Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Story in Texts and Pictures, Or: I Have Hilarious and Awesome Friends

Long-time readers of my blog know that every year I attend the LDStorymakers writers conference and that it's a bit of a highlight for me. That's for many reasons, one of which is that I have been able to be part of something that had humble beginnings and has since morphed into something massive and awesome. That first conference had somewhere around 42 attendees. This last one had around 700 attendees. Growth, much?

But another reason I love the conference is the opportunity to rub shoulders with my people—with my tribe, as the theme and logo from the conference said.

Dan Wells with an ARC of his new book.
Read on for the story behind his awesome deviousness.


This year, I had a particularly fun moment in the faculty green room between workshops I was teaching.

Important back story: Child #2 is fascinated by all things psychological (she took AP Psychology and will be minoring in psychology come fall), and that interest began after I handed her Dan Wells' I Am Not a Serial Killer. She devoured it and went on to inhale the rest of the trilogy, followed by The Hollow City, Dan's sci-fi thriller with a hero who has schizophrenia.

It's safe to say she's a huge Dan Wells fan, and she's been eagerly awaiting the release of his next John Cleaver book, The Devil's Only Friend, which is for sale now but hadn't yet been released.

Dan and Rob Wells (both writers and both friends of mine) have a podcast where, a few years ago, they had an ongoing joke about this daughter; they mentioned her by name in every podcast for several weeks. They eventually took the joke all the way by having her on the show as a guest.

While in the green room, I saw Dan. I mentioned that it was too bad he wouldn't be at this year's Whitney Awards gala, because I'd be mentioning him in reference to my daughter in my introductory remarks.

"Is this the same daughter we talked about in the podcast?" Dan asked.

"Sure is," I said. "And she's a huge fan of yours."

Dan made a generous offer: "I have a few ARCs of The Devil's Only Friend in my car. I could sign one for her."

Yes, please!

He promptly retrieved one. But in typical Dan fashion, he wanted to have some fun with the moment. Here is the text message conversation that followed. Never let it be said that I don't have hilarious, if somewhat cruel, friends.

First, I sent her this picture of Dan holding the book, with the following text:




Her reply:



Note the profuse use of question marks and exclamation points indicating intense emotion.

Dan and I cracked up.

"What should I tell her next?" I asked.

Dan suggested a second picture. Fellow writer friend James Dashner, who was also in the green room, happily played along.




At this point, my child was bordering on freaking out. WHAT was her mother doing to her? She desperately tried to make sense of it all.



Her frustration was clearly bordering on tears. I confess that those of us in the green room were laughing our heads off.

But eventually we took pity on my poor child and told her the truth with a new photo.



Her reply warmed my heart. What parent doesn't feel a sweetness like nothing else when a child expresses true love and appreciation?

But then she sent one more text, a caveat:




Uh . . .

Universal law: Teens can't raise you up without putting you right back in your place a moment later.

Eh. I'll take it anyway. "Best mommy" under any circumstances counts for something.

Besides, Dan, James, and I had a ball creating the emotional firestorm that happened on the other end.

(Who says writers have to grow up to be mature? Pshaw.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Flash Sale on Great E-books!

I'm part of a FANTASTIC sale on different genres!! If you have friends who love to read, please let them know about this sale!

Thanks!

Imperfect Love
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $3.99

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp. 

But then a devastating test result changes everything. 


Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life. 


Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe. 


When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone? 


Imperfect Love is a story about sacrifice, healing, second chances, and discovering that although love isn’t always perfect, sometimes it’s the imperfect love that’s the sweetest of all. 



Spinster's Folly
Marsha Ward
SALE Price $0.99
Regular Price $3.99

Marie Owen yearns for a loving husband, but Colorado Territory is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors, so a future of spinsterhood seems more likely than wedded bliss. Her best friend says cowboy Bill Henry is a likely candidate, but Marie knows her class-conscious father would not allow such a pairing. When she challenges her father to find her a suitable husband before she becomes a spinster, he arranges a match with a neighbor's son.
 
Then Marie discovers Tom Morgan would be an unloving, abusive mate and his mother holds a grudge against the Owen family. Marie's mounting despair at the prospect of being trapped in such a dismal marriage drives her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
 
2013 Winner of the USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction.




A Portrait for Toni
Annette Lyon
SALE Price $0.99
Regular Price $2.99


Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? When Toni’s father lands in the hospital, Carter, as always, is there for her.

That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, the hot new guy at the studio, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away—then instantly regrets it.

Toni tries to mend the hurt between them, but instead of finding Carter, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

Purchase A Portrait for Toni on Amazon


Grounded for Love: A Reunion Romance Novella
Rebecca Talley
Price $.99

After being burned by her college boyfriend, Graham, book editor Serena Johnson believes the only dependable men are the ones found between the pages of a book. Her life in San Francisco is thrown into chaos when her father suffers a heart attack, and she books a flight to her small hometown in Colorado.

