Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lucky Friday the 13th!

It's Friday the 13th! Normally we think of Friday the 13th as unlucky—but today is your lucky day! It's a one day sale on over thirty books. Stock up for yourself, grab great deals on Christmas gifts, and find something for everyone!

Original photo by Abhi Sharma via Flickr/CC

Scroll through the titles below and click on the purchase links to pick up anything and everything that looks interesting—or give as Christmas gifts! There's something on this list for everyone to enjoy! *Be sure to check the price of the book before you download so you know you're getting the sale price.*


A Greater Love 
by Rachel Ann Nunes

Regular price $5.99. Price for promotion: FREE Click here to purchase!

A Special Kind of Christmas Story
Miguel Silva is a street orphan who will do anything to avoid the wrath of his alcoholic aunt and to keep his little sister, Sara, happy. He and Sara roam the streets of Portugal, begging and stealing to feed and clothe themselves. A sudden twist of fate throws them into an even colder world, where their only chance for survival is a couple who is childless by choice—Daniel and Cristina Andrade.

Daniel Andrade has put his bitter past behind him and found a new life with Cristina. But the past returns in force when Miguel steals his wallet on the ferry, throwing into motion a series of unstoppable events. Daniel doesn’t want to face the secrets of the past or open his heart to anyone—yet that is exactly what he must do or face losing everything he loves.

Cristina Andrade also has secrets. Now she must choose between her husband and the deep longing in her heart. Or is there a compromise? Only Miguel can help them find the way—and time for Miguel is running out. Can the Savior’s love heal them all before it’s too late?

Dreaming of You my Christian romantic comedy / Christmas story.
by Marie Higgins

Regular price $2.99. Sale price for promotion 99¢. Click here to purchase!

Katelyn Palmer never believed any harm could come from using her college crush as the hero in her first romance novel—the novel that jumpstarted her writing career. However, when Shane Hunter storms into town, demanding to meet the writer who used his identity, Katelyn is confronted with more than her long, silent emotions. If Shane takes her to court for invasion of privacy, her career would be over.

Shane doesn’t know how to act when his ex sister-in-law accuses him of having an affair while he was married—and then shows him the romance book as proof. Now he wants to know who this author really is and why she used his name and most of the events in his life for her story. Desperate to know the truth Shane befriends Katelyn but he does not expect to be attracted to her, even more unexpected is the joy he finds watching his twins fall in love with the woman who is stealing his heart, too...

All I Want (Christmas Anthology)
by Rachael Anderson, Jolene Perry, and Kaylee Baldwin

Regular Price $3.99 Promotion Price: $1.99 Click here to purchase from Amazon or here for Barnes and Noble!

Pretty Near Perfect by Jolene Perry
The last thing Norah needs is to be attracted to anyone – especially in her deceased fiancé's parents' home. Collin’s starting a new career, and has no business getting involved – especially while staying with his roommate’s family, who very kindly offered to take him in for the holidays. Unfortunately, you just don’t always pick the most convenient time and place to fall for someone.

Six Days of Christmas by Kaylee Baldwin
When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother - someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Twist of Fate by Rachael Anderson
When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancé is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he’s wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won’t be a wedding after all?

The Book Blogger's Cookbook (2011)
by Christy Dorrity

Promotion Price: 99¢  Click here to purchase!

Great books, bloggers, and recipes meet in this fresh and unique cookbook that helps you experience books, not just read them. Books were selected from the author’s book review blog and paired with delectable recipes like “Fairy Touched Calico Brownies” from the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, “7-Day Layer Dip” from Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, and “I Hate Chocolate Cake” from Amanda Hocking’s Switched. Whether you're a food lover, an avid reader or a book blogger, there’s something for you in The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook.

Clean romance (including romantic comedy & historical romance)

Working It Out
by Rachael Anderson

Regular price $3.99 Promotion Price: $1.99 Click here to purchase!

A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable--exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle--a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along--assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

Prank Wars
by Stephanie Fowers

Promotion Price: $2.99 Click here to purchase!

