Friday, February 24, 2012

Blog tour: "Targets in Ties" by Tristi Pinkston

This fourth installment in the Secret Sisters Mystery series takes our elderly trio of Ida Mae, Arlette and Tansy to Mexico. Ida Mae's nephew Ren is being released from his mission so the trio has decided to do some sight seeing before they pick him up. Then Ida Mae spots a man who is wanted for stealing antiquities and they end up in a wild adventure, collecting Ren and his companion along the way, and, of course, defying deadly peril to solve the mystery!

This a terrific book filled with drive by shootings, rutted roads, goats and escaping from peril (and cages). Fun for anyone who loves a good cozy mystery, this book is definitely not just for senior citizens!

Leave a comment on this blog post, and go visit Tristi's blog and become a follower.  You will then be entered to win this fun scrapbooking pack, including paper, tags, two decals, and metal tag frames. You have until midnight Mountain time on March 3rd to enter to win.

Tristi has lots of great projects coming up later this year, including another cookbook, the fifth (and final) book in the Secret Sisters series, Till Death Do Us Part, a Mother's Day book, and down the road, probably late in the year, a fun romantic comedy featuring people decades away from qualifying for Social Security, currently titled Turning Pages. This woman has been writing like mad! Check out Tristi's other stories on her website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Writing the Short Story

I've always been a long-story writer. My first two novels were around 90K each, and the succeeding ones have all ended around 70K or longer (for those who don't understand what that means, a 90K novel is about 300 pages double spaced in Microsoft Word.) Then last fall I wrote my first novella--and loved the experience. This month I've done a couple of short stories, which is a totally different animal than a novel, or even a novella.

Yeah, they're short, right? So the first thought is that should make them easy, but you have to look at them differently when planning out the plot. Usually there's just one story question or character arc, not the plethora that wrap and weave together to create a full-bodied story. That doesn't mean that short stories take any less skill to write (just a different set of skills), or that they can't be emotionally satisfying.

I completed two stories and posted them as ebooks after considering and tossing lots of different ideas this month. The first one He Doesn't Belong, is not-so-loosely based on my grandfather when he entered an assisted living center--though there's plenty of my own fabrication to make the story work.  I need to rework the blurb, but here's what I've got listed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords:

When the old man moves into the assisted living center, he thinks his kids are just shunting him aside to get rid of him, but an old companion--his harmonica--might be the key to building a new life. 

My other project was  Alone No Longer, which is a short story about my character Denise from The Ball's in Her Court (which my publisher just made available on Kindle last week) about how she ended up in foster care and her journey to finding a family of her own. The blurb on Amazon, Barnes &Noble and Smashwords follows:

A broken arm was the least of Denise’s worries as she hid in her room as her mother partied with friends in the next room, but when police arrive to break up the party she finds herself in foster care and a succession of homes. With everyone, including her mom making big promises, Denise wonders if she’ll ever find a place where she belongs.

I've decided I like this short story thing and have been playing with several other ideas for stories--both short and novella length. When I can make time between my other many (way too many) fun projects!

What new things have you worked on lately? Have you tried your hand in a new genre or played with poetry instead of prose?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book review: "RetirementQuest" by John Hauserman

In his book RetirementQuest:Make Better Decision John Hauserman, CFP (Certified Financial Planner) has written a well-organized book with clear explanations about making choices in financial planning for your retirement years. He clearly defines different kinds of insurance, the advantages and disadvantages of each; stock, bonds,  and other investments; and why one kind of investing might be better for one type of person or couple than for another.

He also discusses not only best-case scenarios, but worst-case scenarios, so you can plan for unexpected bumps in the road, and how things have changed from the way our parents or grandparents planned for retirement than how younger couples need to look at their financial futures.

John Hauserman, CFP  is the chief executive officer of Retirement Journey, LLC. He oversees the details of the RetirementQuest planning experience.

Baltimore Magazine named John a five-star wealth manager, based on nine criteria, including customer service, communications, value for fee charge, and overall satisfaction.

In 2011 John was named the Baltimore area regional ambassador serving on behalf of the Certified Financial Planner (TM) Board of Standards.

You can purchase his book on Amazon. You can learn more about the author on his website.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Final giveaway winners and news

Hi, I want to thank everyone who joined my blog tour, it was a lot of fun. We have two final winners for the contest:
The book NYC Murder, Brooklyn Style goes to Roberta,

And the $20 gift certificate goes to Robbin P!

Thanks ladies for participating, I'll be contacting you shortly to get the prizes to you.

This Saturday I'll be signings at the St. George Seagull Book & Tape from 11-1 p.m., and I recently learned Family by Design is going to be in the Seagull catalog that comes out this month, which is very exciting.

The Whitney Award finalists for 2011 have been announced and I'm excited to get reading! You can see who the candidates are here. These books have been judged to be the best of their genre written by LDS authors (regardless of whether the books are for an LDS or national audience) and there was some serious competition for the five slots. Check them out!

My book Rebound was recently made available on Nook--and should be on Kindle soon, which has me really happy.

Also, I have a fun short story I recently uploaded as an ebook to Kindle and Nook (as well as everywhere else--when it finally trickles through to them) called He Doesn't Belong that is completely off-genre for me as it's about an old man moving into an assisted living center, but the story idea just grabbed me and wouldn't go away until I wrote it. =)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Book Review: "Venom" by K.C. Grant

Samantha Evans is a young college grad embarking in her first grown-up job in advertising. She’s been with the new company for several months and hasn’t gotten the chance to show off her skills beyond faxing, copying and filing, so when she stumbles on an opportunity to travel to Mexico as assistant/translator for a team working on a tourism ad campaign, she jumps at the chance: and quickly finds herself out of her depths. The woman heading the team hates her almost on sight and snipes at everyone—except for the handsome freelance photographer who makes Samantha catch her breath and lose her train of thought when he smiles.

Strange incidents start to happen almost from the first from crumbling walls that threaten to send Samantha on free fall, to a mysterious man who follows them from one historical site to the next. The people on her team behave both hot and cold to her, and she starts to wonder if the trip was a big mistake.

Then she stumbles on information she shouldn’t have come across and gets caught in a byplay from which she’s not certain she’ll be able to escape.

K.C Grant did a marvelous job of researching the sites and culture of Mexico City, providing a rich world full of color and sound that you can imagine yourself in. Samantha is a smart, quirky character that I enjoyed a lot. The story had a little more travelogue than I would have preferred, and had a bit of a slow start to get to the main conflict, but makes for an interesting read and a well developed character. 

Venom is K.C. Grant's first mystery/suspense title, though she has two historical fiction titles: Abish: Daughter of God; and Abish: Mother of Faith. Read an excerpt of Venom and learn more about K.C.'s works on her website.
You can purchase Venom here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Show your love contest!

Because February is the month of love (and my birthday) the LDStorymakers Writing conference holds an annual 'Show Your Love' contest--and three lucky winners will get chance to eat dinner with top writing agents! So, you're registered for the conference right? (If not, pop over here to register--it's going to be awesome, and I'm co-chair, so I ought to know) Only conference attendees are eligible to win the Friday dinner.

Once you've done that, blog about the contest too, and go here to leave a comment and find out how to get even more entries.

Also, you can pop over the our Facebook conference page and like it for more entries. You'll find that page here.

You can also Tweet the contest for more entries. Oh, and while you're at the blog page, don't forget to grab the conference badge (as you see to the right) to add to your blog.