Monday, October 28, 2013

Preparing for NaNo with a Break!

Hi everyone! Happy last week of October. I can't believe we've only a couple more months of 2013. Bizarre!

I am taking this week off in preparation for NaNo and a couple of other exciting things. But before I go, I wanted to let you know about two exciting things:

1) I was honored with the Special Achievement Award from the Surrey International Writer's Conference on October 25, 2013. Although I was not there to receive the honor (tied up at the day job and unable to get myself free), I received happy surprise messages throughout the interwebz that made me smile ALL DAY! THANK YOU for that, so very much.

2) I am participating in an ultra-cool project started by the ISFoundation, called the [U] Factor pilot event. Focusing on talent development in youth, this project is amazing in more ways than I can express. I am fortunate enough to be sharing a stage with three amazing individuals - Kim Klinger, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, Riley Ennis, Darthmouth student, entrepreneur, founder of Immudicon, and 2013 Thiel Fellowship winner, and Maya Penn, youth entrepreneur who started her own eco-friendly company at the tender age of 8 - yes that's right 8. I'm not sure how I became lucky enough to share a stage with these amazing people, but you know I will be working my tail off to make sure I can help make this event an amazing success.

I will be spending this week prepping for the conference and prepping for NaNo - because yes, I am working on TWO new exciting projects - one fiction, and one nonfiction. You didn't think I'd take a break, did you???

LOL!

Enjoy the week and I'll see you next week!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Libera Me is FREE


Wow! What a week! I am thrilled to tell you about another fabulous Freebie in honor of the Crossroads tour and, well, fall I guess:

LIBERA ME, Book #2 in the Requiem Series is FREE for Kindle - (10/24, 10/25, and 10/26 only. )

This is the first time it has been offered as part of the #free Kindle Select days, so it is a GREAT time to get your copy! Just check out some of these recent reviews if you need more convincing:




Pick up your free copy for Kindle and decide for yourself!

CLICK HERE to download your copy. Let's see if we can get the book to #1!

And yes, the Crossroads turn is still going strong! It's not too late to get in on the giveaway for a Kindle Fire filled with amazing reads:

10/20 - Little Library Muse
10/21 - A Simple Love of Reading
10/22 - Confessions of a Bookaholic
10/23 - Most Wanted Monsters
10/24 - Jennzah Creswell
10/25 - A Life Bound By Books
10/26 - Erika Knudsen

Click here for complete information about the tour, the prizes and more! And be sure to make the stops to get in on a chance to win the Kindle!

I know my posting as been spotty of late - and that may continue into November with NaNo...That's for your patience!

Bookanista Review: BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart


Time for another Bookanista review. Today, I am bringing you my thoughts on Tracy Banghart's BY BLOOD. I actually read this a month ago or so, but I FINALLY get a chance to talk about it! But first, check out the other Bookanista posts:
On to my review -

About BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart (2/16/13)
For 17-year-old Emma Wong, spending a summer in England should be a dream come true. Gorgeous scenery? Check. Lots of hot guys with accents? Yes, please. 
Throw in an estranged mom, annoying new stepdad, and drooling baby half-brother, and it's a disaster even her favorite cherry red leather jacket can't fix. Even worse, there's (hot) live-in research assistant Josh to contend with. The only thing more embarrassing than drunk-kissing him hours after they meet? Knowing he'll be witness to her family's dysfunction all. summer. long.
But when Emma meets a mysterious girl who happens to be a Druid, her vacation suddenly promises to be far more intriguing than she anticipated. Powerful rituals, new friends, an intoxicating sense of freedom...and Simon, the sexy foreign stranger she was hoping for. It's all a perfect distraction from dirty diapers and awkward family dinners.
Trouble is, intriguing doesn't often mean simple. And Emma is about to discover just how not simple her life really is.
By Blood is a novel about the ways that blood can bind us to others - or tear us apart.

Why I liked it: 
Tracy has an amazing "voice" in this book! There is humor woven in with mystery and romance. The characters are rich and unique, and trust me, this is not your typical contemporary story. The pace is good, the story-line satisfying. Definitely worth checking out, it is a FABULOUS read! I will definitely be reading more from Tracy in the future!

Check it out on Amazon and other fine retailers!

What great books have you read recently?

