Wednesday, March 26, 2014

One hundred word story: A Familiar Face

I'm excited to add a fun new feature to my blog. I've joined with a group of other authors to do a little project called "WonHundred Word Wednesdays." The premise is this: each week we will be assigned a prompt. We will each write a 100 word story based on the prompt, share it, then link to the other authors' blogs so you can read what they came up with. 

Today's prompt is: You are on a crowded subway platform when you see a familiar face..." 

Here's my story: 

A stranger pushes past me, apparently more concerned with his destination than with his manners. Ignoring the insult, I take a deep breath and tuck my purse tightly under my arm. I try to avoid taking the subway whenever possible, especially on days like today when everything has gone wrong.

It was just a job, I remind myself as I shove the pink slip into the trash. The day can’t get worse, I think just as an angry pair of steel blue eyes meet mine. Turning on my heel, I run back up the stairs. How did he find me?

Visit these other blogs and read their 100 word stories...

Wendy Knight, Author:
Kelly Martin, Author:
Alison Woods (Peering Into. . .):
Jessica Winn, the distracted writer:
Stephanie Worlton's Kreating Krazy blog:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Scatter Sunshine

I was sitting on the porch the other day, enjoying a little touch of early-spring sunshine, when I heard a voice that made my heart dance a little. Obviously I knew it wasn't his, but the voice of another young man. It was nothing more than a hearty chuckle carried on the breeze, but to this mom it was sunshine. The neighbor boys continued to banter. They were laughing and joking around as teenage boys do. And, though I couldn't even make out the words, the simple sound of their carefree laughter touched a little something in my heart and put a smile on my face.

I don't know where the last six months have gone. It seems like just yesterday we put our boy on a plane and sent him 5,000 miles across the pond. It's actually been more than six months... 194 days to be exact (but who's counting?)! There's not a day that passes that he doesn't cross my mind. Some days he takes up a lot of real estate there, but they're not the painful, missing and worrying about him kind of thoughts anymore. Most days my thoughts of him are filled with joy. Peace even. And sunshine!

His emails come through every Monday. They are a beautiful way to start my week. Lately in particular. Almost every third sentence contains some variation of the phrase: "It is great!"

And I'll agree: It is great!  

There are so many things that could be occupying his time right now. The world is an open canvas to a nineteen year old. He could be going to school. He could be working. He could be touring and playing and building memories.... He could be seriously courting my future daughter-in-law. But he's not. Instead he is doing something completely selfless. His heart isn't set on the things of the world but rather on the service of the Lord. And it is great!

To say its all been easy would be a lie. He's had his challenges and his tough moments. As a mother, so have I. They are probably worth being shared, but not today. Today is a sunshine day. Today is a day to admit that though there have been moments of darkness, there is a light! We've both learned. We've both grown. And the journey has been beautiful.

Today is a day of sunshine. Today is a day of peace. Today is a great day.

To quote the hymn, "there is sunshine in my soul today, more glorious and bright, than burns in any earthly sky, because Jesus is my light." I'm full of warmth and peace and joy because I know that my Savior loves me! I've felt it. I've seen it. And I continue to witness it daily.

The icing on the cake is knowing that my son is happy. He is doing well and he is spreading the joy of our Savior's plan. He is scattering sunshine - not just where he is at, but here at home too. I am so very proud of him and I'm not alone. I am sure the Lord is pleased with him too. I know that the Lord loves him and cares for him and has opened many hearts to him. I am humbled by the strangers that cross his path and soon become his friends.

I, too, can scatter sunshine. I can smile at a stranger. I can make friends. I can lift others. I can be a bright point in somebody's day.... Really, can't we all? Let's do it together! Let's scatter sunshine. Let's make this world a kinder happier place. Isn't that, after all, what the Savior would have us do?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Interview with author Randy Lindsay

I reviewed a book a couple of weeks ago called The Gathering - Ends Beginning (to read my review click here.) 

Today I'm excited to have author Randy Lindsay on my blog to answer a few questions. As a refresher,The Gathering is about an LDS missionary that gets called home early to help prepare for the prophesied end of times (although, he doesn't know that's why he's coming home.) Not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but I am fascinated by the book of Revelations and any study I can find on the subject. That, and the quality of the story made this a great read for me. With that in mind, here's my fun interview with Randy:

Q - I have a son currently serving a mission for the LDS church so when I saw the premise of your book I was both intrigued and a bit nervous to pick it up. Us missionary mom’s get quite protective and emotional about our boys (and girls), so the idea of a missionary getting called home early hit close to home. It’s a different approach to an “end of times” story and it really brought things into perspective for me. How did you come up with the whole concept? Not just for having Robert come home early, but for the story as a whole? 

A - A lot of research. I read several books that have what (LDS) Church leaders have had to say on the topic. I went through dozens of Conference talks to get as much of an idea of what could really happen as possible. At some point, it is very clear that the Missionaries will be called home. The spooky part of it is that just last week the Church called home missionaries from the Ukraine. That is fairly similar to the events I have in The Gathering. In the book, the Missionaries are starting to be called home and Russia invades the Ukraine.

