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?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Bit O' Change

I really like change. I've never been one to love my surroundings or environment so much that the thought of something changing gave me reason to lament. Through my teen years, I'd get so bored with routine and I'd desperately crave some excitement in my life. Well, as fourteen year old, rule-following, straight laced nerd (Yes, I admit it, I was a nerd), there wasn't a whole lot to do to generate excitement. So, when I was desperate for some sort of alteration to my life, I usually did something truly brilliant like chop all my hair off. Or dye it a really bad brassy blond - which, believe me, is NOT my color. In fact, for some reason, my hair usually took the brunt of my need for change/control in my life. This didn't help my "nerd" situation much because whatever I tended to do never looked that great and I usually ended up in my mother's hairdresser's chair wondering why I couldn't just leave things alone.
But fast forward many years later (yeah, I'm not gonna tell you how many) and I still haven't quite kicked my need for change. Luckily, I don't lash out at my hair so much anymore. I've allowed my husband to have a bit of a say in that and well, being bribed to keep my locks long doesn't hurt either. However, I still get bored and seek out ways of creating something new. When I'm not writing or taking care of my kids, I'm sewing a new dress or playing around in Photoshop, even with old photos I'd once forgotten about.
So, it's no surprise that I went back to some of my old covers for "Sea Dweller" and decided to start altering a few of them. At first it was merely just for fun after a long day of writing, editing business photos, and hearing my sons beat the snot out of each other in the background. But after a while, one in particular really grew on me although it was never one of my favorites in the past.
Apparently, it's now my cover of choice.
So, the updated cover for "Sea Dweller" is:

Granted, this isn't everyone's favorite but for now, it's mine. And the nice thing about it is that unlike a really bad hair cut, it can be changed quickly if I want. But in the meantime, something about this one just made me want to step into the picture and stay there for awhile.
Now. . . as for an update about book two, let me just promise that it's coming. I've had some really wonderful reviews from such encouraging people and I can't express my thanks enough for those kind words. My readers in Australia have been such a delight and a surprise and now, here in the US, Sea Dweller is staying near the top of Amazon's free list in several categories. I hope it can stay there for a bit while I crank out the last bit of book two. Soon, I will post the book description, the title, and maybe I can even put an excerpt or two up.
Download Sea Dweller if you haven't yet while it's free! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Still Here. . .

I know, I know. I've gone AWOL for a while, but I promise I'm still here and book #2 is on it's way. I don't have a release date yet but I'm currently preparing for a cover shoot in the next few weeks - if we can get a good rainy, overcast day. Come on, this is Oregon! That shouldn't be too difficult, right?
I'm planning on working with Apple and Smashwords to get the second book available for pre-order once I have a final release date. Also, the new cover will be revealed.
I wanted to give a quick thank you to all of my readers who have left such incredible reviews. Apple has seen a ton of awesome reviews on Itunes and because of the top ratings in Australia, my book was featured as part of an ebook promotion in Australia and New Zealand. THANK YOU!!! It's amazing to me to know that I have readers so far away who love my story.  
Sea Dweller is still fairly unknown and I haven't done as much marketing as I'd like, but the people who have read the book have been so supportive and so enthusiastic. Honestly, it means so much to me. I'm sorry I haven't been as quick as I should be in getting the second book out. I haven't forgotten my readers and those that want the rest of the story. It IS coming!
So, in the meantime, I'm going to try and update the look of the blog (yeah, the banner needs replacing) and pin down a release date. The second book has a lot going on and it's been an interesting process sorting it all out. These characters are real to me and as strange as it sounds, I know the background stories behind every side character and the reasons for every little choice each character makes. This will probably lead to some novella's in the future. Oh, and yes! We will have paperback copies of Sea Dweller available at some point soon. 
Again, thank you to my amazing readers all around the globe. I'm so grateful for your support and enthusiasm! And I promise not to disappear for so long again!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seal Rock Inspiration & a Giveaway

