Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Tribute to My Dad

My dad passed away last week, on September 29th, a day before his 73rd birthday. In actuality, it was 2 hours before his birthday since he died at around 10:00 p.m. My dad was a funny guy, so I can imagine him gloating that he didn't hit his birthday, because my mom (who turned 73 in May) will now forever be older than him. 

It sucks. There's just no other way to say it. I hate that he's gone because I'm going to miss him. But he'd been suffering for so long, and was in so much pain when he died that it's pure selfishness that I wanted to keep him here. He was done. He said so, many times. He didn't want to suffer anymore, so for him, I'm glad he's finally at rest. 

I thought the best way to honor my dad is to share both a bit about his life and about who he was, so I'm posting both his obituary and a copy of the talk I gave at his funeral. I only hope I did him a small amount of justice.

Melvin Rudolph Carlsen, age 72, died September 29, 2014 at home after a long struggle with heart disease.
Melvin was born September 30, 1941 in Murray, Utah to Melvin Richard Carlsen and Lizzie Verona Hardcastle. He graduated from Murray High School in 1959 and married Shirley Ann Ertmann on November 20, 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple. He also attended Salt Lake Trade Technical Institute where he earned his journeyman machinest certificate.
Mel was a hardworking business man. He realized his dream of opening his own business, C&F Machine Shop, as well as being a partner in Salt Lake Cable and Harness, and was able to support his family for many years. He retired early at age 63 in 2004. He was an active member of the LDS church. Mel spent his spare time bowling, doing yard work, golfing, camping, 4-wheeling, and attending Utah Jazz and BYU football games.
Mel is survived by his wife, his son Russ Carlsen and his wife Stacy, daughter Wendy Carlsen and her (husband/boyfriend) Rod Thurber, daughter Cindy Bennett, and son Dennis Carlsen and his wife Janie.
He’s also survived by 10 grandchildren: Ryan Bennett, Mandy Walters, Randy Bennett, Danielle Teerlink, Lindsay Bennett, Lexcie Bennett, Chayton Carlsen, Breann Carlsen, Shailey Carlsen, Lizzie Carlsen, and one-and-a-half great grandchildren: Royal and Khaleesi.
He’s also survived by three sisters: Betty, Carolyn and Barbara, one brother: Richard, and one son-in-law, Kelly Bennett. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Keith. 

At most funerals, people stand at the podium and extoll the virtues of the person who has passed away. I’m going to do something a little different. I want to tell you some of the things I blame my dad for.
For example, I blame my dad for the fact that I try to be careful in the words I speak to others. I’m not perfect at it, by any means, but I try. I’m always conscious of something he told me once. He said that if you say something mean or cruel to someone, it’s like hammering a nail in a board. You can apologize, or remove the nail, but the hole will always remain. You can’t take that hole away, only try to make it a little better. So think before you speak. I blame him for the fact that most of the time I do that.
I blame him for my love of music. This might seem strange to you since most people wouldn’t consider my dad musical. Yet, he was always singing. Not always sensical songs or even sensical words for that matter. But he was always singing. Sometimes in the car, if the radio was playing songs he didn’t know, he’d just kind of bounce back and forth a little and hum along. I don’t think I ever realized how much that influenced me, but one day when I realized how much power a song or music can have over me, it occurred to me that it was him and his constant singing or humming that made music a background in my life.
I blame him for my fashion sense. I know what you’re thinking—Mel had fashion sense? Well, if you’re a girl raised by a dad who thinks the height of fashion is plaid short and cowboy boots, or denim shorts and black socks, you learn really fast how you never want to dress. I’m kidding—sort of. Really, my dad was a pretty classy dresser. He had t-shirts, sure. But more often than he wore those, he wore a collared golf shirt, tucked in, with a black belt and black loafers. When I think of my dad, that’s how I picture him.

