
but it's purer and better than anything.
We love him, yes,
but he smiles no more.
Help the child, Daddy!
He needs you!
Mommy please!
He cries out for you both,
as I plead.
Put aside your differences, and
help your commonality:
your son.

April 17, 1992

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You thought I Forgot

Didn't you? Don't deny it. Yes, I can post about things other than e-books. :)

She Isn't Here

Knock, knock--was that someone at the door?
No, her little friends don't play here anymore.
So quiet, so still. No silence so lonely
as the silence of toys not playing
with their little girl.
I turn them on so I can hear
what it was like when she was with me.
I chide myself for all the times
I asked her to be quiet.
Her drawings, her books, her dolls...
I find them all around me.
The tape I have of her reading her first book--
the sounds that all surround me.
I want my baby back! My little girl,
when can you be with me?
Without you, it's like I'm sitting
all alone, in an empty field.

August 1, 1996

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Story on Layering

Last week, Rebecca had to have port surgery. If you've been keeping up with her BLOG, you'll know that she's been having trouble with the chemo and they had to do something other than the IV method. This is one BRAVE lady, people. She hates all the medical stuff, hates needles, hates hospitals, etc--and has really come through it all amazingly well. Also, Monday (July 4) her youngest had his 4th birthday. He made sure we understood that all the fireworks and parties were for him. :) What a cutie!

Now I have just the teensiest request for me. Here's where the layers come in.

The Wild Queen, my e-book, is the story of a great, epic romance--but it is not a romance novel. Unfortunately, in categorizing the story for sale, someone *cough* me *cough* listed romance as one of the search words. This has led to at least one misunderstanding. A kind reader picked it up on amazon.com expecting a romance, and was sorely disappointed.

Please understand I appreciate feedback, even the not-so-nice kind, because it gives me a chance to analyze my writing, learn and grow. I also understand a review is simply someone's opinion, and I don't intend to try to please everyone. This reader took the story at face value and didn't like what they saw. Because of that, they jumped to a couple of erroneous conclusions, and really socked it to my non-romance romance novel. I've purposely layered this story, making it more complex than it would otherwise appear. I'm also confident I didn't over-complicate the plot because I've had several readers tell me what they think was really going on--and they are right.

So what's my problem? Simply this: the ONLY review the book has on amazon.com is a 1 star review, which I feel does the book--and my efforts to raise money for my friend's medical expenses--a disservice. My request? If you've read the book, please go to the product page on AMAZON and leave your review. I don't want anyone to diss this person's review or sink to name calling, because that's not what this is about. All I ask is that there be other opinions on there, too.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I got to see Rebecca on Sunday. She's sporting a really cute, black wig now. As she put it, her hubby really likes this one. HERE is where she talks about it on her blog, and you get to see a picture!

She also has been busy working on things other than the cute, butterfly pins. Check THIS out. Personally, I think it's a brilliant idea. I mean, how many brides end up barefoot by the end of the reception? :)

Rebecca also talks about her last round of chemo HERE. And HERE is where she gets up on her soapbox for a little bit and reminds us a little of how precious life really is.

And, if this blog post isn't "linktastic" enough, I've got a few more for you. If you've been haunting my blog, wanting to help out by buying my books, but just find a $4.99 ebook TOO much of a risk, now you can get The Wild Queen for just $2.99!!! Remember, SMASHWORDS offers the book in all formats, but you can also get it directly for your KINDLE or NOOK. I've heard really good things about it. :)

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lest We Forget

My friend Rebecca had her second chemo treatment last Thursday. Remember, if you will, to check out her BLOG and leave her comments. She does a pretty good job of chronicling her cancer journey with eloquence and humor.

When she's feeling up to it, she works on these little beauties:

She's been kind enough to do several for me because, in helping her out as much as I can, I'm selling them for $2 each, or giving them to people who help in other ways. I have and wear my own little pink one that is unique and pretty. If you can't read the quote Rebecca puts on each one, it says:

"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." ~Anonymous

I've also provided all the handy links to my books so you can pick up whatever you want and, in the process, help Rebecca with her treatment costs. Remember, I'm donating all my book sales income to her *through August 31st, 2011* to help pay her medical expenses. If The Peasant Queen appeals most to you, then you can find the PRINT version here or from your area bookstores. If you'd rather entertain your mind with The Wild Queen, you can find the KINDLE, NOOK or OTHER e-reader versions here.

