Author of Adult & Young Adult Romance

Monday, December 19, 2016

Another Year: A Thanks to 2016!



Every year during this time, I reflect on the months that’ve gone by, of all I’ve done and seen and the people I’ve met. And, of course, I think about what I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year and what I actually got accomplished. Goals—that’s the word. Luckily, blessedly, I saw a great deal of goals through to fruition, some beyond, and some fell by the wayside. 

I published my first young adult novel, had a few successful book signings, and attended my first bona fide Geek Fair. 

I read A LOT—more so than I have in past years. Books of all genres, too; I wasn’t picky. 


I met the members of my favorite band, The Moody Blues. I’m still over the moon about that. 

The day job budded and bloomed into a new passion for me: politics. I even helped write and edit state legislation (just a tiny bit, but still…it was really cool to be a part of such an important process!). 

My kid went in to speech therapy and has improved more than I could’ve ever hoped for. He now gives me attitude in complete, comprehensive sentences. 

Little Brother started college at Mississippi State (Go Dawgs!) and yours truly helped move him in on Official Move-In Day. What an adventure that turned out to be, especially in three-hundred-degree heat and up and down several flights of stairs WITH a four year old in-tow. Whew! But my brother has grown into an impressive young man and I'm inexplicably grateful to my parents for his raising. Over Thanksgiving, we sat on the couch, feet curled beneath our butts, just talking about life and all the places we want to see. He's currently traveling through the gorgeous green hills of Kentucky and Tennessee and having a blast. I'm so proud of him.

I'd love to read the goals you reached this year, what stands out to you, what surprises arose and the stories that made for a memorable 2016! Cheers!

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,








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Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Top 5 from Fellow Fiction Authors

Bestselling Author Neil Gaiman

1. "Read. Read everything you can lay hands on." — T.H. White

2. "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

3. "Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear)." — Diana Athill

4. "Fiction that isn't an author's personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn't worth writing for anything but money." — Jonathan Franzen

5.  "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

What's one of your favorite writing tips?
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Signing #1: Shreveport, Louisiana


First book signings for a new novel are always nerve-wracking adventures, mainly because you have no idea what to expect. What should I wear? How many pens should I bring? How many books do I need? Should I have chocolate? You can spend so much time sweating the details, you tend to forget the real reason you're doing this: to connect with readers.


For those who might care, I chose a 90's floral dress, complete with velvet choker. What can I say? Neve Campbell in The Craft was bae back in '96. I did bring plenty of Sharpies, including the pink cutie with which I signed. Lots of books that luckily didn't sell out, so, yes...you can still get one! And though I didn't fill a bowl with chocolate, the amazing folks at The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts provided assorted cheeses, crackers, olives, grapes, punch and, oh-my-goodness-YES, an amazing Hazelnut coffee that made the rain pouring outside all the more soothing. Kate set the mood with a fantastic playlist consisting of The Cure and Depeche Mode and...voila!




What made this signing different from my others, which were still awesome, by the way, was the hero of The Other Half, Athen Stormrathe, now officially has his own candle. Yes! Kate and I worked together (although, admittedly, she did most of the work -- she's amazing!) to create a scent that embodies all that I imagine Athen to be. That ancient, wise, earthy man who is Scylla's symbolon. Athen's candle is a wonderfully complex blend of amber, geranium, patchouli, gardenia, and cassia. 



All in all, we had a great time yesterday with friends and enjoyed interesting conversations about writing and, yes, even our current election here in America. So very blessed to live the interesting (if sometimes topsy-turvy...ding!) life of a writer and to be able to do what I love. Thank you guys for making that happen and a special thanks to Kate & the team at The Sleepy Hollow: Books & Gifts for hosting me!




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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Recipe Favorites: French Madeleines


2     eggs
1     cup all purpose flour
2/3  cup sugar
1     tsp vanilla extract
1/2  tsp grated lemon peel
10   tbps (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter (melted, but cooled slightly)

You’ll need a madeleine pan, which you can find in specialty cooking stores or online. I found mine in a small kitchen store at an outlet mall.

Preheat your oven to 375. Spray your pan with cooking spray or butter it generously. I love the spray that has flour in it – perfect for baking.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, just to blend. Beat in vanilla, salt, and lemon peel. Add flour gradually, then beat just until blended. Add the butter in a steady stream, beating just until blended. You definitely do not want to over-blend these dainty cookies.

Spoon 1 tbsp of batter into each seashell shaped mold. Bake until puffed and golden (about 15 minutes). Cool for at least 5 minutes before gently removing from your pan.