In this fun-filled novel, it’s girls vs. boys in a hilarious prank war that pits the college students against their nemeses. When some of the pranks start getting dangerous, can the two enemies join forces to capture the culprit?

Third Time's the Charm
by Heather B. Moore

Sale price for promotion: 99¢. Click here to purchase!

Liz Carlson will settle for a normal man. A normal man with a job, that is. Married twice, then divorced twice, Liz had her rose-colored glasses fall off and shatter on the ground a long time ago. Her main focus now is raising her six-year-old daughter and surviving long days at work on her feet as a hairdresser. When Sloane Branden answers her call for help, quite literally, Liz doesn’t even give him a second glance. She has sworn off dating for as many years as it takes, and it seems that Sloane has done the same after his own tumultuous marriage. But when Liz realizes that Sloane defies every stereotypical deadbeat she has dated, she might just find room in her heart and discover the third time’s the charm.

Spinster's Folly
by Marsha Ward

Sale price for promotion: $3.74 with coupon code VL64M at checkout. Click here to purchase!

Marie Owen longs for a loving husband, but marriage prospects on the Colorado frontier are limited. Her desperation at the prospect of remaining unmarried, fueled by her younger sister's taunting jibes about her becoming a spinster, drives Marie into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers. Winner of 2013 USA Best Books Award for Western Fiction.

Loyalty's Web
by Joyce DiPastena

Sale price for promotion: 99¢. Click here to purchase from Amazon and Smashwords!

Heléne de Laurant has not forgotten how the Earl of Gunthar destroyed her father’s castle during Henry II’s war with his sons. Apparently neither have her family and friends, for when someone tries to murder Gunthar, every sign points in their direction. Heléne realizes the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin.

As Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor, fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction. Heléne must race against time, and dark secrets of the past, to unmask the would-be killer before the kingdom plunges back into war and takes the life of the man she has unexpectedly learned to love.

Clean romantic suspense & adventure romance

I, Spy (Spy Another Day #1)
by Jordan McCollum

Regular price: $3.99 Promotion Price: 99¢ Click here to purchase on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, or author's website

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too—until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Poison Me
by Cami Checketts

Promotion Price: 99¢Click here to purchase!

Can they catch a killer that no one believes is real?

Jake Merrill was raised by his grandmother, Ruby, and her hilarious friends. After a suspicious death at the retirement home where Ruby lives, she enlists Jake and Chanel, the beautiful activities director, to help her find the killer.

Secrets Ruby has kept for decades threaten her family and the man she's always loved, but could never have. Chanel's unstable ex-boyfriend, a presumably dead relative, and vicious criminals add to the confusion. Time is running out as Jake, Chanel, and Ruby desperately search for clues to solve the murders and fight to save those they love.

"Poison Me made me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. I wish I had a friend like Ruby! Snappy dialogue, romance, and a strong sense of family made this book well worth reading."  Rachel Ann Nunes, bestselling author of Line of Fire and Before I Say Goodbye

The Colony
by Cami Checketts

Sale price for promotion: 99¢. Click here to purchase!

To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property.

Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion.

While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.

"Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards." Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy

A Change of Plans (Safe Harbors #1)
by Donna K. Weaver

Sale price for promotion: $2.99. Click here to purchase from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old Colorado high school teacher wants is to forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. What she plans is a vacation diversion; what fate provides is Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and its temporary friendships, her emotions come alive.

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he navigates, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn came on the cruise to forget. But Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs off in a panic.

Things are bad enough when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise’s snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. However, paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped. Lyn’s fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

Also available as an audio book from Audible!

Paranormal romance & Fantasy (adult)

The Change (Unbounded #1)
by Teyla Branton

Promotion Price: 99¢ Click here to purchase at Amazon, iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble 

No Second Chances. Death, Life, or Love—Unbounded Always Play for Keeps.

There are only two ways to kill Unbounded, and fire isn’t one of them—as law school dropout Erin Radkey learns the hard way. By fluke of a recessive gene, she has become Unbounded, a nearly immortal being with paranormal abilities.

