Interview: Louise Lindell

Today I have Louise Lindell , author of Sanctity Shattered!


1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I dabbled with poetry and short stories as early as elementary school. My aunt Amy is an amazing writer and has taught English and literature for as long as I can remember. She really influenced what I read and always encouraged me to express myself creatively. I always enjoyed creative writing projects in high school and made my first attempt at a full length novel when I was 14. It didn't get very far. I took as many creative writing classes as I could in college, but upon graduating moved away from writing for a time as I pursued other careers.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had a friend who asked me to write a short story for her entertainment. I had the main characters and the setting floating around in my imagination for years. A few hours worth of writing reminded me of how much I enjoyed creating stories on paper, and how much I had missed it. I told my sister about the story during a phone conversation. Claire asked if she could read it, and called me back a few hours later. She told me that I had some intriguing original characters and an interesting premise. Claire doesn't normally read fantasy, but she said she enjoyed my story and wanted more of it. I expanded the story for her, and she encouraged me to continue, sometimes teasing me with "You had better have another chapter for me."


3) How did you come up with the title?

Titles can be hard sometimes. I bounced several rough options off of my sis and some friends, and with feedback, Sanctity Shattered came to me during a lively critical debate filled with giggles from some less than stellar suggestions. We dismissed Sanctity Shattered at first, but kept coming back to it. Galen's sanctity is his sheltered homeland, and that sanctity is shattered from the moment he discovers Aria has breached the barriers and has entered Seiren. It is for Galen and the reader to decide if that traumatic change is for ill or for good.


4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

People who have influenced my writing would include my aunts, my sister, my mother and many of my English teachers and creative writing professors. My brother is an avid reader and has recommended countless works of all genres since high school. All of the unique and amazing souls who sculpted my education and continued to inspire me after my schooling are tremendously positive influences. Of course, I grew up reading the works of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and I read L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz and as many of the sequels as I could get my hands on. I have too many favorite authors and cherished books to list them all as influences. There will always be comparisons to other works when creating a fantasy world, but I put my books away and cleared my head when I began to write about Aikara. I think that my love of books has been a positive influence on my writing for certain.


5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I love classical literature and mythology. I pulled out my college anthologies and dictionaries in order to name many of my characters. The internet is also a great tool for researching names, cultures, myths and lore. One of my favorite elements of writing fantasy is that I can make it my own and set the laws of nature within my world, but I do research elements of ancient and classical civilizations to help me keep my creations consistent, and I hope believable to my readers.


6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

My characters are unique creations, though there are elements within them that are influenced and inspired by people in my life. It surprises even me how many of them take on life and develop in ways I cannot anticipate. I feel like Galen's mother has taken on many of the strengths and graces of my own mother, who passed away after a lengthy battle with breast cancer about 5 years ago. I knew that I was fond of Calanthia and wished for her to be a lovely and endearing character, but I wasn't aware that I was thinking of Mom when I expanded the character. When I read it now, I see that when Galen thinks about Calanthia, it is with the same love and loss that I feel over my mother. 


7) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Yes! Sanctity Shattered is only a sliver of the story. It is the introduction to the real adventure yet to come. I actually split my original work and published less than half as the first book. I am currently refining and polishing the second installment, which will be ready to publish very shortly. It will take several more books for me to complete the series.


8) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

This question is like asking me to pick a favorite child or sibling. I will say that I conceived the story while thinking about Aria, but when I sat down to write it, I told it from Galen's perspective. I am fond of most of my characters, though I naturally love to hate the evil, selfish, villainous souls who make up Gal'Rath's forces, and the ignorant, close-minded and self serving figures who surface even within the Seiren and Valleian courts.


9) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Read any and everything you can get your hands on, write freely, and remember that no idea or fragment of a story is bad. If it goes nowhere creatively, save it away somewhere, for there may be something of value to use later. Let your story flow from you, and find a friend or editor who can be honest with you about what works and what doesn't. Don't be discouraged by criticism, but take it as a challenge to improve.


Just for fun:


1) What are your ten most favorite things?

My family, my friends, my pets, cooking, baking, writing, reading, music, anime and video games, though not necessarily in that order.


2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

I indulge in one of the other nine of my ten favorite things.


3) Do you have any pets?

I have three house cats, and an odd little herd/pack made up of my two dogs and two miniature horses who think they rule the world that is my backyard.


4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

It has become a joke among some close friends that I obviously love "fruit, and wine, and bread, and cheese" seeing as how they are the primary meals of my characters.


