Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

I. Love. Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the presents, and the food. We can't forget the food. Especially pumpkin pie.But none of these are the real reason I love Christmas. I love Christmas because for a few weeks of the year it's okay to believe in magic. Even if you no longer believe in flying reindeer, everything seems to be brimming with possibility, excitement, and hope. (Says every sappy Christmas movie ever made)

This year I've already experienced the power of Christmas Magic. My husband's family always celebrates the weekend before December 25th. It is one of a very few days that the majority of his family gets together, and, unless you are dead or deployed, attendance is basically required. So, when my infant's immunizations were scheduled for the day before the four-hour car ride, I shrugged. I hoped they didn't make her too fussy, but we had to go.
Then, while I was at the doctor's office with the baby, I got a message from Mom, who was watching my two-year old. He had a stomach virus, and everything that went with it. Great.  I called my husband at work, explained the situation, and got the answer I expected: We still have to go.
Does this sound like a good idea to you? Two sick babies on a four hour trip? Just wait, it gets better. Thanks to a sudden weather shift, we were blessed with an ice storm the night before the trip. Half an inch of ice covered everything. And guess who else woke up with the stomach virus? Yep. Momma was going down. So, convinced we were in for the worst weekend of our lives, we loaded up and headed out. But, you know what? I forgot to count on Christmas Magic.
We passed downed trees and powerlines, but, somehow, the road managed to stay just above freezing. We didn't hit a single ice patch in four hours. Pretty cool, huh? Not as cool as the fact that the only effect my baby's shots seemed to have was making her want to sleep almost the entire car ride. (Mommy happy dance)
Finally we made it. And, on his own, my toddler decided to avoid all sweets and only eat crackers. (This alone should be considered a Christmas miracle.)  Even though my son and I were nibbling crackers and chugging stomach meds, we all ended up having a great time. There were no gross messes to clean, fussy children to console, and no one else got sick. No disasters at all. And, by the time we headed home, we were feeling good enough to have a tiny piece of dessert. And the kids were so worn out from their fun weekend that they slept all the way home. And that, my friends, is the power of Christmas Magic. :)

            Merry Christmas Everyone!! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

SHP Holiday Giveaway.

Hi gang, I told you I was part of giveaway coming up. Check out this massive list of prizes!

Grand Prize:
Keshia Swaim: BLOOD BOUND
JL Spelbring: PERFECTION and Swag
Kelly Hashway: STALKED BY DEATH and Swag
Trisha Woolridge: THE KELPIE
Darby Karchut: FINN FINNEGAN
Jennifer Allis Provost: COPPER GIRL
Sarah Guillory: RECLAIMED
Megan Whitmer: Writer Care Package
SHP Family: $25.00 Gift Card
Rich “Platinum” Storrs-SHP Editor: Query and 1st ten pages critique
Stocking full of candy

2nd Place:
Aubrie Dionne:  Paper Machete Box
JL Spelbring: PERFECTION and Swag
Darby Karchut: FINN FINNEGAN
Brenda St John Brown: 2 Chapter Critique
Rhys A Jones: $5.00 Amazon Gift Card
SHP Family: $10.00 Gift Card
Stocking full of candy

3rd Place:
JL Spelbring: PERFECTION and Swag
Trisha Woolridge: bracelet
Darby Karchut: FINN FINNEGAN
Brenda St John Brown: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card
Kimberly Miller: Query Critique
Stocking full of candy

Good luck and don't forget to tell your friends! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


If there is anyone out there who still checks this blog, I want to apologize for my extreme lack of posts. I've discovered that holidays+infant+toddler=zero free time. BUT to make it up to you, I'm pitching in on a super cool holiday giveaway. (Details coming soon) AND I'm currently updating the info on how/where to get my books and anthologies. I'll post again soon. I promise.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cover Reveal

Hi guys! I'm sorry my posting has been so sporadic lately, but honestly, I don't see it getting better anytime soon. Life keeps getting in the way. BUT today I have something cool to share.

Something Beautiful,

A collection of stories and poems that will pull you in and take you away….

Silence by Carmen Tudor
Invisible by Shana Norris
She and I by Sarah Meira Rosenberg
The Poser by David Andrews
Being There for Jason by Susan Sundwall
Open Window by David Andrews
A Little Light by Keshia Swaim

From some of today’s most talented young adult authors comes this beautifully written anthology of short stories and poems that will touch your heart and make you realize you are not alone…

God is doing Something Beautiful through you.

Chamberton Publishing.

This collection will be available in all ebook formats, but won't be available in print. (at least not yet)

Obviously, this is quite a bit different than anything I've done before (new publisher, different format, different subject, new style) so I'd love to hear your opinions when this hits the market in a few weeks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reviews needed!

Have you read Blood Bound yet? Have you reviewed it? If not, please take a few minutes to do so. You can leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever you bought your book, and it would really help me out. And speaking of helping me, stars are great, but text reviews are even better. Even if you only feel like giving me two or three stars, that's fine, as long as you tell me why. See, Blood Bound is my first book, and I know it isn't perfect. But I'd love to write another, better, book in the future. So constructive criticism is 100% welcome. Give me useful feedback and I'll send you virtual sunshine and rainbows. Or at least be really grateful.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up (On Tuesday)

 Well guys, I had my first book signing on Saturday, and it was AWESOME (and a tiny bit awkward). I've decided that there is nothing cooler than seeing my name on the door of a bookstore.

Except maybe seeing books with my name on the cover inside the bookstore.

Okay, yeah, that's definitely cooler. So here's what I've decided to do. Since I really like seeing my book on the shelf, I want you to send me pictures. If you spot my book in your favorite store or library send me a pic and I'll send you autographed swag to say THANKS! Your local bookstore doesn't have it? Ask them to get it. Then, we both win!

And speaking of winning, there are a few days left on the rafflecopter for a copy of Blood Bound, so don't forget to enter!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Love Libraries!

  I just found out that Blood Bound will available from my hometown library. There are no words for how happy you make me. You see, this is the same library that has fed my reading addiction my entire life. There is no way my parents could have afforded the hundreds of books I read every year growing up, but I didn't have to slow down, because I had a library card. That magical piece of plastic let me become the book addict I am today.