Erin’s Change separates her from her loved ones and alters everything she believes to be true. A week earlier she was considering a marriage proposal; now she contemplates the best way to stay alive. Caught in a battle between two Unbounded groups, the Emporium and the Renegades, she is also hunted by a secret mortal society sworn to eradicate the Unbounded gene.

As Erin plunges into this dangerous new life, she must carve out her own place in the madness, protect her mortal family, and decide which group she should join. Her unique ability is vital to both groups in the race to secure an identification software that spells death for all Unbounded—or enslavement for the entire mortal world. Some will stop at nothing to use Erin as one more pawn in a battle that has spanned centuries. Erin’s undeniable attraction to Ritter Langton, whose family was massacred by opposing Unbounded two hundred and forty years ago, complicates her choices. There are no second chances. Death, life, or love—Unbounded always play for keeps.

Non-stop action, terrifying consequences, and powerful romance make The Change an exciting addition to the world of romantic urban fantasy.

by Ilyan Kei Lavanway

Promotion Price: $2.99   Click here to purchase on Amazon and Smashwords

Young wife Gracie yearns for renewed innocence. Abiathar wants to secure it for her. Their trek has been anything but blissful. Stomach their journey, and let your faith be strengthened through their experience. Glimpse tribulations and miracles future pioneers may expect as you live vicariously through the life of this young family.

Out of the Picture and Into the Picture
by Victor G. La Van Way and Ilyan Kei Levanway

Promotion Price: 99¢  Click here to purchase on Amazon and Smashwords!

Out of the Picture and Into the Picture by Victor G. La Van Way and Ilyan Kei Lavanway is a fantasy adventure book containing two short stories about a pilot who is miraculously reunited with his father in a strange storm. Experience superimposed worlds and altered realities. Relive the thrill of flight as you follow this pilot's mysterious journey. Find a renewed hope and youthful determination.

Young Adult

The Big Debate (Literary Loom Book One)
by Carolyn Twede Frank

Promotion Price: 99¢  Click here to purchase!

A bizarre corpse . . .

A strange girl . . .

A creepy teacher . . .

A cool invention . . .

Combine these with an old school and a new student anxious to fit in, and the adventure begins.

Fifteen-year-old Josh’s big mouth gets him in trouble at first. But after walking in the shoes of great men of history in the Literary Loom, he uses that mouth to bring down the bad guy and ultimately solve the mystery behind the murder . . . and the mystery behind a strange girl.

The Dream Keeper (Dream Keeper Chronicles #1)
by Mikey Brooks

Regular $3.99 Sale for Promotion 99¢ Click here to purchase! or here for Nook or Kobo

Dreams: Dorothy called it Oz, Alice called it Wonderland, but Nightmares call it HOME.

When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?

The Dreamstone (Dream Keeper Chronicles #2)
by Mikey Brooks

Sale price: 99¢ Click here to purchase from Amazon and Kobo!

When Parker’s mom is dreamnapped by the wicked Mab, it is up to him and Kaelyn to save her. However when they return to Dreams, they discover Mab isn’t their only problem. Gladamyr has lost his powers and the only way to get them back is to become what he fears the most—a nightmare.

by Rebecca Lynn Talley

Sale Price for Promotion: 99¢  Click here to purchase!

What if the greatest weapon in the age-old war between good and evil was inside of you?

Crystal Scott has always felt different but tried hard to blend in.  Now that she's scored the lead in the school play, has a boyfriend she adores, and a best friend she can't live without, she finally feels like she belongs.

A few days before prom, a mysterious young man appears and suddenly she has to figure out how to use the weapon of Light she has inside her or mankind is doomed.

Demons are determined to tip the war in their favor no matter what the cost and they're hot on Crystal's trail.  With danger around every corner, she doesn't know if she can save herself, never mind anyone else.  When things look darkest and there's nowhere to turn, Crystal must find the strength to use her newfound gifts against the tide of evil threatening all of them--or die trying.

