Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year Reading Goal

I know what your thinking. Just give a number to GoodReads and call it a day.
I'm not worried about quantity this year. Heck, I have plenty sleepless nights where a good book comes in hand. I'm talking about quality (not that the YA/NA books I devour are not quality because they are unless I get a stinker). Books that enrich my mind and offer up knowledge.

For example, I'm hooked on the show Reign. It has everything I love: drama, romance, history. But as I'm watching and the show goes to credits, I'm curious about what really happened. So, to start things off, I've marked to read a book, mixed with a little fiction but based on actual events, about Mary Stuart.

I'm currently reading On Writing by Stephen King, which doesn't feel like a teachy book but a interesting perspective on writing.

In 2014, I'll still read my full of YA and NA but to break up the drama and lust, I plan to mix in a dollop of real drama or tips of the trade.

Do you have any suggestions? What Non-Fiction or How To books changed your life? Share away!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

You take one down and pass it around...

When I started out writing, I asked a writer friend, "What do I do now?" And lucky for me, she didn't ignore my email but replied with a novel of advice.

Recently, my FIL informed me he'd like to write a book. An inspirational bit based on what he's learned from life and business. Seeing as how I often turned to him for advice, I found it to be a grand idea. And with this new adventure, I feel the need to pass along some writerly advice.

1. Keep writing. If you have the time, put yourself on a writing schedule.  But learn when you feel most productive. For me, its at night. Trust, when times get busy, you'll thank yourself for making it a priority.
2. Keep learning. Whether you're poor at grammar or your characters are tech savvy, you need to stay sharp and focused. Your info needs to be current and readers need to relate. Learning can be as simple as reading more books. Writers are readers first. We love books. So do something you love. Read.
3. You're not perfect. That first draft will be bad. Confront that realization now and learn from it. I have several manuscripts sitting in my computer that are dying a slow death. They are not great. That first sentence you write will need improvement. But as along as you realize that editing is a must and move on, you will survive. Get the words out. They are not set in stone. You can change them and mold them into something great.
4. Make writer friends. This is a tough business and the more writer people you surround yourself with, the better the journey can be. I was lucky to start out with a writer friend but per her advice, I put myself out there. Twitter, The Writing Cooler, FB. There I met some great people who I not only talk to today on a daily basis but we share our stuff and learn from each other.
5. Become a beta reader. I know, in your spare time when you're not trying to have a life, work, and write, I'm now telling you to read other peoples' work. Yes. I learn so much by reading and helping others. Sure, my first time out was TERRIBLE! The author was mean, arrogant and basically told me I sucked. But, I moved on and found better people. And you can, too.
6. Finish your manuscript. You can't share your work with the world unless you finish it.
7. Edit and then edit again. I have read a manuscript for a writer bestie of mine like 4 times! Granted, the story changed a few times but each round made it stronger and stronger. You know where that manuscript is now? Sitting in hardback form on my book shelf!
8. Know when to take a step back. I'll say this everyday of my life. Writing is hard. There are days when words will not flow. Characters will not cooperate and life takes the wheel. When this happens, step back from your writing. You need to live a life in order to write about life. So live it. Then pull your big girl panties back on (or boxers!) and write. Getting frustrated will only lead to anger and an unfinished manuscript.

I hope this little bit has inspired you. I know I feel recharged after writing it. Share what you learn with others and have a happy, productive, writery New Year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jingle Balls...I mean Bells

Sorry I've been away for a bit. Honestly, I'm trying to do more with my family and holiday stuff. In keeping with the mood, I'm sure you saws the Kmart Jingle "Bells" commercial. If not, take a gander.

When I saw this commercial for the first time, I went to FB to make sure others saw, as well. Days later, the media was all over it, with claims of people feeling offended. Really? And while I'm not offended, nor, do I feel like the male movement has received any blows, I can understand how one might feel "offended" or put off.

1. Jingle Bells? Sure, try those moves with like 12 Days of Christmas.
2. Women everywhere flocked to Kmart to buy Joe Boxers only to find their husbands were still uncoordinated.
3. Excited for musical pants, men across the country were disappointed to find that they still didn't have rhythm and their pants didn't "ding" when they walked.
4. Tuxedo manufactures were outraged because their sales of pants declined.
5. Tie manufactures boycotted the commercial because it promotes bow ties.
6. Victoria Secret models were a little miffed with the competition demanding bells on their boobs.
7. Hand bell choirs are feeling the pressure.
8. We won't be able to look at a yellow smiley face again.
9. Lovers of the Hershey Kisses playing We Wish You a Merry Christmas are upset causing them to stuff their faces with the chocolately goodness.
10. Santa isn't happy because the number one item on many female (and male) Christmas lists is a Joe Boxer Jingle Balls performer.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Catching Fire Movie

Remember when you saw New Moon (Twilight Saga) and were blown away. Even though you loved Twilight, New Moon, in terms of quality of film making, was leaps and bounds above movie one? Catching Fire was like that for me! It was FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!