5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

My favorite place to write is at a family member's condo on Tybee Island, Georgia. I sit on the deck or in the living room and look out at the ocean. The sound of the surf seems to clear my head and helps me to write and revise most prolifically. My second favorite place to write is where I can see trees. I love forests and gardens, and obviously I find that setting to be very conducive to writing about Galen's connection to nature. I live in a mini-pecan orchard at home, and my sister's home north of Atlanta is set within the most amazing little forest with a view of a ravine on a golf course. Those settings have been my sanctuary for writing about Seiren, and for writing about the palace grounds back in Val'Ran for book two.


6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I am lost without a Diet Coke at home or a cup of coffee at my sister's house.


7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

There are too many places I want to visit, and many more that I have visited that I think would be amazing places to live. I would love to visit British Columbia and Alaska again. Having studied Japanese language and culture in high school and college, it is also a dream of mine to travel there. There are so many places in Europe that I want to visit as well. Egypt is the one place I would love to go to but don't know if I will ever get to.  I have lived on the east coast here in America for most of my life, and if I could move anywhere right now based on the scenery, it would probably be the Oregon Coast, though I have become very attached to the north Georgia hills as well.


8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

My favorites were English and History, and I can't say that I really had a least favorite, though I preferred the former to everything else.


9) What book are you reading right now?

A good friend sent me a bunch of books for Christmas. I recently finished Glen Cook's The Black Company, and am now reading Prince Ombra by Roderick MacLeish.


10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I am allergic to shellfish. (Is that random enough?)


Sure is, Louise! Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Check out Sanctity Shattered today!

Guest Review: The Peanut Collection

This review is by Shelley Mathiot. I brought The Peanut Collection home and she wouldn't let it leave. I promised to let her review it.

The Peanut Collection: Treasures From The World's Most Beloved Comic Strip by Nat Gertler. 


I've got to say,  this is really  cool book. Not only is it a beautiful over-sized hardback book in a great slip cover, but the book itself is filled with treasures to explore, tons of full color photos and, in the very back, a pocket of black and white prints, suitable for framing.


Every chapter focuses on some aspect of the Peanuts' history, from their humble beginnings when creator Charles Schulz thought the comic strip was misnamed, to the rocketing stardom with merchandising and advertising. There are a few of the comic strips themselves, but this book is not like other books that are simply collections of favorite strips. This book has interesting stories and anecdotes about Schulz and his family, how the individual characters were developed and even how Snoopy went to space. Some of the cool inserts (all reproductions) include personal letters to and from Charles Schulz, stickers, a cell from one of the Charlie Brown TV films and a book of Pumpkin Carols! Did you know that the Peanuts even went on stage?


This is a perfect collection of trivia, interesting history and fun surprises to enjoy and it would make a fantastic gift for the Peanuts lover in your life.  

Thanks Shelley! Shelley blogs her pottery, homeschool, and small business  adventures right over here.

Interview: CJ Thomas

Today I have CJ Thomas, author of Night of the Snake Witch, to answer a few questions about his new book.


1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I started writing in the late 70s.  I wrote poetry and had a few published, but it wasn't until the early 80s that I thought about writing a novel. I had taken a few courses in  'writing for children'. Started a few different books and then tucked them away.  Night of the Snake Witch slept in a drawer for 25 years.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

On the job site we had a trailer for our offices.  I was looking out the window watching the 42 inch pipe being off loaded from the rail cars.  A large tractor picked up the banding and then rolled slowly  to the pile that had been started at the end of the pipe yard.  I watched as the tractor place it's load on top of the pile and as the 2 inch long strips settled, in my mind they started to slither. 


3) How did you come up with the title?

One of my characters is into voodoo and she turns the banding into snakes and saves my heroin at the end of the book.  So be it The Night of the Snake Witch


4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative

I got the bug to read, something I haven't done in a very long time.  A friend gave me one of Christine Feehan's books.  I haven't stopped since, reading or writing.  I love her style along with Angela Knight, Terry Brooks and Patrica Briggs.  I fell in love with paranormal and sci-fi.  These authors are my role models.


5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I use the internet, my personal experiences, experts who have first hand knowledge of the subject I'm writing about


6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

I did use parts of personalities of people I knew, but as a whole person, no. 


7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

Having someone read my book and say they couldn't put it down.   Edits and rewrites and rewrites and rewrites.


8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Yes.  I have two trilogies I'm working on.  One is a Young Adult which the first book is on Kindle "Kerry Mc Daniels and the Cave"


9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

Alexandra Kendall is my favorite.  I don't know if  I'd say I dislike any of them, perhaps the things they do.   


10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it.  Study your craft, learn how to write a strong query letter and a synopsis and never give up your dream.


Just for fun


1) What are your ten most favorite things?

