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Christmas in July Sale!

Posted by on Jul 10, 2017 in My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

Have yourself a merry little summer with these wonderful Christmas Romance novels!

You might be roasting marshmallows instead of chestnuts. You’re probably sporting flip-flops over snow-boots. And instead of a one-horse open sleigh, you’re more likely to be sailing in a boat on an open lake. But just for a while, you can take a different kind of vacation. The destination? Christmas, of course!

This top-selling group of clean romance authors has come together to give romance readers like you an early Christmas gift: Love stories centered around the magical holiday we all enjoy! So make yourself a cup of hot cocoa, sink into these inspiring love stories, and have yourself a merry little Christmas in July!

 

Getting Kole for Christmas
Kylie’s been crushing on Kole for two years now, but can she get him to see her as more than a friend?

For years Kylie has watched her older sisters get asked to every school dance there is. Yet once she’s old enough to go, the invites are in short supply. While getting overlooked has never felt good, it hasn’t really hurt the way it does this year. Because now there’s someone she really wants to go with: Kole Kingston. Kole is charming and funny. Gorgeous and kind. And everything she wants in a guy. Trouble is, he’s also her very best friend. Can Kylie tear herself free from the friend-zone in time to get asked to the Christmas dance? Or will she – like so many others – find that a romance between them will never be?

 

Christmas Kisses:

Christmas Kisses is a collection from five bestselling and award-winning authors. Set in the snowy town of Echo Ridge in upstate New York, these inspirational romances are sure to delight while you sip cocoa by the fire and listen to Christmas carols.

The Christmas Eve Kiss
Molly O’Hare gets the utterly ridiculous prediction that she will kiss her true love on Christmas Eve. But when she returns to Snow Valley and comes face to face with Kevin Snow, suddenly the kiss thing seems…a lot less ridiculous. Too bad the reason she left still has the power to make her deny her real feelings. Now Molly is left with a choice—forget the home town and the boy that she never quit loving or let Christmas work out a miracle all on its own.

Love on the Rebound
When Everly Watson takes her young son Jordan to Hawaii, she’s not just celebrating Christmas but also searching for answers surrounding a tragedy from her past. She doesn’t expect to be faced with a tsunami threat her second day on the island. Nor does she count on meeting the famous Christian Ross, superstar of a hit action-movie series. Sparks fly as Everly and Christian have an instant attraction. But things spiral out of control when Everly realizes someone is following her and watching her every move.

Christian Ross is living a life of solitude, away from the painful reminders of his sordid Hollywood past. Christmas is an especially difficult time of the year for him. He never expects to fall for a down-to-earth, spunky brunette with a bewitching Southern accent. Nor does he count on forming an attachment to her young son.

Christian soon finds himself drawn into Everly’s complicated world of betrayal and deceit and feels the need to protect her from a perilous threat.

Can Christian and Everly’s newfound love withstand the growing obstacles? Or are they doomed to keep reliving the heartaches of the past?

Christmas Make over
Chelsea Jamison has been infatuated with Drew Stirling longer than she’s loved playing basketball, high-top sneakers, and the Knicks. Unfortunately, all Drew sees is the kid who kicked his trash in the high school free throw contest and not the girl whose heart breaks into a fast dribble when he’s near.
Drew makes an unexpected visit home to Echo Ridge and their friendship picks up where they left off as they scheme to make a teenaged boy’s Christmas dreams come true. When Chelsea realizes she’s fallen for her best friend, she wonders if there is any hope of a relationship with Drew or if she’s stuck in buddy-status for life.

An Unexpected Kiss: A Snow Valley Romance
Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation dodging her ex-boyfriend, so when he turns up at the airport to give her a ride home, Lucy panics and asks a complete stranger to kiss her. Although the kiss is incredible, Lucy never expects to see the guy again. Is it bad luck or destiny when Lucy comes down with a sore throat and the new doctor in Snow Valley is none other than Cole Taggart, the guy she kissed at the airport?

Blue Christmas

As head of Snow Valley hospital’s fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn’t have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She’s been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.”

As head of Snow Valley hospital’s fundraising effort, Paisley Hackett barely has time to organize the craft show, cookie decorating party, and the annual Christmas Ball. What she doesn’t have time for is falling in love with Clay Jett, the incredibly handsome bass player who sweeps into town. She’s been burned by a tourist romance before and, with everything going on, Paisley will have to work overtime to protect her heart from Clay and his swoon-worthy ballads.

Christmas in Three Rivers Isn’t Christmas the best time to fall in love? The cowboys of Three Rivers Ranch think so. Join four of them as they journey toward their path to happily ever after in four, all-new stories in the Amazon #1 Bestselling Three Rivers Ranch Romance series.

