Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 was a VERY BUSY year

So, this year was kind of a huge one for me and my family. There were a lot of life altering changes.

In January I was still teaching Latin and struggling to get all my lesson plans done, my grades in on time, and expecting the small wiggling creature inside of my tummy to come forth in a few months. I thought I would go back, but ended up not going back. So, I changed my vocation to stay at home mom instead of Latin teacher.  

In March that wee little wiggling creature was born and I was immediately attached to her. She cried a lot, ate a lot, and slept a lot.  Now, holy crap, she eats cheerios on her own and crawls about to where her whimsical heart takes her. She is naughty and angelic not to mention the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. I also tell her that she has got to stop this growing thing, but she refuses to listen. She cries less, laughs more but is still absolutely exhausting. She loves to go outside, and it is nice and convenient that it is still 60 degrees in Texas this week. Her favorite toy this month is the piano. It has superseded her love of bath time.  She loves to bang on the keys and since I have a fancy electronic one that has hundreds of different instrument sound options she has learned how to change the sound from grand piano to the oboe or some other strange musical instrument I haven’t heard of before and squeals happily when the sound comes out different when she pounds away again.    

This summer my husband and I launched our own ebook business by publishing two short stories, Killer and The Missing Figurine. We went on one of our long walks together and decided to name it Wandering Leaf Publishing. You can learn more about what we are doing with the company at its website

Most of my current efforts have been devoted toward this endeavor. I remember breaking down crying (in my defense I was very very VERY sleep deprived) over the fact that I could not figure out how to use gimp, a free photo editing software that was recommended to us by Joe.  Whereas this month I made an original cover, did a hardcover layout for another cover, and made some cool bookmarks using this formerly foreign program. Huzzah! I had some awesome help from my friend Aneeka. We are grateful for her support and proud of how she has blossomed her own business this year at Not A VillianComic.

This October marked the year anniversary of our online writing group that we host over skype every week. These people have blessed our lives and we are so happy to have them in our lives as friends and fellow writers. Thanks Andy, Ben, Kayla, Megan, Alisa, and Joe.

This year Kindal wrote Badger, (I read it and LOVED it) Iron Angels, and The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley part II(so excited to read it!). So, he’s been kind of crazy and writing his brains out, but this is what he wants to do, and so we are going to figure out how to make this writing thing work.

I had a good writing year strangely enough. I typed out Alderik’s Quest one painful sentence at a time as I nursed Sera.  She nested in the bobby pillow as I put the laptop in my lap in those early sleep deprived days. This lead to a short story kick, and I wrote Christmas Cars, Twin Swords, Christmas Gingerbread Man, The Shoe App, and Ruby’s Piano.  I also rewrote my Sleeping Beauty and the God of Death story. I also stared a novel called Boys, Bells, and Blessings and got 20,000 words written. Not too bad for a new mom right?

November my parents left for another mission. They are currently in south England, and I had fun last night planning to visit them there next year. I am excited that might get to go back! I will get to wander around castle ruins with Kindal. Seriously people, I made this a goal when we were first married. Take Kindal to a Castle and next year we might get to do it. Better yet, we get to take the wee one with us. Kindal and Sera at a castle together with me! Huzzah! November we also lined up some cover artists. Found an Editor, Tristi Pinkston. Did the final formatting and editing to Wolfhound. 

December we published Wolfhound and Christmas Cars. We sent the True Adventures of Hector Kingsley off to an Editor. Got the Cover Art for the True Adventures of Hector Kingsley. Best of all is that we are going to be with family for Christmas! PA here we come.  We are so very much happy with all the blessings that we have received this year, especially for our little Sera. We love to see her little smile first thing every morning and love to chase her around before she goes down for the night. She is a sweet and active little soul that makes our lives more exhausting but also more interesting. We are thankful for the support of family and friends and for the opportunities that we have had to grow. We are also grateful for the Savior, who has got us through the dark days and helped us enjoy the bright ones with peaceful hearts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood
Seven children, all named after the days of the week, are left at home with two rules from their mother. The first is not to let any strangers in and the second is to stay away from fire. The children play while their mother goes to the market for food, but an old woman comes by and asks to be let in. They children refuse but she offers them a bag of gold. They let her in and are trapped in the witches spell. Their mother must come to their rescue and break the curse cast upon them.

I really loved this story. The illustrations are beautiful paintings full of light and life. The painting from the cover is what got me to pick this one up and take it home from the library. I also loved the fact that it has all the classic characteristics of a fairy tale story, yet I had never heard it before. So, if you love those fairy tale classics but want to read something new, then Heckedy Peg would be a delightful read for you.  This one was a bit long for the little Sera, but oh well. I liked it at least and so did the hubby. He kept peeking over as I read it.

After looking at this Audrey Wood's wonderful website I want to find and read more books by her!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Follow Friday

The Follow Friday Question is:
Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

I think I would choose Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Both are awesome innovative books that have lots of adventure and good characters.

Don't forget to check out the Wolfhound Christmas Giveaway while you visit!
Everyone who enters wins an e-book christmas story!