Grandkids, writing, motorcycles, horses, sunsets, golfing with my kids, chocolate, snowfall on Christmas eve, Native American decor, sitting on the front porch in the early morning with a cup of coffee  listening to the dew drop from the leaves of the trees.


2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read and spend time with my kids.  They tell me I have to come out of my cave sometime.  The cave referring to what I call my creative room. 


3) Do you have any pets?

I have a Scottish Terier named Patterson.


4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

Favorite foods; pasta, salad and seafood.  Least is liver.


5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

My creative room, with soft music, except when I'm building suspense then I listen to Bourne.


6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Water.  I don't keep food around me when I write, because I would consume more calories than I would care to count.


7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?



8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

Favorite Science,  least English


9) What book are you reading right now?

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks


10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I hate to cook but I collect cook books

Just Received

Here's what I've gotten over the past few days

and some awesome decals and magnets from Build A Sign! Click here to see how you can get one for yourself!!

Interview: Helene Boudreau

I'm excited to host Helene Boudreau, author of Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings, on the blog today!


1) Why and when did you begin writing?

Like a lot of authors, I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid. It wasn’t until five years ago, though, that I really started writing with the intent of trying to get a book published. It was actually a good friend who pushed me into it. I was contemplating going back to work after my second daughter was born but she said “Hey, what about your writing?” It was kind of a wake up call for me to get off my tushie and get serious about this dream of mine.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

The main character, Jade, was inspired by a funny conversation I had with my girls about birds that were afraid of flying or fish that were afraid of the water, which naturally evolved into a conversation about an aquaphobic mermaid. We laughed a lot about all the funny things that could happen to a character like this and it was the kernel of idea which set this story in motion.


3) How did you come up with the title?

I’d originally called this book BIG SPLASH because my main character is a bit on the heavy side and she was definitely making a cannon-ball type of entrance into the mer-world but there was another book by the same name that had just been published at the time so it was back to the drawing board.

My sister and I were having dinner one night and she was wearing a cute thumb ring, which made me think of toe rings and the new title, REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS, was born.


4) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

One of the greatest things about being a published author is hearing stories from readers. I especially love hearing that one of my books inspired someone in some way or turned them on to reading. Knowing that is really special to me and is one of the biggest reasons why I write for kids.

The hardest part is trying to find time to do everything; write, revise, take part in my writers’ group, school visits, promotion and the business end of writing. But it’s all good! I love my job and feel extremely lucky to be doing what I’m doing.


5) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

My next book is an early chapter book for 6-9 year olds called WATER HAZARD. It’ll be out this spring. Also, it’s too early to announce it but there are a few more books on the horizon as well. *wink* *wink*


6) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Find a critique group! Honestly, your writing will improve by leaps and bounds by sharing your stories with others and critiquing other people’s work. Other than that, read lots and lots of books and write, write, write and revise, revise, revise. Repeat as necessary.


Just for fun:


1) What are your ten most favorite things?

My daughters: They crack me up on a daily basis.

My husband: He’s a mixture of dork and adorable. Adorkable.

Walking: I walk marathons.

Audiobooks: I listen to them while I train for marathons.

My iPod Touch: I listen to audiobooks on it while I train for marathons. (notice a theme?)

The ocean: Who doesn’t like the ocean?

Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, cherries…I love them all.

Penguins: Or basically any kind of black and white animal. Panda bears, cows, dalmations…

My pallies: I have the BEST friends, virtual and IRL!

Books! Obviously.


2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

I can usually be found dropping my girls off at school or picking my girls up from school or driving my girls to art class or driving my girls to Girl Guides.

My non-writing life involves a lot of driving.


3) Do you have any pets?

Other than the spider on the kitchen ceiling, which I can’t reach? No.


4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

LOVE seafood: scallops, salmon, lobster, haddock, clams. Yum!

HATE tofu. Sorry, but that shouldn’t even be a food.


5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

I love having a laptop so I can move around. Sometimes I like to write at my treadmill desk or stretched out in bed or sitting up at my regular desk. I’m not picky.


6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

I’m an omnivore so I snack on all sorts of things. I love almonds, cherries, Triscuit crackers—anything bite sized that doesn’t make too much of a mess, otherwise I suffer from whydoesntmyspacebarwork? syndrome.

My new favourite snack is steamed edamame beans, sprinkled with sea salt. Numma.


7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

Anywhere near the ocean. I live in a land-locked province of Canada at the moment and feel like a part of me is missing. *sniff*


8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

LOVED Biology

HATED History


9) What book are you reading right now?

I just finished CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins on audiobook.


10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I used to ride a motorcycle back when I young and reckless. Actually, I was very non-reckless and always wore a helmet. Safety first, kids!


