Saturday, November 8, 2014

Check out Sara B. Gauldin!

Don't miss the intense new novel by: Sara B. Gauldin:  Aware!

This new edition invites us back into the tale of our star-crossed lovers; now existing on Earth in mortal form. As the newness of their mortal lives slips away, so do their childhoods. Terra and Liam find that the world they inhabit is something completely different that the peaceful humanity they had hoped for.
As Terra has grown in her understanding of humanity, the world as she knows it has become a mask for something far more sinister and only she stands between the mortal world and the hidden evil that seeks to destroy it. But she cannot fight alone. With time running out, fighting a lonely battle against legions of corrupted spirits and her hopes of success waning, she must find a way to warn humanity’s other guiding spirits, and protect her soul mate Liam from the scourge.
Will Terra succeed? Will she and Liam have a future together? Will humanity have any future at all?
Reenter the world of Terra and Liam and find out in book two of the Corporeal Pull series!
The Origins of the Corporeal Pull Series: Input by Sara B. Gauldin
Many readers have asked me where the idea for The Corporeal Pull series came from. The original characters and premise came from a very vivid dream that I had several times. I was going through a difficult period in my life. I was watching my father lose his battle with cancer. I think watching his final days primed my mind to wonder about the hereafter. A brush with death at a young age left me acutely aware of my own mortality. This series is a work of fantasy, but it does contain elements of spirituality and innate purpose that are plentiful in organized religion. To that end, the book was written to carry out a plot that I found too intriguing to keep to myself. A few reviewers have labeled the first book in the series "a philosopher's fantasy". To that end I don't consider myself terribly philosophical. I am merely inquisitive.
I have fallen in love with Terra and Liam. Originally this plot was intended for one full length novel. I realized half way through the first book that one novel would not be enough to contain this couple's love or to describe the action packed journey they take to preserve it! Book two, Aware is a continuation of that journey. I hope my readers enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

The first book in the Corporeal Pull series, Alive was released in January, 2014.

When Terra met Liam, her limited view on her eternal existence was forever altered. How can she as an immortal guide be paired with a mortal soul mate? Terra is faced with the unthinkable task of sending her love to his corporeal life and to his destruction. She must make a choice, or she will lose Liam to the pervasive evil that is steadily claiming the mortal world as its own!

This epic tale of good versus evil examines the age-old question of “why me” that all earth-bound travelers must ask. Alive: The Corporeal Pull is a story of love that transcends both time and the mortal plane. This action-packed love adventure will invite you in and leave you breathless!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Twitching and Other News

It's been one heck of a crazy month. Between dealing with my six year old's surgery and the infection that ensued, several sick kids, Halloween, a car with a ruined transmission, and all the other unexpected joys in life, I've had very little time for writing. This usually leaves me a little antsy, stressed, and cranky after a couple weeks. Sure enough, right in the thick of everything and with no time for an outlet (aka writing), I developed a serious twitch in my eye. And it was the most persistent, twitchiest twitch of any I've ever seen or experienced.
Luckily, my kids thought it was the greatest thing in the world. All I had to do was call out, "It's doing it again!" and they'd drop their video game controls, forget whatever snack they were eating, stop mid-fight with their siblings, and come running just to witness the momentous occasion. Indeed, there's something totally awe-inspiring about an eyelid that moves and twitches all over the eyeball completely by itself. Multiple times a day. Every day. For two weeks straight.
That is unless it's YOUR eyelid. Then it just feels like a very large fly is tap dancing across the surface.
Stress can do awful things to a person and I am no exception. And when things get really stressful and I don't get some writing in, it gets more and more difficult to sit down and try to find the inspiration to begin again. I was going to participate in nanowrimo but I realized it's just not going to happen this time. In spite of this, however, I plan on dedicating this next week to writing.
It's easy to get discouraged (as I've mentioned before) but amidst all the craziness, I've also had some really inspiring moments that have made me want to get back to work.
The first came this week on election day. My good friend of seventeen years, Mia Love, was elected to the House of Representatives for Utah's fourth Congressional District.
(Isn't she beautiful?!)
Now, whatever your politics are, Mia has an incredible story and she's admirable for many reasons. One of them is that she doesn't give up, ever. When things get difficult, she works even harder, sets more goals, and pushes forward with more resolve. In the time I've known her and in the time I shared an apartment with her, I've only seen her speak in a way that indicated what she was GOING to accomplish, not what she might or wished to accomplish. Her determination knows no bounds and even in the face of harsh critics (She's in politics- it's bound to happen), she's unfazed. She presses forward with an eye on what she believes in and what she knows is right.
That's always been a bit of a struggle for me. I battle discouragement daily but during the time I've watched my friend's political career blossom and observed her positivity, I've been inspired to keep going with my goals, though they may take a while to fully achieve. Watching the excitement over her success from those that voted for Mia and supported her through her campaign has served to strengthen my resolve in my own goals. Congratulations Mia! I'm so excited to see all the amazing things you're going to continue to accomplish!

