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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Review: EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

This book has been on my TBR list forever! And when the new baby came along and I stumbled into LOTS of reading time, I just broke down and bought it for my Kindle (it's easier to hold and turn pages with one hand ...)

From Brodi Ashton's Blog: Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why I Stopped Reading #5

Genre: YA Fantasy
Audience: YA
Length: 592

Where I stopped: pg 60

Why I stopped: It's always interesting to me when a best seller that a lot of people like by a good author just doesn't click with me. So many people I know liked this book, but I for me ... meh. Mostly I just wasn't connecting with the main character at all. And even though I loved the setting of the book, the subject matter didn't seem like my thing either. I'll also have to admit that a nearly 600 page book is hard to hold with one hand, so perhaps that led to me putting it down too ... ;)

What we learned: This has come up before so the same advice applies. Just because one person doesn't like the book doesn't meant there's not someone out there who will champion it. Keep writing. Keep querying. Keep it up. Stuff will work out.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Over Thanksgiving I was lamenting to my mom about how unlucky I've been with the free ebooks I've found on Kindle lately. (Okay, so I'm not really surprised. They are free, after all.) It seemed like all the historical romance novels (yes, I've been reading far too many lately. I know, I know. I should branch out, but, you know, new baby ... haven't gotten to the library ...) anyway, it seemed like they were either bad or naughty. Yep, there's a difference. She said she'd come across this cute novella called GENTLEMAN OF HER DREAMS that she thought was good and had the added bonus of being an inspirational romance without being preachy. And, well, it was free!

From Amazon.comWhen Miss Charlotte Wilson asks God for a husband, she decides He must want her to pursue Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the catch of the season. The only problem? She's never actually met Hamilton. Fortunately, one of her oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Henry St. James--who has returned to New York after a two-year absence--does know Hamilton. Much to Henry's chagrin, Charlotte immediately ropes him into helping her meet Hamilton. However, none of her plans to catch Hamilton's eye go as she expected, and she is even more confused when her old feelings for Henry begin to resurrect themselves. In the midst of the mayhem Charlotte always seems to cause, she wonders if the gentleman of her dreams might be an entirely different man than she thought.This novella is a companion to A Change of Fortune, Jen Turano's full-length debut novel, available fall 2012!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why I Stopped Reading #4

Genre: Regency
Audience: Adult
Length: 399

Where I stopped: pg. 83 (23%)

Why I stopped: Biggest reason -- The story felt too much like Pride & Prejudice. The author, who honestly states up front that they are writing as Jane Austen -- basically trying to mirror her style, which I have nothing against, if the story were original. Second reason -- it's just plain confusing. Now, granted, it took me a few chapters to really get into the language of Austen my first time through P&P, but like I've mentioned before: if I'm this confused now, will I still be confused half-way through the book? When I finish?

What did we learn: It's crazy, because it boils down to some advice I literally just read on twitter from an agent doing #tenqueries. "...if you do an homage it needs to be better than the original." Which, you know, Austen -- so that's really hard. Realistically, in my opinion it needs to be pretty darn good and, well, a bit more original.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review: THE MEASURE OF A LADY by Deeanne Gist

I read MAID TO MATCH by Ms. Gist quite a while ago and really enjoyed her writing. When I saw two of her other books at a thrift store in my area (and they had beautiful covers!) I snapped them up. 

From DeeaneeGist.comRachel Van Buren arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with two wishes: to protect her younger siblings and to return east as soon as possible. Both goals prove more difficult than she could imagine as her brother and sister are lured by the city's dangerous freedom and a missionary-turned-gambler stakes a claim on her heart. Rachel won't give up without a fight though, and soon all will learn an eloquent but humorous lesson about what truly makes a lady.
Speak Politely. Even when you're the only respectable woman around, protesting the decadence of a city lost to gold fever.
Dress Modestly. Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody sees your work boots muddied by the San Francisco streets.
Remain Devoted to Family. Protect your siblings from the lures of the city, even against their wishes.
Stand Above Reproach. Most difficult when a wonderful man turns out to be a saloon owner.
Rise Above Temptation. No, not even just a little kiss ...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sometimes I Bake: Super Easy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I originally pinned this recipe from Homemade by Holman because I love Lofthouse cookies. But I am also cheap. And usually I can't bring myself to spend $4.99 on a box of cookies. But I love Lofthouse cookies and this recipe looked pretty easy. Then today I wanted to make some cookies and the pumpkin snickerdoodles that I pinned a while back looked good, but certainly not as easy. I thought to myself, If they can use a cake mix to make a sugar cookie, I could use it to make a pumpkin cookie. So easy. And it was.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Words to Write By: Writing Through Anything

Another gem from Writer's Digest that I think is absolutely indispensable, especially when I hear too many writers bemoaning that they can't write unless they have a quiet place. Moms who have to use night time and nap time because writing while their kids are up is too distracting. Perhaps because I've always been one of those writers who could sit down for five minutes at a time while the kids are being good and pound out a few words or a paragraph or even just a great sentence, I really clicked with this advice. I believe in it strongly. I think that as a writer, you should think long and hard about working on this if you're not able to do it now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: BEFORE THE SEASON ENDS by Linore Rose Burkard

From LinoreBurkard.com: Linore Rose Burkard's debut novel whisks readers into a world of English manners, romance and adventure.
Regency Romance meets Christian Inspiration in this satisfying historical romp into 1813 London, where the principled, sweet heroine, Miss Ariana Forsythe meets her match in Mr. Phillip Mornay.
Trouble at home sends Ariana to her aunt's townhouse in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There, she soon finds herself neck-deep in high society and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London's current darling rogue. Then, a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her heart, her faith, and her future are all at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent's attention.
Will Ariana's faith survive this test? What about her heart? For it's Ariana's heart that most threatens to betray the truths she has always believed in. When she finds herself backed against a wall, betrothed to the wrong man, how can it ever turn out right?

