Saturday, January 7, 2017

Blog Touring: Midnight Sisters

That's right! It's time for another blog tour! Connecting with readers, writers, and bloggers and getting their first impressions during Becoming Beauty's Blog Tour was a blast! And seriously, who doesn't love a good giveaway? And bargains!

For Midnight Sisters' Blog Tour I decided to shake things up a bit. For instance, the giveaway is bigger and better this time, featuring a chance to win Amazon gift cards or a signed copies of Midnight Sisters. And for the duration of the tour, January 9 - 20, Becoming Beauty in eBook will be on sale for 99 cents!

That's just the beginning. Each blog tour day will reveal something new about the mischievous cast of Midnight Sisters. It promises to be fun! Check back in over the next couple of weeks to take advantage of all the cool things that are going on!

Jan 9: R.K. Grow (Jonas Selkirk feature)
Jan 10: Blooming with Books (Ariela Spencer feature)
Jan 11: Eclectic Alli (Passionate Geek feature)
Jan 11: Mel's Shelves (Brisella Spencer feature)
Jan 12: Adrienne Quintana (Canela “Cinnamon” Spencer feature)
Jan 12: A Backwards Story (Daniela Spencer feature)
Jan 13: Bookworm Lisa (Estella/Frizella Spencer feature)
Jan 13: Perfect Beginnings (Estella/Frizella Spencer feature)
Jan 14: Cindy C. Bennett (Gisella, Hayla, Isella Spencer feature)
Jan 15: Inkings and Notions (Gisella, Hayla, Isella Spencer feature)
Jan 16: Wishful Endings (Janela Spencer feature)
Jan 16: Corinne's Garden (Krisela Spencer feature)
Jan 17: Katie's Clean Book Collection (Larela Spencer feature)
Jan 18: Literary Timeout (Braden feature)
Jan 19: The Phantom Paragrapher (Lord Bromhurt feature)
Jan 20: Let It Be & Celebrate (Special author feature)

Amazing things are happening over the next few weeks. Midnight Sisters' Launch Party is scheduled at the end of the blog tour. Naturally, you're all invited! And giveaways, freebies, and author events will continue through February. 

Thanks for dropping by, awesome readers! Feel free to enter the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Calling All {Book} Bloggers!

I'm pleased to announce the Blog Tour for my second Young Adult novel, Midnight Sisters. a twist on the fairytale classic The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

The blog tour will run from January 9th through the 20th, and will feature each of the main characters. That means all twelve troublesome noblewomen and two rather smitten gardeners will have their moment in the limelight. The blog tour will culminate in the Midnight Sisters book launch at Endless Indulgence of Ogden on January 21st.

In conjunction with the blog tour, Midnight Sisters will be released in paperback and eBook, Becoming Beauty in eBook will be on sale for 99 cents, and I'll hold various giveaways and run other special promotions for both books.

Here's the line up for the Midnight Sisters blog tour:

January 9: R.K. Grow
January 10: Blooming with Books
January 11: Eclectic Alli (Passionate Geek Feature)
January 11: Mel's Shelves
January 12: Adrienne Quintana
January 12: A Backwards Story
January 13: Bookworm Lisa
January 13: Perfect Beginnings
January 14: Cindy C. Bennett
January 15: Inkings and Notions
January 16: Wishful Endings
January 16: Corinne's Garden
January 17: Katie's Clean Book Collection
January 18: Literary Timeout
January 19: The Phantom Paragrapher
January 20: Let It Be & Celebrate

All the amazing bloggers, authors, book reviewers, and writers who participated in Becoming Beauty's blog tour in 2014 have been invited to take part in The Midnight Sisters Blog Tour, but anyone who is interested is encouraged to participate too. If you'd like to claim a date for the blog tour, contact me via email using the buttons on the sidebar, on my Facebook Author Page, via Twitter, or by leaving a comment below.

