Sunday, June 3, 2012

COLS Giveaway!!

If you came from, you're in the right place. If not, then you need to CLICK HERE to see what this contest is all about!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 10, 2012


On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of traveling to Chicago for the City of Lost Souls release party and book signing with Cassandra Clare. The event was a lot of fun, the model Judson Birza from the cover of COLS and the book trailer was there taking pictures and signing autographs. They had artists on hand to paint runes. There were giveaways and prizes. My favorite part was the Q & A with Cassie. You never really know what to expect when you're meeting someone for the first time, especially someone you hold in such high regard. (Have I ever mentioned that she's my author idol? I have...well...this is awkward.) Let's just say I was more than impressed with her. She's witty (I mean, of course she is, she writes teenage characters that are downright hilarious), and personable. She spoke of personal experiences and how they ended up in her books. She gave us some tidbits that will happen in City of Heavenly Fire (What do you mean a main character will die?? Say it isn't so!!), she gave out advice to young writers.

So- I went in idolizing Cassandra Clare for her writing, I came out loving her for her personality and dedication to her fans. AND! She told us she's working on a series with Holly Black. I also am seriously in love with Holly Black, so you can imagine my excitement over this.

I only got to meet Cassie for a brief second, I was number 200 in a line of nearly 400 fans. But she spoke to each fan on a personal level, asking them questions, listening to them. I was seriously impressed with this. I hope that one day when I'm finally published that I can be half as awesome as she is.

And with my genius foresight, I got an extra copy of COLS signed by both Cassie and Judson to give away on my blog. I don't think I want this to be an ordinary contest- so if you have any ideas on HOW I should give the book away, let me know!

And now for the pictures! Don't laugh, I'm not a model. :) My thoughts about City of Lost Souls will come after the pictures. I can't guarantee that there won't be SPOILERS, so if you don't want to know what happens, don't read it!

 Here's the cover model Judson signing my books! Doesn't he look just how you imagined Jace?
 Ahem- clearly the girl next to him is not a model. (She's a writer, which explains a lot!)
And here's Cassie signing some books!

And now for the SPOILERS!! Yes that's right, stop reading here if you haven't finished City of Lost Souls.






SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! Don't say I didn't warn you.

Where do I begin with how much I loved this book? It literally had me on the edge of my seat. I laughed (A LOT), I cried, I was disgusted, I mourned the characters, I was devastated. COLS took me places I never imagined the story going.

My absolute favorite part of the book was when Jace came to Clary after killing Magdalena. It ripped my heart out to read about him falling to his knees in front of her and saying "It's me." That entire scene was powerful, illustrating their love for each other and the impossibility of Jace's binding to Sebastian.

Next favorite part? Clary stabbing Jace through the heart. Yes, I know, this is downright terrible! I can't help it though. Clary is such a strong character, and she knows that this is what Jace would want to happen, no matter the consequences. I envy her strength, her absolute conviction to do what is right.

You know what killed me even more than Clary and Jace? Magnus and Alec! I love them together, but I kind of always suspected that Alec's insecurity would be their downfall. I'm interested to see how this will all play out in the long run. Obviously Magnus has something going on that we don't know about, something with his father. Was his father a Shadowhunter? I'm also afraid that it will be Magnus who will die in COHF. If I had to bet money, I would guess either Magnus or Simon will die. I love both of them so much...I don't even want to think about it. Honestly, if I had to choose someone to die, it'd be Jocelyn. I never much cared for her or her selfish decisions.

Things that I can't wait to hear more about: Jace is on fire. And I don't just mean his looks. This whole heavenly fire thing he's got going on...that's interesting. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a major plot point. What about Brother Zachariah? He's someone we've met before in The Infernal Devices, I believe. But WHO? Simon has lost his mark of Cain. I can't see this ending well for him...I'd hate to see him die again.

Lastly- Maureen. Holy crazy bitch! She killed Camille! Yet another thing I can't see ending well. I really love how her character has evolved and suddenly become hugely important. I wonder who she will side with in the battle that's coming. My guess is the darkness, which would leave the fae, the vampires, and the dark shadowhunters on one side, and the shadowhunters, and werewolves on the other side.

Things aren't looking so great.

Those are my thoughts on COLS. If you've read it and want to further discuss, leave a comment. I love talking about this series!

