Saturday, January 27, 2018

21 Answers to the Question: What is Your Book About?

I'm stalling so that my next post (my 300th post) will be on the same day I post about blog tour sign-ups for "Sleeping Handsome". :) And since I haven't done a 21 Answers post in awhile, I thought I'd give you one. 
As an author, I can't tell you how many times I've gotten this question after someone finds out I wrote a book. And I NEVER know how to respond. No matter how many times I practice in a mirror at home, I always fail to come up with something intelligent. Below are a few of the responses I often end up giving, a couple that I've thought about giving, and more that I threw in there as possible choices and to get the number of answers up to 21. ;)

#1: "Oh, you know...stuff."

#2: "There's this person, who does this thing. And it's cool."

#3: "Instead of me explaining it to you, you should probably just read it yourself." (Insert link to website where they can access you book. Marketing, guys, MARKETING.)

#4: *long explanation that makes no sense because you keep trying to cover up spoilers and tend to ramble*

#5: "I'm not ready for the world to know yet...or ever."

#6: "Man, even I don't know what my book is about!"

#7: "You'd better sit down."

#8: *blank expression*

#9: Drag over a friend that's read your book and say, "Here, ask them about it."

#10: Shudder and whisper hoarsely, "You don't want to know."

#11: Pick a word at random, have it be something different every time...just for fun. (Ex: "cauliflower", "lawn mowers", "cheese", "snowflakes", etc.) Don't forget to say the word with confidence so that the asker believes you. ;)

#12: "Beats me!" *shrug*

#13: "Somethin'."

#14: *groan* "Where do I even start?"

#15: The cheater's answer: read the synopsis off the back of your book. (If you have one, that is...if you don't, try reading the synopsis off someone else's book and test the asker's reading knowledge.)

#16: "Dost thou know what thou asketh, fiend?"

#17: *blushes* *stutters* *changes subject*

#18: "Tea anyone?"

#19: FAINT. Everyone will freak out, and hopefully forget about the question in the meantime. If it comes up again, faint again. Eventually the asker will stop asking that question. Trust me on that one.

#20: "Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies."

#21: If all else fails, you COULD come up with an actual, good response. Like, maybe work up a clever five sentence sell-out paragraph that makes whoever asks you about your book want to buy it...but who has time for that?

Which was/were your favorite response/s? Which response/s have you used before, if any? If you're a fellow author, which responses do you find yourself using a lot? (HELP ME)

Hope y'all enjoyed this post! I'll be back next time with a celebration post and blog tour sign-ups! :D

Monday, January 22, 2018

Thanking God for Small Miracles (Sam's Story)


Some of you may have seen that my youngest brother had his appendix rupture a couple days ago, probably from prayer requests on various social media sites. To say the least, it was a frightening situation. One of those scares where your heart skips a beat and your lungs refuse to work properly for a couple seconds.

William stayed by Sam's side throughout most of his hospital stay (coming home for nights and Sunday church). It was so cute watching him worry about his little brother. These two have always been really close, and it was during this time that that really showed. :)

It started on Wednesday afternoon, January 17th. Sam complained of an upset stomach and was kept home from prayer meeting that evening after vomiting a couple different times.
At first, we thought it was just the flu bug, assuming he had caught it from our cousins who had barely recovered the week before. However, as each day went by with no improvement, Mom's worries steadily grew. Sam wasn't able to eat anything, and couldn't keep any liquids down. He complained of severe pain in his mid-section, and could hardly walk upright.
With these symptom's in mind, Mom did some research and finally came to the conclusion that it might be appendicitis. She immediately called our Urgent Care and scheduled an appointment for Samuel on Saturday morning, January 20th.
After an ultra-sound confirmed her fears, Sam was taken by ambulance to Mary's Bridge Children's Hospital where he was to wait for surgery.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the rest of the family had to go about our daily Saturday business. Nerves were stretched to the breaking point while we waited for news...any news...from Mom. I took the boys to a basketball game, and Margaret made sure the house got clean with the other kids' help.
Prayers for Sam's safety had already begun, multiple family's from church and other friends came up to us during the basketball game to say they were praying and ask if they could do anything to help.
It wasn't long after this that I got the text that nearly made my heart stop. Sam's appendix had ruptured. It was at this moment when it really hit me that Sam could DIE. In the back of my mind, I knew a lot of people survived a ruptured appendix, but after what happened to the Houston and Simao family last year, I had this terrible sinking feeling that we were next.
When our Assistant Pastor and his wife heard that turn of events, they went all the way out to the hospital to give my parents and Sam a visit.
The next couple hours were probably the most nerve-wracking, frustrating hours of my entire life. Sam, our little ray of sunshine, our precious red-headed caboose, was mid-surgery in what could easily turn into a life-threatening situation. And I could do nothing about it. There was no way I could help him. No way I could ease his pain. Helpless and fearful for his life, us kids at home tried to carry on with normal life. It was easy for my mind to fill with all the 'what if...' questions. What if Mom hadn't brought in Sam when she did? What if Sam's appendix had ruptured earlier? And of course the unspeakable question on my mind: What if Sam didn't make it?
Prayer and support poured in from our amazing friends and family, reminding us that we were not in this struggle alone.
Saturday night, after dinner at our cousin's house, we learned that Sam was out of surgery and doing ok, despite a few complications that would keep him in the hospital for several more days. I could almost feel the tension dissipate after we heard the news. It was like our family let out a collective sigh of relief as the invisible burden lifted off our shoulders.