The second thing that has helped dispel discouragement is the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something just downright fun and actually having it work out. Remember that remark I made in my last post about my kids needing therapy because I was the type of mom to make them dress up like Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet for Halloween? Um, yeah. I was serious. . . . . 

 I spent a good several weeks on these costumes, (my amazing mother did the bonnet which I wasn't even going to attempt) and I pushed my meager sewing abilities to the extreme in order to make them. Yes, my daughter would have preferred to be Elsa for Halloween like every little girl we've ever met since that blasted movie came out but she eventually agreed to humor my obsession. My son was pretty enthusiastic actually and needed no cajoling (BECAUSE HE'S AWESOME! Seriously, what ten year old boy thinks Pride and Prejudice is totally great? My son, that's who!!) Anyway, these were based off the A&E Pride and Prejudice miniseries from 1995 starring Colin Firth and Jennider Ehle and I reworked several patterns and even drafted a bit of my own to create these costumes. I did it so I could live vicariously through my kids (I SO need a reason to dress up Regency style! Someone, quick! Invite me to a Regency party, please?!!) and because I just wanted to challenge myself. What I wasn't expecting was the incredible positive feedback and excitement from the friends on Facebook who saw the results of my efforts. It was enough to make me think, "Hey, maybe not everything I do is a wash. . ." and from what I was told, it made enough people, friends, and fans of the original miniseries smile and laugh.
And THAT, that alone was worth it.
After all, isn't that why I'm writing? Not everyone is going to like what I publish. I even got my first real snarky review this month. . . (Yay, I'm legit!) but like Mia has shown, I can't let negativity and critics stop me from accomplishing what I believe in.
The true reason I write is because I want to provide good, clean stories that will make people FEEL. Stories that will put smiles on their faces or give them something to think about, something to ponder. I want to provide something that gives them some joy, or hopefully an escape from some of the things they face in their lives. And hopefully there will be enough people in the end who will be happy I attempted it.
So eye twitch, broken transmission, sickness, and all, not a terrible last few weeks and I learned a lot- enough that I wanted to share.
And now for the final bit of news. On Saturday, November 8, I'm going to be featuring another author on my blog. She writes clean young adult novels and her first book is on sale on Amazon for only 99 cents right now.  Sara Gauldin's book, "Alive: The Corporeal Pull" has got awesome reviews and it's a guaranteed clean read for teens and adults. Currently, it's ranking pretty high on Amazon's list of top downloaded books and her second book is set to be released soon! Keep an eye out for the feature, spread the word, and go get her book while the sale is on! I know what I'll be reading tonight!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recommending Myself to Strangers

In the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice, there's that pivotal scene- you know, the one where Mr. Darcy listens to Elizabeth play the piano next to Colonel Fitzwilliam and then approaches them. Elizabeth starts taunting him a bit, pointing out his poor behavior at the ball where she first met him. Granted, Darcy acted like a snob, which of course, is our first impression of him too, but in this scene at the piano, he attempts to defend himself. It goes like this:

Darcy: I fear I am ill qualified to recommend myself to strangers.

Elizabeth: Should we ask him why? Why a man of sense and education who has lived in the world should be ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers?
Darcy: I am. . . I have not that talent which some possess of conversing easily with strangers.

Elizabeth: I do not play this instrument so well as I should wish to, but I have always supposed that to be my own fault because I would not take the trouble of practicing.

(Darcy gives a cute little smile here. Just thought I'd mention that part.)

Darcy: You're perfectly right. You've employed your time much better. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you could think anything wanting. We neither of us perform to strangers.

(And if you want to just watch it, go HERE. And the poster of this video, Tobias Sing, is a much better pianist than Elizabeth so his other video's are worth watching too.)