Hélène Boudreau is the author of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings. She’s never spotted a real mermaid in the wild but the writer in her thinks they are just as plausible as seahorses, flying fish and electric eels.

In a fun promotion, Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky is offering signed Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings bookplates with proof of purchase. More info HERE.

You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.

Review: Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

Genre: Young Adult

ISBN: 9781402244124

Published: December 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky


Rating: 4


Jade was positive she was just an average girl, until she fell asleep in her bath, inhaled some salt water, and sprouted a mermaid tail. Soon the truth comes out that her mom was a mermaid. But then how did her mom drown last summer? Jade works to come to terms with this new side of herself, maintain her close friendships without spilling her secret, attempt to keep her dignity around her adorable crush, and figure out the mystery behind her mother.


I enjoyed every second of this story. I instantly liked Jade and her slight sarcasm. Although the events were, in reality, absolutely ridiculous, they worked in the context of the book, and it was easy to get lost in the story and believe in mermaids for a while. It was much more of an exciting and thrilling adventure than I originally imagined it to be. The twist at the end was perfectly wonderful! I read it twice I liked it so much. (*grins ecstatically*) I would recommend this book in a heartbeat.


Content/Recommendation: Clean, ages 10-16

Just received

I never get around to posting stuff on Mondays. So I figured I'd post it when I got it. Just so you cans ee what I've gotten.

  • Threads West (for a giveaway)
  • How Sweet It Is (read, review coming soon for a tour in February)
  • Fancy Pants
  • Ada: Legend of a Healer (with swag :D)

Reviews coming soon (not in order)

Interview and Tour: Courting Sparks

Today I'm excited to host Joselyn Vaughn on her virtual book tour for Courting Sparks. MEDIA KIT Author Photo


1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I began writing seriously about five years ago. I always knew I would at some point, but hadn’t put the pen to paper until then. I got about three chapters then the excitement wore off. Shortly after that I ran into an old friend who was writing also. We ended up becoming critique partners and pushed each other to complete several books. She also has two published and a third coming out next summer.


2) What inspired you to write your book?

Courting Sparks was inspired by one of my friends. She has been in several weddings and I wondered what a romance could be like for a bridesmaid. Originally I thought the main character would meet a handsome groomsman, not fall in love with someone she’d known since second grade.


3) How did you come up with the title?MEDIA KIT Book Cover

I have a great critique group with a title maven in it. She is fabulous with coming up with titles.


4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

Where to start? I think everything I read influences me, especially now that I am writing. I look at how another author describes an action or an emotion or how they work out a plot. Before I started I could read books for fun. Now that is much harder. I have to consciously turn off the analyzer in my head.


5) How do you go about researching for your books?

For a couple of them I asked my husband a lot of questions that started with ‘if you were to do X, would Y happen?’ Mostly he would say ‘no.’ One of his friends is a volunteer firefighter and knows a lot about how fires can be started. For Courting Sparks, I needed a way for Aaron to start a fire that would spread. I would ask my husband ‘if Aaron lit his shoes on fire with hairspray, would that catch the couch on fire?” and he would say ‘no.’ It took a while to get a plausible scenario for that one.


6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

No. A character may say things that a friend says or do things that someone I know does, but I try to only pick one characteristic from friends and family. I had one character that would say things that one of my friends does, but the rest of his character was completely different.


7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

For me, it is holding the book in my hands and thinking I wrote this and someone else thought it was good enough to be published. The hardest part is promoting it. Marketing dollars are tight everywhere. It’s hard to get your book out there and noticed.


8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

Several, of course. I am working on one about Minnie Schultz, the owner of the Lilac Bower from CEOs Don’t Cry. It is turning out to be a really fun story and I am excited to be working on it.


9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I think Minnie Schultz is my favorite. She is so bold and strong. She doesn’t let anything or anyone get her down. I’m not sure I dislike any of them, although there are surely ones I wouldn’t want to be friends with. Chuck Silverman is not a nice guy and Peggy might be a little to exuberant for me, but she’d be a lot of fun to watch from a distance.


10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

Learn as much as you can. Listen to constructive criticism and apply it. Find some beta readers or critique partners that you trust. Those second sets of eyes can greatly improve your story by helping you see what you are missing.


Just for fun:


1) What are your ten most favorite things?

My husband, my three kids, my home, my community, my family (it’s big – it counts as two), my critique group, and the ability to do something I love.


2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m assuming you mean fun things like reading, sewing or running. Usually when I’m not writing, I’m chasing my youngest up the stairs which she has not mastered going down yet, changing diapers, doing laundry or picking up toys.


3) Do you have any pets?