Audience: Adult
Genre: Regency Romance, Inspirational Romance
Length: 349 pages

Rating: ** (It was okay.)

The Pros: How can you go wrong with a hero named Phillip? In my experience, I've loved heroes with this moniker. This one didn't disappoint. He was my favorite part of the book by far. He was reserved, but still goodhearted deep down. The plot was original and I enjoyed it.

The Cons: I've never come across an inspirational Regency romance before. As inspirational romances go, this one is very preachy, especially the latter half. I never skip pages in a book, but I skipped several in the final chapters of this one, just to get to the end and see what happened. Ariana's insistence that Phillip "come to Christ" made her seem self-righteous and I found myself identifying more with Phillip and Ariana's "heathen" aunt than with Ariana.

Disclaimer: Nothing

You can buy BEFORE THE SEASONS ENDS and it's two companion novels at www.linoreburkard.com.

If you're interested in Regency romance, check out my novella A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer

I'm always on the lookout for a free book. Better, I'm always on the lookout for a good, free book. Several months ago, ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer was free as a promotion and my cousin shared the link and said he'd really enjoyed it. I downloaded it right away and wasn't disappointed.

From Amazon.comTwelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. With two trusty sidekicks in tow, he hatches a cunning plot to divest the fairyfolk of their pot of gold. Of course, he isn't foolish enough to believe in all that "gold at the end of the rainbow" nonsense. Rather, he knows that the only way to separate the little people from their stash is to kidnap one of them and wait for the ransom to arrive. But when the time comes to put his plan into action, he doesn't count on the appearance of the extra-small, pointy-eared Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaisance) Unit--and her senior officer, Commander Root, a man (sorry, elf) who will stop at nothing to get her back.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Remember how I've mentioned a few times that I *know* Sarah M. Eden? And how she gave me the inside scoop on publication dates a while back? This was one of the "scoops" she gave me: the inclusion of her short story "The Road to Cavan Town" in A TIMELESS ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY: WINTER COLLECTION. So, you know, one day when I was on a book buying spree, I downloaded it. Of course.

From Timeless Romance blog: Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed brand new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection. A collection unlike any other, readers will love this compilation of six sweet historical romance novellas, set in varying eras, yet all with one thing in common: Romance.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sometimes I Bake: Three Ingredient Applesauce Cookies

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Me and the little one are having this issue. I like to eat lots of stuff that he doesn't like coming through in my milk. This is no surprise. I've had two previous little ones who were very strict about my diet. This one, though, I'm making an attempt to be even stricter. And I've found out a few things I didn't know could bother a baby. Like grapes, for instance. Seriously. Who knew? I got my education from 8:30 to about midnight last night. Believe me, grapes are so not worth it. Chocolate? Possibly. Grapes? No.

So I got on Pinterest to find some treats that would jive. And I found these two ingredient, banana oatmeal cookies. (And since this was before I knew about grapes being of the devil, I put raisins in them. Bad idea.) Let's just say, they were sort of weird anyway. But the concept ... these cookies had basically two things: bananas and oatmeal. So if you at the entire batch, really all you were consuming was two bananas and like a cup of oats. Healthy! But like I said, the banana part was pretty weird for me. So I thought to myself, What about applesauce? That seems to go better with oatmeal anyway. So off I went to my kitchen for some experimentation.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: THE NEXT DOOR BOYS by Jolene Perry

So that bouncing, bundle of joy we were expecting at the Clarks? He arrived. :) He's beautiful. He's adorable. He wants to eat a lot. That equals quality time with him and my Kindle (and pretty much any book I can get my hands on). So while my content on the blog might be spotty for a bit, you can count on some reviews coming!

And first up, THE NEXT DOOR BOYS by Jolene B. Perry. I have been meaning to read this book pretty much since the moment it came out. Jolene is a fantastic critiquer I've relied on in the past and her opinion about a lot of things bookish and writish (and probably any other -ish if I thought to ask ...) really matters to me. Take for instance the release of A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION. I knew nothing, nothing about these self-publishing matters, so I went straight to Jolene.

From Jolene's WebsiteLeigh Tressman has been known as a lot of things – the girl who sings, the girl who sews, Jaron’s little sister, and last year, the girl with cancer. With her body still recovering from the cancer treatments, she’s determined to be independent and convinces her parents to let her follow her overprotective brother, Jaron, to BYU.

With an ever expanding line of young men ready to be in love with her – not to mention physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas – Leigh almost misses the opportunity to be with the man who has been quietly falling in love with her since they met. The Next Door Boys proves that even with (or maybe in spite of) independence, love can be found in comfortable, but delightful places.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: NOT MY TYPE by Melanie Jacobson

So you all know how I claim to be writing this fun, contemporary LDS romance? I started revisions the other day and wondered about some things. I've read a lot of romance and def my fair share of LDS romance, but none of them seemed quite like what I was writing. I did know of one person who does write like that: Melanie Jacobson. I bought NOT MY TYPE as research. I swear.

