Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Tortoise and the Hare...

The biggest piece of advice I can give to any author or writer anywhere, including myself, is this:

You are NOT in a race. This isn't about who gets published first, who writes the most, who has the most readers, who has the most sales. Honestly, it isn't. If you find yourself getting caught in the trap of, "So-and-so is doing really well - I need to step up my work and catch up," then know that the only reward for that sort of thinking is misery, burn-out, and more jealousy.

If you aren't happy where you are right now, what makes you think you'll be happy with just a little bit more?

How to convince people, though, that what they're doing--what they're capable of--is enough? That their honest effort, even if it isn't as much as someone else's, is what counts?

You must measure hustle, not sales. The effort you are putting into your work NOW is what is most important. Stop thinking about how everyone else is doing! You'll never be happy if you're constantly in competition with them.

The satisfaction you feel when you look back on a month of honest effort is something to journal about. And make sure you do, because those journal entries will become words of strength when you're struggling.

Sigh.

Getting off of my soap box. :-)

Oh, one last thought: slow and steady wins the race. Don't act like the hare; be the tortoise. :-)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Point of View, etc.

Today's prompt deals with point of view. The rules regarding POV aren't breakable: once you choose to be in a certain character's head, it's not acceptable to change until you've started a new chapter. The only other time you're "allowed" to switch to another person's POV is when using a "section end designation" like this (or something similar. In The Key of Kilenya, we used cute, little keys:-)):

***

The concept behind point of view issues isn't difficult for many of us, but sometimes things still slip through.

Today's Challenge:
Write a short scene (poetry, fiction, etc.), using one of the examples below, and make sure you stick only to the thoughts of the main character. For bonus points, write the scene twice - the second time from the head of the other person. :-) (You don't have to if you're aren't inclined to do so.)

Here are some examples you can choose from:
  • Tom and Will are disgruntled neighbors. One morning, Tom knocks on Will's door and threatens to kill Will's dog if it breaks into his yard and chases his chickens one more time.
  • Sarah can't wait to meet Jeff tonight. She's been single for so long, and has a feeling he's Mr. Right. Her friend, Brittany, disagrees.
  • Seth and Kirk have had a long-standing competition where their trucks are concerned. Seth says to Kirk, "Where were you last night at 10:00pm? Someone broke into my truck again."
  • Mark and Stacy are discussing Mark's desire to pick up four-wheeling. Stacy's dad was killed in a four-wheeling accident a few months earlier.
  • Jessica and Chris were engaged for a year when Chris broke off the engagement. Three months later, he calls her up, asking if they can get back together.
If you don't like any of the above, please feel free to create your own. :-) Here are the parameters I want you to stick to:

  • Get into the thoughts of the person you choose. Don't let the dialog alone carry the scene.
  • Don't have more than two characters.
  • Take the scene where you want it to go.
  • Keep it short - three or four paragraphs (or up to eight lines of dialog with thoughts interspersed)
Keep up the hard work with writing, and good luck! Go ahead and post a link to your response below.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Telling vs Showing

Everyone has heard this before: it's important to show rather than tell. "Telling" gets old really fast, doesn't help us become familiar with the characters, and doesn't further the plot. "Showing," on the other hand, not only pushes the story forward, but allows us to see what the characters are like.

Here's how the first page of The Key of Kilenya would look if I'd "told" rather than "showed.":

Jacob really liked video games. He also liked basketball. One day, he decided he wanted to stop playing video games for an hour or so and practice basketball instead. He was tending his little sister so he made sure she was okay, then went outside.

His sixteen-year-old brother, Matt, who really liked working on cars, saw him and asked if he could also play. They joked around, as brothers often do. Jacob won the game of basketball. Then they talked about how Jacob was planning on trying out for the team.


A moment later, they were discussing a mutual acquaintance, when Jacob heard a noise coming from the trees near the driveway. Matt said he couldn't hear it. Jacob looked at the trees, wondering if something was there.


If this were the start of my book, my target audience would die from boredom. Teenagers have a great deal less patience than adults when it comes to telling rather than showing, but even adults get frustrated from it. Learning this simple-sounding, yet difficult-to-master concept is key in our writing.

Here's how The Key of Kilenya really starts (used with my permission. Ha ha. :-)):

Jacob tossed his favorite hand-held video game onto his bed, then grabbed his basketball and dashed down the stairs. As he entered the kitchen, he paused, glancing out the window to check on Amberly—still playing in the sandbox out back—then turned and bolted through the front door, eager to take advantage of the last rays of sunlight.

Matt, Jacob’s sixteen-year-old brother, was working in the garage. “Hey, I wanna shoot too,” he said as he popped his head out from under the truck.

“Fine, but I really need this practice. So challenge me.”

“Don’t I always?” Matt said with a laugh. 

They played a quick game of one-on-one, with Jacob barreling past Matt and leading the game consistently by fifteen points or more. He ended it with a spectacular three-point shot and bent over panting, hands on knees.

“Yeah, well, I can still beat you at football.” Matt grinned. 

Jacob laughed, then tossed the ball to his brother. “Here. You need to practice more.”

“You still trying out tomorrow?”

“‘Course—I have to.”

“Uh-huh.” Matt tucked the ball under his arm and glanced at Jacob. “You know . . . letting Kevin win at something might not be a bad thing. ‘Sides, you could both make it.”

“No, we couldn’t. You know Coach—he’s not going to let two fourteen year olds on varsity.”

A rustle in the trees next to the driveway made Jacob turn his head. It sounded like a large animal or a person. “You hear that?”

“Hear what?” Matt was back to shooting hoops again.

Jacob motioned for Matt to stop and took a step closer to the trees, squinting to see better. But the sun had already set, and the brush was dark. “Hey, turn on the light. I think something’s in there.”

It's longer than the first example, but it fulfills many needs. A couple of things I did differently:

I used dialog to move the plot forward, to help my readers get a feel for the characters, and to let us know what's going on in Jacob's mind (basketball, beating Kevin, making the team).

I also used several key words to show what Jacob is doing. "Tossed," "dashed," "eager," etc. He's not moving slowly, and he's not bored. He's excited to get to practicing.

There are several hard fast rules in some markets/genres that don't work in others. For example, The Key of Kilenya starts pretty quickly and jumps into action almost right away. My youth readers love this, but it might not work so well for someone who enjoys a good, relaxed romance.

Telling, instead of showing, doesn't work for any fiction market, with one exception: if the scene would be better with the telling instead of showing. (Who wants to watch the main character sleep all night long, rolling over occasionally, etc.? :-)) In non-fiction, it usually isn't a big deal. (Obviously, if you're writing a manual on how to use computers, you have to "tell." :-))

Today's Challenge:
Take a scene that exemplifies "showing" from a favorite movie, and rewrite it to be an example of a bad scene. Fill it with "telling" things, and remove the awesome. :-)

Then, compare your newly written scene with the original, and tell your readers what you changed and why. Explain the reasons you feel the original scene is a good example of "showing."

If, like me, you have a hard time choosing, here are a few movie ideas:
  • Star Wars
  • The Princess Bride
  • Indiana Jones
Or whichever other movie you'd prefer using. :-) Good luck! As usual, post in the comments below a link to your response. :-)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Eating Sushi

Before getting into the prompt, I wanted to get to know everyone better. If you're feeling up to it, would you comment and tell me what your interests/hobbies are, what you write/read, and where you're from? (I don't want specifics on location. :-))

Me: I like biking, hiking, camping, painting, playing the viola and piano, teaching, and my husband. :-) I'm from the mid-west, and I read YA literature and adult thrillers. (RIP, Michael Crichton!) I write YA fiction.

Now then. On to today's prompt. :-)

Have you ever noticed that the people who've tried sushi tend to either love or hate it? The experience is a unique one - not easily forgotten by those of us who didn't grow up eating this odd Japanese delicacy.

For today's challenge, I want you to use the different senses to describe your feelings about and the experience of eating sushi. Gear your writing toward someone who has never tried it and try to convince them to your way of thinking (to eat or not to eat).

If you've never tried it, I want you to take a side anyway and show us what you imagine it to taste like. Practice your powers of description and persuasion. :-)

Purpose:
  • The ability to accurately describe an experience using all the senses is a strength we as writers need.
  • The ability to persuade someone to side with you is a life skill handy in most any situation.

Rules:
  • You must use at least four senses.
  • Don't say whether you're for or against sushi until the end. If your readers can figure it out through your descriptions, double points for you!
  • Don't bash your readers over the head - be subtle. Remember the old saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
Good luck! Feel free to post a link to your response in the comment section below.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Your First Car

Today's prompt is more an essay/article than fiction, though don't let that stop you from writing a story along these lines and using that instead. (That would be really interesting! And so would a poem.)

I've been thinking a lot lately about whether or not my husband and I should buy a "first car" for our children, or if we should encourage them to save up and purchase one on their own. We've discussed this, but haven't come to any decisions yet. And I don't feel like a "Let's see how each child acts" situation will work, since it's not fair to buy a car for one kid and not another.

Here's where I've been a little torn. I believe in the value of working hard to achieve goals and being self-sufficient. I feel it's important for children to learn to save their money. On the other hand, sometimes all we need to be successful in life is a gentle nudge, or a little help from someone.

My parents couldn't afford to get cars for us, but my in-laws did so for their children. My husband's car is nearly dead now - he's run it to the ground. It's saved him a great deal of money, and he really appreciates owning it. Me - I worked really hard for my first car and paid for it with my own money. Though I don't have it anymore, I still remember the sense of accomplishment and pride I'd get whenever I drove it.

First, what are your thoughts in this regard? Should parents help their kids out, or should they encourage children to work toward the goal of being a bit more self-sufficient?

