Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writers Gonna Write

Possibly my favorite thing on the entire planet is when people call writing a hobby. Oh, wait. Flip that. 
Possibly my least favorite thing on the planet is when people call writing a hobby.  There. Now, we've got it.
Let's review.  Muses call at inconvenient moments (anytime I'm far away from my laptop), characters squabble for the limelight, scream loudly in your ears, and tend to misbehave at the most inopportune moments. And writer's block? It's just as much fun as it sounds. 
So, why do we do it? 
Here are some solid reasons that writers of all types do what they do:

  • There is a story to be told. Whether it's real, fiction, fantasy, historic, or contemporary, we all have stories that must be told.  They keep us up at night and push us through revision after revision until at last they resemble what we first imagined.
  • The process of writing is cathartic.  Time and again, writing has been recommended as a therapeutic measure.  Our ideas are clarified, our demons are exorcised, and our feelings are set forth in plain, easy-to-examine language.
  • The voices in your head need a mouthpiece.  Call it schizophrenia if you will, but characters bellowing out their demands like some sort of frantic hostage-taker need someone with the skill to express their thoughts. I mean, your thought.
  • Through writing, you share your sunshine, inspiration, and core beliefs with others.  Anyone who thinks they can write without injecting their works with any of the above is lying to themselves. However, sharing sunshine, faith, and inspiration uplifts others, makes them see life in a new way, and helps them understand that they are not alone--at least for the time it takes to reach the back cover.
  • There is magic in creating worlds, characters, and relationships. Writing is a high. Seeing the blank page turn into something interesting, inspiring, and entertaining is truly magical. 
Basically, writing is difficult and painful, but baby, writers gonna write. It's what we do.

So, the next time your creative family member, friend, or significant other says they're writing, don't roll your eyes, fell neglected and/or offended, or belittle their process. Just bring them a cookie, provide them with copious amounts of chocolate and/or caffeine, and let them have their space.  Don't worry, they'll come back to you when the voices fall silent.

For more writing tips, try Death by AutocorrectWannabes Need Not Apply, Captain Obvious, or Truth-Telling Fiction on for size. Thanks for reading and happy writing friends!

(Images courtesy of Pinterest)  


First and foremost, I'm a reader. At my twenty-year high school reunion, someone said, “When I heard you'd written a book, I wasn't surprised.” With chagrin, I admitted that yes, my nose was typically in a book.  Not much has changed in twenty years, except that as a writer, on occasion I get the first crack at new releases. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to read indie author Misty Dawn Pulsipher's new Austen-inspired romance Persuaded. Romance? You betcha. Wit? Oh, yes. All of this and more set against the stunning backdrop of the east coast. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to this fantastic new read and the author behind it.
The cover, created by artist Cindy Canizales, not only establishes the setting but represent the soul of the novel: a sense of loneliness, seclusion, and a life apart.  Based on Persuasion, my favorite Austen novel, Hanna is Pulsipher's version of Anne Elliot who meets and loses the love of her life as a teen.  Derick, who literally sailed out of Hanna's life ten years before, reunites with her in the summer of her twenty-eighth year. Will they be able to overcome the pain and frustration of the past and rediscover a passion undimmed by time or will their hearts turn to others?

What's worse than never getting over your first love?
How about watching him fall for someone else...

Hanna Elliot had worn the ring faithfully at first. Some part of her still clung to the hope that all was not lost. As the days turned into weeks, she finally took it off and set it atop her dresser. When weeks gave way to months, the ring finally went back into its box. For the first few years, she had taken it out on the anniversary of the day she’d received it, allowing herself to wallow in what might have been.

She had been all but stamped out of Derick Wentworth’s mind. 

Sure, he thought about her occasionally, especially on cloudless nights when he lay on the bow of the Laconia looking up at the stars. But as time went on, Derick began to feel grateful that it hadn’t worked out, for one thing was certain: if he ever did settle down, it would be with someone who knew her own mind. Someone who went after the thing she wanted without hesitation. Someone who would never allow herself to be persuaded otherwise.
(Source:  Goodreads)

My review:
Capturing the essence of Austen's autumnal romance Persuasion, Pulsipher creates a cast of relatable characters who capture an audience's heart with their strength, humility, and charm. Weaving intrigue and modern humor into the tale keeps readers entertained while the will-they-won't-they of Hanna and Derick's romance ensures readers' attention will stay focused til the last page.  The well-researched and beautiful backdrop of the east coast only adds to the charm of this tale.