From DeseretBook.comTwenty-three-year-old Pepper Spicer is not living the dream. She ended her engagement at the last minute because fiance—a musician an soon-to-be reality TV star—wanted her to sacrifice her own career ambitions for his. Now she's stuck at home sharing a room with her little sister, trying to pay off massive debt for a wedding that didn't happen, and spending Friday nights Facebook-stalking everyone who has a better life. Her therapist father urges her to choose her career dreams and count her blessings by writing weekly thank-you notes, but gratitude is a tall order when she botches an important job interview and has to settle for writing an undercover dating web-zine column—the last thing in the world she wants to do. Still, as Pepper (byline:Indie Girl) chronicles her bizarre and hilarious blind dates, she gives her father's challenge a try and slowly finds herself leaving self-pity behind. Life takes a major upswing as Pepper's column hits the big time and she tastes the exhilarating thrill of success. But there's one tiny problem: the intensely hot man she's falling for is having issues with her job (again). Will Pepper trade her personal ambition for another chance at love?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #6

Today's Three-Hundred comes from a currently untitled, mainstream novel by brave--er, Lucky Victim #6!

Okay, so now everyone is wondering, what are we supposed to learn from a Three Hundred Thursday entry that's SO CLEAN? Don't worry, you can learn things from good stuff too.
* When you turn in something without grammatical errors, awkward sentences, iffy word choices, etc., it makes an agent/editor/reader take notice. And read on. They'll notice the time and effort you've put in to your work to make it shine. Remember the "Why I Stopped Reading Post" where I talked about if it was this confusing in the first few pages, it probably would be the rest of the book? The opposite holds true. If the author is this precise in the beginning, that will probably continue as well. The same holds true for a query. I can't tell you the number of times during agent Sarah Megibow's #10queriesin10tweets that I've read the line, "grammar and writing are weak" as a reason for her rejecting it. It's important. It's your preview, just like those first words are. This is your first impression. Get. It. Right.

Help out and comment below. Please remember to keep your comments respectful and consider the author and his/her willingness to participate. (Thanks, Victim #6!)
Are you interested? Use the Contact Me page to send your first three-hundred words or your query letter for critique. Be brave!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: AN UNLIKELY MATCH by Sarah M. Eden

So you guys all know the story of how I got this book into my hands. My *signed*, amazing copy of AN UNLIKELY MATCH came to me via my sister, who shall ever be praised on this blog.

From Sarah's website (Yes, I've started referring to her by first name. She called me lovely. Well, my choice in books, but that's a minor detail. We are best friends now. Just try and argue that.) *clears throat* Anyway ... the blurbThe future has never looked brighter for once penniless Nickolas Pritchard. Now in possession of an unforeseen legacy from a distant cousin, he can finally woo the exquisite Miss Castleton, belle of the London Season. What better setting for matchmaking than Ty Mynydd, his ancestral home nestled in the untamed hills of Wales? Ideal, indeed ... except for the ghost. 

For nearly four hundred years, Gwen has walked the halls of the home in which she lived—and died a mysterious death. But despite centuries as the reigning force within her ancient residence, nothing prepares her for the charm and unexpected appeal of Englishman Nickolas. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012


So the other day I was bugging Sarah Eden on twitter about when her next book came out. That sweet girl told me she has several things coming out this fall/winter, which got me all excited. One of those things is a short story in the Timeless Romance Anthology. So I headed on over to their blog to check things out and came across the most beautiful cover for another book, MISS DELACOURT HAS HER DAY by Heidi Ashworth. Have I ever mentioned that I choose, like, 75% of the books I pick up based on their covers? So I skipped on over to Amazon to see what I could see and saw that MISS DELACOURT HAS HER DAY is actually the second book and that the first book, MISS DELACOURT SPEAKS HER MIND is free to borrow if you have a Kindle. Which I happen to have. :D You know where this is going, don't you -- regency lover finds free book ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I Stopped Reading #3

Time for another edition of Why I Stopped Reading.

Genre: Fantasy
Audience: MG
Pages: 258

Where I stopped: 28% (Kindle version)

Why I stopped: Today's "Why I Stopped Reading" is pretty different from many of the others. The one thing it has in common is that I downloaded this book for free on one of its promotion days. The thing that is way different? This book has a four star rating on Amazon and good reviews from big places like Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus. So why did I stop? I lost interest, pure and simple. Disclaimer: I'm not a big MG fan, probably because I crave more romance than it can provide. There have been a few MGs that I've really enjoyed, but there are not a lot that I LOVED. (Can you count Harry Potter? Is it MG?) The book had some exciting things going on and an interesting plot, it just wasn't enough. For me. You might be absolutely different.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three Hundred Thursday #5

Yes, it's another Three-Hundred Thursday! Today's is from a MS titled EVE OF THE SIREN. 

Jagged rocks twisted, towered over, (I'm a big fan of the serial comma, so I always insert it. It's a style choice, but whatever the style choice made, just use it consistently throughout the MS) and surrounded Ax, cocooning him a cold, shadowy prison. The water current swirled and taunted his body bringing with it pungent odors from Panthon prison. It was (Can a stronger, more descriptive word be used here to convey something about this prison? Consider something like stood, towered, rotted -- any one word that might give the reader a better idea of this prison) miles away, but Ax wasn’t surprised it didn't surprise Ax (To avoid passive writing) that he could smell it. That place reeked. Still, he was glad for the stench. He was counting counted (More often than not, past progressive use with "was" can be changed to simple past tense without making the sentence awkward or without changing the meaning. It brings the action closer to the reader and doesn't crowd up the sentence) on it to mask his own scent.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


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So maybe you guys have noticed some really crazy stuff going on around here. Like me publishing my Regency novella, A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION. Here's the pretty cover:

And the blurb: 

After Lord Dersingham spurned her last season, Iris Colburn promises to never allow him back into her heart, despite his excuses, his long-standing connection to her family, or the fact that she once loved him.
But upon her return from Paris, Iris finds it is more difficult than she expected to keep Lord Dersingham at arm's length. His presence at nearly every social function Iris attends reminds her more of their blissful past than the sting of his rejection. Worse, she fears she is falling for him again.
If it wasn't for his outrageous behavior, that is. He asks Iris' father for permission to court her -- again -- but then showers attention on the disreputable Miss Halliday.
Iris doesn't know what kind of game Lord Dersingham is playing, but with her heart and her pride on the line, she will do anything to win.