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Author Spotlight: Nancy Tillman

    I am so excited to bring a slightly different Author Spotlight to you today. When my kids were born, I went out and bought a ton of great books to read to the baby. Perhaps my favorite has On the Night You Were Born. 
    So, imagine how THRILLED I was when Nancy's publicist sent a little blurb about Nancy and her upcoming books. BEYOND THRILLED would be the most accurate description for how I felt! I just couldn't wait to share a little information about Nancy with all of you:

    FUN FACTS ABOUT NANCY TILLMAN:

    In total, Nancy’s books have sold approx. 5 million copies so far!

    Four of her titles have hit the New York Times Best-Sellers List:
    1.      On the Night You Were Born
    2.      Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You
    3.      The Crown on Your Head
    4.      I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

    It generally takes Nancy 9 or 10 months to complete a book.

    I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love features fourteen different types of animals!

    Nancy receives equal fan mail for On the Night You Were Born and Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You.

    Nancy’s favorite thing about I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love is that children get to ROAR!

    Nancy is currently working on The Heaven of Animals, which will be released in 2014.

    If you've never picked up her books, please - do it. Do it now! They are fabulous.

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    TRANSCEND IS FREE, The Crossroads Blog Tour has Begun, and more...


    Happy Monday everyone!
    So much information to pass along today, I can hardly contain myself. Let me start with the most exciting thing first:

    TRANSCEND, is FREE for Kindle - (10/20, 10/21, and 10/22 only. )

    This is the first time it has been offered as part of the #free Kindle Select days, so it is a GREAT time to get your copy! Just check out some of these recent reviews if you need more convincing:

    This book was a Kindle Book Review Indie Bok Award Semi-Finalist and combines the raw psychological twists of the Black Swan with the heart and soul of Phantom of the Opera.

    Pick up your free copy for Kindle and decide for yourself!

    CLICK HERE to download your copy. Let's see if we can get the book to #1!

    That's not the only exciting thing happening! This week is also the Crossroads Blog Tour featuring 23 authors and 7 blog stops. This year we are giving away a Kindle PACKED with our favorite titles. Today I am at A Simple Love of Reading. Here is the complete schedule for my stops:
    10/20 - Little Library Muse
    10/21 - A Simple Love of Reading
    10/22 - Confessions of a Bookaholic
    10/23 - Most Wanted Monsters
    10/24 - Jennzah Creswell
    10/25 - A Life Bound By Books
    10/26 - Erika Knudsen

    Click here for complete information about the tour, the prizes and more! And be sure to make the stops to get in on a chance to win the Kindle!

    Yes, the fun doesn't stop there! Tuesday brings not one, but TWO fabulous events! Three, really:

    1) TWITTER Launch Party from 4-5 (Pacific time) - Join me for fun and prizes as I celebrate the official release of Quiet Kids with the gang from Sourcebooks and Prufrock. It will be a blast!

    2) WRITER's WORKSHOP for Teens from 6-7:30pm in Temecula. Join me as I talk about the publication process, NaNoWrimo and MORE!

    3) Quiet Kids arrives at Barnes and Noble. Yep, that's right - for the rest of the calendar year, Barnes and Noble should be well stocked on copies of Quiet Kids. Why not pick up a few for yourself, the teachers and educators in your lives and anyone who wants a little more information about supporting our introverted children. And while your there, why snap a quick picture and let me see where my book has been. Currently, I have pictures from Hawaii and Southern California. I'd love to add more places to my map.

    Whew! That's it! I have some other exciting things in store this week - but that is a post for another day.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    Working My Craft - Being Brave!

    Happy Friday!
    I started the year with a goal of working through the book, the Artist's Way. Now, this is a book I've read many times. But, I've never taken the time to work through each of the exercises. I started back in January, and promptly abandoned it when things got too crazy in my personal life.
    Okay, that's not 100% true. Actually, some of the exercises tapped into some things I really needed to work through - which is the point! But, I wasn't ready right then to work through them. So, in classic Christine fashion, I "got too busy" and dumped the book. 

    But, it wouldn't release me so easily. In fact, it has stayed in my mind ever since. So, since I really have no choice, I am back to the book again, working through each chapter, each exercise. And this time, I am taking all of you with me.
    If you have the book, why not work through it with me. Do the morning pages, the exercises, everything. On Friday's, I'll recap my experience and my big take-away lessons. Sound good?
    GOOD!