And now, let's meet the author!
Misty Dawn Pulsipher, a native Utahn who has since relocated to Maryland, has self-published two Austen-inspired novels.  To keep things interesting, here are Ten Random Facts About Misty.  Let's see if we can embarrass her, eh?

  1. A incurable romantic, Misty realized her feelings for her would-be husband Sean while blubbering over copious amounts of ice cream and the movie Titanic.
  2. The mother of three children, Misty only occasionally calls them monsters and usually finds them delightful, talented, and quirky.
  3. Can you be too addicted to the BBC? She loves Merlin, Robin HoodDownton, The Paradise, and almost any original or remake period drama. Especially those based on Austen novels. Or Little Women.
  4. If movie quoting were an Olympic sport, Misty would have the gold and no one would argue because we would all be so impressed.
  5. How many editions of Monopoly does she own? The world may never know, but we have been informed that her collection includes gems like The Office, Star Wars, and Harry Potter Monopoly games.
  6. With seventeen recipes for muddy buddies/puppy chow (a conservative guess), Misty is always looking for new treats and menu items to serve up to family and friends.
  7. In addition to sewing numerous Easter and Sunday dresses, Misty has created many costumes for herself and her family, including the casts of Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, and Beauty & The Beast.
  8. Oh, and she's obsessed with Halloween. Sources say it's her favorite holiday and plans for the family's costumes the next year sometimes precede that year's Halloween.  Lovable, right?
  9. Mostly self-taught, Misty plays the piano and memorizes complex pieces just for funsies.
  10. She speaks French. How cool is that?

There you have it! An adorable indie author with her second novel now available.  To learn more about Misty Dawn Pulsipher, connect with her on Facebook, check out her blog, enter the giveaway (that's right, I said GIVEAWAY!) now running on Goodreads, and read her books!  They're both available on Amazon: 
As always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interlude in the Rose Garden

Because who wouldn't want to be dragged behind the nearest rosebush by a handsome gardener?

Twelve's Jonas and Ari
In the Rose Garden

The meeting had broken up.  Once again in pairs and trios, the ladies made their way out of the garden.  Most of the girls were already gone when Brisella passed my hiding place, her arms linked with Daniela and Janela.  Ariela was the last to leave, her downcast eyes and the furrow in her brow evidence of her concern. 
I needed to speak with her. 
As she passed, I reached out a hand, grasped hers, and pulled her behind the rose hedge.  Taken off-guard, her customary grace was lost and she bumped into my chest with a gasp.  The nearness of her overwhelmed my senses for a moment.  My eyes were drawn to her lips, parted in surprise, and the scent of her filled my nostrils, her warm breath mingling with mine. 
When I tore my eyes from her lips, I noted the caramel gaze fixed on me, the tiny furrow between her eyebrows deeper than before.  Blinking, I took a step back, and dropped her hand.  As if an enchantment had been broken by the movement, her mouth closed with a snap and her arms folded over her chest.
“How much did you hear?” she demanded. 
I stared at my feet.  “Everything.”
“Then there’s nothing left for me to say.”  She turned away, leaving me with no more than the view of her profile.
“Ari, please,” I begged. 
She released a sigh, weariness lining the shadows of her face.  “It’s no use, Jonas. There’s nothing you can do.”
“You said it yourself, this ruse can’t go on forever.”
She folded her arms more tightly as if trying to hold herself together, but made no reply.
My earnestness pushed me forward.  I took a step toward her.  “I need you to know that when this ends, I will do all I can to protect you.”
Turning back, she met my gaze fully.  The gravity in her eyes eased and one corner of her mouth curved up before the other joined it.  One of her hands moved to cup my cheek.  “Jonas, what would I do without you?”  Standing on tiptoe, she leaned up to brush a kiss across the other cheek and whisper, “Thank you.”

* * *

Sorry! Not much snogging in the underbrush today!  But to learn more about Ari, Jonas, and the rest of the colorful cast of Twelve, please read Just a Taste, Embracing the Fangirl Within, Arguing With Myself, or Twelve for the Fourteenth. Thank you for stopping in and happy romancing!