Or, if you'd rather a quick read, you can snag the chilling short story Ghost Bride for your KINDLE, NOOK, or OTHER e-reader.

And if you're not much of a reader, or don't enjoy YA fantasy novels, you can simply share the link for this post through Facebook or Twitter, or even on your own blog. There more people who know, the more help Rebecca will receive. You never know--just a couple clicks of your mouse may make all the difference! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authors are People, Too

This morning, Yahoo "News" posted an article about a children's author who was ejected from an airplane for swearing. Click HERE for the article. I clicked it mainly because I was curious whether a beloved children's author had been caught being human. Let's face it--we all make mistakes. Some are just more public than others.

What I found ridiculous is that this article is about a TV producer who happens to have a book coming out later this year and said the F-word (maybe) twice in exhausted frustration. This calls to mind many famous actors who have written a children's book here or there. We don't call them authors. They're still actors. But "children's author swears" has a better ring to it than "TV producer says F-word."

That's it, Yahoo. Go right for the sensationalism. Worry about accuracy later. Sigh.

So, before you start thinking that ALL children's authors routinely drop the F-bomb, I thought I'd tell you a story about one of the good ones. :)

Gail Carson Levine, best known for books like Ella Enchanted, The Fairy's Return, Fairest and Ever is such an author. When I checked out my friend Rebecca's BLOG a couple of weeks ago, it was with the intent to find some clue to lifting her spirits. Fighting cancer is no fun, but it generally has a heavy emphasis on the physical fight. I wanted to make sure she had the emotional well being to balance that out. I still want to. But, anyway, one her blog she lists her "Absolute Favorite Books" and, on that list, is "any Gail Carson Levine book."

This got my wheels turning. I'd met Gail briefly at The King's English Bookstore in SLC last year when she came out to help promote her newest Disney Fairy book. I even have a picture of her posing with my daughter on my phone. Let's put aside the fact that I was too star struck to admit to her that, yes, I am also an author and had a book coming out later that year. But I did listen while she talked, especially where she said she posts author advice on her blog. I've been following her blog ever since.

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if Rebecca got a signed Gail Carson Levine book in the mail out of the blue? Wouldn't that help lift her spirits? The answer: absolutely. So I commented on Ms Levine's blog and let her know what I wanted to do. I didn't expect a quick response--she's a busy lady--but I got one anyway. Yes, she'd love to send my friend a book. Which one? In order for this to be a surprise, I couldn't ask Rebecca. I chose The Two Princesses of Bamarre, because, to me, it's the story of finding strength you didn't know you had. And I believe Rebecca is stronger than she may think.

Sunday, when she came to church (the first time since her diagnosis), Rebecca told me, "You have connections." She'd gotten the book. Squeee! I was excited. Ms Levine really delivered. I'm so grateful, I just had to share how fantastic it is of her to take the time and trouble to do this sweet thing for a virtual stranger.

That's pretty cool. And I'm almost certain she did it without swearing. ;)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do a Beautiful Thing--Buy a Book, Help a Sister

My friend, Rebecca White, is 35 years old and has breast cancer. She got her diagnosis May 11th. She had a mastectomy May 13th. Three days later, she went back to the doctor to have the bandages removed. She confessed, almost in a whisper, that she just wasn't ready to see under the bandages.

Rebecca is an amazing, strong person. She's so skilled in all those craft-type things that leave me with glue on my fingers and glitter in my hair. She has a happy marriage and three great kids age 10 and under. Rebecca could be me. She could be your sister, your friend, your mother. She could be you. Check out her BLOG. She shares her journey and experiences there. It's heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.

In general terms, we know cancer can strike anyone at any time. It's not an old person's disease anymore. It strikes children, mothers; in short, anyone. Soon Rebecca will start her chemotherapy. We're all optimistic for a positive outcome, but cancer surgeries and treatments do not come cheaply. Since she won't let me shave my head, I've decided to show my support for Rebecca in other ways.

