Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Gotta Be Me

"Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."

That quote makes its rounds on Facebook every other week or so. I know because I'm there. On Facebook. Much more than I need to be. (In the process of weaning myself, so it's all good)

I want to tell you something, and forgive me for going all fangirl on you for a minute, but I have this awesome online friend. I say "online" friend because we may or may not have met in person and I may or may not have held her sweet baby (when she was still tiny) while this friend taught her class.

See, my friend is also a writer. She speaks to kids. She does book signings. She's also just finished her 3rd book in 2013.

It's still February, remember?!

She's beautiful, dynamic, vibrant, energetic, and wonderfully amazing--and she's the mother of 7. I've spent the last few months telling myself I need to be her. She's a prolific writer while juggling so many other hats. And her writing is awesome. So far she has 9 "book babies" on shelves and online and one on the way.

She is author Jenni James. (I didn't post pics, but you're also going to want to check out her fairy tale series. For real.)

Jenni's like a force of nature. There's no stopping her. And that's really great and inspiring and wonderful. And I'm not her. I'm me. She's got a background in theater. I want to be invisible when I grow up. She's got it all together. Sometimes I'm good to get up in the morning. I don't want to make it seem like she's got it all together--everyone has things they have to deal with, everyone has problems. But her online persona is so bubbly and bright you wouldn't know she's suffered if you don't dig a little. I know because I've read her books. You can have so much raw emotion without feeling it sometime in your life. So, yes, along with all her stunning qualities, Jenni is also human. 

It's taken me a little bit of time, but I know now I can't be Jenni. Following her online inspired me to create this plan for publishing in 2013, to write a book a month, and really push my writing career. I've got so many books in my head if I don't get some of them finished I really may go crazy. And I so wanted to be like Jenni and be awesome.

But I'm me. And I'm going to keep plugging away at my plan and work through my demons and keep moving forward (and about half a dozen other cliches that I don't want to bore you with right now). Thing is, I have to do it my way. That's the glory of being individuals. Just like Jenni has a unique light she shares with the world, I have my own unique light to share. Sure, mine is on a dimmer switch right now but I'm getting there. 
I don't want Jenni to think she has to tone down her spunk or risk making some poor shlub like me feel bad about themselves, because that's not her problem. My feels are my issue. And I'm okay with that. Just like everything else, I'm working on it.

I'm not going to be Jenni, but I am going to be me. And that's okay.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My review: Tide Ever Rising by Mandi Tucker Slack

From the cover: Kadie Reynolds loves to explore old ghost towns. So when she and her sister, Maysha, visit Eureka, Utah, it's just another ordinary trip---until they find an ancient journal and strange dreams start to haunt Kadie. Little does anyone know, the journal contains secrets that will plunge them into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.

My take on it: Kadie is sweet, determined, and slightly clumsy, which is what leads to her discovery of the journal and the secrets that spin throughout this fun novel. I thought I'd gotten a handle on what would happen next in the book when I got hit with a twist. Then I got comfortable in that and got hit with another twist. Gotta say, I admire a book that can keep me on my toes. :)

I really enjoyed the ghostly element of the story because it didn't overpower the narrative. And I enjoy history, so learning of Adelaide and Charlotte Clarke's past and present thrilled me.

I try really hard when I review a book to not give away any spoilers so that you can discover all the fun and adventure for yourself. This book had that, and much more. It kept me turning pages until the end as I hoped that each of the issues--large and small--were tied up well.

Oh, and you're *really* going to like Logan. And Zaza.

You can find the book on Amazon, and catch up with the author on her blog, Facebook, or her website.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Review: Blue Sky by Melissa Lemon

About the book: Sunny is bereaving the sudden death of her parents. Lewis is a homeless runaway seeking shelter in Sunny's basement from an early winter storm. When they unexpectedly meet, Sunny wants nothing more than to kill him. After a bizarre hostage situation and a poker game, Sunny realizes that Lewis isn't out to hurt her. Their initial distaste turns to friendship and love, but Sunny isn't keen on starting a relationship with a man she knows so little about. Lewis is loyal, and his patience paramount. Sunny is hesitant but her love runs deep and true. They are separated unwillingly, and must struggle and face overwhelming odds to find each other again.

My take: First of all, this is going to sound silly but my dog's name is Sunny and when I started reading Blue Sky it really distracted me that the main character had the same name. But then I got drawn into the story and it didn't really matter anymore.

Sunny is a girl in pain. And her pain is real, heartfelt, and the reader can feel it in every breath. How does the world keep spinning when the people who love you most in the world are suddenly gone? And Meg, Sunny's friend, she's amazing. I love Meg. I want to be Meg. I want to be able to be that friend (though I know I fall far short in reality).

Lewis is real. It's so hard to see him try and try and try to win Sunny only to have her shut him down. I know why she does it, but it's still hard. And when he finally shares his past with her, you just ache for him.

I had a little bit of trouble with some aspects of the book--things I can't share with you or they would be spoilers. I guess that's because it's not how I would have done it, but I can see how it's reasonable and possible that things could work out that way. Cryptic enough for you? But really, Blue Sky engrossed me from the first few pages and I had to read on to find out if these two star-crossed people would end up together.

About the author: Melissa has had many imaginary friends (and enemies) since she was a child. Her vivid imagination had her writing stories and jotting down book ideas for years until she finally sat down and finished a novel. She is married to an awesome man and the proud mother of three children. Music is also an important part of her life and she shares time with her music students teaching them piano, cello or guitar. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Utah and currently resides in the Salt Lake area.
You can find more about Melissa through these links:


or check out Blue Sky on Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17304893-blue-sky

Melissa has promised the Amazon link as soon as the book is live (it's not due out till next week). Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Promise to Me

If you remember, back in December I received the personal revelation to "quit your job and write."

I quit my job. Now, about that second part....

You and I both know things have been crazy. Death in the family. Appliances going bonkers. Computer crashing. Kids breaking bones. Illness. The list goes on. But, really, what happens without change? Nothing. I don't move forward. My family stagnates. Not fun.

So I've taken some advice from the irrepressible Jenni James deeply to heart. And I wrote out my own plan for the next year.

Starting with February. It's The Lost Princess month! This book will be finished and to the editor by February 25th.

Then in March I have a little ghost writing project to complete, finishing it up in April when I will then tackle the next 200 pages of City of Light.

Basically, it's like this: While the kids are in school, I'm writing. If I'm not writing, I'm editing. I have plenty of time to get my social networking in, or relaxing, or reading, after the kids go to bed. While the kids are home, I belong to them. In the summer I'm going to edit more because it's easier for me to do it in chunks.

And by February 2014 I will have published 4 more novels and 3 more short stories.

Whew. That's big. That's like, a year. Epic. But I'm going to do it.

Here's the publishing rundown:

The Lost Princess will be out May 27, 2013.
City of Light will be out August 26, 2013.
Verity (title pending) will be out September 11, 2013.
Price of Love will be out October 5, 2013.
Beauty of Others (working title) will be out November 30, 2013.
By Degrees will be out January 4, 2014.
Tea for Two will be out February 1, 2014.

So, if you don't see me online much you'll know why. I'm making my dreams happen. I can do it, too, with a LOT of help from God and a little help from my friends. :)