As an author, of course I want everyone in the world to buy a copy (or ten) of my book. But realistically, I know that even fro people who really want to read it, sometimes that's not possible. But now the people around me can get it at the library. Will the people in your hometown have the same chance? If not, tell your local librarian you'd love to see Blood Bound on the shelves, after giving him/her a hug for being awesome!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Working on...Appearances

So, yesterday was kind of a big day for me. My head is still spinning. My little book baby is out in the world now. Now comes the real work of promoting it. My blog tour runs through the 19th, and my book signings begin! October 19th I'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Norman OK from 12-2 signing copies of Blood Bound, so if you're in the area, come hang out with me! Annnnd to make things a little more fun, the first person to come and purchase Blood Bound will also get an awesome bonus! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Release Day Poem...

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! It's finally here! Sometimes it is really hard to find the right words to describe how I feel, so I've decided to write a release day poem. I'm a terrible poet, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Will you read it on your Kindle?
Will you read it on your Nook?
Will you read my little book?

You could read it in your chair.
You could read it in the air.
You could read it anywhere!

Do you prefer a paperback?
Do you prefer to read and snack?

Will you take it in to town?
Will you show it all around?
How will you read Blood Bound?

Now, after you've ordered your copy of Blood Bound, catch up with me on my blog tour. Today I'm visiting with The Cover Contessa.

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's getting SO CLOSE!

Blood Bound releases in FOUR DAYS!  To celebrate, Brielle is doing something she' never done before. Check out her very first interview here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Tour Kickoff!!!

It's finally here. The Blood Bound Blog Tour kicks off today over at Whimsically Yours. Don't forget to follow the whole tour, and enter to win a copy of Blood Bound + SWAG!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 29, 2013

They're REAL!!!

Okay, I think I can breathe normally. Inhale, and SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE! Okay, maybe not. But I have a really good reason. Yesterday, I found a box on my front porch. And inside that box.............................

That's right. Real, live (sort of) first edition copies of MY BOOK. Which, by the way, goes on sale in just over a week. I still have trouble believing this is really real. I'm an AUTHOR. How cool is that?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Bags Are Packed...


Okay, so I'm not technically going anywhere. But I'll be all over the web October 1-19th. I'll post all of my stops here, so you can follow along. There will be interviews, character interviews, guest posts, reviews, and, of course, a giveaway that you won't want to miss. So stay tuned.

Oh, and by the way, only 13 days till the release of Blood Bound. SQUEEEE!!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Have a Winner!

Congrats to Leslie R. on winning the CSU bag! Keep checking back, I'll have more fun stuff going on as Blood Bound gets closer to it's release date, in LESS THAN A MONTH!

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's the little things...

Last Wednesday I announced my Birthday giveaway, (if you missed it, click here) but I realized I forgot to tell you what I got me for my birthday!

First, I convinced my husband to clean all the tools off my desk. That's right, I'm finally sitting at my desk again. :) Annnd, I'm sitting in this!

I love my new office chair. You see, my last chair leaned to one side, and the back fell off if I touched it. So, this? Way better. :)

But wait! That's not all! I also talked my hubby into adding this little improvement to my office:

It doesn't look like much, I know. But it means I can LOCK THE DOOR! I can finally lock the world out (or myself in) and focus on writing for a little while. I can't tell you how excited this makes me. But it also means I should be writing, not blogging. ;) 

What is the best gift you've received lately?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Working On...My Birthday.

Okay, so technically I'm not "working on" my birthday. But it is my birthday, so I thought I'd do a giveaway to celebrate.

Who wants their very own, official CSU (Central Seelie University) bag? All the cool halfies are carrying them around campus this fall. ;)

BUT just giving away the bag isn't cool enough, so I've decided to load it with a few of Brielle's essentials. A $5 Starbucks card, a few bookmarks (you can never have too many), SWAG from some exciting new book releases, and even the names of a few anthologies to help find a new favorite author or two. The giveaway ends on September 11th, so enter today and don't forget to tell your friends!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 2, 2013

And the Winner Is....

Congrats to Kyla P for winning the Amazon giveaway! Not Kyla P? No worries. Just come back on Wednesday, when I'll post a SWAG giveaway for Blood Bound. Trust me, you don't want to miss this one. In the meantime, Happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Doorways to Extra Time!

In our busy world of meetings and microwaves, car radios and cellphones, people always wish they could get an extra hour in the day. But what if they could? Doorways to Extra Time is an anthology that explores ways to get extra time (be it an hour, a day, or a decade) and the impact it would have--whether upon a single life, a family or an entire world.

Interested? You can order it at any online retailer, OR enter to win a copy. Contest ends September 30th.        And while we're on the topic of winning, have you entered my giveaway to win a $100 Amazon gift card? You only have a few more days! Unless, of course, you have a secret doorway to extra time. See what I did there? ;)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Working On: A Lot

Right now I have so much going on it's hard for me to keep it all straight. So, for the benefit of all, here are some reminders.

First off, HI NEW FOLLOWERS! Please take a minute to explore my blog. Especially the "About Me," "Where to Find Me", and of course, the Free Stuff tabs.

Okay, now on to the good stuff. If you're reading this, you're eligible to win a $100 Amazon Gift card AND free e-books. Just check out this post.

Then, don't forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway for Doorways to Extra Time.

Then enter the one for my debut novel, Blood Bound.

And, of course, add them to your TBR shelves right from my handy-dandy sidebar.

And, as always, I love comments, so make sure to introduce yourselves!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark #2) Shana Abe

             It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at
Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart. Goodreads

I practically devoured this book. Everything I said about The Sweetest Dark still holds true. The writing style was amazing, the plot was richly unique and darkly beautiful, and the entire premise is unlike anything else I've read. (Did I mention I like this series?) 

And, unlike many sequels, The Deepest Night got even better. I felt like Lora really began to blossom in this book, showing more true courage and care for others. Readers get to know her more as a person, while getting a bigger glimpse at her past.

Then there is Armand. While I completely understand why Lora's feelings for him are restrained, I am in love. For some reason, he pulls off the good-hearted bad boy better than most. I really feel for him and his situation, which is much more central to the plot this time.

Something I felt that was missing from The Sweetest Dark was a little humor. The Deepest Night, while maintaining the same dark and foreboding tone, managed to throw in some scenes that made me laugh out loud as well.

I really wish there were words to describe how I feel about this book, but there just aren't. I almost wish I hadn't read it, so I could read it for the first time again. 