With a Kiss (Twisted Tales, Book One)
by Stephanie Fowers

Promotion Price: FREE on Amazon Click here to purchase! or free on Smashwords!

Faerytales. They're real . . . they just haven't happened yet. Halley Starr finds out the truth when she loses her heart with a curse. Now she has to get it back from that dirty faery who stole it from her, but first, she must fight against the seven rules of the faery kingdom that mortals must never break. If Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules.

Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips (Episodes 1-3)
by Cindy M. Hogan

Regular price $3.99 Sale price: 99¢ Click here to purchase!

The first 3 Episodes of Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips in one book!
"First Kiss"
VL. Virgin Lips. You may not have heard of it, but where I live, it's a thing with a card, even if it is a figurative card. I was Brooklyn Hamlin, certified virgin lips, and I planned on clinging to that figurative card with all I had--while dating as many of the hottest guys at school as I could.

Maybe that's a bit strange. I mean, what teenage girl isn't interested in kissing? Locking lips definitely interested me, but the drama that came with it didn't. No kissing, no drama. Simple.

But on my sixteenth birthday, on my first real date even, the drama found me. His name was Luke Graham--cute, funny, and bad news for the whole female race.

"Stolen Kiss"
With my VL card gone, my flickering light of hope lay with Ryker, someone else who'd caught my eye. Only he could erase the memory of Luke, the boy who lip-raped me. Unfortunately, Luke was determined to keep me, or at the very least, ruin me.

"Rebound Kiss"
Brooklyn has become a social outcast at school thanks to Luke, who spent his entire weekend playing the victim and spreading rumors. And there’s nothing worse than Luke’s brand of justice. With no other way to escape her torn up, lonely life, she accepts an invitation to her cousin’s birthday party. Attending a party thrown by someone she doesn’t get along with is better than sitting home alone. The highlight of the party is meeting Riley, a boy who’s sweeter than the plate of sugar cookies he arrives with. After everything Brooklyn has been through, it seems that karma is finally on her side, but she soon learns that nothing is ever simple in the dating world.

by Cindy M. Hogan

Regular price $3.99 Sale price for promotion: $1.99 Click here to purchase!

Seventeen-year-old Billy thinks his father’s murder will never be solved—until he stumbles across an old ammo box while digging a grave in his small-town Tennessee cemetery.

What he finds leads him to question everything he knows, and his search for answers will uncover more than he bargained for: lies, secrets, and conspiracies—and behind them all, a dangerous truth.

Aos Si
by Rebecca Lyn Shelley

Sale price for promotion: 99¢ Click here to purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the iTunes/Apple!

Legends say the magical Aos Si, the Fair Folk of Irish and Scottish folklore that once plagued humanity, have retreated Under the Hill, never to be seen again. The legends are wrong. Aos Si are still abroad in the world, powerful, dangerous, and living among us.

When Carla's mother drags her from their home in Denver to the-middle-of-nowhere Colorado, a mysterious neighbor embroils her in a battle between warring Aos Si factions. Then she meets Shade, a slave of a cruel and power-hungry Aos Si. Her attraction to Shade is as deep as the magical powers that surround him, but her attempt to free him from his evil master sinks them both deeper into the war, endangering her life and those of the people she cares about most.

You're Strong Enough
by Kassi Pontious

Price for promotion: FREE Click here to purchase!

You’re Strong Enough takes young adult readers on a quest to discover who they are, why they are here, where they came from, and what their ultimate goal is. Christian writer, Kassi Pontious, shares personal experiences aimed at teaching young people that each of us is strong enough for our own trials and challenges. In You’re Strong Enough, you will discover who your real enemy is and how to defeat this dragon. As you participate in individual quests at the end of each chapter, you will learn how to cut the strings of dysfunction that may be trying to control your life. Ultimately, you will discover where your true strength lies and how to conquer the obstacles in life’s path. You’re Strong Enough is a book about hope and empowerment. It brings truths to light that will empower your soul and inspire you, and those around you.

