Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wonhundred Word Wednesdays

I stared at the flames that had...

I frantically searched the room for something to break down the door. My true love the prince was downstairs with my shoe, looking for me. After the ball, I’d hoped…

My evil stepmother was trying to ruin everything. Again.

My search yielded nothing. I threw my hands up in frustration.

Flames shot from my hands, singing the ceiling.

I yelped. I stared at my hands. Cautiously, I thrust them out again. I stared at the flames that appeared in my palms.

I could burn my way out.

With controlled actions, I burned down the door. Happily ever after was mine. 

Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, The Distracted Writer:
Stephanie Worlton's Kreating Krazy blog:
Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters

Monday, April 28, 2014

LDStorymakers: It's not the destination, it's the journey

I'm coming off a weekend high and suffering from a conference hangover after three days at the LDStorymakers conference in Layton. It was fantastic, as always. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn about characterization from none other than Brandon Sanderson. I was able to take a fantastic class on world building from Brodi Ashton. I listened to a keynote address by Orson Scott Card that will probably go down in Storymakers history and be talked about for years to come. I took many other fantastic classes, and learned so much. I had an amazing time with friends. I got a much-needed Mommy break. All in all, a fantastic weekend. The Storymakers conference is one of the highlights of my year.

Yet as I drove home Saturday night, all I wanted to do was cry. And I kept thinking, Why are you sad? This weekend was fantastic!

And then it hit me. The reason I was sad. Because it's been more than ten years since I started my writing journey, and I feel like I'm nowhere.

I attended the very first LDStorymakers conference, back in 2004. I'd already completed my first (very badly written) novel and was a wide-eyed junior high schooler, totally in awe to be in the presence of such greatness. I was taking a teen living class at the time, and had a flour baby I was required to carry around. It never occurred to me to break the rules and leave the baby home, so I carefully hid him in the bottom of a large bag so no one at the conference would know. I was absolutely horrified at the idea that anyone would find out just how young I was (although looking back, I'm sure it was fairly obvious). I didn't want to be treated like a "kid." I just wanted to learn and write a zillion books and become wildly popular and famous and renowned.

For ten years now, I have attended conferences. I have written books. I've been rejected.

And nothing.

As I sat at the conference this year, I recognized many of the attendees from that first year. Most of them probably don't remember me--I was way too shy to introduce myself (still am)--but I remember them. Many of them have gone on to be published. Good for them!

But as I drove home, it hit me that I'm not published. Ten years into this journey, and I'm still in the same place I was when I started. I'm still unpublished. I'm still plugging along. I'm still hoping and dreaming. And you know what? Realizing that sucked. It hurt. And I put on my angry face, in the privacy of my car, and let myself fume for a while.

Then my rational side kicked in. And I realized, I have made progress. In ten years, I've...

...written eight books. Eight! Yeah, they're not published. Mostly I'm grateful, because I don't need my inexperience haunting me on Amazon. :) But I still wrote 8 books. It's a cummulative total of over 600,000 words. And I learned something with every word I typed.

...polished 3 manuscripts to the point they were ready to submit. That's hours and hours of editing time. I've refined my editing skills and process through doing that.

...received five rejection letters. It's helped me toughen my skin and learn to not take rejection personally.

...attended at least 13 writers conferences. That is a combined total of weeks I've spent sitting in a class, learning about writing. over a 1,000 books, just because I love reading. Those are books I've read for pure enjoyment, but also to analyze what the author did write--and how I can replicate it.

...spent hundreds of hours critiquing others work and learning from it.

...spent hundreds more hours having my own work critiqued, and learning from it.

I may not be published, but I HAVE made progress in the last ten years. Things got in the way. I have been easily distracted at times. But I am actively working towards that goal. I have time limitations that are sometimes hard for me to accept. I am a wife and a mother and that comes first. And I've only really been back in the game for two years.

But I'm in the game. And I'll get there eventually.

Something I've slowly come to realize the last few years is that writing isn't a race; it's a way of life. In one year--five, ten, fifty years--I will still be writing. It's a part of my soul I can't cut out (even though I sometimes wonder if it'd be easier to forget this whole writing gig). This is a career I'm building. It'll take time to build.

And that's okay.

I love the projects I'm currently working on. I love the friendships I've developed in the writing community. I love attending conferences and reading instructional books as I learn more about writing. I just love being a writer. I may not be published, and I may not make money, but this is still my job and I am so lucky.