Also, feel free to peruse the websites and blogs of the tour participants listed above. Who knows? You may find your next favorite read! A huge thanks to all of them for so eagerly coming on board. Also, thanks once again to Cindy Iverson for her gorgeous blog tour banner design.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cover Reveal: Midnight Sisters

Though I'm not the type of girl who poses for Glamour Shots like those made popular in the 90's, pulling together fashion, location, and fabulous accessories for a cover shoot is totally up my alley.

I've waited since June to reveal the cover art for my second Young Adult novel, Midnight Sisters, a twist on the fairytale classic, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is with pride and great pleasure that I finally reveal the cover for Midnight Sisters, to be released in January 2017.

An excerpt from Midnight Sisters:

Do no meddle with the Master's daughters.

The words rattle around Jonas’ head. What is the punishment again? Death? Dismemberment? Jonas, the newest addition to the gardening staff, can’t recall the exact penalty for breaking the rule. What does it matter anyway? He would never dream of meddling with the Earl of Bromhurst’s haughty daughters.

Until he comes face to face with Lady Ariela Spencer, the eldest of the His Lordship’s daughters.

Her elusive smile and open manner cause him to question his convictions. In no time, he’s drawn into Lady Ariela's world of mystery and intrigue, a world where she and her sisters will do anything—including leaving twelve empty beds at midnight—to escape their father’s strict rules.

Only Jonas can uncover the truth and save them from their father’s wrath and their own folly, if he is willing to risk everything he’s ever worked for. 
* * *
A huge thanks once again to the amazing team who made this image possible, Cammi, Jill, Sue, and especially Cindy, my amazing graphic designer. I love you, ladies!
* * *
A note from the author:
Whenever I mention The Twelve Dancing Princesses, there is invariably someone who is unfamiliar with the tale. By clicking the above link, you'll be taken to versions of the fairytale from all over the world. Also, if you click on the link at the beginning of this post, you'll be taken to the Grimm Brother's rendition, which is the one I followed most closely.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The I-Don't-Suck-As-A-Writer Moment

1. when writers read what they've written & don't die of shame.

I certainly hit the I-hate-my-manuscript phase with Becoming Beauty. So, I was surprised to reread my last version of Book Two and find it readable! That's encouraging! It's nice to know that even if there are issues, most of the large ones are resolved. Also, it's nice to know that I do not indeed suck as a writer!

When I get down, I try to remind myself of my experience with Becoming Beauty. Several unexpected things happened (even when I suspected I actually sucked as a writer).

Someone will quote you. It may sound dumb, but readers will have a favorite part of your book and they'll quote it online, on their blog, in a review. It may not be something you consider ultimately quotable, but yes, it will make you smile every time it happens

Someone will love your book. (And it won't just be your mother!) Complete strangers will give you 5 star reviews and sing the praises of your book. It seems weird before it happens and it seems weird when it happens, but it will happen. (Seriously. Lots of people loved Twilight!)

Someone will be impressed by the quality of your writing. Readers and reviewers will comment on themes and patterns in your writing you didn't put there intentionally. Who knows how it happens, but it does. (And it's awesome.)

Someone will find meaning in your book that will change the way they think. Be honest, special books have touched you, haven't they? And they affect how you view the world, write, and approach other books. Even if it's only in subtle ways. Trust me, it will happen with your books too.

Someone will utterly fall in love with your characters. (Okay...other than you.) Readers may threaten your life if so-and-so doesn't have a happy ending or events don't turn out as they expected. That's because they become invested in characters you created. We count that as a success!

I'm not brave enough to say that you'll be someone's favorite author. (Just writing that makes me want to cross my fingers, eyes, toes, and knock on wood at the same time!) But why couldn't it happen? Your favorite author was once just a writer who wasn't sure they didn't suck either. Someday, that could be you.

So  go ahead.
Embrace your awesomeness.
Admit that you're a writer. 
And quit thinking you suck.
* * *
Author's note: It's possible I've just penned this post so I will be brave enough to publish another book. But I love being your cheerleader as well! I'd love to hear how you survive the Writer Suck moments in your life. Or if you're still wallowing in one. 

