Giveaway update & Happy Easter!

Hey guys! I know this weekend is pretty busy for everyone so I thought I'd just do a quick post to 

1) Let you know I will be announcing the giveaway winners from the book blog tour and cover reveal on MONDAY (including one super-special swag item)

2) Inform you that there is currently a giveaway going on at Goodreads (see my sidebar to enter)


3) Celebrate this upcoming Sunday as a day of us rejoicing in a FINISHED work! He DID so we don't have to DO!

9He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9-10)

Two quick notes:

First, holy doesn't mean holy as in "act this way...". Holy is often misinterpreted as our own personal behavior but we can never be "holy" ourselves... it means "separated unto God". There is no way to be "holy" on our own; this is something God qualified us to be via the cross. He made us holy through Jesus. So in the New Testament, after Jesus has died and gone to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, know that His work is finished, and the holiness mentioned is because you have been made set apart unto God by Jesus Himself!

Second, grace means favor--favor not earned by our behavior, but simply given as a gift out of love. That's how wonderful God is... He doesn't look to our behavior, but His own perfect Son's! John 3:17 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." The truth of the Gospel, of the Good News, of Jesus' work on that cross is that God qualified us to be holy and blameless in His sight because of LOVE, pure and simple!

Here's the original meaning of "grace" in verse nine above (the New Testament was originally written in Greek, so here's the Greek definition):

 photo 1d80bae8-03d5-4873-8a0d-73c09c5e0860_zps651243e1.jpg

Notice God's grace comes because it is freely extended? It is not because of our actions, but because He is predisposed to lean toward us, bless us, give us that GIFT of blessing and kindness due to Jesus taking all on the cross! He Himself cried out, "It is finished." (John 19:30); let us rest in Jesus' perfectly finished work this Easter and always!

Be blessed,


Epiphanies FTW

Six months or so ago, an idea came to me. It was so cool. It was so different. It was so... me. I loved it from the get-go and everything filled my head so easily (I love when that happens), that I couldn't help but start working on it.

But, PIAO was getting ready to be released and, reluctantly, I set it aside. I've been aching to get back to it again, but plan on releasing IF I SPEAK TRUE this summer so I'm working on revising *that* first, now.

The point of this post? Two days ago, it hit me. I know people don't want Jonas & Hattie's story to end. (I don't want it to end, either.) I've been asked if their story is going to continue but there were so many other things I had to tackle first, I hadn't even entertained the idea. And now, I know. That idea, the one I've been so excited to work on? It's the companion novel to Pity Isn't An Option. It has to be. How can it NOT be?

I'm amazed and so excited about how everything is falling into place. I feel so blessed--He always lays everything out perfectly, puts the stories in my head; then shows me exactly where they go.  I can't wait to get IF I SPEAK TRUE's revisions done so I can work on it next!!!! :D YAY! So, it's official... the companion novel to Pity Isn't An Option is... COZENAGE.  Coming out sometime next year. *throws coffee beans*

Blog stop updates, Latvia, BRUISER review & more

Somehow I got behind on the blog stops this week and there are three to share today! :)

First, yesterday PIAO was at  Izz "Pingle"Bookish Place (link) with excerpt #1.

Second, Jonas and Hattie made it out of the US and all the way over to Maija's blog, Bookish Randomness in Latvia, Europe (link)! After Maija informed me where it was exactly, I had to check it out!


Pretty cool, right? I mean, they go on a little journey themselves, but that's nothing compared to Europe (see Finland above Latvia, a bit?) ;) I believe there's an excerpt there, too.

Third, Hattie's excerpt is up today over at Sara in Bookland's blog. (link) I'm noticing almost all of these ladies also have birds on their blog designs... coincidence? I think not!!! ;)

I also have a book review of BRUISER by Neal Shusterman (he's written Unwind, UnWholly, the Everlost series, and a whole lot of other books) over at Afterglow Book Reviews. BRUISER was a GREAT book! (link) There were lots of laughing and tears... as with all of Neal's books, it's going to stick with me for a while.


Last, I thought I'd do another little teaser and share a new photo from PIAO's Pinterest board:


There's a pivotal scene that takes place near Hattie's gran's mailbox (for those of you who have the paperback, it's the back cover excerpt). This view here seemed so perfect for how I imagined things to look in Wanless (though, technically, there'd be a little less grass and more dirt).

Happy Wednesday! :)


Pity Isn't An Option tour & other news

Happy Monday! A few quick things...

1) Today is officially the first day of Pity Isn't An Option's blog tour! Wahoo! The first blog stop is at Jenna's place--Coffee, Books, & Me. Head on over there to enter to win a free book and super-secret book swag! (link) I'll probably do a quick post every day for those of you who would otherwise miss the opportunity to enter the giveaways.

2) I'm over at Indie Ignites today talking about Igniting the passion for indie writers... feel free to check it out and show your support! (link)

3) Something fun for you:

After seeing Jody Hedlund add her Pinterest boards to her author blog, I just had to follow suit! Check out the For My Readers tab at the top of this page to go to Pity Isn't An Option's board and you can scroll through pictures/quotes that made me think of Jonas or Hattie (or Wanless in general).