I'm in the mood to throw confetti and give away things. Like, well, obviously, copies of A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION (both ebook and paperback) and, in honor of me attempting to write regency, I'm also going to give away something from a true master.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I Stopped Reading #2

Genre: Regency Romance
Audience: Adult
Pages: 270

I stopped at page: 15

Why I stopped reading: Historical implausibility. It's really as simple as I couldn't believe a major part of the character's back story. But why would that just make me stop? Because it makes me wonder -- Does the author really know this time period well enough to write in it?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sometimes I Bake: Zucchini Brownie Bread

So sometimes I'm creative in ways other than writing. Here's one of them! Baking. But, really, not that often. Because if I bake, that means I eat what I bake. And I have no self-control.

I've had these zucchinis sitting on my counter for a bit, waiting to be made into bread. Let's be honest, now that it's the end of the season, we're not going to be eating them for dinner. We need zucchini bread! Perhaps enough to last us through the winter! (Although, I did see a pin on Pinterest for some zucchini that looked pretty good and amazingly it wasn't inside bread ...)

Then I decided I wanted chocolate zucchini bread, but all the recipes had cinnamon. I have nothing against cinnamon. I actually happen to love it. I don't really have anything against cinnamon and chocolate, it's just not what I wanted. I wanted something more brownie tasting, but in a bread. After a fruitless search, I just decided to make my own recipe, which I'm sharing here. I used a combination of my trusty zucchini bread recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (a great, basic cookbook. Love it.) and a zucchini brownie recipe I found here.

Source: verybestbaking.com via Ranee on Pinterest

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing

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Have I ever extolled the many virtues of Kaylee Baldwin? Well, she's my critique partner and totally awesome. And she tagged me for a post called "The Next Big Thing" about your current WIP.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have always loved historical romances, but never considered myself one of those people who could pull it off -- until I wrote a half-historical, half-contemporary romance about a girl who travels back to 1909. Once I realized that, oh yeah, I am a historian and I can do this, I took a stab at Regency.
The inspiration actually came from a scene in a Georgette Heyer book -gah, can't remember the name, but I know it's one of my favorites. One of the love interests talks about always intending to offer for the heroine. She doesn't end up with him, but it got me thinking. How would a girl respond to a guy who's been charming and in her life, wooed her a time or two, but never made the big step until it was too late for him. Eventually the characters all evolved into a crazy different story!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Remember that sale on Shannon Hale ebooks and I finally picked up MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND? Around the same time Deseret Book had a big sale on lots of books too and I got free shipping, so THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE finally arrived at my house after months and months of being on my TBR list.

From Shannon Hale's websiteMormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. A few hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened, though nothing has happened...it isn't sexual. It isn't even quite love. But soon Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what's hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends--talk-on-the-phone, drop-everything-in-an-emergency, laugh-out-loud-at-stupid-jokes best friends. 

Becky's loving and devoted husband, Mike, is mostly unconcerned. Her children roll their eyes. Her large extended family and neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special... something unusual, something that seems from the outside--and sometimes from the inside too--completely impossible to sustain.

On the surface, Becky's story of a steadfast housewife and the handsome star is the ultimate romantic fantasy. But the depth of emotion that Shannon Hale shows us in Becky is the strength that underpins only the strongest relationships. It is what makes this story resonate beyond the glitter of Felix's movie-stardom to the deeper understanding of the kinds of true love we all dream of having.

Shannon Hale has created a magical and often hilarious story that explores what might happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life, and changes everything. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Author Interview: Kate Palmer, THE GUY NEXT DOOR

Yesterday we had a fun review and a chance to win Kate Palmer's debut novel THE GUY NEXT DOOR. (You should go check that out and click on the blog tour banner to see all the other blogs participating in the tour and the contest!) Today we have a fun interview with Kate. Pay attention to the end! I'm definitely adding a few of her TBR and favorite books to my list!

Me: For the writers out there - Can you describe how THE GUY NEXT DOOR came into publishing existence? (Writing, looking for a publisher, acceptance, editing, etc.)

Kate: In the fall of 2008, I began studying how to write because I’d just read a series of books that completely immersed me in its world. I wanted to know how the author had done that. Studying led to trying it out, and suddenly I was writing this book.

From the outset, I knew I didn’t have the time or money for writing conferences so I would have to learn from the best. I determined to follow the writing advice of authors who were making a living at writing and study the books they recommended.

Using those resources, I polished my manuscript and sent it in to Deseret Book in October of 2009. In December of 2009 I sent it to Covenant. In January 2010 I received a rejection from Deseret Book. In September 2010, two weeks after my sixth baby was born, Covenant emailed an acceptance. Lots of happy tears ensued.

I read Scene and Structure by Jack M. Bickham in January 2012 and knew I could improve my manuscript. I contacted my editor and he agreed that I should edit it on my own before he looked at it. I submitted those edits in early March.

I didn’t hear back about until the last week of June. Then the serious editing deadlines hit. By the end of July THE GUY NEXT DOOR had gone to press.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: THE GUY NEXT DOOR by Kate Palmer

Have I ever mentioned how cool it is when authors ask me to review their books? It's SO fun. Reviewing THE GUY NEXT DOOR by Kate Palmer was no exception.