Let's chat! Leave me a comment!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Inbetween Land

All writers inhabit the Inbetween Land at some point. Wedged between first drafts and last drafts, finished manuscripts and fresh plots, beta readers and editors. It's a truly bewildering place.

It kind of feels like this...
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
And take it from me, it takes careful maneuvering to escape it.

Develop a Game Plan:
Writers have to learn how to use their time wisely. As a part-time writer, I split my time and energy between teaching and writing. The challenge is creating a schedule that works. 

This fall that means getting the school year underway and setting a date to publish Book Two. Then, between now and then, I need to set up a Blog Tour, put the finishing touches on the cover, and plan how and when to format the manuscript. You know, after I finish editing everything up. 

I've had several conversations like this lately:

He's so fluffy, I could die!
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Learn Who To Trust:
Experts materialize when anyone lays claim to the title of Writer. Marketers, editors, proofreaders, social media specialists, etc. are dying to give you their pitch and take your money. That's why it's crucial that writers learn to trust their own voice. We're responsible for researching things properly and cleaning up timelines, grammar, and character quirkiness. 

People in positions of power may be professionals,
but they may also be professionally bonkers.
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Our expertise will be called into question. When that happens, we must carefully consider the counsel given as well as the source, especially if it comes from someone who is strong in areas where we are weak. We aren't infallible, but neither are our editors and readers. We must trust our hearts and swallow our egos. We must keep our minds open but pay attention to our own intuition. 

Get to Work:
Unlike the noble turtle who leaves her eggs in the sand and trots back to her day job, we can't abandon our manuscripts to nature and expect them to thrive. And unless you're rolling in money, the lion's share of the work will fall to you. Just like I have, you're bound to make mistakes, but you're bound to have fun as well. As frustrating as it may be, being a published author is awesome.

So pitch in! Do all you're able to do and then call in as many favors as you can. Among all those experts who emerge from the depths when they smell fresh writer blood are those who care more about helping other writers than they do about draining your bank account. They don't mind giving free advice, sending you in the right direction, or swapping favors.

That one time I dressed up as Alice...
Halloween 2015
So my dears, now that I've got my game plan, know who I can lean on, and know what's ahead, I'd better stop playing dress up and get working! Wish me luck!

And please, share your tips and horror stories about the dreaded Inbetween Land in the comments!

Monday, October 3, 2016

My Inner Beauty

Sarah E. Boucher:
 Adorable Author, Awesome Educator
I've always been a plumpy girl. Curvaceous. Zaftig. Full-figured. Whatever you'd like to call it.

Except Big Boned. Referring to the author as Big Boned will result in a beating. Or a timeout.

This summer, at the height of my squishiness, I hit my 40th birthday. The word hit is strategically selected. In July, one might say a Titanic's worth of emotions collided with an iceberg of drama which spewed over into the sea of my soul. Thoughts of what I've done with my life and who I've become have plagued me all year.

My inner dialogue went something like this:

The critic: 
Fourty. FOUR-TY. Sheesh, that seems old. And still single eh? That's not at all depressing, is it?

The optimist:
Whatever. I've done AMAZING things in my singleton years. And I'm not miserable. I've been a teacher for the better part of 15 years, which means hundreds of kids have been mothered and loved and disciplined, and taught cool stuff like Rhombus and Arachnid. I did that. Also, I write good books man.

The critic: 
Well that's true. So, basically, I'm awesome, right?

The optimist: 

How did I get from squishy to awesome? I changed the label I was living under, something I learned from a cranky kindergartner.

See, I carried the title of Mean Teacher for a year before I realized I'd allowed a cranky kindergartner to determine how I felt about myself  as a human. One day I realized that the only one still referring to me as Mean Teacher was me. So, I began looking myself in the mirror and calling myself Awesome. It took longer than accepting the negative label, but it stuck. 