This is more than taking her meals and taking her kids to and from church; I've done that. Anyone can do that, and they do. We have a supportive ward out here. But I wanted to take it a step further.

I'm donating all my book sales income through August 31st to help Rebecca and her family pay their medical expenses. This is something they need, and in order to make it the most effective I need all the help I can get. And this is why I'm appealing to everyone I can. My book sales don't just mean the royalties from selling print copies of The Peasant Queen (which, incidentally, is on LDS Living's Summer Reading LIST), but also all income from my two e-books--The Wild Queen and my short story, Ghost Bride.

It's so easy. All you have to do is purchase depending on your interests and ability to help. The Wild Queen and Ghost Bride can be found at SMASHWORDS, which not only offers the e-books for every e-reader including simply your home computer, but also offers the highest revenues.

Printed copies of The Peasant Queen can be found, or ordered, at your local bookstores. You can also find it online at AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, and BORDERS.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble also offer each book for the Kindle or Nook, respectively.

Thank you in advance for your help, and happy reading!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I've Been Tagged

The wonderful and talented Karen Hoover tagged me on her BLOG. This is a new one for me--my first tag, so I'll do my best.

Do you think you're hot? Seriously? Is this high school? lol. Um, NO.

Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment

I'm getting ready to change it though.

When was the last time you ate chicken meat? Yesterday.

The Song(s) you listened to recently? I listen to music to help me fall asleep.
"The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
"Within You" David Bowie
"Wanted Dead or Alive" Bon Jovi
"Never Say Die" Bon Jovi
"As the World Falls Down" David Bowie
"Best I can" Queensryche
"Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" Trans Siberian Orchestra
"Standin Outside the Fire" Garth Brooks

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
Exactly how much I wanted to reveal :)

Do you have nicknames? Really?
Cher-Bear (shortened to Bear)--long story
my kids call me Mommy
hubby calls me--ha! you didn't actually think I'd put that on here, did you? lol

Tag eight Blogger friends
Laura Bastian
Canda Mortensen
Angie Lofthouse
Deirdra Coppel
Ali Cross
Elana Johnson
Nichole Giles
Elizabeth Mueller

Who's listed as number one?
Laura Bastian--mommy, author and really insightful critiquer!

Say something about number 5.
Incredibly sweet. Really supportive.

How did you get to know number 3?
Through various writing circles.

How about number 4?
AMAZING-ly talented lady! She did two of my e-book covers, and writes pretty dang good stuff, too!

Leave a message for number 6.
So looking forward to your book release, Elana!!

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.
I plead the 5th. lol! Love ya, Canda :)

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?
Yes! They are both caring and really upbeat people. I love that!

Now, in all honesty, I'm not going to check up on anyone to see if they are continuing the fun. It's not that I don't care about you all, but I am crazy busy with edits this week. If Karen hadn't emailed me to tell me I'd been tagged, I'd probably STILL not know! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My review: NIA by Mella Reese

Nia, a 16 yr old princess with a penchant for healing, is stunned to learn that the "gift" her father's conquered enemy has offered is in fact a man. His name is Garreth, the fourth and therefore worthless son of a conquered king.

Nia is furious. He is not a gift--he is a man. And what does she need with a giant, muscular shadow anyway? But as kingdom intrigues unravel and Nia learns more about the world around her, she will become grateful to have Garreth by her side.

Nia is a good story. I found myself entertained, and did not close the book wishing I’d never opened it to begin with. The characters stayed with me for a time afterward; I wondered about them and whether Nia’s next venture would meet with success.

