Monday, February 28, 2011

My Audition

JESUS and the Woman at the well Pictures, Images and Photos

Not too long ago I auditioned for my Church's New Testament Project. I studied John 4 incessantly to learn my lines for my audition. I did more than that. Understanding the importance of research and making my main characters believable in my novels, I spent hours researching the events that lead up to the woman's dialogue with Christ. Way back to Esau.

I studied the social rules. I studied the political practices. I studied maps.

One thing that helped me the most was the short story I wrote involving the Samaritan woman and our Savior Jesus Christ. I inserted the scriptural dialogue between both. All, so that I could get into the PoV's head. I fasted and prayed and asked for blessings so that I could FEEL the part.

Never in my life have I studied a single passage of scripture so intensely. Never in my life have I imagined Christ standing before me as I conversed with him as someone exactly had, word for word. It wrenched my heart to do that. Wrenched it in the way that it made me understand His love for the woman. His love for ME!

I am humbled for this opportunity to learn more about His love for us. It has changed me.

What experience in your life has changed you?

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Research Escapade

Today  the Friday Writers are posting about research! You can visit the  4 other authors and see their thoughts on this! Deirdra Eden Coppel, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Anastasia V. Pergakis, and J.D. Brown!

 I most certainly have a method of research. It's everywhere. A spiral notebook here. A slip of paper there. A folder in my "Bookmarks" near, and a neatly compiled file in my hard drive attached per book.

I start my stories off by the seat of my pants. Chengral, for example, is a science fiction based novel with a whole lot of Viking history for when the assassin ventures into our space where Earth exists. For the Viking Era, I did tons of research and jotted down notes and copied the URLs for reference purposes.

I learned a whole lot about them. From the homes they lived in, their societal rules, politics, how marriages were performed, their gods, weapons, hygiene, language, to how women ruled in their clans. Then I live in that world until the book is finished--sometimes beyond, the knowledge never leaves me.

It's always a growing adventure for me when I research.

How does research strengthen you?

photos found at

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are You Ready?

My dear fellow Crusaders and all bloggie friends:

I am SO glad to have this chance to have your ear. I have this *very important message from David Farland:

David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—Changing Times

As I’ve been forecasting since last April, we’ve seen some huge changes in the publishing industry this year.

In the latest news, Borders has filed for bankruptcy here in the United States. Borders of course is the second largest bookstore chain in the United States, but they failed miserably at keeping touch with the changing times. The mistake? They didn’t respond to the online threat from, and they didn’t put together a program to sell electronic books.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston

Book two in the Secret Sister Mystery series.

From the back of the cover:

Ida Mae Babbit has done her community service and is a reformed woman--no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlett's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae--with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle--checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files form the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

I'm not big on mysteries, but this book had me turning the pages as quickly as I could.

The characters are very well developed and believable. They had me laughing all the way through. Pinkston did an excellent job as director of her book, casting every character as she kept an enjoyable pace.

Ida Mae is this crotchety old woman who speaks her mind, but with a twist of humor. She is so likable that I wish she was a real person. Eden is a sweet young lady who has the strong desire to help others and goes beyond herself to do so. There is never a dull a moment.

There is a part that pulled me out of the story. Ida Mae meets with Dr. Greene out on the beautiful patio. It is washed with warm sunshine, surrounded by lush greenery. Ida Mae wondered why they didn't meet in the office instead. The scene closes as she leaves the doctor's office. This book is so well-written, it had me wondering if maybe it was just me?

I really enjoyed how the author salted words outside my vocabulary range such as chartreuse, and octogenarian. The word fractious even had Ida Mae's doctor scrambling to squeeze her into his already booked day--and he doesn't know what it means. I'm not alone.

Just when I thought I had things figured out in this mystery, Tristi Pinkston throws in an unexpected twist that made the read all the more exciting.

Visit Tristi Pinkston on her website:, and her blog at Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author.

