Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Someone told me, just after I'd shared this story with them for the holidays, that there's another author who published almost exactly the same story before me. I'm not surprised, since I was inspired to write this from a popular picture of Santa kneeling beside the manger. I'm sure there are a lot of authors who have written something similar.

But I like my version, and I'm going to continue to share it. Merry Christmas.



“The Gift of Christmas”

by Cheri L. Chesley

                The story of Christmas has different meanings for everyone.  For some, the mere mention of the holiday conjures up hours at the mall waiting in lines or traveling from party to party or even of finding that perfect gift.  For others the word “Christmas” calls up visions of a jolly, bearded man in a red velvet suit.  And still others, well, for those Christmas holds a deeper meaning.  Without trying to disturb other concepts of this precious holiday, please allow room for one more version of the Christmas story.
                It may surprise you, if you think about it, the many different stories of how Santa Claus came to actually exist.  One theory is that the dear man is timeless—and ageless—and has been traveling ‘round the world one night a year for countless generations, ever since that first time he hefted a sack full of toys on his shoulder.  Another idea holds the term “Santa” is a title rather than a name and is handed down to the males of the Claus lineage.  What happens, I wonder, if all they have is girls for a couple of generations?  It’s been known to happen.  I’m not here to unravel the mystique of Santa Claus.  That is not my purpose.  This tale is a grander, yet simpler, one.
               
A new sense of wonder and excitement was in the air over the North Pole this particular year.  Everyone felt it—the elves, the reindeer, and most significantly, Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Santa, by all accounts a happy, cheery man, grew restless and even pensive as Christmas drew nearer.  The elves reported to their families that he was unusually quiet.  Even the reindeer noted his soft touch had become more firm.  Mrs. Claus, her name is Sara by the way, took all reports with a soft smile.  She knew Santa Claus anticipated more than gift giving this holiday season.
The star had begun to shimmer more brightly in the night sky.  Santa was one of the first—or perhaps the only—to notice, given as he was to star gazing.  A man simply doesn’t spend an entire night, even just once a year, in the air without some knowledge of the sky.  It wasn’t yet at its brightest, this star, but he kept watch over it just the same.
Still there was work to do.  For unlike some version of his story with visuals of lordly supervision of the elves, Santa Claus actually helps make the toys and gifts.  He is really more like an overgrown elf himself.  Though delicate elfish fingers are better for tying laces, painting eyelashes and some other minute details, Santa could stuff teddy bears and paint wooden trucks.  And of course there was the List.  Little Sam wanted a fire engine; Amy wanted a doll.  Or was it the other way around?  Mr. Claus would chuckle as he thought of the nice children, and a few of the naughty.  He understood children weren’t naughty by nature—those who seemed so were usually either unhappy or misguided.
It was snowing Christmas Eve as the elves prepared the sleigh and hitched up the reindeer.  Each package had been wrapped with care and lovingly placed in Santa’s talented red velvet sack.  The man himself was helping load the sleigh.  He had been dressed for hours, since the moment Mrs. Claus had finished the last stitch in his red coat.  She makes him a new one every year, in case you didn’t know.
Santa was eager to get started.  When the last gift was packed he kissed his wife and climbed into the sleigh.  He gave the elves a final wave of farewell and, with a quiet word to the reindeer, they were on their way.  He urged them higher and higher into the night sky, and though his tone was never sharp the reindeer felt his urgency and increased their speed to match it.
House after house they worked their magic.  The night wore on; the moon rose high and then began to sink.  Still Mr. Claus pressed on.  He was nearer now; his target fixed in his mind.  The goal was almost obtained.
The magic of being Santa Claus is precious.  Most valued is the gift of being able to touch the hearts of children.  To “see them when they’re sleeping” and to “know when they’re awake” and to “know if they’ve been bad or good” are special blessings.  So who better to know when the birth of a child takes place?  He needs no announcement or letter to know when another dear spirit has come to grace the Earth.  And then the most Precious one of all comes, no one needs to tell Santa.
So this night, with one last gift in his sack, Santa Claus turned his reindeer toward the brightest star in the sky, the star that burned brighter and more clearly than any other star in the Heavens.  It was not an easy journey but instead one of bitter wind and cold.  More than once the reindeer wanted to turn back but Mr. Claus urged them on.
It was not easy to land reindeer on the tiny roof of the little stable in Bethlehem but Santa Claus knew how to do it.  Flying reindeer by nature have a very light step so they hardly disturbed the occupants when they touched down.  With practiced ease he quickly took up his red velvet sack and got out of the sleigh.
Stables don’t usually have chimneys and I’m not going to try and convince you this one did.  Like most other stables this one was not designed for human occupation, despite its purpose that night.  (I am not here to reveal all of his secrets, so you won’t hear from me how he got off and then back on the roof.) 
Now that he had arrived at his destination, Santa felt a wonderful calm come over him.  The rush of delivering gifts and treats to children was over.  He had made it—he had arrived in time.
Once on the ground, Mr. Claus was struck by the humble stature of the stable.  As he stepped into the dim light he slid his cap off his head.  He was greeted by the warm, welcoming smile of Mary and the firm, gentle handshake of Joseph.  They said nothing, but seemed to be expecting him.
As he approached the manger and the glorious child within Santa fell to his knees.  He remained there for a time—cap clutched in his hands, head bowed—before the Christ child, until it was time for him to leave.
With something of an apologetic smile, Santa reached into his sack and placed the gift he had lovingly crafted into the hands of Mary.  She clutched his hand in appreciation and smiled at him again.  What the gift was I cannot say—when you consider it the nature of the gift doesn’t matter.  With one last look at the baby Jesus, Santa Claus left the humble manger and returned to the sleigh.  They took off into the night, Santa pointed the reindeer north, and they all returned home for a well deserved rest.

So if you have ever wondered how or why Santa Claus delivers gifts in one solitary night, or what his rush seems to be, please know and recognize that even Father Christmas understands the real reason behind the season. 

The End

Merry Christmas



Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Tour Contests!

If you've been paying attention, last week I announced the winners for my "Spread the Word" contest, which was a ton of fun. The purpose of the contest was twofold--one, to raise interest in The Tyrant King; and two, to launch my book tour for said Tyrant King. ;)

Now, I need to let you know about the TWO contests running in conjunction with my blog tour for The Tyrant King. This particular contest is really exciting to me, because I simply love blog tours. It's a great way to meet new readers and writers who also happen to blog.