There were, however, two things that nagged at me. One, I found the language to be distracting at times. The more formal language would occasionally pull me out of the narrative. The other issue was, in the entire book, I can't recall what Nia looked like. I have, in my own stories, occasional forgotten to describe a minor character for my readers--but to not recall the main character's description bothered me. I even went back and re-read the first 30 pages and still didn't find one. Still possible I missed it, but it lessens the odds. :)

Overall, I liked Nia. The characters are entertaining; the plot plausible and definitely full of interesting twists. You can order your copy HERE. I would also strongly recommend you check out author Mella Reese's WEBSITE and BLOG.
Mella Reese is a native Nevadan and proud survivor of Cushing's Disease. She attended Brigham Young University in Utah and Hawaii before completing her decree in Special Education at The University of Nevada Las Vegas. Ms Reese lives in Southern Nevada with her husband, son and daughter.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Easiest Way to Give

I want to introduce you to someone. Her name is Rebecca White. She's married to a kind man, and they have three young children ages 10 to 3. Becky home schools, she does awesome crafts, and she makes jewelry. She even made me this necklace.
She's 35 years old.

And she has breast cancer.

Becky found a lump and wanted to ignore it. She's young, younger than the recommended age to get a mammogram. But she had to have it checked out, because she's conscientious that way. Because, even when scared, she does what she knows she has to do.

She got the call the afternoon of Wednesday, May 11th. Thursday she went to see the surgeon. Friday morning they did a mastectomy. That's right--two days after finding out.

As I type this, she's still up at the hospital recovering from surgery. I'm desperately resisting the urge to hover in the hospital hallways, because I know I can't do any good there.

Here's why I am telling you about Becky. This diagnosis has come at one of the worst times possible (as if there is such a thing as a good time to have breast cancer). her husband recently had back surgery, and is still recovering. And we all know medical treatments and procedures are expensive.

For the sake of Becky's family, for their well being and to help prevent financial devastation, I am donating ALL my royalties from my book and e-book sales to them to help pay their medical expenses. This includes all royalties and sales through August 31, 2011. Here's where you can help. In as little as a couple of clicks of your mouse, you can purchase a book or e-book and contribute to my cause.

Just so you know, Smashwords.com offers books in ALL e-reader formats, so you can just go there and get whatever you need. I offer the other links in case you prefer to buy directly from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

Ghost Bride is a short story, a ghost story even. It's a fun, quick read that's sure to entertain. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. You can buy it on Amazon, Smashwords or BN.com.

The Peasant Queen is my first print novel, but is also available as an e-book if you prefer. Discover the magic. Here's the summary: After running away from home, Krystal is transported to a faraway kingdom where an evil tyrant is bent on taking the crown - and Krystal's hand in marriage. But when she falls in love with the rightful heir to the throne, she must make an impossible choice: sacrifice her one chance at happiness or face the destruction of an entire kingdom.

You can purchase the PRINT version, or the KINDLE or NOOKBOOK.

The Wild Queen is an unofficial prequel to The Peasant Queen and my first novel length e-book. Roweena is the crown princess of Norvallen, a tiny kingdom with only one thing of value—the Healer’s Grove. The trees in this small section of forest are enchanted, giving a sap that can be mixed into potions or salves to heal almost any wound.

And it’s in high demand.

Lucien, the young king of neighboring Demarde, comes to Roweena’s father seeking an alliance, but comes away with a marriage contract for young Roweena’s hand. Furious and stubborn, this untamed beauty vows he will never conquer her. But the contract purposely gives her time to come to terms with her fate.

Before Lucien can return, Roweena’s home is attacked and her parents are murdered. The Healer’s Grove is also attacked—burned to the ground. With nothing more than her horse and the clothes on her back, Roweena goes to the only person she knows can help her. Lucien.

Purchase The Wild Queen for KINDLE, NOOKBOOK, or at SMASHWORDS.

Thank you. Remember, a little click can go a long way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Home Stretch

Launching an e-book can be complicated. You want to make sure you're not just putting a story up for the sake of saying you've done it. You want--at least I want--to be sure I'm putting the best story out there that I can.

But, we're in the home stretch now. On Friday, May 13th, readers will be able to purchase The Wild Queen for their e-readers or even home computers.

In case I haven't shared yet, (or if you missed it) The Wild Queen is the story of King Lucien and Queen Roweena--Gregory's parents.

Roweena is the crown princess of Norvallen, a tiny kingdom with only one thing of value—the Healers' Grove. The trees in this small section of forest are enchanted, giving a sap that can be mixed into potions or salves to heal almost any wound.

And it’s in high demand.

