Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Buzzin' and Writing Tips

Here's an interesting book that was finally released in the US yesterday. Dan Wells I am Not a Serial Killer. It sounds fascinating even though I believe it is a horror. I had the opportunity to met Dan at the LTUE Conference in February and sit in on some classes he taught. Great, enthusiastic person. His book sounds equally as good as his classes.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is the story of John Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath who works in a mortuary, dreams about death, and thinks he might be turning into a serial killer. He sets strict rules to keep himself “good” and “normal,” but when a real monster shows up in his town he has to let his dark side out in order to stop it–but without his rules to keep him in check, he might be more dangerous than the monster he’s trying to kill.

For more information about Dan and his book, check out his website.

One of the classes I took from Dan was on Pacing and Structure. I loved his energy in what he taught. He that growing up he did a lot of role playing which turned out to be a valuable source of story structure. Anyway, here's the 7-point system he uses and said that you can fit any store into this system. He showed us several examples. It was quite interesting to see how accurate his statement was.

1. Hook-start with the opposite in your character, i.e. if the character ends strong have them start weak
2. Plot Turn 1-helps the story move from beginning to midpoint, introduces conflict, sets story in motion
3. Pinch 1-apply pressure, force the characters into action
4. Midpoint-characters move from reaction to action
5. Plot Turn 2-pushes from the midpoint to the end, you get the last piece you need
6. Pinch 2-applies more pressure, takes the characters into the jaws of defeat, make sure it's bad
7. Resolution-everything works out or it doesn't

This is a good outline to have in mind, but keep in mind everyone doesn't write this way. Some people are discovery writers-meaning they discover their story as they go. Most will find that they have all seven of these points but they don't necessarily know what they are the first time they sit down to write.

I'm a discovery writer. It's have the fun for me to write that way, but one thing I strongly agree with Dan on is you have to begin with the ending. Otherwise you end up going in circles not sure what you're doing or where you're going. I don't mean you have to have all the particulars already worked out, just know how you want the story to resolve.

Hopefully this helps some, if it doesn't everyone has to find the best way that works for them. Just remember you have to know where you want to go or you end up wandering nowhere at all! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just a thought

I keep thinking I'm going to spread out my posts but that just isn't happening very well. We had a interesting experience this weekend that I thought I'd share. Sunday night we were taking our dog Honey for a walk. She saw another dog and took off after it before we could reign her in (being 90 lbs and pretty big makes it hard to combat her if she decides she wants something). Well of course a truck would be speeding down the street when she decides to take off and she gets hit. It freaked me out, major trauma issues all around. But the sad thing was the driver didn't stop. He put on his brakes but he didn't stop.

After we got her to the animal hospital we were told to call the police to file a report because it was a hit and run. There were a total of eight people who saw the accident including two little girls. So we called the police to file a report since we found the truck and it happens to be about five houses away from us.

The really sad thing is we were told no law was broken and there was nothing they could do. So apparently it's alright to hit a person's dog with the owner standing there and nothing can be done. We were basically told that we would have to be holding onto the leash when the dog was hit in order for something to be done.

Moral of the story . . . if your dog gets hit by a car, make sure you're holding onto the leash. I just think it's really sad. We didn't expect much but it would have been nice to have the driver at least acknowledge that they had hit something, maybe offer to help a little, an apology? Is that too much to ask?

Our dog is miraculously doing great right now, all she wants to do is play. Me, my husband and my dad all thought she was dead right after the accident. It's a miracle she's alive. I'll take the stitches and cuts over broken bones and a broken heart. I am so grateful she's alive, but it still makes me sad that the driver didn't at least stop.

Book Review & Buzz

I found a friend that had the book I wanted to buzz about last week, so I borrowed it. Now I get to do a buzz and a review! Joyce DiPastena's Illuminations of the Heart takes place in 12th century France. It is a wonderful love story full of twists and turns that will keep you captivated from the beginning to the end. I really enjoyed everything about it. Click here Take a look at her website and blog for more info about her and her books.
She also runs contest that are a lot of fun too!

Illuminations of the Heart
Joyce DiPastena

He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother’s will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop—until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife’s shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri’s face, all he sees is Clothilde.

Then Triston’s past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king’s sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?

Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Buzzin'

Well, Brandon Mull's Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison was released this week. I'm really excited about it and learned something about Amazon. If you pick the Free Shipping that is offered when you order $25 or more, you don't get your book for a really long time because they figure you don't mind waiting since you didn't want to pay for shipping. Now, the book's been out since Tuesday and mine hasn't even been shipped. Not sure I'm going to do that again! I'll let you know about the book . . . as soon as I get it.