William read basically the entire Wingfeather Saga
to Sam while he was laid up. :)

Sam is still in the hospital recovering, but almost back to normal. He was thrilled to be placed in a room on the fish-themed floor of the hospital, and declared that the pancake he ate Sunday morning was "the best breakfast EVER." (This pancake was the first food he had eaten in four days, so it's no wonder it tasted so great.)

We look forward to having our little guy back at home, and continue to praise God for his wonderful mercy toward us and our little brother.

God is SO good.

Our family had planned to be on a vacation at Cannon Beach this week, but because my younger sister was having a surgery on her foot, we ended up canceling a month ago. Pastor Miller was able to step in and preach on Sunday morning so Dad didn't have to worry about a sermon AND a sick son. Despite the weekend being as busy as ever, we were able to cover all the bases and people stepped in to help us where help was needed. I'm still overwhelmed by how we were able to make it through the weekend. It's almost like God knew this was going to happen or something.

And I can't say how thankful I am to all of you who prayed with us through our trial and continue to pray for Sam's speedy recovery. He has no idea how much he is loved, but we do, and I wanted to tell all of you on his behalf that we are so grateful for your support and love and prayers.

Even though surviving the removal of an appendix is a common thing, even after they ruptured, I will always consider Sam's story a miracle. Truly, God IS our refuge and strength, our very help in times of trouble. Whom shall we fear? God is on our side. With Him for us, who can stand against us?

Until next time, let everything you do be done for the glory of God!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Yep, This is THAT Post: (In Which I Finally Reveal the Cover for "Sleeping Handsome")

This is the day that I'll be giving you guys THE announcement and cover reveal for my newest ebook (to be published soon) "Sleeping Handsome". Before I give you the long awaited cover image, I have to thank the girl who made this all possible: Jessica Greyson. She did such a beautiful job on this cover. Not only did she do all of the work behind it, but she even made promo materiel and designed some of my quotes into gorgeous pictures.
Guys, if you're in need of a good cover designer, I HIGHLY recommend her work. Definitely want to use her help again at some point, because I fell in love with what she did. ^_^ Check out her blog (link in her name) and help this talented young lady's business grow! :)

But now, since you probably skipped all of this the first time anyways, and have already seen the cover at this point, HERE is the cover for my upcoming ebook "Sleeping Handsome" to be released on, or as near as possible to, Valentine's Day: February 14th, 2018!

*dramatic pause*

I know, I know, it's awfully perfect, huh? ;) *sighs happily* The aesthetic appeal, the simplicity, yet complexity, the hint of mystery with a touch of romance...PERFECTION. I told you.

Here is the book's summery (as written by me, so don't get too excited):

Minnie's goal was to have a fun, worry free vacation with her best friend Amy. A few weeks spent in their favorite far away place before they both went back to their respective colleges. A visit to the many famous sights across the British Isles has been on both their bucket lists for a very long time, after all.
However, when a mysterious taxi driver mentions a legend that somehow concerns her ancestral heritage, she decides to dig deeper. After being accused of stealing the famous statue and tourist attraction known as Sleeping Handsome, Minnie and Amy are plunged into a world they would never have imagined existed.
Prince Gregory, after being awakened from being frozen in stone for hundreds of years, finds himself searching for his true love in order to reverse the stone spell on his kingdom and awaken the rest of his people. With his faithful horse Brutis by his side, he sets out to destroy his greatest enemy, release his kingdom from the stone spell, and win the heart of his princess.