All the best,

Saturday, May 5, 2012


It's been a while since I blogged- I'd like to blame that on working too much and the recent events in my life, but the truth is, I've become a recluse. Not that long ago I started rewriting a past manuscript, Stepping Stones. That's going quite well, thanks for asking! As of this second, I've written 37.265 words in said manuscript. I've changed the storyline up a bit. It's nothing drastic, but made some subtle changes that I think are significant. Long and short, I feel pretty damn good about this project. I'm not sure how long I've been working on it, but the writing is steady, the words are coming along, which is all I can really ask for. I don't let myself think about the other 3 books in the series that I'll have to rewrite when I'm done- that's not important right now...right? :)

In the midst of my rewriting, another story wiggled in the back of my mind, one that I couldn't stop thinking about. So, I wrote five pages just to let the idea out. Sometimes caged animals are feisty, devouring all our time and energy. So I gave the beast its freedom. As of right now, that manuscript has 17,151 words. I'm calling it Reflection Pond for now. It's like nothing I've ever written before. There are so many important characters that I had to make a character bio file- it's like I'm all grown up or something. I have notes now. Unheard of! This will be a YA fantasy series as well.

 As for my recluse status, well, it's hard to bang out an average of 10,000-13,000 words per week if I'm hanging out with friends and *gasp* having a life. I've actually replaced some of my social media time with exercise. Oh my gosh...I must be sick. Cardio? Jeesh... But seriously, I've sworn off leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. This writing thing better pan out, because it takes up all my free time. All I can say is at least I still enjoy it.

I have some exciting events coming up, and a semi-exciting true story (that involves near death!) that I'll be sharing over on The Stranger Diaries just to spread the love around. Look for that tonight or tomorrow, whenever I get around to it. As for the other stuff, I'm going to meet Cassandra Clare on Tuesday at the City of Lost Souls book release party. I can't even begin to say how excited I am to go. Cassie is my writing idol. I've probably mentioned this before. I just love her. So, hubby and I will be making a trip to the Chicago area for the signing and to get my long awaited copies of City of Lost Souls. (Yes, copies. One can never have enough books.) We're making it into a mini vacation, complete with visit to Navy Pier and whatever else we find in Chicago. (You know that crazy lima bean thing? Oh yeah. I'm gonna stand under it- though it might terrify me. I have megalophobia. Look it up and promise not to make fun of me. I've blogged about this before.)

Speaking of Chicago- did you get a chance to read Divergent by Veronica Roth yet? How about Insurgent? Both are amazing and must reads! I love how badass Tris is! Aside from The Mortal Instruments, I might have a new favorite book series! And Veronica Roth is only 23! How's that for impressive?

Well friends, I'm off to write some more, my forced break is over! (Anyone else find it ironic that my writing break included...more writing?)

All the best,


Saturday, April 14, 2012


As readers, at some point in our lives, we are asked the question: Why do you read so much? Maybe you have an answer ready, perhaps it's just a feeling that you get when you pick up a good book, or it's an escape from real life--that's what reading is for me. I lose myself in books, captivated by worlds that are often times more interesting, (or at least more encouraging,) than the one we live in now. But what if you didn't have that opportunity? What if books weren't easy to come by? What if there wasn't internet, or libraries, or Kindles, or bookstores?

What if you didn't have access to books? Not because you couldn't read them, but because they just weren't available?

Enter GoneReading. Brad Wirz has a vision. While volunteering in Central America in 2010, Wirz encountered "Hundreds of villages, thousands of people, had basically no access to books or reading material at all." When he came home, he started his research. Shortly after, GoneReading LLC was born.

GoneReading's mission statement is one that readers and writers alike can get behind. Wirz wants to share books with the world--and who doesn't love books?

“We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to better themselves through the open pursuit of the dreams and ideals of their choosing.  We envision a world where such opportunity exists for everyone, regardless of their country of origin or locale.  Our mission is to bring the world closer to this vision by helping to ensure that everyone has open access to the reading materials they want and need.  We accomplish this mission by providing new funds for libraries around the world.”

100% of GoneReading's after tax profit is donated to fund new libraries around the world, including right here in the United States. And let's face it, we could all use the escape of a good book right now.

So while this is a contest (and there are FABULOUS prizes!!!), I encourage you to check out GoneReading and support their mission. Getting free stuff is awesome, helping build libraries is better. GoneReading has reading related products available to purchase--something for every reader in your life. Plus you can feel good about your buys, since the proceeds will help the world read.


First Prize: $25 of merchandise from GoneReading.

Second Prize: Books to Check Out Journal from GoneReading. (Click Here)

There are several ways to enter. The contest will be open from Saturday, April 14 until midnight on Sunday, April 29. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Every now and then I get ridiculously inspired by something. Most times I have no idea why it's happened--kind of like now. Maybe it was the Amanda Hocking book I read, maybe it was the trip to the used book store today and all the jackets I read, maybe it's just life. But I get that itchy skin feeling where I just want to sit at my computer for hours and just write. It's been a while since I just let myself sit and write. I know what you're going to say- I'm a writer. Well, yes, I am. Unfortunately I don't live a kind of life where writing can take precedence over other things. I'd love to write for a 9-5, but that's just not how things are at the moment. Writing is stolen moments, five minutes here, a half an hour there. And then I feel like this, like there are so many words inside of me that are just bursting everywhere. I need to let them out, but there just isn't enough time in the day and there are just too many obligations for me to fulfill.