Oh Come on be faithful

Former Army security expert Matt Degan is in desperate need of a Christmas miracle. His ex-wife cleaned out his savings account and abandoned their son. Sadly, he has no presents stashed.
When he finds a job as a bodyguard for Mikayla Lambert, a billionaire heiress who has been tormented by a stalker for four years, he’s caught up in family drama that threatens this beautiful woman he’s becoming enamored with and might also endanger his son. Can Matt protect everyone and save Christmas for his son, or will the stalker succeed at kidnapping Mikayla and destroying any chance at love between them?

 

Cookie Girl Christmas Molly Hayes has one more job before Christmas and then she can put her plans for a storefront bakery of her own in motion. What she doesn’t bargain for is the handsome young Scrooge who insults her cookies and makes her blood boil. Toss in a heaping helping of snowstorm and a pinch of romantic old Inn and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a not-so-silent-night.


False Identity

It’s Christmastime, and Chancy Hamilton can’t bear the thought of spending the holidays without her late husband Max who died in a plane crash. When Chancy and her teenage son, Travis, have an argument, Travis storms out of the house and ends up in the wrong part of town where he is attacked by a group of thugs. When a homeless man comes to his rescue, he invites the man home to have a meal with his mom and little sister.

Gabe Jones is not like any other homeless man Chancy has ever seen—he’s confident, intelligent, and devastatingly handsome. Jake, Chancy’s boyfriend, takes an instant dislike to Gabe and warns Chancy to stay away from him. Nevertheless, their lives become intertwined, and Chancy is soon thrown into nightmarish events caused by a betrayal of trust and a chilling deception where nothing is as it seems, bringing a terrifying aftermath that threatens not only her but the lives of her children.

 


A Player for Christmas

Brooks Stone, wide receiver for the Miami Surf, isn’t the type of guy to make dreams come true; he’s too busy dealing with a high ankle sprain and the anniversary of his wife’s death.
Callie Given, a cancer patient at Primary Children’s Hospital, only has one wish for Christmas—dinner with Brooks Stone. He flatly refuses, until Sam Dumont threatens to make sure the coaches bench him if he doesn’t comply.
Ana Given thought fighting for her daughter’s life was enough of a challenge. She never expected famous football player Brooks Stone to actually show up. If he was a friend of her ex-husband, he’s definitely not someone she wants hanging around her daughter. Good thing she sends him away. Too bad her daughter sees him before he can leave.
When Brooks and Ana find themselves on a quest to find Callie’s father, neither would have imagined getting on a plane together, going to a cage fight, or…kissing. Brooks wonders how these two women have become everything to him in less than seventy-two hours.
Now he has to make a decision—get what he wanted for Christmas or become the player he was always meant to be.


The Real Christmas Gift

A true story of how five sisters changed Christmas for their sweet mother.
For eleven-year-old Bonnie Greenhalgh, the Christmas of 1966 would be forever remembered as the year she learned about the real gift of Christmas. Bonnie and her four sisters, living with their single mother in a cramped apartment, came up with a plan to make Christmas special. Although it seemed an impossible task to find a coat for their mother, when they laid all they had at the feet of a stranger, she turned it into a Christmas miracle.
This story will touch the heartstrings of all who read of the remarkable bicycle ride through the snow to find the perfect gift for a beloved mother.

Full Court Devotion

Fun and uplifting Christmas novella by #1 Bestselling Christian romance author, Cami Checketts
Kazlyn is too busy with her schooling and future plans to enjoy life, let alone fall in love with a man who has heartbreak written all over him. Tyrese Hamilton, a college basketball star and major heartthrob, is intrigued when Kazlyn doesn’t pursue him or even seem interested. Ty’s career is in jeopardy, and he needs a miracle and Kazlyn to save him.


Getting Micah Under the Mistletoe: A Young Adult Novella

Quinn’s been in love with her friend, Micah, for two years straight.
But between Micah’s dense skull and his even denser girlfriend, Quinn hasn’t stood a chance.
But things are about to change. With Ms. Denser out of the picture and Christmas around the bend,
Quinn has a plan that could switch their status from bumping fists to locking lips.

Book Release {THE UNSAID}

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Book Reviews, My Blog Posts, Press Updates, Teasers | 0 comments

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I’m checking in to share some news with you! Aaron Blaylock, author of the popular adventure novel THE LAND OF LOOK BEHIND is releasing a new book this month. It’s called, THE UNSAID. I had the privilege of reading it early on and can’t wait of you to take a look at the awesome finished product.