I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

YA notes: mild language, suggestive content

Sunday, August 11, 2013

$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

So, on Friday when I announced the delay in Blood Bound's release, I promised to fill the time by giving away more stuff. Well, here is your first opportunity to win. I've teamed up with several other bloggers/authors for this awesome giveaway. What could be better than an Amazon gift card (or pay pal cash) AND free books?

Don't forget to grab your free entry, plus the one for following my blog, and any others that catch your eye. Then, tell me in the comments what you'd do with the cash. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 9, 2013


    I remember reading a blog post several months ago from a fellow author in which she discussed all the reasons having a book published was maddening. I clearly remember commenting that I'd be able to handle just about anything...as long as my book came out on time. I really should have known better than to curse myself like that.

   Due to some technical issues, Blood Bound has a new release date of October 8th. Don't worry, everyone who has pre-ordered will still get their copies, it will just be a few weeks later than we'd all hoped. On the bright side, this gives us more time to do promotional stuff (like giveaways) and I may have a bit more time to settle in with baby Swaim.

    So, today's lesson: never say you can handle anything, except... You'll be forced to handle it at some point down the road.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Working On... Loose Ends

This week I actually have several (small) irons in the fire. First of all, the Blood Bound book tour kicks off in mid-August, and is shaping up quite nicely. As soon as I have firm dates and links, I'll post them here.

And speaking of links, the giveaway for Doorways to Extra Time, which releases next month, is up on Goodreads.

And finally (and completely un-book-related) I'm working on the nursery. Yep, in August, one month before the release of my first novel, I'm expecting my second child. So, if I disappear (more than usual)  there is probably a good reason.:)  That's all for today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Working on...Free Stuff!

This week I'm working on everyone's favorite: Free Stuff!

My first Blood Bound Giveaway is here! And all you have to do to enter is add Blood Bound to your Goodreads shelf, which of course, you've already done. ;)

And, while you're here, go ahead and click on my "Free Stuff" tab. I have free stories and other goodies that you can get RIGHT NOW!

Enjoy  :) 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Working on...Proofs

So, this has been a pretty exciting week for me. Last weekend, I had a pdf. sent to me of my flash fiction story, "The Game." It was all formatted ready go go to the printer for the Doorways to Extra Time anthology. *Note the handy-dandy widget to add it to your Goodreads shelf in my sidebar.

And then, oh, and then... This was in m mailbox on Monday.

The proof copy of Blood Bound! I'm not going to lie, I almost died from excitement. And now that I've recovered, I'm combing over it one last time before it is ready to go out into the world. You're eyes aren't playing tricks on you, this is a different cover from the one shown on Goodreads. That's because it's a LIMITED EDITION proof. Which means that when I'm super-famous these puppies might be worth something. :) 
Oh! And in the midst of my Squeeeing, I also did a guest post for Book Divas, just in case you missed it. See, I have been busy. 

So, what do you think of the Limited Edition cover? 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Coming Soon

In our busy world of meetings and microwaves, car radios and cellphones, people always wish they could get an extra hour in the day. But what if they could? Doorways to Extra Time is an anthology that explores ways to get extra time (be it an hour, a day, or a decade) and the impact it would have--whether upon a single life, a family or an entire world.

Expected Publication, August 13, 2013.

Okay gang, I just wanted to let you know about this super-awesome anthology coming out next month. Why, yes, I do have a story in it. How did you guess? ;)  

Doorways to Extra Time is home to my first published flash fiction, and I'm excited to see what you think. It doesn't hit shelves for another month, but you can pre-order it in the "Buy my Books" now, and I'll be adding a Goodreads widget to my sidebar as soon as possible. Happy Weekend!  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Working On...Wednesday

Hi blog followers! (If you're still out there) I know I've been a terrible blogger, and I need to mend my wicked, non-posting ways. And so I introduce to you Working On Wednesdays!

I'm hoping that a weekly feature will make me a more faithful blogger. (We'll see how that works.) I know a lot of bloggers do Waiting On Wednesday, and while I love seeing what new titles are creating a buzz, I kinda hate waiting. Plus, I have a lot of super cool things happening in the next few months, and I want you to share in the excitement. So, every week (or every other week) I'm going to post what I've been working on lately.

This week I'm working on my social butterfly skills. Did you know I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account? Over the next few months, I'll be hosting giveaways, making announcements, and other exciting stuff. If you don't want to wait for a blog post to hear the latest, come find me at one of my other on-line hangouts to keep up-to-date. For those of you not keeping track, Blood Bound comes out in just over two months (SQUEEEEE) so there will be blog tours, guest posts, and awesome SWAG you'll want to keep your eye on.

And, as always, I'm looking for feedback. Do you have any suggestions to make your time with me more awesome?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh, Katie Hamstead

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…

The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.

Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood. Goodreads

Kiya was quite a bit different than the books I've been reading lately, and I enjoyed the change. As far as historical accuracy, I know the author took several liberties, but to me, that is all part of the fun. Taking an unknown from history and telling how the story could have happened takes a great imagination.

The plot is pretty straightforward. Naomi/Kiya is tossed into a world she doesn't understand and has to survive court intrigue from every angle, while risking her life and trying to keep her faith.

Kiya herself is a very complex character. I loved her strength, and the dedication to her family. There were times I felt she was a little too reckless, or should have picked up on some obvious signs, but overall, she was a brave, loving, and very believable character. Her relationships are as surprising as they are complex, and her emotions seem very real, even if they are confusing at times.

While I can't recommend this book for young adults, due to the sexual content, I really did enjoy the story and intrigue it presented.

Rating 3.5/5 stars
YA notes: sexual content

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm Learning

So, before I "officially" became an author, I sort of thought that authors spent most of their time writing books. And that is a big part of it, but I'm learning that there is so much more. Blood Bound's final edits are in, the cover is done, the acknowledgements are written. So, I'm done, right?

No, I'm not. My publisher's marketing department has contacted me to get my thoughts on the best ways to get my baby out into the public. The good news is that I had a few suggestions! But I'd really like to have more, so I'm asking for your input.

What, catches your eye? Blog giveaways? Guest blogging? Stellar reviews? Or more of a personal approach, like book signings or community appearances?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Review: Holiday Magick

People don't usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed.
Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays.
Consider the following...
Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine's Day?
Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told?
Why do people wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival?
Where does Santa get his helpers?
You may think you know the truth, but you can't be too sure. Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I have two stories in this anthology. They are NOT considered in this review.
I love anthologies. They are a great way to find new favorite authors and get a variety of styles in a single book that you don't have to read cover-to-cover to know how the story ends. In that respect, Holiday Magick is no different than any other.