Voila! Feel free to dust your madeleines with powdered sugar or enjoy them as is with a cup of tea or coffee.


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Friday, July 1, 2016

Available! The Other Half: The Symbolon Series Book One


After a few hiccups this week, I'm thrilled to say the first book in The Symbolon Series, The Other Half, is finally available in eBook format and paperback. Special thanks to everyone who had a hand in this novel, a fair few of whom are mentioned in the Acknowledgments portion of the book itself. This was--and continues to be--new territory for me as a writer, and I am so looking forward to moving on with Scylla's story and her adventures with all her newfound friends (and enemies!) in the Faerie world.

Now to share with you a few links, so you can stay connected with me and the cast of The Symbolon Series!

You can purchase the novel at all major retailers (a few of whom I've listed below) in eBook and paperback:





If you're interested in the visual inspiration behind the story, I'd love for you to take a peek at and follow my Symbolon board on Pinterest. It's a work in progress that has bled over into the series in its entirety, so you may be able to take a good guess at what's in store next for Scylla!

Also, there is the music that has inspired and continues to inspire me as a write and have written. You can listen to the playlist through the ever-amazing Spotify. If you're interested in hearing the working soundtrack to The Symbolon Series, and are not yet hooked up with Spotify, it's easy and FREE! Click this link and then follow the instructions.

As you read, I'd love to see visuals and music of what came to your mind as you traveled along with Scylla and her Fae companions. Please feel free to share those below or post to Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to tag me, as well!  #symbolonseries #anhart

Thank you for your continued love and support. Happy reading!


Peace, Love and Junior Mints,




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Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 28: Release Day!


As I was proofreading the third proof of this new book, which will begin an entire series of Young Adult science fiction/fantasy/romance novels, it hit that I haven't published a novel in three years. With good reasons, really, some of which are better than others -- the better being I have a young son and a day job that can get quite demanding. Did you guys know I'm a paralegal and assistant to a state senator? It's pretty crazy. He's a great guy. I'm blessed.

Still.

Three years.

This won't be a long post. Just wanted to give my readers and friends (who, prayerfully, are one and the same!) a heads' up that, yes, I will be releasing my fourth novel -- first under my YA pseudonym, A.N. Hart, on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. It is entitled The Other Half: Book One of the Symbolon Series and I am super excited, as this release officially embarks into new territory for me. As a writer, as a reader and a chick who generally daydreams in historical romance panorama. All new. You'll encounter humans and creatures who actually do exist -- yes, they do. Magic, prophecies, villains, good versus evil and, yes, of course, lest we forget...love and romance.

Because, let's face it, telling me to write a book without romance is like telling me to successfully make a soufflé that doesn't fall. It's just...not in the cards.

All that said, I hope you enjoy. I hope you're excited. And I hope you can make it to a book signing this year. I'll be posting those dates as they arrive. Oh! And look for giveaways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...the usual suspects. I've got author swag and all kinds of goodies. You won't wanna miss out.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints, y'all!

The Other Half: The Symbolon Series Book One

When eighteen-year-old Scylla is kidnapped from a carnival, she is convinced things couldn't get any worse. Her parents are dead. Her brother is missing. She hears voices no one else can hear. Disaster seems to follow her everywhere, until she meets Athen, the mythological faun who took her captive. His reason? She is his symbolon--the mate prophesied to him. Whisked to a land she didn't know existed, among creatures she's only read about in fairytales, Scylla learns there is more to her captor than meets the eye. He is kind, he is wise, and he is one of four Fae generals who fought for the survival of mankind nearly one hundred years ago. 
 
He is also the last faun in existence. 
 
As she learns from him, her feelings for Athen burn deeper and deeper. Terror turns into trust, exchanged smiles turn into fiery kisses. But Scylla's brother is in trouble and wicked forces in the Fae world threaten to sear Scylla's budding bond to Athen. Together, they must find her brother and put an end to the evil spreading across the land--or risk the annihilation of the human race.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Writer's Bubble

A "bubble room" at the Attrap'Rjves family hotel, in the Allauch commune in France.
"If your imagination is in on a particular track, you have to be careful what you let in, because that can spill in to what you're doing." - Tom Hiddleston (2016 Interview with Peter Travers)

Humans are amazing creatures; I think we all believe that as truth. We learn, we absorb, we apply what we've learned and absorbed to life. And it's life experience that molds us into who we are today, in this moment, which may or may not be the same person we were yesterday and who we are tomorrow may or may not be the same person we were the day previous. 