Meet My Characters Blog Tour

I was invited to participate in the Meet My Character Blog Tour by fellow writer Nicholas Hughes.  You can learn more about him, his characters, and his current project The Red Dress, on his website. Rachael Ritchey, an adult and YA fantasy author, started the ball rolling on the tour. To learn more about her and her various works in progress, visit her website

And here's a little about me:  
Due to a childhood obsession with fairytales, I began creating my own fairly early on. Becoming Beauty, my take on Beauty and the Beast, is the first to see the light of day, but if the clamoring cast of Twelve (The Twelve Dancing Princesses) and Guillermo & Elyse (Rumpelstiltskin) have their way, it won't be the last. Until they earn their moment in the sun, let's get to know Bella, the heroine and unconventional Beauty in Becoming Beauty: 

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
Bella is completely fictional.  Any similarity between Bella and myself is purely intentional...I mean accidental

2. When and where is the story set?
The clothing and architecture hint toward the mid 1800s when ladies donned rich, full-skirted ball gowns and men's evening wear included elaborately tied neckclothes and shiny knee boots. However, since this is a fairytale spin-off instead of historical fiction, Bella and her supporting cast converse in relatively modern language.

3. What should we know about him/her?
Bella represents Beauty from Beauty and the Beast, which means she's sweet, kind, industrious, unselfish, quick to forgive, and so full of love that she easily sees beyond the Beast to the prince within. 
Or not.
Bella is obsessed with stocking her wardrobe with beautiful, costly items and will go to any length to escape her middle-class life for the luxuries she feels that she deserves. She is a witty, sarcastic, resourceful, and manipulative. 

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Relationships with Bella's family reach a breaking point when her greed leads to her father's imprisonment and subsequent illness.  Determined that he will suffer no more for her, Cassandra and Aaron (Bella's siblings) demand that Bella pay for her own crimes at the hand of the the Beast.  

5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Bella's personal goals twists and reform as the story unfolds. Initially, marriage to a wealthy nobleman is all Bella dreams of. Manipulating those around her to acquire the clothing and brilliant baubles guaranteed to catch a gentleman's eye puts her one step closer to her goal. However, after losing home, family, and all she treasures, Bella comes face to face with the Beast and his manservant Jack, who are as battered by the past as she. Through these circumstances, she comes to understand  the value of serving well, discovers talents she didn't know she possessed, and turns her attention to bettering the lives of those in her care.

6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
The story is entitled Becoming Beauty. It's available on AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Books & ThingsFollow me on my website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more updates and any specials, and feel free to add it on Goodreads. 

7. When can we expect the book to be published?
Becoming Beauty, published by Cedar Fort Media and Publishing, was released November 11, 2014.

Thank you for stopping in!  Ciara Ballintyne is up next in the Meet My Characters Blog Tour.  She's a fantasy author who will undoubtedly have something interesting to share about her own characters. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Becoming Beauty Blog Tour

Along with Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, I'm pleased to announce Becoming Beauty's upcoming blog tour.  It will take place beginning November 9, 2014 and continue until November 26, 2014.

Information for bloggers interested in participating is available on the Cedar Fort Blog. Bloggers can sign up using the above link, or they can contact me via email, Facebook, Twitter (just click the appropriate button at the right), or by leaving a comment below.  As many bloggers as would like to participate, are encouraged to do so. More than one blogger can run the feature on the same day.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing this exciting time with me! I hope you'll take part in the blog tour, as either a blogger or a reader. Thanks!

Cover Reveal: Becoming Beauty

Like anyone else who dumps blood, sweat, and tears into a manuscript, I've been dreaming of Becoming Beauty's cover for a long time.  Not only did I hope for something that set my version of Beauty and the Beast apart from the rest, but I wanted it to reflect the journey that transformed a flawed character into a strong heroine.  The artists at Cedar Fort Publishing and Media couldn't have encapsulated this any better:

Now comes the fun of waiting until November 11th to see the real thing!  In the meantime, here's something to whet your appetite:

Bella’s time at home has been spent fobbing off her responsibilities on her siblings, weaseling new gowns out of her father, and daydreaming about the life she ought to be living as mistress of a wealthy household.  When her father returns from an extended business trip, Bella’s life is turned upside-down and she is left with no choice but to call on the mercy of the Beast.

Refusing to be cowed, even by someone as dangerous and imposing as the Beast, Bella matches barbed comment for barbed comment while scheming to escape. Her plans are derailed when she catches a glimpse of the man behind the monster, and when Jack, the Beast’s sole companion, draws her in with his inherent kindness. With unexpected determination, Bella throws herself into her new role as the Beast’s maid and finds the work both challenging and rewarding. Surprised by the capability displayed by the “pampered princess,” the Beast begins to soften toward Bella and a tenuous relationship springs up between them. 