    Okay - so week 1's recap:

    BIG IDEAS:

    • Being an artist is an act of bravery. And it requires a level of safety if you are going to be the artist you are destined to become
    • Morning pages are a must
    • Artist "play date" - another must. 
    • Self-sabotage - yea, we artists do a lot of that

    My take away:

    • I can do brave. But I am horrible about the self-sabotage thing
    • Morning pages - love/hate relationship with 'em. But, in the end, they ABSOLUTELY help my creative process, cleaning out the junk that needs to be cleaned BEFORE I write the important stuff. So...I'll be working on this habit!
    • Play-dates - this one will take a while. I get the need, and I like it. But the time...I have yet to carve out that piece. Which, for me, means I have not yet made it a priority
    • This first chapter hit me between the eyes...it really did. It helped me gain new perspective on some things I needed to gain perspective on. A good, tough, thing for me. 
    All in all - I am excited to be walking this road again. I was not as dedicated on this first chapter as I needed to be...but I know I am a work in progress...just like all of us are!

    Have you read the book? Anything resonate with you?


    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    Braving the Wilds of Publishing: A Review of Susan Kaye Quinn's Amazing INDIE AUTHOR SURVIVAL GUIDE

    Happy Thursday! I'm thrilled to bring an impromptu review of Susan Kaye Quinn's latest book - the INDIE AUTHOR SURVIVAL GUIDE. I knew Susan had been working on this book and let me tell you, I bought it within minutes of finding out it was released. Before I get to why I loved it, here is a little more about the book:


    Basic Blurb: (from Amazon)
    This book is for every author who's thinking about indie publishing, or has already taken the leap, and wonders why no one told them about the sharks, the life-sucking social media quicksand, or the best way to avoid sales-checking, yellow-spotted fever. This is a guide for the heart as much as the head. And because I promised myself that I wouldn't write a book about how I made a gazillion dollars publishing ebooks, I would write about the fear: owning it, overcoming it, facing it. From a person who didn't pursue a creative life for a long time, and then discovered creativity can set you free. 

    Note: gazillion is a technical term, which in this case means something less than a million and more than the average income in my state. 

    Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindajck Trilogy and Debt Collector serial and has been indie publishing since 2011. She’s not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: she’s one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. This book is a compilation of her four years of blogging through changes in the publishing industry—updated, revised, and supplemented to be relevant in 2013. It’s a guide to help her fellow writer-friends take their own leaps into the wild (and wonderful) world of indie publishing... and not only survive, but thrive.
    Why I liked it: 

    Susan is nothing short of a genius. I have known this for a while now. But this book - well this book solidified EVERYTHING I already knew....she is amazing. The book covers the TRUTH about Indie publishing - both the rewards, and the grief. While Susan and I don't 100% agree all of the time, I have to say, everything she said...yep....SO DANG TRUE! And I read this at a time when I NEEDED to hear it again. And no doubt, I'll read this again when I need to hear it....again!

    Whether you have Indie published, or plan to...like EVER....READ THIS BOOK! It is so right on in every conceivable way. Susan is inspiring and uplifting while being 100% honest about the ins-and-outs. I dare you not to totally LOVE this book and finish it with more inspiration than you have felt in a while, probably.

    As a special treat with this review, I wanted to share a little Q&A from Susan herself:

    CF: What inspired you to write this guide?

    SKQ: I resisted a long time in putting this together. I had this silly idea I was a fiction writer (which is also true), in spite of spending the last four years blogging consistently about the industry, and especially the changes wrought by indie publishing. It took the goading of several friends, over a period of time, before I realized that the blog was actually non-fiction writing (I can be excessively slow for Ph.D. engineer sometimes). The trigger for blogging the book - revising and updating old posts as well as organizing the content - was seeing writer friend after writer friend take the leap, often after reading something I had posted. And I realized there wasn't a book out there that addressed the fears as well as the nuts-and-bolts about going indie. I could have just left the Guide on my rinky-dink blog, but I knew the power of Amazon (and other retailers) to connect people to books, and I figured it would help more people this way.

    CF: Do you think publishing favors the author? the Reader? Anyone?