As I sat at the conference, I heard a few different people say things like, "I haven't done anything since the last conference..." or "I thought by this year I'd be..." I think it's only natural to do that. The conference is a easy way to mark the passage of time--and by default our progress. But we should stop beating ourselves up over what we haven't done and start focusing on what we have. Let's give ourselves some credit; writing is hard and time is limited and sometimes we get frustrated. We're only human.

Publishing a book isn't the end goal; it's just one step along the way. So instead of wishing I was somewhere else in the process, I'm going to try really hard to simple work hard toward my goals while enjoying where I'm at. Easier said than done, I'm sure. :) I'm proud of where I'm at as a writer and the journey I've taken to get there. So I'm going to quit beating myself up for the things I haven't yet accomplished. I'll get there soon enough.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wonhundred Word Wednesdays

Prompt: Would you like fries with that?

“Don’t pour salt on the table!” I grabbed the shaker out of my two-year-old’s hand.

The waitress popped her gum, waiting for me to give my order.

“Um, mac and cheese for the kids, and—Don’t lick the table!”

My three-year-old sank into his seat with a pout.

“And I’ll have a cheeseburger…”

“My crayon!” one of the twin’s yelled. He bolted across the table. Water glasses spilled all over the paper menus the kids were coloring on. My three-year-old cried as the twins wrestled for the crayon.

The waitress popped her gum again. “Would you like fries with that?”

Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, the distracted writer:


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wonhundred Word Wednesdays

Prompt: Today's horoscope: Your prized possession will end up in someone else's hands.

I held the baby close, memorizing her features. Had she really been in my belly only hours before?

A hand landed on my arm. I looked up into my case worker’s serious eyes.

“It’s time,” she said.

A fist closed around my heart. I stroked the baby’s hair; kissed her on the forehead. “I love you more than anything. Don’t ever forget.”

My heart shattered as I transferred her into the case worker’s arms.

That night I numbly checked my horoscope—a daily ritual. “Your prized possession will end up in someone else’s hands.”

I covered my face and sobbed.

See how the other writers interpreted it!
Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, the distracted writer:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: RESISTANCE by Jena Leigh

Back Cover Blurb
genre: YA fantasy

Alexandra Parker might be the most powerful Variant the world has ever seen—but even that won’t get her out of finishing her junior year of high school. 

The challenge of keeping her abilities under wraps during class is daunting enough, but throw one surly, sandy-haired Jumper into the mix, and things can get downright complicated. 

Declan’s new job? Watch over Alex while she’s at school and do everything in his power to keep her from losing control. But as sparks of every kind begin flying between Alex and her new bodyguard, she's left feeling more unstable than ever. 

When avoiding her abilities results in a surprise visit from her parents’ killer, Alex’s worlds collide with a bang that nearly levels Bay View High. 

With her freedom now squarely in the Agency’s crosshairs, Alex will be faced with the fight of her life… and a decision that could forever alter the course of her destiny.

RESISTANCE is book two in the Variant Series. 


Kenzie drummed her fingers idly on the top of her desk. Slouched in her seat, she stared unblinking at the black hands of the clock mounted to the wall above the whiteboard. All around the room, students waited in small groups for the bell to release them and their weekend to begin.

Three minutes until the final bell.

Three minutes, and she’d be free.

Three minutes, thought Kenzie, and I’ll be on my way toward my next coffee fix.

That bell really needed to hurry itself up.

She had places to be.

Kenzie sighed. The longer she went without a fix, the harder it was to silence the thoughts emanating from the sea of humanity around her.

Caffeine meant focus.

Focus meant an easier time of keeping the walls up and the voices out.

She wondered, briefly, what telepaths did before the discovery of caffeinated beverages. The thought made her shudder. Control without stimulants in the bloodstream was possible, of course. But it was far from a pleasant way to go. Especially in populated areas.


Kenzie jolted upright, the sudden movement causing her desk to bang into the back of the seat in front of her.

Something had just slammed into her mental walls with enough force to send a stab of pain through her temple.

What the crap was that?

Around the room, the steady flow of conversation dried up.

It wasn’t just Kenzie. That pulse had hit everyone.

Even the norms.

Kenzie got slowly to her feet.

A funny thing happens when norms experience Variant abilities firsthand. Instead of seeing the supernatural for what it is, nine times out of ten, they will translate their experience into something that better fits the rules of their reality.