Dearly Departed is a fun, witty, intelligent read!

Add this to your reads!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Bumpy Landings by Don J Carey

What a delightful read!

LDS returned missionary Jordan MacDonald has a secret. A secret he refuses to share with his mother, who has life figured out for him. It is one that he has promised his father he'd fulfill no matter the cost.

But when it becomes apparent that he can hide it no longer, life unravels and he is thrust into the cold of resentment.

Should he be true to his mother, or his girlfriend, or himself? This is a story about a young man's struggles to find the answers to his personal riddle of integrity.

 I fell in love with the storyline and understand, with all of my heart, Jordan's struggles. Life as a young person is never easy, especially when everyone is shouting out how you should live it.

I especially love when Jordan starts to realize that his life is his own, and becomes true to the most important person: himself. For, how can he be true to anyone else if not for him?

This story certainly wrenched me from my mundane tasks, and whisked me into the lush green of Hawaii's vista.

Don J Carey is masterful at bringing people, places and things to life. There wasn't a place where it felt unreal. The dialogue was natural, the characters sincere, the dilemmas unfurled with genuine believability! He has a knack with folding time without my noticing.

Hey, Carey, do you have the recipes for pani popo or malasadas on your website? I would sure love to know how to make them!

UPDATE! click here for recipes! (Thanks, Don!)

Donald is a graduate of Kahuku High School where, when he wasn't in the band room, he could be found in the library with his nose in a book.  He was awarded the David O. McKay scholarship to attend BYU--Hawaii, where he met his lovely wife, Kara. His day job involves writing computer programs, which is almost the same as fiction but with a lot more semicolons.

Watch Bumpy Landings' book trailer!

I recommend this book!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blog Tour Givaway for Tristi Pinkston's "Dearly Departed"!

Contest now closed, thank you for participating!

Ida Mae
Babbitt rides again!

Ida Mae Babbitt may be a reformed woman, but trouble just can't stay away.
Follow the blog tour for Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston and learn
about Ida Mae's latest adventure.

We will be giving away THREE copies of Dearly Departed . One
GRAND PRIZE winner will win this fun
scrap booking pack.

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read Dearly
. Remember to include your email address.
2. For an additional entry become a follower of Walnut Springs Press blog,
Tristi's blog, or any of the fabulous reviews blog. Leave a comment letting
us know who's blog you now follow.
3. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry for each post.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on March 6th.

Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed
woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter
Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the
perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into
the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing
around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping
files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of
this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next

February 16th
Starcrossed book
(Nichole Giles)

Febraury 17
(Karlene Browning)

February 18
Heather Justensen

February 21
Elizabeth Mueller

February 22
LDS Women's Book Review (Shanda

February 23
Rachelle Writes
(Rachelle Christensen)
Hard But Oh So Worth It
(Kimberly Coates)

February 24
Fire and Ice (Heather

February 28
Cheryl's Book Nook
(Cheryl Koch)

March 1
JDP News (Joyce DiPastena)

March 2
Teri Rodeman

March 3
Why Not? Because I Said
(Sheila Stayley)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And the Winner is . . . (followed with awards!)

Drum roll please--or should I say guitar strum pleeeze! ;)

Congratulations, Angie!

Thank you everyone for having fun with us!

 It's about TIME I spread the love, I've been hoarding them up so now it's my turn to set them free!

The lovely Margo Kelly has awarded me the Sunshine Award--what a sweetheart she is!

Here are my fellow bloggie palz I've picked:

Deirdra Coppell, Michael from In Time, Jonene Ficklin, Nahno McLein, Susan Fobes, Kim Coates, and Sheila Windley Staley!

The thoughtful Marcy gave this wonderful Beautiful Blogger Award!

7 and 7. I list 7 things about me and pass it along to 7 bloggers!