If you recall, we originally planned to do a joint blog tour with my sis-in-law, MEL CHESLEY, to launch my 3rd book and her very 1st book. Unfortunately we've had to put the tour off due to delays and now Mel has graciously demanded I go ahead and do my tour. I know, someday, we will have books actually coming out at the SAME time so we can enjoy the fun of a joint tour.

So many authors and book lovers agreed to help us with the joint tour that I was truly touched. And many of them gamely put up with the delays and such, and have agreed to help us proceed with my tour for The Tyrant King. I truly love and appreciate these people. Honestly. In return, this is what I'm doing for them:

Blog tour participators only--these are the ones who work with Mel to set up a date to talk about or review my book on their blog (or interview me)--can enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!! To do so, they simply post on their blog on their scheduled day, run over to The Tyrant King's AMAZON PAGE, click the "like" button, and then email me at Cheriwrites AT yahoo DOT com to let me know they've done it. That's it. Then, at the end of the tour, I will pick the winner and send them their $50 Amazon gift card. Awesome, right? Because they are awesome.

Now, don't think I'm forgetting fans and readers by not having a contest for the blog reader/commentors. (which, apparently, isn't a word lol) The contest related to the actual blog tour is similar but separate.

For those readers of the blogs who host reviews or blurbs or interviews about The Tyrant King, all I ask is that they also go to the AMAZON PAGE, click the "like" button, and then comment on that blog to say they've done it. They will be entered to win a SEPARATE $50 Amazon gift card. Yes, that's right, I'm giving away 2 in this blog tour--1 to one of my lovely bloggers and 1 to one of my lovely readers. Even though Mel and I collected some fun swag for the joint blog tour, we're going to save it and use it for Mel's book launch tour for Adversarius because, let's be honest, December is not the time of year to be shipping bulky prize packages. :) I do everything I can to avoid shipping during the holidays. :)

*Note--I have had some people tell me they can't find the "like" button on the Amazon page. If you've never done it before, then it can be rather tricky to locate. I had to have someone show me the first time I ever "liked" a product's Amazon page. It's located just to the right of the picture of The Tyrant King's cover, under the large title and on the same line as the stars and number of reviews. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think the button itself is gray if you haven't "liked' the page yet, and orange if you have.

To get everyone started, JA Bennett has already posted about TTK on her BLOG PAGE. Go check it out. She's wonderful and I love her blog.

And to show you how awesome Mel is about all this, I'm bragging about the cool book trailer she made me:

Enter to win! It's going to be awesome! Currently we have blog posts through Dec 14th, but, if you want to participate, contact MEL and get on our list. :) If we end up extending the contest (and blog tour) deadline, I will let you know!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Winners! Winners!

I know you're all on pins and needles waiting to hear who won the 3 offered prizes from my "Spread the Word" contest. First, let me introduce our contest officiator:
This is my daughter. No, she doesn't really look much like this anymore. This pic is at least 3 yrs old, but goodness, she had the most epic bedhead and it's one of my favorite pics. I figure I have at least another 3 yrs before she starts really freaking out that I show this to people.

Miss K Rose obliged my by reaching into my bag filled with little papers with all your names on them and pulling out the winning 3.

First:
Grand Prize: 3, count them—3 book gift sets including one copy each of The Peasant Queen, The Wild Queen, and The Tyrant King as well as a bonus copy of Sing We Now of Christmas, And Advent Anthology. 1 soft, plush throw for cozying up on those cold winter nights. 1 $25 Amazon gift card to get you started on your holiday shopping. AND I’m throwing in a canister of deluxe, gourmet hot chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates . The grand prize winner is CAROL PHIPPS! Congratulations 
Next, she pulled the winner for: 2nd prize, which includes a copy of The Tyrant King, an e-book copy to give as a gift, the Christmas Anthology, a $15 Amazon gift card, and a nice red throw to curl up with while you read.The 2nd prize winner is: HOLLY PEACOCK! Congrats, Holly :)
Lastly, before the school bus arrived to sweep her away, my daughter pulled the name for 3rd prize--a copy of The Tyrant King e-book for you and one to give as a gift. The winner is LISA SWINTON! Congratulations!

Incidentally, and likely of no interest to anyone but me, I numbered each contestant's entries before putting them in the bag. Carol's 6th entry was the winner; Holly's 8th, and Lisa's 1st. I just thought that was cool.

Winners please contact me at Cheriwrites AT yahoo DOT com with your addresses so I can mail your winnings. Carol, in particular, because I can't order her gourmet hot chocolate without an address to ship it to. :)

Again, congrats to the winners and A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who entered!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spread the Word Contest NOW OPEN


Welcome to the “Spread the Word” Holiday Book Contest! Open Now (Nov 13) through November 19th! This contest kicks off my BLOG TOUR. I will post details of the separate blog tour contest on Tuesday, November 27th!



I know you’re anxious to enter, but first a recap of the prizes:

Grand Prize: 3, count them—3 book gift sets including one copy each of The Peasant Queen, The Wild Queen, and The Tyrant King as well as a bonus copy of Sing We Now of Christmas, And Advent Anthology. 1 soft, plush throw for cozying up on those cold winter nights. 1 $25 Amazon gift card to get you started on your holiday shopping. AND I’m throwing in a canister of deluxe, gourmet hot chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates because the picture of sipping hot chocolate while curled up in a lush blanket and reading a book is just too sweet to ignore. ;)

2nd prize includes a copy of The Tyrant King, an e-book copy to give as a gift, the Christmas Anthology, a $15 Amazon gift card, and a nice red throw to curl up with while you read.

3rd prize is a copy of The Tyrant King e-book for you and one to give as a gift.

Pretty sweet, huh? Now, how do you enter?

Since the purpose of this contest is to literally “spread the word,” credited entries will be designed to do just that. I’d love to see my reviews and rankings numbers for The Tyrant King rise on Amazon.com.
 
*Important* Participants will need to keep track of their entries and then email the total to me for the drawings. My email is Cheriwrites AT yahoo DOT com.