The brilliant light of a jumper’s teleport becomes a camera flash, the telekinetic movement of objects through the air gets blamed on a strong gust of wind, and mental assaults are automatically translated into something external.

“Did you hear that?” asked a freckle-faced blonde from across the aisle. “Sounded like a sonic boom, or something.”

“Yeah! I heard it, too!” said another. “Wonder what it was?”

She supposed the better question was not what was it, but who was it?

The wave came again, this time with twice the strength behind it. Kenzie grabbed for the back of her seat to keep from losing her balance.


The wave wasn’t a thought, it was a distilled emotion. Someone, somewhere, was absolutely terrified.

Judging from the nervous expressions on the faces of the students around her, that fear was not only being broadcast to the rest of the school, it was also creeping its way into their subconscious.

Kenzie sifted through the residue of the psychic onslaught in an attempt to identify the source.

The second she caught a glimpse of that all too familiar thought signature, she cursed—loudly, to the surprise of the students standing stock-still beside her—before sprinting toward the door.

Halfway down the locker-lined hall the ground began to shudder, the floor practically roiling beneath her feet.

Earthquake? she wondered.

But this was Florida. Florida didn’t have earthquakes.

Declan appeared at the other end of the hall, running in her direction.

“Where is she?” called Kenzie.

Her brother ducked through a swinging door just ahead of her.

The girl’s bathroom?

Kenzie followed him in.

Oh my god.”

Alex was on her knees in a shallow sea of water, dripping wet, her hands clutching the sides of her head.

Water flooded the room. The porcelain sinks lining the wall lay shattered and in pieces on the ground. A large, spherical indentation was blasted into the wall behind Alex and what could only be burn marks scorched onto the ceiling above.

As Kenzie watched in amazement, strands of water began swirling around her friend, encasing her in a glittering sphere of liquid before losing form and crashing back down around her.

A shimmer of light rippled across Alex’s body, distorting her appearance like a mirage on desert sand.

“I can’t…” Alex was sobbing. “There are too many, Declan. I can’t make them stop!”

Declan edged as close to Alex as he dared, his expression grim.

Alex finally lifted her head to look at them.

Kenzie took an involuntary step backward. She had seen the way a jumper’s eyes changed color, the brilliant violet light causing their eyes to glow brightly in the moments before and after they teleported, but Alex’s normally gray eyes were now shifting colors with every beat of her heart.






Alex collapsed.

The rumbling in the floor intensified, sending Declan into action. He sloshed through the water, reaching down to grip Alex under her arms.  

“Get the door,” he called over his shoulder.

Kenzie held the door for Declan as he dragged Alex into the deserted hallway.

“Take my arm,” he ordered, maintaining his hold on Alex. “Let’s go, Kenzie.”

Terrified of being this close to Alex during a meltdown, but knowing her brother would leave her behind if she didn’t act fast, Kenzie lurched forward and grabbed Declan’s upper arm.

They jumped with the sound of the final bell ringing in their ears.

About the Author

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, Jena Leigh spent ten years in the mountains of North Carolina before returning home to the lightning capital of North America. A shameless geek, she loves bad sci-fi movies, Skittles, writing cracktastic e-mails to friends and taking shenanigan-filled road trips to faraway concerts. She has a degree in English from Appalachian State University. REVIVAL is her first novel.

Social Media Links

website * Goodreads * Amazon author page * Twitter

Buy Links
Variant #1: Revival
Amazon * B&NGoodreads

Variant #2: Resistance

Amazon * B&N * Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spotlight: SWEET CONFECTIONS by Danyelle Ferguson

Back Cover Blurb
genre: contemporary romance

According to Rachel Marconi chocolate heals all wounds. That and throwing darts at pictures of her ex-boyfriend. Burned by yet another bad relationship, Rachel decides to reprioritize her life, putting her dream to compete on a Food Network Challenge on the top of her list and dating at the bottom crossed out in red sharpie. But what's a girl to do when a certain sexy guy keeps asking her out?

Cue in Graydon Green, a former pro hockey player turned restaurant owner. After a lot of persistent and humorous teasing, he finally convinces Rachel to commit to a date. Just when things begin to warm up, threatening notes directed at Rachel arrive. When her bakery is vandalized, Graydon's protective streak goes on red alert. Is it her obsessive ex-boyfriend stalking her? Or maybe a challenger trying to sabotage the competition?