1. I've actually joined the A to Z blogging challenge and started scheduling finished posts! 2. I've just created a new blog! 3. My new method in time management is working like a charm! 4. I've never read so many books at one time for book reviews! (I have 5 within a 2 month period!)5. I had a dream just the other night that I was Christine from Phantom of the Opera and I loved it! 6. Our dog LOOKS for ways to escape our yard, supervised or unsupervised. Grrr. 7. My kids love when I illustrate their Valentine's cards--it warms my heart!

I award this to:
Joyce DiPastena, Shari Bird, Heather Justesen, Konstanz, Amphigora, Old Kitty, and Deirdra Coppel!

Thank you Jennifer Brown, Deirdra CoppelRaShelle Workman!

10 and 7! Now I'm to return the favor to 10 blogs while sharing 7 things about me!

1. I don't hide my true self from anyone 2. I've sung a solo before! 3. I want to be an actress. 4. You can actually SEE my counter tops, and I've hit the 7 day record of my life. LOL! 5. I'm chicken to edit my WIP. 6. my 11 year old loves to tie quilts! 7. I took a chance and ventured into the junkyard to find my preschooler's lost blankie, and guess what? We found it!

I dub the following with this award: Roland Yeomans, Jessica Bell, Debbie Davis, Elana Johnson, Jordan Mcollum, Arlee Bird, Rachel Harrie, Inspired Kathy, Anastasia V. Pergakis, and Ali Cross!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review: The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley

Life has never been better for Krystal of Avolonya. That is, until her brother decides to betroth her to the local village boy who can’t keep his drool to himself.

Repulsed, Krystal finds herself wondering the nearby woods. Should she remain here, and meet her fate with a dreary boy who would probably have her gut fish all day long? Or should she find a better life for herself beyond the forestlands?

It isn’t until she decides running away would prove foolish, when a band of men find her alone—and it is no coincidence. Krystal is thrust into a kingdom filled with magic, love, and betrayal.

            This sweet story enchanted me with its colorful people—even the villains are charming! Because of the delightful cast of characters, the read passed in a lighthearted pace. I enjoyed experiencing Krystal’s sense of integrity as she remained true to her heart, and how fiercely loyal she is to her friends.

I know my daughter would love this book!

Cheri Chesley believes in magic and miracles. She enjoys exploring the dictionary and working on her photography. You can find her over at her website or at her blog.

Buy the book!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Microfiction Monday!

Susan from Stony River has managed to rope me into her creative multi-blogged participation! Just write a short story in 140 characters or less (altogether). Keep your microwriting sharp! Go over and read the many fantastic entries once you're done here--you're more than welcome to join!

Lord Rathbone sighed.

Why is it that my brothers get all the fun while I'm stuck here to watch?

Next time he'll use AXE.

119 characters

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Crusades

It was a horrible thing. Many died and suffered. Not this time . . .

Rachael Harrie has been inspired to lead many writers as she had once before, into a realm of writerly antics. We will march faithfully in search of other writers who are willing to lift their pens (sorry, leave your swords behind) for the cause of all Writerdom.

But I promise you that if you join me (you have until February 12th, 11:59 pm, EST.), you will not regret it--you won't catch any rare diseases, but MORE followers!
Hurry, click here to join!

Fantastic Friday Writers!

Welcome! First of all, I need to apologize for my absence. It had completely escaped my mind, with my being sick for the entire month previous. But I'm better now!

I'd like to touch on last time's post. Balance.

I've been lousy with my balance. In fact, I was so lost I threw everything aside and had to stay away from writing for an entire month. That brings to focus the subheading of my blog. I just realized that I don't let you guys watch me juggle because I don't really blog about my family. *Sigh* I plan to change that.


But it was just 2 weeks ago, I struck a gold mine that works entirely for me--it might you, but it's a grueling thing.

I grabbed lined paper and wrote down my happenings from the time a awake down to the time I go to bed:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Writing Color Wheel

You'd need to know which 3 colors create the perfect skin tone, the best rock hue or even the prettiest sea green. You refer to the same combinations often. They are your secrets to the perfect painting--an artist's color wheel.