The Princess Sisters (Princess Sisters #1)
by Stacy Lynn Carroll

Promotional Price 99¢. Click here to purchase!

The only thing she stands to lose are her shoes.
Cinderella is an ordinary teenage girl, with an extraordinary name. But because of that name, she and her cousins, Belle, Aurora, Ariel, and Snow White suffer years of torment from their peers. Then as the girls enter high school and the enticing world of dating, a life-altering decision must be made. Is it finally time to stop fighting, and surrender to the fairy tale clichés that have been holding them back? By embracing their names, the girls discover an inner-strength they never knew existed. And by putting everything they have on the line, maybe, just maybe they will discover there really is such a thing as 'happily ever after'.

Frogs & Toads (Princess Sisters #2)
by Stacy Lynn Carroll

Promotional price 99¢. Click here to purchase!

One kiss can change the future, for better or for worse.
Belle and her cousins have conquered their fears. Now as they navigate their way through the dating world, they start to see a "happily ever after" on the horizon. But when an unexpected school assignment forces them to examine their past, the Princess sisters realize they have a lot of questions about the fathers they've never met. Secrets are revealed, long lost family members are discovered, and now the girls must decide who belongs in their future and who should be kept in the past.

Middle Grade

Heroes of the Highest Order Book Bundle 1-3
by R. K. Hinrichsen

Regular price $9.99 Promotional price: $5.99 Three books in one! Click here to purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


Book 1 (The Hidden Kingdom): A magical playground whisks Dan and Page into the Hidden Kingdom, a skinny giant quickly registers them for hero training camp. There, they learn they must gain skills and earn powerful treasures by travelling back in time and walking in the footsteps of a real pioneer hero.

Book 2 (The Prisoner of the Shadows): Dan and Page search the catacombs in Italy, race through the streets of India, and follow in the footsteps of Mother Teresa in order to rescue their grandfather from the Prison of the Shadows. A bonus: Dan finds out he's even more powerful than he thought!

Book 3 (The Mouth of the Dragon): Tadeusz Pankiewicz, a real-life hero, helps Dan and Page rescue two children from the Nazis in World War II Poland.

All I Got For Christmas
by Rebecca Shelley

Sale price for promotion: 99¢ Click here to purchase from Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Oh No! Principal Green says Santa can't come to the school Christmas party.

Monkey needs a plan to get Santa to come. Too bad Monkey's ideas get him on Santa's Naughty List. It looks like all he'll get for Christmas is a bucket of coal.

But when a blizzard knocks out the power lines and buries the roads, it's up to Monkey and the Smartboys to save Christmas for everyone.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Win a Kindle Fire and Discover Great New Books October 16-18

So excited to announce this book sale, including some of my own books (one under my own name and two under my pen names - see those in bold below). Discover a lot of new authors in a variety of genres for different age groups. Enjoy!

Oh, and here are the links to my books in case you can't find them on the bargain site:

Christian romance
This Time Forever  Kindle - Nook - iTunes sale Oct. 16-20, 2013

This Very Moment Kindle Oct. 16-20, 2013

Urban Fantasy
The Change Kindle - Nook - iTunes Oct. 16-18, 2013

Romantic Suspense
Tell Me No Lies  Kindle Oct. 16-20, 2013

But remember for a chance to win the KINDLE FIRE, you need to go sign up at Bookmarked Bargains!

The Bookmarked Bargains sales event is unbelievable! 
Not only can you enter to win a free Kindle, but  you can find free and discounted
books from some of your favorite authors. Here's a list of who's participating:

Rachel Ann Nunes
Rachel Branton
Teyla Branton
Andrea Pearson
Anna del C. Dye
Cami Checketts
Cheri Schmidt
Christine Kersey
Christy Dorrity
Cindy Hogan
Heather Justesen
Ilyan Lavanway
Jaleta Clegg
Jason Morgan
Jordan McCollum
Joyce DiPastena
Julie Coulter Bellon
Karey White
Maria Hoagland
Michelle Pennington
Mikey Brooks
Monique Bucheger
Rachael Andersen
Rebecca Shelley
Rebecca Talley
Sandra Norton Flynn
Stephanie Fowers
Tamara Heiner
 Vickie Hall  

The deals run Wednesday, October 16th through Friday, October 18th. 
Click here to enter the Kindle drawing and find fabulous discounted books. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Backstory: How Not to Tell Too Much

This Article from Teyla Rachel Branton.