Share this blog post to your Facebook = 1 entry
Share this blog post to your Twitter =1 entry
 Follow me on Twitter = 1 entry
Pin it on Pinterest = 1 entry
Blog about the contest =1 entry
*Like* my author Facebook page =1 entry
Follow my blog = 1 entry
Leave a review of The Tyrant King on Amazon.com, Goodreads, Smashwords, or bn.com =1 entry for each review (for those who have already read it, obviously lol)
*Like* any of my books’ pages on Amazon = 1 entry per like

Some of these things you can do only once, such as liking the pages on Amazon or leaving a review, but the other things you can do as many times as you want while the contest runs (November 13-19th). Then, before midnight on Nov 19th email me at Cheriwrites AT yahoo DOT com with your total number of entries. I will use my fabulous and completely random in house system to pick the winners (we put all your names and entries in a hat and my kids do the picking) and post the results on THIS blog Tuesday, November 20th. All gifts will be mailed by that Friday so they are sure to arrive well before Christmas.

Thanks in advance to all who participate. It’s going to be fun!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

If a Tree Falls in the Forest and No One is There

You know the question. I have the answer. But rather than giving you the answer, I'm going to let you figure it out yourself.

Take this scenario: Let's say all the books on, oh, I dunno, Amazon, for instance, are the forest. And The Tyrant King is the falling tree.

Figured it out yet? I think you have.

Here's my second question: How does an author increase book sales if NO ONE KNOWS SHE WROTE A BOOK?

Exactly.

Now, I'm not trying to sound ungrateful. I know you know I wrote and published a book. And I love you. And we do have a blog tour semi-scheduled when my sis in law gets her book launched. But, in the mean time, I need to feel some love. And I want to dish some out in return.

That's why, right here and now, I'm announcing my "Spread the Word" Holiday Book Contest!

And you're eligible. So are ALL your friends!

All contest entries are going to be focused on getting the word out that The Tyrant King is published, out there, and ready for readers. Facebook posts, blog posts, Twitter, heck if you can Pin it then you can get credit for it!

The winner of my contest will make out like a bandit. Not only will they win a set of my three published novels, but they will also win a copy of Sing We Now of Christmas: An Advent Anthology--and copies to give as gifts to TWO of their friends! Not only that, but I'm throwing in a lush fleece throw and a $25 Amazon gift card to help them with their Christmas shopping (or buy something for themselves, I don't judge ;)).

Sound good? Because the second prize is a $15 gift card and a fuzzy red throw to cozy up with while they read their own copy of The Tyrant King.

So even if you have the book already, or my other books, you can still enter the contest and if you win then you have gifts to give. Lots of them!

Check back next week for the official opening of the contest. It will run Tues November 13th through Mon November 19th, with the winner announced on Tuesday November 20th.

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Maybe it's Just Me

As writers, I think we all have faced that unsolicited story advice. You know the kind--someone asks about your current work in progress and then proceeds to inject their own thoughts and ideas into the masterpiece you are creating.

Do people do that with painters? --meaning artists who paint, not house painters. :)

I'm not complaining, really, because bouncing ideas off my husband is a great way to get a story rolling. He's got a creative mind, and he has different perspectives than I do, so it works.

However, there's a time and a place for everything--as I'm about to explain. I want to share with you a moment so surreal it took almost a week for me to realize how odd it was.

Last week, I had an appt with an OB/GYN. This was the kind of appointment where the hubby takes time off work so he can be your moral support. The kind of appt where you stress and worry and try not to imagine every horrible possibility. The kind where you're seeing this dr because your regular dr needed the opinion of a specialist. (results are back--I'm fine, so no need to worry)

Let me set the scene for you. I'm essentially bare except for the silly gown they give women to cover up in for these types of exams. My feet are up in stirrups and I'm in "that" position as the doctor uses a piece of equipment that likely costs more than all the houses I've ever owned COMBINED to "get a closer look." My loving husband is sitting up by my head.

I say to him, "Talk to me about something. I need to be distracted."

So he asks me about the map I've asked him to draw for my new dystopian project. He needs some story details in order to flesh out the map in his mind. After exchanging a few sentences, who pipes up but the doctor.

Yes. The doctor who is currently examining the inside of me. Starts talking about what twists and concepts I should present in this post-apocalyptic world I have designed.

The assisting nurse quips, "You should co-write the book with the doc here."

Chuckle. Laugh. Be polite. DON'T kick him in the face.

I changed the subject. Got things back on task, so to speak. Left them some bookmarks and let them look up my books if they chose. And I've reconsidered talking books during doctor visits.

(just a disclaimer--I liked the dr overall. He's very competent and thorough, which is appreciated. Just--the moment was wrong. That's all. Strange and wrong. IMO)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sharing

 October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month! Let's take some time to remember the babies who were born asleep, or whom we carried but never met, or those we have held but could not take home, or the ones who made it home, but didn't stay. Make this your profile status if you or someone you know has suffered the loss of a baby. Baby loss is still a taboo subject. Break the silence. In memory of all lost angels I'm sharing the story of meeting my own angel.

Ten years ago, I had three handsome sons and a beautiful little daughter. When Kylie was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. The timing wasn't awesome. We weren't *trying* to get pregnant, and I was truly conflicted about having another baby at that time. In fact, I told my husband with a positive pregnancy test and a note. 
 I'm sure you can imagine the guilt I carried after losing her a few months later--because I had not welcomed the news of her existence with an open heart and mind. Had I somehow caused this miscarriage? It took years of processing and asking and praying before I began to understand. As difficult as losing her was, this was all by design. She had a short mission to fulfill, and the timing of that mission was to offer growth to me (and her daddy). As difficult as it was to know that she had grown a bit within me just to suddenly die, and that to be weeks before my body gave me clues of her passing, I understand now that this wasn't something I had done. 
 And then, unbidden, I had this experience:

A Precious Gift

Last night God gave me a gift most precious. I can't describe to you its worth, so I will tell you what happened.

I met my daughter.

Ten years ago July 17, I miscarried. Though we named her and treated her as part of our family, a part of me was unsure. Did I carry a spirit within me, or had my body just grown an empty vessel that had never belonged to anyone? (Even though I don't believe God does it that way, I still wondered)

But now I know.

