November 27, 2011

Why I Let My Fourteen Year Old Daughter Read Controversial Books

I am the mother of a fourteen year old daughter who loves to read. Nothing makes me happier than to see a book in her hands because when I was her age, I was exactly the same way. My daughter lives a fairly cushioned life. We’ve had tragedy. My husband, her father, died nearly six years ago from burns he received from a single engine plane crash. I’m sure that the defining moment of her entire life will be that, in essence, she has grown up without a father. Still, we are fortunate. Many families in a similar situation would plummet into financial ruin. I was fortunate that my husband had the foresight to plan for the worst. But I find myself protecting my children. They’ve lived through grief  and heartache. I’ve worked hard to make our family more than the one who lost a father and more about what defines us now. A house full of kids, a mix ethnicities, who happen to only have a slightly crazy, if not sometimes entertaining, mother. But I find myself protecting them from reality because reality is sometimes a very ugly thing. Yet I do them a disservice. Life is not all happiness […]
November 25, 2011

My Favorite Things Giveaway

Two years ago on my family blog There’s Always Room for One More, I had a Six Days of Christmas giveaway. For six days, I gave a prize away. The prizes started small and worked their way up to a couple of big ones– an electronic picture frame and a Zune mp3 player. My entire family got involved with the giveaway and my oldest daughter still talks about it. So I thought: Why not do something similar this year? So I am! Welcome to My Favorite Things Giveaway!!! This giveaway is all about my favorite things. Lucky for you, I have lots of favorite things. My most favorite thing in the world is my kids. But obviously, I can’t won’t give them away. So what’s almost like my children? My books. My addiction to Starbucks is known far and wide. I’ve written blog posts about it (Which is really quite sad. Especially when you notice the plural.) It seems only natural that I would giveaway something Starbucks related.  However, my favorite drink–a nonfat, no whip Mocha–might be hard to send through the mail. So how about a gift card instead? I like to read. I used to read a LOT […]
November 20, 2011

Hunted– Partial Excerpt from Chapter One

Hunted, the second book in The Chosen series is now available in print. eBooks will be available in all formats on Tuesday, November 22. Chapter One Beads of sweat clung to Will Davenport’s forehead as he watched the house through binoculars. A gust of wind kicked up a swirl of sand that blew into his eyes and mouth. Fucking sand. He turned and spit. He’d had enough sand to last a lifetime. When he left Iraq, he swore he’d never go back. And he hadn’t, but Arizona in the end of July was too similar to suit him. His frustration mounted with every passing minute. There was absolutely no activity in the house, not that he could see, and he dreaded reporting the results. Emma wouldn’t be happy. His intelligence had told him the group known as the Cavallo had made a safe house out of this small stucco residence in the middle of nowhere. Reports that a small blond boy had been seen here over a week ago seemed to confirm the information, but the lack of activity suggested otherwise. Not that Will was surprised. They’d probably moved Jake. Will climbed down from the rocks and walked the short distance to […]
November 9, 2011

HERE is Here! Excerpt of Prologue and Chapter One

Okay, that title is bad. Even for me. Let’s see if I can come up with something else before I finish writing this post. I find it ironic that that book that had the longest lead time to publishing is the one I’ve scrambled the hardest to make my publishing deadline. And I still didn’t quite make it. When I decided in late August to self-publish Here (then known as Torn) I’d already put my name on the two month wait list with the cover artist. I’d also  finished edits on Hunted, the second book in The Chosen series, and sent it off to beta readers. My deadline for sending Hunted to Jim Thomsen, my editor, was October 1. So I emailed Jim and asked him when he could fit Here into his schedule. He told me he could fit me in on September 1. Which was a week away. It wasn’t hard to make Jim’s deadline. The book had been combed over and picked to death. I had it to him on August 30 and had the manuscript came back a couple of weeks later. I was still waiting to start with the cover designer. In the meantime, I was […]
November 8, 2011

Guest Post: Kay Bratt, author of Chasing China

Today I’m honored to share a  special guest with you today–Kay Bratt. Kay fell onto my radar back in the summer of 2008, coincidently around the time I was adopting my son Ryan from China. Kay was about to release her first book,  a memoir titled Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage. Obviously, this was a subject close to my heart so I eagerly anticipated its release. And I was blown away. The inhumanity she witnessed, the attempts she made to intervene–Kay laid her soul out for all the world to see. I was impressed and moved and knew I had to get to know this woman. I was actively blogging at There’s Always Room for One More so I emailed Kay and asked her if  I could interview her on my blog. She graciously agreed. And thus began a wonderful friendship. I watched Kay’s success with Silent Tears, all while writing my own books. Kay would email from time to time and ask me how things were going and finally, I emailed her last spring. “I’m considering self-publishing one of my novels.”  She was full of support and encouragement and I consider her a mentor in many […]
November 6, 2011

Child of Mine

Those of you familiar with me know that I have three internationally adopted children. Honestly, I rarely think of them as adopted. I have three biological children as well (yes, SIX kids) and when they are all together, or not, they are just my kids. Period. And if you want to tick me off, just tell me something asinine like “blood is thicker than water” or “blood needs to stick together.” In our house, the tie that binds is love. My eight-year-old daughter Jenna was baptized today. Our church has a short service before Sunday school and parents are given the opportunity to put together a slide show of the child.  My plate is full right now. As in, I’m behind. So I briefly considered handing off the slide show project to my fourteen-year-daughter. Julia loves this sort of thing, but as I thought about it, the first slides popped into my head and I knew that I couldn’t pass this off.  The ideas I had were too personal. This slide show, in essence, is my gift to Jenna. It took longer than I expected, as most things with me do, but I finished it in plenty of time–about 11 […]
November 4, 2011