I blame him for the fact that I find education important. My dad always wanted us kids to go to college. He offered to pay for us to go, no obligation, when we graduated high school. None of us were smart enough to take him up on it. But he still managed to drill into us that education is important, and I now have two kids who’ve graduated college, and two more who are on track to graduate within the next couple of years. My dad wanted us kids to be smart and even if we didn’t continue our education then, he still taught us to be smart, and I think we all are fairly intelligent beings.
I also blame him for teaching us to work hard. If there’s one thing that can be said of my dad, it’s that he was a hard worker. He worked hard at a lot of jobs before he was finally able to open his own business, C&F Machine Shop, which he owned with his partner Flash for I don’t even know how many years. As long as I can remember, really. He worked a lot to make a success of his business. And it was a success. He supported us all very well. We never wanted for anything. I’m sure there were lean times, but he and my mom worked hard to make sure we didn’t feel it, and that we were secure and happy. He taught us that when you are working—whether for yourself or anyone else—that you worked hard and did your best.
I blame my dad for showing me you can achieve your dreams. He did this by opening his business. He made it possible for me to have a stay-at-home mom, which was important to me. I loved that she could be the mom who went on all the field trips and was there when I got home from school. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, which I eventually was, because he made it possible for me to have that. I’ve achieved many of my dreams because I knew it was possible from watching him.
I blame him for my sense of financial responsibility. When we were teens we had to buy our own cars if we wanted one. That meant we had to work and budget our minimum wages in order to pay for the car. Throughout all of our lives, we’ve all gone to him for help or advice, most always financial. He was smart in that way and was always able to give us the advice we needed. I always feel responsible to meet my financial obligations, and feel guilty if I’m late with a payment, because he was so financially responsible. I admired that about him.
I blame him for the need to make others feel like I’m truly listening to them when they speak. My dad never zoned out in the middle of a conversation, or interrupted to talk over top of you. If you were having a conversation with him, he was in it. He couldn’t always remember someone’s name, but he’d remember faces. If he couldn’t remember your name, he’d call you Ralph or Rebecca, or the all-encompassing kid. In fact, if he did remember your name, he’d likely call you Ralph, Rebecca, or Kid. In this fast paced world we live in, paying genuine attention to someone and the conversation you’re having with them is an art, and it’s one my dad had down to a science.
I blame my dad for teaching me that how you treat others is important. Even at his sickest, when he was suffering, he was still trying to make others comfortable or to entertain them. As a kid, I watched how he was around others. He was never the guy who was making things weird or uncomfortable or being so rude he’d make everyone around him want to leave. Not that he didn’t have bad days, or that we didn’t see the ornery side of him at home. But I saw how he would be with friends or other family, how he was in public, and he was always happy and funny. I don’t want to be the person no one can stand to be around because they’re always unhappy, so I try to follow my dad’s lead and be the one who’s trying to make things lighter.
I blame my dad for my chosen career. I’m a writer of fiction. And who knew how to tell a story better than my dad? It always went something like this: "It was August 4th, 4:00 in the afternoon. I was milking chickens, but only the chickens with lips. Your mom was wearing army boots, and my pancreas was fluctuating . . ." Anyone who knows my dad at all has heard one if not all of those phrases from him. His stories never made much sense, and were completely wild, but they were always funny and entertaining. How could I grow up around that and not think storytelling—fictional storytelling—was the way to go?
I saved this one for last because it was the best thing about my dad. I blame my dad for my sense of humor. My dad was a funny guy. Growing up in a house like ours, humor was pretty much a requirement. We’d have these Sunday dinners that lasted forever because we’d go off on all these tangents about anything and everything, mostly just laughing. Anyone who knew my dad would use funny as the first word to describe him. He had a quip or one-liner for everything. Humor was important to my dad. Laughter was important. And because of this, all of us kids have a great sense of humor. All of Mel’s grandkids have senses of humor. Everyone who’s ever met him has some story about him and something funny he did. Even before I understood all the nuances of humor, I understood laughter. I understood my dad was funny and took great pride in making others laugh. He'd say things like: "If I was any better I'd be two people." Or, at a restaurant when asked how he'd like his steak cooked: "On the stove." And then he'd point at another table when the check was brought: "You can give that to them. They'd like to take care of it." He would say: "I have the prettiest feet in the world" or "No one has a better looking belly button than me" and then proceed to show you. He would make (small) bets on football games and upon losing would either shred the $20 he owed you and send it to you that way, or maybe put it in a jar of some kind of gel, or laminate it, or anything to make sure he paid but that you'd have a difficult time using the money. The last few weeks when he was having almost daily heart attacks, and suffering for hours with them, he'd still be making jokes through his pain.
Selfishly I wish my dad was still here. I’m going to miss him fiercely.  I can’t believe I’m never going to hear his voice again, or see him sign his name, or drive his gray Ranger, or pull his comb out of his pocket and comb his hair. I can’t believe I’m never going to hear him sing, or say August 4th, or ask “does a chicken have lips”, or have him hug me again. But I also know the kind of pain he was in, how miserable he felt all the time, how exhausted he was from all of that, and I know he’s so much happier now. I know he’s at peace. And so I’ll be patient, I’ll wait until I can be with him again, and then all of these things I miss will be there for me to enjoy again. I love my dad, and I’m so grateful I got the chance to be his daughter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson
Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.
With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.
But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