I have two beagles. They are incredibly lazy, overweight and really loud. They bark at everything, the mailman, the dog next door, the neighbor boys when they drive in and out fifteen times a day and even their own shadows.


4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

I love chocolate ice cream, but during my last pregnancy my lactose intolerance worsened and so I can’t indulge in it like I used to. I suppose that my pants still fit is a benefit of that.


5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

There is a coffee shop not too far from my house that is a great place to camp out for a while. My critique group meets there and it has great energy. We always come away motivated to work.


At home, I have a beat-up desk that used to be my mother’s sewing table. It was my sewing table until I had kids and didn’t have time to sew anymore. So it’s been privy to a lot of creativity. It has a wide black surface and narrow spindle legs. It’s not pretty, but I like it. I also have a two-drawer legal-size filing cabinet next to my desk. We scavenged it from my husband’s work when they were selling off some old furniture. The idea was that it would fit under the desk and I would have some storage. Silly us that did not measure. The filing cabinet is two inches taller than the lower edge of my desk.


My desk sits next to our couch, so I can keep an eye on the kids when they are supposed to be sitting quietly on the couch watching a movie and resting.


6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

For a while I ate chocolate chips hoping the trips up and down the stairs to get them would negate the calories. I have replaced them with hot chocolate, but I don’t think that is any healthier. At critique group, we often all order turkey artichoke sandwiches, chai teas and chocolate no-bake cookies. Yum. In fact, I specially thanked the turkey artichoke sandwiches in the acknowledgements of Courting Sparks.


7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

Italy for the history, the culture, the food and the climate. Maybe someday.


8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

I loved English and history or any class that challenged me. I even liked chemistry for that reason. I disliked classes that were meant to bolster some of the football teams’ GPAs because they didn’t challenge me. I gave one of my teachers a hard time quite often because he was a football coach and made sure his team would remain eligible. If he asked us to write a half a page on something, I wrote three pages. When he complained, I counted the lines and wrote exactly half a page and ended in the middle of a sentence. He gave me full credit.


9) What book are you reading right now?

I just started The Book of Scandal by Julia London and Run Like a Mother by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell.


10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I get teary-eyed during sports movies. Especially racing movies. Running, horse races, even car races. My kids love the movie Cars and for the first fifty times they watched it, I couldn’t watch the end where McQueen ‘bump-drafts’ The King across the finish line. I am a runner and I identify closely with the pain of crossing the finish line in victory or after overcoming obstacles.


Thanks Joselyn! Below is an excerpt of Courting Sparks, and some more info on the book. Remember if you comment here and on the other tour stops, you have a higher chance of winning! She is giving away copies of Courting Sparks and CEOs Don't Cry.



Dusting off the ashes of a failed relationship, Daphne Morrow decides she is ready to date again. But when her scorched prom photos are discovered to be the ignition point for a small forest blaze, marking her as the prime suspect for the arson, she finds they’re not the only part of her past sparking interest. After a friend’s wedding provides a romantic interlude with her longtime friend Noah Banks, Daphne tries to explain away her attraction to him: the atmosphere of the wedding, his resemblance to her ex, his heroic efforts as a volunteer firefighter. Still, their desire just won’t sputter out.

When the arsonist strikes much closer to home, Daphne fears she must risk Noah’s friendship to find the culprit and clear her name. She’ll know their love is real if his interest isn’t put out by her need to uncover the truth.



Sandalwood and a touch of wood smoke.

The scents drifted from behind her and Daphne knew the man was sexy. She closed her eyes as she stood on the corner of the dance floor and breathed deeply. Maybe passing out candy bars for the Dollar Dance wasn’t such a bad thing. Her Magic Eight Ball could be right. For once.

She tried to adjust the neckline of her fuchsia bridesmaid dress to enhance her cleavage, but the double-sided tape holding the mermaid-style dress in place wouldn’t budge.

Sure, when you want the dress to come off, it sticks firmly in place. She sighed. She spun on her bare feet to greet the dream date behind her and stopped so abruptly her basket of candy bars tipped over, spilling chocolate at his feet.

“Noah?” she gasped.

A light blue madras shirt covered his broad shoulders. His dark hair still damp from his shower. She looked at him like she’d never seen him before.

And she saw him almost every day. He was the athletic director and she was an English teacher and the cross-country coach. She was in and out of his office with student eligibility reports and questions about the team schedule. Besides all that, they’d been friends since second grade. She’d never had this reaction to him before. What was different?

Noah bent to pick up the candy. His shirt pulled across his muscular shoulders as he reached for the scattered bars. Daphne continued to stare at him. Water droplets clung to the hair on the back of his neck and she itched to brush them away. She extended the basket for him to dump the bars.