Like the artist, every writer has a chest full of favorite tools that makes their work sparkle, snap and shine!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Microfiction Monday!

Welcome to  Susan's Microfiction Monday!

The challenge is to write a story in 140 characters or less. Ready?

Ye olde Sleepy Hollow feared the 7th hour, the very moment the headless schoolmaster returned for his lost head. Better safe than sorry.

136 words

Have a fabulous week! :D

Friday, February 4, 2011

12 Secrets to selling more books at events by Penny C. Sansevieri

I thought I should share this with my bloggie friends. I was riveted to the words. I hope you found it as fascinating as I did. (You're more than welcome to blog it if you wish!)


Feature Article: 12 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events
So you got a book event, great! Now you want to maximize it, right? You've heard your writing buddies talk (or perhaps read online) about the lack of attendance at signings, so figuring out how to maximize the event, regardless of the numbers might be tricky. While I spend a lot of time addressing online marketing, the offline component is one you shouldn't overlook. If book events are where you want to focus, then bringing in some ideas to help you sell more books is something you should consider.

Some years back when I was promoting The Cliffhanger I ended up at a book signing in the driving rain, I mean it was pouring and the store was all but empty. It was amazing I sold even one book, let alone seven. While not a big number, the copies were all sold to people who were seeking refuge in the store from the rain and not there for my event. This signing taught me a lot about events and connecting with consumers in stores. If you have an event coming up, consider these ideas before you head out:

1. Marketing: First and foremost is the marketing of your event. But I'm not talking about the marketing you do in the media (though that is great too) I'm speaking of in-store marketing; this is what most folks seem to overlook. This is where you supply things to the store to help them market your event. Because the first phase of a successful event is driving people to it. Here are a few thoughts.

a. Do bag stuffers. You can easily do this in your favorite computer program, do two up on a page, meaning that you use one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper to do two fliers. You'll want to ask the store first if they mind that you provide this, most stores or event venues don't.

b. Bookmarks: while most in the industry see these as passé, people still love them. You can do bookmarks and bag stuffers (or staple them to the flier) or you can do custom bookmarks with the date and time of your event. Nowadays it's pretty easy to get these done cheaply. Keep in mind that if you are having the event in a mall or other type of shopping area, you might be able to drop the bookmarks (or bag stuffers) off at the nearby stores to see if they'll help promote the event.

2. Book signings are boring: Regardless of where you do the event, plan to do a talk instead of a signing. People are drawn into a discussion and are often turned off by an author just sitting at a table. Marketing is about message and movement so stand up and speak. If speaking in public is intimidating to you, go to Toastmasters or some other local networking/speaking group and see what you can learn.

3. Unique places: If you want to get more attention for your event, consider doing events in unique places. We've done them in video stores, electronics stores, gyms, even restaurants (on slow nights); doing outside-the-bookstore events is a great way to gain more interest for your talk. Why? Because you aren't competing with everyone else at the bookstore for your crowd. When you do an event at a locale that doesn't normally do events, you'll attract more people just because it's considered "unique."

4. Show up early and talk it up: OK, so let's say you're in the store and there are a ton of people in there shopping (a book event dream, yes?), I suggest that you take your extra bag stuffers or custom bookmarks and just hand them to the people in the store. Let them know you are doing an event at such and such time and you'd love it if they can sit in. You'll be surprised how many new people you might pull in this way.

5. Customize: Regardless of what your talk is about, poll the audience first to see a) what brought them there, or b) what they hope to learn if your talk is educational. I suggest this because the more you can customize your discussion, the more likely you are to sell a book. If you can solve problems (and this is often done during the Q&A) all the better. You'll look like the answer machine you are and readers love that. If you have the answers, they'll want to buy from you. I promise.