Don't get me wrong. Hunger Games was by far not the same indie produced budget Twilight was but Catching Fire, in my opinion, blew it away. I don't know if the sophomore release was easier for the cast because they knew what to expect from each other or the fact, that unlike Twilight, CF kept the same director. As much as I liked HG, triple that for my reaction after CF.
If you didn't read the books, then don't keep reading. But if you watched HG and don't plan on reading the books (shame on you!), keep reading.
Our game winners set out on their victory tour and you can still feel the tension Katniss feels for winning and her "fake" feelings for Peeta. She's threatened by Snow to be more convincing when it comes to her new romance. He feels their romance will keep the districts contained but let's be honest, their romance didn't set things into motion, or maybe it did. Maybe it was seeing someone fighting for their life, literally, give up their own for another that set the districts in motion. Read into it and conjure your own theories. Either way, chaos breaks out and in an attempt to keep the peace or show who's boss, they hold a Quarter Quell which is supposed to weed out the weak. Little does Kat know that there is a secret plan which will ultimately throw the 12 districts into war but not before Kat confesses that she needs Peeta.
And this my friends has me counting down until The Mockingjay releases! Man! My mind raced with scenes the entire night forcing me to evade sleep. The costumes were wonderful. The drama thick like pea soup and the smattering of kisses was enough to keep you until the next ones. There was only one part from the book that wasn't featured in the movie but I don't think it had any affect.
I'll be honest, I enjoyed the books and watched HG with interest, never feeling the same craze I got when I went to see Eclipse or Breaking Dawn but my fan-dom has been thrown into overdrive. I even considered not seeing CF last night because my interest wasn't as strong. I'm glad I didn't back-out and I'm thinking I might re-read the books.
Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Monday, November 11, 2013

All on the Same Page book signing and you!

First off, I'd like to thank Holly Gilliatt for joining me and Robin Tidwell from All on the Same Page for her support. Holly and I had a great time and feel we've made a friend with this indie bookstore.

Do you have a book releasing soon and not sure how to schedule book signings? I'm not sure how it works with agents or even big publishing houses but for indie, small and self pubs, the process is pretty much the same.

Create a list of all the bookstores in your area. Then think outside the box. Gift shops, coffee shops or even cafes with possible wine nights. And then start making calls. Keep in mind, most of your guests will be family and friends so don't schedule one every week for a month. Most of the big name authors do one per city on their book tours. And while I'm sure your book is great, your family might get tired of attending. Make sure to book the event far enough in advance so you can gather some PR from local agencies.

Next, create a press release announcing your signing and send that baby out to local press. TV, radio, on-line and print (yes, there is still print out there). Wait a week and then follow-up. I suggest, if you have a connection with a smaller area, personalize your release. For example, I graduated from high school about 25 minutes from my house now, so when I contacted those papers, I made sure to include that fact. Smaller papers like to give props to a townie.

Holly and I were lucky enough to video a spot for a local cable station. If you get a chance to do a live interview, remember to bring a copy or two of your book. They make great thank you gifts and you can use them as props.

A week or two prior to your event, contact the venue. Make sure all your ducks are in a row. If they ordered your books, are they in? If you ordered then, are they in?!

Plan to bring candy or something beside promo material to your signing. Holly brought mint chocolates because her book had a St. Patrick's Day theme and I brought plastic jeweled rings for my Honey Creek Royalty series. Although, I did wear a precious spider sparkly ring for Spider.

Make sure you bring plenty of pens. You don't want to assume the venue will provide any.

When the day arrives, make sure you have your smiley face on. Author friends of mine always suggest bringing support staff who can walk the store and talk up customers. I've never done this but its not a bad idea. If you have a mailing list, bring a sign up sheet.

If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment and happy signing!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Naked Truth

Today, I was featured on STL Live, a local government funded cable station featuring St. Louis happenings. A fellow author and STLer, Holly Gilliatt, and I are doing a joint signing this Saturday at All on The Same Page.

For a few weeks, Holly and I discussed outfits and make-up, hoping we didn't look washed out or too big to be on TV! Plus, we didn't want our clothes to clash.

In order to make sure I had the right make-up and enough time to get my face on today, I prepped last night, looking more like a call girl than the stay-at-home mom face I normally wear. The entire experience has been rather revealing and not in the good, sexy way.