Whew.

Fact is, ideas and information and occurrences, to name a few, impact our decision making. Whether it's choosing a spinach salad over pizza tonight, because you saw that cover photo of Carrie Underwood at the checkout line, or voting one candidate over another, because the former's ideas and principles closer apply to your own moral compass, what you allow in your mind changes you. It may be minute; it may be significant. But it does change you; your mind will make a decision.

But this isn't a post about the magnificence of the human brain.

In working with a new series or any new project, for that matter, I tend to immerse myself in what I call The Bubble. I literally imagine a sphere surrounding me wherever I go. Only certain things are allowed in, be it the television I watch, the music I listen to, or the book I'm currently reading on Kindle. Since Tom Hiddleston is who I picture as one of the main males in this series, I've been cramming him into my mind's eye--his movies, interviews, photos. In an interview with Peter Travers, which can be found here, he talks about taking time away from work to see his family. However, even during those moments, he must be careful with what he allows into his mind. Whether he's about to play Loki in the popular Marvel movies or Jonathan Pine in The Night Manager, he is forever wrapping his brain around whatever character he intends to portray.

That's what it's like for me as a writer. Now, I say for me, because every writer's process is different. Just the other day, I played a track for Hubby by the deliciously ominous Cold Shower, explaining the scene I wrote to it, and he said, "Wow, babe. You're listening to some dark stuff here lately." Unintentional, but true. If he flips our Direct TV to channel 327 (CMT), I gasp, throw my hands over my ears like a child, and sprint for the bedroom, singing, "la la la la la la la LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!"

He's stopped doing that while I'm in the vicinity.

We're safest with the 80's channel, which he enjoys, too, so it's a win-win.

Do you have a weird process that's not weird to you, because...well...it's your normal...but to other people, it's...well...weird? 

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Reading List: Charmingly Yours by Liz Talley


For Rosemary Reynolds, life in tiny Morning Glory, Mississippi, is just like the fabric store she runs: it seems she’s always waiting around for someone else to make the first stitch. Then a dear childhood friend passes away, leaving behind a gift that sends Rosemary on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Despite her mother’s protests, Rosemary heads to New York City for a stay in her cousin’s trendy SoHo loft. On her first day in town, a wrong turn leads her to Little Italy…and into the arms of handsome, outgoing Sal Genovese. Sal’s mother wants him to marry a longtime family friend, but to him, Rosemary is a breath of fresh country air, and he’s happy to show her a good time. Soon, Rosemary is swept up in a world she thought only existed in movies. To turn a two-week fling into a forever thing, she and Sal will have to make every moment count.


Liz Talley is the author of sassy contemporary romances, including the RITA-nominated The Sweetest September. A finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award in the Regency romance subgenre, she made her debut in contemporary romance in June 2010 with Vegas Two-Step. She went on to publish fifteen more titles. Her stories are set in the South, where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot, and the men are hotter. She lives in northern Louisiana with her childhood sweetheart, two handsome children, three dogs, and a mean kitty.

Buy Charmingly Yours via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all other major retailers. And don't forget to connect with Liz!


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Moody Interlude


Doubtless I've explained my infinite love for the Moody Blues many times before. At fourteen, I had moved back to my hometown, which was new to me, as I hadn't lived there since I was six. New surroundings, new faces, new school--a school that didn't offer half the classes I had at my high school in Tennessee. What do you mean, you don't have FFA? I was growing strawberries in a greenhouse! No Latin? Do I want to take Spanish or French, instead? Are you joking?? Unsurprisingly, fitting in wasn't easy for me back then; I wasn't nearly as outgoing as I am now.

I found refuge in my musical instrument, a cheap Bundy flute I'd had since fifth grade and, of course, in music. I listened to a plethora of artists from Donna Summer to Gary Wright, Beethoven to John Williams, and even the more modern grunge tones of Pearl Jam and The Cranberries. We had a tape of the Moody Blues; a recording a friend had made my mother some time before. I'd play and pause, play and pause, play and pause each song, working out every note on the flute, until I knew them all by heart. Playing by ear, one of my fellow band-mates would soon tell me with disdain. But that was okay by me. I could read notes in class, then go home and recreate the music I loved.

Nights in White Satin is what did it first, cliché as that may be. You see, the Moodies are most known for that song and, admittedly, all these years later, I've come to love others much more. However, Justin Hayward's haunting ballad about one love ending and another beginning, a truth that had just occurred in his own life at the time, sparked a fire in me that, little did I know, would never be fully quenched. I stopped worrying over notes and set pencil to paper.