But I've honestly never read anything quite like this collection. The stories range from completely creepy to lighthearted and funny. Some of the holidays were well known to me, while I'd never heard of others. To that end, the blurbs before each story explaining the traditions were very helpful. I feel like I actually learned something!
While I'm not going to review each story individually, I will say that I enjoyed them all. (A rarity in an anthology this diverse) I've found a few new authors-to-watch, and was able to read new work by others that I already admire.

Some of my favorites were: Finding Fire-Trisha J. Wooldridge-A great story from Las Fallas, with elements of danger, love, and a great twist at the end.

The Keeper of the Trees-L.M. Graham-hands down the creepiest Earth Day story I've ever read!

Final Draft-Kate Kaynak-A possible Memorial Day future that no one should forget.

A Land Without Zombies-Nicole Zoltack-What made Christopher Columbus desperate enough to cross the ocean blue?

And The Toy Makers-Jessica Porteous-The most plausible explanation I've ever read on how Santa gets all of his toys.

I highly recommend this collection to all people of all ages. You're sure to find something you like. So, after reading your copy, stop by to let me know which stories were your favorites!

Rating 5/5 stars

YA notes: Mild language in a few stories. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FREE story!

Hey guys! I hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend. But, since it's back to the real world today, I thought I'd make it better by reminding you that my latest short story, "Mother's Voice" is up on Infective Ink for FREE. So check it out and let me know what you think.

*On a side note, please excuse the website's sidebar ads. They aren't all child-friendly. I wish I could do something about that, but until I take over the world....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Book Birthday Holiday Magick!

It's Here!!


People don't usually question holiday traditions or their origins, but maybe they should. Over centuries, explanations of how and why holidays exist may have been lost or changed. 
Some holiday histories might only be known by a few individuals. Ancient magic spells could have influenced how we celebrate today. Fairies, zombies, or demons may have shaped our holidays. 
Consider the following... 
Why do people give red roses and cards on Valentine's Day? 
Is there more to the story of Purim than is traditionally told? 
Why do people wear green on St. Patrick's Day? 
What happens to spirits that are captured during the Japanese Doll Festival? 
Where does Santa get his helpers? 
You may think you know the truth, but you can't be too sure.

Okay guys I'm pretty excited about this release. I may be a bit partial to this book (since I have two stories in it) but anthologies in general are awesome. Not only do you get to read stories from familiar names, but you get to "meet" new talent as well. This collection has work from some of my favorites (Kate Kaynak, Trish Wooldrige, Daniel Cohen) and I'm looking forward to stories from new names like L. M. Graham, Kendra Saunders, and Rich Storrs. Be sure to order your copy wherever you buy books, and let me know what your favorite Holiday story is!  

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm Gone!

Hey gang, if you're looking for me today, I'm hanging out with Emma at The Writer's Voice, talking about writing and being excited about Holiday Magick hitting shelves next week. Stop by and tell us hi!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Mind Games (Mind Games #1) Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of
the future. 
Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey. Goodreads

Oh my WOW. I'll admit, I've put off reading this one, because I loved the Paranormalcy trilogy, and I was afraid Mind Games wouldn't live up to it. And I will say, this book is absolutely nothing like the trilogy. Paranormalcy is light and fluffy and fun-like a cupcake. Mind Games is rich and dark and full of awesome-like a fine chocolate. But enough with the comparing (and snack references).

I loved, loved, loved this book. The shifting POV and time settings were just enough to keep me slightly off balance, without leaving me totally confused. The world Kiersten created is equal parts believable and completely terrifying. The concept of using extra mental abilities for evil gain isn't exactly unique, but the way the plot unfolds left my head spinning, and now I have so many questions for book two!

As far as the characters go, this may sound weird, but I didn't really *love* any of them. I really want to love Fia, and she is my favorite, but right now she seems so broken and confused about who she really is, that I can't love her. But I CAN root for her to kick some serious butt! Annie, the second POV, just rubbed me the wrong way once too often. She seemed weak and/or selfish for the majority of the book. But then again, the last few chapters give me hope that she'll be awesome in book 2.

The love interests...I'm not even sure you could call them that. James definitely has the hot-bad boy appeal, ans Adam seems a little like a lost puppy you just want to pick up and cuddle. BUT we haven't been able to see the full character of either boy yet, and there is definitely something else going on with them. Besides all that, Fia and Annie are in deep, and relationship issues are the last things they need to worry about right now So I'm glad that there wasn't an abundance relationship drama.

My only complaint is that the book was too short. But if it was 10,000 pages, I'd probably still say that. I wish I could give this on 12 stars!

Actual rating: 5/5 stars
YA notes: Minor drug/alcohol references

Friday, May 3, 2013


Good News! Later this month, I'll have a short story published in an on-line mag. Better News! It will be free for you to read. :)

I'm always excited when I have something published, but this time I'm super excited. You see, I honestly had an easier-than-normal publishing experience with some of my first pieces. After a very few rejections, I had my first short story published. Then, my first novel, a direct result of my story, was born. Blood Bound was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to (which almost never happens.) And in the early stages of publication I had a few more stories published as well.

And then the writing powers that be decided it was time to pay my dues. The last several months, I've worked my tail off with zero results. Rejection after rejection, some short and to-the-point, (we don't like you) and some encouraging, yet still declining my work.

I kept looking, though, and one day, scrolling through publishing venues, I found one that caught my eye. I had an idea! I had characters! I started writing...not the story I planned. You see, one of my characters turned out to be quite bossy, and she took over. When I finished, what I had on my screen was not at all what I'd thought I was writing. I had no idea if it still fit in the publisher's style. But I liked the story so I sent it anyway. And they LIKED IT TOO! So now I'm wondering, have I been over-thinking this writing thing all along?

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'd Like to Thank...

As some of you may have seen on facebook over the weekend, I turned in my Acknowledgements page for Blood Bound. Just like every other step on this journey, it hit me that this is really real. And it's close. I won't lie, I shed a few tears before I clicked the "send" button. Writing a book is a huge project, bigger than I ever thought. I tried as hard as I could, but there is no way to thank everyone who was involved in the process. From ideas and brainstorming to reading and re-reading (again and again) I'm sure I've annoyed every person I know, talking about my projects. And that was before I was even signed, and the "real work" began.