Here's one that'll probably stump you unless you've read the book (it has to do with the nickname Hattie and her little sister, Lucy, have for Jonas):

abominable beans

(courtesy of

Be blessed,


When you're done

Not everyone knows my personal story of writing, rejections, and self-publication. I know a lot of people are posting their stories right now, and most probably have a better way to tell it, but basically, I ended up getting to a point where I was just done.

Almost five years ago, I started writing again. It was a glorious day, a glorious time for me as I began to soak books up again (something I hadn't done in years) and words came to me all the time. But unbeknownst to me (and many other newbies), regardless of how ready I felt, it wasn't close to where I really was.

Fast forward a few years. I had two MSs under my belt, two more half-written. It had been approximately three years. Query responses beyond the form were far and few between. I was very frustrated. 

Then, Lovemuffin got sick. And boy was he sick. And boy did that change everything. The darkness that surrounded our house (those of you who've followed me for a few years will remember me speaking of this) was insane. I can't even explain the horrible sadness, the despair... he went through a time of crazy (understandable) fear and suicidal thoughts and a whole lot of other stuff. The girls and I weren't sure what to do... it was one of those situations where we were at a loss... we just tread carefully, all the time... and tried to get by.

Right before this, I'd begun to write a new story. I had the two main characters in my head (a guy and a girl), the feel of the whole thing (loss, hopelessness), along with the main issue--the boy was going to have some sort of issue with his blood (something you don't see often in YA books).

I did not speak of the "issue" he was going to have with anyone. I was in my own bubble of words and feelings and Jonas and Hattie, and then, Lovemuffin got sick. With a blood disease. And it tore our lives apart for a couple of months. And the Lord came to us and showed us His love like never before and we saw His light and His strength and that He was the answer to everything Lovemuffin was going through, and ultimately, we began to expect and claim it was HIS fight to fight. (Which He did. And of course, Lovemuffin's sickness was overcome.)

The reason I bring this up is, I did not realize until months after THAT that I'd already planned for Jonas to have a blood disease, and then Lovemuffin had one. I didn't realize that I'd never told him this, either. Yet, I'd gotten to the point, truly, in those three-ish years where I was done. It wasn't worth the time, the wondering, the trying constantly, the continual hope that someone would feel my characters deserved the time of day. 

I'd had it. I was done. I was still recovering from those three months that felt like a decade of emotions. 

And then, a friend emailed me. A friend I'd never met in person, but had come to be close to simply by emails and texts and whatnot. And she said something along the lines of "I don't know where you're at with writing anymore, but there's this contest..."

It was one of the Secret Agent ones by Authoress. And so, I re-read that email, and thought about it. And I was done. I was done trying. I was done trying to force things. So I told the Lord, okay, if something comes out of this, then it means you want me to write. If nothing does, then I'm done. I can't handle it anymore. It hurts too much.

Well, I won part of the contest: the agent requested a partial. Then, months later, the full. By the time I received my "answer"--it had been an entire year, and the answer was... no thanks, there's issues with the plot.

I was devastated, but at the same time, not. I knew that that book was going to eventually be something. I also knew that, since it HAD been requested, I was still supposed to write.

I went back to Hattie and Jonas. I opened documents and journals up. I read words I hadn't read in over a year and a half; and I cannot even explain my amazement as everything came together and I realized that everything Jonas was dealing with was what Lovemuffin had had. His sickness, his symptoms... suddenly not only did I have the feel of it on the page, I had the facts. The concrete, emotional feelings, the frustration, the anger, the signs of things happening in the body. It was as if I'd gone to a class on it. I was an expert now.

Am I saying the Lord "gave" that to Lovemuffin? No. Absolutely not. Lovemuffin was going through stuff that I'm not at liberty to say here, but ultimately, God cleared up his confusion on the truth of His word and that's all it took for him to be able to stand on it and say I won't accept this sickness--it's not Your plan for my life.

Which brings me to close to where we are now. Except I had to query this book, this story of Jonas and Hattie, this idea that attached itself to my heart. And I knew, ultimately, in the back of my mind the whole time, that it wasn't my story to tell. That this was going to go where it was going to go where it was going to go, and I was simply along for the ride.

Enter a few more months. I began to receive emails about how the writing was great, but no one was interested in it. You have to understand, the closest explanation I have for Pity Isn't An Option is "contemporary with a dystopian bent", because really, there's a dystopian feel to it with certain elements, but not enough to count. So I was stuck in this random, in-between category deal, and no one wanted to deal with it.

Again. Done. But not in the way that you'd think I was. Because I knew that it was supposed to be sent out into the world. I knew it was time.

And that's how the process of self-publication began.

**Special shout-out to Lovemuffin: Happy Birthday, my love!!!!

This week in Wanless...

Happy Friday, everyone! Quick week recap in the Wanless world (that's the fictional town Jonas and Hattie are from) and some news...