THE UNSAID is a story about Maggie and Eric. Maggie is an unborn spirit who records every single thought that comes out of the typical dude that Eric is. There’s body odor, snarky commentary, charity and thoughtfulness. I loved getting to know Eric and seeing his inner dialogue. Have you ever gazed at your sweetheart (who is a guy) and asked, “What are you thinking?” I know, I know, you’re hoping for some romantic Mr. Darcy to start spewing sonnets, but he usually says something like, “That dinner was good, but it gave me gas. You might want to scoot over.” Yep, that’s kind of what we’re looking at here.

Maggie catalogues Eric’s thoughts every waking moment, including when he meets the new temp at work, a cute girl with a shy side. As Eric gets to know Lindsey and their relationship develops, we come to understand a bit of the inner struggle that Lindsey has going on. In one moment of crisis, Eric struggles to heed the promptings of the spirit that could be a matter of life or death and Maggie takes matters into her own hands. This action puts her directly in Eric’s mind and could possibly keep her from ever having a body of her own.

With so much at stake, Maggie and Eric have to find some equilibrium in order to make things work. You’ll have to pick up a copy of Aaron’s book to see how it all ends. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

THE UNSAID is funny, poignant and thought provoking. It really made me think about the things going on in my head and the words I say out loud. It made me reconsider how I spend my time. If someone was recording my every waking moment, would they die of absolute boredom when I waste time scrolling through Facebook or pinning an entire new wardrobe? And what really happens to all the things you leave unsaid?

You can go grab a copy of Aaron’s latest book here. You can also learn more about Aaron from his blog here

Oh, and take a peek at the back cover. It’s my first blurb! Eeeek!

In another dose of exciting news (brace yourselves!) my 2nd Snowflake Falls Inn novel will be coming out in November! Cookie Girl Christmas won a Swoony Award for Best Christmas Romance. I can’t wait to see what this book does. 

It’s a matching of wits, a battle of guitars, and flaring of tempers. For Journey Miller, social media queen in hiding, Cody Blake is everything that is wrong with country music. When he appears at her refuge in Snowflake Falls to complete his required community service, he’s fresh out of rehab and comes complete with bad attitude. After a little tumble in the mud (Oops! Did she do that?) and a few midnight chats, Journey realizes that maybe Cody isn’t a total lost cause. And just maybe, she can let him into her heart before she goes live with her new life.

Check back here and on my Facebook page for the latest news and updates on WHEN FIREFLIES SING. 

The Pages Between Us {Book Blast}

Posted by on Feb 13, 2016 in Book Reviews, My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

The Pages Between Us

The Pages Between Us by Lindsey Leavitt & Robin Mellom

Told in letters, posters, blog posts, homework assignments, and more, The Pages Between Us is a totally fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship—and what it truly means to be there for someone during the ups, downs, and everything in between.

Piper and Olivia have been best friends since…well, forever. But they’re distressed to find that their new middle school schedules aren’t giving them enough together-time. Luckily, an idea sparks when Piper finds a cute, sparkly notebook to disguise as her “French Class” homework. It’s genius—now the two BFFs can stick together all the time. And document their adventures—you know, for anthropology’s sake.

But as the two navigate the tricky new world of sixth grade, they realize that they may need to branch out more than they originally thought. Their notebook, once a life raft, begins to feel like a big responsibility. Can they grow up, without growing apart?

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Praise for The Pages Between Us

“Leavitt and Mellom’s humorous and perceptive tale deftly explores the quandary of how to sustain a cherished friendship while nurturing individual growth.” –KIRKUS

“A cousin to Rachel Renée Russell’s “Dork Diaries”… this is a gentler version of middle school, as the girls support each other through familiar trials… will be enjoyed by strong readers eager to devour realistic fiction with a multimedia slant.” ~School Library Journal

 

Lindsey & Robin

Author Lindsey Leavitt

Lindsey Leavitt is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom/party animal (not to be confused with her spirit animal, which is a lion). She lives with her family in the Utah mountains.

Website

Author Robin Mellom

Robin has taught grades 5 through 8 and has a master’s degree in education. She lives with her husband and son on the Central Coast of California.

Website

50_Amazon_Paypal

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/28/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lindsey will be signing copies of THE PAGES BETWEEN US at Barnes and Noble Rainbow location in Las Vegas TODAY (2/13/16) at 2pm. Go out and grab a copy and celebrate with Lindsey!

P.S. Last day to grab a FREE copy of A Heart So Broken. Happy LOVE Day!

A Heart So Broken by Christene Houston

A Heart So Broken by Christene Houston

10 Great Romances {Valentine’s Day}

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Book Reviews, Giveaways, My Blog Posts | 0 comments

We’re full swing into the season of LOVE and I had to share some of my favorite love stories: 

Romance You Can’t Put Down

Romances 2016

Reading is my very favorite form of therapy and ROMANCE is my genre of choice. Check these beauties out:

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Glimmer of Hope

This one by Sarah M. Eden totally resonated with me. I loved seeing a married couple come through some rough times and find their way back.