Cover photo provided by Kate Palmer
Blurb: (Provided by Kate Palmer) On the surface, Eva Black’s life seems practically perfect. The small-town kindergarten teacher is set to wed ambitious lawyer Sean Langley, and their plans for a dream wedding are well underway. Eva accepts that she will soon live life in the spotlight as a member of the prestigious Langley family, but can she overlook her fiancĂ©’s tendency to dominate the details of her life and push the limits of her standards?
 Mere weeks before the wedding, Eva is thrown into a traumatic, life-changing event that changes her view of family commitment and creates a sharp contrast between her ideals and Sean’s. With her engagement to Sean in jeopardy, Eva finds herself relying on the support and encouragement of Peter, her kind and attentive next-door neighbor. Faced with a choice between her penitent fiancĂ© and the increasingly mysterious Peter, Eva is unprepared for the consequences—and peril—that come with her decision.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Cover Image copyright Raisa Kanareva 2012

After Lord Dersingham spurned her last season, Iris Colburn promises to never allow him back into her heart, despite his excuses, his long-standing connection to her family, or the fact that she once loved him.
But upon her return from Paris, Iris finds it is more difficult than she expected to keep Lord Dersingham at arm's length. His presence at nearly every social function Iris attends reminds her more of their blissful past than the sting of his rejection. Worse, she fears she is falling for him again.
If it wasn't for his outrageous behavior, that is. He asks Iris' father for permission to court her -- again -- but then showers attention on the disreputable Miss Halliday.
Iris doesn't know what kind of game Lord Dersingham is playing, but with her heart and her pride on the line, she will do anything to win.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #4

Another FANTASTIC volunteer up on the chopping block (pun intended ... but you won't get it until the last few lines of the narrative ... sorry.)

Red is sort of intimidating, isn't it? So today, just changes are in red and my comments are in blue. SO much friendlier. Right? :D

The square was crowded, throngs of people Throngs of people crowded the square, (Right off this is a telling sentence instead of a describing, action oriented sentence) pushing closer to the platform, straining to get a glimpse of this (I'm a stickler for tense. This isn't wrong by any means, but it throws me a little, pulling me out of the story) week's goods. The surrounding buildings had been meticulously restored to look like authentic 19th century architecture – red brick, long, segmented windows with plantation shutters, old porch steps, (I have to tell you, the serial comma is actually a style choice. I always suggest using it because the only place it isn't common to use it is in newspapers and magazines, where they're trying to save space. Whatever you choose, to use the serial comma or not, just be consistent throughout the manuscript) and wrought iron leading up to doorways. (One of the things we've talked about in previous Three Hundred Thursday posts is grounding your reader in a scene. I'm confused at this opening. "This week's goods" makes me want to think old-timey market, but "authentic 19th century" makes me think modern. Confusing.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Results of the Top Ten LDS Fiction

Hey guys, it's been a fun month voting on all those great LDS fiction titles that were nominated. Today is the day I reveal, based on the voting public, the Top Ten.

Drum roll ...


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

I would definitely call myself a Shannon Hale fan. BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS is probably my favorite of hers, and unlike so many, GOOSE GIRL (and the Bayern series) is actually lower on my list. I read AUSTENLAND a few years ago and burst out laughing on the dedication page. Good sign. So, when I heard a companion for AUSTENLAND was coming out, I was giddy. Just a few short weeks after it came out (or maybe it was months? I don't know; I often lose track of time ...) Shannon Hale's e-books all went on sale. I snatched up MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND with no qualms.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Different Sort of Review: Why I Stopped Reading

So, I know about half of you drop by here for the book reviews and about half of you show up for the writing stuff. And I know that a lot more of my posts connect to the writers out there. This is probably another one, though it's a jumble of what I put out there for readers -- book reviews -- and writer tips. "Why I Stopped Reading" will be book reviews without naming the books.


Let me explain a bit. Many of you know I'm also a freelance editor and do contract editing work for a small press. That means that sometimes when I read, my editor brain bullies my reader brain. Sometimes I can override it, but sometimes I just can't. So when I stop reading a book, it's usually because my editor brain insists on it. I hope that by doing these reviews, I can give writers an insight into perhaps why an agent or editor doesn't continue reading.

So on to the show.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Excerpt from DARK DAYS OF PROMISE by Shaunna Gonzales

It seems like SO long ago that I helped edit DARK DAYS for Shaunna, but I am SO excited for her that it has been published this week by Desert Breeze Publishing!

Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.
While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent. 

Cover art provided by Shaunna Gonzales
Don't you just LOVE the cover. I do. I really really love it.

In celebration of DARK DAYS' release, I get to share an excerpt with you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #3

Another first pages participant. I love that you guys are so willing on this. Way to get out there! Way to be brave.


Some secrets shouldn’t be shared. (My opinion on this opening is just that, my opinion. I'm not sure I like it. It seems more like it belongs on a query letter or back cover.)
To keep secrets, lying was necessary. Lucy James knew this better than most people. Her whole life had been a series of deliberate misinformation (This phrase is tripping me up for some reason. I'm not sure if it's because we have "series" -- plural -- up against "misinformation" -- not plural, or if it's because series leads me to think of events and "deliberate misinformation" aren't events. Hmmm.)—not out of a fundamental dishonesty or a disregard for civility, but out of self-protection. Some would say a cheater’s glimpse into the future was a gift. To Lucy it was a curse she had to protect through constant deception.
Lying was also one of her job requirements as a CIA courier.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Query Letter

Actually, just the last two paragraphs. I've participated in a bunch of stuff to polish up my query of late and it has, seriously, been critiqued to the bone. I've learned something. Queries are much like manuscripts. You will not please everyone, no matter how hard you try. I've gotten so many conflicting opinions -- (Things like, "How did Finna become guardian? We need to know so we understand why she's not very powerful." VS. "How Finna became the guardian is unnecessary. Cut it. Just let us know what her responsibility is. *Ranee` runs screaming from the computer, vowing to NEVER WRITE ANOTHER QUERY AGAIN.*)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: THE GRAND SOPHY by Georgette Heyer

Let me just start with this:
"Sir!" said Lord Bromford, with as much dignity as could be expected of a man with both feet in a mustard-bath. "You shall answer to me for those words!"
THAT ladies and gentleman is the genius of Georgette Heyer. I love her.
I love her.
And now I will review.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In Honor of GUTGAA: Query Critique #2

Another brave participant sends their query out into the world to be torn to pieces. Way to go!