1) PITY ISN'T AN OPTION is free on Smashwords until tomorrow, due to the Read An Ebook Week. (link)

2) Tuesday I shared both Hattie and Jonas' theme songs for PIAO (Pity Isn't An Option). (link)

3) Wednesday was PIAO's BIG COVER REVEAL over at Hafsah's blog, IceyBooks. (link) SHE IS AN AWESOME BOOK COVER DESIGNER. (Also, she's hosting a giveaway and I will be sending a very special piece of swag to the winner--can't tell you what it is other than to say it has to do with Jonas and Hattie and it's... blue. So feel free to enter!)

4) A bit of new news... Jenna (@CoffeeBooksMe) at Coffee, Books & Me (rather appropriate place for a book by me to be, don't you think?) announced her open sign-ups for PIAO's official book blog tour (Yayyyyyy... it's so exciting to get to say that!) coming up on March 18th. ;) The spots are filled, but feel free to head over there and have a look-see! (link)

5) PIAO will be available to order IN PAPERBACK next week! Wahoo!!!! I will post an announcement and add something to the sidebar over there -----> when it's ready. UPDATE: That was fast... it's available on Amazon for purchase!!!

6) Lovemuffin's cousin has a cousin who has a... (just kidding. Ha ha. Only two cousins.) recently came out with an album, and he was announcing it on Facebook the other day, sending people to check it out on itunes. It reminded me that though a lot of us in the writing world are continually saying "don't forget to rate and/or review books, it makes a difference" to everyone (it really does), this action would also greatly benefit other artists, like musicians. So remember that, when you're ordering online. One click can put someone's work in front of new eyes! Your fingertips hold a lot of power!

7) I've officially added buttons on the sidebar... so you can find me easier! I would love to reach 50 likes on Facebook before the blog tour, so if you haven't found me yet, I'd love to connect with you!

8) It's raining! :) I love rain, guys! It's the perfect weather to start out the weekend!

Have a blessed one!


Main Characters and Their Theme Songs

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

Not too long ago I did a post regarding two movie scores that helped with the tone of Jonas and Hattie's story in Pity Isn't An Option. (If you missed it, you can read about it here.) The reason I'm bringing this up again is I belong to an independently published author group called Indie Ignites, and one of our members posted Indie Ignite's Not So Infinite (But Pretty Eclectic) Playlist a couple of days ago. (Pretty cool idea--check out the entire playlist here!)

Along with the musical score inspiration for PIAO, I also had one playlist for Jonas, and a separate playlist for Hattie as I wrote. So when Stephanie asked us to share our main character's theme songs (or the theme song for the book) for the post, it wasn't hard to pick a song from each of their playlists to share as their "themes". :)

Jonas' is We All Fall in Love Sometimes by Jeff Buckley

And Hattie's is Gone Away by Lucy Schwartz

So what do you think? How do these songs make you feel?

Do you have a theme song for your life, or for your main character if you're a writer?

Tune in tomorrow for Pity's PAPERBACK COVER REVEAL!!! (dun dun DUN) I am so excited about this, as the lovely and quite talented Hafsah Faizal at IceyDesigns will be doing my cover REVEAL at IceyBooks! This is what I said when I saw it for the first time:


(No seriously. You can ask her.)

Oh and don't forget... it's Read An Ebook Week! Which means the ebook version of Pity Isn't An Option is currently FREE!  (You can get it here.)

Be blessed,


Join me in celebrating Read an Ebook Week! (Or better titled: FREE BOOKS!)

Today sparks off Read an Ebook Week, and as such, I thought I'd point everyone to the many freebies and promotions going on right now at Smashwords. For those of you who don't know a whole lot about Smashwords, it's a plaform authors use to make their ebooks available to readers. It's also a simple way for readers to preview, read and store ebooks. (Smashwords offers ebooks in simple formats so you can read them on pretty much any ereading device too, including Nook, Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader and Palm Doc, and gives options for online viewing via plain text, RTF and PDF.) It's also my distributor--it distributes the ebook version of PITY ISN'T AN OPTION to Barnes and Noble, Apple's ibooks, and other ebook retailers.

From what I can tell, as this is the first time I've participated, many readers eagerly wait for Read An Ebook Week so they can stock up on insane amounts of free and/or discounted ebooks. (In the words of Smashwords founder, Mark Coker, "More than a couple times, it crashed the site as thousands of readers overloaded our servers by stocking up on ebooks like there was no tomorrow.")

To read Mark's article about Read An Ebook Week, click here.

If you would like to take advantage of PITY ISN'T AN OPTION's freebie status, click here.

Remember, when you get a warm, fuzzy feeling (or any other feeling, for that matter) because a book has affected you, letting the author (and fellow readers) know about it is an incredible gift. Readers have the power to pass their book love along to others--a simple "click" of the mouse (on a "like" button, or star rating system, for instance) can make a world of difference. (In fact, recently I posted some easy, no-brainer ways about how to share the book love.)

Now what are you waiting for? Go stock up on books! :)

Be blessed,