I wrote.

I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Of knights and princesses and great battles and castles and marvelous expanses of rolling land beyond fancy flower gardens. Cramps seized my hand. I had a permanent indentation by the nail of my middle finger. Pencil shavings were everywhere. I'd eat dinner as fast as I could, so I could get back to the story. I couldn't get enough.

Writing stories has been a part of my life ever since.

It's been over twenty years since then, and I can now say, with great honor, that I have met those marvelously talented men who composed the soundtrack to my childhood; the score to my very first novels. I'm uncertain if I remembered to breathe for those few memorable minutes.


Stay inspired.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Reading What You Write


If you're a writer, I'm sure you've heard at least half a dozen field experts say you should be reading your genre. That's what made us begin writing what we write, right? (Say that five times real fast.) When I was a teen, fourteen or fifteen, my grandmother and aunt ran a small flea market out of the garages my grandfather once used for his auto-body shop. I learned about antiques like Depression Glass and various jewelry from different eras. I also tagged along when the women-folk went to different flea markets and garage sales, looking for these precious pieces to resell.

One day, I can't remember if it was a weekend or weekday during the summer months, we stopped at a multi-family garage sale at which there were a TON of paperbacks. I'm talking two tables packed with boxes packed with books. Big stuff. I had a quarter in the pocket of my worn Lee jeans. As Nanny and Aunt Lisa sorted through vases and plates, I thumbed through dozens of what once were well-loved books. The spines had a lot of creases. Some of the covers were torn. I read blurb after blurb after blurb.

And then I came upon this one:

From the moment she laid eyes on him, Rue thought Hawk Masters the most insufferable man she'd ever met. Proud, arrogant, overbearing, he made it insultingly clear that although her grandfather's shotgun had forced him to wed Rue, nothing would make him bed a scrawny little backwoods baggage like her.

I think maybe my mouth fell open. I'd never--and I mean never read anything quite like this. Sheltered Christian girl from South Mississippi? This was naughtier than naughty. I finished reading the blurb (her tousled red-gold hair...oh, my!) and flipped the book for a gander at the cover.


The pink dress and little flower in her hair sold me, and I discreetly slipped through the crowd, past my aunt and grandmother, to the small table where a lady sat behind a metal money box. "Just a book," I told her and paid her my quarter. "Thanks." I tucked the book beneath my jacket.

Folks, I read this 448-page novel in maybe two days. At the time, I was listening to The Moody Blues non-stop, so their music and Norah's words combined made me yank out a spiral notebook, one I was supposed to only use for school, and start writing.

Here's why I entitled this post, "Reading What You Write."

I love historical romance. It is my passion, it is my go-to. I suspect it always will be. Lately, however, I've been working off of a dream I had (yes, I know; that's so Stephenie Meyers of me), which featured a strange array of fantasy elements. I don't think about fantasy, not really. Don't give second thought to unicorns and fauns and trolls...whatever. Yes, I love Tolkien, George Martin, and Salvatore. In fact, I figured maybe I should start re-reading Salvatore to give me a little boost and, possibly, aid with the direction in which I want this novel to travel.

Here's the thing: Salvatore is marvelously poetic and my story, well, it's not. Plus, I'm worried, now more than ever, that if I allow his genius and intricate details of frost giants and trolls, halflings and dark elves, infiltrate into my own writing, then it won't be my own anymore. Remember, I do like fantasy, but I've never had a desire to write it. So, I believe, in this case, at least for me, that reading what I write is not such a good idea.

Am I wrong? What do you read while you're writing?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

How You Can Help

As most of you have probably seen in the news, a major bout of rainfall struck Louisiana and Mississippi two weeks ago. We don't exactly live on high land around here. In fact, pretty much everyone is required to keep flood insurance. Expensive yet necessary. You can see why:



This won't be a long post, but I wanted to bring awareness to anyone who may want to help the victims of our 2016 Flood. For a list of ways you can assist, check out www.nola.com. Trust me, no donation is too small. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Senator Ryan Gatti & his crew (including me!)
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

How Watching Film Can Help You Write...and Write Well


Last weekend, I and a handful of my fellow authors and friends (including my much-valued critique partner, who was skeptical at first but ended up attending if only to give herself a deserved break) attended a Bob Mayer workshop here in Shreveport. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Bob Mayer. He writes to every genre, including non-fiction, so it wasn't for lack of simply not reading what he puts out there. When I'm writing, I tend to re-read stories that make me feel comfortable and well-kept in my tiny little author bubble. Sounds strange, maybe, but I'll be willing to wager there's a fair lot of you who know exactly what I'm talking about.