Next, write about the first car you bought. How you paid for it, what you went through to get it, the feelings you experienced when you drove it/looked at it, etc.

If you'd like, go ahead and put a link to your post in the comments below. Hope this helps get the writing juices going!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Should I? :-)

Should I keep this in Eyes of the Sun, Kilenya 5?

"Citizens have twenty-four hours to do so, or the Lorkon will ensure the destruction of everyone in the offending city. And that won't be nice, will it, Precious."

If you don't catch that reference, you're probably not as geeky as me. :-)

Wait. Did I say geeky? I meant cool. Cool! :-)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hiking Trails in Utah/Salt Lake Counties

I love hiking with my hubby and our baby! Today we went up the Dry Canyon Trail, which starts in Orem, right up against Timpanogos. It was beautiful! Pretty difficult at times, but with a lot of variation and cool things to look at, including some really dramatic cliffs and scenery. We only went up about a mile and a half (it was a pretty steep incline), but felt like we got a lot out of it.

Other trails we've done this year:
The Y (we usually do it once a week. It's a little more difficult with a baby, though, since the sun is pretty much on you the whole time. We're going to have to find a work-around for that one... (AKA: babysitter :-)))
The Pleasant Grove G (we've gone twice... it's not my favorite)
Mill B North (Big Cottonwood Canyon. Very green, lush, beautiful. One of my favorite trails.)
Mill B South (Big Cottonwood Canyon. Very pretty - not as lush as Mill B North, but still beautiful.)
Broads Fork Trail (Big Cottonwood Canyon. LOVE this hike! It's in the same parking lot as Mill B South. Heads straight up - there isn't a gradual incline. But there are bridges, and when you go in the springtime, the spring run-off is pretty fantastic.)
Granite Quarry (where the pioneers got granite for the Salt Lake Temple. Little Cottonwood Canyon. I wouldn't take little kids up there - it's potentially dangerous, depending on how far you go.)
Ensign Peak (and above it. Nice views of the SL valley and Bountiful. And that huge industrial complex... you know which one I'm talking about. :-))
Rock Canyon (twice. This is another favorite of mine. We've done it several times over the past three years. There are five bridges you cross that add flavor.)
Battle Creek (really steep at first, but rewarding the higher you go. We saw some cool stuff: the creek, waterfalls, the skeleton of a deer (okay, I'm weird, I know. :-)), and such. It's a good hike.)
Alpine Canyon to Horseshoe Falls (we went all the way to the top. We could have continued down into American Fork Canyon, but thought better of it. :-))
Bonneville Shoreline from Rock Canyon to the Y (the Bonneville Shoreline trails are all over the Eastern benches in SLC and UT counties. They're a lot of fun and offer a great variety.)

Stewart Falls (also a fantastic hike. It's not difficult enough for us to do regularly, so we make it a social event with friends and family. Beautiful waterfalls at the end.)



The best thing about hiking? My hubby and I brainstorm for my books on the way back down. It's been super good for my career!

If you want to know more about any of these trails, just ask. I'll give you info on levels of difficulty, locations, etc.

Also, if there are any trails you know of that aren't on this list, let me know! We love exploring new hikes.We like ones that are medium to extreme difficulty and that last a couple of hours up.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Willingness to Give

One of the most frustrating (and sometimes neatest things), is being really excited about a post you’re writing, then watching as it takes a completely different turn from what you’d planned. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and this is what happened to me today. I was going to write a flippant, somewhat funny prompt, but while putting together the intro, found the words heading somewhere else.

A while back, my husband and I had quite the “growing” experience. Our dishwasher broke, followed by the disposal, then the master-bathroom sink started leaking, we had an enormous rainstorm come through which flooded the basement and the garage, I tore my left rotator cuff and sprained my wrist, my car (a Geo Metro, bless its heart) and my husband’s (a ’93 Grand Am) started having problems, and on top of all this, we’d had some really stressful deadlines with my writing.

Needing a break from everything, we made a quick decision to attend a sibling’s college graduation. It was really nice to spend time with family, but my in-laws decided to follow us back and stay two nights with us. I was mortified! The house was a wreck, nothing worked, and neither my husband nor I had met our deadlines yet. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown—trying to keep up with everything, while playing the “perfect” hostess.

What a relief it was when my MIL didn’t snub me or act like she was better than me, but stepped in and started helping. She insisted I go to my office and edit so I could make my deadlines. She did the dishes and cooked for us while my father-in-law fixed the cars. Then, the next day, the two of them spent nine hours working in the yard, helping us maintain our rental agreement. Before they left, they filled the fridge and freezer with food and gave us a check for $100.

I’m constantly amazed at the generosity of other people. At their willingness to give of themselves—their time, money, and talents. I started that week thinking I’d be in a living Hell, and it ended with me feeling really close to my in-laws and husband. And I met my deadlines. Hallelujah!

Today’s challenge:
Write about an experience where someone blessed your life, or helped you achieve something you felt was impossible. Post it on your blog, and put a link in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review of Pacific Rim (movie)

My husband and I finally were able to go see Pacific Rim. Yay!

There will be spoilers in this review. I'll keep them as small as I can so as not to ruin anything for anyone who wants to watch the movie and read this post. But you have been warned. :-)

I gave Pacific Rim 8 out of 10 stars. I loved it. What did I expect? It was directed by Guillermo del Toro! :-) While watching, I kept thinking, "I'm loving this!"

Here's what worked for me:

1. The soundtrack. There were several times throughout the movie where I noticed, and appreciated the music. The reason I noticed it? The composer mainly used real instruments, not synthesized sound affects. I loved that! Especially during the scary parts or the intense fights - those tubas and french horns were amazing. :-)

2. The freakin' cool, wide-scale, huge, vast size of everything. The Kiaju's were awesome monstrosities - I'd be completely terrified if one attacked my city. I loved their designs and weapons. The Jaeger's (really hard for me not to type Jaegar, since that's a character in my Kilenya Series :-)) were huge. The amount of damage and destruction these two caused while fighting was realistic and actually satisfying. (Yes. I'm one of those girls who likes explosions and some destruction. :-))

3. Pretty much everything else, except what I mention below. The pacing was strong, and the movie was excellent from the beginning. I enjoyed the main characters. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the fact that the main chick was Japanese and that they destroyed Hong Kong instead of New York. I loved that everything was global - there's only so many times monsters can attack Chicago or Los Angeles before I get bored of those cities. Oh, and that three-armed Jaeger was pretty sweet.

4. The romance was how it should have been! I loved the ending of the movie - it wasn't forced, it felt natural. Well done!

What didn't work for me:


1. The three-armed Jaeger only survived a quarter of a fight!! Grrr. I didn't like that.

2. The pregnant Kaiju. My husband and I looked at each other and groaned. Not another Godzilla thing... And why would they send a pregnant Kaiju out into battle in the first place? This ended up turning out okay and I was fairly satisfied in the end. Still annoyed me at first, though.

3. The side characters weren't very strong, or had personalities that were stereotyped or annoying. And all of the pilots, aside from the Asian ones, were blond. Because of this, everyone looked the same. (The Australians and the main guy.) The platinum, obviously-bleached Russians were easily to tell apart, but those other guys? Buff in the same ways, same hair color, nearly the same faces. Took me a while to figure out who everyone was. More variety, please!

Anyway. Overall, I was very satisfied by the movie. It's one of my favorite new releases. The fighting didn't feel cheesy, or like they were going for slapstick humor. (Think of the rock giants in the Hobbit... very stupid.) And speaking of humor, there wasn't a whole lot of it, but that didn't bother me in the slightest. If there had been, it would probably have been forced, since the characters weren't set up to be funny.

So, if you haven't seen it, go watch it! And don't hate me if you don't like it. :-)

Edit: I wrote the above review about two weeks ago. And I realize something today: as soon as I finished writing this review, I stopped thinking about the movie. Which to me, means the story wasn't strong enough nor the characters compelling enough. But that's fine - not all action movies can have great story lines or characters. :-) It's still a good summer flick.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Microsoft to allow self-pubbers!

Has anyone else been following the Sony (Playstation) versus Microsoft (Xbox) self-publishing thing? Microsoft is now allowing self-pubbed games on their Xbox!! Sony's been doing it all along, but then, we all know Sony is better than Microsoft. ;-) :-) (Don't hate! I'm not a gamer, so don't really care about either company.)

Self-publishing is a revolution! First the music industry, then gamers/app developers, then authors. What do you think will be next?

Technology advances are really awesome! And so is the ability to do things your way when you want, how you want. There are still people out there who think that self-publishing is going to go away eventually. If you're one of thems peoples, think again! It's here to stay. :-)

I love the liberation we have now: the freedom to choose which path we take. And the freedom to leave when we realize we don't like the path we chose. It's pretty darn awesome.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Twenty Things Wealthy People Do

Came across this fascinating article on Dave Ramsey's site about things the wealthy people do/apply regularly that poor people don't. Before you go read it, know that there are NEVER guarantees to wealth. Also know that simply doing those things won't make someone rich.

I posted a link to that article on my Facebook account and got soundly whipped by people who are bitter and angry that they do those things and aren't wealthy, or that people they know who are wealthy are jerks and they don't want to be those people, or that are angry that they aren't wealthy and that people don't give them money, or that hate living in a free market.

I don't know all the reasons, but I'm posting and drawing attention to this so that people can decide if they want to pick up a few more habits with the goal of BETTERING their situation, not necessarily in becoming wealthy.

My husband and I do fifteen of the twenty, and three of those we don't do aren't applicable to us in our current situation. We're working our butts off, writing, creating, and focusing, trying to make our way in life, trying to edify and help one another.

So here's to becoming better people so we can help lift others!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: A Well-Placed Word

A well-placed word is (usually) more powerful than a whole paragraph of descriptions.