Lucien, the young king of neighboring Demarde, comes to Roweena’s father seeking an alliance, but comes away with a marriage contract for young Roweena’s hand. Furious and stubborn, this untamed beauty vows he will never conquer her. But the contract purposely gives her time to come to terms with her fate.

Before Lucien can return, Roweena’s home is attacked and her parents are murdered. The Healer’s Grove is also attacked—burned to the ground. With nothing more than her horse and the clothes on her back, Roweena goes to the only person she knows can help her. Lucien. But he can do nothing with no legal claim to Norvallen, so they marry.

Lucien and his army destroy the invaders and rescue what remains of Roweena’s people. He then makes Norvallen a part of his kingdom, but separate, ruled by a man Lucien trusts who answers only to him.

Roweena tries to carve a piece of life out for herself in Demarde, but her wild ways often clash with Lucien’s calm, reasoning manner. They have a son, Gregory, and then a daughter, Falina. When Roweena is pregnant for the third time, she vanishes. Speculation runs rampant. Was she kidnapped, fallen victim to a mysterious enemy? Or did she run away?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Day

Actually, that was 2 days ago. And I'm really not in any kind of panic. Mostly. :)

It's May now, and we're winding down the school year and my writing time. I don't get any writing done in the summer when the kids are home, so I'm really not planning to do any from May 26th through August 20th (or whenever school starts again). This is a self-preservation technique to save me the stress and aggravation of trying to write and not succeeding.

But my plans have been a little redesigned.

Last week, I posted about my writing doubts while I waited for the publisher to get back to me for The Tyrant King. They did, with a list of suggested changes and a request to resubmit when I make the changes. At first, I was sad. I mean, I didn't WANT to have to do any more work on it, but that night as I was driving (another epic story for another day) to an author event one of the more inspirational songs I use spontaneously played on the radio. For me. I know it was just for me. :) And I'm honest enough to admit my writing isn't perfect, and the story DOES have issues, so I'd much rather fix them now rather than have it published full of plot holes. (slight exaggeration) So while I wait to hear back from my beta readers for my e-book, The Wild Queen, I'm going to work on fixing The Tyrant King--with the hope of resubmitting it by the end of this month.

What has changed? My 3rd planned e-book, The Price of Love, has been put off indefinitely. And I'm not going to start The Lost Princess, my (hopefully) 3rd print book, until I've resubmitted The Tyrant King to the publisher. I'm still hoping to get it all done this month, but I'm also cutting myself a little slack.

I may also be writing a little into June. Hopefully the kids will forgive me. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Having Doubts

As the weeks tick by waiting for my publisher to get back to me about The Tyrant King, I find myself dwelling more and more in the world of doubt. I know this is a normal process authors go through, but I doubt it gets easier with time and experience.

Which makes me wonder how much authors are willing to put themselves through, and why?

The first draft of The Peasant Queen that I submitted was roughly 114,000 words. The copy of The Tyrant King that I submitted is about 57,000 words. It doesn't take a math genius to see that's about half the size. Which begs two questions:

Have I really learned to be THAT concise of a storyteller?

Or is it that I've become TOO concise? Am I not telling enough of the story?

Oops--that's three questions.

Forgive me if, for a while, I try to hold my footing while the waves of doubt smash me against the rocks over and over again. Eventually I'll make my way back to solid ground--one way or the other.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Poem


It’s my pillow, but I don’t mind.
His drool will dry in no time.
He is my son, my little boy.
The one I thought might die.
He is so peaceful, in my bed;
his blanket tucked around his head.
His knees are up; his left toes curled.
He means more to me than all the Jeffreys in the world.
Though it is dark, in my mind’s eye
I see that scar that saved his life.
I know how lucky we have been.
No therapy or hospital stays for him.
I count the years that I have had
with Jeffrey by his twin brother’s side.
A Daniel without Jeffrey would not be whole.
I know this deep within my soul.
I love my boy, my miracle.
I thank God he is with me still.
I pick him up, his blanket, too.
He rests his head on me and sighs.
I carry him off to bed.
He is mine.

