Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Gifts...

If you're anything like me, you're asking yourself what to give people for Christmas. I'm crocheting a LOT of gifts, and I plan to make cookies as well, but there are still one or two I'm thinking about. If I had the money, I'd probably give ereaders as gifts. I am an ebook author, after all. :)

Seriously, ebooks are so prevalent now and the trend toward electronic publishing is growing, so ereaders are a good investment, in my mind. With a wide selection from the Sony Reader, to the Barnes and Noble nook, to the Amazon Kindle and beyond, there's an ereader for everyone out there. If you're interested in trying to win a free Kindle II, Bibliofreakblog is giving one away this Friday, December 18.

And if your loved ones already have ereaders (or you're like me and can't afford to give them as gifts), ebooks can be read on your computer, PDA, Blackberry, and some cell phones. What does this mean? Ebooks are a great gift as well, and they're affordable. They're also widely available from publishers and from distribution sites like Fictionwise and OmniLit.

Now for a little shameless self-promotion. :)

As I mentioned before, I am an ebook author. If you know someone who loves inspirational romance, check out Dreams Do Come True from White Rose Publishing:

Aspiring author Cassie Teague has been rejected…again. As she considers giving up her dream of getting published, a handsome editor walks into her life and makes her wonder if God has more in store for her than just writing.

Acquisitions editor David Jameson wants more than just Cassie’s book. But will office politics destroy his hope for the future?

"The characters are likeable and the story very believable...The writing is smooth and easy and the spiritual message is not at all preachy. The elements work together to make this a lovely, quick, uplifting read." ~ MarthaE, Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf

"If you need a little pick me up or some inspiration, please read this...This would be a great story to give to friends and family. You will not be disappointed in purchasing this work of art." ~ Roberta, You Gotta Read Reviews

And if you know someone who prefers mysteries, why not give them a copy of Light in the Darkness from Sea Crest eBooks:

Kennedy Drake loves exploring dark places, which makes his job as a graveyard shift security guard ideal. While checking out strange noises in his elderly neighbor’s basement, he discovers a hidden room with a woman trapped inside. Chastity Mooreland has more to fear than her time trapped in darkness. Will Kennedy believe her bizarre tale of a stalker no one thinks is guilty—and will he help free her from a life of despair? Can Chastity look past her suspicion of mankind to accept his offer of friendship?

"I found Light in the Darkness a short sweet story." ~ Brynna Curry, You Gotta Read Reviews

"This book reminded me how much we need to care for our fellow human being. Nice, short read." ~ Readers Favorite

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Rose Legacy by Kristen Heitzmann

Title: The Rose Legacy, Diamond of the Rockies Book 1

Author: Kristen Heitzmann

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Book Description:

If he wants her, let him come and prove it.

Fleeing her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, Carina Maria DiGratia journeys to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Clinging to hopes of a new life, she finds reality has a harsh welcome for her. Overrun with men seeking their fortune and women bound by circumstance, the town hosts both dreams and nightmares, with little surety for tomorrow. But at least here Carina is far from the betrayal that still pierces her heart.

Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth and confront the turmoil hidden in her own heart in time to prevent tragedy?


Carina DiGratia is naïve, hot-tempered, and impulsive. The daughter of a respected Italian doctor who served a king, she’s used to getting her way, and it doesn’t take long to see she’d sheltered, spoiled, and ill-suited to life in a rough and tumble mining town.

Quillan Shepard is a freighter and the classic wounded hero. Nothing has come easy for him; life has battered him, his past is a shadowy mystery, and he has no interest in anything remotely romantic...unless you count his penchant for reading poetry and other books.

Then there’s Berkley Beck, Crystal, Colorado’s slick attorney. He’s suave, well-groomed, and takes gallantry to a whole new level. His inability to organize his office appears, at first, to be his only downside, and Carina fixes that soon enough.

Ms. Heitzmann brings her characters and an 1880 Colorado mining town to life with vivid descriptions and true-to-life dialogue. The cast of characters does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the superstitious mindset, wild behavior, and loyalty of the mining camps and towns in the 1880s. Adventure, intrigue, suspicion, and the characters’ varying degrees of faith keep readers engaged and draw them into the story.

While the story is good and the writing magnificent, I must admit that the characters felt a bit overdone at times. Carina acted like a spoiled child for much of the book, and every time she showed signs of sucking up the hardships and carrying on with grace, she ranted either verbally or in her thoughts. However, she did grow throughout the story and eventually became the kind of strong Christian woman I kept hoping to see. Quillan started out dark and brooding, and he stayed that way to the end. Except for his occasional memories of his childhood and his thoughts of admiration and caring for an old miner, the insight into his past and him as a man came through the other characters. And finally, Berkley Beck. His actions fit his personality and the story well. Full of secrets hidden beneath a façade of respectability and smooth etiquette, he kept me guessing as to his true motives for a good portion of the book.

Although I enjoyed the story and found myself rejoicing and hurting along with the characters, I was disappointed by the ending. I love happy endings, but the end of this book if far from happy. There is a glimmer of hope that things will improve in book two of the Diamond of the Rockies series, but I still feel a little disappointed that The Rose Legacy ended the way it did.

If you’re looking for a good historical novel that does an amazing job of bringing an 1880 mining town to life and shows characters realistically struggling with their faith, I suggest reading The Rose Legacy. But be prepared to read the next book in the series. The end of The Rose Legacy leaves readers hanging and wondering how things turn out for Carina.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based solely on the contents of this book and my experience reading it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cool Contest...

I recently stumbled across an awesome contest on called The Great Kindle Giveaway. J.T. Oldfield, owner of Bibliofreakblog, is giving away a Kindle II on December 18. However, there could be more Kindles being given away. Check out what J.T. has to say (straight from the giveaway post):

More Kindles: The Great Kindle Giveaway starts with 1 Kindle, but I have 15 in total. As you’ve probably noticed, Bibliofreakblog has links to Amazon on the sidebar and in posts. If you click one of these links right before you make a purchase, I make a commission. It doesn’t matter if you buy the book I’ve reviewed or something else entirely (TVs, games, DVDs, Kindle books, anything). For every $259 in commissions I make, I’ll release another Kindle into the drawing. It doesn’t cost you any extra to do this, and it really helps me make this blog possible. Think of it as a mitzvah, and another way to increase your chances of winning a Kindle, because the more in the offering, the more likely you are to get one.

For more information on The Great Kindle Giveaway and complete rules on how to enter, visit this post on Bibliofreakblog. Good luck!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Eyes of Elisha by Brandilyn Collins

Title: Eyes of Elisha

Author: Brandilyn Collins

Publisher: Zondervan

Book Description:

The murder was ugly.

The killer was sure no one saw him.

Someone did.

In a horrifying vision, Chelsea Adams has relived the victim’s last moments. But who will believe her? Certainly not the police, who must rely on hard evidence. Nor her husband, who barely tolerates Chelsea’s newfound Christian faith. Besides, he’s about to hire the man who Chelsea is certain is the killer to be a vice president in his company.

Torn between what she knows and the burden of proof, Chelsea must follow God’s leading and trust him for protection. Meanwhile, the murderer is at liberty. And he’s not about to take Chelsea’s involvement lying down.


This is an awesome story of God’s faithfulness and mercy even in the darkest of times.

Chelsea Adams, a young Christian, has received the gift of visions. While her past visions were fairly innocuous, the newest visions God gives her sends her on a frightening journey of discovering a murder victim and learning just how essential it is to wait on God rather than relying on her own strength and wisdom.