Here's some other exciting news I've heard about. For those of you that loved hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, there is finally a summary for it! I'm really excited. Take a look and let me know what you think! CRESCENDO

Book Reviews

Fire Kristin Cashore

This companion novel almost needed to be first as it gave the history of one of the characters in Graceling. I really enjoyed it though. Some of the details got to be a bit much, but I loved the world she created and the lessons learned by Fire. There’s a fine line between right and wrong and this novel shows that very well. There is some language and talk of lovers but overall a good book.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Reviews

The 39 Clues: In Too Deep Jude Watson

I have enjoyed this series. The first book written by Rick Riordan was phenomenal. The rest of the series was sort of a letdown. This one renewed my faith in the series. I enjoyed the characterization, the story and the plots twists that now make sense. I’m more excited for the next few now rather than knowing I would read them just to read them because it’s a series kids like.

Rules Cynthia Lord

This was a fascinating book about an autistic child told from the perspective of his sister. I loved how she learned and grew in dealing with a sibling that was far from easy to handle. I loved the way she learned and hearing what her true feelings were. The author did a great job in portraying everyone in the story.

Sent Margaret Peterson Haddix

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Found and it left me curious as to how she was going to pull everything together. I liked her take on the time travel and seeing oneself in the future/past. I liked how the kids had to depend on each other and never gave up. The historical element of it worked really well also. I learned more about the 15th century way of life. I’m excited about the next one in the series.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Last Day for Mary Kay Sale

Hi Everyone!

Just a reminder, today is the last opportunity for the guaranteed 15% off of your Mary Kay order. To date I have $160 worth of orders. Help me get to $250 and everyone gets and additional 5%. Get another 5% if you become a follower on my blog So make sure to get your orders in by midnight!


Thursday, March 18, 2010


I found a very interesting article. Michael Scott-the author of The Secrets of Nicholas Flammel- posted a link to this article with the caption, "It is far harder to complete a book than it is to publish a book." Take a look. It's quite interesting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lots o' Stuff

Isn't it funny how quickly time flies and life just seems to keep moving forward whether you want it too or not. So, since I wasn't able to post more than once last week, this gets to be a long one!

1) It's a Super Spring Break Mary Kay Sale! From today (March 15) till midnight March 20 you can get up to 25% off your Mary Kay order. Here's how it works. Everyone automatically gets 15% off your purchase. You get another 5% off if you become a follower of my blog for a total of 20%(Those of you who are already followers automatically get the 5% plus a little something extra :) ). Then if I can get a total order of $250 or more (from everyone ordering between now and Saturday), I'll give everyone an additional 5% for a grand total of 25% off your order. So tell everyone, hope online, have fun doing a virtual makeover on my website, take a look at new colors and products for the spring and place an order!

2) Karen Hoover's book, The Sapphire Flute is available tomorrow!! YEAH!!!! :)

3) Here's a great book that was released in January. D. N. Giles aka Nichole Giles' The Sharp Edge of a Knife is based on a true story that sounds amazing. Here's the backliner for the book:

Most people would have panicked, sitting bound and gagged on a boulder in the middle of the desert as I was, but for some reason, I didn’t. A strange kind of reassurance washed over me from somewhere deep within. Whether it was peace that I’d go quickly, or comfort that I was being protected, I wasn’t sure.

Mel Petersen leaves for work on the morning of February 7, 1958, he has no idea what awaits him. A few miles from his house, Mel picks up a pair of young men who appear to be college students, hoping to prevent them from having to walk in the cold. What Mel doesn’t know is that the men are actually convicts on the run, who are desperate to get away by any means necessary.
When one of his passengers holds a knife to Mel’s throat, he has no choice but to submit to the demands of the criminals. Mel hopes he has what it takes to talk his captors into letting him live so he can return to his wife and children, but fears they will kill him before he has the chance.
Based on a true story, The Sharp Edge of a Knife follows Mel and his captors on an unforgettable ride that will have you questioning the depth of your faith and sitting on the edge of your seat as it grabs your attention from the first sentence and keeps you riveted until the very end.

For a sample chapter and more about the author take a look at her website and blog.

4) Book Reviews
I've been reading through the Fablehaven (Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Grip of the Shadow Plague and Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuaries) series again by Brandon Mull. If you like magical creatures and all the havoc that can happen around them, this is a series for you. I discovered that I had read the first three around this time of year last year in preparation for the release of the fourth book. That explains why I remembered more about those three than the last one. For me, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuaries was the best one. I loved the descriptions, the detail and the plot twists. I also really like the lessons that are learned by Seth throughout the series. Here are two quotes that really stuck out.

"I hate how my past actions keep messing up my future options," Seth muttered.
"Then you've started down the road to wisdom," Grandpa replied.

"Choices determine character."

Great lessons not matter the context. I'm excited for the conclusion that is coming out next week.

5) There was something else I had in mind that I would post about but of course I would remember it now. I'll just have to do another post later!

Life's a Journey! Enjoy the Ride!