I guess writing the acknowledgements just made everything feel more final to me. Oh, I know there is plenty left to be done. Interviews, promotions, book signings, and the list goes on. But my editors didn't change their minds and run the other way. My amazing cover artist didn't throw in the towel. So, basically, I'm a few short steps from holding a real, printed copy of MY BOOK. And if I get any more excited, I'm going to pop. All this is to say, if you're taking the time to read my ramblings,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I Meant to Say...

I've always understood that, even people who speak the same language, in the same country, can have a difficult time understanding each other. There are certain "regional" phrases and actions that make little or no sense to those outside the region. For example: In Oklahoma, a tornado siren does not mean "take cover." It means "Grab a camera and go outside."

But, until I began the editing process with editors in a different region, I never realized how different we can be. For example, did you know that there is a regional difference between a "shirt" and a "top"? Or that the women of a family organizing food for a gathering without asking any of the men to prepare a dish could sound sexist and offensive?

I am not picking on any region here. I actually think it's pretty cool. Although I've met folks from all around the world, most of my friends and family live in the Mid-Western region, and most of us have lived in the area all our lives. While we (usually) understand each other, it doesn't give me the chance to learn anything new. So now I ask, what about you? What regionalisms do you use that may sound strange to others?

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Monday!

So, last week I posted about my "Writer's Winter," and about getting my latest round of edits. Then I banished myself to a week of editing, correcting, and re-looking at my book. I've got to admit, I liked it. My book, that is. It's been long enough since I'd read it that I smiled anew at the funny parts, and even though I did write it, I'd forgotten about a few details. What I'm trying to say is that I'm excited about the way Blood Bound has taken shape, and I'm really grateful to all the awesome people who've helped me so far.

And now I feel the first breaths of Spring! Maybe. It's been a bit elusive this year. But I do feel a spark of creativity coming back, so I'm going to grab it. Which basically means this may be another post-less week. I hope you'll forgive me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Moment

Last week I read a fellow author's post comparing the ups and downs of being an author to the seasons of the year. Well, I've been experiencing Writer's Winter for a while now. Lack of inspiration, chasing dead ends, and lots of rejections. Even though I fought against it, this barren time has managed to make me depressed. And, as you can imagine, the more depressed I became, the harder it became to write the creative pieces I love. I've definitely needed a "woo-hoo" moment.

Well, I got it last night. My editor sent me the (hopefully) final edits on Blood Bound. That's right, my novel is one step closer to the printing press.And it hit me: This is no longer a dream foe me. I'm actually doing this. I've always known that not everyone will like my ideas or my style. I've lived in my head long enough not to expect every thought to be creative gold. But, no matter what anyone else says, I've proven to me (my worst critic) that I can do this.Future rejections ans "winters" will come, but they can't erase what I've already done. So, Yay Me!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Reached (Matched #3) Ally Condie

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.  Goodreads

The writing style in Reached was what I've come to expect from Ally Condie, beautiful and poetic. But the final installment felt a bit more predictable to me, and the world lost some of it's pull. That said, it was still a solid conclusion, tying up most of the ends, but leaving just enough for the reader to wonder and hope for the brightest future possible.

I still say I don't get the Cassia/Ky relationship, and Xander would have been my choice, but in the end, it was the ability to have a choice that mattered. I was happy to see more of Xander in this book, and for he and Cassia to be able to finally tell each other that they'd chosen the same things. 

There is a lot of death in the final installment, and I may have shed a tear or two over some characters we've known from the beginning. But I loved that everyone who survived  seemed to have the will not only to continue on, but to make things better.

I can't really say anything about the end, without giving it away. But on one leve it felt that everything was leading this direction, while on the other I was left wondering "where did (insert specific character) come from?" 

If you've read the first books in this series, you'll definitely need to see how this one ends!

Rating 4/5 stars
YA notes Mild language  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Survived Career Day!

For those of you who remember, last week I posted about my first "author" appearance at a Career Day for my old school. You will also remember that I was pretty stressed. As usual, that was pointless. It went great! The pictures aren't the clearest, but I brought along SWAG from several of my fellow SHP authors, and I had a blast talking about the awesome books coming out this year, (including mine!) The different aspects of being an author/editor, and the general awesomeness of following your dreams.

I'd hoped to get a few "action shots" of me talking to students, but once they started coming over, I got too busy talking to them and forgot about my camera. Everyone I talked to was polite, even though it was obvious that several were just hoping the teachers milling about would notice that they were talking to the guests. And that's fine with me. BUT I also had pretty in-depth conversations with a girl who lamented how many perfectly good books were ruined because of poor/no editing, and another young lady who quietly told me she keeps a notebook with her at all times to write her thoughts/poetry/short stories, even though she believes shell never be "good enough" to make it. And, of course, there was the girl who squealed, and told me I had no idea how cool it was to meet a real fantasy author who went to her school. (Why, yes, I think I actually have a pretty good idea of how cool teen-me would have thought that was.) I was also able to talk with two of my favorite teachers, (who didn't know what I was up to these days) and to top it all off, I got a free lunch. Hopefully, the school thought it went as well as I did, and they'll invite me back again next year!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Almost Night by Emily White

Fourteen-year-old Lilly Grey exists in two worlds at the same time. She just doesn't know it.

As the only albino in a million mile radius, Lilly is used to being different. Pink eyes and white hair aren't exactly the best camouflage in the harrowing jungles formally known as high school. And yeah, she's used to being an outcast and seeing the world in a slightly different way, but she never guessed how literally "different" applied to her.

Not until a clan of shape-shifting dragons tell her she's not just albino. She's a unicorn and the only mortal alive who can live on both Earth and its antithesis, Morcah. Now all those times she thought she saw a floating brown blotch in the sky or eyes peering out at her from the bark of trees make sense. She's been seeing Morcah, a land that exists in the exact same spot as Earth, just in a different phase.

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows for this unicorn. As the only one who can live in both phases, she's also the only one who can bring Morcah--and all its inhabitants--to Earth. And creatures who've been trapped on Earth since the Dark Ages are willing to do worse things than kill to make that happen.


Cover by Claudia Mckinney of Phatpuppy Art (www.phatpuppyart.com) and font was designed by Ashley at www.bookish-brunette.com.