Novice writers who don’t know their characters tend to bog down their novels with backstory. They’ll be writing along, telling a great story, and then suddenly they’ll deviate into paragraph after paragraph of backstory that described why their character responds a certain way. Unfortunately, backstory is one way to kill your readers’ attention faster than just about anything else beside terrible grammar. One way to avoid this is to write a character before you begin the book. Give her a background, a history, and motivation for why she will respond the way she does. Spend time getting to know your character.

Then leave 90% of it out of the actual book. Post it on your blog, send it in an email, but leave it out of the book.

Will you use any of it? Yes . . .

Click here to read the full article. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gun Control – An Eroding of Individual Rights?

With the recent school shootings, people are once again hollering about gun control. As a responsible gun-owner this concerns me a great deal. Why? Well, what I see happening has been a slow degradation of the right to bear arms by law abiding citizens, while criminal elements, who certainly don’t obey the law, become ever more armed.

That our current president announced his new gun laws surrounded by young children is irony at its greatest. The implication is these that children asked him to do something to protect them from guns, and he was jumping in to save them. But since when do children have the maturity or knowledge to make gun laws? We don’t let children create traffic laws, recommend police procedures, or run the government (though some might contend that they would do better than our current leaders; at least children know they can’t spend money they don’t have, and that it isn’t moral to steal from other children who have worked hard to earn money). These children with Obama were obviously parroting information they heard from their parent and teachers, but using the parents and teacher wouldn’t have offered the same great photo op.

Most reasonable people don’t object to certain gun controls. I wouldn’t care, for instance, if owning a machine gun by an individual was prohibited, but the government doesn’t or can’t enforce the gun laws we already have in place. What’s the point of adding another to the books?
For example, Washington DC (61.4 sq. miles of land) has some of the strictest gun laws in America, and yet a few years ago police ended months of an undercover operation by arresting 70 people and confiscating 161 guns, including automatic rifles and handguns with silencers. Grenades and a rocket launcher were also offered for sale to agents.

There’s no way that element, apparently flourishing in that small area, is going away. I hate to repeat this overused phrase, but the end result is always the same: “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” The law abiding people give them up, but criminals will not. The fact is that taking guns away from responsible citizens only puts those children in Obama’s photo op more at the mercy of criminals. Without guns how can the average citizen protect his home? Or her family when they are accosted at a bus stop or in a mall? Just do a search on the Internet and you’ll see story after story about people defending their homes and their family. Many of those people would be dead now if they hadn’t legal access to a gun. (More, I suggest, than the casualties at school shootings.) If the average responsible citizen didn’t have the right to bear arms, criminals could do whatever they wanted without fear because the police simply can’t be everywhere. We must do our part. We have the right to protect our families.

Or do we? The bottom line is do you uphold the Constitution, including the right to bear arms or don’t you? Because that’s what is really at stake here, a slow eroding of all our rights. We’ve seen that already in how the government steals hard-earned money from people to redistribute in what is quickly becoming a socialist (and lazy) country. I say enough is enough!
My heart goes out to the victims in school shootings. I feel for their families and I understand their desire for some good to come of this. But I don’t believe taking guns from good people will help. Some suggest that perhaps instead of taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, we should train teachers and others to carry thems. I’m not saying that’s the answer, but if I were a teacher, I’d certainly get myself trained and begin carrying a gun. I’d shoot at least a hundred rounds a month to stay in practice, and if a boy came in my school, I’d pull out my gun from my holster (not from a locked drawer) and do what I needed to protect those children.

You may be appalled. You may say we must prevent that kind of world at all costs. Well, then give up your gun and try to steal your neighbor’s, and when you’re knifed on the street or your son is shot dead in front of you at a mall, you can wonder why that criminal still had a gun.