Challenge:
Write a full scene (dialog, etc., and at least four paragraphs) between a man and a woman who run into each other at the wedding of a mutual friend.

Information:
The man intensely dislikes the woman. Can't stand to be around her. Describe how she looks, how he feels for her through his dialog, and color everything with his feelings for her.
The woman loves the man. Craves being around him. Describe how he looks, how she feels for him through her dialog, and color it with her feelings for him.
Girls must write from the view point of the man.
Guys must write from the view point of the woman.

Purpose:
Rather than give a full paragraph of description, learn to use a few carefully placed words. Also, getting into the head of the opposite gender is a great exercise, and can be very entertaining. :-)

Let me know, in the comments below, how it goes!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A fun-to-read guest post on Joe Konrath's Blog

Joe Konrath is an awesome guy. He opened up his blog for authors to guest post for the next while. (Yes, of course I signed up. I asked to be scheduled early next year, though, and will announce when my post goes public.) But anyway, I just read the one from July 23rd, and it was really awesome!

It was written by Richard Stoker. In his post, Richard discusses the Forbes list of highest-paid authors from 2010 and 2011, then draws conclusions based on those lists. I really enjoyed reading his thoughts and think most of my author friends will as well.

You can access the post here.

All of this has got me to thinking. How important is it to write a blockbuster? On the other hand, how important is it to be prolific and put out many quality books?

Personally, though I'd love to write a blockbuster, I'd rather the steady, slow, continually writing more books routine. Like many others, I've watched authors who write blockbusters. JK Rowling released Casual Vacancy and it took forever to find it's target audience, mainly because everyone knew her through Harry Potter and judged the book based on HP's merits. After seeing how that went, JK released her next book, a mystery called The Cuckoo's Calling, under a pen name.

Stephanie Meyer, on the other hand, hasn't put out a new book since when?

My point is, JK Rowling is writing because she's a writer. It's not her fault HP went huge. She's not content to sit and live off of what she's made (she gave most of it away last year anyway). Stephanie Meyer, on the other hand, seems to be more interested in making movies. In fact, Austenland, which she produced (written by Shannon Hale) is coming out soon. I'm super excited!

I don't want to jump into public view until I'm good and ready. Which means more years of potential mistakes and working out kinks and writing more books. Anonymity isn't a bad thing, it really isn't. :-)

What are your thoughts on all of this? Would you rather be a Dan Brown, as Richard describes him, or a James Patterson? Or would you rather have a slower pace of life than either of these authors enjoys?

Another personal thought from me: I don't want millions of dollars from my writing. Millions of dollars definitely equals publicity. I write under a pen name for a reason (my maiden name). Only close friends know my husband's name or my daughter's name. I'm one of those outgoing extroverts who's really an introvert and loves privacy. :-)

But I'd definitely be very happy with a modest six-figure income from my books. :-) And if anyone knows how to become a millionaire from book sales, without everyone finding out, let me know. I wouldn't turn down the money, just the publicity. :-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How much I care about the birth of the royal baby...


Who's with me?

Megamind Review

My favorite word right now is "Olo." Thank you, Megamind, for introducing me to this exceptional greeting. :-)

When my brother-in-law popped Megamind into our player, I felt like arguing with him or kicking him out of the house. ;-) Most kid movies have really annoyed me lately. For example. Cloudy, with a Chance for Meatballs. I extremely disliked that one. :-)

But guess what? Megamind surprised me. A lot. I LOVED it! We bought it on bluray as soon as we could. (Well, as soon as it went down in price a bit. :-))

The one liners were fantastic. My husband and I quote them to each other all the time. The characters were well developed, the twist at the end great, and Megamind was fun, cute, intelligent, and so innocently evil. Love. :-)

If you haven't watched it, you'd better go get it and see it now. :-)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing with Feeling While Under Pressure

I've read many books lately where it was apparent the author was stressed, burned out, or under too much pressure to get the book done. The books fell flat in one (or more) of many ways. Ways such as: the romance not paying off, the tension not being high enough, the main character not being involved in the solution, the humor falling flat, etc.

I don't have answers for how to prevent this, and am wondering what you all think. Sometimes you DO have deadlines. Sometimes you DO have people waiting for you. And to me, it's important to keep agreements and goals and meet deadlines. So how does a writer manage to put something together that is emotionally satisfying, even when they're burned out?

Think about it. In every single other profession, you're expected to put forth quality work even when you hate your job. You don't get paid otherwise. And bosses, clients, patients, etc., won't wait patiently for you to get excited again. Why is it that many artists feel they're different in this regard, and again, what can we do to write with power when we're in this type of situation?

Like I said, I don't have the answers. I'm hoping all of you do. :-)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Writing Prompt: Cliches

I'm obsessed with all sorts of dos and don'ts, especially those involving the written word. During the past week or so, I've mulled over cliches. Most editors will tell their authors never, ever to use them, and the reason is that they weaken the writing. Readers glaze over those phrases, never internalizing them.

This isn't good.

Of course, how do we know we're using cliches? They tend to slip in when we're least expecting them; when we're not paying attention. I propose we force ourselves to recognize these phrases. :-)

My challenge, to get you into your writing this week:

Write a poem/short story/memoir/essay/advertisement/novel/whatever else you feel like writing (fiction and non-fiction). It can be humorous or serious.

Rules:

  • You must use three cliches.
  • You must start out your writing with, "It was a dark and stormy night," which counts as one of the three clich├ęs.

And that's it! Good luck!

Let me know how it goes. :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Have Never!

Let's play the "I have never" game. I'll start. I've never been to a tanning booth.

Remember - you can't repeat what others have said, so be sure to read the comment trail before commenting.

Ready, set, go!

Monday, July 15, 2013

What are you waiting for?

I've spent a great deal of my life waiting.

I waited as a child, not wanting to experience things for myself first, wanting to watch others try before I did.

I waited and held off from being my outgoing, bubbly self in junior high and high school because I wasn't sure how people would respond.

It took me nine years to graduate from college because I didn't know which major to choose - I waited until the perfect one came along. And it was the perfect one. But I could've found it earlier.

I waited to graduate because I didn't know if I'd get married halfway through. I wasn't sure how much I'd be able to attend after getting hitched.

I waited to graduate because I didn't have the money every semester and didn't want to get in debt. (Don't regret that one!)

I waited to start writing because I wasn't sure if I REALLY wanted to do it, or if I'd be good or not.

I waited to fully relax as a single woman because I wasn't sure when I'd meet the right guy and would need to be "impressive."

I waited for HIM to say, "I love you" first. (Another one I don't regret.)

I waited to focus on writing after we decided to have kids because I wasn't sure when they would come. (Took eight months)

I waited to be truly effective while I was pregnant because I could never tell how sick I would be each day.

And you know what?

I'm through with waiting.

I'm going to be the best wife, the best mother, and the best author I can be NOW. I'm going to put the most important things first: my hubby, my baby, and my writing every day and let everything else fall into place.

I know what the Lord wants me to do. And I'm ready to do it NOW.

I'm through with waiting. I really am. It's time NOW to take myself seriously!

What's holding you back? What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Which stage are you in? :-)

All right, authors and writers! I want you to go check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog post titled The Stages of an Indie Writer. This applies to all of you: traditionally published, aspiring, self-published. Then come back and tell me which stage you're in. :-)

Seriously: I can't stress this enough right now. Every single author I know who has signed with a publisher has become disenchanted after seeing how things actually go or are actually run. Some of those authors go on and sign with other publishers - usually Indie publishers where they're treated much better - but even then, I still hear frustrations.

Only a couple of my author friends are really happy where they are. The thing is, when we start thinking seriously about getting published - when it occurs to us that this could actually happen to us - we become in love with the dream of being traditionally published. And dang, those publishers make things look so good!

But the truth is, traditional publishers aren't doing very well. Not only that, but the ones who ARE doing well still mess things up ALL the time by: assigning the wrong title to books, not ordering books on time for launches, sending books to the wrong bookstore for said launches, having to push back publication dates multiple times because the cover art wasn't finished on time or the book wasn't sent to the printer (oops! Sorry! they say), putting together covers that are really bad, messing up editing, and NOT MARKETING. That's the biggest complaint from pretty much every author I've met about their publisher.

Publishers promise a lot of things and then don't fulfill those promises. And authors these days, after signing that freakin' fantastic contract, and finally feeling like they're actually "there," come to the bitter realization that publishers are humans, that they make mistakes, and that one of the biggest ones is how much work they'll put into your book to make it go big. If you aren't James Rollins, Patterson, or Stephen King (or any other huge author), you're going to be expected to market yourself. To put your own money into your book to get it out there. And if your book flops, it's on you, you don't get reprinted, and your book is pulled from shelves.


I'm not against traditionally publishing, actually. There are one or two publishers out there who are doing things right. But technically, they aren't even trad. publishers. They're Indie publishers.

Anyway. Regardless of which stage of becoming an Indie Author you're in, please make sure you know full well what you're getting into. Do your research! Read books about publishing.

And realize this: publishers are watching self-published authors. Self-publishing is the slush pile now. Those of you who are sending your manuscripts out into the ethernet might want to consider making some money while waiting for that dream to come true. :-)

Making money... Mmmm... I sure love doing that. :-)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Technology Terms in Your Books

Dating is fun, right? Yeah, totally. Unless you've been doing it for an awfully long time, and then it's just tedious. :-)

Even though the occasional date is great, we as authors need to avoid dating ourselves or our books. Okay, that's totally cheesy. Sorry. :-)

What do I mean, you ask?