Emily White lives in NY, wedged between two of the Great Lakes and a few feet of snow and ice.  She's spent most of her life running away from the cold, and even spent a year in Iraq, but now contents herself with writing her characters into warm, exotic places in faraway galaxies.  When not tapping away at her computer keys, she can be found reading, reading, and reading some more.  And when she's not doing that, she's usually playing video games with her husband, peek-a-boo with her kids, or walking through her garden, wondering why the bugs insist on eating all her vegetables.  

You can find Emily on Facebook, Goodreads, or her blog.

Don't forget to check out Emily's debut YA Sci-fi, Elemental (Spencer Hill Press, 2012). Now available through B&N, Amazon, and The Book Depository. And her steampunk short story collection, To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World (December, 2012). Now available through Amazon and B&N.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Do...

   I've been invited by my old high school to participate in a "Career Day" next week. My first reaction was, "hey, this will be kinda fun." So, of course, I agreed to come. But now, I'm experiencing several different thoughts.

First, it really is cool that I get to go back to my hometown and talk to kids that are a lot like me at that age. Writing and editing are not career choices on the beaten path, and, I think, it takes a pretty unique person to think "That's what I want to do!"

My second, and least important, thought, is "how the heck did I get old enough to be a guest speaker at a high school???" I just graduated like a year or two ago. (Okay not really, but still...)

But mostly, I'm wondering what to say. "Run while you still can! Only the completely insane want to be part of this maddening business," is probably not the best way to start the conversation. Don't get me wrong. I could talk all day about how awesome my job is, all the perks and just plain fun I have. But I think that to be fair, I should also point out how hard it is to break into the writing world. How many years most people have to work, with zero results, before it pays off. And even then, the payoff isn't typically that great.  Best seller lists, movie deals, and piles of cash are not things most of us will ever see. And honestly, I'm 100% fine with that. (If it ever happens, I'd be fine with that too, but...) I love what I do. And I don't want to squash the dreams of the next potential J. K. Rowling by coming off like being an author is anything short of the best job in the world.

So how do I find that balance? I know I'm probably over-thinking this, but I'd like to hear your suggestions.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Spellbinding, Maya Gold

There's more than one way to be powerful . . .

It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.

Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.

A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth. Goodreads.

This was a fun, quick read for me. It may be a little sick of me, but I've always found the history of Salem interesting, so I enjoyed seeing familiar names and places through a different perspective. Coming from someone who doesn't read a ton of witch-themed books, it was also nice that the reader isn't bombarded with unfamiliar terms and rituals.

The main complaint I've heard about this book is that it relies on stereo-types. I'm not going to argue against that, because it does, but here's my opinion: Why not use them if they work? The shy, overlooked girl, the handsome jock, the mean-girl clique. We all know those people. So it didn't really bother me at all.

If I had to pick out one thing that did bother me, it would be that at times the plot moves so fast, I I felt disconnected from Abby. Sometimes her decisions felt really rushed, and I would have liked to see more of her thought process, how she jumped from plan A to B. Also, I just never understood the attraction to Travis, but that could just be me.

I totally got the attraction to Rem. I kinda want a Rem of my own. The level of tension and anticipation Maya Gold was able to create between Rem and Abby without even a single kiss was impressive. I've said it before, but I really respect authors who rely on the story, not sex and language, to get the attention of their audience. So hats off to Ms. Gold on that one.

In all, if you're looking for an in-depth book on modern witches, or something with an earth-shattering plot, this isn't it. But if you want a clean, quick, fun story about plain-Jane getting superpowers, you should check it out!

YA notes: None

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway

Welcome Blog Hoppers! My name is Keshia Swaim, and I am addicted to all things book-related. I'm an author/editor/book reviewer, and you'll find evidence of all three on my blog, as well as the occasional cover-reveal and/or cute pictures. :) 

Now, on to the good stuff. *You need to be a follower of this blog to enter.* I'm giving away two prizes. The grand prize is an ARC of Holiday Magick, a short story anthology in which I have two tales. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf from my handy-dandy sidebar. The prize will also contain an assorted SWAG pack from the always awesome Spencer Hill Press, including autographed bookmarks for my debut novel, Blood Bound, (due in September) which you can also add to Goodreads via my sidebar.
Even though I only have one ARC, a second winner will also get the super awesome SWAG pack. Once you're finished looking around here, hop back to the linky for more great stuff! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: The Sweetest Dark (#1) Shana Abe

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.
Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves. Goodreads

This book was all kinds of awesome. It was darkly beautiful, with such descriptive language I could almost taste Lora's world, and the paranormal aspect was completely different than anything I expected.

As a character, Lora is extremely realistic. Her doubts, fears, and sufferings felt almost as if they were my own. Sure, there were times I wanted to shake her, but, more often, I wanted to cry with her. I love how deeply she felt such a wide range of emotions, and how desperately she holds on to her hopes and her secrets.

Jesse, ah Jesse. How could you not love Jesse? He's the perfect balance to Lora's hectic life, the calm voice that talks her down. If I had one complaint about this book, it would be that they are almost too perfect together. But that doesn't mean I'd mind a Jesse of my own. 

This is one book where I actually really felt for the "bad boy." Armand wasn't at all what I was expecting him to be, and, while he'd never be as perfect as Jesse for Lora, he felt more "real" to me.

If you've noticed, I haven't said anything about the plot. That's because I can't without giving something away. This story is so unique in it's twists and turns that I literally had NO IDEA what was really going on most of the time. And considering how many paranormal novels I read, that's saying a lot. 

I was hooked from the first page, and the ending left me saying why why why? I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from Shana Abe.

Rating 4.5/5 stars
YA notes: mild language, suggestive content.  

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Muse is Back!

     I'll admit it. The last several weeks, I've done...nothing productive. I managed to finish a few projects at the same time, and then my Muse went on vacation. I started (and restarted) a project. But the characters were flat, the dialogue stiff, and my plot....lets just not go there.It's really hard to get excited about a project like that. So, I let it sit. and sit and sit. My "writing time" turned into "let's see who's online" time.
    And then, yesterday happened. While cruising the web for anything interesting, my Muse came back! Inspiration hit, fast and hard. So, after a minor welcome back party, I called a friend to run my ideas by her. Since then I've been on plotting and researching overload. Characters, complete with backstories, are popping in my head. My research is lining up perfectly with my plot, and my fingers are itching to get started. And now I realize how much I missed my muse. Even if my new story goes no further than my laptop, there is something completely awesome about the creating process. And so, I'm back on my "writer's high" typing, plotting, losing sleep, and being happy about it. All I have to day is: Dear Muse, please don't ever leave me again. Please, please, please.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, Rachel Harris

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever? Goodreads 

This was a really fun read from Rachel Harris. I'm struggling with how to describe why I liked it so much without giving too much of the plot away. While Cat wasn't the most relate-able character for me, I grew pretty attached to her, and I respect most of her choices. She's fun and strong, even though she carries her family history around like a weight, and occasionally a shield. 