“Fire call?” she said, trying to cover her stunned silence and hoping he didn’t notice her blushed skin.

“Yeah. Out at The Willows. Could have been really bad, but we were able to contain it. Do I still smell smoky?”

Daphne leaned closer and breathed deeply. His sandalwood cologne flooded her nose again. A touch of smoke lingered behind it. She forgot to breathe out.

This was Noah, she told herself. Not George Clooney. Get a grip.

“Your cologne covers it. How much burned?” she asked, stepping away to put some fresh air between them.

Noah shrugged. “The flames kept smoldering in this heat. Hot spots were flaring up all afternoon. Most of the trees are singed. I’m not sure they’ll come back.” He tugged at the front of his shirt as if he still felt the high temperatures.

“I can’t believe The Willows is gone. No more hidden trysts out there. Where will the teens go to make out now?”

“They’ll find some place. They always do. There’s that place by the river, but the landowner is pretty adamant about kicking them out once a month.”

She hugged the candy basket to her chest. Bittersweet memories of The Willows haunted her, now that Aaron was no longer in her life. They’d gone there to do all the things teens do in the shaded alcoves of the draping willow trees. The fire was a relief in a way, another reminder of him gone.

“Was Miranda angry I wasn’t here?” Noah asked.

She glanced at the bride twirling on the dance floor and pushed away the gloomy thoughts. Good ol’ Noah. He could always divert her depressing thoughts. “I think she’ll forgive you.” Daphne bumped him with her basket of chocolate. “Not to dash your ego, but she didn’t notice. She was so nervous before the ceremony, she peed every fifteen minutes. I’m glad I didn’t pull bathroom duty this time.”

Noah laughed, the tone soft and deep. “I don’t want to know. Anything else happen?”

“If you’re asking if Max fainted, you owe me ten bucks. He turned green during the solo, but his knees never buckled.”



Don't forget to leave a comment to win! and thank you Joselyn for stopping by!

Promotion: CSN Stores


I'll hopefully be getting my own room at the university soon, and I know where I'll be shopping for furnishings! CSN Stores has the widest selection of furniture, tv stands, book shelves, chairs, desks, houseware, home improvement, school and office supplies, and much more! Check out their 200+ stores.






They always have great sales going on: Right now they have a new years sale at the www.tvstands.com!

A few quick reviews

Accidental Genius (second edition, revised and updated) Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content

by Mark Levy 

4 stars

Mark Levy teaches readers how to write without thinking, therefore allowing the best thoughts to come forth without being harnessed back. He has a six-step process and many pointers about Freewriting, the center of his concept. He demonstrates how this process can be beneficial for the business and entrepreneur world, but the same processes can be used for fiction writing, under different circumstances.

There did seem to be some unneeded wordiness, but only in certain parts and it was short. A few times he elaborated on possiblilites like "you could take this here, and you could write about this, and it could lead you here," and it just seemed to drag on too long. However, all in all, it was very useful and educational.

This is a great book for anyone who often gets writers block, or knows they can develop a concept but is being held back. Levy will teach you how to free your mind.



Jungle Warfare by Christopher A. Cunningham\

3 stars

This is a great book for business owners, but I personally wasn't able to use it much. I wished I could have given it more time or attention, but I requested it not knowing what it was, and I wasn't able to do much with it. It is a devotional journal type book, meant to be a private place to pray and write.




Moonstone by Marilee Brothers

3 stars

I got about halfway through this first book of the three-book series. It took me telling myself, "sit down and read." to read it. however once I started reading, I was totally hooked and loving the characters. However, it didn't … "call to me." it didn't tell me to read it. It was cute and I liked it, and the tension of the plot was great, it just wasn't enough to keep me reading through the whole book and the rest of the series.

A few random links!

Just got a few things to share today! I've been meaning to show people these things for a while and am cleanign out my saved drafts to start off the new year. so here you go.

  1. Gomez has a new short story as a new years gift. it's available for free for a very limited time so go check it out!!!
  2. my video is available to view in HD!! go see it. it's hilarious.
  3. 50 books Every young woman should read by Associates Degree has a great list if you're looking for your next book.
  4.  20 Side-Splitting Web Comics for the Stressed-Out College Kid. LOL.

that's all for now. I may update this if I find something within the hour but other than that… I'm ready for year 2 of The Life and Lies!!!

Top literary crushes

I've been working on this list for a while. I'm pretty picky about my literary crushes. I'll add as the list grows (and as I get more time to read!)

These are in order that I recalled their names (thanks, stupid Anomia.) not ranking order.



Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
Do you even have to ask for an explanation?

