Monday, July 21, 2014

The Child Returns Unofficial Soundtrack

Ever wondered what the Soundtrack for The Child Returns would sound like?

Well now's your chance to listen over at MAD Hoydenish!


Big Thanks to reader Trish Hanson for her Lifehouse addition to the list. For the recommendation, she won a complete set of autographed Aerenden bookmarks :).

And if you haven't been following my blog tour, please be sure to check out the stops now. Only three more weeks left for Leg 2 of the tour, which means only three more weeks to enter the drawing (prizes include Audible copies of The Gildonae Alliance and a $25 Amazon Gift Card).

Now get listening :).


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cool Bookstores: Atticus Coffee, Books & Teashop

Bookstores are my addiction. I know, a complete shock, right? Occasionally, as I have the opportunity to travel, I seek out cool new bookstores to enjoy. Going forward, I'll be sharing those with YOU!

The first featured bookstore comes from Park City, Utah, where I visited last week.

View from my hotel balcony
Known for it's gorgeous mountains, world-renowned skiing, and the Sundance Film Festival, this gorgeous town has a lot to offer for a relaxing vacation, including Atticus Coffee, Books & Teashop.


Technically, Atticus is a coffee/teashop, but it's a book lover's paradise at heart. Named after the father from To Kill a Mockingbird, it carries new books and merchandise related to its namesake.....

I was tempted to get the mockingbird cocktail book!
As well as used books at great prices....


And book-themed merchandise.

Who wouldn't want to wear a book cover?
Of course, what bookstore/coffee shop would be complete without comfortable seating areas and cool art?

And an umbrella, in case it rains inside, of course :-D

Those are broken mugs! Recycling at its best.
It's a great place to write, read, or just hang out with friends and enjoy a coffee. I had a Mexican Mocha (think mocha with a bite), but there are other book-themed drinks on hand (of course) and some wonderful food and smoothies to try, too...many of them also book-themed (of course; Wrap of the Mohicans, anyone?).

Be sure to stop by next time you're in Utah. They're at 738 Lower Main St., Park City, Utah.

If you have any cool bookstores you think I'd like to feature, please drop me an email with some shots! Independent stores are preferred :).

Monday, July 14, 2014

International Authors' Day Blog Hop


I've volunteered to be a part of the International Authors' Day Blog Hop, organized by b00kr3vi3ws blog, that celebrates Authors world-wide who've instilled in us a love for reading and who we've gladly allowed to absorb entire days of our lives, while we delve deep into the worlds they created.

I'd hate to think of a world without books, so I'd like to celebrate my top five favorite books of all time (in no particular order).

1. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King - Although probably not considered one of King's best works, it's one of the first fantasy-style books I read and it stuck with me for many years after. It was also a departure for Mr. King, as his work had predominantly been from the horror/suspense genres previous to this book's release, and it helped me realize that authors can branch out from their known genres. Because of that, I feel free to write any story that captures me, whether it's fantasy (what I currently publish) or romance (what I wrote first and may still publish some day). The Eyes of the Dragon opened my eyes both to the creative power of fantasy and the magic of writing for the sake of writing.

2. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - This is no surprise to anyone who knows me or has followed my blog tours. Although Stephen King introduced me to fantasy, Tolkien made me fall in love with it and directly influenced my desire to write epic fantasies. To this day, I have not found a book that mesmerized me so deeply, and perhaps I never will.

3. The Ruby Knight by David Eddings (later, David and Leigh Eddings) - Sometime during or after college (I've forgotten when exactly), while digging through the bargain bin at my local Barnes & Noble, I found this gem (no pun intended). I don't usually start series with the second book, but I was bored and broke, so I bought it. I couldn't put it down and I've found most of Mr. (and Mrs.) Eddings' work equally enthralling (note: it was not until some time later that David Eddings revealed Leigh, his wife, as a co-writer for his books, so proper credit DOES need to go to her for influencing me, even though my book copy only lists him as the author). As I've mentioned, King gets credit for introducing me to fantasy, Tolkien gets credit for making me fall in love with epic fantasy, but Eddings is the reason my fantasy worlds also have an underlying medieval theme. Sorcerers and sorceresses, knights and kingdoms, legends of defeating monsters and evil kings...I fell in love with these things through him.