The lessons she learns from the 16th century are very important for her 21st century life, and I think she will grow from them in the sequel. The romance is sweet and fun, Cat's cultural faux pas are entertaining,  Alessandra is an awesome "sidekick" and the story line will pull you in fast. In short, if you like history, romance, art, magic, or laughing, you should pick this one up!

Rating 5/5 stars


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Holiday Magick Fun Stuff

 Fresh from the publisher! Here is the official, complete cover for Holiday Magick.

And, as if that isn't cool enough, I just found out that I get my own, personalized picture tiles that match my two stories! 


So, now that you are all as excited as I am, don't forget to visit my books tab to pre-order!

Friday, February 22, 2013

First Interview!

Hey guys! Today I'm over at Reading Away the Days doing my first official author interview as part of the Debut Author event. Come check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: A Touch of Scarlet (Unbound #2) Eve Marie Mont

The compelling heroine of Eve Marie Mont’s novel A Breath of Eyre returns to find truth and fiction merging through the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter…

Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow.
Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart? Goodreads 

First of all, I love, love, love the concept behind the Unbound series.  Honestly, what is cooler than classic literature literally coming to life to teach modern lessons? I'm just jealous I didn't think of it first.

Before I really dive into the review, I have to say that unlike A Breath of Eyre, A Touch of Scarlet deals heavily with sexual issues. Now, I probably should have seen that coming, considering that it pays tribute to a classic centered around adultery, but I had a dumb moment and I really wasn't expecting it. I was, however, pleasantly surprised with how tactfully, honestly, and maturely the issues were presented.

I'm going to try to do this without giving away as much as possible. The main issue in A Touch of Scarlet is homosexuality. Let me say right off the bat I do not agree with homosexuality. But, I don't agree with adultery either. The main lesson here is that there are very wrong ways to go about disagreeing with a person's choice or standing up for what you believe in. Just like Hester Prynne's scarlet "A", humiliating, shunning, or insulting another person is never the right way to handle a situation.  (steps off soapbox)

I really loved Emma, even more than in the first novel. I can really relate to wanting to make everyone happy, yet having to draw a line somewhere to stay true to yourself. Although I didn't like the casual attitude towards drinking and illegal drugs, I know that is the reality of many teens. I respected Emma's way of dealing with peer pressure, and the way she stayed true to herself in her own relationship issues.

Something else that seemed more apparent in A Touch of Scarlet was the mystical/magical element. From Emma's connection to Gray, to her visions, to Michelle's aunt, it was very obvious that there was more going on than medicine can explain. Anyone who can take classical literature, Haitian Voodoo, and a New England prep school, smash them all together, and make it work has earned my respect.

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about some of the new friendships, but it looks like I'll have more time to make up my mind in the next installment!

Rating: 4/5 stars

YA notes: sexual references, mild language, drug/alcohol use.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Expected publication: March 26, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013


Okay authors/aspiring authors/ anyone else who wants to comment: I've noticed a lot of authors talking about and/or publishing playlists that they listened to while writing. I'm always looking for new ways to get the creative juices flowing, so I'm curious as to how this works. Do you just listen as background noise, or loop a particular song until you get a scene right?

When I read a playlist, I find it's about 50/50. I either completely see where a song fits the mood/ narrative, or I'm like "What does that have to do with anything?" So, which is it? Should you just listen to music you like as you write, or look for songs that have meaning to you in the the story, even if no one else will get it?

As a side note, doesn't listening to the song make it hard to concentrate on writing? Of course, it's hard to concentrate while listening to a screaming toddler as well, but you do what you have to do... I am completely open to comments, opinions, suggestions. I think it's an interesting idea, I'm just not sure how it works. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Palace of Stone, Shannon Hale

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. Picking up where "Princess Academy" left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for. Goodreads  

Shannon Hale is a true master in the art of story-telling. I loved Princess  Academy because of the unique mountain culture, the young innocence of the characters, and the love of simple pleasures. Honestly, I picked up Palace of Stone expecting the same thing. Instead, I got caught up in the feelings of a maturing young woman learning the excitement (and danger) of huge, new ideas, being forced to decide on her own where her loyalties lie, and being brave enough to question the future she's always seen for herself.

If I ever have a daughter, I hope that she is like Miri. Her ability to think for herself, and trust her heart, drew me to her in Princess Academy, and she's the same (if a bit wiser) in this installment. Without saying too much about the plot, I love how deeply she feels about all the issues she's faced with, is unafraid to say she was wrong, and finds her own solutions.

*minor spoiler alert*The only possible complaint I have about the story is cleanness of the final revolution. I wish we could see more of the aftermath, but it did make a good place to end, with so much possibility, and yet all the loose ends tied up. This is a DON'T MISS READ for all Shannon Hale fans.

Rating: 5/5 stars
YA notes: none 

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Widget!

Hey guys, I just wanted to draw your attention to my lovely sidebar. I have a new widget! You can now add Holiday Magick (the next anthology I'm lucky enough to be a part of) to your Goodreads shelf! And don't forget to pre-order it in the "My Books" tab!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight #1) Lisa Basso

Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can't admit to seeing?

I really, REALLY liked this book! I love that the main character, Rayna, has been institutionalized due to her "gift." Not only does it add an extra layer of suspense to the story, but, in my opinion, it makes it more realistic. Very few (at least that I've read) paranormal novels take this angle, but in reality, if someone claims they are being followed by angels, vampires...insert paranormal character here... they get medications and lots of therapy. That, combined with the fact that this book was about angels, which I read very little about, made everything feel new and exciting. The plot wasn't  what I would have predicted, and it leaves so much to be covered in future books that I can't wait to read them.

As far as character development, I felt for Rayna, even though I occasionally wanted to kick her in the head. But she was very believable as a person. Luke, I don't know what to do with. He seemed like he has some important roll to play, but in this book he was more of a background character. In future books, I'd like to see more of her best friend, Lee. He seems like a really fun character, and for some reason the fact that he's just a guy-friend, not a love interest, makes him more intriguing to me.