Now, for some beautifully designed quotes! (Feel free to share these on Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, or whatever your favorite social media site is. I would appreciate all the marketing you give my book. Seriously, its YOU GUYS who sell my books, not me. I'm not even kidding.)

For our cast of characters, I have the three main HUMAN characters, Minnie, Amy, and Prince Gregory. There's another important main character, (my personal favorite, actually) but you'll have to READ MY BOOK to find out about him. *evil author chuckle*

The main character in my book is Minnie. She's one of those quiet, stable minded types that like to over-plan and over-think EVERYTHING. She is naturally bent toward being "the responsible one" and dislikes being coddled. Minnie enjoys the quiet things in life like being out in nature and the early morning hours before anyone else is awake.

Minnie's best friend, Amy, is in a way her complete opposite. This girl is a bubbly, effervescent extrovert who obsesses over old castles and is addicted to social media. A strange combination of hopeless romantic of all things medieval and electronic geek who owns all the newest gadgets, she puzzles most people with her mix of quick thinking and absentminded daydreaming.

Prince Gregory
Prince Gregory makes the third of our main cast. The ever steady, ever strong, ever faithful and gentle face he shows on the outside hide a mischievous sense of humor and tendency to create a whirlwind of excitement wherever he goes. With his cheerful nature and optimistic outlook on life, its impossible to NOT like him. And for a certain someone, it was impossible not to fall in love. ;) Ok, I promise I won't get all mushy-gushy on you. :P

*pictures of characters from my board on Pinterest:
Story <> Sleeping Handsome

So, what do you think about the book?
Excited to read it yet? (I hope so!)
Which character looks like it will probably end up being your favorite?
Which one was most similar in personality to you?
Would any of you be interested in me making a quiz type thing where you can figure out which character you "are"? (I put that in parenthesis because the tests usually just tell you which one you're closest too. Obviously none of my characters are an exact copy of your personality...maybe B-)

Be sure to check out the other blogs who are taking part in the cover reveal! :D Thanks so much for all your excitement! THIS is why cover reveals and blog tours are some of my favorite posts to write. THIS is why I keep trying to complete stories. YOU GUYS ROCK. :D

Until next time, let everything you do be done for the glory of God!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cover Reveal Sign-up for "Sleeping Handsome"

It's been hard to hold back on this. I'm super anxious to share this story with you all, but I want it to be in the best possible condition BEFORE that happens. *sigh* Sometimes I wish I had Mary Poppins's ability to just snap my fingers and have everything be perfect. Don't we all, right?

However, I'm excited to announce that the cover reveal for "Sleeping Handsome" is going to be held between the 14th-16th of this month, the first day being (hopefully) the one month mark until "Sleeping Handsome" is actually released!

So, now's the time where you all go sign up to help me spread the word about my story, the FIRST ONES to see the beautiful cover, as designed by the talented Jessica Grayson!

Click on THIS LINK to head over to the sign-up page and I'll get the info to those of you who decide to help out soon. 

As part of the cover reveal, though, I have to remind you...NO ONE ELSE GETS TO SEE THE COVER. At least, not until I tell you that you can share it with the world. ;) Please be considerate and have fun with the secrecy, ok? When you get the information, don't give it out to other people until the date you sign up for. Thanks again for those of you who commit to this! It means bunches! :D <3

Also, while I'm on here, have you noticed the gorgeous new blog design? ^_^ Special thanks to Savannah Grace for all the work she put in to it, all the headache of working with a blog template that had a mind of its own, and the time she spent making the images and helping me look more or less organized. ;) I really appreciate it, girl! You're the best! :D

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2017 Reflections, 2018 Goals (ft. Some Exciting Announcements!)

Yes, I know I'm late. But I knew you guys would all be terribly disappointed if I didn't post this, SO HERE YOU GO, OK? 

2017 is, where do I start? There have been so many ups and many tragedies and joys... I other words, I have a lot of mixed feelings about 2017. And HOW DID IT GO BY SO FAST!!?!?!? Like, whaaaaaat? Tbh, no other year has gone by this fast. I'm not kidding. SOMETHING made this year go by faster than previous years and whatever it was I want it to STOP. Seriously.
2017 held a lot of challenges for me, but most of them were positive. I'm going to give you some of the things that happened to me during 2017, followed by what I plan/hope to achieve this year because of those things. We'll see if this actually works or not. Bear with me please. ;) 

~ 2017 College Reflections ~
I finished my first year of college during last year. Lots of nail-biting moments, late night stress dreams, exhausted mind and body while cramming for upcoming tests...but I completed that milestone and it felt great. :) 
~ 2018 College Goals ~
I want to be able to finish my second year of college and wrap up my Associates degree with the hope that I can then go on to get a Bachelor's degree in English at some point in the future.

