Monday, September 1, 2014

Jo Noelle Blog Hop

I'm moving my usual Friday spotlight/review post from last week to today. I'm excited to spotlight a triple release by debut author Jo Noelle.

First, about Jo Noelle.

Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids.

She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains.

Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.

Yes! A mother/daughter writing team. How fun is that?

To celebrate, there's a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now for the books ...

The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. At twenty-four, her successful real estate career evaporates. She’s broke, can’t find a job, or pay her bills, leaving Sophie wondering how her successful lifestyle became so fragile.

 At the urging of her roommate, Sophie accepts a job in her fallback career—teaching six-year-olds. She hopes it’s temporary. After all, how long can a tanking economy last anyway? The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary. The worst part of the new job is, well, teaching.

 Sophie has a surprise real estate closing from a contract she wrote months ago, leading her to a niche in the real estate market and to a new partner, Kevin. Sophie must choose between Liam or Kevin and between a lucrative career or recess duty.

I've had a chance to read Newbie and loved it. Sophie's inner thoughts are a delight. She just makes me smile. Her journey as a newbie teacher is real and touching. If you've ever thought about being a teacher, this book will give you a feel for what it might be like. And I'm totally Team Liam.

Can't wait to read these other two books.

 Lexi Middleton has been socially invisible to her classmates, but starting her junior year, that’s going to change. First, she’s determined to hook a boyfriend, ensuring dates with flowers and possible kisses on the doorstep. Second, she wants to be a writer for the school paper, even though it freaks her out to think of everyone judging her by her punctuation and metaphors. High school is difficult enough—keeping up her grades, dealing with increasing sibling rivalry, and trying to stay out of the way of her personal nemesis, Amberlee—but when Lexi catches the eye of her long-time crush, she also becomes the focus of mean-girl tactics. Caught between who she was and who she wants to be, Lexi must decide how to confront a bully, and choose who to let into her heart.

Cassie is going to heaven—if she can get amnesty from hell in the next twenty days.  Her assignment is to change the eternal destination of a girl in Albuquerque to earn admittance into heaven.

            No sweat.

But when Cassie returns to earth during her three-week, mostly-mortal assignment, her old habits get in the way, (apparently habits don’t die when you do), the partners assigned to help her are anything but helpful, and it turns out the girl she is supposed to help is the only enemy she made on her first day of school.

            Oh, I’m so going to hell.

Things aren’t all bad—it helps to have a hot angel on your side. Mmm-Marc. Even though he’s all about heavenly business, Cassie would like to make it personal.

            Assignment with benefits.

Other Blog Hop Participants

Get the Details
1 winner will receive a $100.00 giftcard.
Blog hop and Rafflecopter registrations Begin 9/1/14 and End 9/7/14 MDT

This drawing is open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Card.  Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Check back on this blog between Sept. 8-10, 2014. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized and sponsored by Canda Mortensen & Deanna Henderson DBA Jo Noelle. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Meandering

My hubby's brother and his wife have been here a couple of weeks now. We're still doing research about future house plans. Because of local zoning laws, we may be looking at two small houses rather than a duplex. When our kids were little, we needed lots of bedrooms. Now that they're grown with families of their own, we want a larger living room/great room to handle family gatherings.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What I've been reading (or listening to):
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
I'm seriously fan girling here. love Love LOVE the premise and execution of this series. I'm a huge SciFi fan, and to put it in a YA series that has a spin on fairytales?

Cinder does a futuristic twist on Cinderella, where our poor heroine is not only a stepsister forced to work for her stepmother but Cinder's also a cyborg. And it doesn't stop there.

Scarlet continues Cinder's story but weaves in another (connected) storyline with Little Red Riding Hood.

And Wolf? Oh, my.

Cress is originally introduced in the first book, but she gets her own tale (Rapunzel) in the third installment. I'm listening to this one right now.

The only thing I'm hating right now is the next book (Fairest which has the evil queen as the main character) isn't out until January and the last book (Winter--Snow White) isn't until November 2015. Nearly the end of 2015!


What have you been reading lately? Any fun stuff? 
What about your dream house? What's important to you?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Author Interview - Maria Hoagland

I have a special guest today, author Maria Hoagland. She agreed to an interview.

Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter? Please share why.
I love daffodils in the spring, raspberries and green grass and fireworks in the summer, and huge snowflakes on silent midnights during the first snowfall, but I love fall the best! I love crunching in autumn leaves--the smell, the sound, the colors, the invigoration of the crisp air. I love football and Halloween and apple cider and wooly worms.
If you were to name one piece of clothing that describes you, what would you say?
One piece of clothing . . . hmm. A comfortable-fitting pair of crop jeans. Can be dressed up or down, not too stifling, and good in pretty much any setting. (Okay, maybe that's stretching it just a bit! :))
Tell me about your next project.
I’m so excited about my latest completed project! Last month, I released my third novel, Still Time. It is about an LDS woman who is fighting moving into the next stage of life. She’d love to be able to keep her kids small, herself young, her marriage strong, but challenges keep getting thrown at her. She has her own hopes and dreams that somehow seem to be being back-burnered, but the most important thing to her is taking care of her family—it’s just that she’s not sure what is best for them. I think most readers can relate to that, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to see how other people deal with adversity because it makes me feel less alone and gives me hope that I too can prevail. Still Time is my third novel. I love to read about real life with a medical angle. I hope readers feel less alone in the trials they are facing. I hope they finish reading feeling uplifted and entertained and better about life in general.

Thrust into the chaos of her mother-in-law’s hoarding and forgetfulness, LDS church member Alyssa Johnston wishes she could retreat to a simpler time when her kids were small and almost anything could be fixed with a hug. But reassurance and a quick distraction no longer erase the pain of a missionary son who is struggling, a young teen who is bullied, or a daughter who is distant. As Aly’s own life and relationship with her husband plunge out of control, she wonders if her faith will be enough to keep her family—or herself—from falling apart.

Still Time is a deeply moving story about a woman’s faithful journey into the next phase of her life. You will laugh with Aly, feel her sorrow, and see yourself in Maria Hoagland’s realistic, heartfelt portrayal of a woman’s struggle to keep her family safe and hold back time as long as she can.

About the Author

When Maria Hoagland is not working at her computer, she can be found walking barefoot in soft grass, remodeling houses with her husband, or enjoying campfires with their three children. She loves crunching leaves in the fall, stealing cookie dough from the mixing bowl, and listening to musicals on her iPod. Maria earned her degree at Brigham Young University, and although she adores mountain resorts near her Idaho home, she is no longer a fan of ice skating.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Meanderings

No movies seen this week. Bummer,

Got family visiting this week (yay!), and we've been searching for a good locale to build/buy our retirement homes. Hubby's brother and sister-in-law, the ones we went on the cruise with last January. But back to future retirement. Dang, but homes are expensive. I doubt I'd be able to afford to live in my city if we hadn't bought when we did. Kind of depressing.

So, I wanted something funny to share. Jeanne Robertson has a great sense of humor. Notice how mocking she can be. But this one makes me laugh out loud every time.

It's well worth watching to the end.

* * * * * * * *

Cover Reveal!

After celebrating college graduation with her friends in Las Vegas, Amanda St. Claire wakes up with a terrible hangover and a ring on her finger. Her day gets worse when she finds out she's married to rich playboy Blake Worthington---the guy she has loathed the past four years. Amanda convinces Blake to legally terminate the marriage and they both return home like nothing ever happened. That is, until Blake shows up on her doorstep and Amanda has to come clean with her family.

Together for better or worse while the legalities are cleared, Amanda reluctantly plays along, but then the unthinkable happens---she finds herself falling in love with Blake.

Can they overcome the past?  Or will it end their future before it even starts?

See any movies this week? What did I miss?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guest Post - Brooke Williams

I have a special guest today. Please welcome author Brooke Williams. 

Write What You Know
A Guest Blog by Brooke Williams

I feel like I have been writing all of my life. I started out in grade school writing and illustrating the strangest little stories. I went on to adore assignments for research papers in high school and college. I moved on to script writing for radio. And then I went into freelance writing before moving into the novel writing realm. If I have learned one thing over the years, it is that when you write a novel, writing what you know is not only easier, but also more profound and sincere.