And that brings me to the love situation... There is definitely a love triangle here, and I saw it coming from a mile away. What I didn't see coming was that I have no idea which side I'm on. I mean, seriously, how do you choose between angels? I'm just glad I'm not her.

Oh, and the ending. I can't forget that. There is a huge twist that I totally did not see coming, and I'm pretty much dying to know what it means for book two. So in summary (if you hadn't gathered as much from my rambling review) this is one debut that you will absolutely want to keep an eye on! I loved every second of it, it will be one that I read over again!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

YA notes: language

I received this book through  Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Importance of an Editor

I'll admit it. There have been several times in my short writing career where I have thought very bad things about my editors. I pour countless hours, a ridiculous amount of caffeine, and a chunk of my very soul into a project, and then, if it's even accepted it comes back bleeding with ruthless commentary. Entire chapters get deleted, characters get re-written, and some of my favorite scenes and witticisms are declared useless. And I tell myself "they're only being big meanies because they care."

Unfortunately, I just read a book that did not have the same kind of "care" I have received. The plot was original, took several twists, and had me involved. Even better, even though it was very much a teen/new adult romance, it was very clean, both in language and content, and we all know how I feel about that. In short, this should have been a book I gave at least a 4.5 rating to, blogged, tweeted, and otherwise promoted while ordering the next in the series. Only, it wasn't. In my opinion, it was all in the editing.

There were several instances of missed punctuation, "dropped" words, random sentences in the wrong tense,  and sentences that were so stiff it was obvious the author re-wrote it twenty times, trying to make it perfect. Now, I do not at all think that this means the author isn't talented. But, as an author, this funny little thing happens when you stare at the same page for the thousandth time. The brain starts to auto-correct what is actually written with what you think you wrote. It's like you're not really seeing what is there anymore. And that's why we all need editors.

After pouting, defending my phrasing, and finally walking away from my shredded manuscripts to clear my head, I've found that my editors are right. Every. Single. Time. It can be slightly annoying, and I've had to swallow wounded pride, but in the end I have a product that is so much better that I could have made it by myself. Because I know that some of my early drafts of Blood Bound looked just like the novel I finished this weekend. The only difference is that I have some awesome editors that care enough to help me make it better.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And the Winners Are:

In no particular order....drum roll please... Vic Caswell, Amandalynn01, Thomas Rollings.  Feel free to use the contact form to send me your mailing addresses. Thanks guys!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Who Wants One?

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter, (which, you totally should) check out what I got in the mail earlier this week!

That's right! I now have SWAG. So, who wants some? If you do, just comment on this post. At some point after midnight, I'll choose three (3) random winners to get my first autographed bookmarks. But if you don't win this time, don't be too bummed, there will be plenty more in the future.  :)  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


As many of you know, Kiersten White is something of a hero to me. Seriously, I want to be her one day. As all of you know (unless you've been living under a rock) her next book, Mind Games will be out next month.

Don't worry, this post is actually to tell you something you may NOT know. In celebration of this release, she is holding the mother of all contests. Translation: everybody wins! Seriously, everyone who enters, even international entries, will get an autographed bookmark! And what's even better... there will also be several copies of the whole Paranormalcy trilogy up for grabs, as well as an autographed copy of Mind Games and an ipod! And all you have to do to enter is pre-order the book. Which, of course, you want to do anyway. Just don't put it off! The contest ends February 17th. So, go order it, then fill out the entry form here. You know I did.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just for Fun: Part II

Are you ready to find out what happened to the beloved internet? Here it is

Stamp came to Calliope one evening, pretending to be very distressed.  He explained to her that his alters had been neglected, and that his wife had just informed him that she was with child.  He begged Calliope to promise that his child would have a place in her world of e-mail, since his domain was fading.  Calliope felt terrible for causing a fellow god distress, so she immediately promised that his child would always have a place with her.  Stamp went away happy, for he had seen the future.  A few months later his wife gave birth to twins, Spam and Pop-up.  Since a goddess can never go back on her word, Calliope had no choice but to allow them to mar her precious creation.
Spam and Pop-up were only minor annoyances, and the wonderful gift, which had been called Internet, continued on uninterrupted.  But then some very disturbing news reached Britannica.  Some humans were abusing the Internet.  The precious gift of accessible knowledge that Britannica had so carefully crafted had become nothing more than a way to plagiarize the hard work of others.  Men were not trying to understand new ideas.  They were using her precious gift as a tool for deceit, the most hateful of all human characteristics.
Just moments after Britannica discovered the treachery of the humans, Java’s cousin, Cinema, came to make her own complaints.  Even though Java had given his word, somehow people had gained access to movies before they ever reached her temples.  Entire music CD’s were also being stolen from the Internet and the artists who created them received no payment for them.
While Cinema was still speaking, Midas stormed in.  He had just discovered a system that the humans created that allowed them to steal money from one another.  When a person visited one of his on-line markets, other people would take his or her credit information.  Still other people would go to the on-line markets claiming to have great products, when in reality they were scamming fellow men.
After she heard this, Britannica flew into a blind rage.  She remembered all of the work that she and the other gods had put into their gift.  And the humans thanked them by abusing their power and harming themselves and others.  She regretted that she had ever created the Internet, and she vowed to destroy it.  Out of her anger came thousands of viruses.  They attacked every part of the Internet, demolishing it one piece at a time.
Only Calliope was sorry to see their creation coming to this.  She listened to the screams of anguish from honest students as their research papers disappeared into cyberspace.  She watched as people tried to retrieve important communications from their inboxes with no luck.  Finally she devised a plan of her own.  There were far too many viruses for her to gather up, so she created a firewall.  The viruses could not break through this barrier, and people who could prove themselves worthy and attain it were saved from the destruction. 
But the Internet was severely damaged.  While Calliope had been busy creating the firewall, Java and Midas managed to calm Britannica.  They were all sorry to see what had happened to their beautiful creation.  They set out to repair the Internet, but the damage was extensive, and the project took months.
When the repair was finished the gods made a covenant to never destroy the Internet again.  But it would no longer be a free gift to mankind.  From that day on humans had to pay for the privilege of using the Internet.  Every month some of the minor gods, AOL, Cox, and Netscape, are sent out to collect the fees.      

So, what do you think? Did it really happen that way???