Police Sergeant Dan Reiger is also a Christian and has been in law enforcement long enough to see a little of everything. When Chelsea walks into his office and tells him of her vision containing details of a murder no one has reported yet, he isn’t quite sure what to do. He’s never dealt with a vision from God before. Chelsea’s strong faith makes him take a hard look at his own Christianity and he doesn’t like everything he sees about the way he’s handled it...especially in not sharing his faith with others.

There is also a cast of non-Christian characters, from Reiger’s partner Detective Pat Turnbow to Chelsea’s husband Paul to the prime suspect in the murder case. Each of them and others must face God’s power and the fallibility of even the most faithful Christians.

Eyes of Elisha takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of suspense and faith. Ms. Collins has written an amazing tale of a Christian woman struggling with the gift God has given her, and the struggles her family faces because of it, but never once does Chelsea doubt God’s love and mercy. Instead, each character in the story learns something through this vision and some develop a closer relationship with God. The twists and turns in this story keep the reader guessing, and the vivid descriptions bring the story to life.

I highly recommend Eyes of Elisha to anyone who loves suspense. It’s also a great read for those looking for a realistic portrayal of Christians trying to live out the plan God has for their lives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through a giveaway on the author’s blog. Though I promised to review the story, I made no promise as to whether the review would be good. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based solely on the contents of the book and my experience reading it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Think Autism, Think Different

I've been thinking about autism a lot lately, mainly because in the last few months I finally decided to give seeking an official diagnosis one last chance. It was a highly emotional process, one that alternately drained me and made me hyper for weeks, but I did finally receive a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Since receiving that report (which made me laugh in several places because these supposed oddities have been a normal part of my life forever), I've been trying to figure out what happens now. I have a paper to prove I'm autistic, but what do I do with it? Shove it in a drawer and move on? Frame it and hang it on the wall as evidence of my lifelong struggle to get an official diagnosis?

Within the last couple of weeks, I decided to put that diagnosis to good use. Up to now, I've never had any kind of credibility to write about autism or write autistic characters. I don't have any kind of degree, I don't work with people on the spectrum all the time, and even though I was self-diagnosed (and had several people agree with that self-diagnosis) that didn't prove to anyone that I know what I'm talking about. Thanks to that official diagnosis, I now have the confidence to speak out about a topic that my family is probably sick of hearing me talk about: curing autism.

Warning! The remainder of this post is likely to anger some people. I apologize if you're offended. Curing autism is a controversial topic with people on both sides of the issue feeling strongly about it. My views are not what the media tend to focus on, but they are shared by many other autistics. Feel free to comment at the end of the post whether you agree or disagree, but please keep your comments clean. Foul language or personal attacks will make me seriously consider deleting the comment.

Okay, back to the post.

As I've said, I am autistic. Autism is not a disease, scourge, or even a terrible tragedy in a lot of cases. Autism is a different way of life. Personally, I don't want to be "cured" of autism, mainly because there's nothing to cure. Autism is a huge part of who I am, what makes me...well, me. A lot of autistics feel the same way, including those who are high-functioning and live independently and those who are non-verbal and need someone to help with basic needs. We are not miserable because of autism. Actually, I find autism fun a lot of times because it allows me to see things in ways neurotypicals likely don't.

Note I said "neurotypical" and not "normal." Honestly, I detest comparisons between autistics and "normal" people, becuase it implies there's something wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with me; I'm not broken or in need of a cure. I'm different, plain and simple. Diversity is a great thing. It makes the world the exciting, interesting place it is. It's also the way God designed it. Diversity in race, religion, creed, etc. is widely accepted and encouraged. Now the world needs to focus on and accept neurodiversity. My favorite way of describing autism is that my brain is wired funny. That's really the only logical way I can describe a neurological difference, which is all autism is.

All of this explains why I get annoyed when people call for a cure for autism. The majority of those people are neurotypicals. Many of them have children on the spectrum or know someone who does. But I have to wonder how many of them have actually communicated with their child, either verbally or through some other means like a computer or sign language. Many autistics have spoken out, through writing and verbally, against curing autism. I have to agree with those who equate curing autism with a death sentence for autistics. The best way I can explain it is to offer an example.

As I've said, autism is a way of life and a huge part of who I am. Curing autism, taking it away, would turn my world upside down. It would be like "curing" a neurotypical of having a sense of humor or a left-handed person of being left-handed. It doesn't make much sense, does it? So why do people persist in calling for an autism cure?

I can understand wanting to teach autistics how to cope better in the world and helping them live as independently as possible. I'm all for it. But that doesn't "cure" autism. It just teaches them life skills...the same as every other child has to learn. The big issue here is acceptance. Do you accept autistics and all their differences or do you pity us for something the majority of us embrace?

This leads me to the "charitable" organization Autism Speaks. Let me say right here, Autism Speaks does NOT speak for me or any other autistic. Their literature, commercials, PSAs, etc. make it clear they don't support autistics. They call for getting rid of autism, blame autism for marital problems, and basically imply that autism is a scourge on society. It gives me chills just thinking about the way they make it clear they hate autism. They don't appear to like autistics much better. Watch the PSA they put out not long ago titled "I am Autism" and try to view it from the persepctive of an autistic, someone who views autism as inseparable from their identity. I think you'll understand why that video made me cry and want to put a stop to the hate this organization is spreading. For another perspective on the "I am Autism" PSA, check out this video (also called "I am Autism"). There area remarkably few edits to the Autism Speaks script, which makes the Autism Speaks message all the more chilling.

Last year, Autism Speaks recieved more than sixty-five million dollars. The president of this supposedly charitable organization was paid over four hundred thousand dollars. The chief science officer was paid over half a million dollars. Those are ridiculous salaries for people working for a non-profit organization. Half a million dollars is definitely profitable. For a simple break down of where the 2008 money went, check out this video. If you prefer looking at detailed tax forms, here's one on the Autism Speaks website.

As far as I can tell, very few actual autistics are helped by Autism Speaks or involved in running it. In fact, the organization was asked why there aren't any autistics on the board. The response? Autism Speaks feels it would be "inappropriate" to have anyone on the spectrum helping run the organization.

How on earth is an autistic helping run an organization called Autism Speaks "inappropriate"?

This organization has also been known to sue or threaten to sue autistics who speak out against them or parody anything they produce. The saddest example of this I've come across to date is a 14-year-old girl on the spectrum who created a site called NT Speaks. It was a parody of the Autism Speaks site, and therefore perfectly legal since parodies are protected by law, but Autism Speaks sent a letter to this girl threatening to sue her. This letter scared her so much she took her site down and destroyed the code behind it. Autism Speaks had no legal leg to stand on, since what she'd done was legal, but that didn't stop them from throwing their corporate weight around to scare a teenager.

It wouldn't surprise me if I get a letter threatening to sue me for libel because of this post, but I feel it necessary to warn anyone who wants to help autistics that the autistic community is not helped by Autism Speaks. As a member of the autistic community, I actually feel rather threatened by this huge, frightening organization that claims to be speaking for us while doing us a great disservice by perpetuating myths about autsim.

There are a great many autistics writing about their experiences, opinions, etc. all over the internet. If you want a true view of autism from people who live it every single day of their lives, I'd recommend checking out, Aspies for Freedom, the Autism Self Advocacy Network, or any of the myriad blogs and personal websites maintained by autistics. Be warned, you may not like what you find, but you can be assured they're the true views and opinions of real autistics.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book by Chuck Norris

Title: The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book
Author: Chuck Norris
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Hundreds of thousands of humorous Chuck Norris facts have been published, traveled around the globe via the Internet, and gained an international audience of millions. Chuck Norris facts are a quirky, extremely popular Internet phenomenon that has entertained fans from all over the globe. In the last several years, Chuck Norris has been asked repeatedly from the heartland of America to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, “Which facts are your favorites?” For the first time ever, in The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, Chuck gives readers not only his favorite “facts,” roundhouse-kicked by the man himself, but also the stories behind the facts and the code by which Chuck lives his life. Fans from every corner of the globe will enjoy both the fanciful and inspirational from one of the world’s great action heroes. This book makes a perfect gift.