I started reading a book a few months ago that had been recently published. But the more into the book I got, the more I realized the author was very out of it when it came to technology terms, slang, and other things. The words he used showed he'd either written the book in the nineties, or was completely stuck in that era. And the dialog was so distracting, I couldn't finish the book. I spent most of the time rolling my eyes.

Not everyone is going to trip over this sort of thing, I know. So why does it matter? Mainly because a lot of readers will be pulled out of the story if they come across something that is really out-dated. It's really hard to find appropriate slang for all generations, so I think it's okay to slip in the occasional word here and there, but when the entire dialogue is mainly, "like, totally cool!" then we've got a problem. :-)

An example of one of my pet peeves: "Bye!" Sarah said, then snapped/flipped/clicked the phone shut.

Really? Most people don't use flip phones anymore. And those who do will end up switching for something newer when their current phone breaks and they can't find a flip phone. What's the better way to show that someone has ended a call? How about this: "Bye!" Sarah said, then ended the call. :-) Or, even though it's also dated, "hung up" can also be used.

The point is, think of ways that will be more universally acceptable over the next several years. Yeah, that's right. You heard me. Predict the future! :-)

What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to technology, slang, and other things being outdated? Have you ever noticed something like this when reading? If so, did it bother you? Or am I the only one? :-)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Man of Steel Review

This may or may not reveal spoilers, determined by how well you know Superman's story. :-)

My husband, brother, parents and I went and saw Man of Steel today. I enjoyed many aspects of it, but overall was disappointed.

One of the best things about being married to a critical thinker is the opportunity to analyze movies and books together. It really helps me become a better author and to avoid the types of cliches and problems that occurred in Man of Steel.

When we left the theater, I didn't immediately say, "Let's go watch it again!" like I usually do after comic super hero movies. I'm a huge Marvel, Mattel/DC comic fan and watched the cartoons religiously growing up. In fact, the movies based on these comics are some of my favorites. It's very rare that I don't like one of them. I'm a fan of almost every Batman movie ever made (including Batman Forever), and I'll always be a die-hard X-Men fan.

The last Superman movie was horrendous. This one was better. I appreciated that. But my main issue was that it lacked the depth that I've come to expect from Christopher Nolan.

My husband gave the movie six out of ten stars - he was pleasantly surprised and wasn't expecting much. I gave it five. I went in expecting more and was disappointed.

What I liked:
  • The beginning. Krypton was fantastic. I loved the action, the character development, the setting, and how wide-scale everything was. The technology was cool and the flying creature was awesome. Loved the double wings. 
  • Superman's parents, both sets. You feel like you really know them. They were three-dimensional characters with feelings, goals, desires. When Lara said goodbye to her baby, it actually brought tears to my eyes, rather than me feeling like it was cheesy.
  • Superman with scruff. Much more attractive than without. :-)
  • The action. Lots of cool explosions, etc.
  • The plot. It was so much better than the last Superman movie.
  • Superman's training montage. It was really neat. Without revealing spoilers, I really liked how he discovered where he came from.
  • How Superman flies. The little bursts of energy added a lot of eye-candy to the scenes.
  • The bad chick. She was awesome and actually knew how to fight.
  • Watching Superman try to blend in with humans at work, etc.
 Actually, as I come to think about it, it wasn't until about halfway through the movie that I started not enjoying it.

What didn't work for me:
  • How Superman's Earth dad dies. I mean, come on! This was my first major complaint. It was a huge thumbs up to animal activists and was disappointing. And definitely NOT how it really happened!
  • The lack of character development. We get to know Superman's parents really well - both sets. But who's Superman? Who is Lois lane? We watch them a TON, but what we see doesn't successfully advance the plot or teach us about them as individuals. As an example, in Batman Begins, you really feel his suffering, pain, and accomplishments. You cheer him on, not just because it's Batman, but because you've been there with him. The only reason I could predict what Superman did was because I know his story outside of this movie, and not because they'd laid the groundwork for a reboot of him, as was the case with Batman Begins.
  • The excessive explosions. I love explody movies. Always have. I love fires and booms and things falling down magnificently with lots of drama and dust. But even I was rolling my eyes after a while. Some of the fights were too long and dragged out and my husband, brother, and I actually got bored. Those fights became repetitive and very, very predictable. You can only knock so many buildings down without wondering why certain people are still alive, why there are still buildings to knock down, and when something else cool will happen.
  • Lois and Superman's relationship. Actually, their relationship didn't bother me. This movie was a great foundation - a fantastic setup for romance in future movies. BUT NOT IN THIS ONE. So why'd they have to kiss? People in the theater were actually groaning around us. It felt unnatural and forced and there was no pull behind it. And how the heck did she get there anyway? :-)
  • The way everyone called Superman Kal. I mean, come on. When have they done that before? It was always Kal-El. Or Kal-L. Jor-El went by his full name the entire time, so why not Superman? Kal is too close to the name Cal, which is a cute, small-town boy name. I'm from a small, country town, and know many people by the name of Cal. So that pulled me right from the movie. That, and the fact that he's never been called Kal before - it's supposed to be Kal-El.
  • Failed attempt at humor. Anything emotional that involved Superman fell flat. The only thing that made us genuinely laugh was when Lois told Superman to be careful with her luggage because it was heavy. :-) I rolled my eyes at the "109 days without accidents" thing.
  • Amy Adams playing the part of Lois Lane. Lois isn't a soft, cushy, Enchanted-singing chick. She's LOIS, for crying out loud. :-)
When the movie was over, my brother's first comment was, "That was way over the top. Like they were trying to pull off 'final movie' epicness in the first movie. Where the heck are they going to go from here? Oh, I know. Superman saves the world. Again."

Out of every super hero movie I've seen, this was my least favorite (apart from the Green Lantern). And I've seen pretty much all of them.

If your aim is only to provide explosions and violence eye-candy, then this was a successful movie. But on every other level, they must have been aiming for Twilight levels of emotional and character depth, because that's what they achieved.

Yes, I do feel very strongly about this. Ha ha. :-)

I'm sure I'll watch it again, but give me Thor, Iron Man, Batman, Hellboy, The Avengers, or X-Men first, please. I'll get around to it eventually.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Writers Write!

Something that surprised me when I decided to tell people I was a writer (and later an author) was the huge number of people who mentioned they wanted to write a book. I've always wondered why they hadn't done it, and over the past few weeks, I think I've come to a conclusion. :-)

I enjoy needlepoint. I like sewing the occasional project. I like eating fresh veggies from a garden, and I like seeing plants grow. I enjoy making scarves with yarn, and every couple of years, I pull out my yarn and start (or finish) another scarf. I also enjoy blogging.

But the thing is, these are NOT my passions. I don't wake up thinking about gardening. Or sewing or even blogging (shocker, since it seems most authors LOVE blogging :-)). My passion is writing. And not just any writing, but writing books and stories that will entertain in some way.

Because writing is my passion, I make it a priority. It's one of the first things I do in the morning, and if I don't get it done throughout the day, I feel like the day wasn't as good as it could have been. Obviously, there are exceptions. Like, if I'm on a vacation or something. :-)


If you've been wanting to get that book written, the only way it's going to happen is if you make it a higher priority. Do it before the kids wake up, before work starts, and before the laundry needs to be done. Otherwise it won't ever happen. Things that get put off until the end of the day rarely get done. We all know this. :-)

If not writing, what is your biggest passion? What is the one thing that drives you every day, where, if you don't do it, you feel like the day wasn't as successful as it could be?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Model for Book Cover Wanted!

Howdy, People!

I'm working on a new series and am so very excited about it! For this series, the main character is an 18-year-old girl named Anya. We're needing a girl who can pose for the covers of the book, and we'll be paying her $30 for an hour-long photo shoot with a professional photographer.

This person needs to:

Live close by (we're close to Salt Lake County and Utah County right now), or be willing to travel without us paying for traveling cost. A BYU, UofU, or UVU student would be perfect.

This person also needs to:

Be female, attractive, and at least 18 years of age (the main character is 18 in the first book, and by book four, will be 22). She'll need to have a slender, athletic build, blondish hair (naturally light-colored, and straight, not curly), and light colored eyes. She needs to be tall - at least 5'8".

If you know someone who'd be interested in being on the cover of a soon-to-be-popular, published book, and who'd like to earn $30, please have them email me (ap@andreapearsonbooks.com) the following information:
1. A headshot, with only a little makeup on
2. A full-body picture, to show they have Anya's body type - tall, slender, athletic
3. Their contact information: cell phone and email address
4. Their schedule for the next couple of months (so we can arrange with the photographer)

The person we choose (and we'll only be able to choose one) will need to sign a waiver that they won't ask for a portion of book royalties, that they won't sue for having their picture on the cover of a book, and that they understand they probably won't have access to the photographs. :-) (We might be able to work something out for photos we don't end up using, if desired.)

If they don't mind, I'll thank them in the acknowledgement section. :-)

I'm soooo excited! Can't wait to get this series going. It's really going to be excellent. I've already got a few stories written for it, and my beta readers have LOVED them.!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Talents and Passion

I've been thinking a lot lately about how my life has gone where talents, interests, and hobbies are concerned. I've had a lot of passions and have followed those closely, and looking back, I can see how they've helped me.

The biggest thing I notice is that my passions and talents have always followed the arts. Except for that brief excursion I had with car repair and maintenance. :-) (I learned out to maintain my own car, including replacing pipes and valves and changing the oil. Something everyone should know how to do. :-))

What is it that pushes you? What are your strongest passions? And is it possible to make money doing one of those things?

Only you know the answers to these questions.

For a long time, I wanted to become a concert pianist. I mastered Franz Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Jon Schmidt. (Yes, Jon is one of those famous classical composers. :-)) Even though I loved playing the viola, I was more passionate about the piano, and therefore, quickly surpassed my viola-playing abilities. (I still play the viola in church, funerals, and family get-togethers, however.)

