Thursday, December 20, 2012

I had the privilege of reading a new Christmas book: Lucius and the Christmas Star. 
It is a collaboration piece written by: Jim Long and illustrated by: Mikey Brooks.

I must say I was happy to discover it in my mailbox as Mikey sent it as a gift for my five-year-old son. My nine year-old daughter joined us as we read "Lucius and the Christmas Star". 

My daughter LOVED the pictures. She thought the drawings in the book were beautiful and eye-catching. (I agreed. I especially liked the pictures of the sunrises and sunsets--incredibly vibrant and colorful.)
My five year-old son thought Lucius the camel looked "cool." My seven year-old son thought the story was "interesting" and "pretty good." He liked the one and two-humped camels in particular and gave the book a "thumbs up."

I liked the fact that the story was historically correct. The wise men followed the Christmas Star to find a toddler Jesus rather than an infant one. I also liked that Lucius felt the kind, sweet spirit of young Jesus and sensed that he would one day be a great man. 

I want to commend Mikey on his beautiful illustrations. I thought they were so lovely that I may send him the one short story I've ever written and see if he thinks it might work as a children's picture book. :) 

For now, I plan to pull out Lucius and the Christmas Star for future Christmases as well as this one. We've already read it four times. Thanks Jim and Mikey for the gentle reminder of the "true reason for the season."

You can find Lucius on Amazon.com here

Or on Create-a-space here

About Mikey:
Mikey Brooks is an author/illustrator with a BS in Creative Writing from Utah State University. Illustration has always been a love of Mikey’s. His art has been seen in many forms from picture books to murals for community art productions. He creates full-room murals and loves to doodle on almost anything. He also manages a bakery where he also is a cake artist and decorator. He authored/illustrated Bean’s Dragons, ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures, and Trouble with Bernie. He also illustrated Bongo Flo and Ocelot Scott, both by Carolyn Quist, and Lucius and the Christmas Star, by Jim Long. He’s had poetry and personal essays published in university sponsored literary magazines 2007-2009, and was awarded 3rd place for his personal essay, Waiting for the Morning Sun to Rise, in the Utah Arts 23rd Annual Writing Competition, 2011. He has a wonderful wife and two amazing daughters.
You can find more about Mikey Brooks and his works at:www.insidemikeysworld.com. Or on his blog at:www.writtenbymikey.blogspot.com
You can find Mikey on Good Reads at:http://www.goodreads.com/InSideMikeysWorld on Twitter: @writtenbymikey 
Or on Pinterest at:http://pinterest.com/writtenbymikey/ and on Facebook: as Mikey Brooks, or email him at: insidemikeysworld(at)gmail.com
About Mikey's Books:
Bean’s Dragons.
Have you ever had a dragon in your house? How about a dozen? Bean is a little girl with an imagination that is creating quite a mess. Although Bean loves each of her dragons, she forgets how untidy they can be when having so much fun. When Bean's parents discover what's happened in their short absence, Bean finds herself the blame of the dragons' giant mess.
You can find more about Bean’s Dragons at:http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/beans-dragons/
ABS Adventures: Magical Creatures.
This is the first installment in a series of ABC adventures featuring Professor Vontriponmybottom, a heroic explorer determined to share with children the alphabet through exciting and fantastical means. In Magical Creatures you will find all sorts of enchanting beings such as: B is for Bigfoot, M is for Mermaid, and O is for Ogre. The professor shares fun facts about each creature he encounters and never shies away from getting a picture with them. This book is sure to educate and entertain young readers and their parents.
You can find more about ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures at: http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/abc-adventures-magical-creatures/

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Do you have books on your Christmas list? Well, I always do and so today I thought I'd help you get a free book and lots of other great goodies from David Farland, the author of Nightingale and over 50 other books!

David is giving away an AUTOGRAPHED hardcover of Nightingale, the enhanced ebook, and 5 lucky winners will each receive an awesome T-shirt featuring Bron, the main character from Nightingale. A total of 7 prizes will be awarded. Enter by December 17th at midnight!

Just enter using the rafflecopter below. Enjoy!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a T-shirt like this one!
Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards
Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.  Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

Purchase Nightingale in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review of The Dark Eagles... first flight by David R. Smith

The Dark Eagles:First Flight 
by David R. Smith

What others have said: 

“The book was wonderfully written. It is a book for all ages and gender. Boys may like that it is from a young man's point of view with all the adventure. I enjoyed the character development and the friendships formed from the adversity they faced.”
The Book Rack, Arcadia, CA

 “Author David R. Smith does a fine job with his dialogue, which flows smoothly and wittily throughout. His interactions between characters are genuine, and the portrayals of his young female characters in particular are refreshing.”
The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT

The Dark Eagles has a lot going for it: A mysterious map left to young Kief  years ago by the grandfather he loved dearly, but only given to him by his grandmother when he reached the age where he could go to the merchant academy and pursue his dream captaining his own ship. Kief and his best friend, Tarc, stick together through thick and thin, as all good friends do, tested often on their journey.