The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book is a fun book, but it also gives a great deal of insight into the man behind the fact phenomenon. Each of the 101 Chuck Norris Facts in the book is supplemented by a true story from Chuck Norris himself. After that bit of trivia is a quote pertaining to the story, and the end of each entry gives the corresponding core value from Chuck’s Code--Norris’ five core values he lives by: Freedom, Family, Fitness, Faith, and Fight--and a sentence or two that goes with it.

Throughout the book, Norris offers opinions and trivia on everything from his movie career to his family to nutrition. The reader comes away with a greater understanding of Norris’ deep-seated Christianity, his patriotism, his support of the military, and his belief that people must work not only to improve themselves but the world around them as well.

The humor in this book had me laughing many times, but Norris also touched on some topics that hit home and made me see things I could improve in my own life. I was particularly impressed with his openness about his failures as well as his successes. His belief that everyone has the opportunity to change their corner of the world is inspiring, especially since the stories in this book show how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of countless people. The many reminders that God sees each of us as His own special creation and has a plan for each and every one of us are uplifting. I highly recommend The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book for anyone looking for a book that leaves the reader with hope for a better world and a better relationship with God and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of the Tyndale Blog Network. Although I received a free copy of this book, the opinions expressed in this review are based solely on the contents of the book and were in no way influenced by the way I acquired the book.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

Title: The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, Book II: The Secret of Indigo Moon
Author: G.P. Taylor
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

From best-selling author G.P. Taylor comes the highly anticipated second installment of The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, a series that combines art and traditional text to help “reluctant readers” discover the wonder of books.

Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.
In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust.


I admit I’m not a big fan of graphic novels...usually. But it didn’t take long for me to get drawn into the world of Erik Morissey Ganger and the Dopple twins, Sadie and Saskia. The Dopple Ganger Chronicles, Book II: The Secret of Indigo Moon is packed with action right from the start. The mystery involving a secret tunnel, a reporter, and an old enemy is well-written and even managed to surprise me a little—something that doesn't happen often with children’s mysteries.

While the repetition of Erik’s full name did get a little tedious at times, this was still a wonderful book that I had trouble putting down. The Christian message is woven in with such subtlety that it wasn’t even noticeable in much of the story. And when it did appear, it was written in an allegorical fashion that was both enjoyable and uplifting. G.P. Taylor is definitely going on my list of authors I can count on for a good story.

I reviewed this book as a member of the Tyndale Blog Network.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I've always loved the idea of a bibliocat. What author wouldn't want a cat who loves books as much as she does? I've just never had the pleasure of owning one...until now.

About a week ago, I adopted the most adorable black tabby kitten. Sergei is a sweet little boy kitty, who can be ornery or cuddly, depending on how sleepy he is. He loves affection and shares it freely. Some of his favorite places to sleep are bookshelves and the book on my nightstand. He curls up in my lap when I'm writing, reading, or editing. Yes, I think this kitten may love the written word as much as his human.

As I write this post, Sergei is curled up within easy petting distance on the bookshelf right beside my computer. He has books next to him, an educational catalog underneath him, and a notebook right beside his head. I wonder what he'd write if he knew how?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a story from the perspective of a kitten. I based the thing on my memories of my last cat's kittenhood, which had ended several years before I wrote the story. Thanks to Sergei, I'm thinking about that story again and wondering where I could submit it. The little guy is proving that all of the kitten observation I did all those years ago was useful; Sergei could easily be the kitten in my story, even though it's very loosely based on a different kitten.

This all goes to show that everything is fodder for a writer, even a new kitten. My little bibliocat in training is sure to make a cameo appearance in a story at some point. I've already considered adding his fictional counterpart to one of my young adult WIPs. Since the main character loves cats, but doesn't currently have one, she's a perfect candidate for her father to surprise with a kitten. While this fictional kitten may not be a sweet little black tabby, it will undoubtedly share at least some of the same personality traits as my little Sergei. And who knows? Maybe I'll make the fictional kitten a bibliocat in the making. After all, people aren't the only ones who enjoy books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chat with The Sweetest Romance!

Attention! Attention! A megaphone resounds in a deep bass voice. is hosting a chat every fourth Thursday and for September it will be from 8 to 9 PM, EST.

Our chat this month is September 24th.
Our guest is Rachel Starr Thomson, author of Worlds Unseen and Burning Light. Her websites are and
A scavenger hunt, organized by our September hostess, Rachel Rossano, will be held late into the chat and the winner will be honored with, “the highly coveted Sweetie award.” This can be displayed on your website, blog and other cyber space realms you may have.
This chat is a great chance to learn all about the guest and their niche in the world of writing and publishing. There is additional info about Ms. Thomson which she will share during our chat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lonestar Secrets by Colleen Coble

Title: Lonestar Secrets
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Can Texas's majestic Big Bend help Shannon find her life again?

Shannon Astor returns to southwest Texas to serve as the town's veterinarian, believing she's finally found the space to get her life back on track.

Then she catches a glimpse of Jack MacGowan, the man who ruined her life years before. But even more shocking is the sight of Jack's five-year-old daughter Faith, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Shannon's own daughter Kylie. Is it possible that their similarities could be more than just coincidence? Could Faith be the daughter that Shannon has believed to be dead for all these years?

As the truth emerges, everyone is forced to take sides--in a story with a heart as big as Texas.

Purchase a copy here


This is an amazing story of love and faith, betrayal and trust. Ms. Coble has written a wonderful novel that shows how devastating secrets can be and just how far desperate people will go to keep their secrets hidden. Through Jack and Shannon’s story, we see how one moment of betrayal can ruin trust for years, but bringing secrets into the open and having faith in others can heal. Jack and Shannon’s story is riddled with secrets and mistrust, not only between each other, but also between friends. And some of those secrets threaten to become deadly.

Lonestar Secrets is filled with suspense, heart-rending emotion, and hope that everything will work out in the end. It’s a great read that shows Christians living out their faith without showing even a hint of being preachy. It was a pleasure to read this book as a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger, and I highly recommend Lonestar Secrets to anyone looking for a compelling novel with a surprising ending.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max Lucado

Title: Fearless
Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Purchase a copy here


Max Lucado has written another excellent book in Fearless. His “tell it like it is” style opens readers’ eyes to the reality of fear and how deeply it can effect a person’s daily life. A touch of humor keeps this book from weighing the reader down as he is forced to look at what fears are in his life and how they effect the choices he makes.

Fearless provides plenty of reminders that God never intended people to live in fear. If we have faith in Him, we have nothing to fear. With God in your corner, what do you have to be afraid of? As Lucado points out time and again, Christ often used phrases like, “Do not be afraid.” With a straightforward instruction like that, God makes it clear He intends for us to be courageous in our faith.

This book is full of practical advice and real-life examples that bring the concepts down to a personal level and help them hit home. Lucado’s words provide a great reminder that God doesn’t give us fear; His love overcomes it.

There are a few lines in chapter seven that, for me, capture the tone of the entire book. Lucado is talking about praying about our worries and fears rather than letting them eat away at us.

“Be specific about your fears. Identify what ‘this cup’ is and talk to God about it. Putting your worries into words disrobes them. They look silly standing there naked.”

This entire books disrobes many common fears, and Lucado is right. They do look pretty silly standing naked in the light of faith and logic.

