Indie Author Writing Conference


One year ago I made the decision to Indie publish My Own Mr. Darcy. It was a scary choice to make, but the way the stars had aligned, we felt like it was the right choice. But man, there was a lot to learn and I'm still learning it. On June 7, there will be an all-day Indie Writing Conference at the Courtyard Marriott in Provo. If you've ever considered self-publishing a book, you should join us. At just $59 for the day, it's one of the best bargains you'll find. The classes and teachers that are lined up are top notch and there's even food provided.

Here is the link to the conference registration page: http://www.indieauthorhub.com/p/conference-2014.html

Here is the link to the class descriptions and schedule: http://www.indieauthorhub.com/2014/01/2014-publishing-conference-class-details.html


See you there!

Books to Movies - Guest Post by Entertainment Writer, Spencer Blohm

            For readers all over the world, the classic film adaptation of their favorite book can be the greatest news, or the worst, depending on whom you ask. Hollywood has been turning books into films since the invention of the movie, and they show no signs of slowing down in 2014 and beyond.
            In response to the growing market for Young Adult (YA) novels, Hollywood has taken to adapting popular books from that genre, and as a result are reaping the financial rewards of doing so. Of course, you can’t exclude the giants of that genre, like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and the recently released Divergent, but filmmakers are now looking beyond the blockbuster best-sellers, and opting for more diversity in the books they bring to the big screen. Below you’ll find some of the most highly anticipated YA books making their way to the big screen this year.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
            This film, based off Lowry’s best-selling 1993 novel, is in a similar dystopian vein to The Hunger Games and  Divergent, but relies more on storytelling, as opposed to action, to capture the readers interest. It will be interesting to see how filmmakers try to convey the nuances in Lowry’s book to the big screen –hopefully they are able to do so without losing the core of the story.
            The Giver’s journey to the big screen has been a lengthy one that started nearly 20 years ago, when Lowry sold the film rights to Bill Cosby. Like so many other projects in Hollywood, it switched hands, people came in and out of the project, and it was picked up and dropped from too many producers to name. However, Jeff Bridges was always interested in being a part of it, so he signed on both as the producer and as the titular character. Joining him is the phenomenal Meryl Streep as Chief Elder and Australian newcomer Brenton Thwaites as Jonas. Rounding out the cast are Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift. The film is set to hit theaters this August in the US.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
            This emotionally charged teen love story is slated to become something of the teenage Notebook if it lives up to expectations set by the book’s fans. Starring the newly crowned YA queen Shailene Woodley (star of other YA adaptations Divergent and The Spectacular Now) alongside Miles Teller (also her co-star in the latter film), this book tells the story of two teens brought together by the cancer they are each fighting.
            The film, set to premiere in theaters on June 6th, tracks the journey of two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group for teens. Naturally, their shared experience with illness brings them closer and a relationship soon develops. However, as far too many of us know, cancer isn’t predictable, and living with it is an emotional rollercoaster. Pair that with teen love, and it’s set to be one wild, emotional ride.
           

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
            The Maze Runner is much more in line for fans of the more action packed YA adaptations. The book is set in a strange place called the Glade, where no one knows how, or why, they got there. Our protagonist is Thomas, whom we follow as he tries to figure out what exactly the Glade is, why he’s there, or even who he is.
            The film is slated for a September release, and the cast will likely provide a new batch of teen heartthrobs –especially since there are only two females in the entire cast! It’s clearly something geared towards a more male audience, which is an interesting move to make considering the predominantly female focus of many YA books and films.

            Of course, we can’t discuss YA film adaptations without talking about the reigning king of them all, The Hunger Games. The franchise is the most successful teen franchise in years, and one of the most successful film franchises in history, so Mockingjay should prove to be just as big as it’s predecessors.
            This time around the series focuses on the growing unrest in Panem, which Katniss is at the forefront of. She bows to the pressure put on her and becomes the “Mockingjay” or face, of the revolutionary movement. As with any revolution, things get messy and intense. The book has been broken into two films, taking a page from Harry Potter’s previous model, and the first half will hit theaters this November, just in time for the holiday season.


About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture blogger for Direct-Ticket.net. He always loves it when his love of book and film come together in fantastic ways, but isn’t above being bitter about the flops. He lives and works in Chicago where he can be found with his nose in a book or having mini film marathons.

Review - Immersed by Jennifer Griffith (The Last Ripple Effect Romance)




Now's your chance to pick up the last book in The Ripple Effect Romance Series. And it's a good one.

Jennifer's book is funny, quirky, and sweet. Her characters are so much fun and there are some really hilarious moments. I really enjoyed it and thought it was the perfect finish to the series. Kinda like dessert. 

Immersed is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, andKobo.

I hope you've enjoyed this series. It was so much fun to work with all these great writers and friends. 