Graham McAllister, now a civil engineer in Phoenix, is dating a woman who has it all—except his heart. As the best man for his brother’s wedding, Graham must fly back to Grand Junction in time for all the festivities.

When a massive snowstorm grounds all the planes in Denver, both Serena and Graham are stranded overnight. Will this storm lead to love or will it simply prove that there are no second chances?
 

Purchase Grounded for Love on Amazon.

Once Upon Two Kingdoms (A Royal Romance)
Anna del C. Dye
Price $2.99

Freedom to Choose is Paramount for any human.

An arrangement made when Elizabeth was just a babe ties her to someone she has never met, never spoken to, never loved. 

Now she desires freedom—a way to choose her own path—her own husband. The moment Elizabeth meets Patrick she knows he is her soul mate. 

But when you are bound to a crown how is any choice your own?






Ring on Her Finger
Lisa Swinton
SALE price $.99
Regular price $3.99

What happened in Vegas should stay there, not follow Amanda home, newly wedded to the man who broke her heart.


After celebrating college graduation with her friends in Las Vegas, Amanda St. Claire wakes up with a terrible hangover and a ring on her finger. Her day gets worse when she finds out she's married to rich playboy Blake Worthington—the guy she has loathed the past four years. Amanda convinces Blake to legally terminate the marriage and they both return home like nothing ever happened. That is, until Blake shows up on her doorstep and Amanda has to come clean with her family. 

Together for better or worse while the legalities are cleared, Amanda reluctantly plays along, but then the unthinkable happens---she finds herself falling in love with Blake. 

Can they overcome the past? Or will it end their future before it even starts? 

Those who enjoy What Happens in Vegas and The Prince and Me will find a kindred spirit in Ring on Her Finger.



Nourish & Strengthen
Maria Hoagland
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $2.99

Chloe Taylor has the perfect life: a model’s figure, a husband who adores her, three healthy children. So why does she feel so much less than perfect?

After losing forty pounds, Chloe Taylor is finally happy with her body. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s not the one in control. When Chloe is called as the Primary president, she discovers that managing the highs and lows of a chronic illness may be easier than the ups and downs associated with family, friends, and church callings. Consumed by her own challenges, Chloe fails to recognize the issues her friends are facing and is in danger of losing their friendship.

As Chloe strives to develop Christ-like love for herself and those around her, she learns that outer appearances are far less important than inner peace and spiritual strength. But is she strong enough to face her most difficult trial yet?



Family Size
Maria Hoagland
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $2.99

Is it one-size-fits-all, or all sizes fit? A novel about friendships, faith, and fertility by LDS women's fiction author Maria Hoagland. 

Jessica loves being the mom of an ever-expanding family, but when an ultrasound throws her a curve, can she adapt with grace? 

Dragged away from home, Maya feels deserted by her workaholic husband in a land of confusing accents and church cliques. What will it take to acclimate and save her marriage--or does she even want to? 

Sloane is an algebra teacher and runner who would give up both to be a mom, but no matter what she does, pregnancy remains elusive. Can she adjust her thinking and find purpose in her life? 

As their lives intertwine, can friendship and faith help these women hurdle expectations of an ideal family size? 






Intercession
Vicki Hunt Budge
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $3.99

In The Darkest Hours of Addiction, A Light Shines 

When Jessica Mobley's husband abandons her and flies off to Mexico to meet another woman, it's the tip of the iceberg. She soon unravels his porn addiction and her financial ruin. 

Jessica tries to keep up an appearance that all is well, but ultimately she resorts to drastic measures to support her three children. She guts part of her home to start a preschool and rents out another two rooms. 

Her life is soon filled with new friends and activities, but the new friends bring problems of their own. Is hope and healing possible as they strengthen one another and rely on the Lord? And will romance find its way into Jessica's heart again? 

Intercession is a story of love and friendship loaded with drama, inspiration, loss and the tenacity of one woman who finds her strength in the Lord





Begin Again
Brittney Mulliner
SALE Price $.99

Escaping her past, Aubrey Tate moves to Southern California for a fresh start with her older brother, Brandon. Starting over at a new school seems easy with her cousin, Mckayla, and her two best friends at her side, but handling the new guys is another matter. Aubrey ends up in the middle of three rivals that each wants her to themselves. 

Mike claims her first and declares himself her friend and protector. Luke is the school heartthrob that stops Aubrey in her tracks, speechless. Gage is the mysterious, dark outsider that Aubrey can be herself around. 

How will she navigate her new life while she's still haunted by her past?