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Rough Edges

I really love reading this companion series to the Sweet Montana Bride books. Kimberly Krey hits a home run with everything she does. If you haven’t sampled her sweet romances yet, put it on your list!

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Becoming Lady Lockwood

Becoming Lady Lockwood introduced me to Jennifer Moore’s writing, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This novel went on to win a Whitney Award and other honors. What’s even better for a prolific reader is that she already has other titles out including another fave: Simply Anna. So good!

 

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Heir to Edenbrooke

This tempting prequel is just what I hoped it would be. I love hearing about Phillip, who I already adore from Edenbrooke. What I love most is seeing Marianne through his eyes as he meets her in an unexpected crash of fates. Julianne Donaldson takes us right back to what we love most about her novels and leaves us wanting more. 

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

I read this during the spring of last year after finding it in a Scholastic Book Fair. Friends who become more than friends in a perfectly paced, sweet romance. I was NOT disappointed.

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The Other Side of the Stars

If you haven’t discovered Katherine King’s debut historical set in post WWII America, you’re missing out. Her cover alone won a Best Historical Cover Award, and her story, woven with threads of romance, mystery and suspense will keep you turning until the final pages of resolution. 

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Pimpernel

This book kept me hooked until the wee hours after I picked it up seeking refuge after the drama that is the bedtime routine. I was so enthralled by Claire, her struggles and her genius and the surprising twists and turns in her story that I couldn’t put it down. During carpool the next morning, I exercised high levels of self control by not pulling it out while waiting in the drop off line. So good. 

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Cookie Girl Christmas

After winning a Swoony Award for Best Christmas Novel, I had to include this tasty romance about a handsome Scrooge and a feisty baker. Even though the holiday is past, it’s the perfect book to snuggle up with while the snow is still falling in many parts of the country.

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My Fair Gentleman

I just finished this last night, and I really enjoyed it. I’m obviously a regency nut, and this new novel by Nancy Campbell Allen delivered on the romance, drama and humor.  A really lovely tale.

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A Heart So Broken

A Heart So Broken is your bonus book. Not only is it a sweet romance with plenty of tension, misunderstandings and eventually some swoony kisses, but it’s also FREE for the next two days on Amazon. Snatch up the story of Jenna and Cooper, thrown together in the middle of a small town summer. She’s overcoming heartache and bad choices. He’s recovering from losses of his own. The sizzle between them is undeniable until she uncovers a devastating truth. Confronted with the unthinkable, Jenna must choose between the comfort of misery or hope that can only come from forgiveness.

 

 

{The Land of Look Behind} Book Review

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Book Reviews, My Blog Posts, Uncategorized | 0 comments

There is such excitement in the air when an author make their debut, especially when their book is diverse, adventurous, and intriguing.

Aaron Blaylock launched his new book, The Land of Look Behind  yesterday. I’m happy to be a stop on the blog tour to spread the word about his novel set in historic and modern Jamaica.

Ah, Jamaica, that little island we often think about in vacation daydreams. If you know anything about the origins of the island, you know there is a stunning variety of peoples who make up the modern day Jamaican population. In The Land of Look Behind, we encounter the Spanish, escaped African slaves turned warriors, English soldiers and more.

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In a cool note of serendipity, I met Aaron through Mr. Houston. Both of them served missions to Jamaica in the late 90s and grew to love the amazing people who lived there. From being persecuted for being white, to fond memories of delicacies eaten (goat anyone?), to learning the language of Patois (pronounced Pat-wah) – which from personal experience sounds like words with the ends nipped off or a handful of them smashed together into a new word, all spoken at a rapid pace – Mr. Houston absolutely loved his time in Jamaica.

The Land of Look Behind gives you a tasty sampling of that rich history through the eyes of Lieutenant Benjamin Jarvis. Inexplicably surviving numerous harrowing experiences, he leaves behind a record of his adventures for the modern day eyes of Gideon Goodwin. Here’s the blurb:

When Gideon, a former missionary, discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an ancient journal he returns to Jamaica with dreams of finding a centuries old treasure.  He quickly learns there are those who would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.

I really enjoyed the chapter by chapter switch between contemporary adventures and the deep history of an island so rich in heritage. Aaron gives his debut novel all the passion that comes from living among a people you grow to love.

Go visit Aaron’s website for more info about this hilarious guy. He really is one of the funniest people I know. Also, check out Goodreads for a chance to win a copy of The Land of Look Behind.

P.S. If you’re in need of a bit of romance this week, A Heart So Broken will be FREE 2/11-13/16!