60,000 WORDS


In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon When I first read this, for some reason I thought it was a boy. Don't ask me why. Didn't realize until later that it's a woman. This thought could be of absolutely NO importance, but I thought I'd throw it in there. Ha! (Just FYI, it didn't throw me or distract me when I realized it was a girl.) knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to Asia, which is a person’s only chance for survival.
Great hook. My only, little-tiny-nit-picky-thing is, can it be shortened?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Query Critique: In Honor of GUTGAA

So I'm participating in GUTGAA (check out the badge in the right hand sidebar for more information!) It's totally cool, a ton of help, and agents around to boot. In honor of it, I'm picking out query critiques from those of you who've submitted for Three Hundred Thursday and posting one a day for the rest of the week.

So on to courageous Victim #3

Dear Agent/Editor,

As you have successfully represented/published Awesome Author and her novel, "Really Cool Book," Or books by other authors can be in small caps: really cool book. I think you would be interested in my young adult science fiction novel EXISTENCE.
Good opening. In his post on query letters, guru Nathan Bransford expounds on how important researching and personalizing is.

Seventeen-year-old Chrissie Fox can't imagine a life which that doesn't include Time Curving. She and her father have been working against Time Flyers, a group intent on changing the past to destroy the future. She's put off any thoughts of friendship or romance in order to keep her trips to the past a secret. Great hook. Small, minor, opinion on construction here. I'm totally interested in "Time Curving." I'd suggest using this opening paragraph to give me at least a hint of what it is and saving the explanation about the Time Flyers for the meat of the query. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #2

This week's brave gladiator is coming into the ring with a query letter. Personally, I hate those pesky things, so I'm glad to cause pain to it. :D


Senior Max Sanchez has it all. He’s the star pitcher for Port Fare High’s baseball team. He’s dating the head cheerleader, hottie Emma McKay, and he has a great group of friends. Here I'm concerned with this lead in. Typically the first line or two of a query is the hook -- something that grabs the agent/publisher and says "You MUST read more about this book." This is somewhat generic. A main character who has it all. One line I heard over and over during the query and pitch events at WriteOnCon from the agents and editors was "What makes your story stand out? Focus on that." Having read the first pages of this story (cheater in the house!), this doesn't do justice to the uniqueness.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, Characters by Donna Cooner

Did I ever mention how much I learned at WriteOnCon? A TON. I like my query (for now) and I learned some revision techniques that are changing my life. So. Serious.

Today, I impart another small tidbit of wisdom.

On Characters, from Donna Cooner's post, which you can read in its entirety, here.

QBCD. It meant Quick Brief Character Description (QBCD) and it was one of the most important lessons learned from the years I studied with Professor Kulkarni. Every time a character entered a scene it was an opportunity to make him/her memorable to the reader. Not just the main character, but everyone—the checkout woman, the pilot, the teacher, the policeman—everyone.
I am SO terrible at this. At descriptions in general. I figure everyone can read my mind, not just my husband. (Oh. Wait.)

I saw a quote one twitter or somewhere the other day that said no matter how memorable the plot is, it won't matter if a reader can't care about the characters. Get in there and make them matter.

Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet & Greet Post

Hey, all!

Some of you might be new here. If you are you'll want to know who I am. Really, the three words in my header say it all.

Mom. Wife. Writer. Never sure what comes first. (Although writer is usually last and that's absolutely great with me. I like the other two a lot, so it all works out.)

I live with my superhero husband and two-point-five supervillains-in-training in Wyoming and love it. Except for winter. Which lasts about eight months here. That I don't love. But I make do because the husband loves it here and will never leave. And in case you were wondering, I grew up in Wyoming and could only love it more if the climate resembled something more like San Diego.

I write mostly YA fiction, fantasy and that kind of stuff, but dabble in a few other things. Like my major WIP right now is a contemporary romance for the LDS market, and I'm editing at Regency novella because I adore that time period and wanted to see if I could do it. I'll let you know how that works out.

And here's some more stuff about me

-Where do you write? 
In the middle of my living room. Remember that mom part of who I am? I write sometimes in 10 minute (or much, much less) intervals if I can and then during naptime. Having my desk in the middle of the living room works for me because I'm still available for my kids when they need me and I feel like that's important. But so is my writing; hence, desk in the living room.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
The first thing I see is a couch. 'Cause I'm in the living room. And I sort of want to go lay on that couch and read Georgette Heyer (remember the point-five part -- that is thankfully, actually more like point-seven-five -- of my two-point-five-boys?). 

-Favorite time to write?
Naptime. I'm not tired (usually ... most days. Except today. And some other days.) and while my oldest is in school it's so quiet and easy to concentrate.

-Drink of choice while writing?
Water. Or milk if I have heartburn. Which happens way too frequently of late.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Depends on the day actually. Usually music and usually just the soundtrack station of Pandora or Spotify. Sometimes I listen to teen music, since, you know, I write YA. Yeah. That's why.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The WIP that I actually haven't written on in a week or so was inspired by Jimmer Ferdette. (BYU basketball player, wildly popular, if you didn't know.) I wondered, what if there was a girl who knew everything about a Jimmer-Ferdette-like character and used that to make him fall in love with her?