Then, with the help of a friend, I discovered painting. I first learned how to paint with acrylics, then oils. I wish I'd done it the other way around - oils are so much easier to blend and work with. They allow the artist to fix mistakes or make changes.

Here are some of my favorite paintings:

This was my first oil painting, and my first portrait. The original was done by Greg Olsen, and I had the help of a wonderful elderly woman who taught me the names of the oil paints and which ones would look the best. It was all done by my own hand, eye-balling the original.


I really like sceneries and spent most of my time painting them with acrylics and oil. 


The theme in my bedroom in my parent's house was Piove Sull'oceano, which is the name of a Josh Groban song. Click here to listen to it. :-) (That's a link to a Youtube video.) I painted this while listening to that song on repeat. The painting also bears the name Piove Sull'oceano. (Rain over the ocean)


I especially like painting more abstract things. This is a set I did for our master bedroom. They took about ten hours each to complete - which, from their simplicity, is impossible to tell. :-)


Another set of paintings for my master bedroom. 

All of the paintings above, except for the one of Christ, were completed in the last five years. Here are some links to my earlier works: my first water color (painted for my older brother's Eagle Court of Honor), an abstract painting of mountains (when I first discovered oil paints), a pencil drawing of a kitten that I did when I was sixteen, and some black mountains. As you can see, I like mountains. :-)

The one thing I never tried out growing up was writing. My older sister was "the writer," and I've never really been competitive, so I stayed away from that area for many years. When I was 22, I couldn't hold it in anymore and started writing. I wrote my first book in six weeks (and took well over a year to perfect it). I'm really glad I spent a lot of time with other hobbies and passions first, since I got that out of my system (still paint and play the piano occasionally). Writing is where my heart is. I'll never stop - it drives me so much more than any other artistic pursuit.

What about you? What did you spend your time learning and focusing on? Where is your attention now, when it comes to talents and passions? Are there any areas you'd like to focus on in the future?


Monday, June 17, 2013

Ginnie West Adventure Series and Giveaway!

The Ginnie West Adventure series gets new covers! 
To quote Ginnie: "They are totally awesome sauce!"



THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A GINNIE WEST ADVENTURE (Book 1)

Twelve-year-old BFFs—Ginnie and Tillie—want to be sisters. Tillie's divorced mom plus Ginnie's widowed dad could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club and come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation: Secret Sisters’.

 Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation: Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation: Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about. When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out why before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.

As a writer of fantasy, few stories set in reality succeed in capturing my interest so thoroughly that they leave me wanting more. With her spirited personality and flare for fun, Ginnie West does just this as she draws the reader into her unique world from the start and never disappoints. An engaging read that entertains the young as well as the young at heart, this novel manages to become what most rarely do--memorable. ~~ S.E. Gerard, A Fracture In Time

I LOVED this book! I didn’t know a book without zombies could be good! ~~15 yr-old Amanda

TROUBLE BLOWS WEST: A GINNIE WEST ADVENTURE (Book 2)

Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. She is certain that defending her twin brother, Toran, from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do. But Ginnie couldn’t be more wrong. She quickly figures out that Toran doesn’t appreciate being rescued by a girl any better than Pierce likes being knocked down by one. 

When Pierce seeks revenge on Ginnie, Toran sets aside his anger and helps her plot a playback prank at Pierce’s house. Sadly, Ginnie learns that Pierce has a reason for being a bully when she sees his dad drop him to the floor like a rag doll. Realizing he's a boy in big trouble, Ginnie decides to be his ally, even if he won’t let her be his friend.

If you like farms, friends, horses, and secrets, you’ll love: Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure. So saddle up and be ready to ride with Ginnie as she explores the true meaning of friendship. ~~Debbie Shakespeare Smith, middle-grade author of The House of Chicken

An excellent book that deals with the sensitive topics of bullying, abuse, and forgiveness. It is action packed and full of raw emotions. Bucheger does an amazing job of writing this story, without giving a cookie cutter answer to the problems Ginnie faces. The characters are full and rich—which makes me wish I could be part of the West family as well. ~~ Karen D. 

SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN: A GINNIE WEST ADVENTURE (Book 3) 

Twelve-year-old BFFs schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. When their parents go along with the matchmaking, the girls are stoked. Sweet! Not long after though, Ginnie stumbles upon her late mom's journals, making life even more awesome sauce … until her dad confiscates the journals, determined to protect Ginnie from a danger he won’t name. Ginnie is counting on her future sister's help to make Dad change his mind, but Tillie's not so sure the ghost of Ginnie's mom will make a good addition to their new family tree. 

Besides, Tillie is too busy trying to keep the memory of her abusive, no-good , rotten-excuse-for-a-birth-father from bubbling to the surface to worry about what's bugging Ginnie. He left six years ago and Tillie’s knows a better dad when she sees one … Ginnie’s dad. The girls' world gets flipped upside-down when a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go nutburgers. Ginnie is torn between helping her best friend and what could be the answer to her prayers. Life gets complicated lickety-split in what is sure to be the most pivotal summer of Ginnie’s life. 

With the charm of The Little House books, and the courage of today’s American Girl, Bucheger has created a series that has staying power. ~~Mikey Brooks, The Dream Keeper

As a mother I couldn't put these books down. While they may be written for middle grade children, I was not only entertained, but inspired. ~~ Courtney W.





When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy
the journey that is her life. 



She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, an adorable granddaughter,  a son-in-law, three cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and plans to write many more. You can find more about Monique and her works at: www.moniquebucheger.blogspot.com




a Rafflecopter giveaway



This is the BLOG TOUR with Links:


MONDAY:
June 17: The Fictorian Era: Spotlight
June 17: Roseanne's Spot: Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 17: J. Lloyd Morgan: Review of Trouble Blows West

TUESDAY:
June 18: Braden Bell: Spotlight
June 18: Tristi: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 18: Tina Gower: (<--winner of this year's WOTF-- I'm so happy for her!)
June 18: Mikey Brooks: Interview

WEDNESDAY:
June 19: A Hero's Journey: Spotlight
June 19: Kimberly Griffiths Little : Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 19: Jen Greyson: Spotlight

THURSDAY: (BOOK BOMB DAY)
June 20: In Brief: Blog Post
June 20: An Author In Progress: Overview of all 3 books.
June 20: A Book A Day: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 20: Marathon Writer: Spotlight & Interview
June 20: Angela Carlie: Spotlight
June 20: David Farland: Shoutout

FRIDAY: REDEEM the FREE & Almost free books :)
June 21: Ordinary happily Ever After: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 21: A Writer's Ramblings: Spotlight
June 21: Pauline Toohey: Author: Interview

SATURDAY:
June 22: James Duckett: Interview
June 22: Author Andrea Pearson: Spotlight
June 22: The Clan of the Stone: Spotlight




Friday, June 7, 2013

I, Spy, and Mr. Nice Spy!

We're celebrating the launch of I, Spy! Read on to find out more about the book, get a cool spy tip for your daily life and download a free gift! Then find I, Spy on Amazon, Kobo, and JordanMcCollum.com!

About the Book

Canada is probably the last place you'd expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation. It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy? She can make this work, too—until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn't the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves. More about I, Spy | Add I, Spy to your Goodreads to-read list!

Advance praise

The edge-of-my-seat undercover operations kept me turning pages, and just when I thought the story would go one way, plot twists sent it down another path. Thrilling, adventurous, and romantic, this book has it all for an Alias fan.
Jami Gold, award-winning author
Jordan McCollum’s debut novel is a delightful combination of mystery, action, and romance. Talia’s CIA training and almost OCD caution feed her quirky humor while exposing her very human fears and insecurities. Add in her boyfriend Danny, and it's enough to twist your heart.
Donna K. Weaver, author of A Change of Plans
Clever, suspenseful, and charged with political intrigue and romance, I, Spy is the perfect combination for a fun and captivating read!
Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of Monarch

About the author

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom. Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

The clue!

As part of the debut of I, Spy, Jordan is hosting a contest to figure out the song that inspired the story. Collect clues at each blog stop and use your spy skills to piece together the clues to win a $25 Amazon gift card! How to enter The clue for this stop is:
Every original album by The Monkees except one features a song written by the singer-songwriter duo behind the I, Spy song.

The freebie!

Thanks for participating in this launch tour! As a free gift this week, Jordan is giving out free copies of Mr. Nice Spy, an I, Spy prequel novella. Simply to go http://JordanMcCollum.com/store/. You can also get 40% off I, Spy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Dream Keeper by Mikey Brooks

Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?



Synopsis:
Loser—the most frightening word to ever be uttered in junior high school. Even the coolest kids are afraid of being associated with it. 14-year-old Parker Bennett is no exception. He can’t even be himself around his friends for fear they might not accept who he really is. When circumstances force him to team up with Kaelyn Clarke, the biggest loser in the ninth grade, Parker has to decide what is more important; protecting his social status or saving the world. Nightmare named Fyren has taken over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, with the intention of controlling mortals, and it falls on Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr – the Dream Keeper – to stop him. They learn being called a loser is no longer a fear, when compared to the terror of real nightmares.

In Praise of THE DREAM KEEPER:
“This really is a cracking novel. Action-packed and spellbinding!”—Cas Peace, author of The Artisans of Albia series.

Purchase links:
Hardback, Paperback, Kindle, Nook

And here's an excerpt from the book!

Parker was about to assassinate the general of the goblin army. It wasn’t murder, it was an assignment. He tried to justify what he was about to do as he jumped from the rooftop and landed just above the battlement wall. It was the perfect spot to scout the camp. The goblins filling the keep were everywhere, sharpening blades and axes or gathering weapons for the impending battle. Parker noticed a large troll in the right hand corner of the space below, hammering solidly on a sword large enough to split three men into six. He spotted his target.