A Heart So Broken by Christene Houston

A Heart So Broken by Christene Houston

Have you ever?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Book Status, My Blog Posts | 0 comments

Have you ever felt like you should do something? Something uncomfortable, even frightening. I’m not talking about that weird show where you had to eat earthworms for money. I’m talking facing fears, standing up when you want to sit down, speaking out when you’re so much more comfortable staying in the background.

The truth about me is that I hover somewhere between loving my people time–going to activities, heading up projects, book club, signings, etc. and enjoying the solitude of life. If there can be any solitude found when you have as many children as you do fingers on one hand. Ha ha! Not much solo time ’round here folks! 

A couple of years ago I attended a week of Education at BYU in Provo, Utah. The subjects were varied, the speakers phenomenal, the whole experience amazing. But that week, this little voice told me I needed to start speaking to the youth. Ha ha. Yeah right. Me? Are you kidding? The girl who was home schooled through middle and high school and therefore has no frame of reference for what youth today are experiencing? Me, who was so shy and quiet during my teen years I hardly said a word to the boys in my church class. (So embarrassing!) I pushed that little voice into the closet where it belonged and continued my general church service. Cause, see, here’s the thing. My husband is a perennial scout/young men leader. He has served in those callings involving the young men in our church ages 11-18 for almost our ENTIRE marriage save a few short stints in other positions, including about 1.5 years when I served the young ladies in our ward. Yep. I am pretty much NEVER going to be able to serve  the young women until all our kids are grown and suddenly we can both be gone on a weeknight and off to campouts , etc.

So why should I even worry about talking to the youth? I teach the women at church, sub in Primary on occasion, and love it. I write books for young people and women. There, I’m off the hook right?

Well, not so much.

That feeling continued to grow stronger until the end of last year. I looked at the new theme for the youth of our church and something inside of me just stood up and said, “Hey, let’s write a little book about how to do this.”

Ha ha ha! Hysterical laughter followed.

But that voice was serious. And soon I could think of nothing else. I was getting ideas and contacting people because I can’t just write a book. I have to just…know more. You see, I love the youth. I admire and adore them so very much. I see them for who they really are and it fills me with excitement and joy. And do you know what, I have one of them in my house. That little person I gave birth to, the one who made me a mommy and has been my favorite first child in the whole wide world? He’s 12 now and he’s in this zone of growth and confusion and struggle and joy. I love his guts. And I couldn’t stop writing. 

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This book, EMBARK IN HIS SERVICE, has been the hardest to write. I can honestly say that writing is a beautiful struggle anyway. I love almost every moment of it. Finding the perfect words to impart your message is tricky. To teens, even harder. But then, the opposition. The adversary poking me with doubts, filling me with despair and telling me over and over that this was not something I could do. I have never felt my weaknesses so strong as I did writing these words. 

You think that old serpent would know this by now, but when I know it’s right and you try to stop me, I just get that much more stubborn. I get that much more determined. And because I am growing up just a little bit, I turned to God. I begged Him for the courage to be who He needs me to be. This whole thing: every single word I wrote — it’s Him. It’s like I opened up my brain and He poured in the words that trickled out through my fingertips and into this message. It’s a call to serve. It’s a charge to be more. It’s a warning to prepare NOW because the waiting is over. 

I reread the words through my edits and marveled at what He told me. HIS WORDS. I am not that smooth or inspired. I’m just not. I take no credit. GOD is amazing. He can move mountains. He can write books. HE can rescue every child He has sent to this earth.

It’s coming out March 15, 2015. Tell your friends. Notify your youth. They need this book in their hands. Tell them He sent you.

 

It’s been a while…

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in Book Status, Inspiration, My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

There’s this funny kind of thing that happens to writers. I enjoy blogging, but I can only juggle so many things while I am in the throes of writing–really writing. So that’s why I’ve been absent from this poor, neglected blog for a while. I’ve been writing! {Insert cheer!} Two new books are on the shelves in the last six months and it’s been hard and diligent work to get them there. Cookie Girl Christmas came out in December. Thank you to all my wonderful readers who snapped up that little holiday gem. Cookie Girl begins a fun series–The Snowflake Falls Inn Romances. I’ll be adding one every six months barring anything crazy, so be on the lookout for more romantic hijinks.

For a very long time I’ve felt like I should write for the youth of my church. (I’m a Mormon or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can learn more about what I believe here.) This year their theme is:

“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength that ye may stand blameless before him at the last day.” D&C 4:2.

I wrote Embark in His Service with them in mind, young people ages 12-18+ who want to serve God and just need a little help to get there. This new little book will be coming out March 15 (eeek!!). I’m so excited.

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Plus, yanno…I have five kiddos and three have been taken down, in turns, with a tummy bug. So there’s that too. *Sprays Lysol on every surface*. I’ll be back soon.