Monday, March 8, 2010

ANWA Conference-Aprilynne Pike

The Road is Paved With Golden Rejects. I learned so much about Aprilynne as a person and her road to being published. I have to admit that knowing what I know about her I was skeptical about her. She had everything in place to be successful and I figured that it was just a golden road for her. That was not true.

Yes, she had the road paved for her but it wasn't an easy for her. 180 rejections later she is where she is. That really surprised me. I loved getting to know Aprilynne and listen to what she had to say.

Her class started with a tiered set of phrases from "I'm the world's best author" down to "I am the scum of the earth." She talked about her road down this tier, what it taught her, and where she was with each of her books that are currently getting published.

There were four things that stood out to me. 1) Don't buy into your own press. 2) Always be ready to write a new book. The worst thing that can happen is you sell one. 3) Rejections are good for you because they teach you to be humble. 4) Take responsibility for your own work and your own edits.

In other words, don't be afraid to work, be teachable, there's always someone who knows more than you do and take responsibility for yourself. I really appreciate what was said and how it gave me hope. Thank you Aprilynne!

Take a look at Aprilynne's website and blog:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Buzzin'

There are so many things running through my head right now and several that I want to post about. I was thinking I didn't want to have multiple subjects in a post, but with so much I'd like to say I'll just go ahead and do it.

1) On March 16th Karen Hoover's book The Wolfchild Saga: The Sapphire Flute is released. Karen is an amazing writer and person. I'm really excited for her release. I had the opportunity to listen to a reading by Karen at the LTUE conference in February and the book sounds amazing. (I tried to put a picture of her book cover here, but it didn't work out so well. You'll have to check it out on her website or the publishers website. Amazon doesn't have a picture up for her yet.) Here's her press release:

P.O. Box 2516 – Orem, UT 84059-2516



Justin Anderson Phone: 801-455-2824 Email:
Orem, UT - 6 March 2010, Orem, UT -- Valor Publishing Group announces the release of Karen E. Hoover's highly anticipated book, The Wolfchild Saga: The Sapphire Flute. The young adult fantasy has already created a wave of interest in national blogging circuits, earning a modest Hoover the title of The New J.K. Rowling by Valor Publishing Group president, Candace E. Salima, who reaffirms her belief in the series' big screen possibilities, saying it has the potential to rival the Harry Potter series. "It is that good and we are so proud of Karen."

The Sapphire Flute - the first in seven of Karen E. Hoover's books in The Wolfchild Saga - takes readers on an unexpected and exciting journey through the eyes of two young heroines, Ember, a shape-shifter of secret origins and Kayla, a gifted musician who is the guardian of the precious flute. The girls' journeys are set on a collision course as they face difficult paths and discover their destinies are shaped by the Keepers who preside and maintain order in their world of magic.

"Hoover is very talented when it comes to bringing life to her characters, like a puppeteer to the marionette," says popular blogger, Elizabeth Mueller. "Karen has a vivid imagination and it is not difficult to follow the artistic weave of her words."
Karen E. Hoover resides in Utah with her husband and two sons. She will be signing copies of her first release at The Gateway Barnes & Noble in Salt Lake City, March 16, 2010 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pre-orders are being taken on the Valor Publishing Group website at .
For interviews or to book speaking engagements with Karen E. Hoover, please contact her publicist, Justin Anderson: or call him at 801-455-2824.

She is currently having a contest as well. Her link is under my "Other People's Contests." Take a look!

2) It is Read and "E" Book week, something new that I didn't know existed. Marsha Ward's novels are 50% off on Just use coupon code RAE50 when checking out. Pretty interesting, but I like new, interesting things.

3) I've had the opportunity to be in several different classrooms this week and have found it very interesting to see which kids have been taught to take responsibility for their actions and who has not. Yes kids are head strong but most are. That doesn't mean they are not capable of understanding how to take responsibility for their actions.

When I had my own classroom, I tried to teach my 5 and 6 year olds that it wasn't Mom's responsibility to put their folder in their backpack every night. They could put it in or get the paper signed or show Mom or Dad their work. Don't wait until it's too late to teach children that. They are never to young to have some type of reasonable responsibility. In fact it helps them grow into a better person.

4) I was going to write more notes on the ANWA Conference, specifically those on Aprilynne Pike's, the author of Wings, class but I'm thinking a book is calling me to read a bit before I go to bed. I was very impressed with her and her road to being published. I learned a lot about her as a person and am more willing to read the rest of her books. Tomorrow, hopefully, I will share more on that.

Until then, Happy Reading! Life is a Journey, Enjoy the Ride! :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Peek

The Summoning is a fun book that I discovered recently. The third book in the trilogy is coming out soon and I was checking out the release date when I saw that HarperCollinsPublishers is offering a limited time free peep at the first book so I thought I'd attempt to put the link on. I quite enjoyed this book once I got into it. Here's my review from when I read it. Take a peek at Kelley Armstrong's website for more books she's written and see what you think of The Summoning.