Bob spoke of many things. In fact, I imagine the spread of subjects he covered would've been easier to fully teach over a span of perhaps 2-3 days, rather than 9-5. However, he did a great job, and I learned more than I anticipated, especially for the low fee ($50). 

One morsel in the bowl he touched on more than once was watching film to learn and understand how Goal, Motivation, and Conflict really work. Simple, really: Hollywood spends millions of dollars to put screenplays to film production and while some movies appeal more to one group than others and very seldom everyone, they almost always are well thought out in their scene-by-scene escalade to a (hopefully) satisfactory ending. In fact, a fellow author once suggested I watch the "deleted scenes" selection of a few movies, just to help with editing and knowing what should be cut. Good advice.

Bob explained there should ideally be two levels of conflict in every scene -- internal and external.

An easy example would be the scene from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in which Frodo and his three hobbit companions arrive at the Inn of the Prancing Pony. They've just narrowly escaped the Nazgûl (external) and are safe a the inn at which they expect to meet up with Gandalf. Seated and enjoying their ale, they talk amongst themselves, all the while nervous and noting stares from many people in the room, including that strange hooded bloke in the corner (external). Since we're in Frodo's PoV, of course, we gather from his body language and from his absentminded rolling of the Ring around his fingertips that he is already warring with the power embodied within the Ring itself (internal). 

Admittedly, it's pretty fun to do this, if you're OK with not sitting down and just enjoying a movie for entertainment value. I'd suggest practicing on films you've already seen. In Becoming Jane (which I'm watching as I type this), there is a scene in which the hero, Tom, a city boy in every sense of the word, has just arrived in the country and is, unsurprisingly, not fitting in. At the suggestion of his uncle, he takes a walk into the woods to gain his bearings. He swats at greenery with his expensive cane (external) because he is irritated of being sent to the country (internal). And then he runs into Jane, a country girl who is quite comfortable in her surroundings--the same girl he insulted not half an hour prior (external). Jane is walking the woods to blow of steam, too, after Tom slammed her writing (internal). When she sees him, she tries for avoidance but he's already spotted her (external), and so she tries to be polite. An amusing ping-pong match of polite insults ensues and they part ways far more frustrated than they were before they attempted to find calm in the wood (internal). 

So, there's two examples of, one, how GMC works in film of two totally different genres and, two, how GMC can equally work in our written words. The reader should be transported, seatbelt fastened for a full immersion into the world we've created and the characters who drive the story.

Hope this is helpful. Make sure to check out Bob Mayer's website at www.bobmayer.org.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie (in the CrockPot!)


What you'll need:

3-4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken (the one with herbs is delicious)
1 can cream of onion (or whatever flavor you like the most)
1 chicken bullion cube
2 cups Irish red potatoes, cubed
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups fresh peas
salt & pepper
1 can of Pillsbury Grands Southern Style biscuits (or whatever kind you like)
CrockPot

What you'll do:

Place your frozen chicken in the CrockPot. In a separate bowl, mix the cream of chicken, cream of onion, bullion cube, potatoes, carrots and peas. Salt & pepper to taste. Pour all over the frozen chicken. Place the lid on your CrockPot and cook on "low" for 6-8 hours.

Right before you're ready to eat, bake your biscuits. Serve the Chicken Pot Pie over open-faced hot biscuits. Voila! Deeeeeelish! This is really good leftover, as well. Shred what's left of the chicken and mix it in. Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Gifting Series by K.E. Ganshert


Just before the new year, friend and fellow author Betsy St. Amant posted a photo of a book on her Facebook. You have to understand, Betsy's a charming, extremely gifted writer. She's cheerful, funny, and refreshingly honest. So, when she recommends a book, you jot down the title and get to reading-stat.

The picture was of K.E. Ganshert's The Gifting, a young adult inspirational science fiction dystopian (whew!) set some time in the future (she does not indicate an exact year), when God has been eliminated from society.  Churches do not exist. Though it is not against the law to consider oneself a Catholic or Protestant, per se, if one does declare such beliefs, a gasp usually ensues.

Teresa Eckhart (Tess) takes us on a first-person journey of initially believing she's crazy--she sees things, spiritual beings, most cannot--to realizing she has The Gifting. Growing up in a Christian environment, my mother occasionally reminded that a spiritual dominion exists our human eyes cannot see; that, if we could see this realm, we would be terrified.