Since her arrival, Bella has been haunted by strange visions of a woman named Rose. When she discovers a neglected bedchamber reminiscent of the one in her dreams, Bella’s curiosity is peaked. Her attempts to discover Rose’s fate and the part the Beast and Jack played in her disappearance will cost Bella more than she can imagine.  However, if she can untangle the threads of the past, she may yet earn her own happily ever after.

Thank you for your kindness and support in making Becoming Beauty a reality!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just a Taste

I've been in the Magical Land of Editing for several weeks now. It's slowly driving me insane.

To help you understand why, let me share a few of my writerly issues that arise during the editing process:
  1. There are plenty of writers who are confident in their abilities as creators, but for some reason, whenever I read something of my own that has genuine flow, it still surprises me! As my mother would say, it's as much fun as hiding your own Easter eggs when you suffer from Alzheimers. 
  2. After begging author friends to tell me how they know when something is at its best and ready to publish, submit, or just email back to the editor, my perfectionist brain only recognizes that there is always something else I could do with it.  
  3. Luckily, the attention deficit of a woman who has worked with small children Monday through Thursday from August to June for the last eleven years eventually overpowers the perfectionist persona and notifies me that I am done.
It's all part of the slightly mad process we call drafting.  The fun in editing is stumbling across little gems you've created all on your own.
So, to celebrate finally finishing the current edit of Becoming Beauty (I won't say *final* until it goes to press), I'm posting some of my favorite moments from various other stories that make me feel like a writer:

Sylvi Lockhart--The moment when Sylvi's perfect boyfriend shows up and throws everything into a muddle:
          “I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” he said. 
I was sinking below the waves, watching the last bubble of air escape my lips with a pop.  “I don’t understand,” I said, picturing my perfect life crumbling before me.  I had a little money stored up in case of emergency, and I could always write more books or find another job to make ends meet, but I couldn’t replace Kevin. He was the best part of my life.  Tears pricked my eyes and I struggled to keep them at bay, remembering how much he hated women who cried.  Manipulative, he called it.  My voice wavered as I asked, “What did I do wrong?”
                “It’s not you.”  The artist in me hated those words, so unoriginal and round-about insulting.  Of course it was me, he wasn’t breaking up with the bedside table, was he?  “I just don’t love you anymore, Syl.” 
              I dissolved then, my determination to bottle up my emotions washed away in a sea of tears--the ugly kind that sneak up on you and shake you with their intensity.  “Please,” I said, disgusted to realize I was about to start groveling. Some desperate part of me had taken over, and as if I was watching someone else’s life play out, I could do nothing to stop it.  

Sam James--In which Sam's stylish boss Vanessa takes her shopping:
Regardless of her unnatural abhorrence for upscale clothing boutiques, Sam found herself being shoved bodily into Dolce & Gabbana. The very reason she dressed as she did--clad exclusively in the middle-aged housewife section of Sears--was so she could avoid hovering salespeople bent on forcing her into “stylish” outfits.  The moment she stepped through the doors with Vanessa, a gaggle of such individuals descended upon them. 
“Take her away,” Vanessa commanded the room at large, “she’ll need everything.”  The excited buzz around them heighten, and in no time at all Sam was bustled into a dressing room where her clothes were promptly removed.  A fierce-looking woman wielding a measuring tape fell upon her and loudly called out measurements to a notebook-toting shop girl.  A moment later she looked down to find her breasts ensconced in the lacy type of boob-hoisting, cleavage-producing brassiere she had only seen on Victoria’s Secret models.  And…was that a thong??

Twelve--An Interlude between Jonas (the gardener) and Ariela (the master's eldest daughter):
               “It was extremely effective,” Ari said, putting voice to my thoughts, “but it resulted in lectures from Father and a ‘tightening of the reins’ as he put it.  As soon as he finished, we closed ranks and developed new schemes.”  Humor sparkled in her eyes, the first hint I had of the clever mind behind the lovely face.
                Throughout the conversation, I hadn’t spoken more than a few words, so taken was I with the way she spoke, and the play of emotions across her face.  I was already falling in love with her, though I was unaware of it.  Likely that’s what spurned the subsequent declaration.  “None of those men were good enough for you,” I said boldly.
               Her eyes flicked up to meet mine, probably surprised that I could form a complete sentence.  A slow smile crept over her face, curling the corners of mouth and eyes.  The effect was stunning, and ever after I passed my days dreaming up ways to elicit that smile.  
* * * * *
If you'd like to read longer segments, follows the links above to delve further into the lives of my heroines. Happy reading! And as always, thanks for stopping by!