Purchase your copy for just $2.99!!

  Praise for Thirty-Two Going on... Spinster   "Oh my, oh my. I have just finished wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes. This is seriously funny." ~Julie Darley (Never judge a Book by its Movie) "This was a refreshing change of pace for me to read. Some good clean romance was found in it’s pages and that is a rare find these days. It was some great chick-lit. I would not have thought this was Becky’s debut book, it was so well done." ~Liberty Ann (SnifferWalkBooks)

“I feel that, as a friend, I need to tell you something,” Brown says to me as we go outside to the smoking area. It’s near the end of the day and Mr. Nguyen had a meeting, so I figured I could take a little break.
“What is it?” I ask, not truly caring. I am still annoyed with her. I want to say something, but there is no point. She wouldn’t care anyway.
“Friends do not let friends go around with that,” she says, pointing to my upper lip.
“What do you mean? Is there something on my lip?” I ask, walking over to the door to see if I can see my reflection in the glass. I can’t see anything.
“Yes, there is something on your upper lip… hair.”
Whaaaaaaaaat? “Are you serious? I have a moustache?” My hand immediately goes up to my mouth, covering it and my upper lip. “But… I… How bad?” Somehow this is very fitting. A spinster with a moustache.
“Look, it’s not bad. And we do not call it a ‘moustache,’ it’s referred to as ‘upper lip hair,’” says the perfectly-put-together prom queen. “You have sort of… always had one. But it was always blonde hair, so I never said anything. But now, all of the sudden, there are brown hairs as well as the blonde.”

I guess right now would be a good time to die. I mean, I recently had a conversation with a good-looking man and this hasn’t happened in, well, over a decade. And I realize it wasn’t a real conversation since I couldn’t say more than three word sentences. But he was talking to me up-close and—oh my gosh, he could have seen it. Of course he did because that is how my life goes. I am an under-a-conference-table-hiding-deaf-mute-possibly-slow-spinster… with a moustache. Next comes sagging boobs and trailer parks.

Becky Monson  Author Becky Monson By day, Becky Monson is a mother of three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful time will last... But it probably won't. Becky runs a large book club on Facebook called "This Chick Reads".  

    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 10/12/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Highlander Giveaway Hop

Displaying Highlander Giveaway Hop_2014.jpg

Thanks to MK McClintock for hosting this giveaway hop. This hop is to celebrate the greatness of all things Scottish.

Way back in '91 or '92 I happened upon a rather heavy hardback book by the name of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I'm sure you've heard of (unless you live with your head in the sand). I bought the monstrosity and read what was to quickly become one of my favorite books. I looked forward to each new book in the series because, like the rest of the world who's read the books, I fell in love with a certain redheaded highlander by the name of Jamie.

Thus began my love affair with the country of Scotland - a place I have yet to visit but is at the top of my bucket list. I watched and owned every TV episode of Highlander (which I prefer over the movies, though I also love the movies). I owned them on VHS, which dates me I know, but also tells you how long I've been fascinated by Scots. Sadly I had to give them away as I no longer own a VCR player (who does, seriously?). Someday I'll replenish my stock with the BluRays.