Q - It’s clear that you’ve done a lot of research on the “signs of the times,” is this something you’ve always been interested in or just a topic you decided to research for your book? 

A – I like end-of-the-world stories to begin with, so it’s no surprise that I take a heightened interest in this topic. However, I did much more intensive research when I decided to write The Gathering. 

Q - I’ve read a lot of stories that speculate about the end of the world, yours is one of the most believable ones that I’ve found. What did your writing process look like? Do you outline or just wing it? 

A – Oh, I always outline. I took the information I had gathered from Church leaders and separated that into types of events, like humbling the people and erosion of the government. Then I tried to put it all together in a way that would make sense. I really worked hard to write a story that was very believable.

Q – You’ve got a couple stories running parallel to each other. How did you decide where to place your DC insider, Calvin McCord? 

A – Function. I wanted a character in the story that could give the readers a top-down view of the events that are taking place in the story. That meant he had to be close to the top. The actual office of Secretary of State was chosen because it dealt with foreign affairs and had easy access to the President. But that sounds soooooo very much less magical when you put it in those terms. However, for me that is how it works. I determine what functions are needed in a story and then turn those into characters that I hope my readers will enjoy.

Q - Is there a character in the book that you relate to or that perhaps was based on yourself? 

A – I love Calvin. He’s my favorite character in The Gathering. In one manner that makes him the character I relate to best. He is a fish out of water and has a few rough edges about him. However, Robert is the most natural character for me to write. Not that I’m like Robert, but his manner of speaking is me.

Q – This is your first published novel but not your first work of fiction. What kinds of things to you typically write? 

A – I write a lot of science fiction, some fantasy, but my main interest is in speculative fiction with angelic themes. My writing to-do-list has several stories that involve angels in one manner or another. The first novel I wrote (and hope to self-publish later this year) takes place in all of the five planes: Heaven, Paradise, Earth, Limbo, and Hell. 

Q – Can you tell me more about that story?

A – Yes, I can. It is a grittier story than The Gathering. I like to describe it as “a dead man’s race.” I plan to publish it under the pen name of Crawford McCord because it contains a good deal more action and violence than the stories I plan to write under my own name.

Q – What’s been the best or most unexpected part of becoming a published author? 

A - The most unexpected part of being a published author is the amount of time and effort that goes into marketing my book. That is especially true for what it is taking to learn that skill set.

The best part of being a published author is meeting the people who have read my book. I love it when they ask me questions about the characters or why I wrote a part of it the way I did.

Q – The Gathering is clearly the beginning of a series. How many books will the series entail?

A – There are five books total. The last one will end with the arrival of the Savior and the beginning of the Millennium.

Q – What’s your next project? (after the series is finished, of course! You can’t leave us hanging!)

A – That’s the good news. For those readers who get to the end of this series and want more, I have another series planned that I think they will really love. I don’t want to give too much away, but my working title for it is “Unchained.”

However, between the time I finish the next book in the End’s Beginning series and when it goes to print, I am hoping to write another novel. My wife wants me to finish Last Dispensation: Space, which is about Mormons in space. But my best friend wants me to finish Down and Out on Earth, which deals with an angel that has been cast down from Heaven because he has found a flaw in creation. Right now, I’m leaning towards writing what my wife tells me to write, but I could definitely be influenced by comments from my readers as to which one they would like see.

Thanks Randy. It sounds like you are going to be very busy with your writing projects. Best of luck to you! And I can't wait for the next 4 books in the series. 

Readers who'd like to know more about Randy and his writing can visit his blog at

Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm an AUTHOR, and 7 other things you might not know about me

I consider myself a pretty open book. I don't really harbor any secrets and I'm generally forthcoming when someone asks me a question, so it always catches me off guard when someone I've known for a while doesn't know something pretty major about me... like, for instance, the fact that I write. And, more specifically, that I am a published author.

Crazy, right? I mean, I try not to be that pushy, in-your-face marketer, but I assumed the "author" badge I stapled to my forehead was a pretty good sign. Haha. Just kidding... But really, do they make such a sign? Maybe I should get one. Sharp metal in my forehead sounds more pleasant than marketing.

Anyway, back to the "open book" thing. After a friend said to me the other day, "What? You wrote a book?" (actually, I've got 3 now, but who's counting...), it got me thinking. What else do I assume people know about me but maybe they don't?  I came up with a list of 8 things - and believe me, it was work!

Let's start with the one I already mentioned:
1. I am an author -  I started writing about 6 years ago. I currently have three books published. (Which, for the record is 3 more than I ever thought I would.) I have two novels, Hope's Journey & All the Finer Things.  And one non-fiction, Everything You Need to Know About Girls Camp.


2. I love shoes - For clarification, I don't love WEARING shoes so much as I love COLLECTING them. And, for a bare-foot kind of girl, I have quite the collection! My favorites are my boots... or maybe my sandals... or what about those sassy polka-dot pumps? Picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child. I love them all. However, unlike my children, I'm sure there are many more new shoes in my future. 