Marriage Isn't For You by Seth Adam Smith


Marriage Isn’t For You: It’s for the One You Love
What is the best wedding advice you ever received? For author Seth Adam Smith, it was the advice from his father who said, Marriage is not for you. It is about the person you marry. These few words completely changed the way Seth looked at his relationship with his wife-to-be. Because at that moment he realized that an expression of love is not about the person expressing it. Rather, it is about the person they choose to be with. It is about making the person you marry feel loved. Seth’s blog post on the subject was viewed by more than twenty-seven million people, and he has been featured on several national TV programs including The Today Show. Now released as a hardcover book, these sage words make the perfect gift for newly married couples, those who have been around the block a few times, or anyone who wants to learn how to make their relationships stronger.
My Thoughts:
This book has a lot going for it. First, it's adorable. The cover is beautiful, the pictures inside are romantic and sweet and the advice is wise. It's perfect as a gift on it's own or as a great addition to that toaster or stack of towels you're giving at your next wedding. It's the perfect size to tie to the top of a package with a ribbon.
In this world of selfishness and instant gratification, this book is a breath of fresh air. 
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Review - Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson Book Cover
  Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
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 new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.
Fun, compelling, and romantic, 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.

MY REVIEW: 

I was lucky enough to be one of the first readers for Rachael's new book, Prejudice Meets Pride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It may be my favorite of Rachael's books, and that's saying a lot because I've liked them all.

I love it when characters grow and mature and you see them open themselves up to new things.Emma and Kevin were great. They both had issues that made them a little obnoxious, but so funny. And their interactions and how they overcome their stubbornness were so entertaining. I was cheering for both of them even though I wanted to shake some sense into them.

This is a clean romance with lots of personality. It was so much fun.

Savannah's Speech - So Proud!

Savannah told me several days ago that she needed to prepare a speech for school. She wanted help brainstorming ideas. We discussed self-worth, kindness to others, and a few other things. Last night she wanted me to time her speech to see if it was the right length.

This is what she'd come up with. I was blown away. I'm so proud of her.

To make a perfect crepe takes time. A master crepe maker mixes the batter well in advance, sometimes even a couple of days. This allows the ingredients to meld and incorporate, giving the batter a smooth, silky texture. Once the batter has reached its optimal state, the crepe maker uses a hot, flat surface to cook the crepe. He uses the crepe batter trowel to spread the batter into a perfectly thin round circle. Once he flips the crepe and you see the crispy, golden surface, your mouth begins to water. But he’s not done yet.
When the crepe is cooked, the crepe maker spreads a nutty, chocolaty layer of Nutella. Next he adds fresh sliced strawberries, along with fresh sliced bananas. Then in his expert way, he folds the crepe into a delicious little pocket of goodness. You might think it’s ready to eat, but you would be wrong. To make the perfect crepe, you can’t forget the chocolate sauce, artfully drizzled on top, and the generous dollop of sweet whipped cream. You know it’s going to be great.
What the master crepe maker has created is a crepe worthy of awards, blue ribbons, and hard earned money. Maybe this crepe could be the winning dish on Top Chef. This crepe could go on to make people's days better. Someone might talk about and remember this crepe for years to come. But wait what is he doing?
Right before your eyes he’s ripping that beautiful crepe apart. Piece by piece, the fruit is falling out, the chocolaty substance is smearing everywhere, the whipped cream plops to the ground. It seems almost barbaric what he’s doing to this crepe. He then throws every piece away for no one to ever enjoy.
Hello. I’m Savannah White and I’m a student here at Lone Peak. I’m here to talk to you about waste. Not just a wasted crepe, but wasted people and wasted potential.
In the United States of America, approximately 580 thousand people die each year due to cancer. About 120 thousand die from accidents, and around 69 thousand die of diseases related to diabetes. But each year 1.21 million babies are murdered through abortion companies.
We’re all against murder, are we not? People go to jail every day for killing other people. Why then, is it acceptable in our society to kill infants?
Every baby killed is a waste—a wasted life, a wasted imagination, wasted talents, and wasted potential.
Of course, pregnancy is not always expected or convenient. Perhaps it wasn’t planned, and maybe that woman doesn’t feel ready to have a baby. But does that mean she should be allowed to rob her baby of its life and future? There are always alternatives, choices to be made. Even though it isn’t convenient or easy, (we’ve all been in Health), there are people who would love and parent that baby. Isn’t that a better alternative?
Most parents would say teenagers aren’t easy or convenient. And yet we don’t sentence every difficult teenager to death.
Who’s to say this baby’s future didn’t hold something important and special. Maybe the baby that was just ripped apart and thrown into a garbage bag would have discovered a cure for cancer. Maybe this tiny girl that was just vacuumed out of her mother’s womb would have been the first woman president. Maybe this little boy that just had a saline solution injected into his home, slowly poisoning him and burning off his flesh, would have helped establish peace.
But it isn’t just these big things that are potentially wasted. Think of the art, the music, the movies, the athletics, the humor, the creativity, the love, the kindness, and the happiness that could have come from these babies had they been allowed to become who they were meant to be.
But no. They weren’t given a chance. Instead they were murdered. But somehow, in the eyes of society, this is all right. Is it okay to be the murderer of someone’s future. Someone’s life? Someone’s happiness and potential?
Are we simply going to sit back and watch this atrocity happen around us? Or are we going to be the people that encourage pregnant women to give their baby to someone who will allow this child a chance in life.
Imagine going to a crepe shop, watching a beautiful culinary masterpiece come to life. But this he hands the plate to someone who will appreciate and love it. This time it won’t end up torn apart and wasted. Now imagine a women who is pregnant but not ready to be mother. Instead of murdering the baby inside her, and ripping it apart, she gives the baby up to someone who will appreciate it and love it.
It’s time to stop the waste. 