Well, that's what I thought of while reading this series. Tess and those with The Gifting (like her brooding/intense yet likable love interest, Luka) not only see this realm, they also harness the ability to interact with it through dreams. The adventure upon which these two embark is both memorable and edge-of-your-seat exciting. Each chapter ends with you wanting to read the next--just one more and I'll go to sleep! The secondary characters are beautifully written, possessing their own unique personalities and personal agendas. The writing itself, Ganshert's voice, is simple yet pleasingly rhythmic.

Much like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, this series possesses the old-as-time yet highly effective theme of Good versus Evil. The struggle is real--really, it is--and there are times when you honestly don't know if Tess is going to make it to the edge of destiny's path. What stood out the most to me was the masterful interweaving of Ganshert's own moral compass into lines and paragraphs and chapters. When you catch these tidbits, you'll know it, because she's making you think. And I personally love that in an author. The challenge to question your own beliefs; to ask yourself, "What would I do if faced with this situation?"

I recommend this series to ages 15+.

You can check out Katie's website here: http://katieganshert.com. Her novels can be purchased at all major book retailers, as well as in electronic format via the usual suspects.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,





P.S. While you're at it, take a peek at Betsy's site as well: http://www.betsystamant.com.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Journaling


I can't take credit for this one. Admittedly, I've learned a lot from UK beauty blogger Tanya Burr. More than just showing us how to apply winged eyeliner perfectly, Tanya has a knack for helping us enrich our lives. Whether by sharing old recipes or methods of dealing with chronic anxiety, she always finds a method to keep it fresh, keep it simple, and keep her followers interested.

One of Tanya's New Year's resolutions is to book journal. As an avid reader, she likes to keep track of what she's read and how she felt about it. I think this is a great idea. For writers who read (and you should be reading!), this covers two importances:

1. Remembering what you've read; and
2. Training yourself to REVIEW.

If you're a published author, you know the importance of reviews. How meaningful they are--even the bad ones! So, why not keep a book journal and not only jot down thoughts about the novel in your own personal notebook, but also transfer your review to Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.? Win win.

Here's what I've read so far this year:

The Gifting, The Awakening, and The Gathering by K.E. Ganshert

Wrong by Jana Aston

I recorded these finished books in my book journal, then wrote what I thought--an honest review. Then, I popped those reviews on Amazon & Goodreads. It's a great feeling to leave feedback for an author who's worked hard to give the world his or her finished baby.

What do you plan to read this year?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year


I'm not much on New Year's resolutions. Sure, I always want the run-of-the-mill cliches everyone wants: a better diet, a stricter workout regime, and more time with my family. But to list goals I intend to keep? I'd rather not set myself up for failure.

But something happened at the end of last year that made me want to try harder this year. Epiphany pops up like that, I suppose. You never know when it'll happen or, more importantly, why it happens when it does. One morning, while pulling into the parking lot of my son's pre-school, the thought suddenly hit that I should already have the option by now to go back home and write. The idea slammed like a punch to the chest. So rattled by shock, I was, that, as my son and I walked hand in hand from the parking lot to the front door, I fought both a sudden bout of tears and the wind whipping and dragging freshly curled hair across expensive lipgloss.

#firstworldproblems

I wanted to hide inside my closet, sit on the floor, and sob. I wanted to call in to my brand new job and tell them I was sending movers to pick up all my stuff; that I couldn't do this anymore.

Instead, I turned on Spotify and drove.

For the rest of the day, I zombied out. Grunted in response to questions. Typed the wrong date at least five times. I mean, it was really bad. I even thought about calling local counselors to see which one could fit me in the soonest. What was wrong with me? Why hadn't I tried harder to write everyday? Didn't my writing career mean anything? Didn't I want to write for a living? Wasn't that The Goal?

Reasons but no excuses. Raising a three year old. Working a stressful day job. Attempting to keep a clean house. Bottom line was/is that I had taken writing out of my schedule. A good friend and fellow author recently told me that, according to her brother, we allot time for that which means the most to us. In other words, if it's that important, you'll find a way.

So, as you might have guessed, my New Year's Resolution is to Write. Not just to write, but to Write Every Day. Because to answer my own question, yes, I still want to write. I still want to write and to have written. I still want to publish and connect with readers through memorable characters and plots.
That is still The Goal.

What's yours for this year?

Peace, Love & Junior Mints,





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