3.I love mud! -  I don't mind a little dirt under my nails or caked to my knees... under my own terms, of course. The first place I run when I need to relax is to my garden. The second place is out on my four-wheeler. My daughter and I are known for finding the big mud puddles on our adventures - and for hitting the good ones more than once! There's just something about mud, and sunshine, and fresh air that make this girl happy. Any day outside is a good day. 

4. My biggest fear is drowning... and yet, we own a boat. - Go figure. Actually, if you ask my family, they will tell you that I am quite full of paranoia and anxieties. I'll admit to a few of them:  Atychiphobia (fear of failure), Claustrophobia (fear of suffocation), fear of other people's driving (really, this is a fear of not being in control. Needless to say, I can be a jumpy passenger.)

 5. My favorite smells are fresh-cut wood and wet paint. - New construction is my favorite! What can I say, building is in my blood. 

6. I don't like cheese, hamburgers, fried chicken, or soda pop. -  It's okay, I'm okay with it. And, its not that I won't eat these things (except fried chicken, gag!), I just don't like them. 

7. I met my husband when I was 14 - And only one of us fit the stereotype of a novelist... and it wasn't me. As it turns out, all authors aren't introverts, or quiet, or even intensely thoughtful. Some of them, on the contrary, can be quite extroverted, loud, and opinionated. Surprise! (BTW - my cute hubby technically was published before me but his work is all that technical mumbo-jumbo kind of stuff. He does, however, have an itch to write a novel just waiting to be scratched. Maybe I'll help him along.) 

8. I had 4 kids by the time I was 25 - Since I mentioned my kids up there under the "shoes" heading, I thought it'd be appropriate to share this most shocking tid-bit about them. I'm not shocked about it, but others usually seem to be. We had 4 kids in just under 8 years. Yeah, those were some crazy, sleepless years, but they were worth it. The best part is that by the time I'm 43, I technically could be an empty-nester...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Defiance by Adrienne Monson - Cover Reveal

Today I'm excited to be a part of the cover reveal for Andrienne Monson's newest novel: Defiance.
I've realized that I'm a bit of a cover snob, but I can honestly say that I love this one. The colors are nice and the juxtaposition of the two faces is intriguing... Now I can't wait to see what's behind the cover.

About Defiance
Leisha and Samantha barely survived the vampires and immortals six months ago. Now, an explosive battle between the vampires and immortals seems imminent. 

It's more important than ever before that the prophecy child is found, but there's a problem - Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation.

Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves? Or will fate tear everything from her once again? 

About the Author: 

Displaying Authorpic small.jpgMonsons' debut novel, Dissension, book one of the Blood Inheritance trilogy came out in 2013. Defiance (book 2) is slated for release February 24, 2015. She lives in Utah with her husband and two kids. When she's not writing, she enjoys Zumba, kickboxing, reading, and trying new recipes.

Adrienne Monson

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All the Finer Things - Book Blitz & Giveaway

Last week I introduced the cover of my new novel, All the Finer Things. If you missed the significance of what makes this my favorite cover yet, you can read about it here.

Today I'm excited to announce that it is officially available for purchase on eBook. I'll give you the purchase links at the bottom of this post, but first let me tell you about the book.

About All the Finer Things:

Married to one of the most lucrative and sought after plastic surgeons in SoCal, Megan Hamilton has it all. Her posh life, designer clothes, and stunning penthouse leave her wanting for nothing… or do they? Controlled by his obsessive pursuit of perfection, Doctor Matthew Hamilton will stop nothing short of breaking his young, spirited bride into a subservient trophy wife. But when parenthood enters their picture, the entire game changes. How far will Megan have to go to escape Matt's obsessive control and abuse? And how much will she have to lose before she gets there?

Doctor Matthew Hamilton has everything he loves - money, power, reputation. Or at least he thinks he does, until his spoiled wife decides to leave and unknowingly blows a hole right in the heart of his carefully laid plans. With Megan gone, he faces to lose everything and he won't stop until he finds her, because losing is something Matthew simply does not do.

When a fancy car and it's equally fancy owner take up residence next door, Ammon Carter's life of solidarity gets turned on its head. His quiet orchard community is no place for a pampered princess, but as a Scoutmaster, his deep moral code doesn't allow him to be anything but courteous to the young mother. Content as a bachelor, he does his best to keep his distance from the misplaced beauty and her son... unfortunately, his dog has different plans.

Now, normally when I announce a book I tell you about the author, but since this is my book-baby and most of my readers are already familiar with who I am, I will simply link the rest of you new awesome visitors to my website where you can learn more about me and my books than you ever thought you wanted to know.

And, if you'd rather have a paper copy, I'm with you. There's nothing better than a tangible, hold-in-your-hands, ink and paper book. And, copies will be available soon. I'll keep you posted on their availability... and about my OFFICIAL LAUNCH PARTY!!  - There are a few ways to stay connected with me, first feel free to click on the tab on the right that says "email updates." (Don't worry, I won't spam you. It will just send you any updates I post here.)  Next "Like" my author page on Facebook. 

Last but not least, here's the best part... THE GIVEAWAY!
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