Scotland has given us many drool-worthy leading men as well: Ewan McGregor, Sam Heughan (now starring as Jamie in the Outlander TV series), Gerard Butler, Dougray Scott (Ever After, anyone?), James McAvoy, David Tennant (yes, #10 is Scottish! as is the current Doctor), Sean Connery, John Barrowman of Torchwood, Ray Park (Darth Maul and Toad), Angus Macfadyen, Richard Madden ... even Gordon Ramsay is of Scottish birth. Need I go on? Someone get me to Scotland, quick!

Because I'm a fan of so many Scottish things/people (okay, men) I'm giving you your choice of several items in my giveaway, either about or featuring highlanders. The physical things are US only because it's just too prohibitive to mail items out of the country. However, if it's a digital item, it'll be international as long as you can receive digital items from Amazon US.

Here's what you can choose from:

Outlander paperback - US only
Outlander Kindle book - Int'l
Highlander on BluRay or DVD (the original movie) - US only
Highlander: Season 1 on DVD (the TV series) - US only
Moulin Rouge on BluRay or DVD - US only [stars Ewan]
Moulin Rouge instant video - Int'l
Ever After on BluRay or DVD - US only [stars Dougray]
Doctor Who poster (unframed) - US only
Darth Maul figurine - US only
Arrow: Season 1 on BluRay or DVD - US only [stars John]
Penelope on DVD - US only [stars James]

Choose any one of the entry options below to enter. I don't care which one you want to do, just do one of them. Then, if you want extra entries you can choose to do either one or both of the others as well. In other words, one of the three (your choice) is required, the other two are optional. Then, beneath the Rafflecopter is a linky list of the other blogs participating where you can win other great highlander prizes, so be sure not to miss that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Book Promotion of Free and 99¢ Books

It's time for another Clean eBooks Author Promotion! Yay!

This promotion runs from Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 10:00pm MST until Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:59pm MST. Enjoy these fantastic, clean eBooks, which include my anthology I wrote with Sherry Gammon and Stephanie Fowers. For the duration of the promotion, it's only 99¢! Killer deal for 3 novellas.

A Fantasy Christmas

Cindy C Bennett, Stephanie Fowers, and Sherry Gammon

A Fantasy Christmas is an exciting collection of romantic stories by best selling authors Cindy C Bennett, Stephanie Fowers, and Sherry Gammon. You'll find Elves, Greek gods and witches! 

*Halfling by Cindy C Bennett 
Banished from the South Pole, Kara tries to carve out a new life among the elves of the North. It’s not easy with a secret to protect—a secret she's cursed with by the unusual circumstances of her heritage: half-elf, half-fairy. In the North, she’s assigned to work with Seb on a special project. He's the most gorgeous elf she’s ever seen - and the orneriest. As if being banished wasn’t punishment enough. 

*Aphrodite by Stephanie Fowers 
Nothing is simple for Aphrodite’s daughter, especially love. Scorned by society in regency England, Affry longs for romance. Upon encountering a dashing nobleman at her aunty's Christmas' ball, Affry gets caught in a lovely intrigue with disastrous results. Worse, she wins the interest of the gods. Now the furies of the underworld and Hades himself are after her. 

*Loving Marigold by Sherry Gammon 
Young Marigold Yarrow has a secret. She’s also in love with Jack Mahoney. In the middle of her ninth grade year, Jack's family up and moves to Port Fare, New York, leaving the small town of Sugar Maple, West Virginia - and Marigold - far behind. Nine years later Jack and Marigold meet again but this time it could be magic that tears Jack and Marigold apart.

Discern, Katon University Book One

Andrea Pearson
Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Nicole Williams is an Arete—a fourth child with magical abilities—yet no matter how hard she tries, she can’t Channel her power. In fact, she seems to be the only student at Katon University who fails at magic.

That doesn’t stop magic from finding her. It starts with magical currents and possessed books before moving quickly to cursed spiders and freaky shadows. Nicole turns to her best friend for help, along with fellow student Austin Young, who is considered by all a magical rarity. He also happens to be the hottest guy on campus and just might be interested in her.