Then I wonder. Isn't this how you're supposed to feel when you're truly passionate about something? Would life suddenly fall into place if I was a full-time writer? Would the grass be greener, the sky bluer? Okay...I'm getting off track, but you get the point. What if writing is my thing. (Yeah, yeah, I know! I'm a writer. I got it.)

There are so many things that I love, (and I mean besides the obvious things like my family and friends,) music, books, nature, photography, dance, winterguard. But lately, nothing has quite done it for me. I don't know if it's the depression from winterguard season ending this weekend or just the stress of everything, but nothing has made me happier lately than writing. Now I know you're probably looking back at my blog entries and shaking your head at how many times I complained about editing, or querying, or synopsising (hehe), but honestly, what is better than finishing a story? There is something so fulfilling about sharing your writing with the world.

It's funny that there's all this fear for publishing my work. I love to share my work, I guess I just don't like to share it with people I think might rip it apart, people that might want me to change it. I've said before that all I want is someone to talk to about my books, and that still holds true. I'm the author you'll see at book signings who can't shut up.

Words, words, words, words. This is what my best friend Lana sings when she can't remember the words of a song, but that's what it's like in my head all the time. There is so much waiting in the wings, so many stories I have yet to tell. I think this inspiration has led to another thing:  hope.

Is it wrong to think that you just might get everything you've hoped for? Is it asking for trouble? Probably. Life has a great way of knocking you down just when you've finally brushed your knees off from the last disaster.

But still...I'm excited. I started writing my first novel in June 2009. I've written 5 complete manuscripts. Isn't it about time I did something about that? Between the words, words, words, there's been too many years, years, years. No more. This time I'm gonna let the inspiration win.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Let it be known that I occasionally spurn fads, things that people fawn over, and media circuses. The one exception to this rule may be in books. Case in point: I just finished reading all the Harry Potter books last night. (The 7th is by FAR the best book in the series, even though she kills nearly everyone. I mean, seriously? Was that REALLY necessary? Was it?) I still need to watch the last two movies. Don't hate me, please, but it wasn't the best thing I've ever read. I know that they're books that changed a generation and blah, blah, blah, maybe if I started reading them when I was a kid, I would've appreciated them more. It was an interesting story, but she killed everyone I liked, which in turn made me bitter. JK Rowling is a genius, I'm sure (a very RICH genius) but suffice it to say, that I've read other, better, stories. That being said, (still don't hate me) I did ENJOY reading Harry Potter. But I think if I were to reread the series, I would start at book 5. The first 4 aren't really all that important.

So, once I put down Harry Potter, I picked up Switched by Amanda Hocking. She's yet another thing I haven't checked out solely because she got so much press. Perhaps I'm just a brat, but I'd read a couple of chapters of her zombie e-books and that was all. The more success she got, the more I took notice. I bought Switched on a whim when I saw it. Needless to say, I started reading it last night and finished it this morning. It was a fast read, with lots of action. More than that, it's the kind of book that reminds me why I'm a writer. It's all about the story, about the characters, not about how amazing the description is and how much symbolism she used or how many college degrees she has in writing. It was a fun read, captivating me from the first chapter, and what more can you really ask for in a book? If I had more time before work I'd head out and pick up the next one (though I'm not entirely sure if it's out yet).

Good for you, Amanda Hocking. You're sort of my hero. You're an inspiration to people like me everywhere.

In other news, I've decided to fully embrace e-pubbing. Shocked? Me too. I've had a suggestion and an opportunity come my way, and in light of recent occurrences in my life, I've realized that things don't ever happen unless you try. I'm not saying that I've conquered this mystery terror that publishing holds for me, heck no. I'm still scared of it. I have panic attacks just thinking about publishing, or even sending things to agents/publishers. But, I have a sort of safety net now. I have a great writing buddy, who kicks my butt when necessary (ahem, Missy, it's TUESDAY and I never received your word count) :) plus I have this cool contact from Scotland who saw through me and gave some tough love. And then there's this other person who's pushed me along much further than anyone and she didn't hardly try at all. Maybe it's all the confidence she has in me, confidence I don't have in myself.

It's not going to be a quick trip by any means. I still have a week and half left of guard season and another opportunity that I'm dealing with elsewhere, but I'm still here. I'm still trying. I'm a firm believer in fate and destiny and all those other things that normal people scorn. Maybe before wasn't my time. Maybe it's STILL not. But it will be, one day. Maybe soon, maybe later. What matters is that it will happen.

All the best,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Winterguard Teams

If you've been wondering why I've been quite absent from the internet world lately other than my random mutterings about editing, here's the reason. The high school winterguard team I coach is nearly finished with their show. Here's a video from tonight's practice. Gotta admit, these kids are working HARD!

Now I can't just brag about one without giving props to the other. Here's my middle school team, who has been working equally as hard. I am so proud of them!