I'm 36 years old, a fact I normally forget. So I'm not old but I'm no spring chicken, either. I learned that the creases in my forehead are profound. I have crows feet and bags with bags beneath my eyes! Traits I never thought I was inflicted with. When asked what I'd fix about myself, I'd say my weight or the fact I don't have a butt. Now, I'm adding several more items to the list.

Would I take back the interview? No. Would I try to put on my make-up with my eyes closed? Maybe!

Have you ever done something and thought, "Holy crap. I look like that?"

If you'd like to watch my video, check-it out on YouTube. *closes eyes*

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Official.

I am officially registered with NaNoWrimo. *breaks out in a nervous sweat*

Here's my synopsis (keep in mind, it is rough and brief):
Lucas Shaw returns home after being wounded in battle. All his hopes of proving himself and making his family, and his only love, proud drip down the drain. 

Sarah Holmes never felt complete since that long day standing on at the departure gate. Never would she imagine their kiss good-bye would be her last. Years pass along with bad choices and men she'll never give herself completely to. 

When Sarah and Lucas meet again after four, long years, are the fires still burning? Lucas wants to love her like she deserves but he's afraid too much time and not enough words build a wall between them that he's not sure should be taken down. She'll be better without him and his problems. 

The past fills Sarah with hope but she knows Lucas is hiding a part of himself from her. Until her boyfriend from college shows up and forces her hand, Sarah realizes that heart left on that same plane some many years ago and she doesn't intend on getting it back .

Healing and discovering can bring these two together if only Lucas knows how to use the keys Sarah gave him to her heart.

I have been planning this novel in my head for about 6 months but could never start due to edits and finishing a New Adult novel. Everyday, this story lingers. New scenes. Shared moments. Harsh words. It's all in my head and in two days, I can begin the journey of bringing it to paper. 

Nervous? You bet but starting on something new is such a rush. Excitement boils over and I make time to write and plan. 

I've written a lengthy outline this year, something I don't normally do, and I'm hoping this keeps me on track. I've recently picked up a new project so I'm concerned about the amount of time I'll be able to give this new story. I predict many long nights and early mornings. 

Bring on the coffee!

Are you participating this year? Have you registered? Share with us your thoughts? Are you a newbie? Seasoned veteran?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Murder by the Seaside by Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie is not only my writer bestie but she is a dear friend and I'm a fan of her writing. This author has introduced me to mystery, something I wouldn't normally pick up. Her characters are clever, dear, warm and snarky! Love, love, love them! 

I would place Murder by the Seaside right up there with the Stephanie Plum series. I think we will see more great things from this author and list of characters!

Book Description: 

Armed with a new counseling degree, Patience Price is eager to move back home to Chincoteague Island to help folks with their problems. But she finds the streets awash in more than East Coast charm. There's been a murder, and Adrian Davis, the town golden boy who once stomped her heart into a zillion pieces, is the main suspect. Now he's on the run, claiming he's innocent. Patience finds this…poetic. Not that she holds a grudge.
Adrian's mom is sure that with her FBI background Patience can find the truth. Yes, she was at the FBI—in human resources. Still, she looks into it, but not everyone is happy with her snooping. Either that, or the welcome wagon has some bold new policies involving drive-by shootings.
Things really heat up when a hunky former coworker, an actual FBI agent, arrives to help. But he may be too late; the quaint island harbors deadly secrets—and Patience is running out of time.

"I loved every minute of this delicious whodunit! Murder by the Seaside is one of those mysteries that grabs hold of you and won’t let go. From the sparkling landscape to the brilliantly drawn characters, Julie Anne Lindsey has created something very special! Plan ahead. You will want to devour this book in one sitting!"  
-Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson Series 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Paying for fan fiction rant...sort of.

Apparently there's an erotic book series out there that is based on Twilight. Well, I haven't read the book (not that I'm a prude) but I've heard that if it is, it's a stretch.

I've recently purchased an e-book for a series that sounded a lot like a certain motorcycle TV show that I'm obsessed about watching. Now, while I can't seem to stop purchasing the books in the series (I've only bought 2 out of like 10) I can't help but wonder, should I really be paying for fan fiction.

I have nothing with people that write FF. I mean, there is some really creative stuff out there. I did, years ago, stumble across a racy story pulling characters from Twilight and placing them in a rather juicy story. Now, while the character names where the same the story line was WAY different and not YA at all. And I didn't pay for it. It was a free read. The writer told a very good story that sucked me in and it was free. There is an entire website (or 2) that offer FF for free.

And maybe I loved the story because of my Twi love, who knows but now, I can't help but wonder if I should pay for FF. They aren't made to be completely original ideas, especially the story I've currently read. Should I continue to pay when there are hundreds of thousands of original works out there? Is it fare to those of us who struggle with writing new stories that grab a readers attention.