Her image is already fading from my subconscious, but I'll describe her for you as best I can. She had long hair that was the lightest brown, almost blond. Her eyes were those of someone much older, much wiser, and I want to say they were blue.

Her favorite song was Tiffany's "Could've Been" and that's a bit more poignant than I want to dwell on right now.

In the dream, she was a child of about 8 or 9. In the dream, we had a special magic that we used once a year around Christmas to make an extra-special holiday for our family. It was the kind of magic that, if you told anyone about it, you would lose it. The woman we met through that magic knew my daughter. She spoke of her--her favorite places, her favorite things--and sparked a search. I wanted to find my daughter, to see her, to hold her--but I just kept missing her. I'd talk to people who had seen her.

But then, suddenly, she was right in front of me.

She crawled into my lap and let me hold her. And I was crying, just like I am right now. I knew in my heart this moment could not last. God had granted me a brief time with her. She knew it, too. That's when she asked me to sing for her. And I did, in my broken, emotion-choked voice.


I understand now, that while our time on earth was so brief, she's up there in Heaven waiting for me. She is a part of my family. She is a part of my eternal life.

And I can't wait to hold her again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Indie Author

Now that I've published a whopping 2 books independently, I wanted to share my feelings on the subject. The thing is--someone has done that for me. :)

I like being an Indie Author. That's not to say I'd never sign another book contract, but I like the control afforded me as an independent. Knowing what I know now, it would take a significant draw on the part of the publisher to entice me to give up some measures of that control. Because right now--for better or worse--I decided how the cover looks. I decide what editing points to accept/reject. I say what the interior looks like. I'm working with amazing people on each of these segments, and together we bring together an amazing product.

And I LIKE that.

So here you go, my friend KAREN E. HOOVER's poem about being an Indie Author. She says it best.

"I am an Indie Author"

Not because I have to be,
And Not because I’m not good enough,
But because I choose my own way.
Just as Indie Music smashed the mold
And sang its unique song to a hungry world,
I write my own words
And hold them high against bestsellers
And traditional publishers.
I am not just good enough, I am great!
I beat and smash and build my work
Until it shines like the art it is.
The greatest joy comes from the word itself,
Because I am an Indie Author.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Because Words are Powerful

Ugh. I'm coming down with something and right now would rather be curled up in my bed than doing anything.

But I am here. Why?

Because I believe in my dream. Because words are powerful and outlive their writers.

Because I have to be here. It's something that resonates so deeply inside of me I can't properly name it.

And because I want to give you an update on what I'm doing.

The Tyrant King is flying off shelves (mine, at least--lol). I've ordered 38 copies so far and mailed away 37. I have another order of 10 wending my way soon, but until then this one lone copy sits with The Wild Queen and The Peasant Queen waiting for a reader. :) It's pretty cool.

I'm also hearing great things from readers. One said she'd have read it in a day if she hadn't had to go to school. Another liked it better than the first. Always things a writer loves to hear.

I had decided to focus some time editing my creepy Halloween story when I got blindsided by a fun sci fi YA adventure. Here's my "elevator pitch"

Shape-shifting alien Kelle, long believed to be the last of her kind, is about to face her toughest assignment yet--an American high school on a tiny little planet called Earth.

Now, you know that any creature believed to be the last of their kind is absolutely not--I'm not giving any spoilers away here, since Kelle learns that in the first two pages. The funny thing is (and I'm not trying to be punny here) that as I plot out this story a LOT of humor is coming out. Right now it's shaping up to be a funny and dangerous story, set on Earth but liberally sprinkled with sci-fi elements. And, right now, even as sick as I feel I want to work on it. 

I think readers will like Kelle. She's a calm sort of person who's cool under pressure and--though she can choose any form in the galaxy--her preferred shape is that of a shorter humanoid, powerfully built rather than skinny, with dark curly hair and dark eyes. 

And I'm going to take her completely out of her element and make her find her place in high school--as a spy. 

Even I'm getting excited at how fun it sounds. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Buy The Tyrant King Today!

Any work day that ends with your book going up for sale on Createspace and Amazon can't be all bad, right?

RIGHT!

Here's the LINK that will take you right to the book's Createspace project page so you can place your order.

Come on, do the happy dance with me. :D


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Its Way

Somewhere in the Eastern US, some unsuspecting postal truck is carrying my proof copy of The Tyrant King to me. That it's on its way has me full of butterflies and other various, wriggly things.

Which is good, since I have succumbed to that horrible feeling that authors have when they don't write anything new for a few days/weeks/months/years. Yesterday I even caught myself thinking, "Why am I doing this?"

I know it's bad when I start going down that road. And making awesome cinnamon rolls did not help. I need to write again.

I don't know why trying to get edits done and corrections fixed on a print book freezes all my other abilities to write. Logically I can write while waiting. I mean, really. But for some reason my brain shuts off and I can't get the creativity flowing at all.

In other news, I did accept the promotion at work and I passed the drug test (I don't know why they always freak me out when I take them, even though I know I have nothing to hide). Had my first training night Monday. I will be training tomorrow and likely Friday, and will possibly have my first "on duty" day Saturday.

And I'm only freaking out a little. The last episode was the worry that no one wants me in the position and they won't listen to me as a manager. Making management happy by relieving their burden doesn't necessarily mean the regular staff wants to see me in charge.

Honestly, the likelihood is that they won't care. But you know how your brain can be mean sometimes.

The kids start school tomorrow. They are 99.5% ready. Looking forward to things settling down a bit.

And waiting for The Tyrant King to arrive. Patiently. Kinda.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meh-ish

I want so badly to share good news with you today. Rest assured I'm still moving onward and upward, as they say. It's just that I feel like I'm moving in a pool of molasses.

That is, s-l-o-w-l-y.

Thanks to everyone who responded so positively to my POST last week. I'm still in that mind set and still working toward my goals. School is about to start and my assistant is going to be swamped with calls and schedulings for my personal visits to wherever and whenever.

So if you live within 100 miles of Waurika, OK and want an author to come to your school or your kid's school, give me a shout-out. I love talking to kids--they have so much energy and enthusiasm and we have a ton of fun together. That part of being an author is not about selling books for me. It's about inspiring the upcoming generations to follow their dreams and be better, smarter, fuller.