Okay, so besides just outing the fact that I go all fan girl over Pride and Prejudice (and Jane Austen in general. I may or may not be the kind of woman who forces her ten year old son and four year old daughter to dress up as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth for Halloween. Yes, I'll foot the bill for their therapy someday.), there was a reason I just wrote out that scene. The first time I saw that movie as a teenager, that was the scene where I felt bad for Mr. Darcy, and really sort of related to him.
So, I definitely don't make ten thousand pounds a year or whatever today's equivalent would be, and there is nothing I have to be snobbish about (unless it's my really extensive Jane Austen movie and book collection), but the moment he sheepishly says, "I have not that talent with some possess of conversing easily with strangers" just hit home. I know exactly what that's like. I'm guessing a lot of people do.
I mean, yeah, sure Elizabeth makes a good point but I felt some sympathy for Darcy at the moment because I know what it's like to struggle with socializing.
Fast forward two hundred or so years later (has is been THAT long since the Regency era? It feels like just yesterday. . .) and now we have social media. The very fact that the words "social" and "media" are now coupled makes me want to close my eyes, plug my ears, and scream the words to Handel's "Slumber, Dear Maid," until I pass out. 
Wasn't media a place where you could disappear while being entertained? Sink into the darkness of a movie theater while other people fake-socialized on the screen? And books? Well, they're the best media. Reading quietly to oneself means sharing a world only with the characters in a story. Watching or reading the news while it processes privately in your head. . . 
but now, we're expected to socialize within media too? What's the world coming to?
Okay, I'm in jest, sort of, but to be honest, this is something I struggle with. I tend to be a fairly private person on the public front. Personally, one on one, I may babble your ear off if you seem nice. (I met my kids' former school Principal's wife at the gym a few weeks back. Poor lady had to flee the pool to get me to shut up. I'm still embarrassed about it.) Get me in a social gathering, and I seriously clam up. I've been known to hide in hallways during baby showers. Give me an audience or put me in an online forum or someplace I know may reach a lot of people, I may just have a panic attack. 
Hilarious that I'm a writer, right? Or, not so much, actually.
There are two reasons I'm writing about this issue today. The first is because I want to apologize if any of my readers have felt neglected. I'm not talking about blog posts, like this one. I'm not so full of myself to think that what I post really matters. I'm talking mainly about responding to comments here, reviews and engaging readers on Twitter (Confession: I still don't get Twitter.), Facebook, or on sites like Goodreads and Amazon. If I've come across snobbish or ungracious with my neglect, I am truly sorry. That has never been my intent. 
The second reason I'm writing about this goes a bit deeper. Before I managed to get over my fear of people enough to publish, I followed a lot of forums that dealt with reviewers, readers, and writers. There are a ton of controversies out there where a reviewer says something about a book a writer doesn't like and the writer or his/her agent/editor/friend/posse responds, tweets, or posts in defense or retaliation (however you look at it). Then, the world implodes.
In reading up on these situations, I saw quite a few reviewers and readers telling authors to not comment on anything. The reviewer is simply doing their job and the author should be grateful for the review. The author should gracefully accept the criticism/opinion and move on- and they shouldn't necessarily be messing with or frequenting a readers forum anyway when it's personal to them. Some comments seemed to suggest that, unless initiated, writers should be careful contacting readers for anything. I took this to include thanking them for any reviews. 
I hate controversy and I hate people being angry at me so after seeing this, I vowed to just let people review my books and make comments while I faded silently into the background.
Well, after an interesting conversation with some other writers on a forum, I'm realizing that hasn't served me well either. I've struggled to strike the right balance.
After a particularly awesome review that came when I needed it most, I felt it was important to let the reviewer know how much I appreciated it. Then I felt guilty for not having done that with everyone, especially because I truly AM grateful for every positive review. So after some thought, I've realized I've let my fear of social media and the occasional consequences that come from it scare me away from "recommending myself to strangers" or in better terms, engaging with readers. 
I'm going to change that. . . so when possible, I'm going to take Elizabeth Bennett's words to heart and try to socially engage. I want to thank my reviewers and readers more often because they truly deserve recognition for giving an unknown writer a chance.
Finally, I'm very curious about how reviewers and readers on average feel about contact with the writers of the books they read, whether they liked the book or not. I have a list of questions and if any reader or reviewer actually reads this post, I'd love them to share their thoughts on any of these.

1. Should a writer respond to reviews at all?
2. Should they respond to positive reviews only?
3. Should a writer initiate conversation about a review with a reviewer or reader on a public forum? What about through private communication?
4. Should a writer thank a reviewer for a negative review?
5. Should a writer ever defend him/herself or comment if a review is particularly negative?
6. Do readers and reviewers expect or wish to be personally thanked for each review? 
7. What is a reviewer/readers definition of proper writer etiquette when it comes to social media and working with their readers?