Whether you worry incessantly, live in a state of constant fear, or just wonder if God really cares, Fearless is a great book to help you find your way to stronger faith and a life where you fear less.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blood Elves inspired by...Gaston???

I admit it. I have a character on World of Warcraft. Yes, my Blood Elf is a Horde character (the supposed bad guys), but that's only because the Night Elves on the Alliance side (the supposed good guys) creep me out to no end. That, and my college student sister (who talked me into creating my character) was complaining about hating Blood Elves because they're all paladins. She's right, there are a LOT of Blood Elf paladins running around, but there are plenty of other kinds of Blood Elves, too.

By now, assuming you haven't gone cross-eyed from all the parentheses, I'm sure you're wondering, "Where is she going with this?" Bear with me a little longer and I'll get there.

Back to my character. It's a male Blood Elf hunter (level 21...yay!) I affectionately refer to as Rach. That's a nickname given to him by another Blood Elf within minutes of his creation, so don't bother looking for Rach on the dozens of servers if you're bored and have a WoW account. You won't find him.

Anyway, aside from ridiculously long eyebrows that stick out past his pointy ears (all Blood Elves have those eyebrows) and the wrong hairstyle, Rach could pass for Gaston's twin. You know, Gaston from the animated Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. They're both conceited, think they're better than everyone else, and are obsessed with looking good. And it's comical on both of them.

In World of Warcraft, you can make your characters flirt and tell jokes, among other things. One of Rach's built-in flirtations makes me think of Gaston every time. I can't give you an exact quote, but it's something along the lines of, "You know what I love most about your eyes? When I look deeply into them, I can see my own reflection."

Can't you just imagine Gaston saying something like that?

All of this makes me wonder what the programmers at Blizzard (the company who created WoW) had been watching before they designed the male Blood Elves. One more reason for speculation is the male Blood Elf's laugh. It is eerily similar to Gaston's.

Of course, I have no evidence for any of this, or for the similarity of a lot of the dance moves WoW characters have to Michael Jackson dance moves (particularly those from the 80s and 90s). It does, however, bring up an interesting question.

Writers, how much do the things you watch, listen to, or read affect your writing? Readers, have you ever come across a story with characters or storyline similar enough to another book, movie, or TV show that you wondered if the author is a fan?

Monday, August 31, 2009

2010 New Voices Writing Competition

Calling All Authors:

Do you remember your first dream?

Epic Authors presents the 2010 New Voices Writing Competition for young writers. This free annual contest provides the opportunity for budding authors to submit and be judged, and to win and be published.

Viewpoints are rapidly changing in the publishing industry and our school systems regarding e-publishing. EPIC’s members have been on the forefront of the literacy fight, speaking at schools and conferences, encouraging evocative and expressive writing from young writers.

--New Voices Brochure

The New Voices competition takes short stories, essays, and poetry submissions from youth ages 11 to 18 (Middle School and High School). Judges are educational or publishing professionals. Our winners are chosen from each age group and category, and are published in an anthology. Prizes vary and range from an e-reader to gift certificates (and more).

New Voices is a wonderful chance to encourage our youth to develop their talents and pursue their goals. Spread the word about New Voices and foster a child’s dream.

Visit the New Voices website for details:

Or, for more information, contact

Danielle Thorne

New Voices 2010 Co-Chair

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For The Sweetest Romance Authors Scavenger Hunt

The bufo marinus, also known as the cane toad, is a critter Floridians may recognize. These huge toads, which can weigh up to four pounds, aren't native to Florida, however. They come from Central America and South America. Cane toads are the most introduced species of amphibian in the world.

These little (or big) guys were introduced to help control insects that attack sugarcane. While they did serve their purpose, they are now well-established in many places other than their native lands.

Cane toads are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, including dog and cat food. They're most active at night, so a bright sunny afternoon is not likely the best time to go looking for one. And should you decide to look for a cane toad, remember that the secretions from their skin are highly toxic. It's known to sicken or kill small animals, such as cats and dogs. The secretions may also cause skin irritation or burn the eyes of humans, so stop and think carefully for a moment before handling one of these enormous toads.

If you're still curious about the bufo marinus, check out this neat fact sheet.

Chatters from The Sweetest Romance Authors chat, here's the link to your next clue:

Good luck and enjoy the rest of the chat! For more information on The Sweetest Romance Authors and Readers, check out the group's page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you, Anne Patrick, for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award!

Wow, seven things no one knows about me...well, I can come up with seven that aren't well known, so I hope that counts. :)

7 Things You Never Knew (About Me):

1. I wrote a young adult novel during my high school career and self-published it after I graduated. It was a very expensive lesson that taught me that even if getting a traditional publisher takes a lot longer than self-publishing (usually) and is more difficult, but the traditional publishing contract is totally worth it.

2. When I was in high school, I took marine biology for two years and considered becoming a marine biologist.

3. I hated writing as a kid, but I loved reading and making up stories.

4. I had three learner's permits before I got a driver's license.

5. I once taught a drama class for homeschooled children.

6. My garden almost always has green beans and tomatoes...I don't like to eat either one.

7. For years, doctors said I had autistic-like behaviors. Since graduating from high school, I've received three or four unofficial diagnoses of autism. It's amazing how difficult it is to get an official diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder if you were born before about 1990 and you're high-functioning.

On to the nominations! Do I even know seven bloggers? Just kidding. Here's the list:

1. Miss Mae

2. Laurean Brooks

3. Ashley Ludwig

4. Grace Brooks

5. Kimberli Campbell

6. Sharon Donovan

7. Roni Adams

Now, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Thanks, Anne!)

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link the logo to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.

5. Nominate 7 Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What a weekend...

My life has been a whirlwind for the last four days, and it's not letting up yet. Thursday, I received word from Sea Crest eBooks that my newest ebook, Light in the Darkness, was released. That started a flurry of emails about promo and probably a few silly questions on my part. Sheila, you are such a sweetheart and so patient with the tons of questions I've had. Thank you for all of the help you've given me.

I spent Friday with The Sweetest Romance group in the Latte Lounge of Coffee Time Romance. We had a blast and I want to give a big thank you to everyone who stopped by, including the lurkers. I hope you guys enjoyed the chat as much as I did!

On Saturday, I worked on my blog. A huge thank you and a big hug goes to Lula for pointing me to the site where I found the new background for my blog and for the banner she so kindly created. As I've already said, Lula, you are such a sweetie! Thank you so much.

I've also been working on updates for my website the last few days. I'm hoping to have all the work done on the site next weekend, but we all know how the best laid plans can go awry. I'll keeping working toward getting the site updated next weekend anyway. :)

Sunday, I finished reading See No Evil, My Pretty Lady by Miss Mae. If you've never read this historical romantic suspense, I recommend buying a copy. The story kept me guessing all the way to the end, and when I found out the true identity of the villain, I couldn't have been more surprised. Major kudos to Miss Mae for a job well done.

Of course, not all of Sunday was great. My laptop, which is older than dirt, finally gave up the ghost. I coaxed it into working long enough to rescue all of my files, but now I'm stuck working on the desktop computer, which resides in one of the busiest rooms of my house. So much for peace and quiet while working. Hopefully I can replace the laptop soon, but we all know how expensive computers can be.

Today I'm hanging out on the Diana Kay Publishing loop and promoting Light in the Darkness in between working. I'm also participating in a couple of other promo events coming up before the end of the year, which I'll mention here as those days draw closer.

On top of all of this recent insanity, I'm in the midst of major revisions on what I hope will be a full-length novel by the time I finish, and I'm working on revising a couple of short stories. A writer's work never stops, but if it could slow down a little, the writing part would be a whole lot easier. Ah, well. Squeezing out time to write is part of the complex juggling act of life.