~ 2017 Job Reflections ~
Last year I got my first actual job (cleaning grandparents houses hardly counts as a job after all) as a nanny for one baby girl. When that job fell through, God immediately gave me a follow-up opportunity with another family. Now I watch two little girls, four hours a day, three days a week (sometimes more, sometimes less). 
~ 2018 Job Goals ~
This next year, with my nanny job still going full steam ahead with no end in sight, I'm excited to watch the two girls grow in their education and personality as well as hopefully gain a relationship with Christ. As for me, I will probably become a master Mac and Cheese chef and learn how to come up with even more creative ways to keep their active hands busy in a good way. ;) 

~ 2017 Author Reflections ~
I published my first novel-length book in the spring of 2017. "The Princess and I" has been my greatest creation yet and I was so blessed to see it welcomed by my community of author friends and loved to pieces by family members and church members. My favorite compliment I received from our church's assistant pastor's wife. She said she forgot she was reading a book by me because she was so caught up in the story. 
Though I didn't officially "do" National Novel Writing Month in November, I completed a novella within Thanksgiving break. The outlining, plotting, research and writing...all of it...within a week. It was one of those story ideas that latched on and didn't let go until I had it all out. Not only that, but I sent it off to an editor and had a cover artist make a cover and promotional material for me too. (If you don't know which book I'm talking about, it's "Sleeping Handsome", a retelling of Sleeping Beauty...sort of.) 
To top my writing of last year off, I wrote a total of 42,537 words in "A New Name" and am beginning to realize that this might be one of those books that have 100,000+ words and take up a third of your shelf space. O.o I keep deepening the plot and realizing I'm going to have quite the challenge climbing back out again.
~ 2018 Author Goals~  
I'm hoping to publish my first exclusive e-book edition of "Sleeping Handsome" on Valentine's Day of this year. So far, I haven't heard back from my editor so plans may have to change a bit. But we'll hope for the best in the meantime. 
Also, I'm having to do a chunk of re-writing in "Ocean Mist", but I'm hoping to have it ready for publication by this summer. 
Though "Alice and Alyssa" has been finished for over two years now, I have ye to actually get it that is something I'm hoping to accomplish within this year. The sooner the better.
And finally, as if three books isn't enough, I'm planning on having the first completed draft of "A New Name" written by the end of this year. (Maybe actually PARTICIPATING in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time?) 
Yeah. I'm crazy. I know. Wish me luck! XD 

~ 2017 Reader Reflections ~
I was sadly unable to read 100 books this year (at least I failed to record them if I did). But I did discover several new authors I now love, and had the privilege of beta-reading for a couple dear author friends. Beyond that, I also discovered I'm not a huge fan of college textbooks *cough* and WHY DO I NOT GO TO BARNES & NOBLE MORE OFTEN?? 
However, I was able to finish reading through my Bible in a year, although I started a bit late and finished a bit late. STILL. 
My bookshelf has four shelves stuffed full of books...and I have officially run out of room. At this rate I will have to start laying books on my books that are lined up in height order. Not the prettiest sight, but sometimes extreme measures must be taken. Ignore the fact that I could just stop buying books. (Who does that anyways?) 
~ 2018 Reader Goals ~
Yes, I signed up to try to read 100 books again. *shrugs* Might as well, right? With a pile of books on my dresser as we speak just WAITING to be read, a virtual TBR list that is miles high and teetering dangerously on the brink of toppling over, and more on my shelves that need tender loving care, I've got my work cut out for me...all I need now is time. *laughs* Sounds so easy. NOT.