Michael, Hourglass
He's the perfect hero: smart, strong, attractive, chivalrous, and desperately in love with someone he can't have. In which case he is more than welcome to come find me. But I don't think he will. (and he's sexy on top of it.)

Jace, Mortal Instruments
Because he’s sweet and sexy and swoon-worthy (I’m awesome at alliteration!) but also dead serious when it comes to protecting his girl.

Patch from Hush Hush
Because… Because he’s Patch!

Peeta from The Hunger Games series
Alright so I have a soft spot for boys who have loved a girl for as long as they can remember. Plus, he can bake. And even though Katniss (idiotic girl that she is) is constantly rejecting him, he still loves her.

Will from Wildwing
He's quiet when he needs to be, but stubborn enough to stand up to Addy, he's absolutely adorable and he's a falconer. He tames wild birds! how sexy is that??

Daniel from Ada: Legend of a Healer
Not only is he good looking, he's a "bad boy" and a sweetheart at the same time. And he's got a delicious smile. And he does Parkour. And he's French.

Jane Austen Challenge

Year 2! yahooo! hopefully I'll finish my own challenge this year :) I'm not going to pick my level ahead of time… we'll just see where I end up. :)



--Challenge runs January 1st 2011—December 31 2011.

--overlap with other challenges is fine.

--Any format counts: bound book, e-book (check online for free downloads of J.A’s copyright-free books), audio book, or any other thing you can think of. Just no abridged stuff!

--You can change which level you read!

--you don't have to be a blogger or reviewer, just leave a comment letting me know you're joining.



**Newbie, 4 books total:  2 books by J. Austen, and 2 re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)

**Lover, 8 books total: 4 books by J. Austen, 4 re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)

** Fanatic, 12+ books total 6+ books by J. Austen, 6+ re-writes, prequels, sequels, or spoofs (by other authors)


I'm bringing back the beautiful piece of art for the button by Olde Fashioned, because everyone loved it last year! I'm also adding the new one, also by our same very talented artist.





Vampire Challenge

See I love vampires. In general. So here you go.


1. As long as it has one vampire in it, it counts. Full length and short stories count, but poetry has to be over 5000 words.

2. e-books, audio books, bound books, galleys, whatever. as long as it’s a book.

3. can be a stand-alone or in a series.

4. crossovers are fine.

5. Don’t have to be a blogger, don’t have to review the book. Just tell me you're participating. Goodreads is a great way to keep track of books for non-bloggers (make a shelf for this challenge and keep track of them that way!)

Newborn vampire: You’re new to all this. You feel a little out of place in the world, and you’re not quite sure of yourself—or anything anymore, really. You’ll read  1-3 books


Vampire Fledgling: Ok so you’re a little stronger now. You’re kinda getting the hang of this. You think you might actually make it. You’ll read  4-7 books


Experienced Vampire: You’re pretty comfortable now, and other vamps are beginning to look to you. You’re sure of yourself and enjoy life –or death—and you will read 8-12 books.


Vampire Ruler: King or queen of the world… even though the world doesn’t know it. The other vamps do, though. Everyone looks to you. You own the place. You read 13+


Leave a comment to sign up, post the button if you like, and if you want to you can link your reviews or goodreads shelf in the comments.


Alphabet Challenge

Thought this would be fun… totally came up with it randomly.
1. 26 books!
runs January 1st 2011 –December 31, 2011. For each letter, read a book that has a main character or key supporting character  (not some random minor character mentioned twice!) whose name starts with that letter. It doesn’t have to be the title of the book, just the name. Ex: Alice (in wonderland), Bella (twilight), Cathy (Wuthering Heights), Dracula (Dracula) Estella (Great Expectations),  etc.
2. only one letter per book!
3. Crossovers are fine
4. audio, e-book, bound book, someone reading it out loud to you, reading a book to your little brother or sister, it all counts.
5. any length—short stories, books of the Bible, etc. they all count for this one.
6. Don’t have to be a blogger, don’t have to review the book. Just tell me you're participating. Goodreads is a great way to keep track of books for non-bloggers (make a shelf for this challenge and keep track of them that way!)

Level 1: 10 Letters
Level 2: 20 Letters
Level 3: Completes all 26 letters (yes, that means X and Z and Q. I’m sure you can find something.)

Leave a comment to sign up. You can link your reviews in the comments if you like.