(Originally posted here by Teyla Rachel Branton. Reprinted with permission.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

An Interview With Connie Sokol

Today I'm talking with Connie Sokol, author of Create A Powerful Life Plan! 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life. I first met Connie at a library function where we both signed copies of our books. We also both brought our seventh babies. My daughter was older, but her son about doubled her weight. It was a lot of fun!

Q: Where is your favorite spot to write?
A: I sit in my husband’s massage chair (oh yeah) by the beautiful picture window (we live in the mountains) and prop my blue portable lap desk on my lap (with cell, water, pens, and sticky pads), and go to it with my Acer. My mental connection to that chair is “fun writing.” It so works!

Q: Do your characters talk to you?
A: Oh, yes. And I can only admit that to fellow writers (they’re the only ones that don’t back up about ten paces and slowly walk away…) I felt strange about that at first, about these fictional people seeming so real to me and making me laugh or cry, until I read about Jane Austen experiencing a similar thing. She would sit and do needlepoint or some such menial thing with others in the room, all quietly about their business, and then suddenly burst out laughing and run to her writing table to write it down. LOVE her.

Q: How do you overcome writer's block?
A: I’ve never had it (knock on wood). With seven children, my problem is not what to write, but when can I write it. There’s a huge backlog in my brain.

Q: Ha ha. That's what I always say. I simpy don't have time for writer's block. So how do you juggle writing and family life?
A: I use a Life Plan, a process I’ve done for over 10 years and it is magic! It’s a brief blueprint of my ideal life and I refer to it with every new opportunity that comes. And, I pray. If it feels right, I do it, even if it doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t feel right, I don’t, even if it’s a fabulous opportunity. A few years back I had the idea for the Faithful, Fit and Fabulous book, but hadn’t even written it or had any initial interest in the concept from a publishing source. But in my soul, I felt it would be published. So, even with my many children and much choreography, I spent a week at my mom’s beach cabin in Oregon and wrote the entire first draft. A year later-ish it was published. What’s funny is at the time, there were lots of questioning eyebrows from others, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Later, when there was publishing interest, I only had three chapters fully finished, but a request to publish it within six months. So I used that first draft to create the final ms very quickly. That’s pretty much how my writing and family life have gone :).

Q: Okay, time for a break. What's your favorite candy?
A: Ritter chocolate with hazelnuts (European choco in the big square—yummer).

Q: Ha. My husband likes that, too. But it reminds me of Nutella, and I'm not a fan. Give me Dove milk chocolate any day! So what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process?
A: The self-development of the whole process is amazing. It always shocks me that such an idea, or characters, or plot lines came from my brain. When I later read them, sometimes I think, did I really write such a funny line (or, such horrible drivel??) But throughout the process I learn so much about myself, my life, and my core ideals or philosophies. Writing is part self-therapy.

Q: How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
A: It generally starts with an idea of a plot line. Then it morphs into a mini synopsis. Then I begin getting scene glimpses and I hurry to type them as emails to myself or notes on my iPhone while I’m driving carpool or to the store. At some point, I gather all the data, make a beat sheet, flesh it out, and get going when I can spare 15 minutes to an hour.

Q: What is your favorite Quote?
A: “If not now, when?” (anonymous)

Q: What character from someone else's book is most like you?
A: Likely Anne of Green Gables. I’m usually doing something embarrassing, overzealous, and learning the hard way, though I’m just trying to do good.

Q: What book do you love that doesn't get a lot of hype?
A: Living, Loving, Learning by Leo Buscaglia. He’s passed on but what a lovely legacy that man left.
Q: You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
A: I remember Oprah once saying that when she started making serious money, the first thing she bought was towels. I laughed. Now, I understand it. Our family and washer shreds them like fettucine. So maybe, okay, first helping the missionary program, and my women’s program, and third world countries. But then, towels.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
A: Family, friends, laptop with eternal recharger.