Meet the Mormons

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Inspiration, My Blog Posts, Press Updates, Youtube | 0 comments

A few weeks ago, I was invited to bring a friend and check out the new movie produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I walked in knowing a little bit: We would follow the lives of a few different people who were members.

What I didn’t know was that these people could be considered your normal everyday humans, until you look at the way they live their lives. The way they follow the gospel of Jesus Christ is unique and I must say beautiful. In the movie, which is presented documentary style, you follow six people, from a congregation leader or Bishop in Georgia to a WWII veteran known the world over as the Candy Bomber. I loved the beautiful videography (the more I say that word, the more I wonder if it’s a real word), and how inspired I felt by seeing the good others can do in their communities and beyond as they follow the Savior.

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The movie culminates with the story of a mother preparing to send her son on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). My favorite part of her story is hearing how her life changed from one of hopelessness and a repeating cycle of hardship into a new way of living. Breaking old molds and habits with the help of the Savior changed this woman’s life, forever. In my life as heartaches and trials have fallen on my shoulders, it has been the gospel of Jesus Christ, again and again, that has rescued me from falling into the old destructive patterns of my history and finding new ways of relief, service, selflessness, and gratitude. We are not destined to follow the path of degradation and captivity that others have fallen into. Each of us has a choice. To be free, to follow the Savior who has already ransomed us, and to give our lives to Him in service.

I have a strong belief, something I call a testimony, that this is true. Following the Savior of Jesus Christ by emulating His kindness, service and compassion to those He touched, is the way to real happiness – the kind that doesn’t end when money runs out or life is extinguished. I believe this is true because I have lived it.

Meet the Mormons is an exceptional look into the lives of everyday humans, working to better the world around them, juggling roles in their homes and putting family first, loving others of various backgrounds and religions and basically being the kind of human beings that make the world a better place. I left the theater feeling inspired to do more in my life to serve my community and follow the Savior.

No matter what your religious or cultural background, you will enjoy learning more about this interesting and unique culture. If you’ve had questions or concerns about The Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), whether they surround our belief in the Savior or the different scriptures we use, you can find answers through this well done movie. What’s more, you’ll feel a push, regardless of where you’re coming from, to be a better human. That’s a push all of us need!

P.S. All proceeds above production costs will go directly The American Red Cross. Awesome!! Let’s fill their coffers before the holidays!

 

Book Stand {Events}

Posted by on Jun 18, 2014 in Book Status, My Blog Posts, Press Updates | 0 comments

Friday and Saturday morning, June 20-21 from 8-11am, I’ll be running a Book and Soda Stand on a busy street in my hometown. 

The idea takes me back to those little fruit stands on the side of the road, selling sweet ripe cantaloupes and strawberries as big as your head and bursting with flavor. Or those little stands with cute dirty-faced kids selling lemonade that they drink as fast as they sell.

lemonade-stand

There is something entirely down-home about selling from a table in the neighborhood.

Something basically good about reaching out to the people who drive down your street each day.

Something perfectly special about handing a book to a Mom rushing to soccer practice with her car full of kiddos, a little promise between you and her that while she’s cheering on her littles she’ll also be getting a little boost of her own.

That’s what books are all about. Cheering, boosting, taking you away on a journey that fills your cup when it’s running dry.

And while the Book Stores around town are slowly fading away in a tragic turn of commerce, that doesn’t mean books and people can’t rub shoulders. Sometimes it takes putting up a table, throwing out some signs and opening up a little Book Store of your own on a busy Las Vegas street. You feel me?

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Friday and Saturday from 8-11ish in the morning, I’ll be selling books from a stand on the corner of Decatur Blvd and Warm Springs Road (7580 S. Decatur Blvd) in southwest Las Vegas. I hope you’ll take a minute to swing by before rushing out of town, hurrying to the splash pad, running to work, dashing to soccer-swim-baseball-dance practice or busting through your to do list. I’ll have beautiful, glossy covered books and ice cold sodas and bottles of water for you to take on your way and tuck in your swim totes. 

Feel free to spread the word to your Book Loving neighbors and friends. Everyone welcome!!

Author Interview {Jenny Proctor}

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Author Interview Series, Book Reviews, Giveaways, My Blog Posts | 2 comments

I met Jenny Proctor at the Whitney Gala in 2013. Since then I’ve been following her release of THE HOUSE AT ROSE CREEK. Her book was a finalist for a Whitney Award this year and Book of the Year! She’s also working with the talented Melanie Jacobson to organize LDStorymakers Conference 2015. I know it’s going to be even more amazing than this year!

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Jenny Proctor

Jenny’s here today to tell us about THE HOUSE AT ROSE CREEK and her other works in progress. She’s also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader! Enter below.