Everyone have a great week, and remember to make time for books(including ebooks), whether you write or just read.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chat with The Sweetest Romance!

Come chat with The Sweetest Romance Authors this Friday, August 14, at the Latte Lounge! Make sure to sign up with Coffee Time Romance now so you can be sure you'll be able to post to the boards and chat with us. There will be prizes, excerpts, and plenty of fun for all!

If you miss the Summer Fun Chat, you can still find The Sweetest Romance in the Java Junction. Read excerpts, discuss books, ask questions...The Sweetest Romance Authors love to hear from readers and are always happy to chat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Word Addiction

I know, the title of this post sounds like a no-brainer, right? Of course an author and avid reader is addicted to words. But this post isn't about my love of the written word. No, it's about another word addiction that I'm embarrassed to admit I have.

I'm addicted to "ing" words, "was," and "were."

Shameful thing for an author to admit, right? But here's the thing, like any other addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

How did I find out about my addiction to these words, the ones that catch an editor's eye and too occurrences of them get you a rejection? You guessed it. I received a rejection. I didn't even know I had so many "ing" words in that story until the editor told me to do a search for them and highlight them. I did, and every page came alive with color. I searched out "was" and "were" as well, highlighting them in a different color. Guess what? I suddenly had a rainbow of highlights on my pages.

Oh, that poor editor, having to suffer through my passive, "ing" filled story. I'm so grateful she pointed that out to me. Now I know what to look for: bad writing habits I thought I'd overcome. The hard part is rewriting sentences to make them much more active and remove the "ing" words. Of course, there is a silver lining to all of this. The revisions to combat my word addiction will tighten up the writing and make the story even better.

Thanks to the poor editor who had to suffer through my lazy writing, and was kind enough to tell me what I needed to work on, I see a light at the end of what likely would have been a very dark tunnel of form rejections. And not just on this story. I did the same search and highlight method on a short story I thought was almost ready to go. Same result. It makes the pages quite pretty with all those highlights, but I'd rather have the writing itself be pretty. Good writing is what keeps editors and readers happy, not how many highlights you can fit on one page.

Let's open up the comments section for a bit of writerly group therapy. Do you have a word addiction you're trying to overcome? Some bad writing habit you know you have, yet you don't seem to realize it crept into your manuscript until after you submitted?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Coming Soon -- Light in the Darkness

I'm so excited! My newest ebook, Light in the Darkness, will be available soon from Sea Crest eBooks. Want to know more about this story with an awesome cover? Here's the blurb:

Kennedy Drake loves exploring dark places, which makes his job as a graveyard shift security guard ideal. While checking out strange noises in his elderly neighbor’s basement, he discovers a hidden room with a woman trapped inside. Chastity Mooreland has more to fear than her time trapped in darkness. Will Kennedy believe her bizarre tale of a stalker no one thinks is guilty—and will he help free her from a life of despair? Can Chastity look past her suspicion of mankind to accept his offer of friendship?

I'm looking forward to the release of this one. It's quite a bit different from Dreams Do Come True. For one thing, it's not a romance. Another difference is that it's written entirely from Kennedy's point of view. I'll admit right now that thinking like a man isn't always easy. David Jameson in Dreams Do Come True was my first attempt at writing the male POV. I learned a lot through that adventure, and I think I did pretty well writing Light in the Darkness from Kennedy's perspective. Time (and readers/reviews) will tell.

Just as soon as I know the release date, I'll post it here. Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New cover for a new ebook...

I'm so excited! I signed a contract with Sea Crest eBooks early this month, and now I have a cover! It captures the story beautifully, and I couldn't be happier. Without further ado, here is the cover for Light in the Darkness:

More info, such as a release date, for Light in the Darkness will come as I get it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Here or There: Where Do Your Characters Belong?

All stories are set somewhere. From the most mundane office to the most exotic tropical beach, the setting can have a great effect on a story. Take the mundane office, for example. If it’s described as a place that’s sucking the life out of the main character, it provides all kinds of possibilities for the character’s escape from the perceived prison of a job she hates. And the tropical beach? What better place to have the hero and heroine fall in love? There’s something so romantic about warm ocean breezes, sunshine, and long stretches of pristine white sand.

So, how does one go about choosing a setting for a particular story? Well, for me, it depends a lot on the characters and the plot. Since I’m one of those people who writes by the seat of my pants, the plot tends to evolve as I get deeper into the story. But I usually have a vague idea of where I’d like the story to go and the personalities of the characters.

In the case of my inspirational romance Dreams Do Come True, the setting just came to me naturally. I wanted small town atmosphere, but I wanted it close to a large city. I tossed around several locations before settling on a fictional town just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Why Cincinnati, you ask? Well, I’ve gone through it multiple times, so I’m at least vaguely familiar with it, and I’ve been to Ohio enough to have a good idea of how the people talk and dress. I know that statement makes it sound like Ohio is a foreign country, which it very well could be to some of my readers, but I’ve been in enough states to know that for all of the similarities, there are subtle differences as well. It’s hard to point out specific differences, since they are subtle, but it’s essential for a writer to be familiar enough with her story’s setting to be able to write it realistically. You never know who is going to read your story, and if your version of Maryland sounds more like British Columbia, someone will notice and likely tell all of their friends that you don’t know anything about Maryland.

Another part of the setting to keep in mind isn’t just the location, but also the time period. Writing a story set in 1735 and having your characters speak like they’re from the current day is a good way to get rejections from editors and annoy readers. As I’ve said so many times, it’s all about realism. If your plot or your characters aren’t believable, no one is going to want to read your story. The same thing goes for the setting; both time and place have to be believable for readers to want to read it.

There are so many perspectives on what makes a good setting and how writers choose them. For a look at what other authors have to say about setting, check out the rest of the Classic Romance Revival blog carnival.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Writing and revising...and revising...and revising...

It's been a busy couple of weeks, trying to finish a story (which still isn't done) and revising three others. One thing that struck me is that the work on a story is just beginning when you complete the first draft of a manuscript. No, this isn't a new concept to me; I've been writing too long to believe all I have to do is write a story and have it instantly perfect. Even my best first drafts need work.

Revisions can be time-consuming, fun, or just plain frustrating. I've dealt with all three on one particular manuscript. I know that once I finish this round of revising, I'll have to revise it at least once more before I can think about submitting it. My critique buddies are awesome and point out all kinds of things I miss, like the bit I cut out of chapter one. I'd discovered a major info dump (huge block of information that interrupted the flow of the story), so I cut it. I knew that some of the information was given later in the story, but I failed to think of one thing: readers don't know what happens in later chapters. Cutting the info dump was great, but I cut too much. Now I have to go back and add in an essential piece of information.

Other parts of revising that manuscript are fun, because I get to write new paragraphs, add more depth to the characters, and bring the romance out a little more. I love bringing a story to life and making it into what I want it to be. It's such a satisfying feeling.

Of course, it's not always fun. I spent several days struggling with how to make an mind-numbingly dull paragraph interesting. Trust me, I threatened to beat my head against my desk many, many times. Last night, I just ignored the original paragraph and put myself in the main character's shoes. It started slowly, but then the words flowed and I accomplished three things with that single paragraph: set up the scene, gave the reader more insight into the character's thoughts and feelings, and showed a little more of her romantic interests.

While I love writing the first draft and watching the story unfold before my fingers (I can't outline to save myself, so I never know where the story's going next), revising can be just as satisfying. Plus, I know that each round of revision brings my manuscript that much closer to submission. And we all know that unless you submit your work, it will never be published.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Wild Rose Press turns 3!