    SKQAs Clay Shirky said in the long-ago days of 2012 about publishing: “That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done.” It’s not quite as simple as that, of course, but nearly so. So the question I think you’re asking is “Does publishing, as it exists in 2013, favor the author, the reader, anyone, no one? Buehler?” I could be paraphrasing there.J I think indie publishing actually works well for both the reader and the author – the reader gets lower priced ebooks and the author is able to keep enough of their earnings to make a living from their works. I think the larger publishing infrastructure works well for star-authors, the ones at the top of the author ecosystem, the mega-bestsellers. And it works to bring print books to readers, although I would say that print distribution is increasingly breaking down, with bookstore closing and less shelf space devoted to books within the bookstore. All of the print distribution system, including the publishers, favors the top 100 books of the year – and the authors who write them and the readers who read them. For authors who can leverage both systems (and there’s a wide variety of ways to do that), both can be beneficial. Traditional publishing has always been a very limited system, with a finite number of publishing slots – I don’t think that aspect actually benefits either authors or readers, because it limits the types of books that are available for readers. That is one of the greatest leaps forward in the digital revolution – the democratization of literature, such that writers are free to write what they want, and readers have a broader range of books to choose from.

    CF: Where do you see the industry in 5-10 years?

    SKQ: I have a whole essay on this in the book! But the upshot: I don’t think we’re even halfway through the changes that will be wrought by the digital disruption of the publishing industry. I think indie publishing will increasingly be the first choice for authors, and I see a system evolving that supports the development of author careers starting at that point: agents as “managers” of rising author stars, publishers focused (even more) on giving national exposure to the “stars” of the system, and a robust midlist of authors making a living with their works without necessarily becoming NYTimes list or becoming household names.


    See why I can't say ENOUGH good things about her?! She is amazing! I so want to be like her when I grow up. LOL!

    What do you guys think? Any Indie's out there?

      Wednesday, October 16, 2013

      Preparing For NaNo: Five Tips From Someone Whose Finished And NOT Finished

      Awe, yes - just over 2 weeks until the crazy that is NaNoWriMo begins. I have been participating in NaNo in some way or another for the last 5 years. Some years I finish, many I have not. And the thing that has made the difference - my level of both organization and commitment. I have learned a few tricks for NaNo: tricks that keep me writing, finishing, and having a draft that is not a complete train wreck! So, I thought I'd share my tips with all of you in the hopes that we all have an amazing NaNo experience this year.

      1. Tell everyone you are writing a novel in November. Then cook plenty of food for the family and warn them that you are basically out of commission for the month!
      2.  Outline if you want; but don’t worry about trying to do it “right” – just get words on paper
      3.  NO EDITING! Period!
      4. Find writer buddies – online or in person (or both), they will help you get through it all. 
      5. Set daily goals; if you miss a day, adjust the goals

      I didn't finish NaNo last year - didn't even come close. But I have some lofty goals to finish out this year, so I plan on writing like a crazy person and FINISHING this year! Yep - that is the plan!

      What about you? Are you joining me in the madness? You can sign up at the NaNoWriMo website if you haven't already. And be sure to “buddy” me if you do! (My username is Christinef).


      Happy writing!


      Tuesday, October 15, 2013

      COVER REVEAL - VISION by Lisa Amowitz

      I'm so excited to be part of the latest news for amazing author and friend, Lisa Amowitz. Spencer Hill revealed this fabulouso cover at last weekend's New York Comic Con - and seriously, HOW FREAKIN' COOL IS THAT???!!!!???

      I am thrilled to see and hear all of the good news about her books. Before I reveal the cover, here is a little more about the book:

      VISION (Spencer Hill Press, May 2014)


      The light is darker than you think…
      When seventeen-year-old Bobby Pendell begins to have blinding migraines followed by frightening hallucinations, he fears there’s something wrong with him. Then murder rocks his sleepy town and the visions that put him on trail of a killer—also make him the prime suspect.
      Be sure to add VISION to your Goodreads list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18506066-vision?from_search=true

      And now - the whole point of the post....

      THE FABULOUS COVER FOR.....

      VISION


      EEP! I can't wait for this to come out! For more about Lisa or her books, be sure to check out her website - http://lisa-amowitzya.blogspot.com/

      What book are YOU excited about reading?

      Monday, October 14, 2013

      Time for the 4th Annual Spooktackular Hop and Giveaway!


      HAPPY ALMOST HALLOWEEN!!! I am so excited for today. From today through 10/31 I am participating in the blog giveaway hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer. With more than 350 blogs participating, there are literally TONS of books and bookish things being given away.