6. Make friends: Get to know the bookstore people, but not just on the day of the event. Go in prior and make friends, tell them who you are and maybe even hand them your flier or bookmark (or a stack if you can). Often stores have Information Centers, see if you can leave some fliers there instead of just at the register. Getting to know the people who are selling the book is a great way to help gather more people into your event. If your event isn't in a bookstore but attached to a shopping area or mall, go around to the stores (and perhaps you did this when you passed out the fliers) and let them know you have an event and ask what you can do to help them promote it. If you can rally the troops to help you market your talk, you could triple the numbers of people at your event. No kidding.

7. Take names: I always, always recommend that you get names and (email) addresses from the folks who attended. Signing them up for your mailing list is a great way to keep in touch with them and stay on your reader's radar screen. If you have a giveaway or drawing, great! This will help you to collect names. If you don't, offer them a freebie or e-book after the event. Often if I'm doing a PowerPoint presentation I will put together a set of them (delivered in PDF) after the event. Attendees need to sign up to get them and then once they do, I include them in our newsletter list, which helps me to stay on their radar screen.

8. Pricing: Make sure your book is easy to buy. If you are doing this outside of a bookstore this is easy to do and will help your sales. I find that a rounded number like $10 or $20 makes for a quick and easy sale. If you can round up or down without adding or losing too much to the price, by all means do it.

9. Book pairing: One way you might be able to round up is by pairing your book with a freebie. When I paired Red Hot Internet Publicity with a second, but smaller, marketing book I took the awkward pricing of $18.95, bumped it up to $20 (so 2 books for $20) and quadrupled my sales after an event. Now the pairing doesn't have to be a book, it can be a special report or even an e-book that you send to them after the event.

10. Product and placement: As you're doing your talk (especially if it's in a non-bookstore venue) make sure that you have a copy of the book propped up in front of you so event visitors see it the entire time you are speaking. Hold up the book when appropriate and use it as an example when you can. This will help to direct the consumer's eye to the book - and making eye contact with the product is a good way to make sure it stays on their radar screen throughout your talk. When I do a speaking gig at an event that allows me to sell books in the room, I will sell four times more than I would if the attendees have to go somewhere else to buy it, so make the buy easy. If you can, make sure your books are for sale in the room.

11. Ease of purchase: Aside from pricing, if you're doing your own checkout make sure that you have many ways consumers can buy your book. I take credit cards at the event, checks and cash. Don't limit yourself as to what you can take or you will limit your sales.

12. Post event wrap-up: So the event is over, what now? Well, if you got attendees to sign up for your newsletter (you did do that, right?) now it's time to send a thank you note for attending and remind them (if they missed the chance at the event) to buy a copy of your book at the "special event price."

Speaking and book events are great ways to build your platform, but if you aren't selling books there's little point in doing them. For many of us, our book is our business card and thus, if we can sell our "business card" we can keep consumers in our funnel. If your book isn't your business card you still want readers, right? The marketing before, during and after an event is crucial to building your readership. While it's easy to say that events sell books, they often don't. I find that if you don't "work it" you often will find your time wasted. Seek the opportunities when they are made available to you - and then maximize them when they are, you'll be glad you did!

Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is a full-service book marketing, promotion, and publicity company. We serve authors at all stages of marketing and promotion. We offer a full range of packages and services to choose from. To see a price list or schedule a free consultation, send your e-mail to with the subject line "Author Services Info." You can also visit our Web site at

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Interview with Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Science fiction/adventure/space opera, Dancing Lemur Press LLC

ISBN Print 9780981621067 eBook 9780982713938

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron, a talented young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life. Much to his chagrin, Bassa, the toughest instructor in the fleet, takes notice of the young pilot. As war brews on the edge of space, Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive. Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

I have had the honors to catch up with our very own Alex and interview him. It was way fun learning about him!

*ROCKEN' contest, read after interview!

Buckle up and enjoy the ride--remember to keep your arms in at all times!

Here we GOOooo!