The general of the goblin army was a large brute with golden braids hanging down his chest. He was the one who had ordered the burning of Parker’s home village. The one who had ordered the death of Parker’s family and friends. This monster, this villain, was the reason Parker had set out on his journey to seek vengeance upon the unjust. This was the creature responsible for Parker swearing allegiance to the Mightercore army, who quickly gave him the role of assassin-scout.

Parker maneuvered his way down the wall, careful not to move too fast or his invisibility cloak would lose its power. He placed his foot in one crevice, then his hand in another. After a few moments of skilled climbing, Parker found himself precariously positioned just behind the golden haired brute, leaving only a small distance between him and his foe. In a quick session tactic, Parker could ignite his blade with the magic of the Mightercore and his target would be no more. He positioned himself to strike, raising his sword and whispering the incantation that would release the blade’s power—.

“Parker.”

He ignored whoever was calling his name; they did not matter. All he saw was the villain before him. The completed spell ignited Parker’s sword with a blazing haze of blue fire, and he had to act fast.

“Parker!”

The loud call startled him and he swung too late. The goblin general had already turned and he struck, forcing Parker back against the rocky battlements. Parker parried the attack and thrust forward with a low slash. The general sidestepped and lunged forward again. Parker parried and rolled away from the wall. A lightning spell was the only magic he had left. If he could find enough time to call out the incantation, he could have the general radiating electrons from every appendage.

He rolled until he was a good ten feet from his opponent, then quickly stood. Lifting his hand into the air, he called down the lightning. The sky filled with a brilliant white light, and the crack of thunder reverberated off the walls. Parker briefly closed his eyes then opened them, praying he had hit his target. As the white dust began to clear, he made out an image before him. He peered at it, his heart thumping.

The screen went black.

“Parker, I’ve called you three times. Now get off that machine and go do your homework.”

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Buttersmiths' Gold by Adam Glendon Sidwell


The Buttersmiths' Gold
BATTLES. BLUEBERRIES. BOVINES.
TORBJORN AND STORFJELL’S HISTORY UNFOLDS IN AN EPIC EVERTASTER NOVELLA.

Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you'd want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you'd want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you'd stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all. 
Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He's a Viking through and
through – he's thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That's what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan's muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

About The Buttersmiths' Gold
The Buttersmiths' Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths' Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing. 







Evertaster, Book #1:
A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.
When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.






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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Arbor Day! EBook Celebration

Calling all eBook readers! Today is Arbor Day, and because trees are cool, several authors and I have discounted our eBooks with references to trees! I've read many of the following, and am excited to present them to you. Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family! Some of these authors are bestselling, and you won't find prices like these again for quite some time. :-)

I've highlighted the genre to make it easier to find the ones you're most interested in.

Happy reading!

The Hidden Sun

Author: J. Lloyd Morgan
Original and discounted price: From $0.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Medieval Fiction, Young Adult / Adult
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

A faraway kingdom. A beautiful princess. A courageous hero. A ruthless villain. An impossible choice. The kingdom of Bariwon is at a crossroads. A new leader threatens to take control of the throne which could throw the land into chaos. “The Hidden Sun” is an epic tale of courage, heartbreak, battles and redemption.







The Reluctant Bachelorette

Author: Rachael Anderson
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Three
Genre and target audience: YA/Adults - anyone who likes clean romantic comedies
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.



The Key of Kilenya, Special Edition, Complete with Illustrations

Author: Andrea Pearson
Original and discounted price: $3.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Coupon code for Smashwords: BZ64Q
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Book rating: PG
Download it from Smashwords, Amazon
Book description:

We all have choices--but we can't choose the consequences.

Jacob Clark is chased down a path that takes him to another world--a world where he is a wanted young man. The Lorkon want to control him and the special powers he possesses. The people of the new world want him to save them from the destruction of the Lorkon. All Jacob wants is to go home, but even that choice has consequences. He doesn't know what to do and if he waits too long the new world and the one he came from will be destroyed. As Jacob finds people he can trust, he discovers himself in the center of the fight for freedom--both for himself and the people he's come to know.

Jacob has no idea where the path he chooses will take him, but once the choice has been made--bring on the consequences.


The Ember Gods, Kilenya Series Book Two

Author: Andrea Pearson
Original and discounted price: $3.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Jacob Clark has just returned from the world of Eklaron, where he frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkon and returned the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners. His quest is far from over, though--Aloren is trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods, and Jacob can't return to save her until he receives the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon.

Balancing between this new world and his own proves tricky. Not only has he started his first year of high school, but his magical abilities are bringing him too much attention. He feels pulled by both sides, hoping he'll figure out his special powers to save Aloren in time.


August Fortress, Kilenya Series Book Three

Author: Andrea Pearson
Original and discounted price: $3.99 to $1.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Coupon code for Smashwords: LN29X
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Book rating: PG
Download it from Smashwords, Amazon
Book description:

Jacob Clark and his friends must rescue the powerful Shiengols from August Fortress where they’ve been held captive for nearly fifteen years. But deadly Lorkon traps are everywhere and affect all involved—even Jacob. To succeed, he’ll have to master more of his powers and put aside distractions from his ordinary life.






Rise of Keitus, Kilenya Series Book Four

Author: Andrea Pearson
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to $1.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Coupon code for Smashwords: KM58Y
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fantasy
Book rating: PG
Download it from Smashwords, Amazon
Book description:

Jacob Clark's fantasy adventure has reached its most dangerous phase yet. A swarm of blood-ridden insects overwhelms Taga Village—threatening the existence of the Makalos—and the secret regarding Akeno’s strengths is about to be revealed. Not only that, but Jacob’s newly honed abilities allow him to discover the origin of the evil Lorkon. But finding out may be his deadliest mission yet.

Join Jacob and his friends in this fourth installment in the Kilenya Series as they strive to prevent the Lorkon disease from destroying Eklaron and Earth.



This Time Forever

Author: Rachel Ann Nunes
Original and discounted price: From $6.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: April 26 and 27
Genre and target audience: Contemporary romance, adult
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Mickelle Hansen never realized marriage could be so challenging. Her husband's epilepsy has caused him to become cynical and verbally abusive, but with love in her heart and strength from her Heavenly Father, Mickelle is determined to make her marriage work. Then the worst happens. Can she ever pick up the shattered pieces of her life?

Meanwhile, Rebekka Massoni arrives in America to work for handsome widower Damon Wolfe, leaving all her hopes and dreams back in her beloved France. She has loved and idolized Marc Perrault since she was five years old, but he can offer only her friendship in return.

Can Rebekka forget Marc and learn to love another man? Both Damon and Samuel Bjornenburg, successful CEO of Corban International, hope to win a place in her heart, but Damon's daughter doesn't like Rebekka, and Samuel doesn't share her faith. To make matters worse, Rebekka's heart is still breaking over Marc. Suddenly she must make the most important decision of her entire life. Will it be the right one?

Join Mickelle and Rebekka as they search for love and self-discovery. This tender story of heartbreak, healing, and faith is one you will not soon forget.


Gone (Parallel Series, Book 1)


Author: Christine Kersey
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: Young Adult Dystopian
Book rating: G
Download it from AmazonSmashwords, Kobo
Book description:

Sixteen-year-old Morgan Campbell runs away from home and when she returns the next day her family is missing and another family is living in her house. As Morgan works to figure out what has happened, she finds society has become obsessed with weight in a way she has never seen before. She begins to wonder if she has somehow ended up in another world—a world she doesn't want to be a part of.






Rising Book 1: Resistance (Book 1 of 2)

Author: Laura Josephsen
Original and discounted price: From $4.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Through April 30
Coupon code for Smashwords: BY64B
Genre and target audience: Adult Fantasy
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

All Alphonse wants is a quiet summer at home before his final months at university. What he gets is a half-dead stranger on his doorstep and the task of delivering a package to the leader of his home country. Not long after he boards a train toward the capital, he's attacked by knights, elite soldiers of the neighboring king.

Alphonse is temporarily rescued by Mairwyn, a mechanic with a haunted past and a deep hatred of knights. Together, they attempt to carry out Alphonse's urgent errand, only to learn that if they fail, countless people will die.

And even if they succeed, they may not be able to prevent the war that lurks on the horizon.

(Book 1 of 2)


Fire and Earth

Author: Meredith Mansfield
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $1.50
Discounted until May 16th
Coupon code for Smashwords: ER56M
Genre and target audience: Young Adult Fantasy
Book rating: G
Download it from Smashwords
Book description:

Seventeen-year-old Casora has been raised to be a fearless warrior, commander of the faceless war band known as the Deathless. Nevertheless, she and her company are helpless to stop the invasion of their homeland. Without a country, the Deathless offer their services as mercenaries to the next land attacked by the same raiders who conquered their nation.

As the youngest prince and the one least likely to be of use in the war, Tiaran is about to be forced into a political marriage to a girl he hates. Rather than be used to secure the loyalty of an opportunistic general, he secretly goes off to fight in the war himself. His first battle is about to be his last when Casora rides in to rescue him. When these two unlikely partners join forces on the battlefield, they'll shake the foundations of kingdoms.



Blood Will Tell

Author: Meredith Mansfield
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $1.50
Number of days discounted: Through May 16
Coupon code for Smashwords: CK77P
Genre and target audience: Paranormal Romance
Book rating: PG
Download it from Smashwords
Book description:

Being a half-blood is inconvenient on a good day, especially when the half you got from your mother is werewolf.  Valeriah can’t take wolf form, but the full moon still fills her with manic energy.  Running helps; a tired werewolf is a good werewolf.

Living perennially caught between two worlds--human and werewolf, magic and non-magic--doesn't leave much room for love. That suits Valeriah just fine. She's never had any luck with that anyway.

Until her cousin’s life is threatened, that is, and out of necessity she accepts the help of a mysterious young man to protect Cristel. Rolf is everything that makes Valeriah's pulse speed up in spite of herself. Now, with Cristel's life in the balance, is the worst possible time for that kind of complication.

But Rolf's secrets could destroy her trust and that might cost her life.


Nexus Point

Author: Jaleta Clegg
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Several
Coupon code for Smashwords: AA47G
Genre and target audience: Young Adult/Middle Grade Science Fiction
Book rating: PG
Download it from Smashwords
Book description:

Stranded on a primitive world, betrayed by her crew, hunted by drug smugglers, facing death at the hands of the natives, Captain Dace has one hope of rescue - convince the Patrol agent currently trying to kill her that she's innocent.






Hansel and Gretel

Author: Jenni James
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $1.99
Number of days discounted: April 26 and 27
Genre and target audience: Clean Middle Grade Fantasy
Book rating: G/PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

A hidden princess and the boy who saves her life—

Hansel's father finds a child lost and alone during a violent thunderstorm. After bringing her in from the tempest, he and his son are startled to discover that she is Gretel, a princess of Larkein--the enemy kingdom their own king has just destroyed. Fearful for her life, Hansel pleads with his father to save her. He believes they can make Gretel good by teaching her their ways. His kindhearted father agrees, but with great trepidation.

Ten years later, Gretel has grown into a lovely young woman who both infuriates and drives Hansel to distraction while he attempts to not lose his heart to her. When the Larkein witch comes back in the guise of a beautiful woman and marries their father, everything is set into a tailspin. Now they must figure out their new stepmother's plans and prevent her from destroying them all before it is too late.


The Change (Unbounded Book #1)

Author: Teyla Branton
Original and discounted price: From $4.99 to $3.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Contemporary Urban Fantasy, adult
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon 
Book description:

There are only two ways to kill Unbounded, and fire isn’t one of them—as law school dropout Erin Radkey learns the hard way. By fluke of a recessive gene, she has become Unbounded, a nearly immortal being with paranormal abilities.

Erin’s Change separates her from her loved ones and alters everything she believes to be true. A week earlier she was considering a marriage proposal; now she contemplates the best way to stay alive. Caught in a battle between two Unbounded groups, the Emporium and the Renegades, she is also hunted by a secret mortal society sworn to eradicate the Unbounded gene.

As Erin plunges into this dangerous new life, she must carve out her own place in the madness, protect her mortal family, and decide which group she should join. Her unique ability is vital to both groups and some will stop at nothing to use Erin as one more pawn in a battle that has spanned centuries. Erin’s undeniable attraction to Ritter Langton, whose family was massacred by opposing Unbounded two hundred and forty years ago, complicates her choices.

There are no second chances. Death, life, or love—Unbounded always play for keeps.

Non-stop action, terrifying consequences, and powerful romance make The Change an exciting addition to the world of romantic urban fantasy.


The Cure (Unbounded Book 2)

Author: Teyla Branton
Original and discounted price: From $4.99 to $3.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Contemporary Urban Fantasy, adult
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon 
Book description:

Erin Radkey’s life has altered completely since her Change made her one of the Unbounded. But some things never change.

Greed. Over the centuries the long-lived Unbounded have divided into two groups, one who will do anything to achieve its goal of controlling the world, and the other who protects humanity.

Power. Now Erin and her friends are close to discovering a cure that will save many dying mortals, but their enemies will stop at nothing to destroy it—until they realize the research might be exactly the weapon they’ve been searching for.

Love. Erin’s new abilities are tested as she and her friends fight in a battle that soon becomes all too personal, and where lines of loyalty are blurred by relationships of the past. Everything is at risk, including the lives of her friends—and the love of Ritter Langton, the Renegade Unbounded who both infuriates and excites her.

From the busy streets of Portland to the jungles of Mexico, The Cure is a page-turning urban fantasy that will keep you riveted until the end.


Unbounded Series Books 1 and 2 (The Change and The Cure)

Author: Teyla Branton
Original and discounted price: From $7.99 to $5.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Contemporary Urban Fantasy, adult
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon 
Book description:

For description, please see the two eBooks listed above.










Heroes of the Highest Order Book Bundle 1-3


Author: R.K. Hinrichsen
Original and discounted price: From $9.99 to $6.99
Number of days discounted: April 26 through 27
Coupon code for Smashwords: TW27H
Genre and target audience: Chapter books for children ages six through nine
Book rating: G
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

Book 1: The dark enemy never rests. But neither do the Heroes of the Highest Order. So when a magical tree swing whisks Dan and Page into the Hidden Kingdom, a skinny giant quickly registers them for hero training camp. There, they learn they must gain skills and earn powerful treasures by travelling back in time and walking in the footsteps of a real pioneer hero.

Book 2: Dan and Page search the catacombs in Italy, race through the streets of India, and follow in the footsteps of Mother Teresa in order to rescue their grandfather from the Prison of the Shadows.

Book 3: Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a real-life hero, helps Dan and Page rescue two children from the Nazis in World War II Poland.


The Secret Sister’s Club: A Ginnie West Adventure

Author: Monique Bucheger
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $1.99
Number of days discounted: From April 26 through April 30
Genre and target audience: Middle-Grade Contemporary Family Drama
Book rating: G
Download it from Amazon, Nook
Book description:

Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie and Tillie, want to be sisters. Tillie's divorced mom plus Ginnie's widowed dad could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club and come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’.

Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’ Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.

When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.


Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure

Author: Monique Bucheger
Original and discounted price: $3.99 to $2.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade Contemporary Slice of Life
Book rating: G
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Putting her body in motion before her brain is in gear creates a mountain of problems for 12 year-old Ginnie West. She is certain that defending her twin brother, Toran, from the biggest bully in sixth grade was the right thing to do. But Ginnie couldn’t be more wrong.

She quickly figures out that Toran doesn’t appreciate being rescued by a girl any better than Charlie likes being knocked down by one. When Charlie seeks revenge on Ginnie, Toran sets aside his anger and helps her plot a playback prank at Charlie’s house.

Sadly, Ginnie learns that Charlie has a reason for being a bully when she sees his dad drop him to the floor like a ragdoll with one awful blow to the chest. Realizing he's a boy in big trouble, Ginnie switches gears and decides to be his ally, even if he won’t let her be his friend.


Simply West of Heaven: A Ginnie West Adventure

Author: Monique Bucheger
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to $2.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Middle Grade Contemporary Slice of Life
Book rating: G
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

 Twelve-year-old BFFs schemed to get Ginnie’s widowed dad to fall in love with Tillie’s divorced mom. When their parents go along with the matchmaking, the girls are stoked. Sweet! Not long after though, Ginnie stumbles upon her late mom's journals, making life even more awesome sauce … until her dad confiscates the journals, determined to protect Ginnie from a danger he won’t name.
      
Ginnie is counting on her future sister's help to make Dad change his mind, but Tillie's not so sure the ghost of Ginnie's mom will make a good addition to their new family tree.  Besides, Tillie is too busy trying to keep the memory of her abusive, no-good , rotten-excuse-for-a-birth-father from bubbling to the surface to worry about what's bugging Ginnie.  He left six years ago and Tillie’s knows a better dad when she sees one … Ginnie’s dad.
      
The girls' world gets flipped upside-down when a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go nutburgers. Ginnie is torn between helping her best friend and what could be the answer to her prayers. Life gets complicated lickety-split in what is sure to be the most pivotal summer of Ginnie’s life.


SEALed with Love

Author: Heather Tullis
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Three
Coupon code for Smashwords: TM44H
Genre and target audience: Contemporary adult romance with paranormal elements
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

It isn't Sage Parker's fault that she mistakes former Navy SEAL Joel Watts as the stalker who had been sending her disturbing letters--he shows up every time she turns around. Too bad her father doesn’t tell her he sent Joel to protect her. When the stalker tracks Sage from LA to her new job in Colorado, she's glad to have Joel on her side. She didn’t plan to falling in love with him though—now if he would see her as more than just a client.

Joel takes his job as head of resort security seriously, but Sage is his number one priority, and the one woman he can’t get out of his mind. He isn't sure if he believes in her precognition, or some of her other hokey beliefs, but he soon finds he can't live without her. He just has to catch the stalker before he or Sage end up dead.


Shadow of the Witte Wieven

Author: Debbie Peterson
Original and discounted price: From $5.99 to $3.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Paranormal Romance, all ages
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Inkspell
Book description:

Despite a contract on her head, lone Drug Enforcement Agent, Aliyana
Montijo must ferret out a mole and stop the assassination of top DEA
officials, as so ordered by the Colombian drug lord she seeks to take
down. The task is a daunting one, for there is no one she can trust. No
one that is, until she encounters a most unlikely ally.

Former seventeenth century captain of the Dutch West Indies Company,
Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness, now from a parallel dimension, encounters the beautiful agent during an unearthly storm in the Bermuda triangle. Drawn to the Spanish beauty he rescues, he pledges his assistance, despite her reluctance to accept either his help or his heart.

Can Wolf bridge both space and time to claim the woman he loves?


The Big Debate (Literary Loom book #1)

Author: Carolyn Twede Frank
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: YA sci-fi/fantasy w/historical twists
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

A bizarre corpse . . .
A strange girl . . .
A creepy teacher . . .
A cool invention . . .
Combine these with an old school and a new student anxious to fit in, and the adventure begins.
Fifteen-year-old Josh’s big mouth gets him in trouble at first. But after walking in the shoes of great men of history in the Literary Loom, he uses that mouth to bring down the bad guy and ultimately solve the mystery behind the murder . . . and the strange girl.