      For this giveaway, I thought I'd give away a few of my favorite reads! Four to be exact - and all to ONE lucky winner. Just check out what I'm giving away:



      THIS IS W.A.R by Lisa and Laura Roecker
      THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting
      PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White
      GUARDIAN OF THE GATE by Michelle Zink


      Entering is easy. Just follow my blog in some way and complete the rafflecopter form! There are a couple of easy ways to get extra entries - but yes, easy peasy! Contest ends 10/31 as is open to the US only.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      Sunday, October 13, 2013

      99 Cents SALE! 9 HOT Must Reads, and a Giveaway TOO!!!

      The temperatures are dropping, and it's a great time to cuddle up with a new book!

      So for One Week Only, we've dropped the price on NINE HOT New Releases and Bestselling Titles, and combined them with a chance to WIN Amazon gift cards, ebooks, and more!

      Check it out and spread the word~


      Get ALL for only 99 cents this week!

      QUICK LINKS:



      READERS ARE SAYING...

      **The Only One by Magan Vernon -- "Sweet and sexy!! Loved it! This is the type of story you read again and again." --#1 New York Times best selling author Rachel Van Dyken


      **Dominus by Christine Fonseca -- "A thrilling end to a fantastic supernatural series!" --Leigh Talbert Moore, bestselling author of The Truth About Faking


      **Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore -- "The characters were intriguing, the mystery and story were interesting and definitely have ME WANTING MORE!!!!!!!" --Mandy, The Romance Bookie


      **Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel -- "Beautiful. Heart wrenching. A true tale of love. It'll make you laugh, cry, and have you running out to buy a tube of red lipstick." --RaShelle Workman, bestselling author of the Blood and Snow series


      **ClockwiseR by Elle Strauss -- "Time-travel adventures, scary cliffhangers... Strauss's strength in describing battle scenes and wartime add to the historical parts, and the resolution was not what I expected. Great writing and a superfun book!" - Leigh Talbert Moore, bestselling author of The Truth About Letting Go


      **Protected by Cindy Hogan -- "This anticipated sequel sizzles with equal parts thriller, suspense and romance. A spine tingling story I could not put down." - C.K.Bryant, author of Bound


      **A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling -- "Move over Gallagher Girls, there's a new spy in town! A Spy Like Me is a fast paced, high energy ride through Paris that left me almost as breathless as Pauling's hot hero. Super fun beginning, great story, and an ending that won't disappoint!" --Gemma Halliday, NYT best selling author of Spying in High Heels


      **The Pack - Retribution by L.M. Preston -- "The action in this book was phenomenal! There was never a dull moment. Shamira and the group were always fighting off the bad guys and with style too." --P. Bradish, Amazon Reviewer


      **Untraceable by S.R. Johannes -- "This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page." -- Kirkus Review 

      * * *

      Enter to WIN!

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

      And to add a little to the fun, I've decided to drop price on LACRIMOSA and LIBERA ME from the Requiem Series as well! WOOT!!! There is NO BETTER TIME to get the entire series than now. Prices go up 10/19!

      Thursday, October 10, 2013

      Dominus ON SALE

      YAY! Dominus is finally out, uploaded and ready to go on Amazon! The final installment of the Requiem series follows Nesy's final confrontation with Azza and Lilith. Will she be able to stop the war that's coming now that she's mortal? And will she be able to save Aydan from himself? So many questions, and so many answers packed in this short, fast paced novel.

      To celebrate, Dominus is ON SALE for 0.99. But only through 10/18. Even better, you can get the entire series - Lacrimosa, Libera Me, and Dominus - all for under $3.00. Just look at what readers are saying about the series:
      "...the only book(s) you'll need to read to understand sacrifice..."
      "...a an emotional ride that keeps you guessing..."
      "...about friends, truths, and the fight we find within ourselves..."

      Get your set today before prices go up.

      Lacrimosa (includes Lacrimosa and Dies Irae)
      Libera Me (includes Mea Culpa, Libera Me, and Enigma)
      Dominus.

      Thanks, everyone, for loving the series. You all made this a blast to write. The entire series will be available in print soon!!!