4. Works of Edgar Allan Poe (published by Dorset) - A book with "sixty-seven tales, one complete novel, and thirty-one poems" penned by the master of mystery? Yes, please. Poe has mesmerized me from the first moment I laid eyes on "Once upon a midnight dreary", terrified me from the moment I chewed my nails off through The Tell-Tale Heart, and made me understand the true power of imagery from the first verse of "The Raven".  I can't pick one book of his to call my favorite, so I'll pick the entire collection. And I'll return to him year after year to soak up his brilliance.

5. The Pearl by John Steinbeck - Steinbeck's tale of a poor man who discovers the world's greatest pearl is fraught with darkness and moral warnings. Greed, materialism and the true value of human life are addressed in this novella, and ultimately, the main character (along with the reader) learns the cost of what matters most. Although the story is truly heartbreaking, it's message has commanded me since I read it in high school. It's the first book that truly made me think, and the first that made me understand that stories can both be entertaining and teaching tools at the same time.

What are your top 5 books? Comment below to let us know. And while you're at it, please take the time to join us in the blog hop by visiting the other stops along the way. The tour runs between July 14 and July 18. Also, don't miss the rafflecopter below for your chance to an e-book copy of The Child Returns in any format of your choice (five total prizes; ePub or Mobi/Kindle available).



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day, America! Sale



Today in the United States, we celebrate our Independence Day with fireworks, backyard BBQs and, of course, SALES! 
(it wouldn't be a holiday in the US without a sale, would it?)

In honor of the holiday, The Child Returns will be discounted 75% to 99c through Sunday night. The price is good only on Amazon, but should work world-wide, so even if you aren't in the US, you can celebrate with us.

For the .com site, follow this link: http://bit.ly/amzntcr

Have a great weekend, everyone! 




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pictured: Nick & Meaghan

As some of you may already know, I intentionally don't over describe my characters in the Æerenden series because I personally love to paint characters' faces my own way when I read books. That doesn't mean I don't have an image in mind of what they look like while I write (of which I do give clues throughout the books).

Artist Randall Lux was kind enough to paint these awesome portraits for me of Nick and Meaghan, based on how I described them to him.

Meaghan "Meg"
Nick
What do you think? How do YOU picture Nick and Meaghan?


Monday, June 23, 2014

On Karma and Coincidence

This article originally ran on author Gae Polisner's blog "That Wee Bit Heap" as part of a series on Karma and Coincidence that coincided with her release of The Summer of Letting Go. Please check the other interesting stories in this series, as well as her fantastic books by clicking on her blog name above. 

From my earliest days, coincidences have peppered my life—a missed bus allowing me to meet a new friend, a job loss sending my career in a better direction, a chance conversation with a stranger giving me information I would soon need. Although appreciated, many of these moments have been easy to brush off as simple life twists. But others have left me wondering, and questioning my life’s direction.

In 2009, one series of coincidences set me on the path I walk now. I’d been suffering severe headaches and dizzy spells. My blood work came back fine, so my doctor decided I suffered from stress and prescribed anti-depressants to help. The second day I took them, the left side of my body went numb and my coworkers rushed me to the hospital on my doctor’s recommendation. A suspected stroke diagnosis pushed me through the system, but what they found on my MRI surprised everyone. I had two brain aneurysms. My neurologist later told me I would likely have been dead within 10 years if they hadn’t caught them. He told me it was lucky I had a rare side effect to the medication.

Fast forward two months. My lymph nodes felt enlarged and I saw my family doctor again. Because he felt bad about missing the aneurysms, he decided to be overcautious with my newest symptom and sent me for an ultrasound. It showed two suspicious nodes on my thyroid. Although a fine needle biopsy came back negative, the radiologist performing the procedure said it reacted like cancer and would not accept the lab results as accurate. He scheduled me for surgery.