Nicole soon finds herself competing to be included on a university-led expedition to Arches National Park. She is determined to show everyone, but mostly herself, that she does belong. Yet, to qualify for the trip, she must produce at least a speck of Wind magic, and that appears to be impossible.

As the competition progresses, Nicole wonders if she’s making the right choice—especially when she learns that the strange fossils they’ll be studying in Arches might not be as dead as everyone thinks.

Prejudice Meets Pride

Rachael Anderson
Kindle, Nook

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

Your Eyes Don't Lie

Rachel Branton
Kindle, Nook

Sometimes Surviving Isn't Enough . . .

Years of living on the street and fending for herself have made Makay Greyson tough and resourceful, if a bit disillusioned. She's come a long way from sleeping in parks and scavenging for food. Her entire focus is on providing a better life for her young brother, one without fear of loss and

That certainly doesn't leave time for Harrison Matthews, who from their first meeting sends fire through her veins and upsets all her carefully laid plans.

Makay has done things she isn't proud of to survive, and those choices now threaten the small amount of security she's created-and any chance of a future with Harrison. They've been raised in two very different worlds, and the secrets they both hide can only lead to disaster.  There is only one chance to make it right, and one misstep could be fatal.

Your Eyes Don't Lie is a story about facing fears, sacrificing for those you love, and about a girl who thinks she isn't worth loving and a guy who knows she is.

Ride to Raton

Marsha Ward
Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Thinking he's been treated unjustly by his father, James Owen leaves the family homestead to make a new life for himself.

The turbulent world of post-Civil War Colorado Territory is fraught with danger and prejudice that increase his bitter loneliness as personal setbacks threaten to break him. Then James's journey brings him into contact with another wayfarer, beautiful young Amparo Garcés, who has come from Santa Fe to Colorado to marry a stranger. Through a twist of fate, their futures are changed forever when their lives are merged in a marriage of convenience. James and Amparo undertake a hazardous horseback trek over Raton Pass to Santa Fe, battling their personal demons, a challenging language barrier, and winter's raging storms.

"Ride to Raton is a pure western, complete with bad guys and broken hearts and even a dog. The sequel to The Man from Shenandoah features James Owen, the younger brother. Marsha Ward writes a fantastic romance against a vivid southwestern backdrop. James begins this book as a hurt young man, but by the end of the book, I really could see him grow up and become a man. Made tougher by circumstances he has no control over, James realizes that the love he thought he had lost was nothing compared to what Amparo shows him. Amparo is a young Hispanic lady, forced to leave her home in Santa Fe to marry a stranger in Colorado. She bravely faces her uncertain future, relying on her faith to get her through. She is sweet, loving and she provides a great contrast to James's rough exterior. With an ending that surprised even me, Ride to Raton is not your usual romance. However, I do recommend it for western lovers—even the cover is wonderful! Marsha Ward once again shows us her gift for old fashioned storytelling!" ~Jen Hill, Roundtable Reviews

The Husband Maker

Karey White
Kindle, Nook

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she's dated since high school has gone on to marry the next girl they date. Not two or three girls down the road. The very next one.
Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Life, Love, and The Pursuit of  Free Throws

Janette Rallison

Josie loves hottie Ethan Lancaster, the captain of the basketball team, but she never can do or say the right thing in front of him. So how can it be fair that Ethan is only interested in her best friend, Cami, when Cami isn’t even trying for his affection? Or is she?

Cami dreams of winning her basketball team’s coveted MVP award, and earning the chance to take the court during a special halftime demonstration with WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, but her best friend, Josie, is a better player. So how can it be fair that Josie is a shoo-in for the honor if she is barely interested in basketball in the first place and isn’t even trying to be the best? Or is she?

Told from two points of view, this novel of freshman life, love, and the pursuit of free throws displays the same delightful humor as Janette Rallison's other comedies.