IDEAL HIGH
Valerie Ipson
Price $2.99

There’s no way I’m taking Blake’s place as president of the student body. As soon as the memorial for him and six of our friends is over, I’m resigning as VP. Really.
Except people say the fire was no accident.
(I say it’s way too easy to blame someone who’s dead.)
When I read the writing on the wall, literally, the bathroom wall, I know what it means. To get to the truth I have to come out from under my paisley comforter.
But, seriously, what stage of grief says I have to be the one to fix what’s wrong at Ideal High? Maybe I’m the one who’s broken.





What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters
Rachelle J. Christensen
Connie E. Sokol
Price $1.99

Is your daughter asking questions about friends, peer pressure, school, and even her weight?

As a mom, are you wondering how to answer them?

Welcome to the club.

But you can relax. Because we’ve asked real sixth-grade girls to dish on their top secret questions. And, we’ve provided time-tested real-life answers that work.

Add to that an enjoyable format. The “Just for Girls” section speaks right to your daughter in words and ways she understands. The “Just for Moms” section talks straight to moms, giving you information, resources, and easy-to-share answers. We include tips for how to start, handle, and enjoy the conversations no matter the situation.

Create connected conversations with your daughter as you explore these life questions together. Get plain facts and jumpstart questions. Discuss the provided scenarios so she can practice responses to use in real-time. Download decorative cards with positive statements and fun fill-in sentences.

Use What Every Girl Needs to Know About 6th Grade to make it happen. Together, answer questions and create connection.

You got this.




Interlude at Cottonwood Springs
Liz Adair
Price $2.99
Audiobook: $21.83 (or free with Audible trial)

Ruth Reynolds moves in wealthy New York circles. Heck Benham rides the range in the high plateau of New Mexico. 

When she comes west during the Great Depression chance throws them together, and they fall in love. But she's a married lady, and he's an honorable man.







The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Cassandra Jones (MG)
Tamara Hart Heiner
SALE Price $.99

What's special about Cassandra? Absolutely nothing. She's as ordinary as any other fifth grader. And yet her ordinary life is riddled with hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking mishaps as she guides herself through the world of pre-teens on the brink of adulthood. 

Cassandra Jones is the new girl at school. She's been uprooted from her beloved state of Texas and relocated to the hillbilly Ozarks of Springdale, Arkansas. She wonders if she will like her teacher or if she will have any friends. She can only hope school won't be harder than it was back home. 

She doesn't expect to have two close friends, and even worse, two friends that don't like each other. As she tries to make a spot for herself, will she keep her friendships intact? 



Best Kind of Love: A Reunion Romance Novella
Rebecca Talley
Price $.99

Brynn Sawyer is a successful project manager in Houston. When her best friend from high school convinces Brynn to attend their ten-year reunion, Brynn hopes she’ll have the chance to reconnect with Troy Richards, the guy who stole her heart back in middle school. 

Craig Dawson, an attorney in San Diego, is in a relationship that’s going nowhere and wonders why he can’t seem to commit. When he sees Brynn at their reunion, he thinks he might finally understand why. The only problem—she’s still infatuated with Troy what’s-his-name. 

Will Brynn find the love she seeks with Troy, or will she realize the best kind of love has always been right in front of her? 




Silver Linings
Kaylee Baldwin
Price $.99

Drew Westfall wants nothing more than to forget what he had to do in the name of "smart" business. Cutting off all ties with his parents—including handing over the entire contents of his trust fund to a charity—he takes off for Bridger, Colorado where his best friend has an extra room for him. It doesn't take long for him to realize that his business degree won’t do him much good in a town as small as Bridger, but he's broke and has nowhere else to go. 

Eden Torresi has every reason to wallow. Not only did she have to sell her house to pay for her mother’s medical expenses, but she had to drop out of school and is in a relationship with a guy unwilling to commit. But Eden isn't the wallowing type. Instead, she spends most of her time taking care of the seniors at Silver Linings Assisted Living. When she learns that her boyfriend's new roommate is down on his luck, she reaches out to offer what help she can. But the more time they spend together, the more complicated things get, especially when the seniors of Silver Linings decide to play matchmaker.



Six Days of Christmas
Kaylee Baldwin
Price $.99

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. 

Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children who seem to be multiplying, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother—someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted. 






Life Soup
Pamela Lynn France
Price $6.99 (ebook)

This is a true story told using the memories of a child - my inner child. It is a story of survival - a love story without romance, but hope. It tells of the age old struggle between good and evil, light and dark forces around us.

Jesus Christ has been saving souls throughout human history. Thankfully He is a part of my story...




Coming Soon: Firsts and Lasts

UPDATE: Firsts and Lasts is now live as an ebook, and it'll soon be available in paperback as wel! Get the ebook HERE . I've got s...