Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pocket Full of Posies by Julie Coulter Bellon

Pocket Full of Posies by Julie Coulter Bellon

5 stars

Wow! This is Bellon's best novel to date. It is filled with intrigue, adventure, romance, and excitement.

I found myself anxious to get back to reading it because I had to find out what happened next. I found the characters to be well-developed and flawed, making them realistic and interesting. Even the villain was layered enough to make me almost like him. Almost.

I was so impressed with the realism of the plot. Bellon masterfully weaves in details that make you feel like you a right in the middle of the action. Twists and turns kept me riveted to the story. I kept wondering how the characters would solve the problems and get out of the situations and Bellon kept surprising me with unexpected twists. 

I highly recommend this book. It's a page-turner, so make sure you have enough time to read it.

You can purchase Pocket Full of Posies here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Indie Author Resources Blog Fest

indie resources blog fest

I published my first four books with traditional publishers. I submitted the manuscripts and waited to hear if they were accepted or not. After acceptance, I worked with editors a bit. I had no say in the cover design. In fact, I loved one of my covers but was concerned about it before publication. After publication, that book was not carried in bookstores because of the cover. In essence, I was punished because of the cover designer's choice and I had no option but to accept my book wouldn't be carried in bookstores. I couldn't change covers or make any edits to that cover I also had no say in the release date, and I was responsible for almost all of the marketing. I loved publishing traditionally, but decided I wanted to try it on my own. Others I knew had made the plunge, do I dove in as well. I'm still learning about indie publishing every day, but I have found an excellent cover designer I want to recommend.

Karlene Browning at LibrisPro designed the cover for my book, Aura. Here's a link to that cover and the back cover. She did a fantastic job and really captured the essence of my main character and the feeling of the story. She is so easy to work with and her prices are very reasonable. She has designed other covers and is very tech-savvy. She's honest and dependable and works quickly.

Here's a link to her portfolio.

Here's the link to her website.

You can go here and find other professionals involved in this blog fest.

Welcome to indie publishing!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cell Phones and Relationships

Here in the Houston area when someone goes on a first date and doesn't get a call back, he/she can go to a website for a local radio show and fill out a form for the radio hosts to call the person and ask why he/she didn't call back after the first date. The hosts ask all sorts of questions and the person who filled out the form is listening in on the responses. That's the set-up. Really embarrassing, wouldn't you agree? I mean, obviously, if you went on a first date and the person doesn't call again, it's pretty clear that the date did not go well. And, let's face it, it's almost always women who initiate this to see why the man they went out with didn't call back.

This segment comes on while I drive back home after taking kids to school. I always think I should turn it off because it's so uncomfortable. I feel embarrassed for everyone involved. But it's one of those "I can't look away" situations. I'm embarrassed, but I want to hear why the guy didn't call back.

This morning's segment was a woman whose friends had signed her up for an online dating service. She'd received a note from a guy and agreed to a coffee date. She thought the date went well and she liked the guy, but he never called her back.  When the radio hosts got him on the phone, he explained that he didn't want to go on another date with her, because during the coffee date all she did was text, answer emails, and talk on her phone. He felt like he was on the date by himself. She countered that her job is stressful and she had to take those calls and answer the emails. The hosts told her that maybe this wasn't a good time for her to date if she's that busy.

This situation made me think of myself. How do I use my phone?Honestly, I am totally guilty of texting or reading texts while my kids are trying to talk to me. The majority of the time, I am texting one of my other kids. Sometimes, I am also emailing or reading emails. Some of that time is directly related to an issue with one of my kids (lately it has been about trying to get services for my son at school, but that's beside the point). The point is, back in the day, there were no cell phones, no email, no Facebook, no Twitter. We actually had interactions with live people and I think we had better relationships with them. I think technology is robbing us of establishing and maintaining relationships.

We have so little time to spend with the people who matter most to us. Some days it does feel like raising kids will last forever, but then, in a blink of an eye, they are on a mission, or at college, or married with their own babies. Once time has gone by, it doesn't come back. You can't save it and you can't stock up on it. Once it's gone, it's gone forever.