I hope to someday get a myriad of ideas and answers to these questions. . . they're important to me, especially since I'm still trying to find my footing in the writing world. But either way, I want it publicly stated that I'm grateful for my readers and reviewers and their positive words have often kept me writing when I just didn't want to anymore. For that alone, I owe them a lot!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Finally Here!

"Heiress," Book Two in the Birthstone Series (Sequel to "Sea Dweller") is finally here! While I'm still waiting for Barnes & Noble to list the book, Amazon and Itunes currently have it listed. Also, in our local paper, The Mountain Times, my little "writing story" was featured. Thank you to Madie Smith for writing it. It was such an honor to be interviewed and the article was so positive and fun to read! Madie has serious talent in writing.
I'll be posting a bit more about the second book and a few more links as they become available this week, but for now, I wanted to make the anouncement that Book Two is available for purchase. Also, the price is currently $1.99. It won't stay that way. Sea Dweller (book one) will be free soon and when that happens, Heiress will be permanently listed at $2.99. I wanted to make sure it was priced lower for the first buyers!
So, if you plan on purchasing it, grab it now!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal!

It's finished! The cover for the second book in the Birthstone Trilogy. . . or as I've dubbed it,
"Sea Dweller 2". Just as with the last cover shoot, my lovely model, Sydney, did a wonderful job hiking in the mud and cold and ignoring the strange looks people gave us while she strolled around a public park in a medieval dress and in the (extremely) heavy cloak shown in the photo. So, I owe her a very special thank you for once again, being willing to be my cover model.

And yes, this means that Book 2 - otherwise known as "Heiress" - is VERY close to being released. I don't have an exact date yet but it's nearing the final stages of editing.

Thank you to all of those wonderful friends, family, and readers who have hung in there and been so patient. I've had a lot of questions about when Book 2 would be ready and I've had to confess to people that I am a slow writer. Luckily, I'm getting faster with each book. . .so maybe Book 3 (the last book about Aylen and Sai but NOT the last book based in this world) will be finished even faster.

Anyway, enough blathering. I've got a bit more editing to do and the sooner I do it, the sooner "Heiress" will be out to purchase! I can't wait to share the rest of the Aylen's story!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Ambivalent Writer

Many years ago, in the early days of my marriage, I found myself wandering through a Borders Bookstore on a crisp, probably cold evening in Logan, Utah. There were a few extra dollars in my pocket (I'm not sure why; we were always broke during those days)and I knew I needed something to inspire me. I skipped over my typical search through women's fiction- this was before I'd discovered how much I loved children's and YA literature- and drifted toward the section for writers.

Anyone who has a yearning to write knows that section. It's the one that offers advice, sympathy, and a thousand encouraging words for the poor, miserable souls who are convinced writing is their path to immortality. The shelves are jammed with books written by editors, literary agents, successful authors who've forgotten what it was like to be on the dark side(every unpublished author hates those the most), and unknown writers who seem to think they have a wealth of information to spew even though no one has heard of anything they've written. There are over priced reference books that list constantly outdated requirements for submission to agents and publishing houses, and books on grammar that people like myself ignore far too often.

My eyes scanned the titles, looking for what would make the flame inside me blaze.

 That "flame" - my writer's flame - had been around for nearly as long as I could remember. It flickered at times, but sometimes, it roared to life again until it nearly consumed me. The first time I'd been consumed was in fourth grade. Even though I knew I wanted to be a writer by third grade, it was my fourth grade teacher who assigned the class to write a paragraph about three things they'd take with them to a desert island.

 I ended up with a twenty-two page story. And that tiny writer's flame inside of me exploded. I knew writing defined me, my desires, my future, my very soul.

 So, on that night in Logan, after years of failure in writing and a million moments of the flame alternating between flickering and blazing, I wanted something solid. Something that would tell me my words had worth. I shouldn't give up. Someday it would be worth it.

 And I found Betsy Lerner.

 It's been years since I read her book "The Forest for the Trees" but I remember feeling like she GOT it. Betsy understood how difficult this business was. How discouraging. How humiliating at times. And when she defined the different types of writers, I knew she had my number. I'm what she termed the "Ambivalent Writer". I'm the writer who can say, "I'm awesome, I stink," all in the same sentence. I have a million ideas and I can't force myself to write them. I fear writing. I love it. I hate it. I HAVE TO DO IT or I forget how to breathe. And this is why my second book isn't out yet.