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Love to write. When you're not loving to write, get up and read, or walk, or cook, or eat a lot of ice cream. (Lately, I would recommend adding raspberries and making a shake. You WON'T regret it.) But then come back and write so more; write through writer's block, write through crappy scenes until you get back to where you love it.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Three-Hundred Thursday #1

Did any of you catch Gennifer Albin's live forum event at WriteOnCon where she critiqued the first 100 words of 10 lucky people's manuscripts? You know the comment I saw the most? "I wish I could have mine critiqued by a professional."

Well, I consider myself somewhere in between. :D I've been free-lancing for a while and now also do contract editing for the independent press Dessert Breeze Publishing. Plus, everyone knows that other eyes seeing your work is good for a writer. Seeing it through fresh eyes is invaluable.

So, introducing Three-Hundred Thursday, in which I and the readers critique (respectfully!) the first three hundred words of a writer's manuscript. (Do you want to participate? I'll post how you can get in on the fun at the end of the post.) Without further adieu, the first victim ... er, participant, Shauna Gonzalez.

The Best Birthday Present Ever ... I hope!

So, if you follow me on twitter you might know that I took on a project for my son's birthday: writing him a book. Granted, it's not the book he wanted me to write, I'm still pretty pleased with myself. Today I worked on formatting it for CreateSpace and creating the cover.

The cover is thanks to my talented sister, Keesha. She drew the picture of my son reading a book. I snazzed it up a little with the title and you know, author name, but she is mostly the creative genius. AND now I'm going to reveal it to you, so long as you promise not to show it to my son.

Pretty soon I'm going to upload the file so you can all read this AWESOME book, but not today. I'm sick of this computer for today ... or at least for now. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog

At the advice of agent Pam van Hylckama at WriteOnCon (she seems quite awesome) I decided to get involved in some of the cool blog memes out there, like Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the book blog Broke and Bookish. So, I'm not promising a top ten post every Tuesday, because I'm me and it just might not happen. And I'm not going to guilt myself for that. There's a lot of other really great things to guilt myself about. 

Drumroll ...

My first Top Ten Tuesday post: Top Ten Favorite Books I've Read During the Lifespan of My Blog

(Have I ever mentioned here how terrible my memory is? Good thing I had a review page to look over ...)

1. Sarah M. Eden - I know. I'm cheating. She's not a book. She's an author. But if I didn't cheat like this her books would populate most of this list and that's just not fair. I am SUPER happy I discovered her books through a post on her blog that someone reposted. My favorite: FRIENDS AND FOES. Philip is the best Sarah M. Eden hero EVER.

2. PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White - I judge books by their covers. I do. I can't help it. I think I saw the cover of PARANORMALCY on a blog hop of some kind and then went and looked it up on Amazon. The rest is history. I bought it. Devoured it. Ordered the last two in the series immediately. I love, love, LOVE the voice in this novel and the fabulous, almost mocking tone of paranormal books. It works.

3. MY RIDICULOUS ROMANTIC OBSESSIONS by Becca Wilhite - I found this book through Sarah Eden's blog. It has an awesome, unique, witty voice just like the top two, which I adore in books. I CRAVE it in books. I will race through a book that's making me laugh out loud every two seconds. The inner-dialogue of the main character is fan-freakin'-tastic. 

4.OF GRACE AND CHOCOLATE by Krista Lynne Jensen - Yet another author I found through Sarah Eden. And since she lives in Wyoming, like me, she's dear to my heart. I'm also beginning to see a pattern in my favorites: voice. This one has a great, funny voice that captured me. AND it's one of those non-patterned love stories. I'm always a fan of things happening differently in romance.

5. EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson - Regency Romance. From the time someone first handed me a Georgette Heyer novel (Thank you, whoever you are -- probably my mother), I have ADORED this genre. I recently passed on the obsession to my sister. You're welcome. Anyway, so this book is in the vein of Sarah Eden's (sigh-worthy heroes, cute voice) but unique in it's many splendored ways. The hero's name is Philip, so I liked him right away. And then he was awesome, so I loved him. I really enjoyed following the romance in this book.

6. The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter - These books should probably not be so far down my list, considering I LOVED them. I'm not sure why I haven't reviewed them. My little sister -- possibly 12 years old at the time -- had checked out the first book from the library, and when I was visiting my mom I picked it up. By the end of the evening, I was well over half-way through the book. So when I got home I promptly headed over to Amazon.com and ordered as many in the series as I could. Then waited impatiently for the rest. These books have always made me think of a cross between Harry Potter, James Bond, and teenage girls. They rock.

7. BEYONDERS by Brandon Mull - Alas, another book I'm not really sure why I don't have a review for it.  I was actually quite mad at Mr. Mull when I first read this book because the idea of two kids saving an alternate realm had been kicking around in my head for a while. Admittedly, I did not think to have them arrive in such a world through a hippo. That's entirely him. I am also mad at the backlog on my TBR list keeping me from reading the second book.

8. MAID TO MATCH by Deeanne Gist - I love history and anything around 1900ish is right up my alley. (There's a reason I have a WIP that takes place in 1909.) It's such a cool time period. Oddly enough, I started loving this era while reading a series of books I hated, but let's not go there. This book just spoke to me! The historical details were so fun and didn't feel like they came right out of a history book. And even though it's been several months since I read it, I can still remember the tension between the two main characters and how desperately I just wanted them to touch.