My challenge books (the ones crossed through are the ones I've read)

A: Ada: Legend of a Healer
C: Clary (City of Glass)
E: Edward (The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook)
F: Francesca Day (Fancy Pants)
G: Gwendolyn (Gwendolyn, the Dancing Pig)
H: Hannah (a Light at Winter's End)
J: Jade (Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings)
K: Kelsey (Tiger's Curse)
L: Lizzie (How Sweet It Is)
M: Mo (How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf)
P: Peeta (Mockingjay)
Q: Quinton Worthington (Quicksilver)
R: Ricky (The Curse of Captain LaFoote)
S: Saba (Blood Red Road)

2010 Challenge wrap-up

Ok really quick: the challenge links are not updated! I link them so you can see the rules and the blogs they came from in case you want more info. I didn't go back and put in the books I read because I DON'T HAVE TIIIMMMMEEEE!!!! :)


100+ Challenge: I read 94 books. this is not counting books I read for school, books I read half of, and… well, books I just forgot that I read.


ARC Challenge: I read 29. My goal was Bronze level (12) and I ended up going Gold! Woot!


Audio Book Challenge: I read… five… sigh. Horrible, considering how many audio books I have. Some books I started the audio but didn't finish in audio, and that brings it up to more like ten or twelve. still.


Contemporary Romance challenge: Goal: 10. Read: 13. well I have 13 marked on my labels. I'm sure I've read more than that. I'm a sucker for romance <333


French Historical Challenge: my goal was 4. Counting the two half-books I read and the one whole that had a French character in it… that puts be at… 2. sigh. sad because I love the French! I even ranted about my pathetic French history on the challenge page (my ancestors were chicken thieves. I'm not kidding.)


Historical Fiction challenge: my original goal was 6, I read 15. Some of them I only read parts of, but hey, that's still way over my goal. I guess I like historical fiction.


Jane Austen Challenge: this was the challenge I hosted this year. It was a great hit, there were TONS of sign-ups. I WILL BE HOSTING IT AGAIN!!! so look for a new post soon.


anyway: My goal was the lowest level: two J. Austen books and 2 re-writes, spoofs, etc. I ended up with one Austen and three Spoofs, mostly because it was what I had on my tbr list. However I did purchase this beauty, and hopefully I'll do better on this challenge in 2011 :D


Read Your Name challenge:

HALEY (five books) and I ended up with an H and an L. I didn't finish the L. Maybe my name sucks for this challenge, maybe I just forgot to mark my labels :P


Romance Reading Challenge:

Well. The goal was 5, I have 6 marked, but that's because I forgot to keep marking them… I read A LOT more romance books than 6. probably closer to 25. like I said above: I'm a sucker for a good love story :D :D


Vampire Series Challenge: my goal was 6, I read 3. I didn't have a lot of time to read what I wanted this year, I mostly read what people sent to me :\


What's in a name challenge: I honestly think I forgot about this one, so I may have met it and I just didn't label my posts. Anywhoo! I was supposed to read 6 books, the titles having one of these: food, water, title/position, musical term, place, and plant. I read water, title, and song. :\


Won books Challenge: I won SO MANY BOOKS and read 2 of them. I suck.


So there you go. keep your eyes open for the challenges I'm hosting this year!! I've got some fun stuff.



(I've missed my little knitter fiend :D)

Review: State of Mind

State of Mind by Sven Michael Davison
Genre: Futuristic Science Fiction
Published:March 1st 2011 by Bedouin Press


Rating: 3, DNF


My summary: In the future, humans are joining themselves with technology. Jake is an ex-LAPD officer who is banned from law enforcement, but is invited back to an elite squad after receiving a P-Chip implant. But what will the P-Chip do to him? Is it worth loosing himself?


Every once in a while I come across a book that is a very high concept, written by someone who could be a very good writer, if given the proper tools to create their book. This is one of those books. State of Mind could have been very good, exciting, and about a third of the length if Davison had a little help from a good editor.


I loved the concept, I liked the plot, but I couldn't finish this book for a few reasons. Mainly, this book was hard to read. It wasn't the writing style, it was the content of the writing. There were times when I felt like I was in history class. The book takes place in 2030, and I felt like Davison spent a lot of time going over history that had occurred, and technology that had changed (And I have fought with this issue myself, writing Agent Smith Smith, which takes place in 2060 or so.). There were long paragraphs explaining things that didn't need to be explained for the story to be told.


There was also a clarity issue. Sometimes the sentences and the verbiage just wasn't clear, and I wasn't sure what had just happened. I found myself re-reading paragraphs (and skipping others that felt like history class).


However, the story itself was interesting and very exciting. I found myself hooked immediately by the characters and the plot and unable to put it down until the present conflict had been resolved. I really wished I could have finished it, but the technological explanations got annoying after a while.


Someone who is more interested in technology and futuristic science fiction would enjoy State of Mind. Recommended for ages 17+ for some language.


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.