The Summoning Kelley Armstrong

I had a really hard time getting into this book but once I did I couldn’t put it down. I’m not sure exactly what made it so difficult to get into. It could be that things were so drawn out. The characters are great and it’s another mix of people with different powers (if I say too much it could inadvertently give some things away!).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FYI-great book deal

Product DetailsI just found out found out about a deal on an amazing book, Counting the Costs by Liz Adair. Right now it is Whitney Finalist and is being offered at a special price of $5 off the cover price AND is being offered to book clubs and people alike for a FREE download at this website This book is absolutely amazing. I loved it from beginning to end. Take a look at it and hey . . . who can beat a free download! Here's my review from when I read it last year.

A poignant love story. I couldn’t put it down yet at times I wanted to. It gave me more insight as to the customs of the West in the 1930’s and the sacrifices that were made by some because of their choices. I walked away wanting to make sure that everyone I care about truly knows how I feel about them. Life is short and you never know what is going to happen. I loved the story.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Buzzin'

Here's a fabulous book for you that is coming out this month. In fact, Sarah M Eden is having a launch party for her Courting Miss Lancaster on March 12 from 6-8 @ the Orem Desert Book just east of the University Mall. So if you're in the area stop on by!

This delightful tale will take you away into a regency world were things are more peaceful than today. Enjoy a wonderful romance between two parties who society forbids the interaction. I am really excited to get my hands on this one. Take a look at her blog too for the March giveaway and more information about the author!
There's a great interview by Tina Scott on her blog,

From the back cover: Harry Windover adores blonde, green-eyed Athena Lancaster, but alas, a penniless man like himself has no hope of winning a young noblewoman's hand. To add insult to injury, Athena's brother-in-law and guardian, the Duke of Kielder, has asked Harry to assist Athena in finding the gentleman of her dreams. But the lovesick Harry is cunning as well: as the weeks pass, he introduces Athena to suitors who are horrifically boring, alarmingly attached to their mothers, downright rude, astoundingly self-absorbed, and utterly ridiculous.
Athena can't comprehend why she is having so little success meeting eligible and acceptable gentlemen. Indeed, her circle of admirers couldn't be less admirable--nothing like the loyal, gentle friend she's found in Harry. But how long can Harry's scheme be hidden before it is discovered? And what will Athena do when she uncovers Harry's deception?
Escape into a charming regency world in this delightfully romantic comedy of manners that will entertain you to the very last word.

Monday, March 1, 2010

J. Scott Savage-Keynote Speaker

Jeffrey Scott Savage was a wonderful keynote speaker. What's holding you back? I loved how I could take what he talked about specifically to writing and apply it into other aspects of life.

What's standing in your way? Specific to writing, these are the things Savage listed.
* The economy
* The evil conspiracy to keep new authors out
* A lack of connections
* Mean editors and agents
* Using wrong font/paper/margins
* Yourself-more often than not its the barriers we place on ourselves. We convince ourselves we can't do it.

Although most of this can be writer specific the last one can be applied to anything we do. Most often it is the barriers we place on ourselves that cause us to not try or do or take a risk.

Setting proper expectations
* How do you define realistic expectations?
* What's too high?
* What's too low?
* Why set limits on yourself? Anything is possible.

In setting the expectations get rid of the "I can't . . ." "No one will . . ."
Worry about the things you can control. Do all you can do and then don't worry about it. In the world of writing . . .

Things You Can’t Control/Things You Can Control
· What the agent wants/Doing your best work
· What is “In”/Finishing your manuscript
· If your book sells/polishing your query
· The right time & place/submitting often & regularly
· How long an agent takes/starting the next project
· How much your publisher markets you/marketing yourself

This is true in life too. How often do we stress and worry about things that are out of control? What would life be like if we were able to but aside those things and move on? Thinking about how nice my life would be if I actually did this, I would be a much happier camper.

Next he talked about not comparing ourselves to others and Dancing in the Dark.

Dancing in the Dark

· Determine if you have an idea or a plot

· Retrace your steps

· Do you have too many or too few story lines

· Write what inspires you

· Check to see if your character is acting or reacting

· Give your subconscious time to work

Recognize the Dark before the Dawn-Things always are darkest before they brighten

When we begin something new the path is clear but the higher we climb the less clear the path.

Our frustration builds as we near the next level and our urge to quit can be a sign that we have reached the top of this level of growth. Don't give up.

Break through those barriers that hold us back.

Great advice for anyone and everyone whether you're a writer or not. Don't set limits and barriers on yourself. If you aspire to be a writer, do it. If you aspire to be something else, do it. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't . . . including yourself.