April 23, 2002

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Editing Life

My goal this week is to finish the edits for The Wild Queen so I can get it out to my beta readers and have it ready to go by the end of this month. My reason? Next week the kids are on Spring Break--and three of my kids have a birthday next week. Ya, I'm not going to get anything done unless it's this week. :)

Saturday at Write Here in Ephraim, author Michael Knudsen taught a class on self editing that was incredibly timely--at least for me. I feel a teeny bit robbed, since we ran out of time and he had to cut a large part of the presentation short. His technique was endorsed by the incomparable Tristi Pinkston, who not only is a published author of 6 novels but also a freelance editor. Tristi appreciated Michael's editing process, and appreciated how dynamic his finished story turned out to be because of it. Wouldn't we all want to have a finished book like that? I know I do.

That's this week's project, anyway. I'll let you know next week how I do. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Another Ebook

I'm really excited to announce the coming of The Wild Queen, a not-quite-novel-length prequel to my published novel, The Peasant Queen. My excellent cover designer, Deirdra Coppel, has come through once again. Don't you agree?

Here's a little about the story:
Roweena is the crown princess of Norvallen, a tiny kingdom with only one thing of value—the Healer’s Grove. The trees in this small section of forest are enchanted, giving a sap that can be mixed into potions or salves to heal almost any wound.

And it’s in high demand.

Lucien, the young king of neighboring Demarde, comes to Roweena’s father seeking an alliance, but comes away with a marriage contract for young Roweena’s hand. Furious and stubborn, this untamed beauty vows he will never conquer her. But the contract purposely gives her time to come to terms with her fate.

It gives her too long. Before Lucien can return, Roweena’s home is attacked and her parents are murdered. The Healer’s Grove is also attacked—burned to the ground. With nothing more than her horse and the clothes on her back, Roweena goes to the only person she knows can help her. Lucien. But he can do nothing with no legal claim to Norvallen, so they marry.

Lucien and his army destroy the invaders and rescue what remains of Roweena’s people. He then makes Norvallen a part of his kingdom, but separate, ruled by a man Lucien trusts who answers only to him.

Roweena tries to carve a piece of life out for herself in Demarde, but her wild ways often clash with Lucien’s calm, reasoning manner. They have a son, Gregory, and then a daughter, Falina. When Roweena is pregnant for the third time, she vanishes. Speculation runs rampant. Was she kidnapped, fallen victim to a mysterious enemy? Or did she run away?

Watch this blog closely during April for announcements of when The Wild Queen will be available!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bees in My Butt Blog Fest

This is me totally dropping the ball.

My friend, Rebecca Shelley, trusted me to put up this blog fest info and link last week. Or even the week before. I started well, but then the email got lost in the swamp that is my email inbox.

If you're quick, you can still enter the contest. Drawing will be held Monday.

HERE is the purchase link to buy Bees in My Butt for $3. Coupon code: 3UKPPPQM

I want you to know I've read the books, and I find them honest (in the way they depict smart kids) and very funny. This is entertaining stuff, and Rebecca is not short on talent. Even though you've missed the fun, please don't hesitate to check out these books. They're worth it. :)

You can read about the Blog Fest HERE.

And here's a little about the books: Take Monkey, a literary genius with flatulence; Bean, a science and math guru; Vinny, a computer whiz who can't keep her mouth shut;
and Art, an artist who can shoot a basketball like a pro, confront them with a mess of fourth grade trouble, and watch the fun

In Bees in My Butt, the first book of the Smartboys Club series, the members of the Smartboys Club use their skills to battle a group of crazed Ninjas that take over the school. And it happens on a day when Monkey has the worst case of flatulence imaginable.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

Well, I did it! I mailed the complete submission packet for The Tyrant King to the publisher this morning. Now, it's up to them.

So I'm moving on, too. A really great friend of mine, who happens to be a GENIUS artist, Deirdra saved me yesterday. Check out the cover she came up with for one of my new ebooks.

My version, my own, pathetic attempt, involved what was supposed to be a tattered wedding veil on black velvet with blood splatters. I won't subject you to the pain of viewing it. Thank you, Deirdra, for being so brilliant!