CH: Your first book THE HOUSE AT ROSE CREEK is out now, and another coming out soon. Tell us about them and where we can find them.

JP: The House at Rose Creek was released last July. I just learned this month that it’s a Whitney Finalist in the General Fiction category. I’m honored, and very excited about that. I will always have a special place in my heart for The House at Rose Creek because it’s the first novel I’ve ever written. You could almost call it the first anything I’ve ever written, first fiction anyway. It bloomed out of a handful of stories from my own family history and developed into something that I hope can reach people, touch them in a way and inspire them to think about things they might not have considered before. It’s a conversion story, and it deals with family history… topics I realize make a lot of people shy away or yawn, but the story has a lot of heart in it, and there’s some romance in there too to keep things interesting. It’s set in North Carolina which gives it a bit of a different twist. Being Mormon in the south is very different than being Mormon out west… not better or worse, but definitely different.

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My second book, Mountains Between Us, will be released in August 2014. It’s set in Rose Creek, the same small, mountain town as The House at Rose Creek and so has a few characters that overlap. If you read the first book, you’ll recognize a few people and be happy to get a peek into what’s going on in their lives, but it’s still a definite stand alone book. Confession? I love Mountains Between Us even more than the first book. It’s about an English teacher who’s taken a job at a rehabilitative boarding school, deep in the mountains, to be closer to his 7 year old son after a pretty painful divorce. He’s got some stuff to work through and he meets this amazing woman who challenges him and makes him crazy, but manages to help him in ways he never expected. It’s a true romance–a story about redemption and forgiveness and I’m so excited for people to get to read it.

CH: What are you working on now?

JP: Right now, I’m working on final revisions on my third novel, titled Nearly Nell–my first attempt at mainstream fiction. So I’ll just be totally honest. I’m a little terrified! This book is different in that it has a little bit of a speculative edge and some twists and turns that will make your heart skip around a bit (at least, that’s the PLAN. If I’m able to write the words as well as they sound in my head, maybe we’ll get there). It’s another book set in North Carolina, no religious themes, but some pretty deep questions about fate and destiny and how they play into the choices we make. My ten second elevator pitch? A girl who believes she receives messages from fate risks everything to fulfill a destiny that only she can see. Kind of exciting? I hope?

CH: You live in North Carolina and your stories take place there as well. Tell us some things you love about your home.

JP: Okay, so my editor at Covenant loves to tease me about how much I LOVE North Carolina. I think I’ve mentioned in our emails no less than ten times how much I worry about the cover design people putting the wrong mountains on the cover of Mountains Between Us. Because mountains in North Carolina and mountains in Utah are totally different! I’ve lived in the mountains of NC all my life and really truly, I think it’s the most beautiful place on earth. There are trees everywhere, and everything is green and lush. Even though North Carolina is a southern state, because I’m in the mountains our summers are pretty mild. It always cools down at night, even when it’s hot during the day. And the noises… oh, how I love the cicadas and the katydids in the summer time. My family loves to hike and we spend a lot of time outside… playing in mountain creeks, enjoying the views. It’s a great place to live if you enjoy the outdoors.

CH: You’re on the hunt for an agent for your newest book. What does that look like? Where do you find the agents you focus your queries on?

JP: My agent hunt for Nearly Nell is just beginning. I’m finishing up the final polishing right now, and will have the opportunity to get some feedback from an agent at the Storymakers Conference this year. I’ll probably wait to start pitching until after I’ve gotten his feedback. I DO have a list of agents I’d like to query once I reach that stage. Believe it or not, Twitter is a useful resource. I follow many agents that are pretty open on Twitter about what they are looking for, what sorts of things bug them about queries. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot in 160 characters or less. I also read a lot and pay very close attention to the author acknowledgements, where most of the time, agents are mentioned. When I read a book that I love, that I think feels similar to what I’ve written, I make sure and find out who the agent is and learn all I can about their submission requirements. It can be a tedious process, but agents aren’t generally mysterious. They are usually very bold and very specific with what they want. If you do the research, it’s not hard to narrow down the list to those you think will be a good fit. I don’t recommend blanket pitching… writing, and finding a good agent is never going to be one size fits all.

CH: What is your writing process? What do you listen to, where do you go, and how do you find time?