I’m so excited! Today is the third birthday of The Wild Rose Press, and they’re still growing and blooming. To celebrate the company turning three, the editors and artists are holding an all day blog event at Behind the Garden Gate. Here's all the info:

Happy Birthday to the Wild Rose Press.
Join us May 1, 2009 for a day of fun blog posts and prizes every hour.

Stop by all day May 1, 2009. Beginning at 6 am ET and ending about 11pm ET, each hour will highlight the many lines we have at the Wild Rose Press.
And every hour, a random winner will be drawn from those who post a comment. The winners will receive their choice of book from that line.

At the end of the day, a grand prize winner will be drawn from all that post throughout the day.
The grand prize winner will receive a gorgeous tote bag full of books, a t-shirt, coffee mug, gift certificates and whatever else we can stuff in a tote bag or if the winner would rather, they can take a $30 gift certificate to the TWRP bookstore.
(this can be any TWRP store, White Rose Publishing, the Wilder Rose or the main Wild Rose Press bookstore.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's finally here!!!

Woohoo! It's release day! I'm doing a happy dance and enjoying the fact that Dreams Do Come True is finally available from White Rose Publishing!

Can you tell I'm a little excited? This is my very first release from a royalty-paying publisher, which makes it extra special. I hope all writers one day will enjoy the great feeling of knowing all their hard work paid off and is available for anyone in the world to read.

Everyone have a wonderful day! I know mine is going to be great.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dreams Do Come True -- Excerpt

My inspirational romance, Dreams Do Come True, will be available tomorrow from White Rose Publishing! In honor of the release, here's a sneak peek at the story for your enjoyment:

Gayle glanced at the envelope in Cassie’s hand and nodded toward the vacant end of the counter. Cassie went to the seat at the very end and laid the envelope in front of her. She needed Gayle’s moral support when she opened this one. The publisher she’d submitted to was the perfect match for her book, and she’d spent nearly a month on the submission package to make sure it was perfect.

Gayle finally finished serving the elderly man and joined Cassie. “Be brave.”

Cassie managed a weak smile and prayed for strength as she picked up the envelope. A moment later, she pulled out her submission package and what appeared to be a form letter. She got as far as “We regret…” before she dropped the stack of papers on the counter and lowered her head to her hands with a moan. “Not again!”

The strip of bells hanging on the door jangled before Gayle could reply. She gave Cassie’s arm a consoling pat, and then went to tend the new customer.

Cassie brushed her long hair from her eyes as she lifted her head and reached for the rejection letter, hoping it contained some clue as to why they didn’t want her novel. Her gaze briefly went to the new customer. His gorgeous movie cowboy appearance caught her attention and made her heart do a two-step. Dark-haired and blue-eyed, he stood at least six foot two and had wide shoulders that tapered down to a trim waist. He’d tucked his white shirt into a pair of jeans that fit oh-so-perfectly on his hips. The sleeves were rolled up to reveal tanned, well-toned forearms. He smiled as he spoke to Gayle, and Cassie decided receiving another rejection letter was almost worth it to see this amazing specimen of a man.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two Days and Counting...

Only two more days until Dreams Do Come True is released! Here's the blurb:

Aspiring author Cassie Teague has been rejected…again. As she considers giving up her dream of getting published, a handsome editor walks into her life and makes her wonder if God has more in store for her than just writing.

Acquisitions editor David Jameson wants more than just Cassie’s book. But will office politics destroy his hope for the future?

Drop by tomorrow for an excerpt!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I thought long and hard about the dedication for my inspirational romance, Dreams Do Come True. After thinking about dedicating it to everyone who's ever read any of my writing, I decided to go for a dedication that also fit the story. What did I finally choose?

To all writers struggling with rejection: Never give up hope.

I've spent years receiving one rejection after another. Dreams Do Come True was rejected twice before White Rose Publishing offered me a contract. Even though there were times I thought I'd never receive a contract from a publisher, I couldn't give up my dream. That perseverance (some might call it stubbornness) is what made me keep submitting even when it seemed pointless. I'd gotten to the point where I expected a rejection from every submission I made, but I also made sure each of those submissions was as perfect as I could make it.

All the hard work of learning the craft of writing and rewriting nearly everything finally paid off. Last year, two of my short stories were accepted for publication by non-paying markets. I know that doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but those were my first pieces of fiction published, and one of the markets had rejected my work in the past.

With the confidence those acceptances gave me, I pulled out Dreams Do Come True (which had previously been rejected) and did a little rewriting and polishing and submitted it to White Rose Publishing (which was still the White Rose line of The Wild Rose Press at that point). I had a good feeling about it, sure this would be the publisher for my story. Then I received the email from the editor telling me it was good as far as it went, but I needed to make it longer.

Big sigh. I had absolutely no idea how to make it longer. I'd written the story until the ideas stopped coming. So, I spent a few days praying, thinking, and discussing it with my critique partners. To my surprise (and relief), the ideas started flowing. I added a few thousand words, wrote a much more satisfying ending, and sent the new and improved manuscript to the editor. Her response? She gave me a contract!

With a writing history like that, and since the heroine of Dreams Do Come True is a writer struggling to find a publisher, I had to dedicate it to all the writers going through their own struggles on the road to publication.

All I can say is this: If I can do it, so can you. All it takes is willingness to work hard, learn everything you can about writing and storytelling, and accept constructive criticism. I have yet to hear of anyone who writes a perfect first draft. Even the most well-written manuscript will come back from an editor with a few markings.

Friday, April 17, 2009

One more week...

I woke up happy, scared, excited, and nervous this morning. Why, you ask? Because as soon as I opened my eyes, I realized it's exactly one week until the release of my first e-book. Dreams Do Come True is also my first inspirational romance and my first publishing contract with a royalty-paying publisher.

That's a lot of firsts. It's also a lot of pressure. I want to see this e-book sell well, get great reviews, and have an impact on people. So while I'm ecstatic that my release date is so close, it's also a little scary. I keep having to silence those what ifs that are so common to authors, especially new ones. You know: What if no one likes it? What if the only people who buy it are my relatives? What if--?

You get the idea. I keep reminding myself that an editor liked it well enough to offer me a contract, my crit partners enjoyed it when they helped me with it, and I like it. I'm sure there will be people who don't like Dreams Do Come True, but there are also people who don't like the romance genre.

As for my other dreams for this story (that it will sell well and have an impact on people), I'll do what I can to reach them, although impacting people with a story that's already written is kind of out of my hands. All I can do for that one is to pray and leave it in God's hands...which is the best place for it to be.

About the book

Dreams Do Come True by E.A. West, available April 24, 2009 from White Rose Publishing


Aspiring author Cassie Teague has been rejected…again. As she considers giving up her dream of getting published, a handsome editor walks into her life and makes her wonder if God has more in store for her than just writing.

Acquisitions editor David Jameson wants more than just Cassie’s book. But will office politics destroy his hope for the future?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ugh, taxes...and an update

I survived filling out my taxes! Woohoo!

Have I ever mentioned how much of a pain a tax form can be? I'm sure many of you already know how exasperating filling out those forms can be. The important thing is that I survived it and don't have to worry about it for another year.

Now that the taxing (pun intended) part of this post is out of the way, it's time for an update to my last post. My big orange kitty, the one who was seventeen and a half, passed away Sunday afternoon. I'm sure all of you pet owners can sympathize with what I'm going through, like expecting him to yowl and beg for treats when I'm trying to cook, thinking I'll walk into a room and see him lying there only to realize that will never happen again, etc. I miss my cat, and it's probably going to take me a long time to quit wishing he could curl up in my lap while I'm on the computer.