Wolfhound Christmas Contest

Alright people! It is officially December 9th and the Kickoff of my  Wolfhound Christmas giveaway!

The best part about this giveaway away is that everyone is a winner!  EVERYONE who enters will receive a coupon to download my Christmas story The Missing Figurine on Smashwords.

Two people will win copies of Anita Stansfield’s Chrismas novels Home for Christmas or A Christmas Melody.  Entrants will also we entered to win a free e-book copy of Wolfhound by Kindal Debenham if they participate next week also.

3 Ways to earn entry points:

Friend my blog

Post about this contest on facebook/twitter

Tell your blog readers about the release of Wolfhound

Feel free to snag one of these pics:

Remember to win a copy of wolfhound you must enter the contest this week and next week. Tell me how you entered and leave your email address  in the comments so I can send you a coupon to download a free copy of The Missing Figurine.

The prizes this week:

Note: I will not ship internationally, but if an international contestant wins the drawing I will email them an e-book copy of Wolfhound instead of the book prize.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paint Me True by E.M. Tippetts

So a couple years ago I read a new release by E.M Tippetts. Loved the cover, loved the story, loved the writing. Then I discovered that she had a falling out with her publisher over some contract details and I was sad because it didn’t look like I was going to read any books by her for a long time. So, I was thrilled when E.M. Tippetts contacted me to let me know that she had a new book out, Paint Me True. This time she had decided to indie-publish.
Paint Me True by E.M. Tippetts
The story of Eliza a thirty-year-old looking for love in a singles ward begins as she is breaking up with Len, her boyfriend for the last six months. She thinks he was going to propose and instead he throws her a celebratory break up dinner instead. With her pride hurt, Eliza limps back to her life as an artist, paining in an empty house that her stepmother can’t sell in the housing market.

Then she receives a phone call from her Aunt Nora in England, who has broken her arm and refuses to get treatment because she doesn’t want an x-ray. Eliza, having lost her mother, two sisters, aunts, and grandmothers to cancer because of a genetic mutation that runs in the family, packs and leaves everything to help the last living female relative in her family. While dealing with her aunt’s stubborn attitude toward all medical institutions Eliza paints scenes for Nora of her deceased husband to keep her motivated and strong.   As in all good plot lines not everything about Nora’s life is as it seems, as her medical conditions complicate, and her noisy relatives reveal past secrets, Eliza learns about true love, friendship, and how to change after making a huge mistake. 

My Review:
The breakup scene was hilarious and I empathized more with Len than I did with Eliza, who really was a rather shallow thirty one-year-old. It was pretty obvious that she looked down on Len for some of his nerdy and sloppy habits. Still, despite the fact that it seemed like this guy hadn’t bought himself any new clothes since his mission his genuinely caring personality comes out. Therein lies the genius of this romance novel. Even when Eliza is in Britain dating a hot new doctor, the reader’s heart is commiserating with the lonely soft-hearted computer/gamer geek back in the states.

In fact, it becomes rather clear that Eliza has made a huge mistake but if she thinks it is going to be easy to get Len back she has got another thing coming. E.M. Tippetts turns romance tropes on their head by switching gender stereotypes as Eliza now has to be the one who wins the guy back after her huge lapse in character judgment. In this touching novel characters are painted with true and realistic personalities that make them memorable, lovable, and endearing.  I laughed out loud, felt the deep loneliness of the single life, and was strengthened by Eliza’s patient faith in the face incredible trial.

The formatting of the book is beautiful with lovely chapter headings and a professional cover. As I reader I didn't like Eliza at first, as she is kind of a jerk but I think the novel does a good job of making her sympathetic by showing that she is willing to grow and change. There were a few typos, and there was a mistake when Eliza’s home teachers gave her a blessing. They sealed the blessing even though it was only a blessing of comfort and counsel and not a healing blessing. Despite these mistakes I loved this book and I am thrilled that I get to read another LDS Fiction work by E.M. Tippetts again.

Her next book is coming out in December, Someone Else’s Fairytale. According to her blog it will be free the entire month of December. So be sure to pick it up and sample this wonderful author’s work. I hope you love her work as much as I do and purchase, Paint Me True.

And don’t forget! It is Whitney nominating season!
Visit E.M. Tippetts Website

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wolfhound Christmas giveaway!

It is time for a Christmas celebration this December and so I am going to host a few giveaways! What are we celebrating in particular you may ask? Well, my husband Kindal is going to publish his first novel this month and I've written two Christmas stories that I want to give to you this year in exchange for your super blogging powers.

There will be two weeks of celebration December 9th-23rd!

The first week 9th-16th I will give away two out of print copies of Anita Stansfield's Christmas novels Home For Christmas, and A Christmas Melody. Everyone who enters this week will get a coupon to download a free e-book copy of my short Christmas story The Missing Figurine at Smashwords.

The second week 16th-23rd I will give away an ARC of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, and everyone who enters will get a coupon to download a free e-book copy of my YA christmas story Christmas Cars at Smashwords.

Those who participate in both giveaways will be entered into a raffle to win an e-book copy of my husband's first book Wolfhound.

Entry details will be forthcomming on the 9th of December.