Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!

   I was reading A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (have you seen it's cover? Stunning!) but then my copy of I Was Here by Gayle Forman arrived at my doorstep. So now I'm switching between the two. Gayle Forman has a writing style that I just can't get enough of. If only I could write characters a fraction as good as hers!
   My kid's and I are on day 25 of our 100 day reading streak. We are about to finish up The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith. I'm having trouble finding it each morning (we read at breakfast) because my three year old loves it's "dinosaur" cover so much. It is often tucked in the covers of his bed. 


  I'm about half way through the deep POV class I'm taking online so everything I've written for the past few weeks has been for that. It's been amazing getting feedback and learning to analyze other peoples work so that I can give insightful feedback as well. 

My goal this week is to carve out more time for my homework so that I can really dig into it and get the most from the lessons. 


 The structure of the class has been very motivating to me. I've been writing daily and actually sharing my work, which is hard for me. I need to figure out how to keep this momentum when the class is over.


I recently discovered London Fog (Earl Grey Latte). It is SO good. I've always loved Earl Grey but this is sublime. I still need to perfect making them. Mine aren't as good as the ones from the coffee shop. I want to get some lavender to add in with the vanilla. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!


  I finished reading Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson this week. What a beautiful book! I love books written in verse and this one was probably my favorite so far. The character was so alive and relatable. I also read Vanished by Irene Hannon and am currently reading Fast As You Can by Lee Strauss. Some time this week I need to start Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys as part of the YA Buccaneers reading mutiny challenge

 The kids and I are still working on our 100 day read aloud streak. This week we continued The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith and read multiple Pete the Cat books. 


  I enrolled in a writing course on deepening characters and it started Monday  It's the first course offered by Jordan McCollum. I am enjoying it so far. I'm using it to help me add depth to my fairytale retelling.

My writing goal this week is complete my course homework and write for two additional hours. 


Accountability! Having homework and other writers to critique my work along with deadlines is amazing motivation. 


  I got my three year old a strawberry pancake play food set. He has been serving me scrumptious 0 calorie pancakes all morning!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Outsider Book Release and Goodies!

Becca J. Campbell has a new book out! I loved Empath and I'm so happy that the sequel is finally here!!!

This week marks the release of Outsider, the second book in Becca J. Campbell's New Adult Paranormal series Flawed. To celebrate, Becca is hosting a giveaway and a book sale! The Prize Pack The giveaway at the end of this post is for a prize pack that includes: one autographed paperback of Outsider, one 12" x 18" poster of the cover art, and two square collector's buttons (one of Empath and one of Outsider). Please note, this giveaway is open to those with an address in US or Canada.

Empath buttonOutsider Button

  The Book Discount The regular price of the Outsider eBook is $3.99, but for the first week, you can purchase a copy for only $2.99 (ends January 12th). On Jan. 13th, the price increases to $3.99, so make sure to get your copy now! Here are the purchase links:

About Outsider (Flawed #2)

After a psychopath tried to kill his friends, Josh Schuyler figured 'normal' was far off. The real problem: Josh's friends have all acquired supernatural abilities, while he's still the same average guy. Josh has always believed he was destined for greatness, but he's been out of college for two years without a clue of his purpose. After watching his friends and siblings develop superhuman traits, he wonders if he might be meant for something grand, too. Can Josh even hope for an extraordinary event in his own future? And how long must he wait for this transformation - if there is one? When Alex met the Schuylers, she was grateful for new friends to whisk her away from her lonely life in California and give her an escape from her divorced, bickering parents and aimless future. But Josh won't drop his defenses, and Alex isn't sure she wants to trade her old life for this new, uncertain one. Nicodemus has an amazing ability he's been milking for years to get whatever or whomever he wants. Things are going great until a young woman - Alex - inadvertently busts his latest swindle. Nic is furious when he discovers his power has been disabled, and he vows to find her in order to wreak his vengeance. She will be punished. All he needs is a little help from his friend, Ethan Black. Josh has been waiting for his big break, or for the chance to be a hero, or just the opportunity to stand out in his own, extraordinary way. Will Josh discover his purpose in time to stop Nic?