Somewhere along the way, I began to see my own Beauty. I started using words like cute, pretty, and adorable to describe myself. Occasionally my inner critic has a thing to say about that. But I just tell it to shut up and focus on not poking myself in the eye with the eyeliner. Because really, how can a woman with red hair and dimples not be adorable? 

Every girl wants to be the hero of her own story. The Beauty to her Beast. The leading lady in her own romantic comedy. Good stories hinge on a character's journey. That's my story so far. I feel like Belle stepping into that amazing library for the first time. There's still so much to see and do. So many more stories left to discover.

I want to build a blanket fort there! Who's with me?
Learn more on the Disney Wiki

I encourage you, my dear friends, to discover your Inner Awesome. It's not ego and entitlement, but that spark of amazing we all carry within us that drives us to work harder and become better.

And if you need a bit more empowerment, allow me to help you out:
The Making of a Woman
Sassy Pants: Be Your Own Wonder Woman
Plot Twist: Learning to Laugh at Yourself

Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear about your journeys! Leave me a comment!

Monday, September 19, 2016


The Utah Shakespeare Festival is one of my favorite summer getaways. Short of purchasing a ticket across the pond, there's no better way to dip your toes in Shakespeare and/or get thoroughly #Shakepeared.
This summer, Henry V, wasn't enough. It wet my appetite but didn't satisfy. A thick volume in the gift shop called The Friendly Shakespeare piqued my interest and set me on the path to discovery. 

As a source for inspiration, there nothing better than Shakespeare. The plays, from comedy to history, are a superb mix of drama and humor, truth and fiction, prose and poetry, romance and tragedy. Reading or viewing Shakespeare will expose you to:

Heroes who act like villains and villains who act heroically. Prince Hal from Henry IV exemplifies debauchery and heroism as he treads the path from from ale house to throne and prince to king.

So when this loose behavior I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My refomation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.

Real emotion woven throughout the tales make hundreds of years old feel familiar and relatable. Jealousy, fierce loyalty, true love, infatuation, self-interest, humility, hopelessness. Duke Orsino from Twelfth Night drowns in melancholy due to unrequited love, and like many of us, he wallow in it.

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die...

Relationships of all types--both healthy and unhealthy--are explored. Fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, husbands and wives, sovereigns and subjects, siblings, and the best and worst of friends. Prospero, the magician and one time duke in The Tempest, does much to ensure the happiness of his daughter Miranda.

I have done nothing but in care of thee,
Of thee, my dear one, thee, my daughter, who
Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing
Of whence I am, nor that I am more better
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell,
And thy no greater father.

Some of the most delicious banter ever written. Like a tennis match where each hit is efficiently lobbed back. Petruchio and Catherine in The Taming of the Shrew and Benedick and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing come to mind. I'd love to gift my lovers such wonderful dialogue.

Beatrice: I wonder you will still be talking, Signor 
Benedick, nobody marks you.
Benedick: What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?
Beatrice: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath 
such meet food to feed as Signor Benedick?

Shakespeare is timeless. His plots, intrigues, epic romances, and tragedies draw us into another world. From Romeo, Romeo to Out damned spot! he captures our imaginations and feeds our need for both beautiful language and wonderful storytelling.
* * *
If you need a bit o' inspiration, there's always some new interpretation to explore. Here are a few of my new and old favorites (complete with links to Amazon):
The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless Guide to the Best of the Bard, by Norrie Esptein.
The Tempest, featuring Helen Mirren as Prospera
The Hollow Crown: The Complete Series, featuring Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal/Henry V
Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Kenneth Branagh
A Midsummer Night's Dream, featuring Rupert Everett as Oberon & Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania
Twelfth Night, featuring Imogen Stubbs & Helena Bonham Carter
* * * 
What are your favorites? Leave me a comment and tell me your true feelings about the Bard. (Be warned that if you loathe him entirely, there may be mocking...) I've also embedded links to my own posts on being #Shakespeared through the post. Happy clicking!