Insecta: Planet of the Ants (Book 1 – Zombie Queen)

Author: W Thor Larson
Original and discounted price: From $3.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Five
Genre and target audience: Fantasy Adventure / Young Adult (ages 10-16+)
Book rating: G to PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Take the best Nat Geo WILD specials on ants, mix in the Discovery Channel’s “Monster Bug Wars,” cast the brew in fantasy, and you’ve got Insecta: Planet of the Ants (Book 1 – Zombie Queen). Iridescent imagination flies high, burrows deep, and attacks head-on in this epic adventure set in a distant bioluminescent world where giant insects rule and powerful ant queens lock mandibles in a deadly chess game of massive proportions.



Ninth Crossing: Discovery

Author: Kate Gordon
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Four days
Genre and target audience: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy for adults
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Have you ever loved a man more than yourself? Reagan Sullivan has, and it’s about to cost her dearly. Reagan is a no-nonsense woman in every respect. She has to be; her job is to guard the president. And that’s a job she takes seriously. That changes when two Irish elves suddenly appear. Both are well over six feet and strikingly handsome, and they want Reagan. Laughter, chaos, and romance ensues, and the Western Realm will never seem quite the same.



The High Arc: Revitalized

Author: Jessica Cage
Original and discounted price: From $1.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: YA Paranormal Fiction, Teens and Young Adults
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Alexa is a 19 year old girl who has just found out that the life she has been leading is more or less a lie. After the disappearance of her parents, a brush with a mysterious new guy and a weird potion left behind by her grandmother, Alexa must face the fact that she will never lead a normal life. Because really, how normal can life be for a Vampire Queen?


The High Arc: Guidance of Rasmiyah

Author: Jessica Cage
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $1.99
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: YA Paranormal fiction, Teens and Young Adults
Book rating: PG13
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Alexa struggles with her decision to become queen, she struggles more than she thought she would. Her stubborn ways prevent her from fully coming into her powers. But in times of need, when the Navare have decided to attack, Alexa has no choice but to reenter the temple where the Willow tree and the spirit of her mothers await her. Can Lacal and the others convince Alexa to do what is right before time runs out?




The Serpent in the Glass

Author: D.M. Andrews
Original and discounted price: From $4.49 to $2.99
Number of days discounted: Three
Genre and target audience: (primary) 9-12/Middle-grade, (secondary) confident readers of all ages
Book rating: G
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

On his eleventh birthday Thomas Farrell is informed that the deceased father he never knew has provided for his education at Darkledun Manor, a school for gifted children. Thomas, however, feels he's just an ordinary boy, but Darkledun Manor proves to be anything but an ordinary school...

In this work of fiction the reader is transported into a world of myth as the young protagonist, Thomas Farrell, seeks to understand who his mysterious father was, and why he left him a strange glass orb containing a serpent. As the story progresses, Thomas and his friends become increasingly caught up in a world they never knew existed — a world beyond the standing stones.


Renegade

Author: Angie Lofthouse
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: One week
Genre and target audience: Science fiction adventure for teens and up
Book rating: Soft PG13 (violence)
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

Seventeen year old Kwetoo'unuv Walker has nothing on his mind but hunting and girls. And how to avoid getting caught skipping school. But when Earth is attacked by alien invaders and Kwetoo'unuv watches his parents die to keep him alive, life becomes much more complicated. As the world falls before his eyes, he receives a vision from the Great Wolf, Toovuts, compelling him to put aside his fears and become the man God wants him to be. Because in the coming alien occupation, strength and wisdom will be Kwetoo'unuv's only chance to survive.


Consecrated

Author: Angie Lofthouse
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: One week
Genre and target audience: Science fiction adventure for teens and up
Book rating: Soft PG13 (violence)
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

Carly Emerson never imagined she would lose her two-year old son to faceless android soldiers, nor did she ever consider that keeping her temple covenants might break her heart. When aliens attack, Carly is asked to bear a child who will be hidden in an underground refuge—without her. The grief stricken mother must make a choice: keep her covenants and die or take a chance at survival on her own.



Refuge

Author: Angie Lofthouse
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: One week
Genre and target audience: Science fiction adventure for teens and up
Book rating: PG (with some slightly disturbing images)
Download it from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords
Book description:

When Earth falls to alien invaders, young newlywed Vivi Thayer is called to serve as a group leader in a hidden, underground refuge. There she is charged with raising a generation chosen to carry on the work of God. Facing the criticism of the other, more experienced, women in the refuge, Vivi struggles with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. When a heartbreaking loss brings Vivi to her breaking point, she must learn to accept the role God has chosen for her or leave the refuge behind forever.


Witch Born

Author: Amber Argyle
Original and discounted price: From $4.99 to $2.99
Number of days discounted: A week
Genre and target audience: YA and Middle Grade Fantasy
Book rating: PG
Download it from Amazon
Book description:

Mortally wounded during a raid, seventeen-year-old Ilyenna is healed by winter fairies who present her with a seductive offer: become one of them and share their power over winter. But that power comes with a price. If she accepts, she will become a force of nature, lose her humanity, and abandon her family. Unwilling to pay such a high price, Ilyenna is enslaved by the one of the invaders, Darrien. While in captivity, she learns the attack wasn't just a simple raid but part of a larger plot to overthrow her entire nation. With the enemy stealing over the mountains and Darrien coming to take her to his bed, Ilyenna must decide whether to resurrect the power the fairies left behind. Doing so will allow her to defeat Darrien and the other invaders, but if she embraces winter, she will lose herself to that destroying power-forever.


The Guy Next Door

Author: Kate Palmer
Original and discounted price: From $9.99 to $2.99
Number of days discounted: A week
Genre and target audience: Romantic Suspense for YA & adults
Book rating: PG
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Book description:

On the surface, Eva Black's life seems practically perfect. The small-town kindergarten teacher is set to wed ambitious lawyer Sean Langley, and their plans for a dream wedding are well underway. Eva accepts that she will soon live life in the spotlight as a member of the prestigious Langley family, but can she overlook her fiance's tendency to dominate the details of her life and push the limits of her standards?

Mere weeks before the wedding, Eva is thrown into a traumatic, life-changing event that changes her view of family commitment and creates a sharp contrast between her ideals and Sean's. With her engagement to Sean in jeopardy, Eva finds herself relying on the support and encouragement of Peter, her kind and attentive next-door neighbor. Faced with a choice between her penitent fiance and the increasingly mysterious Peter, Eva is unprepared for the consequences—and peril—that come with her decision.


"With a Kiss" (first book of the Twisted Tales Trilogy)

Author: Stephanie Fowers
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to $0.99
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: YA Paranormal romance
Book rating: PG
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Book description:

Faerytales. They're real . . . they just haven't happened yet.
Halley Starr finds this out the hard way when she loses her heart with a curse. Now she has to get it back from that dirty faery who stole it from her, but first, she must fight against the seven rules of the faery kingdom that mortals must never break

No trespassing sacred faery territory
Don’t ever say thank you
Using a faery’s given name is a no-no
Resist all faery music
Never break a promise to a faery
Reject all faery food
And never, never fall in love with a faery

But if Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules.

Jungle

Author: Joni Hilton
Original and discounted price: From $2.99 to FREE
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: Adventure Romance (appropriate for young adults and adults)
Book rating: PG
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Book description:

In this riveting adventure-romance that will appeal to Twilight fans, as well as to all readers, we meet Nina, a young college student who dreams of following in the footsteps of her uncle, a renowned anthropologist. She is beyond excited when her uncle tells her of an amazing opportunity to explore an uncharted island in the Indian Ocean. She never imagines she will meet a literal Tarzan, the son of English explorers who died there when he was an infant, leaving him to be raised by the local tribe. This mesmerizing culture brings us enchanting customs, glistening headdresses that unwrap into deadly whips, spine chilling danger, and a thrilling romance.

When Nina accidentally ventures into the deepest part of jungle, a bronzed hero magically leaps from the treetops to rescue her from a wild animal attack. And when she stares into his brilliant green eyes, she knows without a doubt that this is no ordinary tribesman. She is smitten at first touch. Breathless.
Perils lurk everywhere in the shape of poisonous plants, strange species of animals that prowl the night, and even murderous cannibals from a nearby atoll. Storms, fires, and incessant insect attacks are just part of living life on the edge, and the natives take it in stride. Nina comes to accept their ways and loves the island with the same fervor as she loves her man. When the expedition nears its close, Nina must choose: Should she return home to become an anthropologist, or stay in the jungle with the man she loves?


Loose Ends - A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery (Book 1)

Author: Terri Reid
Discounted price: $0.99
Number of days discounted: Several
Genre and target audience: Cozy Mystery/Paranormal Mystery/Clean Romance
Book rating: PG
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Book description:

Dying is what changed Mary O’Reilly’s life. Well, actually, coming back from the dead and having the ability to communicate with ghosts is really what did it.
Now, a private investigator in rural Freeport, Illinois, Mary’s trying to learn how to incorporate her experience as a Chicago cop and new-found talent into a real job. Her challenge is to solve the mysteries, get real evidence (a ghost’s word just doesn’t hold up in court), and be sure the folks in town, especially the handsome new police chief, doesn’t think she’s nuts.

Twenty-four years ago, a young woman drowned in the swimming pool of a newly elected State Senator. It was ruled an accident. But now, as the Senator prepares to move on to higher positions, the ghost of the woman is appearing to the Senator’s wife.

Mary is hired to discover the truth behind the death. She unearths a connection between the murder and the disappearance of five little girls whose cases, twenty-four years later, are still all unsolved. As she digs further she becomes the next target for serial killers’ quest to tie up all his loose ends.