More Flawed Books

Empath (Flawed #1) Supernatural empathy isn’t a gift, it’s a curse. Anywhere she goes, Jade’s emotions are replaced by those of the people around her. Jade grew up in a suburb of Colorado Springs, protected from other people by her parents. Now she faces college—and the world—with nothing to shield her from unwanted feelings. When Cam, a classmate with a major crush on her, unintentionally hijacks her emotions, Jade struggles to keep from being carried away in feelings of attraction. When Ethan, a psychopath with a thirst for fear, fixates on her, the emotional impact could be lethal. Caught in a deadly trap, Jade must untangle the emotions and find a way to use her empathic curse to overcome this killer or be overcome by him.

Pulled (A Flawed Short Story) Eight-year-old Juniper has been labeled many things—troubled kid, orphan, runaway—but none of her foster families have known what she really is: a girl with a unique and brutally inconvenient ability to teleport. Her spontaneous jumps are not only beyond her control, they get her into trouble. When Juniper disappears, no one believes her wild stories, so she's stopped trying to convince them. One day when Juniper gets pulled away, finding her way back is harder than ever. Stranded on the side of a deserted highway, she must rely on her own instincts to determine who is a creepy stranger and who she can trust. Resourcefulness may get her home, but is getting home enough when you don't have parents that love you? Juniper knows something most people don’t: there are others like her with unexplained abilities. Until now, she’s exercised stranger-danger caution, but maybe these people can offer what she needs. Will Juniper find a family she can share her secrets with?

About the Author

Becca J. Campbell is the author of the Flawed series as well as Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, and Sub-Normal, a series of short stories. An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality, Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity. You can find her on her Author Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.


Enter the Outsider prize pack giveaway below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!


    I've been listening to the Read-Aloud Revival podcast for some time now and have been inspired to start a 100 day read-aloud streak with my children. We read regularly already but I usually slack off on the weekends or on busy days so this challenge should help us be more consent, I hope! For the reading streak I need to read at least 15 minutes every day for 100 days. I'm doing a mixture of picture books and chapter books. Right now the we are reading one of my childhood favorites, 101 Dalmatians. If you've never read the original, non-disney version, I highly recommend it. It still makes me laugh!  
       For myself, I've been reading Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and Paragon, a novella by Autumn Kalquist.  I also did something I've never done before. I pre-ordered a three episode serial and am reading the episodes as they come out. I had to. You see, I recently finished watching the last episode of Fringe and this serial promised to be Fringe meets Castle. So yup. I had to buy and read them. The serial is Gingerbread Man by Lee Strauss and the first episode (Run Run Run) was free yesterday... it might still be. Episode two came out today. Yay!!!

  I took a break from revisions and started writing something just for the fun of it. I'm really not sure what it is. Its MG sci/fi for sure and I'm writing it for my son but I don't know if its going to be long or short, novel or serial. Whatever it it, its fun to write and has helped me get back into a rhythm after the holidays. 
  My goal is to write five hours this week.

  Making time goals is working for me right now. I love how I feel free to sit and write what I want or to split my time between revisions and drafting. Eventually I might need a set goal or deadline but for now this is helping me get back into a steady writing pattern. 

   I got a bike trailer for my birthday last month so I've been loading up my three year old and going for bike rides with my older children. It's a double trailer so I even have room for one of his buddies to ride along. There is nothing better than getting exercise to a chorus of giggles and a commentary that can only come from the mind of a three year old. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thirty Before Thirty-five

   Happy New Year!!!

I'm not making a New Year resolution post this year but my word for the year is "active". I want to be an active participant in my own life and the lives of my loved ones. Active doubles as a reminder to get out and move so that's a plus!
   While brainstorming about ways to be active in reaching my goals and spending time the people I care about I came upon Katy Upperman's Thirty before Thirty-five post. It is so inspiring! I decided to make one of my own (I may have just turned thirty but you won't get me to confirm it for sure...).
   Some of these are small and a few I'm not sure how I'm going to achieve, but whatever happens I will be making steps in the right direction. I'll be posting my list to the header on my blog and linking any posts on my progress.