It is a book about dreams, friends, heeding the call to adventure, exploring one's world and one's self, doing the right thing when it isn't easy, and learning to conquer fears, tyranny, and a multitude of other things. As someone who loves names, I truly enjoyed familiar and unique twists on concepts we know: Harvest Rhythm, New Rhythm, fun names like Sefrana, Kief, Tarc. The unique terms and names gave a fun flavor to David's story.

David did a great job telling a story piled high with adventure and drama and a book that most boys would like to read. As the mom of 7 boys, I look for books my sons may enjoy as some of them, *gasp* , are not big readers. (I know ... I love to read and can't understand why anyone else doesn't, but I think Dark Eagles is one of those books that non-readers could get into.)

I was given a copy of David's book in exchange for an honest review. As a writer, reader, and reviewer myself, I try not to be overly critical of style preferences. For example, some readers need lots of imagery and some don't. Some readers want perfect editing and some just want a great story. I tend to be of the latter variety. 

This story has a lot of strengths and I think it deserves to be read. 

That being said, I know some people will read this book on my recommendation and will enjoy it very much. Therein lies my struggle. If you are someone who likes to read a story full of adventure, with fun characters, and purpose, you will enjoy this book. If you are someone who likes to have every comma and period in it's proper place, well ... this may not be the book for you. 

Do I think that should keep you from reading The Dark Eagles? No. 

Just to be fair to all, read the first few chapters on amazon.com for free: here before deciding. 

I can see my sons liking this book and they are the intended audience.  

There is much to enjoy about this book, and I wish David Smith much success as he continues writing this series.  Thank you for the opportunity to read your story. 

Laugh lots ... love much ... write on. :) 

About the Author: David R. Smith
David was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and spent most of his childhood on
a farm in Heber City, located in the Wasatch Mountains. He loved exploring
the mountains on his horse looking for adventures to follow. Growing up,
he wanted to be a movie director and used his own Super 8 camera to make
silent movies with his friends and brothers and sister. Instead he earned
a Bachelors in Engineering at the University of Utah. While there, he met
the love of his life, Jenelle, and they were blessed with three amazing
sons: Josh, Tate, and Porter. David later earned his Masters in Business
Administration from Northwestern University and pursued a path in the
corporate world. But his creative side continued to tug at him for years
until finally through the encouragement of his wife and boys, he realized
that it’s never too late to follow your dream. So David set off to write
an epic adventure of a boy and his horse and created a story of freedom,
adventure, love, courage and sacrifice. When he's not writing, David
enjoys outdoor activities with his family, and especially loves surfing
with his three boys in Southern California where he resides.

Visit the website: http://www.thedarkeagles.com/

Blog Tour Schedule for The Dark Eagles: First Flight 
12/5/12       www.ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CREATED--by Cindy Hogan

I had the pleasure of reviewing the 3rd book of Cindy Hogan's YA suspense novels, CREATED. I haven't read WATCHED or PROTECTED yet, but I certainly will. However, you don't need to read the others to be completely drawn into CREATED. 
Judging from CREATED, I am certain both WATCHED and PROTECTED are every bit as action-packed and exciting. In fact, the events that lead up to CREATED are woven into the story in such a way that it answers enough questions to make CREATED satisfying, but opens up enough questions that I DO want to read the others. 
What teen wouldn't love to go to a spy school and learn the ins and outs of all kinds of hi-tech gadgets to help them successfully complete clandestine and suspense-filled missions, especially when they get to accomplish the greater good in creative ways?
Ari Agave has many tasks to complete now that she has been enrolled in an elite spy school. She struggles to come to terms with the events leading up to her attendance at Bresen Academy, including being placed in the Witness Protection Program, never being able to see her parents and siblings again, and making amends for past mistakes ... all the while coming to grips with her new reality. She has to forget the person she was so that she can become the person she needs to be.
Too bad it isn't as easy to erase the past as it is to forge a new present. CREATED has it all: friends, enemies, mystery, intrigue, breath-taking suspense, moral dilemmas (without being preachy).
Most of all, CREATED gives today’s youth permission to be who THEY want to be, by helping the reader engage in Ari’s very real struggle to start over and still be true to who she knows she wants to be.
It isn’t easy as she goes quickly from one intense situation to another, battling self-doubt, trying to make her way through the difficulty of adolescence with the added drama of true life-and-death danger around every other corner.
Being a principled person is hard enough without bullets flying past you and having to decide if you can rely on the person next to you in a cut-throat world of espionage, never knowing who your true friends are, and always having to be leery of making any. “Trust no one” is a hard motto to live by for a regular teen, but for a teen who wants to be a spy, it may be the only policy that will keep them alive.
Cindy does an awesome job balancing the very real dilemmas teens face while weaving an engaging story that sucks you in, heart and soul. I am looking forward to reading her past books and will be sure to stay caught up when the next one comes out.