I'm working feverishly on the ABSOLUTE FINAL read-through for The Tyrant King print version. It is literally the only thing I can focus on, which is making the rest of my life kind of crazy. So, in short, I *have* to finish it this week or I will probably go crazy. Fine. CraziER. ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Will You Be One of My 100 Today?

I'm tired of being invisible.

Don't get me wrong, I love my fans. I adore my fans. I just think they may be a little lonely. ;)

This week, I hired a personal assistant. He's going to spend his time booking school visits and calling stores to see if they will carry my books and/or let me do signings. I'm also putting plans in motion to branch out online and extend my presence.

I have a singular goal in mind: to drive up my print and ebook sales.

Why?

Because I have a deep, dark secret. It actually is a secret with two sides.

And I am going to confess all to you here today.

I write books and stories and poems because I have a deep desire to share my words. Not because I think I'm any kind of genius or that I stand above all other authors out there (quite the contrary, actually) but because my heart, soul, and spirit BURN to share the stories born from my imagination.

Whew. That was heavy. In short, I write because I love it. But somehow it's more than that. So much, much more.

Here is the other part of that deep, dark secret. I have a need to make more money than I am right now. Why? Because I have kids that need braces next year (yes that's *kids* plural and *next year* as in 5 months from now). There are other things--like car repairs and home expenses, and that burning need to never lose another home--but I won't go into all that right now. What I want to do is to share with you my plan.

Which is simply to sell 100 copies of any of my print or ebooks a day (except Sunday). As many of you know, I don't believe in working or shopping on Sundays, and I wouldn't ask anyone to do that for me whether they share my belief or not.

I've done the math for you. In a year, that's roughly 31,500 copies of my books. Since by the end of 2012 I plan to have 5 books or stories available for purchase, that gives my readers quite a selection to choose from. And, with success, I will have time to write more books for the next year, making it a perpetually self-sustaining plan. I also plan to offer free ebook codes for "secret" books I'm writing with each purchase to add incentive for the buyer.

Why am I doing all this? Besides the burning desire to write and the very mundane need for money?

Because I write good books. And I'm getting better with each one. I want to make good use of this talent God has given me, and what better use of it than to spread good books while supporting my family? That is truly the limit of my ambition. I don't need to be a bestseller, or be an award winning author. Those things are nice, I'm sure, but not on my goal list.

I've tried to be completely honest with you. If my plan offends you, I am sorry. It's not my intention to offend. I am only being myself, which is an open person with very mundane needs--like everyone else.

So, will YOU be one of my 100 today?

Monday, July 23, 2012

So I'm a Day Early...

...but I couldn't wait to share the news.

The Tyrant King is an ebook!

Click this link if you have a KINDLE.

Click this link if you have a NOOK.

Click this link if you have another e-reader, or simply prefer SMASHWORDS formats.

If you're holding out for a print copy, rest assured I have the typeset file on my computer all ready for me to review. I expect to have print books available online before the end of the month, and IN MY POSSESSION by the first week of August.

Yeah, I'm a bit excited. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Oh, My...

It's Wednesday, and SOMEBODY (read *me*) didn't post yesterday.

Slacker.

Anyway, I have some exciting news on The Tyrant King front. I finished the edits and now it is off to the amazing and talented Karen Hoover for formatting. It's really happening, people. Each day brings us closer to publication. July 2012 is the month of The Tyrant King!

I don't know about you, but the wait is KILLING me. I am so anxious to get the finished book into reaaders' hands that I almost can't stand it!

I even considered putting up Chapter 2 just to help keep the magic alive.

September is going to be a super exciting month, because that's when we've scheduled our blog tour. Remember, The Tyrant King will be riding the waves with my sis-in-law's debut pirate novel, Adversarius.

In other book news, I got a sneak peek at my contribution to Diony George's book A Sisterhood of Strength and I'm so excited to buy a copy for the lady I wrote about. Makes me happy. I've also contributed to a Christmas anthology put together by Michael Young, and I contracted with the brilliant Deirdra A. Eden for illustrations on my Lizzie Lilac children's book.

And did I mention I'm drafting City of Light this month for a November 2012 publication?

There's so many exciting things happening in my writing world, I feel just as happy as can be!

Stay tuned. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So...

Recently a friend of mine POSTED about a growing trend in books today that isn't great. Some trends are, and we look forward to them, but others need to be nipped in the bud as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, it's not just writers of clean fiction who see the trend upsetting. Check THIS post from a literary agent.

Now I'm going to talk about why this is personal for me.

I write clean fiction. I strongly believe a good story does not have to have graphic content in order to be gripping, believable, and a thrilling read. My grandma reads my books, and I would hate to ever have to explain anything like that to her (or, more likely, why I included it).

As challenging as writing is for me, I have CHOSEN to take the high ground--which, to me, means not resorting to graphic content to tell a story or sell a novel. A friend my husband used to work with once said swearing and foul language demonstrated a lack of knowledge. Their theory was that a person who lacked the vocabulary to appropriately express their feelings resorted to swear words. I remember that when I write.

This doesn't mean my novels are all light and fluffy. In my most recent work, a character is brutally tortured and raped. There's no way to make light of that. And characters die. There are ways to have darkness and evil in your novels without compromising who you are and what you stand for. I know dozens of authors who successfully do this with every book. They write compelling, gripping works without describing someone naked or having foul mouthed characters.

This is important to me. Many, many YA novels out in the world are full of profanity, sex, drug use, and violence. My goal is to provide an alternative to readers who may want something different than that. And, I have to answer for my works someday--I don't want to be embarrassed by my own writing.

All of this leads me to one more thing, and that's the GOOD news of the day. The Tyrant King will be released THIS MONTH!

Keep an eye out for the links to purchase books. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Bit of Humble Pie

Today was supposed to be the day I announced the PUBLICATION of my next novel (and sequel to The Peasant Queen)--The Tyrant King. I was going to share with you the purchase links, and show off a picture or two of the kids holding actual, physical copies.

It was going to be great. And it still will be great (say in July, or maybe August).

Alas, (did I just say, alas? oh, man...) it is not YET to be. As a writer, I overestimated the perfection of my manuscript and it has required more work with the editor than I'd thought.

But--that isn't all bad news.

Here's the silver lining--The book, when you end up purchasing it, will be BETTER than anything I've written before. It will be well worth the wait.