But there is a good side to this. I do have another cat, a pretty little gray tabby, who's been friendly and sweet since I got her. Last weekend, however, she became more cuddly than she's ever been. She's a pacer, meaning she doesn't hold still (usually); she paces and rubs her head against people when she's feeling affectionate. But last weekend, she started curling up beside me while I'm on the computer and she's giving me a lot more attention. It's almost like she's letting me know we both miss her kitty brother, but she's here to be my loving writing buddy.

The little shih tzu I took in last year is also being a total sweetheart, and so is my big brown mutt of a dog. I've realized in the last few days that the one of the best ways to survive losing a pet who's become a member of the family is to have other pets to love and be loved by. Can you tell I'm an animal lover?

On a completely unrelated note, the first of the Easter Lilies stories was released by White Rose Publishing today. Last year, White Rose held a short story contest called Easter Lilies. The three winners were guaranteed a contract for publication, with release dates on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before Easter.

Now that the background is out of the way, here's the important info: titles and where to buy them.

Thursday's release is Under the 5th Street Bridge by Carla Rossi

Friday's release is Wildflower in Bloom by Janelle Ashley

And Saturday's release is By Another Name by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

Have a happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Knitting and Miscellaneous Other Stuff

I'm so excited! When I first learned to knit, I wondered if I'd ever find a project I could do with my very beginner skills. Well, I found a scarf pattern, learned to cable without a third needle (but I think it might be easier for me with a third needle), and figured out all those lovely knitting pattern abbreviations that are so different from crochet abbreviations. And the best part is that I finally finished putting the scarf together last night! It's far from perfect and (to me) it looks like a beginner made it, but knitting that thing is a great accomplishment for me. I wasn't sure I'd ever get it finished (I started the "weekend" project a couple of months ago), but now I have a scarf...just in time for the warm weather of spring. Ah, well, it will be good to have when the weather turns cold again.

Now, I must apologize for my long absence from this blog. March was a rough month for my entire family. Those of you who have been reading for a while know I was excited about my unborn nephew. Well, he had severe health problems no one anticipated and only lived for two days. It's been hard on us, but life is slowly getting back to normal. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things, and now I have another difficult month ahead.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm an animal lover through and through. My cat, who is seventeen and a half and I adopted when he was five weeks old, has a massive, fast-growing tumor in his abdomen. There's nothing we can do other than keep him as comfortable as possible. It's been a struggle, and still is, but I've finally accepted that my cat is dying. Now, I know some of you are wondering if I should take him to the vet and have him put down. Trust me, if he starts suffering too much, I'll definitely do it no matter how hard it is. But for now, he's still my happy kitty. He stretches out on my lap (curling up is physically difficult because of the tumor) and purrs. He still tries to steal anything I eat, especially cheese. I'm praying for a quick end with little suffering for him. I hate to see any animal suffer, but one I've had this long and has been through so much with me...well, he's a member of my family.

Okay, that's enough sad stuff for now. On a much happier note (because my optimistic personality won't let me be down for too long), my story Dreams Do Come True has a coming soon page at White Rose Publishing! I don't remember if I mentioned it here or not, but the release date for Dreams Do Come True has been moved from July 1 to April 24. So, regardless of whatever else happens in April, I know the 24th will be good...I'll have a published e-book with an wonderful publisher!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Working with Autism

How do you work with high-functioning autism? No, I’m not talking about working with people who have autism; I’m talking about being autistic and trying to work. Let me tell you, it’s not always easy to get the job done. Some days, it’s a breeze and you feel completely normal, like you’re no different from anyone else. Then there are all the other days. Those can range from wondering if you’re doing things the way a non-autistic would, to a complete disaster that has you in tears and incapable of a coherent thought.

So what do I do on the really bad days? Cry. Literally. Yes, I can fight the meltdown, and usually do. Who wants to sit around crying for seemingly no reason and suffer the completely draining emotional release a meltdown provides? Not me, that’s for sure. It’s hard to be a grown woman and cry like an upset toddler just because the stress of everyday life has piled up. But sometimes, there’s just no avoiding a meltdown.

To the uninitiated, a meltdown looks like a temper tantrum or a serious case of melodrama. Trust me, no one likes a meltdown. It’s emotionally taxing, physically exhausting, and just plain embarrassing to lose it like that. What causes a meltdown? An overloaded, stressed out nervous system. Sometimes, a meltdown can be avoided by getting out of the stressful situation, but not always. Sometimes, nothing can be done to avoid it.

What does all of this have to do with working? Well, in my case, when I reach the point of an impending meltdown, I can’t work at all. I can’t think; my mind goes to the “gray place,” a place where there are literally no thoughts. If I’m lucky enough to be able to think even a little, I still can’t talk. The words get stuck and just add to the stress I’m already feeling. The tiniest thing can push me over the edge.

Thankfully, I don’t reach that point often. If life’s been stressful, I may be distracted when I start working and have trouble concentrating, but I usually get absorbed in my work fairly quickly. And once I’m “in the zone,” I can work for hours without realizing that much time has passed. I do freelance work, which is perfect for me. Some days, I meet my daily goal. Other days, I can exceed that goal by two or three times.

Then there are the bad days. On those days, I’m lucky if I get any work done at all. Given my lack of brainpower when I’m either fighting off a meltdown or recovering from one, I usually just do my best to relax and get back to normal so I can work the next day. I’ve never missed a deadline, but I have been known to work at two in the morning because my sleep patterns can get pretty messed up when life gets wacky.

The moral of this post? Be patient with autistics, even those who may seem completely normal most of the time. We can be odd and don’t always react to things the way others think we should, but we can be very good at our jobs. As many people have pointed out, a lot of autistics have a great eye for tiny details, and we can be obsessive about getting things right. Yes, we sometimes have bad days and are completely useless when it comes to work, but the number of good days (for me, anyway) is much greater than the number of bad days.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knitting and Learning

I’m so excited! I finally figured out how to knit something other than I-cord! My first official project is a sampler scarf that has five designs repeated for a total of ten pieces. I have one piece and most of another one done. It may be spring before I finish the scarf, but it’s such a great feeling to be able to understand and follow the instructions.

As I mentioned back in December, I learned to make I-cord. Last month, I learned how to make cables without a third needle. It involves slipping the stitches off the needle and holding them with my fingers while I do a little rearranging of stitches before I put them back on the needle. While it’s cool that I don’t need a third needle, I have a theory that for me, anyway, using the third needle might be easier.

Now I just need to get one, since all I have at the moment is a pair of single point needles. I didn’t see much point in investing in more than that, since I had no idea if I could figure out how to knit. But now that I’ve figured it out, I’d love to get some double pointed needles and a pair of circular needles. It’s amazing how many completely awesome free knitting patterns you can find on the internet.

There’s something about learning a new skill that still makes me as excited as when I finally mastered the multiplication table in school. Man, those nines were hard to learn! But I finally did it with a lot of practice. The same thing is true of knitting, cooking, writing, and countless other things. I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning, so hopefully I’ll still get to enjoy the thrill of learning something new when I’m ninety.

Keep on learning, no matter how old you are. It’s a great feeling and keeps your mind sharp.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

Can you tell from the title of this post that I've spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks reading picture books? When my three-year-old niece brings me a book and asks me to read it to her, why, of course I have to do it.

I love Dr. Seuss, so having a young child around gives me a great excuse to read his work. Now, I'd like to read something other than The Cat in the Hat and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, but my niece loves those books. If I read them enough times, I just might end up having them memorized, the same way I memorized Green Eggs and Ham when her mama (one of my younger sisters) was little.

Last night, my niece wanted me to read a couple of books I hadn't read to her before. It was a relief to read something new, but I noticed a similarity between these two books and Dr. Seuss books: they rhyme. All the way through. My comment? "With all of these rhymes, I'm losing my minds." Lame, I know, but all the adults in the room cracked up because they've read the same books I have countless times. My niece also cracked up, but she had no idea what was so funny...which made the rest of us laugh harder.