My Forever: A Triple Treat Romance Box Set

Annette Lyon, Karey White, Cami Checketts
Kindle, Nook

A Portrait for Toni  by Amazon bestselling author Annette Lyon 
Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away. One night after a performance, Toni tries to mend the hurt between them. Instead of finding Carter, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible. Isn’t it?

My Own Mr. Darcy by USA Today bestselling author Karey White 
After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. During the six intervening years, she finds all of her suitors lacking—they just aren’t Mr. Darcy enough. Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. She starts dating Chad, but she believes her dream comes true in the form of wealthy bookstore owner Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

The Broken Path by Amazon bestselling author Cami Checketts 
Injured in a debilitating accident at age six, Ethan Searle believes women eye him with a mixture of pity and disdain. He’s tried love before. He won’t again. He meets his match in a precocious two-year old who loves him despite his disability, even while her mother seems bothered by everything about Ethan. Autumn Reader escaped her abusive marriage with her beautiful daughter and a stack of fear. She can’t make the mistake of trusting a man again. Autumn’s daughter becomes enraptured by Ethan. Despite Autumn’s best intentions, she finds herself following her daughter’s example. When her ex-husband reappears, threatening everyone she loves if she won’t submit to his demands, Autumn has to learn to trust or lose her chance at real love.

Still Time

Maria Hoagland
Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Thrust into the chaos of her mother-in-law’s hoarding and forgetfulness, LDS church member Alyssa Johnston wishes she could retreat to a simpler time when her kids were small and almost anything could be fixed with a hug. But reassurance and a quick distraction no longer erase the pain of a missionary son who is struggling, a young teen who is bullied, or a daughter who is distant. As Aly’s own life and relationship with her husband plunge out of control, she wonders if her faith will be enough to keep her family—or herself—from falling apart.

Still Time is a deeply moving story about a woman’s faithful journey into the next phase of her life. You will laugh with Aly, feel her sorrow, and see yourself in Maria Hoagland’s realistic, heartfelt portrayal of a woman’s struggle to keep her family safe and hold back time as long as she can.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unlovable FREE on Audiobook!

In commemoration of the release of Unloveable as an audiobook, Sherry Gammon is hosting a giveaway of paperback copies of all of her books. Today, to talk about the audiobook and her cover redesign, Sherry was kind enough to stop by and talk about the covers, the changes, and why she decided to make some changes. So now I'll hand it over to Sherry.

Unlovable is now an audiobook!! If you click here you can get the audiobook for free with a 30 day free trial of Audible on Amazon!! You can't beat free!

Along with the release of the audiobook, I've redesigned the covers of the first two books in the Port Fare series. ( I'm designing covers now. Click here and check them out!) To celebrate the new look, I am giving away paperback copies of the entire series. 

Here is the new cover for Unlovable. I didn't change it too much because I really loved the original one. (Thank you, Paul Beeley), but another author came out with almost the exact same cover, including the coloring :'(

I kept the girl on the swing because she fits Maggie's story perfectly, though I did add flowers to the swing. The rest has been changed completely. I love the blues and pinks, and I've always wanted a moon on the cover. I also added Maggie's trailer in the background!
                                                             Here is the eBook cover:
And this is the Paperback
     This is the audio book cover.

 This is the new cover for Unbelievable! It's a real change. I feel this cover fits the story so much better. Lilah feels trapped by her domineering father and his demands. She desperately wants to break free...can't tell you anymore or I'll spoil the story I feel this new cover portrays Lilah and what she is going through in a much stronger way, and it seems to fit in better with the other covers. While I loved the old cover, and had a huge say in its design, (Thank you again, Paul) it seemed out of place with book one & three's covers. This one holds the same "feel," if you will.
Here is the Ebook cover:
And this is the paperback
Unbearable's cover didn't really change, only the back was updated.

So, what do you think??