Either way, Rachel is definitely going to need more chocolate - perhaps drizzled over ice cream and devil's food cake.

Author Bio
Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and her work has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books.

Danyelle grew up surrounded by Pennsylvania’s beautiful Allegheny Mountains. Then she lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and family. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing and singing in
the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”

Social Media Links

Buy Links

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: REWIND TO YOU by Laura Johnston

Cover Reveal, About the Author, a Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU and Rafflecopter Giveaway

Genre: Clean Contemporary YA Romance
Release Date: September 15, 2014; Available for PREORDER now

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

About the Author:

Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children. Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (deduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.

A Sneak Peek of REWIND TO YOU:

Giveaway: Signed Copy of REWIND TO YOU and $25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. The winner, chosen by Rafflecopter, will be announced here on April 29th as well as emailed. The winner will have 5 days to respond at which point a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

Wonhundred Wednesdays

For some reason, this week's prompt was really hard for me. I had a hard time coming up with an idea that could be expressed in only 100 words, and then I had a hard time articulating it. But that's what I love about these prompts--they present a challenge.

Prompt: And that's what happens when you follow your heart.

“I had a great night,” she said, fiddling with her purse strap.

“Me too,” he replied. Tomorrow she would fly to Paris and out of his life. He loved her, and she would never know.

“Well, goodbye.” She leaned forward and gave him a quick hug, then slipped inside, closing the door behind her.

He couldn’t let her go. He wrapped on the door before he could change his mind.

She opened it, looking hopeful.

“Don’t go,” he said. “I love you. Please…stay. With me.”

She fell into his arms and kissed him deeply. “I thought you’d never ask.”

See how the other writers interpreted this prompt!
Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, the distracted writer:


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wonhundred Wednesdays

I'm starting this fun new thing with some other authors called Wonhundred Wednesdays. Each Wednesday we all write a 100 word response to the same prompt. I have so much fun seeing how one prompt can generate so many different responses.

I am not known for my brevity, so we'll see how these exercises go. :)

This weeks' prompt is: The devil's name was Fred.

Her eyes narrowed as he walked across the courtyard, arm around the girl that was his next victim. 

Last week, his arm had been around her. If someone told her then that he was nothing but a devil in disguise, she would've laughed.

Her hand reached into the backpack and caressed the sharp blade. Fifteen seconds to cross the courtyard, plunge the knife into his heart, and twist.

Just like he'd done to her.

The girl laughed. Fred kissed her neck. He looked across the courtyard, saw her watching him, and smirked.

She grabbed the blade and sprinted toward him.

Come see how the other writers interpreted this prompt!

Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, the distracted writer:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spotlight: The Stone of Valhalla by Mikey Brooks

Welcome to The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour!
A middle-grade fantasy-adventure by Mikey Brooks.

Don’t forget to check out the GIVEAWAY at the bottom this post
for a chance to WIN a $25 Amazon Gift card and other great prizes!


Aaron was chosen to save their world, but it might come at the cost of losing his own.

Breaking into an old lady’s basement was supposed to reward 13-year-old Aaron with new friends. Instead he finds an enchanted amulet that transports him to another world—one at war with magic. Before he knows it, he is accused of witchcraft and invited to a bonfire—where he’s the main attraction. If that’s not bad enough, a goblin army shows up and toasts the town...literally. The good news: Aaron escapes being charbroiled. The bad news: the goblins are after him. They want his amulet and will stop at nothing to get it. Battling to find his way home, Aaron teams up with a not-so-magical-wizard and learns it’s his fate to destroy the amulet and save this new world. But is he willing to sacrifice his own?
Check out what these talented authors are saying about it:

The Stone of Valhalla is one of those books that only comes along once in a great while. Brooks doesn't just create a world, he puts you inside of it, allowing you to experience the wonder in a way that only he can. His characters are likable and fun. His twists leave you asking ‘Why?’ Treat yourself to an exciting adventure through a beautiful new land. Make new friends and be a part of the magic. This is a book that you will not be able to put down!”
—J.R. Simmons, author of Ragesong: Awakening.

 The Stone of Valhalla drew me in from the get-go. Aaron’s journey is reminiscent of Dorothy’s trek in The Wizard of Oz. Magic, sword fights, danger, and more danger, sprinkled with humor and unexpected twists. This is one of the ‘best’ fantasy adventures I’ve ever experienced!”
—BBH McChiller, author of The Monster Moon Series.