I need to be better at putting my phone away and truly listening to my kids, to my husband, to my friends. I need to stop allowing an electronic device to undermine my relationships. I feel like I don't have enough time with my kids as it is and I shouldn't be wasting that time surfing FB on my phone.

At the end of the day, relationships are what matter. I am going to put my phone away and focus on face-to-face interactions with my family when they are around. Yes, I will still text my other kids and family members because sometimes that's the only communication I have with them that day, but I am going to focus on not doing it at the expense of my other kids or my husband.

Monday, January 13, 2014

7 Romance Novels for $.99

Romance Through the Ages
Coming February 1, 2014 Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.   *7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*   99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It's hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town's charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?... Why can't Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive... or at least not trying to kill him?

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

Giveaway Details $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/1/14 Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash. See details in the Rafflecopter. Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My New Cover: Imperfect Love

Isn't it beautiful? I love it.

If you'd like to participate in the blog tour March 19th-28th, you can go here and sign up.

You can also enter a contest to win PayPal cash or an Amazon gift card if you go here.

Thanks for your support!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Because It Mattered to Me

My parents were married very young. My dad worked his way up from a box-boy at Jordano's Grocery Store to assistant manager. They didn't have much money, but they were deeply in love. I'm not sure if it was for Christmas, a birthday, or their anniversary, but my dad gave my mom a tiny pair of diamond stud earrings. My mom loved these earrings. Even more so after my father was killed at the age of 25 and left my mom with two small children. When my mother died a few years later, she was wearing these earrings. My sister and I inherited the earrings and decided to split the pair, each taking one earring. I put that earring in my ear and wore it for years in addition to another pair of earrings (because I had two piercings in my ears). I never took it out. It was, somehow, a connection to the intense love my parents shared for only a short time. As silly as it seems, wearing that earring made me feel close to my parents. Since I have very few memories of them together, this earring seemed to capture the romantic notion of their relationship that I've created in my mind. Some years ago, I heard a talk by President Hinckley when he asked women to wear only one pair of earrings. I was devastated. This earring was so close to my heart and represented my parents. I struggled with this request. I wanted to be obedient, but I also wanted to keep this earring close to me because of its sentimental value. I finally decided it was more important to be obedient to the prophet even if I didn't quite understand or agree. I reluctantly placed the earring in my jewelry box where I've kept it since then. I've put it in my ear, without adding another pair of earrings, when I wanted to especially keep it safe. I did this when I moved to Texas. When we were leaving for CO for Christmas vacation a few weeks ago, I wanted to put the earring in so it'd be with me and I could keep it safe (I always take it with me when I travel). I searched through my jewelry box three times, but couldn't find it. I looked through my closet, in drawers, on the floor around the jewelry box. I asked my kids if they'd seen it. No one had, and it was nowhere to be found. Since we were trying to leave for a 16 hour trip, I decided I'd have to search more when I got back to TX. On the drive, I said some prayers and asked that if it was to be found, I'd find it. I thought about it while in CO and even told my sister I thought I'd lost it. It made me sick to think my mom's earring was gone. I felt very sad, but believed that Heavenly Father would hear my prayers and kept hoping I'd find it. When we returned to TX, I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the jewelry I'd taken for the trip. I dumped out the jewelry and started putting bracelets and necklaces and earrings away. Suddenly, I saw it. My mom's tiny diamond stud earring. It had somehow, some way, gotten into the plastic bag I'd packed other jewelry in. Or did it? Some may believe that I'd inadvertently put it in there, but I know that's not true. I know that I never touched it and never even saw it before we left for CO, which is why I so desperately searched for it. Because it mattered to me, it mattered to Heavenly Father. An earring itself doesn't matter to God, but because I matter to Him, this earring mattered to Him. Somehow, He placed that earring in that plastic bag. This may seem a simple thing, but for me it is clearly an indication that Heavenly Father cares for me, and what's important to me is important to Him. My testimony of His love has been strengthened through allowing me to find the symbol of my parent's love. He loves me. He loves you. He loves us all. And He shows it to us all the time if we will take the time to look. Yes, the earring is my ear right now.