And don't get me started on the price of the very short story. Let's save that for another day.

What are your thoughts? Are you a FF fan? Should writers charge for non-original words?

I'm all ears.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So You Think You Can Write

Have you ever heard of WattPad? Its this place where you can read free books, but unpublished free works. Authors can use it as a marketing tool or newbies can use it to hash out ideas. The concept is interesting.

Harlequin is running a contest on WattPad where they are looking for the next New Adult book to sign. I'm participating and I could use some votes. 

Here's the linky-poo to my submission, Need To Know

 Jessica Crispin, survived her first year of college, only to return home to discover a long lost grandfather has died, leaving her with a large inheritance. The only catch? She needs to find her mother and go through her criminal father to get the answers.
 A box of letters sends her out on a string of road trips to find her mother. In steps Jackson King to change a flat tire and her entire love life. With him at her side and in her bed, she discovers more secrets and the strength she needs to face her mother.

So if you find your self with something to do, head on over, give a read and a like. I'd appreciate your support! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

November is approaching fast.

I know what you're thinking. You think just because I mentioned November that I'm actually going to chat about the holidays. Well, you'd be wrong. Who wants to think about spending more money on things we don't really need when we can't afford the stuff anyway?

No, I'm thinking about NaNo. You know, write a novel in a month. I'm already receiving emails about kick-off parties and group sessions. I've never attended and don't plan on it because, honestly, I'm not sure what good it does to sit around talking about how I plan to pull a 50K word novel out of my butt in 30 days. But hey, some do and more power to ya.

This will be my third year, if I participate. Year 1 book is now sitting with a friend who's giving it a read-through. A rough read because I haven't touched it. My thought? Does the idea suck? Is it editing worthy?

Book 2 is my August release, My Brother's Wedding. I cranked that baby out and then edited my butt off for the 9-month turnaround. It was also my first attempt at anything other than YA.

As I write this, I'm still not sure I want to play again. The baby is a year older but it seems my other family commitments have grown. The boy is playing on two soccer teams, both kids are doing volleyball and then there's the homework which is never stops coming ( I thought the kids were in school; not me).

But the pull of challenging myself and seeing if I can still do it is strong. I have a story idea brewing; something I've wanted to start for awhile but do I have the time. Do I have desire to stay up late and stress out when the numbers fall short one day?

While I hash out my pros and cons list, I have to know. Are you participating this year? Do you have an outline ready to go? How many years have you played? Any after success?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey

If you're a regular you might recognize Julie's name. She's been on here before and I'm a fan. I even have the jacket.

Well, she's at it again with her YA Suspense, Deceived.
Doesn't this cover just scream creepy!

Well, you won't be deceived...the inside is creepy.

Ever since she could remember, Elle has had to hop from town to town to keep up with her dad's demanding career as a corporate insurance agent. Each time, a reoccurring nightmare followed her wherever she went--until the day that the frightening figures haunting her at night became all too real. When news of a serial killer spreads throughout her new school, Elle worries that the Reaper has been leaving her his calling card in the form of cigarette butts on her doormat and an unusual ribbon in her locker. With the help of Brian, a boy she meets at a flea market, she discovers that this isn't her first encounter with the murderer and that her father has been concealing her true identity for the past twelve years. But despite her father's desperate attempts to protect her, Elle still comes face to face with the darkness she has been running from her whole life. Trapped in the woods and with help hundreds of miles away, will Elle be able to confront the Reaper and reclaim the life she lost?

Available September 18th on Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository and more.

Guys, I've read this book and I'm not a big chicken. I don't think I'll ever look at discarded cigarette butts the same or little pumpkins.

If the book cover and blurb don't get you, how about a book trailer. A group of crazy kids from Kent State put together a trailer for their alumni member. Click the link above and make sure you don't watch it with the lights out!

About the author:
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. In 2013, Julie welcomed five new releases in three genres including her newest title, DECEIVED, a YA suspense from Merit Press, and her first cozy mystery, MURDER BY THE SEASIDE, book one in the Patience Price, Counselor at Large series from Carina Press (a digital imprint of Harlequin).
Julie is a self-proclaimed word nerd who would rather read than almost anything else. She started writing to make people smile. Someday she plans to change the world. Most days you'll find her online, amped up on caffeine and wielding a book.
Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), Sisters in Crime (SinC) and the Canton Writer’s Guild.