Q: Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
A: Oh, yes! In the works are two romance series, another nonfiction (humorous) for women, wives, and mothers, and a specialty nonfiction for Christmas.

Q: If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
A: I know it’s not like it seems, but I’d love the 1850s IF I were wealthy. More conveniences than typical of Austen times, and more acceptance of female authors. And, if you’re wealthy, ALL DAY TO WRITE, (if you feign illness for all those annoying social calls). People waiting on you hand and foot, taking care of dinner while you be with your children or write? I’d give it a shot.

I hear you there. Sounds like a dream. Well, thanks for being on my blog. I wish you all kinds of success with all your projects.

You can find more about Connie's book by following the link below.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Unbounded: The Change, An Erin Radkey Novel

If you enjoy contemporary urban fantasy, I hope you'll check The Change (Unbounded Series #1), a  brand new novel by Teyla Branton. Unlike a lot of urban fantasies on the market these days, there aren't pages and pages of bedroom scenes that clog up the plot. Yes! There's romance and attraction and tension, but mostly it's action and story. I think most of my readers will love the book. Oh, and when you look at the book description on Amazon, click on the author link and see if you recognize her! (LOL)

You can get it on Kindle ebook ($7.99) or in print ($13.95):

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Interview With Author Cami Checketts

Today I am interviewing Cami Checketts, author of Dead Running and Dying to Run.
Q: You have been through an interesting trial with the amputation of your fingers. Do you wish you could take that moment back?

A: My 13-year-old said the other day if he could give me one piece of advice it would be, "Don't stick your hand in a lawnmower!" I laughed and told him thank you very much, but I wouldn't have listened to his advice. Cutting my fingers off was horrific, but the blessings, spiritual experiences, and lessons in service I learned were well worth the pain (and having funny-looking fingers).

Q: You struggled with believing you were smart or talented enough to be a writer? How have you overcome those insecurities?

A: I didn't know I had! I fight my insecurities with knowledge: learning more about my craft and trying to improve my storytelling abilities. Oh, and lots and lots of prayer.

Q: How do you incorporate your degree in exercise science with your passion for writing?

A: I write fitness articles for blogs and ezines. It's also interesting how often my characters are passionate about exercise!

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for plots or characters?

A: Nightmares. Finally a good use for those nasty nighttime visitors.

Q: Can you describe your writing process?

A: I have a nightmare that usually becomes my inciting incident or a scene later in the book. I write that and then start brainstorming about why this scene happened and who these characters are. The other scenes come as I'm running or walking. I really need to start bringing a laptop with me.

Q: How long does it take you to produce a polished novel?

A: 4-6 months

Q: That's great! Especially with four young boys. How do you fit writing time in?

A: Right now I'm in the golden spot. The three oldest are in school and the baby naps for 2-3 hours each afternoon. I'm able to write each afternoon and sometimes at night (depending on how long we read Harry Potter). For me the key has been being flexible and writing when the boys are occupied, but I try very hard not to write if they're home. They need me. At least I like to tell myself they do.

Q: What project are you working on now?

A: Blog This. It’s a terrifying romantic suspense. I honestly can’t work on it if my husband is out of town because I scare myself. One night I carried all four of my boys into my bedroom, pushed the cedar chest in front of the bedroom door and fell asleep with my phone in my hand. How do you explain that to your kids in the morning?

Q: Can you give us a sneek peak?
A: Here’s the blurb:
Natasha Senecot’s anti-violence blog acquires millions of hits. She unveils a disturbing conspiracy and threats abound. A bullet can’t stop her blog posts, but someone has discovered her weakness. Natasha is torn between her solid ex-husband, a charming detective, and an irrational attraction towards the man assigned to kill her. Can any choice protect her family?
Q: What plans do you have for your writing future?
Just to keep producing books, enjoy writing, and make new friends along the way.

Q: Any advice to those pursuing their own dreams?

A: Dream big and work hard but don't allow yourself to be distracted from what matters most.
Thanks for being on my blog, Cami I hope you have a great blog tour. You can read a sample of Cami's books here.