To prove that to you, I want you all to look up at the tabs on the top of this page. See the new one? The one that says SNEAK PEEK? Are you excited yet.

Where'd you go? Oh, to read the first chapter of The Tyrant King. It's all good. I'll wait.

I'm also cooking up an awesome blog tour for TTK with my sis in law for September. I will definitely keep you posted about that.

So, bad news--no book yet. Good news--it's still coming. And you get the first chapter to tide you over. Silver linings all around!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Review: CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS by Connie Sokol

New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.

Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.

Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.


In short, a delightful summer romance. I had so much fun reading about Meg and Bry's adventures aboard ship and beyond that I had a hard time putting the book down when it was all over. I understood Meg's hesitancy to jump into another relationship, but Bryant was such an awesome guy I had to cheer for him--and sometimes yell at her for being so obstinate. And, boy, when Meg's ex makes his appearance for Thanksgiving *I* wanted to slug him. What a slimeball. 

If you're looking for a fun summery read I'd check out Caribbean Crossroads. Here's Amazon's links for the PAPERBACK or KINDLE versions.

Now, a little about the author:  Connie Sokol is a mother of seven—a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly TV contributor on KSL’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for LDSLiving online. She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is also the author of Motherhood Matters, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color, as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. Visit her website at www.8basics.com
You can also check out Connie's Facebook page for details on her current projects.

Disclaimer: I did receive an electronic copy of this book for review purposes, but that in no way swayed my review. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BIG Cover Reveal

So, lately, my favorite "thing to do" seems to be ignoring this blog. And I feel bad about that because I have some really INCREDIBLE blog followers. You guys are the greatest. Looking ahead on my calendar and realizing it's JUNE (carp), I'm thinking I need to give you a little treat. It's a secret that's not really a secret, but something I think you'll end up being as excited about as I am.

While I feverishly work to get The Tyrant King--next in The Peasant Queen series, I may have mentioned it--edited, formatted, and published, I will offer you a teaser for my next project.

We start with an amazing cover reveal. Yes, again, this one is done by my brilliant friend Deirdra.

Are you ready? No? Ok, I'll give you another minute. Are we good? Great. Here goes!

Excited yet? I am. Here's the back cover blurb (back cover is gorgeous too):

The City of Light and its inhabitants have long been protected from evil by the Barrier, the aura created by the actions of their pure hearts. One day their peace is shattered by the voice of The Demon, who vows his servant will enter their City and claim a maiden, Aisilyn, to be The Demon’s bride.
Five families wait with dread, uncertain if their Aisilyn is the one the Dark Warrior will take. Only Gennavieve is certain the Warrior will come for her sister. To protect Aisilyn, and her upcoming marriage to the man of her dreams, Gennavieve puts herself in her sister’s place—allowing the Dark Warrior to claim her as The Demon’s chosen bride.
In a world driven by prophecy no one knows which prophecy will be fulfilled, or whether Gennevieve’s choice will lead to The Demon’s destruction . . . or her own.

City of Light is slated for fall. I'm seriously shooting for a September release date, but it honestly depends on how much I get done this summer. So if you don't see me online much, or posting much, please know I'm working on something amazing. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's so Cherry Contest Winners!

We are excited to announce the winners of our Spring Kickoff Giveaway.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  We hope you will continue to follow us.  We have fun things coming up, and hope to do another contest before too long.  Congratulations to all the winners! 
Grand Prize
Crystal Young
Jennifer@ Fictitious Musings
Angela Brown
Jenn Wilks

Winners of Barefoot Sandals
Ellen Cloch
Chelsea Haller
Ricki@ Reading Challenged
Melody J
Alissa (No last name offered)
Danyelle Ferguson
June M.
Tamera Westhoff
Jessica Foster
Brooke Berry
Erin Anderson
Jean (No last name offered)
Michelle Hudak
Lexie@ BookBug
Heidi Cole
Andrea Rossel
Kassandra (No last name offered)
Sayomay (No last name offered)
Carla (No last name offered)
Tobi (No last name offered)

We will be emailing the winners to get shipping information.   Winners will have seven days to respond, after which alternates will be chosen. Prizes will ship within ten business days. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My review: Bound by C.K. Bryant

About the book:  When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira's life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she's falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive. BOUND is a heroic tale of true friendship, infinite sacrifice and untamed love.

I bought this book at a writer retreat from the author (because I hang with the cool kids, ya ;)) at the same time I purchased another book. One I read in a day or two. The other I waited on. And waited. And waited. Somehow I knew, just by looking at it, reading the back, holding it in my hands, it would be the kind of book that would change me forever. That it would be awesome covered in amazing-sauce. I ended up loving both books, but in different ways. The second book? The one I waited to read because it intimidated the crap out of me? That was BOUND.

C.K. Bryant is my friend. I've gotten to know her online persona pretty well, and I just love her. She's all worlds of amazing. But, you probably know how it is when you buy a book from a friend. You want to love it, for them. And I'm not going to deny that, on some level, my affection for Chris has colored my love of her writing. BOUND was the first thing she'd written that I ever read.

And I loved it. The story hooked me, I cared about the characters, I NEEDED to know what happened next, and the set up for the second book left me crying for more.

Now, with the sequel, BROKEN, just around the corner, I felt it was time to share my feelings about BOUND with you. I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself before BROKEN is released. Click HERE for the paperback version, or HERE if you want the ebook version FREE. You won't regret it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's So Cherry Super Spring Kickoff

The trees and flowers are blooming, the sun is out (well, sometimes) and we here at It's So Cherry are all about celebrating, so we're giving away gift bags to four lucky winners, and a pair of barefoot sandals to 20 more. That’s right, you have TWENTY-FOUR chances to win.

To enter, register at www.itssocherry.com, and follow one (or more) of the participating blogs, then fill out the form below.

Contest Rules:

- Must be 16 and over
- One prize per household
- Must be registered @www.itssocherry.com
- Only valid for those living within the continental US, or with a United States mailing address

Each grand prize goodie bag will contain (1) Flower necklace set (with earrings), (1) crochet head wrap (color may vary), (1) scarf (color and style may vary), (1) package nail wraps, and (1) black wrap bracelet.  We will also give away 20 pairs of barefoot sandals to 20 winners.  