The surgeon told me that most suspicious nodes come back negative and the only time he would worry is if Dr. Smith* had done the biopsy. Apparently Dr. Smith is considered a “cancer savant” by hospital staff and, you guessed it, he was the one who performed my biopsy. The ultrasounds facility had 10 rotating doctors on staff. By slim luck, I got the one doctor who recognized my cancer when the others likely would have sent me home as “safe”. Final lab results confirmed his suspicions. 
My battle scar

My endocrinologist said I was fortunate my family doctor had been overcautious. The odds of beating thyroid cancer are small once it metastasizes.

It’s hard not to believe someone somewhere was looking out for me that year—even if it was just a drug manufacturer, my nervous doctor, the person who scheduled my biopsy, and a rare Radiologist. 

Thanks to them and those few months, I started writing again. The cliché is true. Life is too short not to do what you love. I found my old love again and set my life back on course—a life granted to me by a series of lucky coincidences. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Æerenden Series Inaugural Book Tour

Starting today and going through August 4, all 3 books in the Æerenden series will be part of my first ever Book Blog Tour (hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions).


Feel free to grab and share the banner!
The tour has two legs: Daily stops (Leg 1: April 14-May 2) followed by Weekly stops (Leg 2: May 5-Aug 4). New and exciting interviews, reviews, promos, and PRIZES will be shared on each leg, so be sure to check back regularly for a link to recent stops (they'll be added to the schedule below).

For each leg, I'll also be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and 10 copies of The Gildonae Alliance Audio book through Audible.com (retail value $17.95). With a total of 22 prizes, your odds of winning are high, so definitely participate :). Karen Savage, my voice actor for the series, is brilliant. You won't want to miss your chance of listening to her for free!

Book Tour Schedule
(subject to change)

Leg One
April 14: Kit 'N Kabookle - http://bit.ly/1jnJq3w
April 14: SECOND STOP: Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews - http://bit.ly/1qwLYlI
April 15: Room With Books - http://bit.ly/1t4e0XS
April 16: Our Wolves Den - http://bit.ly/1nusFaR
April 17: Lessons from My Reading - http://bit.ly/1nuqjsK
April 18: Hope. Dreams. Life... Love - http://bit.ly/1gGG4YX
April 18: SECOND STOP: Literary Lunes Magazine - http://bit.ly/RwjTPA
April 21: Dana's YA Bookpile - http://bit.ly/1ju40kb
April 22: Margay Leah Justice - http://bit.ly/1f0q60r
April 23: Welcome to My World of Dreams - http://bit.ly/1foLaZx
April 24: Books and Other Spells - http://bit.ly/1l6j8Hw
April 28: Pressed Leaf Publishing - http://bit.ly/1j5IBzW
April 28: SECOND STOP: Straight from the Library - http://bit.ly/1flh4vm
April 29: Multi-Verses of Liza O - http://bit.ly/1hOsS3M
April 30: Books in the Hall - http://bit.ly/1fsiHrd
May 1: Long and Short Reviews - http://bit.ly/1iGGga9
May 2: Deal Sharing Aunt - http://bit.ly/1ml2Qh7

Leg Two
May 5: Booker Like a Hooker - http://bit.ly/1nY8dCe
May 12: Christine Young author - http://bit.ly/1jiSBSq
May 19: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock - http://bit.ly/TlrIIW
May 26: Sexy Adventures Passionate Tales - http://bit.ly/RrLm43
June 2: Long and Short Reviews - http://bit.ly/1kB17BD
June 9: The Write to Read - http://bit.ly/1ifKBCA
June 16: Writers and Authors - http://bit.ly/1lKLO9F
June 23: The Book Cookies - http://bit.ly/1j78pZW
July 7: Book Bunny's Reviews -  http://bit.ly/1pUoJFO
July 14: Goddess Fish Party Pavilion - http://bit.ly/1mObPW1
July 21: MAD Hoydenish - http://bit.ly/1p7hE17
July 28: It's Raining Books
August 4: Deal Sharing Aunt

Can't wait to see you all at my stops along the way!