The Stone of Valhalla is a riveting mystery revealing true friendship, loyalty and sacrifice. Brooks engages the curiosity of middle graders and older sleuths alike, until the very end. Fantastic!”
—L.R.W. Lee, author of The Andy Smithson series.

Excerpt From: Chapter Two: The Penalty of Witchcraft

Aaron thought he’d been transported to some kind of renaissance fair. People milled about in the street, all dressed like they belonged on the set of some medieval movie. Most of their faces were stained with dirt, and they wore soiled clothing. Large, wooden buildings, held together by plaster, loomed overhead and all around him. Some had signs announcing specific trades and goods. The sweet smell of bread came from one shop, clearly a bakery. A rotund man stood out front, arguing with an old man who had a silvery- white beard and a long, purple cloak. He was telling the baker that the rolls he had purchased tasted ‘day-old’ and he required a reimbursement.
Several passersby gave Aaron odd glances. One little girl with a group of women dressed like nuns pointed at him and giggled. He thought he heard her call him a buffoon, but she was quickly shushed by one of the women and pulled into a shop.
This is so unreal.
Aaron couldn’t figure out what had happened.
How did I get here? Who are these people?
Aaron waited for someone to jump out and yell, “Surprise, you’re on camera!”
It never happened.
The seconds drew on like hours, and Aaron stood unmoving like a statue in the middle of the dirt road. The sweet smell from the bakery was drowned by the stench of a sweaty mule pulling a cart packed full with what had to be manure. The wind blew and the wafting smell of poo filled Aaron’s nose. He coughed and tried to cover the reek with his shirt.
“Witchcraft! Witchcraft, I say!”
Aaron turned around to see a middle-aged woman with only three teeth shouting hysterically. She pointed directly at him. He looked over his shoulder to ensure no green-skinned, broom-commandeering, warty-faced lady in black stood beside him. There wasn’t anyone there. The noise on the street stopped dead except for the woman. She grabbed a small wooden crate from a cart filled with fresh flowers and stood on it. “Fetch the constable! Don’t let him get away, or he’ll set a curse on our town.”
Five large men formed a group behind the woman and advanced toward Aaron. He didn’t know what to do.

Where to Find The Stone of Valhalla:
Exclusive price for the eBook release is just $2.99! (List Price: $4.99)
And only $9.99 for the paperback! (List Price: $12.99)
On April 12th 2014 the price will return to the List Price

Another special offer:
During The Stone of Valhalla Blog Tour
Mikey’s other great middle-grade eBooks will also be set to the low price of just $0.99!
The Dream Keeper:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo
The Dreamstone:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo

You’re Invited to PARTY!!
The online launch party will take place on Thursday, April 10th at 4pm (MST). The party will run for 2 hours and you’re invited to drop by anytime. The longer you stay the more chances you have of winning prizes! We have slew of eBooks to giveaway, as well as a Stone of Valhalla necklace AND a $25 Amazon gift card! It is hosted by LovingtheBookLaunchParty on Facebook. Just follow this link to join the event:

What’s that? Another Party!
That’s right! If you’re local to Utah you don’t want to miss this kickin’ party. We are having a launch party to celebrate the release of this awesome new book. Of course there will be plenty of giveaways there too, but what’s even better are the guest authors! Just check out these fabulous names: J. Scott Savage, Chad Morris, Lisa Mangum, Jenni James, Ali Cross, and many more. The Launch Party is: Friday, April 11th from 6-9pm at The Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. Follow this link for a map:

About Mikey Brooks:

Mikey is a small child masquerading as an adult. On occasion you’ll catch him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including the best-selling ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures and Bean’s Dragons as well as the middle-grade fantasy-adventure series The Dream Keeper Chronicles. His art can be seen in many forms from picture books to full room murals. He loves to daydream with his three daughters and explore the worlds that only the imagination of children can create. Mikey has a BS degree in English from Utah State University and works fulltime as a freelance illustrator, cover designer, and author. As a member of the Emblazoners, he is one of many authors devoted to ‘writing stories on the hearts of children’. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast. You can find more about him and his books at:

The Giveaways!

Enter the giveaway below to be entered to win one of the following prizes:

$25 Amazon Gift Card
The Stone of Valhalla Necklace
Autographed Paperback of The Stone of Valhalla
Autographed 11x17 Poster
a Rafflecopter giveaway