My list:
  1. save up for a bow and get proficient at archery (Robin Hood was my first literary crush)
  2. run a 5k
  3. publish a book (not sure if it will be indie or traditional at this point)
  4. sell a story to a magazine
  5. write a serial novel
  6. learn how to do 5 new types of braids (for my daughter)
  7. visit another country
  8. go paddle boarding
  9. go kayaking with my husband
  10. read the collected poems of Robert Frost (from beginning to end)
  11. fill an entire notebook with my own poems
  12. read the Bible from beginning to end 
  13. teach my children to ice skate
  14. complete a 100 day read-aloud reading streak with my children
  15. go on a weekend trip with my husband (no kids!)
  16. crochet a circular afghan
  17. make a slouchy hat and wear it all over
  18. attend a writer’s conference (one in a big city, I have New York in mind)
  19. learn to knit well enough to make anything I want 
  20. make 10 new recipes from Julia Child’s cook books
  21. read a dozen classics that I’ve never read
  22. learn to sew well enough to make library bags and basic clothing for my children
  23. attend an art class (something I’ve never done preferably)
  24. go to St. Augustine, FL
  25. go on a picnic in the Appalachian mountains
  26. play my dulcimer every day for a month
  27. write my favorite quotes directly onto a wall 
  28. learn to make yarn with a drop spindle
  29. go backpacking
  30. volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center

Book Review: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

I love Jody Hedlund's books and I was excited to receive a review copy of her latest book, Love Unexpected. It's the first book in her new series Beacons of Hope. Romance, inspiration and lighthouses! Perfect!

First thoughts:  This was a story with a rich setting and vibrant characters, just like I've come to expect from Jody Hedlund's books.

What it's about: It's about a young woman named Emma and how she finds the home her heart has yearned for in a most unexpected way, a marriage of circumstance. Just when she feels like she finally has what she has wanted most, rumors and doubt creep in. Who is this man that she has married and why does her neighbor feel the need to warn her about him?

What I liked about it: I loved the layers of the relationships in this story. There were so many deep connections. The first one you see is the relationship between Emma and her brother and then you see her connect with her new husband, Patrick, and Patrick's two year old son. The lighthouse itself adds a layer as it helps Patrick and Emma connect to each other. Then there is the layer of faith that helps the characters through the darkest secrets of the story.

What I didn't like: The timeline of events seemed rushed to me but I suppose they really would be rushed in a marriage of convince sort of setting.

Who I'd recommend it to: I think anyone who loves historic or inspirational fiction would love this story.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Word Wars!

It's time for the Word Wars blogfest! For the next three days I will be updating this post with my writing progress as I attempt to write copious amounts of words. If you want to join me you can sign up here or on Katie's Blog. It doesn't matter what you write, as long as you write (novels, grocery lists, letters to long lost pen pals, stories to entertain your toddler, whatever goes). You can also join in on twitter with #WordWars or on  the /r/YAwriters reddit-along. My goal for this war is 4,500 words. I'll be working on a MG sci/fi adventure. I normally write YA but I'm switching it up for fun :)

Day One

10:45- I'm up. I'm up. I never sleep till ten but we were having a campout in the living room and I found myself at the bottom of a blanket pile with sleeping kids all around me. It was very comfortable there!

11:40- 148 words. Hmm. But the ideas are flowing. This story is completely by the seat of my pants but I needed something that had no stress or expectations attached to it.

2:44- 25 more words... yup. But I went on a bike ride with my husband and kiddos so that was good! Now everyone should be calm and happy so I can write. I can hope, right?!?

5:50- I've written a few hundred words on my story over the last few hours. I'll tally them up later. I'm glad I chose to follow a random idea. It's fun being swept away by something new! A mysterious red headed kid just appeared in my manuscript. I'm wondering if he will be back. Now balance some more words and dinner.

9:01- I'm on the third scene of my story. I still don't know if it's going to be a short story or something longer but I'm having fun and using my writing muscles so I'm happy. The kids are in bed so I'm free to write. Yay!

9:36- 1,359 words so far today, not counting this blog... Now to do some laundry and dishes then hopefully get some more words down.

Day 2

9:10- I'm hanging out with my kids. Coffee will be done in five, then I will start generating some words.

11:27- So far I have had some coffee, read a few chapters of Lee Strauss's new serial Run Run Run (A Gingerbread Man suspense) and have written a seriously epic grocery list.

12:05- One scene down!

6:39- Groceries, a bike ride with the kiddos and dinner have all taken precedence but now I'm getting some more coffee and writing in.

7:46- I'm at just over 2,100 words for the past two days. I'm hoping to add more. My story isn't acting like a short story. Did I accidentally start another book? Yeah...

8:29- The kids are tucked in and I bribed myself with ice-cream. It worked. I wrote another scene.

10:24- I went for a walk in the rain to refuel. My goal for the next half hour is to finish the chapter I'm writing.

Day 3

9:55- Do I have to admit its P.M...
I spent the entire day cooking freezer meals with a friend so we can start the new year out with less stress. I had hoped to squeeze in some words. I haven't yet but I may still get some in :)