I also learned that picture book authors can be a little warped, and the children the books are intended for never even realize it. One of the books I read had something to do with Farmer Brown and his birthday. All of the animals named something nice they could do for his birthday, and the turkey decided he could decorate Farmer Brown's Thanksgiving table. Reading that shortly after losing my mind due to rhyming books probably made it funnier than it actually was, but picture books can provide some great stress relief in the form of laughter.

One of the biggest things reading all of these picture books has done is give me a great appreciation for non-rhyming books written for people over the age of twelve.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kids and writing...

My three-year-old niece found me this morning wanting to watch "cah-doons." Of course, I had to oblige with some educational cartoons on PBS. She's positively adorable, and so is her three-week-old brother. I love the two of them, wouldn't trade time with them for anything, but having a preschooler and an infant in the house definitely make for some difficult writing.

Between giggles, cries, and a sweet little girl voice saying "love oo," it's a little hard to concentrate until after they're asleep. And then I have to visit with my sister and brother-in-law for a little while, so by the time I get to writing it's ten or eleven at night. Since I'm a night owl, it's not too big a problem, until eight in the morning when a little voice wants to "watch cah-doons."

As I write this, I'm being handed Legos while that sweet little voice tells me "You hep." She's not quite coordinated enough to put them together on her own yet, so I get to put them together for her under her instruction. In order to finish this post, I've made a deal with her. If she lets me finish typing this, I'll help her with the Legos.

The other fun part of all of this? The shih tzu I acquired several months ago. He gets along marvelously with my niece, licking fingers and toes and getting so excited when she giggles. He ignores my nephew, unless he's crying, and then the dog gives me a "fix it" look. No, the fun part is that my little shih tzu is getting clingy. He needs more hugs and attention than usual.

Of course, the dog is easy to write with. He lies beside me, I pet him between paragraphs, and we're both happy. Dogs are so easy to please.

Well, I'm off to put some Legos together. Have a great Tuesday, and for those of you getting snowed on like I am, enjoy the fluffy whiteness. It's beautiful.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux is holding a contest!

Inspirational romance author and fellow member of White Roses in Bloom Pamela S. Thibodeaux is holding a contest. Here are all the details:

A Sweetheart of a Contest

As we all know, the flagging economy is forcing businesses to make tough decisions and the book industry is no exception. Bookstores are closing. Publishers are laying off people, cutting back on production, and pulling titles from distribution.

What’s an author to do?

Get those sales up.

So, Fellow author and Friend, Pamela S. Thibodeaux, is having a Valentine’s Day contest Where Everyone Gets a Gift!

Between Jan. 31st & Feb. 13th

Everyone who enters will receive Thib’s Teaser (a pdf with blurbs/excerpts/discount coupons/short story) AND their name will be entered into a drawing for the GRAND PRIZE – simply email Pertinent Promotions at with Sweetheart Contest in the subject line.

No Purchase Necessary to Participate


Purchase any (1) Tempered novel and, along with Thib’s Teaser you will receive a Special Surprise Gift and your name will go into the drawing twice for the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (include your mailing address for the surprise gift).

Purchase 2 Tempered novels and in addition to Thib’sTeaser you will Receive a Special Surprise Gift, Your pick of a FREE download of either Choices or Cathy’s Angel and three chances to win the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (pick your short story and include your mailing address for your surprise gift)

Purchase the first 3 Tempered novels (Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams & Tempered Fire) and in addition to Thib’s Teaser you will Receive: A Special Surprise Gift, Your pick of a FREE download of either Cathy’s Angel or Choices a FREE autographed copy of Tempered Joy and 4 chances to win the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (pick your short story and include your mailing address for your autographed copy of Tempered Joy & your surprise gift)

Together we can take the Tempered Series to Amazon’s Best Seller List!

**Amazon Purchase NOT Your ONLY Option**

If you purchase Any of the Tempered Series according to the rules above from your local book store, MAIL a copy of your receipt to Pertinent Promotions c/o Pamela S Thibodeaux, PO Box 324, Iowa, LA 70647 and your prizes will be the same as those listed.

Same rules apply if you purchase DIGITAL copies of The Tempered Books *Note* If you purchase digital copies of Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, and Tempered Fire according to the rules above, you will receive a digital copy of Tempered Joy. *Digital copies also available @ All Romance Ebooks!

Winner will be announced on Feb 14th

*All entrants will be added to Pertinent Promotions and the Author’s personal mailing lists.*

Grand Prize: CD of my TWRP titles which includes 3 short stores (Cathy’s Angel, Choices, & A Hero for Jessica), 1 full-length novel The Inheritance and an advanced copy of my Upcoming Release Winter Madness (short story) and a Valentine Gift Basket!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does writing every day equal success?

I just caught the end of an interview with John Grisham and learned an interesting bit of information. He doesn't write every day. He said he starts a project in April and has it finished by Thanksgiving. He wasn't specific about how long he can go without writing before it drives him nuts.

So, does writing every day mean you have a better chance of being successful? Not necessarily. There are thousands of writers out there who apply words to paper every single day, yet can't find publication. There are highly successful authors like Grisham who don't write every day, and there are authors like Stephen King who write five to six pages every day.

The true key to success is a great story, knowing the craft of writing inside and out, and perseverance. There are benefits to writing every day for those trying to finish a manuscript and those still learning the craft of writing. If you write every day, you'll reach the end of your manuscript much faster than if you only write every Saturday. For new writers and those struggling with the craft...remember that saying about practice making perfect? Well, that daily writing gives you the opportunity for plenty of practice. Just make sure you study the technical details of writing as well so you know what it is you need to practice.

I hear you out there wondering if I write every day. I try to. If I don't write every day, I tend to feel stressed and my life has enough stress already without adding to it. I learned a long time ago that writing is a form of relaxation for me. Some people do yoga every day; I write.

If, for some reason, I can't get my writing in for the day, I don't worry about it too much unless I'm working on a deadline. Most of the time, I'm not. Unlike a lot of writers out there, I don't have a daily word or page goal. I just write whatever is begging to get on the page. Sometimes it's a sentence, sometimes it's twenty pages. Part of how much I write depends on the amount of time I have to devote to writing.

So, do I think writing every day made me successful? No. I wrote every day for a long time, but I didn't know much about the craft of writing. Learning the craft and applying to my writing, learning how to completely rewrite a manuscript, and willingness to give up on a manuscript are what finally led to my success. And I haven't had much success yet.

I have more to learn about writing, and I'm constantly trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. I've had to rewrite scenes multiple times before they finally worked. I've had to swallow my pride and admit I made events in a story fall into place a little too perfectly. I've had to completely tear apart a manuscript and take the basic idea and a little dialogue and completely rewrite the story.

These are the things that lead to success. It's not uncommon for an author to refer to a manuscript as her baby. What a lot of people don't realize, including a surprising number of writers, is that you have to be willing to tear that literary baby to pieces and put it back together, sometimes repeatedly, to get the story to where it needs to be for a publisher to fall in love with it. Yes, it can be hard, but it's a part of the process.

Do you want to be a successful writer? Learn all you can about writing, create a unique story with a great plot, and don't shy away from hard work. Because there's nothing easy about breaking into the world of publishing. And once you're book is finally accepted by a publisher, the work continues: edits, galleys, promotion.

Good luck to all of you who are writing with a goal of publication in mind. You most likely have a long and rocky road ahead of you, but remember to persevere. That's the only way to survive the inevitable rejections and criticism. If you're like me and have to write or go nuts, you'll find the strength to persevere even when it looks impossible. It's part of who you are.