Happy Birthday, Veronica!














Twenty years ago on April 25 I went to the doctor for an appointment. I'd been having contractions for a few weeks and he'd put me on bedrest so I wouldn't go in to labor too early. He stuck a large needle in my stomach and took a sample of amniotic fluid because that's how they could tell if your lungs were developed enough to be born without respiratory problems. Dad and I had to run the sample to a lab in Salt Lake and after about three hours, they called Dr Lewis and said your lungs weren't ready, so he put me back on bedrest.

Twenty years ago last Friday, we went through the same routine. The test showed that your lungs were getting closer, but they still weren't ready and if we could possibly make it one more week, you'd have a much better chance of having healthy lungs. So I went back home and went back on bedrest.

Twenty years ago today, Dr. Lewis took a sample of amniotic fluid. Dad and I drove it to the Salt Lake lab and then got a milk shake at A&W (by the lab). At about 1 p.m. Dr. Lewis called and said your lungs looked good and told us to be at the hospital at 4 p.m. that same day. We were so excited, but I was also super nervous. I'd never had a C-section before and I didn't really know what to expect.

We arrived at the hospital a little before 4 and they prepped me for surgery. About an hour later, our tiny, beautiful baby girl was born. We named her Veronica Lee White.

You were so little. 5 lbs 13 oz. 19 inches long. You were so skinny. Dad was afraid to hold you because you were so tiny, he thought he'd break you.

It was nice being at the Bountiful hospital. Grandpa and Grandma Higginson, Grandma Zesiger, and all your Higginson aunts and uncles (except Aunt Lori and Uncle John who were on missions) came to see you that first 24 hours. You were so pretty. You had big, dark eyes, a perfectly shaped head, and a little bit of dark hair. Oh my, we loved you so much.

You sounded like a little old man when you slept in your bassinet. You snorted and grunted and made all kinds of funny noises. Sometimes we'd just listen to you and laugh.

Bruce loved you so much. He always wanted to hold you and kiss the top of your head. As you grew a little bigger, you were very stingy with your smiles and your laughter. Sometimes I'd work and work and tickle and play peekaboo and make faces and you'd give me nothing. Absolutely nothing. Then Bruce would step up and no matter what he did, you'd smile for him. If he said "Boo!" you'd laugh until you had hiccups. I loved how much you two loved each other.

You have grown into one of the finest women I know. You're strong, you're committed, and you aren't afraid of hard work. That beautiful baby has turned into a beautiful woman who will one day be one of the most amazing wives and mothers. You're a good friend, a respectful daughter and a loving sister. You're an attentive grand-daughter, a thoughtful cousin and an amazing missionary.

I love you. I miss you on this special day but know you're exactly where you should be and where you want to be and I take comfort in knowing that even though it will be a couple of days late, I'll get to tell you happy birthday on Sunday.

Happy Birthday, Veronica

Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver


Description:
Thirty-seven year old Francie Davis, a recent widow and empty nester, gets to attend college at last. She’s sure her luck has changed when she also lands a job on campus that will pay her tuition, as administrative assistant to a history professor. When her handsome new boss yells at her on the first day of work, Francie worries she will never be good enough.

For Professor Alex Diederik, life is going downhill fast. Not only is his bitter ex-wife trying to poison their only daughter against him, but now his one place of solace—his work environment—is being complicated by his attractive new administrative assistant. She drives home his feelings of failure as a husband and father, and Alex wonders if hiring her was the right thing to do. 

Francie will have to put aside her hurt and insecurities or risk her dreams, while Alex must look outside himself if he’s to mend the breach with his daughter. And, perhaps, find someone who can help heal his pain.

MY REVIEW:

I have a soft spot for Second Chances 101 because I was lucky enough to introduce Francie in my book. I wasn't sure what to expect, partly because two of the main characters are a little older than most of the other main characters in the series. I was so pleasantly and instantly surprised. I loved this book. Loved it. Loved everything about it. Donna has told a story that is touching, uplifting, sweet, funny, and seriously entertaining. I whole-heartedly recommend it.


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