Find her online:
Tweeting her crazy @JulieALindsey
Soothing her book obsession on GoodReads
Pinning the pretty on Pinterest
Tumbling lamely on Tumblr
Blogging about books and writing at Musings from the Slush Pile

Monday, September 9, 2013

Between the Lines series

Notice: For mature adiences. Sexual content and language. (posted for those younger audience members.)

To be honest, I'm not sure how I stumbled onto this series but I'M IN LOVE!

In Book 1 we meet Emma and Reid. Reid is some hot actor while Emma is rather still obscure. He's a playboy, she's timid. And he wants her. He digs down deep into his bag of tricks to win her over and she immediately falls for his good looks and charm.

But there's always a but! And a triangle.

You continue on with Book 2, Where you Are, with Emma and Reid but we are also invited into Brooke and Graham's head. Brooke wants Graham, Graham's with Emma and Reid wants to swoop in and save the day.

Who will end up together and who will get their heart smashed.

In Good for You, we meet Dori. Reid almost kills himself and is forced to do community service where he meets the preachers daughter. She struggles with not liking him but in the end...I won't give it away. You have to read to find out. 

Also, there's a surprise that continues on to book 4.

Reid and Brooke are together again but not in the way the paps think. In the end all secrets are revealed and some fences mended. We are visit again by Emma and Graham, Brooke, Reid, Dori and River. 

This series was fantastic. I literally couldn't put it down. The characters are flawed and you can't help but love them. 

The ending was sweet and beautiful, forcing me to re-read it just to savor all the details. Throughout the series we get to witness the life journey that Reid makes. His flaws and mistakes and the big heart he's been hiding from years or partying and living reckless. 

If you love NA, you have to add this to your TBR list. Webber also has another book, Easy which was just as good. She is a wonderful writer who loves a HEA just as much as me!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What did you just say?

I'm not ashamed to admit that as a reader I tend to skip past several pages of text just to get to the dialogue. Especially, when we're in the main character's head and she's rambling about something that happened and what it all means when all I really care about is what are you going to say next.

As an author, I love writing dialogue. It can move the story forward and provide insight into my characters. But the key is to make it real. Don't just have them say stuff just to talk. I recently read a series and where I enjoyed the general story line and couldn't wait to find out what happens next, I found myself even skipping some of the dialogue because the main character was chatting with her friend and they weren't saying anything important. I don't care what you had for breakfast and to be honest, neither does the person you're talking to even though they are fictional character.

Its also important to make sure if you are, let's say, writing YA that your character speaks YA. As a 36 (I have to ask my husband all the time how old I am!) year mother of 3, I may not be the target audience for my books but that's were watching TV and reading magazines help. I love YA shows which if full of dialogue (do you see a theme). I devour everything they say and the way they say it because we all know inflection and body language can take what you say and twist is all around.

Here's my tip of the week about writing and dialogue. It can move your story forward and provide the reader with a lot of information but you'll fall flat if your characters sound too old and if they ramble about nothing important.

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dare You To Review: 5 Nuts!

From GoodReads:
Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all.

Did you read that line? How could you not fall in love with this book! I've said this before but I'm a HUGE fan and love Katie McGarry! Met her, loved her, wanna write like her!

I thought after Echo and Noah that she couldn't possible write about two more characters that I'd like but I was wrong. We are introduced to Beth in Pushing the Limits and McGarry rewards us for our patience with Ryan. We know the type. Jock, blessed with great skin, hair and all the girls love him and the guys wanna be him. But looks can be deceiving, which happens to be the theme of this book.

I fell in love instantly and couldn't put the book down and then was sad when it was over. Love these characters and if McGarry writes about Logan, I'd love to see these two again.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Brother's Wedding is here!

Allison Daughtry is catapulted into a past life when she returns to her childhood home to attend her brother’s wedding. Bombarded with memories of a night she’d shared with Ryan Johnson, her reason for leaving and forever crush, she attempts to navigate her feelings while maintaining a fake romantic relationship with her best friend. Complicated emotions surface and Allison struggles to remember what’s real.

My Brother's Wedding is a contemporary sweet romance set in the Midwest. Follow Allison as she maneuvers her family and a long lost love. But watch out for the grandmother, she's a spitfire!

It's here! It's here! I'm so excited about this release. TMP was able to offer my new book as a pre-order but now she's alive and well (of course my book is a girl and like most females, she likes to be a caressed with your eyes!)

My Brother's Wedding is set in one of my favorite cities...St. Louis! So grab your toasted ravs, gooey butter cake and they's get our Lou on.

Here are your linkie poohs for this $2.99 DEAL:
Barnes and Noble
ARe  All Romance eBooks

If you can't find it where you normally purchase your ebooks, please let me know.

Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy this new step with me!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Perfect Scoundrels review: 4 Nuts

I have to admit, whenever I'm in the mood for a light hearted, funny, easy YA read, I generally grab a book by Ally Carter. Her stories are quick and keep my attention and Perfect Scoundrels was no exception.

Kat Bishop excels at being a thief except instead of doing bad, she's trying to do good. Stealing artwork and returning it to the rightful owner and in PS, her target is Hale. His grandmother has died and left her empire for him to run which seems too good to be true, mainly because he's only like 16 years old.

Can Kat meet her deadline? Will Hale prove to be a unwilling prize for her to steal back?

You'll have to read book #3 in the Heist Society novel.

My only complaint with the series is Kat's age. I feel like she's been 15 for the last 3 books. I know this is YA, but she can get older. In fact, I'd like her to get older. She acts older. Heck, the girl on the cover looks way older than 15.

For those who enjoy kissing boys in YA, there's enough to keep you interested as well. I'd like to see Kat's cousin find a mate.

And watch out for the surprise ending. Carter does a great job of slipping that in when you least expect it.

I can't wait for #4 and for the next installment of The Gallagher Girl series.

Monday, August 12, 2013

3.5 Nuts for Ready or Not

Blurb from GoodReads
Top ten things Samantha Madison isn't ready for:
10. Spending Thanksgiving at Camp David
9. With her boyfriend, the president's son
8. Who appears to want to take their relationship to the Next Level
7. Which Sam inadvertently and shockingly announces live on MTV
6. While appearing to support the president's dubious policies on families, morals, and yes, sex
5. Juggling her new after-school job at Potomac Video
4. Even though she already has a job as teen ambassador to the UN (that she doesn't get paid for)
3. Riding the Metro and getting accosted because she's "the redheaded girl who saved the president's life," in spite of her new, semi permanent Midnight Ebony tresses
2. Experiencing total role reversal with her popular sister Lucy, who for once can't get the guy she wants

And the number-one thing Sam isn't ready for?
1. Finding out the hard way that in art class, "life drawing" means "naked people."

Maybe 3.5 is a bit harsh because I really liked the second installment to the All-American Girl Novel but I felt it really focused on one major While I'm not a prude or have any issues with sex in YA, I guess I was looking for more of those moments (funny, clever, crazy) the first book had. Yes, there were a few and Sam didn't only talk about sex but it seemed every conversation she had ended up about sex or at least her thoughts. 
I think it sent a good message about the thought process that goes into it and how she trusted her sister enough to ask. 
I'm still a huge fan of Meg Cabot. I was hoping to share this book with my daughter because I loved the first one so much but I think I need to hold off a bit. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Along for the Ride 5 Nut Review

GoodReads blurb:
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect

I haven't had the opportunity to do much pleasure reading this summer and was lucky enough to get a chance to attack my TBR list while on vacation and immediately fell in love with Sarah's Dessen's book. But I wasn't surprised. Her writing is flawless and takes you on a journey that allows you to connect with the characters. 

As simple as riding a bike, I found myself loving the fun nature behind the book. Sure, there are deep issues and you want to scream at Auden's dad and mom but when Eli helps her to live, I fell in love. The journey to find herself in the matter of a few months was beautiful and allowed Auden to make changes in her life that I think she always needed to be made. I think most people come out of their shell or discover what they are capable of right before college, which can be a scary time in a person's life. College opens the door to all new experiences and gathering the courage to step through the door can be life altering. 

The ending was great and I wanted to read more about Auden and Eli. Do you think if we begged, we might get a "what if" scenario or sneak peak?  

Be sure to also read the letter from the author in the back. Its just as touching as this wonderful story. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

On Vacation

I'll be back next week with my review of a  vaca read as well as a writing tip.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop

My dear friend Ruth J. Hartman invited me to participate in this hop. I have to admit. I'm still new to hopping!

But here is how it goes.

Then give a short description of your WIP/Release including the date of release. Then answer these five questions:

My Brother’s Wedding, August 2013
Contemporary Romance, Sweet
Next Door Category line

Allison Daughtry is catapulted into a past life when she returns to her childhood home to attend 4 her brother’s wedding. Bombarded with memories of a night she’d shared with Ryan Johnson, 5 her reason for leaving and forever crush, she attempts to navigate her feelings while maintaining 6 a fake romantic relationship with her best friend. Complicated emotions surface and Allison 7 struggles to remember what’s real.

For all release information, you can check out the bookstore at TMP ( or visit my website at ( I blog about releases and do reviews at (

1)When writing are you a snacker?  Let’s put it this way, even as I’m writing this, I’m snacking on Nut-Thins.  If so, sweet or salty? I’m an equal opportunity snacker. My favorite, trail mix has both.