 I'm not making excuses. Honestly, I'm not sure that it really matters to anyone but myself. One of the nice things about being an indie author is that an author can set her own release date. Usually, with indie authors, they are much faster than the year long wait between books with traditional publishing. However, sometimes, it can take much longer. And in my case, it's because of my ambivalence. I'm all over the place when it comes to my confidence and desire to write.

 All over my "All About Writing" Pinterest board, I've pinned words of encouragement about just sitting down and writing and sticking to it because that's what I struggle with the most. When the writing flame is only a flicker, it sputters with a barrage of thoughts that sound something like, "I suck. I suck. I suck." Then I begin the internal war that goes, "I HATE writing!" in a pouty, weepy voice, but quickly moves on to, "But I LOVE it. I NEED it. I AM a writer." Then, "But I hate it! I'll never be good enough!" And on and on.

 Occasionally these thoughts make a verbal showing around my family and I can promise, it drives my husband crazy. If he thinks it's that bad, he should try listening to it in his head all day.

 The reason I'm sharing this is to explain. For anyone that cares, yes, Aylen and Sai's story continues. I love them. I care about those characters as though they were my own flesh. I hear their voices when I sleep and during nearly every waking hour. The next book is about their individual strengths and sacrifices and it's nearly done - but I AM a slow writer. Besides the typical struggles of being a mother of four small tyrants (really, I adore my tyrants) I struggle deeply with self confidence and self worth. Deeply. This isn't a good thing when you are putting your books out to be critiqued (Note to self: New Year's resolution is to develop a thicker skin) and sometimes I allow my confidence issues and love/hate relationship with writing to cripple me. Sometimes it cripples me for weeks. Months even. Other times, something ignites the flame again and I can overcome it. Oftentimes, it's the kind and encouraging words of a reader that clears the haze of discouragement from my mind.

 So, I want to thank those that have read my little story and said such positive things about it. It is the kind, enthusiastic words from readers that keep me from giving up when my confidence is fragile. A simple positive rating on Goodreads from a stranger has honestly been a tide-turner for me. Your opinion and support matters. And I think it's the same with all writers. We rely on our readers. We care about them. We appreciate them. Words have so much power, especially from a reader. In fact, they may be the very thing that can turn a writer's flame back into a blaze that can consume the writer's ambivalence and set them back on the course they've lost. Thanks to my wonderful readers and writer friends, I think I'm headed there now.

 I hope you have a wonderful New Year. You truly deserve it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Obviously, I LOVE young adult books and lately, I've come across some amazing authors. One of my new favorites is Kelly Oram. A while ago, one of my good friends recommended one of Kelly's books to me (because that is what good friends do! We share books!) and I was instantly hooked. Kelly writes very fun, lighthearted, thoughtful stories that keep you turning pages and constantly wanting to see what happens next. I was so impressed with the first one I read that I hurried and bought several more of her books for my kindle. I loved them all! One of my favorites was the first book in the Jamie Baker series. "Being Jamie Baker" was such an intersting, engaging story with an exciting, fast paced plot that I have no problem reading it again and again. I was thrilled when I found out that a sequel was coming out and I wanted to help promote the series. I love finding good, clean stories that I can recommend to everyone and this series is right there on the list. You'll even find these books on my Pinterest board - and I don't pin books lightly! If I've got you interested yet, then check out the info below and get your Jamie Baker books! I'm a little late posting this but it's not too late to get a good deal for the first book just in time for the second to be released! Happy reading!
More Than Jamie Baker, the second book in the Jamie Baker series by Kelly Oram is almost here! 
Haven't read book one yet? No problem! 
For a limited time Being Jamie Baker(Jamie Baker #1) is available for $.99 on Amazon and Barnes&Noble!
Don't miss out on this electrifying tale of superpowers, bad guys, and heart-stopping kisses. Literally, heart-stopping...
An accident that should end in tragedy instead gives seventeen-year-old Jamie Baker a slew of uncontrollable superhuman abilities.  To keep her secret safe Jamie socially exiles herself, earning the title of Rocklin High's resident ice queen. But during a supercharged encounter with star quarterback Ryan Miller she literally kisses anonymity goodbye. Now the annoyingly irresistible Ryan will stop at nothing to melt the heart of the ice queen and find out what makes her so special.  Unfortunately, Ryan is not the only person on to her secret. Will Jamie learn to contain her unstable powers before being discovered by the media or turned into a government lab rat? More importantly, can she throw Ryan Miller off her trail before falling in love with him?