As I sit in my post-submission euphoria, I'm eager to tackle the next projects: ebooks. Ghost Bride is a super short one I'm only going to sell for 99 cents. The Wild Queen, being an installment of The Peasant Queen series, may be as much as $5.00. (I know, don't blow a gasket lol) The Price of Love, may sell for $2 or $3, depending on several things. The more I research, the more intimidated I become--but that's cool, because I'm going to do it anyway. :)

But I have the entire month of April to accomplish this. 3 ebooks published by April 30th. I'm working on revisions, and cover art, and getting all my ducks in a row formatting-wise before I start launching books. I'm also going to attend a class on ebooks (as long as it doesn't interfere with my presentations) when I'm here:
I highly suggest, if you're in or near the area of Ephraim, UT on April 9th you come check it out. You can't beat free, and there's going to be tons of good information passed around.
See you soon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Call for Submissions

My publisher, Cedar Fort Books, has put out the call. Can you answer it? They're looking for submissions in these categories:

* Prayer
* The Book of Mormon
* The Doctrine and Covenants
* Church History
* Mother's Day: short stories and gift books
* General Nonfiction
* LDS Nonfiction
* Historical Fiction
* LDS Fiction
* Social and Behavioral Issues (i.e. Asperger's, ADHD, suicide, eating disorders, body image) both nonfiction and fiction.

Check out their website HERE for more information. And good luck! :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Right In!

Hello, March! Blog tour is done, contest is over, prizes mailed out (and received in part).

Right now, March feels pretty good. But it's only just beginning.

Coming later this month, I'm going to share with you another contest. I have to research the details a little better, but it's going to be tons of fun. And, of course, there will be a prize. It's a nice one, but not a book. Well, not necessarily. :) That part's up to you.

So, that's all I'm going to share now. But the wait will be worth it.

Remember, I'm signing at the Starry Night Books in Tooele with author Michael Knudsen this Saturday (March 12) 2-4pm. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Winners Galore!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to all the people who participated in my blog tour for my first book. Being my first attempt at this, there were some bumps, and some hitches, but overall it's gone well. Thank you bloggers, reviewers and interviewers for your willingness to help me out! I appreciate it more than these feeble words can express.

Congratulations to our final weekly prize winner of a copy of The Peasant Queen: Theresa! I've already contacted her via email, so hopefully she will soon claim her prize. :)

And now you can start the drum roll, because I've done the final, Grand Prize Drawing for my promotional blog tour. And the winner is:

Taffy! Congrats, Taffy! Be sure to email me so I can get your address to send the grand prize out to you. In case you've forgotten, you won all of this:

Thanks so much, everyone! Don't wander far. I have another contest coming up in March!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Review: Star Scout Rising by Gary Darby

About the book: From the last frontier, Space. A must-have, out of this world adventure! Star Scout Rising, First Trail by Gary Darby is a thoughtful, awe-inspiring, and spine-tingling Sci-Fi mystery that follows a young man named Del Baldura during his quest for knowledge, truth, and discovery in the distant future of human and alien kind. This story has it all superb background, surprises, mystery, love, futuristic technological possibilities, bizarre life forms, and a hero trying to make sense of his duty and loyalty, his current leadership responsibilities, and his search for truth about part of his and his family's history.

I do enjoy sci-fi, probably more than I should. Generally, I don't read much sci-fi because they are very involved reads. Gary Darby's debut novel, Star Scout Rising, is no exception. The main character, Del, has his share of secrets--not the least of which is his name, linked for 17 years with reports of disgrace and death. He's a bit of a noble character, trying to rise above the ghosts from the past and find answers for the future. But sinister people are at work, vying for vengeance and power. Del's is definitely an uphill battle.

But that's what we like, isn't it? It's boring to read a book about the drudgery of every day. I can live that, thank you--I don't have to read it. It's entertaining to escape into a book like Star Scout Rising and see another person's possible view of the future.

Darby has a talent for description, and his characters came to my mind clearly. I could easily picture them as they interacted with one another. I like the intrigue of the first book. Obviously, the first of a trilogy can't answer every question if poses.

You can pick up a copy of the book HERE. Or HERE, if you're partial to your Kindle. :)

And check out the author's blog HERE.