2) Are you an outliner or someone who flies by the seat of their pants? When I first started out, I was all about writing and the story would come to me. Well, as I’ve matured and developed better writing habits, I find that I plan more. Not really an outline but bullet points and form some sort of structure. I have a friend that will write a 10 page outline. Cripes! That’s a lot of words! Are they real pants or jammies? Neither. I kid! Usually real pants but I’m more creative with no pants.

3)When cooking or baking, do you follow the recipe exactly or wing it? It depends. Baking, I follow the recipe. I’m not the best when it comes to baking, even cookies. But when I’m cooking something new, I’ll scan the recipe to get the idea and then head out on my own. I LOVE to cook and watch countless hours of Food Network and can memorize a recipe just by watching a show.

4) What is next for you after this book? For the first time in a long time, I don’t have a deadline to meet or a release to prepare. Besides working my part-time day job, I’m currently working on a New Adult. I love reading the genre and since I normally write Young Adult, except for My Brother’s Wedding, I thought I’d give the genre a try since it isn’t too far of a stretch from my norm.

5) Last Question...on a level of one being slightly naughty to ten being whoo whoo steamy, where does your book land? I haven’t made that jump into steamy romance or YA. Not that I oppose of it at all. In fact, some of my favorite books are pretty dirty (wink, wink). My Brother’s Wedding would fall around a 1. More than hand holding but the kisses don’t lead to the bedroom.

And then your summer recipe!
In the summer, I’m all about making homemade salsa and the summer time lends itself some great vegetables.
Throw into either a food processor or an electric chopper, 1 jalapeƱo (seeds will make it hotter so you need to decide if you want mild or spicy), 1 clove of garlic, ½ of an onion, 4-5 medium size tomatoes cut into chunks (remember to remove the core), a handful of cilantro, a generous sprinkle of sea salt (I like course salt), and the juice of a fresh lime. Serve and enjoy!

I’ve also made this trying out different types of peppers. It’s all about finding what tastes you like. Also, make sure the tomatoes are ripe. If you can’t find good beefsteaks, try roma or even cherry (obviously increase the amount). I also make a batch without cilantro because my family isn’t a fan.

To check out my friend Ruth, visit her blog.   To read about this hop, visit Avon.

If you're a blogger and writer and would like to participate, please let me know and I'll add a link to your post.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Giveaways! Free Books!

Did I get your attention?

If you haven't joined GoodReads, then what are you waiting for? Go, now! I'll wait.

Okay, now, find me and let's be friends. I'm always looking for something good to read!

On GoodReads, I'm giving away a signed copy of Spider along with a signed copy of the first three books in my Honey Creek Royalty series.

Enter today!

Monday, July 15, 2013

4 Nuts for Scarlet

Blurb from GoodReads
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

First off, why in the heck did I wait so long to read this sequel? In fact, I think I might have enjoyed it more than Cinder. The introduction of Scarlet, her grandmother and Wolf were very clever. I love a good play off a fairy tale. But what is great about this series is your not just hearing someone else's idea of how the tale should be told but how relatable the beloved stories are.

And does anybody else picture Levana like the Witch from the Narnia movies? 

If you haven't started this series, you still have time to catch up. The next book, Cress, doesn't come out until 2014 and I just noticed there are two novella's (.5 and 1.5) that I haven't read yet. There is plenty from Marissa Meyer to keep yourself busy.

And if you, like me, enjoy a flare of nursery rhyme or fairytale in your stories, check out my book, Spider

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writing Tip

I recently finished a self-pub book I received for free via BookBub. I know, that should have been my first hint, but I've read some good stuff offered through them. If you don't get their emails, I suggest signing up or let me know ( and I'll send you the info. There's always a diamond in the rough.

Anyway, I loved the concept behind the book and once I was done, I enjoyed the story. But the editing and typos were enough to keep me from wanting to give a rave review.

I'm not perfect. No one is and I understand mistakes happen. And I usually don't focus on the fact if there are mistakes, but this was the second book in so many months with mistakes that I can't let it go. The first time, I didn't leave a review and figured no review was better than a bad one because no one knows I read the book, but this time, I'm not going to remain quiet.

Well, not on here, anyway. I won't tell you the name of the book, (I know but I don't want to be mean) but it does cause me to offer as much advice on editing as I can.

First off, you are human, you will make a mistake. You will overlook things. That's what a beta reader or editor is for.
Second, they are human and they will make a mistake.

I know, it's a vicious cycle, but one you have to jump into in order to put out the best book possible. I'm constantly re-reading my own manuscripts even after I pass it along to a beta and an editor.