To enter, simply register for an account with It's So Cherry (www.itssocherry.com) and sign up for their email list.  Entries will be accepted starting Monday, May 7th, until midnight, mountain standard time, on Friday, May 18th.  

Prizes will be shipped within 10 business days after contest winners have been announced.   Winners will be selected using random.org, and contacted using the email provided for registration on the It's So Cherry website.  

Names of the goodie bag winners will be posted to participating blog sites as well as the blog for It's So Cherry, www.itssocherry.blogspot.com. Upon notification, winners will have 7 days to respond, after which another winner will be chosen. 

Picture: inc

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Read This Post

I've been listening to that negative, inner voice again. You know the one. It says things like:

You can't do this.
You're no good.
Why are you writing? There are so many better writers than you. You can't possibly compete.
Nobody likes you.

Consequently, I've written all of a paragraph this week. Let's not talk about the last three weeks.

Why do I listen to the voice? Somewhere inside me I KNOW it's wrong.  But, even so, the doubts and fears have taken root and now I have to go through the process of shaking them. Again.

Because I won't give up. Even when I sometimes want to. All the voice does is slow me down, which aggravates me. It's lure is so strong sometimes, or maybe I'm just weak. Constant rejection doesn't help. Rejection from publishers. Rejection from bookstores. Part of me wonders why I bother. Would anyone notice if I never published another book?

I would. Writing is a part of who I am, and no, I'm not in it for the money. The problem is that if I go a couple of weeks without writing I feel it. And I start to doubt. And it leaves me open to the voice. Which lengthens my writing hiatus. Which makes me feel worse. Which just prolongs the vicious cycle.

I have support. And I'm grateful for them. But sometimes it's not enough to keep me going. Nobody can fix what's broken inside you but you and God. I know He's on my side. So I guess it's just me that's not.

So how do I fix that?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My review: Motherhood Matters by Connie Sokol


About the book: In these hectic days where life's demands can quickly become a heavy burden, Mom Rules: A Mother's Manual helps you find more memorable moments and take the stress out of the to-do lists. Written with clarity, concision, and wit, this indispensable handbook is better than flowers, more guilt-free than chocolate, and gives back to the woman who sacrifices so much of herself every single day.

This is a truly beautiful inspirational gift book launched into the world just in time for Mothers' Day. I loved (and related to just a tiny bit) the author's words in the introduction. She'd agreed to take on this project right about the time her oldest child went to college, her youngest started kindergarten, and she found out she was pregnant with her 7th. Coming from such a place, this book is nothing short of awesome.

Every mother has hard days. Every one of us feels we aren't doing enough, or that what we do doesn't count. This book is for those days. Think about all the mothers you know, and how much you want them to realize their worth, and then consider this book as an idea for Mothers' Day. You can purchase the book HERE or, if you're in UT, probably at your local bookstore. There are things I definitely miss about UT. :)

Read more about author Connie Sokol and her amazing journey of motherhood on her WEBSITE.

And enjoy Motherhood Matters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Asked for It!

I've had A LOT of people asking me when The Tyrant King will be available for purchase. So, after some deliberation, planning, plotting, and mayhem--here it is.

The date.

The OFFICIAL announcement of publication.

The Tyrant King will be available for purchase--wait for it--on June 20, 2012!

I know, why June? It's like, forever!

But actually it's not. From this side of publication, it's pretty dang soon. 71 days. Here's the breakdown:

April is editing month. This is the time set aside for The Tyrant King to be professionally EDITED (she has the manuscript right now). This is a professional job, mind you, and will likely take the rest of the month to complete.

Then suddenly we're in May. May is set aside as the month of formatting. Getting The Wild Queen available as a PRINT NOVEL has taught me that this process takes longer than one may think. First off, my very awesome friend (ahem, KAREN HOOVER) who is helping me make the inside of the book beautiful has a WRITERS CONFERENCE to go to the first part of May. She's presenting, so there's a lot of work for her to do. So that leaves about 3 weeks in May to get The Tyrant King all prettied up, check for errors, think we've found them all, find a new one, fix it, then another, then another, order print copies--and, you guessed it--find another mistake.

Which brings us straight into June. So why not release the book June 1? June 8? June 12? Aside from the simple act of padding a few extra days into my time line for unforeseen circumstances (you wouldn't want to be waiting the book's release on June 10th only to have it delayed a week, would you?), June 20th is a significant anniversary for me. It's a date that matters, which will make the book's release matter just that much more. And, since I plan to have a rockin' release week June 18-22, I don't think we'll be short of excitement.

Mark your calenders! Here comes The Tyrant King!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Upcoming Book Launch/Tour

Hi there! I'm collecting bloggers for my upcoming book launch and tour for The Tyrant King. What's super-duper exciting (I seriously just said super-duper, wow) is that I'm launching my book in conjuction with my sister-of-my-heart's FIRST book being published!!! Are you excited? I totally am.

Here's the skinny: Her author name is M.L. Chesley, and her pirate-fantasy novel is called Adversarius: Shadow of the Rose, Book One

What's it about? Glad you asked: When it comes to politics, Kayta likes to let her sword arm do the talking. The only way to gain peace for her kingdom would be to enter into an arranged marriage with her enemy's son, Alabassin. There are worse ways to end wars.

And, of course, who is this lady? Aside from my friend and fellow author who happens to be married to my husband's brother, this is M.L. Chesley: M. L. Chesley is an Alaska based author, online blogger and MMORPG junkie. She has been writing fantasy for several years. Between writing, work and family she barely has time for much gaming, but some days, raids take precedence over all. If you would like to
learn more about her world, created in this book, go to www.mlchesley.webs.com. You can also follow her blog at www.caledonialass.blogspot.com.


I would LOVE to share with you a book cover for Adversarius, but, alas, it's not live yet. I CAN share with you (again) the cover for The Tyrant King (sequel to The Peasant Queen, my 1st novel), along with my book blurb:

The kingdom of Fayterra has enjoyed four years of peace since Jareth was crowned King and married Krystal. But, on the eve of Alana’s wedding, a stranger arrives with a link to the family that threatens to change everything. An enemy is revealed. Their people are under attack. War is declared. And not everyone will survive.
As the future becomes bleaker and the mystery continues to unravel, Krystal’s enemies will learn just how far she will go to defend the people she loves.