My Cover for HERE

Back in August, I found an artist, Nathalia Suellen, on DeviantArt who designed book covers in addition to other things like CD covers and advertisements.  In her portfolio, I found the most gorgeous picture that looked like it would be perfect as the cover for HERE (then known as TORN.) I hadn’t decided what to do with HERE yet. I still had a few queries out and a couple of fulls, but I wasn’t optimistic. My rejections were either the pat “it’s not for me” or the more disheartening “I love your story/concept/writing, but I have a client with a similar concept and you would be competition.” While I was trying to decide what to do, I emailed Natalia and asked her if the photo was available for book covers. She emailed back saying that photo only had two year rights available (not acceptable) BUT she could make me one that would not only cost less and give me eternal rights, but could be custom fit to my book.  There was a small catch. She had a wait list of two months. Since I still hadn’t decided, I told her to add me to the list. In mid October, Natalia emailed that […]
November 1, 2011

October Sales Figures

One thing that encouraged me when I was considering self-publishing was seeing other authors totals. Some were good. Some were great. Some was pitiful. Still, I think that authors trying to decide if self-pubbing is for them need to know ALL the facts. Even the not so cheery ones.  And for this very reason, I had decided I would be forthcoming with my sales figures. October was a very good month for Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. Pixel of Ink featured Twenty-Eight and my sales shot up like a rocket. I know that authors can purchase some type of exposure on Pixel of Ink but I had never heard of them before and had definitely not submitted anything to them. Their feature was pure luck. In any case, before Friday, October 7, I was averaging about 30-40 books sales a day. The day Pixel of Ink featured Twenty-Eight, I sold 265 books– 243 Kindle books and 21 Nook (avg Nook per day is 2-3). On Saturday, October 8, I sold 167– 160 Kindle books and 7 Nook. After that, my sales hovered around 70-90 total books sold per day until settling back into the previous 30-40 per day by the end […]
October 23, 2011

Resources for Self-Publishing

When I decided to self-publish one of the hardest parts was searching out resources to make my book as professional as possible. I did a lot of searching for cover artists, copy editors, etc. Part of the problem was that once I found these people, I had no way of knowing if they were reliable or not. But then I thought, why does it have to be so hard? Why not have them listed in one place? So I’ve added a new page to my website titled RESOURCES. I’ve listed professionals who assist with the self-publishing. I’m listing the ones I’ve worked with and on what project.* I’ve also added several others that have been recommended to me or the professional has asked me to include them. I have noted if the professional is client recommended. A client recommendation speaks volumes, especially if it’s unsolicited. At the moment, my lists are small and I would love more recommendations. If you have you used someone you recommend, either click on “contact” or email me at and send me the professional’s name, what service you used them for and the link to their website.  Then I’ll add them to my list. It’s […]
October 21, 2011

Playlist for Chosen

Theme song: Foo Fighters The Pretender Linkin Park: Papercut (Totally captures the tone for the first chapter) Linkin Park: Faint Nickelback: Follow You Home Linkin Park: Easier to Run Nickelback: Animals (background music to write second car chase scene) Foo Fighters: Stranger Things Have Happened (cornfield scene) Death Cab for Cutie: I Will Possess Your Heart Death Cab for Cutie: Meet me on the Equinox (after big scene in the middle) Anya Marina: Satellite Heart Foo Fighters: Come Alive Lupe Fiasco: Solar Midnight Muse: Resistance Storyside B: You Are Not Alone      
October 21, 2011

Humming to the Beat of His Own Drummer

Anyone who thinks that girls talk more than boys has never met my son. When Ryan was two and a half years old, I adopted him from China. He knew no English and my pathetic Mandarin was lost on his regional dialect. Freaked out by the entire experience, he was quiet for months until he learned enough English to communicate. It didn’t help that Ryan was born with a cleft lip and palate, and although they had been repaired in China, he needed ear tubes so that he could hear better. (And look at that precious face!) My frustration with our local children’s hospital boiled to the surface when I took him to the ENT to FINALLY get them to schedule his ear tube procedure.  Ryan was terrified. He had just turned three but he didn’t understand when I tried to tell him that the doctor was only going to look in his ears. The poor resident got a stern “This has gone on long enough. This child needs to be able to hear NOW.” Still, it took another two months to fit him into their surgery schedule. But once he got ear tubes and began speech and language therapy through the […]
October 20, 2011

Playlist for Here (On the Otherside Book One)

Theme song:Linkin Park: What I’ve Done (The book is full of guilt and how the characters deal with it. Perfect song.) Red: Hymn of the Missing  (Evan) Linkin Park: Numb  (Julia) Red: Faceless  (Julia) Linkin Park: In Pieces  Linkin Park: Wake (key scene) Red Hot Chili Peppers: Parallel Universe Red Hot Chili Peppers: Otherside Lifehouse: Everything (Studio Version) Lifehouse: From Where You Are  (Reece) Lifehouse: All I’m Asking For Lifehouse: It Is What It Is (Last chapter) Evans Blue: The Future in the End