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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

Review: MISS DELACOURT SPEAKS HER MIND by Heidi Ashworth


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

A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION Launch Extravaganza

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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

Review: THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE by Shannon Hale

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

Coming Soon! A CONTEMPTIBLE AFFECTION

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 ...

#1
NOT MY TYPE: A SINGLE GIRL'S GUIDE TO DOING IT ALL WRONG by Melanie Jacobson

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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