Now for the details. Our book launch/blog tour fun will happen in June. Participating bloggers will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card, and those who enter the contest will be entered to win a prize package of books and candy. So far, for that package, I have Watched by Cindy Hogan, Ireland's Pirate Queen, Variant by Robison Wells, Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans, and a beautiful leather bound journal. I will also throw in a copy of The Wild Queen, which is the prequel to The Peasant Queen.

Both books (Adversarius and The Tyrant King) will be available in print and e-book formats to cater to all readers, so never fear. You will get your copy. :)

Now, who wants to volunteer for all this fun? I need to collect at least 15 willing blog participants to host my tour. I've had a couple volunteers trickle in, but not nearly enough. This is my official plea. Please comment with your email if you are willing to be a host so I can contact you. You might also want to specify which book you'd like to spotlight or review, or if you'd rather do an author interview (and which of us you'd like to pick on lol).

Thanks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have I Got a TREAT for You!

Before I spotlight two really awesome authors and their new books, I'm going to tell you a little story. It's about my dad. If you know anything about my past, you'll understand I really don't have a lot of stories about my dad. This one is therefore doubly special to me.

When my dad was about ten years old, his mother (my grandmother) was divorced and working in a diner to support herself and her three young children. Dad was the oldest. When a quiet young man freshly returned from the war took an interest in that lovely young woman, it began a sweet courtship that would last decades. (because they were always so wonderful to one another, even after they married).

Here's the fun part. One day, when this man was over to the house for lunch, my father--in his 10 yr old wisdom--looked up at him and asked, "Are you going to marry my mother?" Now, he didn't ask this question innocently. He knew. What he was really asking was "When are you going to get around to marrying my mother?" That serviceman promised that he would marry her, and soon. I think he asked her that very night.

In marrying my grandmother, my grandfather took on a responsibility to those three young children which he fulfilled when he legally adopted them. That is how my father became a Rohan, the name I bore until my marriage to Bryan, the name I still bear in my heart.

In honor of promises kept, I'm spotlighting author Carolyn Frank's book, Promises. Carolyn is working together with Cindy Hogan, author of Protected, in a book launch blog tour complete with exciting prizes and fun. I encourage you to check out Cindy's BLOG for details on her contest and also Carolyn's BLOG for information on winning this:

Enter to win a full-sized puppet stage and puppets, value of $290 by participating in Carolyn’s blog tour giveaway. Check out her website or blog for more details.
I am really excited for both these books, and am thrilled to be part of their tour to help spread the word. Book birthdays are ALWAYS fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton


Description: Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

My review: This book sucked me right in. And to learn the author put so much of her personal experiences into the story made it that much better. When I was a young woman, two of the girls in our ward ended up on the "sad end of a pregnancy test." Neither were my friends--one had been, but we weren't close any longer--and I have to admit I felt comfortably "righter" than they were. But I also felt sorrow for them, for the difficult path their lives had taken. I've never felt truly comfortable in a place of judgement. I'm too aware that I could just as easily be in their shoes. There was a boy, in fact, that I thought I could cross the line with, despite the costs. And I'm endlessly thankful he had more sense than I.

Hope's Journey is a story about two people finding their way. It's about a struggle to feel worthy, to feel good enough, and the lengths we may be tempted to go to for that feeling. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone falters. What matters is what they do next.

Worlton has crafted a wonderful story in a masterful way. It's not preachy. It's not obvious. It's subtle and caring. If you haven't read Hope's Journey, I invite you to purchase your copy today.
And head over to Stephanie's BLOG and become a follower. Find out about the giveaways she has in conjunction with the blog tour for Hope's Journey. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

That Good Ol' Comfort Zone

Recently someone said to me, "No growth happens inside your comfort zone." Okay, so she said it to about 200 people, but she may as well be talking right to me.

Lately I've had all sorts of crazy ideas about my writing career. Most of them have to do with getting more books out to readers. How is anyone going to know they love my writing if they don't know it's out there? The simple answer is: They WON'T.

When I started down this path a few years ago (5, 6--but who's counting) in earnest, I abandoned all those things I used to love. Hiding from people. Doing my level best not to draw attention to myself. Coming in under everyone's radar as much as humanly possible. I knew I'd have to step out of that shell in order to sell books.

But it was hard. Sometimes I'd creep back in. Being "out" all the time was like standing on the sun without any SPF 3000.

Writing is what I love. It's that part of my soul that was missing. It's what makes this wife and mom a complete being. For a while I let my job and having to home school my daughter and my husband's two jobs serve as my excuses for not spending as much time out of my comfort zone as I should.

I paid for that, in a way. The Peasant Queen didn't sell enough copies to justify the publisher picking up the sequel. That was in large part due to my choices, and in small part due to the economy. Publishing is a business. They are there to make money. I understand that, and I'm at peace with it. My past choices have put me on a different path for The Tyrant King, and I own my responsibility for that.

Self publishing means an utter destruction of my comfort zone. Nobody is helping me sell books (aside from loving, caring friends and family) to strangers. I have to do that. It's up to me. There is no such thing as an overnight success. What people don't see are the years of crushing disappointments that came before. Just because you never heard of someone before they're "breakout debut" doesn't mean they weren't working toward that goal all along.

This is me. Writing is my life. Publishing/marketing is my job.

Yesterday I spoke to the local librarian about a book signing in May. I came away with a tentative offer to teach a creative writing class to kids in the summer.

Not a bad first step out of that comfort zone, I think.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Review: We Lived in Heaven by Sarah Hinze

First of all, this is such a sweet cover. And it's perfect for this inspiring book.

From the back cover: This book is a remarkable collection of accounts of families who have had the opportunity to meet the souls of their sons and daughters before they were born. Read about the vivid memories of life in heaven by young children, and dramatic stories of prayers answered by guardian angels who watch over us.

This book combines stories of people from different faiths who share similar experiences. I loved it. Some of these stories are so touching and poignant, they will leave tears in your eyes. I received the book in the mail to review, and sat down immediately to read through it. It's that compelling.

You can purchase the book HERE or go to the author's WEBSITE and learn what motivated her to compile such wonderful stories to share with the world.
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