Keep writing, even when you're not working on something new. Write a short story. Write a blog post. Write a letter about onr of your main characters might have sent to a love interest.

Beta read yourself. It's a two way street. They scratch your back, scratch there's. I learn so much when I beta read and in turn, she's said to me a few time, "OMG, I'm so glad you pointed that out. I completely forgot about that." It's not about the grammar rules (which sometimes it is) but the small typos that can really kill a book. If I'm constantly seeing the same misspelled word, I'll stop reading.

Beta reading can also allow for a set of new eyes to find the story inconsistencies. This recent book stated "her top fit tight" when it should have been "his top fit tight" because, duh, the author was discussing the wet shirt displaying all the edges of his rippled stomach.

What about plot changes? A beta can help if you've made a change and haven't carried it throughout. Have you switched character names? All are common mistake we make when we're writing.

Can't find a beta reader? Hit the social media sites first. I've met some great people simply by answering a tweet asking for help. From there, if you're a member of writing group, stick your neck out and offer to read for someone. When it's your turn, ask them to return the favor.

Writing can be frustrating and a ridiculously long process, but in the end, if you have a polished manuscript ready for print, you can relax and enjoy the idea of your book being available to the masses.

Good Luck.

Also, if you're a beta reader looking for someone to hook-up with, leave a comment below. I'm all about the book match-making business!

Monday, July 8, 2013

5 Nuts for Pushing The Limits

Blurb from Pushing The Limits from GoodReads:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

First off, I saw this book everywhere and people were talking about it but I didn't have time so I added it to my TBR list. Then I attended the Reader Author Get Together in Cincy back the second weekend in June and Katie was slotted to attend as a special guest.

Okay, I'm totally going to geek out on you.

When I arrive with my donated gift baskets, I was standing in line behind her. I didn't know it was "her" until I saw her gift. Then, Saturday morning, I sit down to breakfast with some co-workers and a few ladies I didn't know and BOOM Katie is sitting with us. I kept it cool and we talked about our kids, our love of donuts (because the hotel kept running out of them at the buffet) and where we were from. Which turns out, the other ladies I didn't know where also from Missouri! They live like 20 minutes from me.

Anywho, I had to buy her book and have her sign it. And I did. And I started reading it that night and couldn't put it down. BTW, I stayed up until 2:30 and needed to be up by 5ish to drive 5.5 hours back home. And even on the drive home, I couldn't let the story rest. I kept replaying scenes and I honestly think that's how I arrive back home so fast.

I had to finish that book!

I loved it! I absorbed every word until I moved onto the next. Love, love, love it!

Monday, July 1, 2013

5 Nuts for Hopeless

GoodReads blurb:
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

WOW! Not to sound crass or make fun, because no pun intended but Hoover sucked me in from the start. Sky and Holder are beautiful together and their journey of how they met, again, and watching their relation grow kept me glued to it. I couldn't put this book down and when I finally had to, I wanted to pick it right back up.

The story itself, even though it might happen once every million years, was connectable. And for Holder to carry the burden of what happened to his childhood friend was heartbreaking. You were right there with him when he explains how he realized who Sky really was and how he struggled with the information.

Well done!

But be warned, there are some tough situations in this book and if you are sensitive to sexual abuse, this book isn't for you. But trust, the scenes are not graphic, just moving in their realization.

If you're a fan, here's an extra scene from Hopeless from Holder's POV. Loosing Hope is out July 2013.

Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Nuts for The Reese Malcolm List

I might be a little biased since the author is a dear friend but I can honestly say I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!

And look at that great cover! Well done, Ames!

Here's the blurb from GoodReads:
Things I know about Reece Malcolm:

1. She graduated from New York University.
2. She lives in or near Los Angeles.
3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week.
4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon.
5. She’s my mother.

Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much.

L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love.

But then the Reece Malcolm list gets a surprising new entry. Now that Devan is so close to having it all, can she handle the possibility of losing everything?

Ms. Spalding has done a fantastic job of making you love Devan. Even if you weren't a show choir/drama geek like some of us, you will instantly want to sign up for the next community theater production of Grease but you will also root for her and the relationship with her mother. I love her tough attitude when dealing with being the new kid in school. Heck, I've been there and I only wish I had half the guts to not care what people thought. 

Yet, there's this vulnerable side to her that she doesn't share with anybody. She's still a girl who's lost her dad and now is forced to live with a mother she thought didn't want her. Man, tough stuff and Amy sucked me in and I couldn't help but love Devan. 

I have a special place in my heart for Devan and thank you Amy for bringing these characters to life and a big thank you for the kissing. Who doesn't love kissing?

To keep up on all things Amy Spalding and her next release, Ink is Thicker than Water, visit here at