      Bookanista Review - 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil


      Time for another Bookanista review. Today, I am bringing you my thoughts on Gretchen McNeil's latest, 3:59. But first - check out what everyone else is doing:  

      And now - my thoughts on 3:59 by GRETCHEN McNEIL:

      About the book:
      3:59 (Balzer & Bray) - Sept 17, 2013
      Summary (from Amazon):
      From Possess and Ten author Gretchen McNeil comes a deliciously eerie science-fiction horror story in the tradition of Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy and the movie Sliding Doors.
      Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. And just when she thinks it can't get worse, she wakes to an image of herself in the bedroom mirror. Except it's not her at all—the girl in the mirror is blonder and prettier. And her name is Jo.
      The two girls are doppelgängers whose universes overlap every twelve hours at 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to pass through the portal and switch places for a day.
      But Jo's world is far from perfect, and the stuff of nightmares lurks around every corner. And when Josie finds herself trapped there, her life becomes more dangerous—and more deadly—than she ever imagined.

      Why I liked it: 
      I love Gretchen's scary, spine tingling reads - and this is no exception! It is appropriately researched (something I appreciate with science fiction particularly) and is just AMAZING. Once again, McNeil delivers vivid characters that are real and a story that's pure entertainment. It reals fresh and is guaranteed to give you a few goosebumps! Definitely a MUST READ!!!

      What are you guys reading these days? 

        Tuesday, October 8, 2013

        Finally! DOMINUS Enters The World...



        I can't believe. Dominus is FINALLY DONE and headed for publication. I honestly thought it would NEVER HAPPEN!!! 
        Dominus is the final installment of the Requiem Series. Here's a little bit about the story:


        Sometimes death is the only way to save a life.

        Nesy knows who she is now, knows what she's lost. Determined to save Aydan from his fate, she confronts the only one she blames for everything - Azza. But how can she fight the devil when she is nothing more than human? The fate of Celestium, Infernum and humanity rests in Nesy's hands. Can she find the strength to confront demons she's never imagined, face fears she's never voiced, and release the one thing that has held her world together - her love for Aydan?


        Some sacrifices should never be made...even for love.


        Dominus releases this week (as soon as it is uploaded on Amazon), and for a very limited time will be only .99! 

        That's right, for less than a buck you can see how the entire series ends. The price will return to $2.99 on 10/19 so be sure to get your copy as soon as you can!

        Suggested Reading Order for the Requiem Series:

        LACRIMOSA, Book #1
        Dies Irae, A Requiem Novella about Mikayel and Azzaziel (included with Lacrimosa)
        Mea Culpa, A Requiem Novella about Zanethios (Included with Libera Me)
        LIBERA ME, Book #2 
        Enigma, A Seer Novella about Lorelei, Tristan, and Ellie (Included with Libera Me)
        DOMINUS, Book #3

        AHHH!!!!

        Be on the look out for random celebrations all over the interwebz throughout the week...

        Monday, October 7, 2013

        Celebrating My Birthday with a Special Author Spotlight of Michelle McLean!


        Happy Monday! I had a blog post all planned out for today - a chance to celebrate BOTH my birthday AND the release of DOMINUS, the final chapter in the Requiem series. But, as is often the case, life had other plans. I discovered a few little things I'd like to fix in Dominus before releasing it. So...
        I am switching things up. Hey, it's my blog - my career. I can do that from time to time. 
        I am posting the Author Spotlight today, and the Dominus release info tomorrow. I know, you totally thought I was D-E-L-A-Y-I-N-G the release. NO WAY! I am excited to both get your feedback AND jump into something new.
        But that is a post for another day.
        Day I bring you my BFF, my CP and an amazing author - Michelle McLean and her most recent release from Entangled, WISH UPON A STAR.

        Before I introduce the book, I wanted to share this month's randomness and Michelle's fabulous answers:here are the questions I asked Lisa - and her fabulous answers!
        • Name your favorite comic book hero or villain and why. ~ hmmm Wonder Woman has always been a favorite of mine. I was always a huge fan of mythology so I liked her back story, and I grew up watching Lynda Carter play her on tv :D
        • Your main character is attending ComicCon. Who does he/she dress up as and why? ~  LOL Probably Wonder Woman ;) Ceri is a divorced mom with a seriously psycho ex husband. Being Wonder Woman would definitely appeal to her – she’s strong, intelligent, has cool gadgets (esp one that can force people to tell the truth), and has a cool outfit (esp the revamped version) :) [I'm sensing a little typecasting...hmmm]
        • You get to invite 5 people, living or dead, over for dinner. Who are they and what are you serving? ~ Hmmm, well first of all, the dinner will be catered no matter what I serve because about the only thing I can cook is spaghetti. And this answer always changes, but right now, I think I’d go with Mark Twain, Ellen DeGeneres, Nathan Fillion (just because I have a huge crush on him lol), my grandmother, and Jeff Foxworthy :D I’m in the mood for some laughs lol
        There you go, another fabulous set of answers.