Created Blog Tour

October - 

23 Sumos sweet stuff            http://www.sumossweetstuff.com/2012/10/review-giveaway-book-created.html
25 Donna K. Weaver           http://weavingataleortwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/review-of-created-by-cindy-m-hogan.html
26 Jaclyn Hardy Weist          http://nothoughts2small.blogspot.com      
27  Andrea Pearson             http://andreapearsonbooks.blogspot.com/2012/10/halloween-iap-created.html

29 Michelle Muto                 http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/blog-tour-created-by-cindy-hogan/
30 Mary Ann Dennis


 1 Lisa Nowack                    http://lisanowak.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/new-releases/
2  Mikey Brooks                  http://writtenbymikey.blogspot.com/2012/11/author-interview-cindy-m-hogan-author.html
Angie Carlie                       http://www.angelacarlie.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-tour-created-by-cindy-hogan.html

5 Shelli Proffitt Howells         http://shelli-proffitt-howells.blogspot.com/
   Heather McCorkle            http://heathermccorkle.blogspot.com/2012/11/giveaway-winner-and-great-read.html

7 Laura Josephsen                http://laurajosephsen.blogspot.com/2012/11/interview-with-cindy-hogan-author-of.html
   Kathleen Brebes                http://kbrebes.blogspot.com/2012/09/cover-reveal-for-created-by-cindy-hogan.html
    Jessie Harrell                     http://jessie-harrell.blogspot.com/2012/11/indie-author-spotlight-cindy-hogan.html

8 Donna McNicol                 http://donnamcnicol.blogspot.com/2012/11/guest-post-cindy-hogan-how-do-i-get.html
   Karly Kirkpatrick              http://www.karlykirkpatrick.com/
   Tristi Pinkston                    http://tristipinkston.blogspot.com/2012/11/happy-anniversary-day-8.html
    Ali Cross                          http://www.alicross.com/2012/11/cindy.html

9 Shantal Hiatt Sessions        http://shantalhiatt.blogspot.com/2012/11/a-book-plug-and-pretty-please.html
   Stacey Benefiel                   http://staceywallacebenefiel.com/2012/11/created-by-cindy-m-hogan/

10 Jennifer Jensen                  http://jenniferjensen.com/2012/11/ya-author-cindy-hogan-balancing-writing-with-real-life/
     Christine Bryant                 http://www.christinebryant.blogspot.com/2012/11/dear-me-by-cindy-m-hogan.html

11 Gaynell Parker
     Elle Strauss                     http://ellestraussbooks.blogspot.ca/2012/11/created-by-cindy-hogan.html#comment-form
12 Renae Mackley               http://renaeswritespot.blogspot.com/
     Deanna Henderson          http://deannahenderson.blogspot.com/

13 Tamara Heiner                http://tamarahartheiner.blogspot.com/
     Carolyn Frank                http://franklycreative.blogspot.com/

15 C.Michelle Jefferies         http://cmichellejefferies.blogspot.com/
16 Deborah Davis
    RaShelle Workman          http://www.rashelleworkman.com/

17 Arla Cook                         http://leavemommyalone.blogspot.com
18 Melanie McCullough         http://melaniemccullough.blogspot.com/
19 Monique Bucheger            http://moniquebucheger.blogspot.com
20 Canda Mortensen              http://candamortensen.blogspot.com/

21 Rachelle Christensen         http://rachellewrites.blogspot.com/

 Cheri Lasota                      http://www.cherilasota.com/blog/
Susan Quinn                     http://www.susankayequinn.com/
Laura Pauling                   http://www.laurapauling.com/
 Sheila Staley                     http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com
SRJohannes                      http://srjohannes.com/
Magan Vernon                  http://maganvernon.com/
Katie Klein                       http://www.katiekleinwrites.blogspot.com
Julie Daines                         http://juliedaines.blogspot.com/
Sara Kovach                      http://sosimplesara.blogspot.com/