~ 2017 Blogger Reflections ~
Instead of the record breaking 100 posts I wrote during 2016, I only posted 47 times last year. However, I'm about four posts away from having a 300th blog post, which is pretty mind-boggling. 
I gained over twenty amazing followers this last year, and can I take a moment to say how much I appreciate both you who have been following me from the start and you who have joined recently or sort of recently. Every new face I see pop up brings a smile to my face and brightens my day. You have no idea how much your comments mean to me and how much I love watching you react to my posts. Blogger's don't post for themselves, they post for the enjoyment of others, and we love watching our audience interact within themselves and with us! :) 
It's been incredible to be a part of the teen writer community, and I'm beyond thrilled to call many of you my friends. Some of you I've been able to actually meet face to face, and I look forward to maybe meeting more of you someday. :) 
I have to admit, I've been very scattered on here recently. You never know WHAT I'm going to post about next. It's been a roller coaster of a year and that impacted my blogging. Having a lot of you faithfully checking my blog and leaving comments gives me a bad case of "the warm fuzzies". ;) 
~ 2018 Blogger Goals ~ 
You may have noticed the new theme if you're a slightly observant person. Guys, my dear friend Savannah Grace from Scattered Scribblings has cheerfully offered her services when I asked for someone's help in designing a new blog template. Personally, I LOVE how it turned out, and I'm sure you guys will too... Once the actual theme has been put into the system, that is. Yes, I'm leaving you with a construction theme right now, but this is only temporary, I assure you. Patience, guys. ;) 
Thanks to a certain post from a certain fellow blogger *coughs* I'm hoping to get this blog more professional and streamlined with a bigger focus on writing. However, since I don't have a newsletter email yet, I'll still be doing my monthly overview posts more or less on a regular basis. ;) Just so you guys know what's up in Western Washington. 
I'm hoping to also keep up better on my other blog, Simply Stories, with regular posts on behind-the-scenes stuff about my books. So if you are interested in character interviews, pictures, sketches, or backstory details, that will be the place to go. 
In short, I'm going to TRY to get more organized. We'll see how that goes.

~ A Couple Exciting Announcements ~
~ (as promised) ~

First, "The Princess and I" is OFFICIALLY out as a paperback and e-book on Amazon/kindle as well as being found at Barnes & Nobles, the iBook store, nook, and of course Lulu. So to those of you who have been waiting patiently for my slow release of the ebook form of my book IT'S AVAILABLE NOW! 

Second, I'll be announcing a cover reveal sign-up for "Sleeping Handsome" in a week, so stay tuned for that post coming up! 

Third, I'm going to begin my search for a group of FIVE core alpha readers for "A New Name" sometime in the next couple months, so if you're interested in that, keep an eye out for that post coming up. 

Fourth, I'm hoping to have a group of betas read through "Alice and Alyssa" and finally get that book published for good. I have it sort of published, but I have yet to go through the whole system yet.

Finally, to wrap this post up, I'll give you the list of goals I made for myself at the end of 2016 and make a new list of goals for this year. (To be completely frank, I don't think I even glanced at this list since maybe spring? *sheepish laugh*) 

Here they are, my official list of goals for 2017!

~ Goals of 2017 ~ 
-Read through the Bible
(I actually did do this one, barely.) 
-Read 100 books
(*cough* better luck this year, eh?)
-Make new friends who help me grow closer to God
(I did make a couple new freinds. Looking forward to getting to know them even better this year! ^_^)
-Have stronger relationships with siblings
(In all honesty, I did get closer to my siblings. Some more than others, but in general too.)
-Finish writing "A New Name", "Alone", and "Beyond the Galaxy"
(Nope. Though I made significant progress in at least two of those stories.)
-Publish "The Princess & I" and "Alice & Alyssa"
(One down, one to go. I can do this!)
-Complete a year of college
(*sings hallelujah chorus while checking this off with a florish*) 
-Have a closer relationship with God
(I feel like I could have done better with this goal. I'm not saying I think my walk with Him has grown more distant, but I feel like I could definitely be a lot closer. However crazy my life gets, God still needs to be at the center.)

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for, a list of 2018 goals! 

~ Goals for 2018 ~
-Memorize the book of Daniel
-Read 100 books
-Attend a writing conference
-Have a consistent prayer life
-Grow closer to my family members
-Finish writing "A New Name"
-Publish "Sleeping Handsome", "Ocean Mist", and "Alice and Alyssa"
-Complete my second year of college and get my Associate's Degree
-Have a closer relationship with God

Think I can do it? Well I guess time will tell. ;) What were some of your goals for the new year? Do any of you guys have major writing milestones planned this year? How about reading goals? 

Until next time, let everything you do be done for the glory of God! :) 

Blog Tour for Project Canvas!! *cue intense celebration*

GUYS, I couldn't be more excited to share about this incredible book that is going to be available for you to get your hands on in just ...