        And now, a little more about Michelle McLean and WISH UPON A STAR:

        About Michelle:
        Romance and non-fiction author Michelle McLean spent 98% of her formative years with her nose in a book indulging in her love of reading and research. Expanding that love into writing was inevitable. Michelle has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and tends to be a bit of an organized mess with an insatiable love of books and more weird quirks than you can shake a stick at. When Michelle's not editing, reading or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She resides in PA with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled cats.

        Her most recent release is:


        WISH UPON A STAR Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both--and all of humanity--into jeopardy. Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as the second zombie uprising threatens them all. Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


        For more information on Michelle and her books, please visit her on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Goodreads.


        There you go - another fabulous Author Spotlight. Be sure to come on back tomorrow when I spotlight my own new release, DOMINUS! See you then!!!

        Saturday, October 5, 2013

        Swimming Out Of The Muck

        If you trolled around the interwebz at all this week, you know that many of us creative types had a rough week. Maybe it was something in the air. Maybe we experienced a collective groan as the daily grind inhibited our creative spirits. Maybe we were just stuck.

        If you didn't experience that feeling this week, you likely have had a time in your life when you did - when your creative energy was all but gone.

        This was my reality over the last week. It started on Saturday. I was having a party at my house, celebrating my BILs birthday. There was no reason that I could understand for slipping into a funk. But sure enough, by the middle of the day I was overwhelmed, over-peopled, and running on empty. I tried hiding myself a way (thank goodness my family understands my introversion), disappearing for a while. But, it didn't work. The feeling of being "off" lasted throughout the weekend.

        The work week started, the routine set in, and still nothing could move me from the angst that was consuming my creative self. I tried relaxing, meditating, ignoring - all with no relief. The angst continued, permeating into my creative world and inhibiting my art at a time when I needed it most - during a deadline.

        Not good. not good at all.

        Last night, with my back against the wall to complete final edits by Monday, I forced myself into the chair and committed to pounding out two new scenes. It was torturous. At least at first.

        An hour in, exhausted and defeated, I acquiesced to my feelings and made a conscious decision to just let go - let go of the trying to figure out WHY I was feeling whatever I was feeling, let go of the worry that I had "hurt" someone's feelings, done something wrong, been "less" somehow. I opened my heart, focused on the words on the page (only the words on the page), and jumped off the cliff. I confessed my feelings to a dear friend and chose to move on.

        An hour passed, 2k in new words were written, new epiphanies about the revisions were made and poof...the funk had lifted. I had finally released whatever it was that consumed me for the week.

        And what did I learn from this little adventure through the writing swamp? I was reminded that pushing forward, opening your heart, and trusting your gut is the only way through the creative muck that we sometimes find ourselves in.

        I posted this on my Facebook page last night: "There is a certain magic to taking action on a thing, pushing forward with an open mind, and trusting that you will find your way." It is something I have sense written on my desktop so I can remember it, the next time I find myself knee-deep in my own random angst.

        How do you get out of the muck?

        Thursday, October 3, 2013

        Thank You, Tom Clancy


        Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away. - TOM CLANCY


        I trolled my Facebook feed yesterday, much as I do every morning. Among the news of kids and school, weather and writing, were two different status updates that simply said "Tom Clancy!!!". Not having the time to investigate further, I moved on to other things and the busyness of the day.

        About an hour later, my phone vibrated, alerting me to more emails, more updates. Too engrossed in the daily grind to pay attention, I muted the posts and continued with the drudgery of the day. Until one particular post came through. It said "Tom Clancy, dead at 66". I was in the middle of a conversation when my brain clicked into gear and I processed the news.

        Tom Clancy was dead.

        The man who brought books into my husband's life. The man who taught me the value of research. The man who inspired the idea of writing thrillers. And the man whose work I am currently "researching" for an upcoming book I am preparing to write.

        Tom Clancy - dead.