Death by Autocorrect

It will be the ruin of us all...
Admit it, there have been plenty of times you've thought, THAT was genius! Only to return to the scene of the crime and realize autocorrect had stupidified your perfectly crafted sentence.  For writers, word craft is our bread and butter and there's nothing more frustrating than being bested by technology.  Pondering this topic brings Ellen's love of autocorrect fails comes to mind and her segment called Clumsy Thumbsy.
This of my Ellen favorites:
And this is just awesome:
As writers, we know what we want to say (most of the time) and it really doesn't help when know-it-all autocorrect comes along and fixes it. However, I reserve the right to blame things on autocorrect that it had no way of getting right.  
This is why we employ proofreaders and editors and try not to cringe when they point out our bonehead mistakes.  Like using the wrong your, you're, too, two, to, or there, their, and they're. Or just anytime autocorrect has no know idea what you're trying to say.
Let's make a pact, right here and right now! As writers, we understand the following:
  • We will make dumb mistakes.
  • We will accept when others correct our dumb mistakes (unless they are being plain old mean, in which case we will flambe them in literature).
  • We will learn from our past mistakes, remember to click the spellcheck button at the end, proofread our tweets and status updates before posting them, and attend more closely to the little details that would otherwise detract from our amazing works.
  • And if all else fails:
That's all, my lovelies!  Happy writing and thanks for stopping by!

For other gems of writing wisdom, try Wannabes Need Not Apply, Captain Obvious, Truth-Telling Fiction, or Tragically Flawed...Or Not .  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pass the Pepper

Yesterday was my birthday. Wait. Let me try that again.

***Yesterday was my birthday!***

That odd feeling of coming to terms with last year's age, only to have one year added to it has once again seized me. I avoid feeling too morose about the whole thing by throwing myself a fabulous birthday party filled with crazy friends and family.
And I'm beginning to see that there's something beautiful that comes with age. I've always been a bit of a sassy character myself (more on that later), but in the last year or so, I've learned some things that have helped boost my self-confidence.  Here are my top three:

I'm actually getting cuter. No joke! All the me that is me is coming to the surface. Along with a great stylist, good taste, and my sense of humor, I'm coming to understand that slim doesn't equal happy. Happy, fun, and full of purpose equal happy.
I have what it takes to be a writer. My mom is indeed my biggest fan, but when she said: I keep forgetting that you wrote this! as we went through my first draft, something inside me shifted. I can't be an aspiring writer or a closet writer any more. It's time to shine. (Let me add that having someone say they'd like to publish said first draft doesn't hurt either. Thank you, mom and Cedar Fort.)

A good friend, a great pair of shoes, a new dress, and/or chocolate can cure most ills. There is a whole load of crap just waiting to rain down on us every day. It's our job to create a safe haven and happy circumstances that will keep us moving forward with a smile instead of shlumping along with a frown.

Now back to my inborn sassiness, (though perhaps the whole tenor of this post betrays a certain amount of that). At My First Ever Writing Conference, I met the lovely and talented Melanie Jacobson. She's authored a number of LDS Contemporary Fiction novels for young adults. As she signed my newly purchased copy of Not My Type, she paid me the nicest compliment: I know you'll love Pepper, because you have the same sassy Pepper demeanor!
It made my day! Especially now that I finally carved out a week to plow through Not My Type, and came to know the ins and outs of Pepper Spicer.  She's not only sassy, but holds her own in the face of snarky boys and bosses with questionable ethics. Pepper refuses to wallow in the depths of despair after being dumped on what is practically her wedding day. Instead, she embraces her dreams and works to make them a reality in both her personal and professional life.

So yes, if someone who hardly knows me can see a healthy amount of Pepper sass in me, I'll take it! And keep working to help others recognize it as well. (Like snarky boys, for instance.)

* * * * *

Thanks for stopping in! I've been writing/editing so much that I barely have time for blogging these days. Follow the links above to learn more about Melanie, my vow to not be an aspiring anything or a closet writer, and fun things I learned at My First Ever Writing Conference. Thanks again!