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.

Hee Hee

Listen. I love you.

I woke up about 10:30 Monday morning and haven't been to sleep since. Basically I'm writing this post now to see what happens. Should be interesting/embarrassing/informative/none-of-the-above.

Insomnia's a kick in the head. I was tired when I went to bed last night, but for some reason couldn't make that magic sleep happen. I tried all the usual tricks. No soap. Around 2 am I gave up, figuring if nothing else worked than THAT will.


Instead, my brain wanted to revisit some of my favorite characters. So, in my head last night I:

--Wrote two battle scenes.
--Wrote a tear-jerking reunion scene.
--Wrote a funny/confrontational scene.
--Invented two--yes, TWO--magical creatures.
--Sorted out the logic behind two magical items.
--Figured out where/how the dagger will be within my MC's reach for that one critical scene.
--Figured out which character will be named for the winner of my naming contest from last year.
--personalized that autograph for the book I'm sending to my cousin.

I think I figured out my problem. My characters don't SLEEP. So I don't SLEEP.



Yeah, you're probably right. It's time to get the kids up for school anyway.