Purchase links:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cover Reveal: Raine by MM Roethig

Cover reveal for M.M. Roethig's debut novel, Raine, due to be released November 10, 2014 from Creative Prose Publishing! Without further ado, here it is:

Senior Raine Patterson is content with being invisible. That is, until the mysteriously handsome Kaden transfers to her high school, turning her world upside down. Drawn to him in ways she can’t understand, Raine finds herself falling for him, regardless of his harsh stares and mixed signals. When she discovers her hidden ability to control the elements, she finds herself the target of a madman, and Kaden is the only one who can help her. Can she trust him?
Kaden Williams has hated Elementals since losing his father to them as a young boy. Despite being Chosen to protect Elementals, Kaden’s turned his back on his duty, swearing to rid the world of them instead. Meeting Raine was no accident. His feelings for her throw him into turmoil and threaten his beliefs about Elementals. When Raine becomes the target of an unknown aggressor, Kaden is forced to decide which path he will follow.
As the struggle for knowledge unfolds and the beginning of a pending war looms closer, Raine and Kaden must lean on each other to discover the truth and survive.

Available November 10!

About the author
   Author M.M. Roethig is a ‘happily-ever-after’ author whose guilty pleasure is a swoon worthy romance. Growing up, she spent her youth on various Air Force bases in many different states, which encouraged her imagination and love of make believe stories with each new city, scenery, and situation.
   Finally settling in Idaho, M.M. Roethig finished her schooling years and eventually met and married her very own Prince Charming. A recent move took her to Northern Colorado, a place she has instantly fallen in love with and embraced as her home. 
   When she is not swooning over romance stories or writing, M.M. Roethig enjoys spending time with her husband and son who also call Colorado home. With two grown daughters and one son-in-law living in Idaho, she finds every excuse to travel back as much as possible.  
Other hobbies M.M. Roethig enjoys is running, photography, baking, watching her son swim, and cheering on the Denver Broncos. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Tour: The Strength of Ballerinas by Nancy Lorenz

All Kendra wants to do is dance for Manhattan Dance Company.  So, when her family’s forced to move to California, her dreams of becoming an apprentice are shattered.  Still determined to dance, Kendra faces social isolation and family pressures in her new home.  When she’s diagnosed with a serious illness, however, Kendra must decide which dreams are really worth fighting for.
Get your copy today at these retailers:

Nancy Lorenz currently teaches as a college level English adjunct. She has worked in publishing, public relations, and network television.  She studied ballet at numerous studios, including American Ballet Theater’s open classes, and continues to study for the sheer love of it.  She studied acting in New York as well.  Nancy recommends that you love what you do, but also to branch out to the many subjects out there yet to discover.  The more you learn, the more you can bring back into your art.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Utah Book Month: An Interview with Sara Larson

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Utah with my husband and three children—two boys and a girl. We keep busy with the kids’ activities, plus we love traveling, good food, hiking, boating, reading (of course!), movies, and fitness so we can eat all that good food (especially dessert) without feeling TOO guilty. 
2. How long have you been writing? When were you first published?
I’ve been writing my whole life and I’ve always dreamt of being published. That dream came true when Scholastic published DEFY in January of 2014.
3. What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book I ever wrote? I’m not really sure, since it was in second grade. But if you’re referring to my first published book, DEFY came from a very difficult period in my life, when I lost someone I loved. I was so upset by his death that I couldn’t write anything, but a friend of mine told me to stop trying to write a book and just write what I was feeling. So that’s exactly what I did. I sat down and wrote a death scene, not intending for it to go anywhere…but then I got curious about the characters. This whole fascinating world unraveled itself and I realized Alexa had a very intriguing, difficult, but ultimately amazing story that needed to be told. I threw myself into that writing and from there the story took on its own life. It became a story of survival and moving forward, a story of what true courage and strength is, and a story about the many different kinds of love, and hope (even in the most desperate of situations) and risking everything for the chance of a better future.
4. Who is your hero, and why?
My hero is my mom. I know that sounds corny, but she always has been and probably always will be. She had a rough life growing up, but she overcame all of it to be the most amazing person. She raised five daughters while my dad traveled all the time for work, and made it look easy. All of my sisters and I still consider her one of our best friends, which I think is proof of how incredible she is. She is the person we all turn to for advice, for help, for pretty much everything. She taught us to pursue our dreams, and believes in us 100%. Though she is not just a “cheerleader”—she is honest with her feedback and tries to help us be better, to reach our full potential. But that only makes her praise mean that much more when she gives it. She’s just an incredible woman and mother and wife and I hope to be like her when I grow up. J
5. What's next for Sara in books/writing?

The next book I have coming out is IGNITE, the sequel for DEFY! It comes out on January 6, 2015. I can’t wait for everyone to read the next part of Alexa’s story! 

Find Sara here:
Twitter: @SaraBLarson
IG: @SaraBLarson

Sara B. Larson can't remember a time when she didn't write books--although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their three children. She writes during naptime and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." When she's not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting of her sugar addiction.

Check out Sara's books:


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele

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              Crissa stared at them with vacant, horrified eyes before shooting out of bed to stand, shaking, in the middle of the room. "Molly!  Something has happened to Molly!  I must leave here. I must get to Molly!"
            "Cristalina, älsking, your friend is fine. It was only a bad dream."
            "No, Signe, it was more than that. It was a warning. A tecken. I must get back to Willow Springs immediately."

Crissa Engleson, an immigrant from Sweden, fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, in the West. The quiet Pony Express town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families envelope her. She falls in love with an Express rider, Drake Adams, but their courtship is thwarted by blackmail and treachery. Crissa must decide which is stronger: her desire for Drake, her own safety, or her love for the two young children left in her charge.

Willow Springs is written for anyone who enjoys Westerns, History, Romance or Intrigue. Men and women alike have expressed great interest in this story.

My Review
Set in the old west in Utah, Crissa, an immigrant from Sweden is hiding from her past. However, her unusual beauty attracts attention from too many of the males in town—including the handsome Drake and the drunken Garth.
A series of events causes Crissa to end up married to a man she would never have picked on her own, and though he promises to be a good husband, he can’t seem to control his temper. Nor can Crissa forget her love for Drake.
A grand, sweeping adventure that brings the old west to life, with characters whose share of problems continue to get in the way of their happiness. Steele manages to make her characters—even those who are secondary—feel alive and current. Crissa’s growth and maturity from her childhood in Sweden, to her tragic time in Boston, her hearbreaking crossing with a group of Mormon pioneers, and finally her life that she builds in Utah will have you crossing your fingers for her deserved happiness.
Meet the Author:

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Utah Book Month: Interview with Kami of Kami's Library Thoughts


1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a geeky girl! I love comics, video games, reading, and other geeky things. I live in Orem, and I like it. It is a good town to live in. I'm married and we have a daughter. She is 4, and I like to call her gnome. We have a dog. He is a poodle/yorkie, and his name is Chewy. I like to spoil my gnome and dog. I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I play the clarinet for the Wasatch Winds. I think that covers it!

2. How long have you been blogging about books? Is this your first blog?

This is my 3rd blog. I had a blog on MSN or something, but it is gone. I also have a personal blog that is private. I've been blogging since The Hunger Games movie came out, so 3 years. 

3. What made you want to start blogging about books in particular?

I've always been an avid reader. I devour books (over 100 a year). My friend invited me to go The Hunger Games movie with a bunch of other bloggers, and I decided to jump on the band wagon. 

4. Do you review indie books as well as traditionally published books? Why or why not?

I usually read traditionally published books. I try to avoid indie anything. I've had some bad experiences with indie games and books. However, if I am familiar with the author, then I'll read their indie book. 

5. A few quick facts about your reading habits:
a. What's your favorite book you've read this year?

This is hard! Let me check Goodreads!

Probably Red Rising and Belle Epoque.

b. Favorite book of all time? 

What? You can't ask me this! I don't know! If you had a gun to my head and forced me to choose, I'd probably pick The Hobbit. It is the book that started it all! My dad and brother read it to me when I was little. Bilbo is my hero! 

c. Favorite genre?

Fantasy, I'm definitely a fantasy girl!
I'll read whatever though.

d. Any genre you won't read?

Erotic crap

e. Have you ever started a book you just can't finish?

Yes, I have a whole unfinished list on Goodreads! I plan on picking some of them up again, but others will NEVER get another chance. Books can't appeal to everyone! 

Find Kami's blog here.