Jenna Cooper                   http://findingthewriteway.blogspot.com/
Britney Wyatt                    http://living-fictitiously.blogspot.com/

 Jean Book Nerd               http://jeanbooknerd.blogspot.com/

Kathleen Doyle                  http://writingreadingandlife.blogspot.com/
 Maria Hoagland                 http://mariahoagland.blogspot.com
 Sarra Cannon                    http://sarracannon.com/category/the-sweetie-chronicles/
 Elizabeth Mueller               http://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/
Carrie Butler                     http://soyoureawriter.blogspot.com/
Celesta Rimington              http://celestarimington.blogspot.com/ 
 Karen Hooper                    http://karenamandahooper.blogspot.com/

6 Debbie Roberts-Cluff        http://debbiecluff.blogspot.com/
   Karen Hoover                   http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I am so very happy!! After months of plotting, writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, I sent my 3rd Ginnie West novel off to my editor!

Whew... then came the second thoughts: will she like it? Will she get it? Will she want me to rewrite the WHOLE thing or make major changes?

Thankfully, my editor is a very personable person and as an author of 16 books, she knows very well how it feels to bundle up your 'baby' (or Manuscript in this case) and ship him or her off to another. She was gentle as she gave me a heads up about some changes she was suggesting. It turns out that she knows very well what she is doing (which is why she comes highly recommended  :) ) and her suggestions weren't too hard to apply.

As a matter of fact--I LOVED and applied pretty much all of them. And now I am VERY HAPPY to report:

SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN: A Ginnie West Adventure is officially done!

YAY!!! (Minus the cover, which my illustrator assures me is mostly finished.)

My illustrator, Gary Rasmussen, is the author of his own book: 90 Days in the Pen as well as an artist and horse whisperer and too many other things to list here.

In other words--he is a very busy man and I am so grateful he loves my West family enough to cover my books so beautifully.

In this season of Thanksgiving I would also like to express my gratitude for my friends, family, readers, and beta-readers as well as the experiences (good and bad) and opportunities that help me grow. I am extremely grateful that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with this interesting, crazy, up-and-down journey called 'my life.'

He has filled it with amazing people and adventures (inside and outside of my head. ;) ) that make it S-O-O-O worth living.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Laugh lots... Love much... Write on!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Who woulda thunk a picky eater could have so much fun, excitement, and adventure in the pursuit of a decent meal? Adam Sidwell did and in the process came up with a clever, entertaining book book that is sure to validate picky eaters everywhere as well delight their parents and friends. 

Evertaster delivers on it's promise to concoct an exciting time in pursuit of the most awesome taste... EVER!! You won't regret joining Guster as he searches for the legendary taste and tries to outwit the sinister chefs who want to stop him.

Check it out here:

Evertaster is an incredible deal at only $1.99

"Wonderfully talented writing; funny."
--Orson Scott Card, NYT Bestselling author of Ender's Game

"Sidwell is a talented comedian, and that is certainly reflected in his writing. The characters are quirky and likable." --Deseret News

When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother's casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.

Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.


 "One of the most original, well-crafted and imaginative MG stories I've come across in a long time." - WordSpelunking Book Review

About the Author: 
In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to
make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the
Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a
keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is
delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed
adjectives. He’s been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once
showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles,
where he can’t wait to fall into the sea.

You can learn more about Adam and his writing adventures here:

FB https://www.facebook.com/Evertaster

Twitter https://twitter.com/@Evertaster

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5828904.Adam_Glendon_Sidwell

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/evertaster/

 Blog Tour Schedule for Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell, 2012

Oct 10-http://whynotbecauseisaidso.blogspot.com/
Oct 10- http://www.ldswomensbookreview.com/wordpress/
Oct 15- http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/
Oct 16- http://fireandicephoto.blogspot.com/
Oct 17- http://www.christydorrity.com/
Oct 18- http://readerbenji.blogspot.com/ interview
Oct 19- www.ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com
Oct 22- http://wordspelunking.blogspot.com/
Oct 23- http://themomnerd.blogspot.com/ 
Oct 24- http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/
Oct 25- http://miriambarton.tumblr.com/
Oct 26- http://couponingwithboys.com/ 
Oct 27-  http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/
Oct 29- http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/
Oct 30- http://moniquebucheger.blogspot.com/

Nov 5- http://www.sugarbeecrafts.com/
Nov 12- http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/
Nov 15- http://mymommysworld.com