JP: My writing process involves lots and lots of preparatory thinking. I have so little time to actually sit down and write that I like to really know where my story is going to go before the words hit the page. I’ll brainstorm for weeks… in the car, while I’m working out, on the phone with my sister, bless her for letting me ramble on and on about imaginary people… I’ll think and study out plot problems until they feel clearly defined and then, the writing can happen. I don’t necessarily outline, but I think and think, then right down some notes, and go from there. I love to listen to music when I’m thinking/plotting, but absolutely no music with words. Most of the time, I choose William Joseph… an amazing pianist who never fails to inspire me. When I’m actually writing, I need silence. Which is why I rarely write during the day. My house is never silent and is FULL of distractions. I either stay up insanely late to write, or I get up ridiculously early. Most of the time, I pick early but it doesn’t always happen that way. I can definitely pull a few late nights when I need to.

CH: I love that you’re a mother of six, writing books and getting them out there. As a fellow mother (of five) I know it is a delicate balance, a crazy dance to get in the creative time that gives us peace and fulfillment while also being true to our first calling as mothers. Can you share three tips for making it work when your juggling a lot?

JP: I’m so glad that you asked this question, because as much as I love writing, I’m still absolutely certain that mothering is the most important work I do. It’s hard to find a balance and the honest truth is that sometimes I don’t. But I’ve learned to go easy on myself and be honest about what’s realistic. So three tips for writing and mothering at the same time: First, give yourself permission to NOT write everyday. General writing advice is to set a goal and hit your word count every single day. For me, I can’t deal with that kind of pressure. With six kids in the house there are so many things that have to be priority. I’m sure there will be a time and a season in my life where writing every day is a possibility, but for right now, it’s much easier to relax and not put that kind of pressure on myself. Second, talk to your kids about your work. My kids are my biggest champions. They love to ask about my stories, to get excited about the thing that so clearly makes Mom happy. One of my proudest Mom/writer moments? I had a plot problem that I couldn’t get worked out. I had my oldest son read the chapter I was struggling with, we talked it through, and he totally came up with a solution. It was so fun, and I could tell he was really happy to be a part of it. It doesn’t have to be this thing you do on your own… let it be something your kids can be proud of. And finally, regardless of how much writing you do or don’t do, make sure you SEE your kids everyday. I know from personal experience you can be with your children all day and not ever actually see them. Look them in the eye. Ask them how they are feeling, what they are thinking, what is making them happy or sad. Make sure they SEE you, SEEING them. It’s important.

CH: I read that on your last blog you had cookie recipes. Now I’m curious…would you share your favorite recipe with us (or two…don’t hold back!)

JP: My favorite cookie recipe?! OH, that’s so hard! My two go-to favorites are my standard Chocolate Chip Cookie, and then a Chewy Oatmeal Cookie. Both recipes are easily adaptable which makes them fun to change up and experience new flavors. Both recipes are posted on the blog, with links included below.

http://jennyproctor.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/chocolate-chip-cookies-by-me/

http://jennyproctor.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/chewy-oatmeal-cookies/

CH: The diary of an ancestor plays a prominent roll in your first book, THE HOUSE AT ROSE CREEK. I’m a huge proponent of journaling, so I love that! So I have to ask: 1. Do you keep a journal? 2. Have you ever read from the journal of one of your ancestors? 3. Why do you think journaling is important?

JP: I kept a journal from age 12, all the way to age 18 religiously. I have a chest at the foot of my bed that is full of journals… probably 10 or 12 different volumes. Sadly, I’m not near as good about journaling now that I’m a Mom, though I suppose blogging and Facebook take care of some of that. I don’t have actual journals of ancestors, but I have read letters and one particularly fascinating write up about the wedding of one of my great great grandparents. There are so many things that separate us from our ancestors… obviously the technological world that we live in is extremely different than life 200 years ago, but at the root of it, the human struggles, the relationships, the challenges and trials we face, those are pretty timeless. If I can write something now that might help my great granddaughter going through a similar struggle 80 years from now, that’s a pretty amazing thing, yeah?

CH: What did you read growing up that you feel shaped your writing or desire to write, and what are you reading now?

JP: Right now, my future reading schedule is FULL of Whitney finalists. I’d like to vote in as many categories as possible so I’m reading lots of really wonderful fiction by fellow LDS authors. The last book I finished was a lovely historical fiction by Anne Fortier called Juliet.

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I read so much as a kid, it’s hard to really quantify what influenced me the most. I loved the Bronte sisters. Jane Eyre is still a favorite but it was quotes from Wuthering Heights that I carried around in my notebooks at school.

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I loved the passion behind the words. When you read something that really stays with you… That’s when you know an author has done their job well.

CH: Here at ADDICTED, we like to know what you’re addicted to. Tell us something you can’t live without.

JP: I can’t live without my four basic food groups… Fruit, bread, cheese, and chocolate. I really love good food. But that means, by necessity, I also really love to exercise too. I also love to laugh in the company of people I cherish.

Now for the fun part! Like I said, Jenny is offering a signed copy of her lovely book for one of you! Click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter and then share, share, share! Good luck friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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