        It seemed impossible at first. Like hearing that Dan Brown was dead. Or J.K. Rowling had died. The impact was much the same. I quickly posted a little RIP for my status update and went about my day. What else was I to do, right? I hadn't met him in person, our lives had never crossed. He is just one of the many who have influenced me in ways too complex to fully explain. One that I had wanted to meet one day. One I would gladly invite over for dinner.

        As I sat down to write the posts for today, I knew I had to pay tribute to Tom in some way. To thank him for his influence and collective works. The Jack Ryan stories (Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games, to name a few), Act of Valor, Threat Vector and others shaped my opinions of the political thriller genre. His dedication to art and storytelling remains an inspiration to me and is something I will carry forward throughout my writing career. I can only hope to be as prolific and dedicated!

        It seems fitting to end the post as I started - with a Tom Clancy quote:

        I think about the characters I've created and then I sit down and start typing and see what they will do. There's a lot of subconscious thought that goes on. It amazes me to find out, a few chapters later, why I put someone in a certain place when I did. It's spooky. - TOM CLANCY

        Rest in Peace, Tom. My heart and prayers to your family. And my sincere and deep thanks for your work!

        Wednesday, October 2, 2013

        Writing Lessons from Ray Bradbury

        I was on FB the other morning (shocking, I know), when I stumbled across a status update from another writerly friend commenting about the beauty of Ray Bradbury's writings. She stated that she loved his stories because they were always about more than the plot and characters. His stories tapped into deeper, universal themes, something not always present in YA literature.

        I stewed on this for a while. I am a huge Ray Bradbury fan and I love the way he uses fantastical stories to comment on life issues. Like All Summer in a Day and bullying as just one example. I think my friend was right about YA too. We don't always explore deeper themes. Or, when we do, we sometimes approach it head one, making that topic the plot of the story. We don't always use our stories to comment on life and the deep stuff  as Ray Bradbury always does.

        Anyway, all of this got me to thinking - what do you as readers and writers do? Are you conscious of themes and tackling deep issues? Is it something you work at? Another writer once said in a conference that we really only write about one or two themes in our books - that no matter how different the book, there really are only a few universal themes each writer explores. Hers related to parent-child relationships. Mine are about finding your "voice", your authentic self.

        What are yours?

        Tuesday, October 1, 2013

        Happy Birthday QUIET KIDS!

        I am so happy to announce the official release of my book, Quiet Kids. This book, in addition to being the book I wish I had read as a child, speaks to introversion in children, pulling on the latest research in the area and providing parents and educators strategies to help support introverted children. As most of you know, my writing career started with my books related to gifted children, and while not all gifted children are introverted, a quiet temperament does dominate that particular subgroup of children. Quiet Kids looks at what it means to be introverted in today's noisy world. 

        Here is the description of the book:

        Being an introverted child is difficult, especially in an ever-increasingly noisy world. Often viewed as aloof, unmotivated or conceited, introverted children are deeply misunderstood by parents, educators and even their peers. That's where Quiet Kids: Helping Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World comes in. Designed to provide parents with a blueprint for not only understanding the nature of introversion, Quiet Kids provides specific strategies to teach their children how to thrive in a world that may not understand them. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses real-world examples and stories from introverts and parents to show parents and educators how to help children develop resiliency and enhance the positive qualities of being an introvert. With specific strategies to address academic performance, bullying, and resiliency, Quiet Kids is a must read for anyone wishing to enhance the lives of introverted children.

        QK - BNPublisher's Weekly was kind enough to call the book "Extremely useful for educators and parents, this thoughtful text emphasizes the many gifts of quiet kids.”

        Quiet Kids can be found in Barnes and Noble stores across the United States, as well as online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and other retailers world wide. 

        As part of the launch of Quiet Kids, I developed a little quiz to help you know if you may have an introvert in the house:
        1. My child prefers to spend time alone or reading after school? T/F
        2. My child is generally quiet? T/F
        3. Teachers often characterize my child as shy? T/F
        4. I often worry that my child has very few friends? T/F
        5. My children struggles when things are not part of a routine or predictable? T/F
        A yes answer to most of these questions may indicate that your child has an introverted temperament. I also have a special giveaway to celebrate the launch:

        a Rafflecopter giveaway

        THANK YOU for the support of this important book. Be sure to check out the events page on my website to see what other fun things I have planned.