The summer I turned eighteen, I was invited to stay with my grandmother in her home on the Oregon Coast. She and my grandfather owned an incredible house on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just directly north of the Yaquina Head lighthouse. It was a major time of transition for me and I wasn't sure what I was going to be doing with my future. I remember I just needed some time to get away from home and think. The invitation came at a crucial time and I jumped at the chance. I had no idea how it would shape and change me for the rest of my life.
In my Grandmother's home was a bright, cheery sun room, surrounded with windows. One wall in the room had a large, white built in bookcase filled to nearly overflowing with books of all kinds that belonged to both my Grandmother and my aunt. I spent hours curled up on the couch in that room reading my heart out, the sun pouring in through the windows and skylights, my aunt's adorable little dog curled up on my lap. It was glorious.
When I wasn't reading, I slid and skipped along the cliffs behind the home, tumbling softly down toward the beach, catching the crests of sand like waves on a surf board until I hit solid ground. I picked wild strawberries and popped their seedy little bodies in my mouth while I searched for treasure buried in the rocks in the cliff crevices.
Most evenings, I sat on the deck facing the ocean and stared at the smattering of stars, lost in their endless numbers and wondrous at how the tiny lights of ships on the horizon almost disappeared in their midst. The lighthouse would wink at me twice and then once, never faltering in its rhythm. And the sound of the ocean- that hum of wind and water pulling and shifting the earth- stayed with me everywhere, even in my sleep.
A short while into my stay, my grandmother introduced me to a girl about my age who attended our church. I don't remember her name but I remember much of her story and the things she shared with me. I also remember the day she showed me her favorite place on the Oregon Coast.
She and her mother invited us to visit a beach they particularly loved a little ways from Newport. We drove down Hwy 101, crossing the Newport bridge, heading south where, back then, things weren't very developed. It's still relatively untouched but the effects of the bigger cities are slowly leaking south now. But at that time, I remember thinking there were a few nice beaches in that area but nothing I was willing to drive south to see. 
We stopped next to a little building alongside the road in an unused gravel lot and parked the car. There was nothing else around and we were high above the ocean. Then, my friend led us across the 101 toward a short, old barrier protecting drivers from the ravine below. 
With a smile on her face, she hopped over the barrier and led us through the thick brush and trees into a steep path heading straight for a beach. When we emerged, I found myself in the most beautiful little cove I'd ever seen. And we were completely alone.
Craggy, jagged mountains rose in front of us, creating a partial barrier from the ocean. Around them, the water tumbled in, washing over rocks and forming pools where anemones and starfish nestled. Pelicans, gulls, and other birds I didn't have the names for nested in the peaks of the rocks. Just beyond the foremost mountains were several scattered piles of stone jutting up from the ocean. White surf pounded against the rocks, crashing and tumbling over them until the water finally hit the sand in frothy white foam. Little piles of sparkling rock lay scattered over the beach, a mixture of jasper, agate, fossil, lava rock, and more. I don't remember my reaction, but I'll never forget the feeling I had standing on that little hidden piece of paradise.
I was home.
After that day, I went there as often as I could. I spent hours sifting through rock, searching for shimmering treasures. I explored the little cave that's only accessible after the tide has gone out as far as it will go, being careful to emerge before the surf began to pour back in. I studied the tide pools, so deep and so brimming with life it was almost too much to absorb. I climbed rocks and watched the surf pound and crash mere feet away. Sometimes I wondered how I would ever possibly leave when the time came.
Eventually, I did have to return to reality, go to college, and make a million difficult and aggravating decisions for my life. But over the years, those days on that beach and my time with my grandmother on the Oregon Coast have stayed with me, one of the brightest, most beautiful places in my memory.
Sixteen years later, on my husband's and my tenth anniversary, I finally returned to that same beach for a visit. I wondered if I had built it up in my head. Was it really as amazing and magical as I remembered? Could it just have been romanticized? 
I don't think so, but you can decide for yourself in just a minute.
Anyway, with my visit, I realized how much of my book "Sea Dweller" was inspired by this very place. In a way, I had  been writing "Sea Dweller" for sixteen years, dreaming and imagining the location, patterning it after the place I love so well. Going back again was like coming home. Climbing the rocks and exploring the tide pools and caves with my husband brought back images from my book, moments I'd pulled out of the recesses of my memory.
So, in honor of my recent visit to the place that inspired Sea Dweller, and in honor of you reading this far, I'm holding a drawing. Below are some of the images I've managed to snag from Seal Rock, Oregon during my trip. I'm offering an 11X14 or 12X18 professional print of any one of the pictures below to three winners. To be entered in the drawing, here's what you have to do:

1. Read "Sea Dweller" - it's currently FREE on Smashwords in just about every digital format you could need. It's also free on Itunes and Diesel ebooks. Amazon is still charging but it's available there too. 

2. Leave a comment in the comment section telling me your favorite part of the book.

3. Spread the word about this contest! Tweet or Facebook this post and mention that you did it in the comments section. OR leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or Smashwords and share the link. 

That's it! 
You get a free ebook and a chance to win a professional print. Remember to only enter once and the drawing will be held on September 1st. You have until midnight, August 31st.
Happy reading! And below are the photos of my favorite place on earth: Seal Rock, Oregon.

And then probably not print worthy for some, but just for fun: