Showing posts from 2014

I'm favorite reads of 2014

I read over 140 books in 2014. One hundred and forty! That's an all time high for me. And will probably be the record forever. Out of those books, I've picked my top ten favorite reads (in no particular order).  What were your favorite reads of this year?

Folklore, romance and magical shoes. What girl can pass up magical shoes? Oh! And a prince!

ELEVATED by Elana Johnson
I loved this book and not just because my daughter is on the cover. I wish I could write in verse in a way that grabbed readers and pulled them into a story that made them think about it long after they shut the book.

LEGEND by Marie Lu
Why did it take me so long to read this series? Why? Fast paced, intriguing, suspenseful, I had a hard time putting this book down and getting back to reality.

I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the romance.

CLICKOLOGIE: Elevating Your Photography From Beginning to Pro by Erin Sum…

#SharetheGift of the Season

California Raisins Christmas Special

We loved watching this when the kids were younger. Then my oldest (AKA College Student) looked it up and we laughed and laughed. Here's to a simpler and fun Christmas!

Christmas Gifts for Writers and Readers TAKE TWO

Need some more ideas for your favorite reader or writer? Try some of these!

Audible subscription.  For that reader that is too hard to pick a book out for because they read YA (gasp!). JK But with a subscription to audible, they can choose whatever book they want to listen to.

Our family LOVES this game. I just leave the tiles out and someone inevitably sits down and starts forming crossword grids. It's fast and fun and perfect for anyone. 

Food Sometimes your favorite writer needs to get out of the house. And something more than chocolate. Gift cards are perfect for this situation!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers and Readers

I have spent hours looking for the perfect gifts for you to give your favorite reader or writer. PHEW! What a list! I hope you enjoy the descriptions as well as the gift ideas. ;)

Paper Passion Perfume

This tells the story of a passion and a twisting plot to put the particular bouquet of freshly printed books in a bottle. Gerhard Steidl was first alerted to the importance of the smell of a book by Karl Lagerfeld, prompting a passion for paper and the composition of a scent on the pages of a book.

Old Books--Book Lovers' Scented Soy Candle

Part of our Book Lovers' Series, this candle is a completely original scent inspired by the smell of old books! Ideal for bibliophiles of all sorts. The scent is a sweet, earthy smell with a hint of must. (Not mildewy, rotten old books!) 
Timber, White Tea, Newsprint, Must

Wicked Witch Bookmark

Red slippers for her, for all hostess.

Red Liquid Bookmark

The liquid bookmark by japanese designer kouichi okamoto of kyouei design is a fun way to ke…

PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel Blog Tour!! And Giveaway!

I am so excited to Host 2 amazing ladies on my blog today, along with the fabulous program they have put together to help authors get their book published and to learn how to revise their own novels in a manner that will make manuscripts shine.

I'm always on the look out for some fresh ideas to get my manuscript polished.
(Don't forget the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post).

Let's Introduce you first to this program:


We offer writers two video series with more in production:

1) PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month

8 videos, 5.5 hours + 3- hands-on exercises

Congratulations! You have written a draft of a novel. You’ve accomplished what many
writers merely talk about and dream of doing – you have written an entire story from
beginning to end. When you finish celebrating, it is time to revise: to re-envision and
rewrite what you’ve written into a novel that agents, editors and readers will devour.
Writing a great plot inv…

CLICKOLOGIE ~ Elevating Your Photography From Beginner To Pro by Erin Summerill

Clickologie: Elevating Your Photography from Beginner to Pro by Erin Summerill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked up this book and looked at all the pictures first, then started at the beginning to read the words. I couldn't stop reading. I don't remember the last time I wanted to read an instructional book from cover to cover. Erin hooked me from the very beginning. How could I put down this book with a definition like this:

2. The study of capturing life in photographic images that are so beautiful they could make the burliest grown man cry.

Excellent and FUN book about photography from the fundamentals to pro. Filled with vivid pictures, clear instructions and clever words, this book will teach anyone about shooting, posing and becoming the photographer they want to be.

I highly recommend this book if you want to take your photography to the next level.

View all my reviews

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Jim Butcher

Awesome pep talk from Jim Butcher!
Beware, sweet, innocent, aspiring writer. People aren’t telling you this, and they should be. NaNoWriMo participants are being deceived into thinking that being an author is a good thing. But you don’t know. You don’t know the horrors you might face as a professional, published, full-time author. I could tell you. I could go on for hours about all the things that threaten my peace of mind. I could for you a tale unfold that would harrow up your carpal tunnels and chill the very marrow of your finger bones: tales of the constant questions, the unending deadlines, the mind-bending task of deciding each and every day which hours you will spend writing. But never mind all of that. Best not to dwell on the worst. Instead, let us concentrate on what you must do to avoid this horrible fate, and save yourself agonies untold. First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough: do not sit down at the keyboard and write on a regular basis. This is a trap. You c…

NaNoWriMo pep talk from Brandon Sanderson

I LOVED this writerly pep talk from Brandon Sanderson! I totally needed this today. Now go flame the spark...

Pep Talk from Brandon Sanderson (2014) Brandon’s Website
Brandon’s Books
Writing StoryBundle The toughest moment in my writing career came in 2002. I had just finished my 12th novel, but so far hadn’t been able to sell a single one of the things. Earlier that year, I had been rejected by all 13 MFA programs I’d submitted to. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs since—including books that topped the bestseller list and others that crashed and burned—but no moment in my life has been more poignant than sitting with the latest in what seemed like an endless stack of unsold novels, wondering what I was doing with my life. What I didn’t know was that the process had already begun—the spark had dropped onto the grass, and a fire was smoldering that would change my life forever. A year earlier, in 2001, I’d submitted my sixth book to an editor. Eight months had passed with no communi…

My favorite time of the year...


Christmas in Snow Valley REVIEW

I. Love. Christmas. All things Christmas make me happy. I love the food, smells and lights. And I love a good Christmas book. And when there is romance involved, my holiday happiness is complete. This fun, romantic box set is worth the read. Put on your slippers, grab a mug of cocoa and enjoy reading each story!
(At the end of the post, I've included an excerpt from one of my favorites.)

Christmas in Snow Valley Christmas in Snow Valley is packed with six wonderful Christmas novellas sure to bring romance into your holiday season. Snow Valley, Montana, is a small community with the tradition of doing Christmas big. Festivities begin with tree lighting in the town square the day after Thanksgiving and continue until the culminating romantic Christmas Ball. From the Polar Express to a Winter Carnival, there’s something for every wonder-filled  child—and every couple who’s in love—or about to be.
An Unexpected Kiss by Cindy Roland Anderson Lucy Phillips doesn’t want to spend her Christm…

Good Monday morning!

Good, morning! Where the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!

Today, I present 6 tips on writing from John Steinbeck.

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps t…

10 Quotes to Inspire You to Keep Writing


AS YOU WISH: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Joe Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience…

Good Monday Morning

I'm not sure why, but this advice hit home today.

Hilary Mantel, winner in 2012 forBring Up the Bodies and in 2009 for Wolf Hall.

“Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change. This is especially important for historical fiction. When your character is new to a place, or things alter around them, that’s the point to step back and fill in the details of their world. People don’t notice their everyday surroundings and daily routine, so when writers describe them it can sound as if they’re trying too hard to instruct the reader.”

Good Monday morning!

Ah! Monday. When the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!

Today I present 10 rules on writing from Teju Cole. Follow the link for more! There are few things more resistant to tutoring than the creative arts. All artists are after that thing that resists expression.Keep it simple. There are many who use big words to mask the poverty of their ideas. A straightforward vocabulary, using mostly ordinary words, spiced every now and again with an unusual one, persuades the reader that you’re in control of your language.Remove all clichés from your writing. Spare not a single one. The cliché is an element of herd thinking, and writers should be solitary animals. We do our work always in the shadow of herd thinking. Be expansive in your descriptions. Dare to bore.Avoid adverbs. Let the nouns, adjectives and verbs carry the action of the story.When reporting speech, it is en…

Good Monday morning!

Ah! Monday. Where the week starts out fresh, you're not behind on your to-do list yet and pumpkin spice bagels are in the stores. :)  Hopefully, you find yourself writing today!

Today, I present 8 Tips on how to write a great storyfrom Kurt Vonnegut.

“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.Start as close to the end as possible.Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story …

YaReads 2014 Debut Authors w/ JESSIE HUMPHRIES (Interviewed by Taffy Lovell)


(Isn't that a cute cover??)

About SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE:High school senior Olivia Winging gave up her love of photography when she gave up her boyfriend, Trevor Youngblood, a year and a half ago. She broke things off with Trevor because her mom married his dad, and dating your step-brother? Creepy.

Livvy hasn’t been on good terms with her mother since, and one of her stipulations for staying at the Youngblood’s every other weekend is that Trevor can’t be there. When she gets nominated for the Junior Photography in Excellence award, Trevor insists she enter. She agrees—only if every photo in the portfolio can be of him. Knowing that Livvy can capture a person’s deepest secrets through her lens, Trevor hesitates before accepting the deal.

As Livvy gets behind the lens of her camera again, her love of photography is rekindled. Unfortunately, the time she spends with Trevor also re-ignites the old flame for him she’s kept smothered for so long.

In order for Livvy to finish her portfolio…