I have been to a few different writing conferences and I have received advice from a number of different agents, authors, and people in the publishing industry. I have tried to take all of the advice, but to tell you the truth, not all of it sinks in. But one thing has and that is to write what I know. Let me give you a few examples.

In my novel “Someone Always Loved You,” one couple meets on the Internet. My husband and I met online. In that same book, a character is in a coma and some of the memories she has are things that happened to me when I was a child.

In “God in the Kitchen,” the main character is a radio personality. I was in radio for 12 years. In “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy due out December 9th, the main character is a bumbling TV traffic reporter. I was a traffic reporter on TV for a whopping 5 months.

It is easy to write about things that I have experience with or places I have been. I can visualize and describe locations better and I can relate to the characters who are going through things I have been through myself. It makes the book authentic on a deeper level.

That’s not to say that everything I write is something I “know.” That’s part of the fun of being a writer…making things up! In “Beyond the Bars,” for example, five buses explode in five different cities. I have never seen a bus explosion and I hope I never will. The book also involves a prison break, a kidnapping and so much more. That book is probably the one that I imagined the most. But some of the characters still have elements of me. There is a frantic mom, for example, who wants nothing more to get to her child and keep her safe. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids!

I encourage you to read “Someone Always Loved You” and see if you can figure out what’s real and what’s completely made up. Even people who know me well can’t tell for sure. That novel is the book closest to my heart, though it’s the first one I’ve written. I’m pretty sure it will always be my favorite. It takes readers through such a range of emotions and has so much of me in it. The idea came to me at a time in my life when I needed something so badly…and what I got was “Someone Always Loved You,” a book I have never been able to let go!

So for aspiring writers, I advise you to find some aspects of your life that you can use in the books that you write. Whether it’s a career, a place you’ve traveled, a language you know, memories you have or something else. You are the only you there is. Use that to your advantage and use your experiences to make the book better. Then, make the rest up! I am still amazed that I get to hang out and make stuff up for a living. Is there a job in this world that is any more fun than that?!

Author Links:

Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She began her career in radio, both on the air and behind the scenes. She did a brief stint in TV news and then took on her most challenging job as a stay at home mom. During the few quiet hours in her day, Brooke writes articles for a number of clients as well as fiction creations such as “Someone Always Loved You.” Brooke has also written “Beyond the Bars,” a thriller, “God in the Kitchen,” a Christian novel, and “Taxi Delivery,” a Christian Romance. Brooke looks forward to the December 9th release of “Wrong Place, Right Time,” a romantic comedy and the February 2015 release of “Accept this Dandelion” inspired by the Bachelor TV show. Brooke has been married to her husband Sean since 2002 and has two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plagiarism Update

Dang, here I go posting an extra time during the week. Again!

As horrifying as last week was with the plagiarism that was followed by cyberbullying against the victim, this week has been so heartening to see people rally behind Rachel Nunes (you can read her story here).

NY Times bestselling author David Farland, who has met Rachel at a few writing conferences, suggested to her that she start up a litigation fundraiser so she could go after this person. He talked about it Monday on his Kick in the Pants post (click here to read it), and he put his money where his mouth was by donating $500. Click here for the direct link to donate.

Litigation of any kind is expensive. Plagiarism litigation can be especially so. If you can help share the word, it would help a lot. Even donations of $5 can help--if there are a lot of them.

This isn't just Rachel's battle. It's a fight for all authors.

Here's a sample of Rachel's book and the plagiarized ARC.

Rachel's original work.

Sam Taylor Mullen's Plagiarized ARC.

And here's a screen capture of the attacks against Rachel's other books on Amazon (some are under Rachel's pen name. These were all done by one person the day the plagiarism came to light.

In response to these attacks, author Candace C. Bowen created a Facebook group, Author Against Plagiarism and Cyberbullying. She's been keeping followers up to date and posting some interesting articles about the issue.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Teaser

What I've been working on ...

Rough Excerpt from A Dangerous Reflection* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm pretty excited. I've been working to get Torn Canvas as an audiobook. My dream narrator has said he's very interested. 

Yes, that was squeee you just heard. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

And just for fun ...

I'm not normally a country music fan, but I grew up with Johnny Cash music because my dad was a fan. However, I am a huge fan of A Capella anyway, but men's A Capella? *sigh*

Did you do anything fun this weekend? See any movies?

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