9. THE BEST INTENTIONS by Candice Hern - Another regency. Ha! Are you surprised? No, you're not. This book made my top ten list because I ADORED the heroine. She was young and a really "hoydenish" -- so reminiscent of some of G.H.'s best heroines. 

10. VARIANT by Robison Wells - This one should be further up, but I'm still punishing Mr. Wells for that cliffhanger at the end. My reason for complaint is drying up though, as I'm told the paperback has the first three chapters of the sequel FEEDBACK. Still, he deserves to be down here for making me wait this long to find out WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED!?! Take that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Buy HAVEN on Amazon

My speculative fiction romance story HAVEN is now available on Amazon. It's only $0.99, so of course I think you should all head over and BUY IT!

Here, I'll make it easy: http://www.amazon.com/Haven-ebook/dp/B008YFXBXG/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345144099&sr=1-2&keywords=Ranee+S+Clark

The IT'S A LOVE THING anthology is still available in both ebook and paperback forms. (You can buy it at a bunch of places: 
Amazon (print)
Amazon (ebook)
CreateSpace (print)
Barnes & Noble (ebook)
Smashwords (ebook all formats) 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, The Revision Checklist by author Talia Vance

(You can find the full post at the WriteOnCon website: http://writeoncon.com/2012/08/the-revision-checklist-by-author-talia-vance/ It was pretty fantastic!)

I loved this post by Talia Vance. I will definitely be putting it into practice when I begin revising my WIP. 
I also look at where the plot is at the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of the way points, to see if I am hitting turning points and act climaxes at about the right time.  This is a great way to analyze pacing in terms of your overall plot.  At the 1/4 point, I should be through the first act turning point, and the character should set off on the journey that will take them to the climactic scenes at the end.  At 1/2, the main character should have an emotional turning point of some kind, or make a discovery that is unexpected.  At 3/4, the character faces the darkest hour, and must regroup for the climactic scenes in the last 1/4 of the book.  These are rough points that don’t necessarily have to hit exactly, but they should be close.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Words to Write By: WriteOnCon Tidbits, Veronica Rossi

I'm at WriteOnCon. Like right now. This minute. Because it's online and it's free. Already I've absorbed some super query awesomeness by following along on a forum event with agent Peter Knapp. I need to go back and take notes. 

Guys, it was nearly the same as sitting in a conference room. Except I'm not in a nice hotel. Also, I'm still in my pajamas and my boys are watching "Ice Age."

And what does any good writer/blogger do when they get really GREAT advice? They pass it on. So here are some tidbits I've gleaned so far. WAY more to come this week. People, it's SO easy to register, you could go do it now and be caught up in like, three hours, I think. :D

So first up, some FAB advice from UNDER THE NEVER SKY author Veronica Rossi: 
(And BTW you can see the class/post RIGHT now at http://writeoncon.com/2012/08/sustaining-the-writing-groove-by-author-veronica-rossi. For free. And no one is going to glare at you for walking in late. Sweet, right!)

Here are just a few of the things Veronica had to say about "Sustaining the Writing Groove."

Yes, work. If you want to be a professional writer, then it helps to treat your writing like a profession.
I struggled with this for a long time -- well into the days when I considered myself "serious" about writing because I was passionately working to get published. Finally, one day, when people started asking what I did. I'd say, "I'm a stay-at-home mom," (because I am and I'm really, really happy to be that), "and I'm a writer." And I started calling the three-hour block that is nap-time, "when I work." You should do it too. It's liberating in a strange, now-I'm-chained-to-the-desk sort of way. WHICH Veronica addresses too:

Writing is work, yes, but it’s also fun. It should also feel like play, so let yourself riff on something that seems silly or even meaningless. I bet it won’t be. I bet you’ll surprise yourself.

I do this a lot when I'm stuck. I abandon ship and go work on something I just want to work on. It means there's a lot of unfinished MS's in my files. Some of them will probably never be finished. That's okay. When I need to just write, I can always go over there and fool around. And you shouldn't feel guilty about it -- at least not too much. I'm also a big advocate that you should stick to one project at a time in order to be more productive. I know. I'm contradictory, but I'm a writer, so I can SO totally be contradictory if I want to. Stick to a project. Cheat when you want. There you have it. Oh, and as Veronica says, you should also READ!
Whether non-fiction or fiction, reading gets me pumped up about writing. A research book can spur a fresh idea. A beautifully handled character introduction can, literally, make me sigh. 
I don't know about you guys, but when I read a good book (or watch a great movie) it lights a fire under my butt. I HAVE to go out and write. So, you know, it helps in a lot of ways beyond helping you know your genre and to know the market out there. READ! Read, read, READ!

Come back. I'll have more tidbits coming. This is so much fun guys. Really!


Monday, August 13, 2012

WriteOnCon: Are You Going?

Conferences. It's one of the first bits of advice you'll get as an aspiring author. Go to conferences.

Did any of you know I live pretty much in the middle of no where? Well, not really, totally. But kind of. In Wyoming. That's usually far from the conferences. I don't get a lot of opportunities. But that's the place where you get to meet agents and pitch your work. Pitching is WAY better than querying. The agent gets to meet you and ask questions about your work. That equals better chances of getting requests for material, which we all know is a GREAT thing.

So you're like me? It's hard to get to conferences? That's why WriteOnCon is so fabulous. It's online. It's free.

What the heck is stopping you?!?

Oh, you write adult fiction. Ooops. Sorry. Okay, so anyway. For those of you who write for kids (YA, MG, childrens, etc.) Go. GO NOW! Sign up. (It's SO easy.) Get query critiques, first 250 word crits, Five page crits ... and REAL LIVE AGENTS will be lurking. There's live events with agents, editors, authors, YOU NAME IT.

You will not regret it. :)

About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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