Thursday, November 21, 2013

Battle Unicorns are here! Introducing Warrior Beautiful

My awesomely prolific friend, Wendy Knight, has ANOTHER book out. I know, I know. You're thinking "What? Another one? Isn't this, like, her debut year? And isn't this her fourth book?" And being the informative soul I am, I'll tell you that you're partially right. One of the Feudlings books was actually a novella, so we can pretend that didn't count... but she also published another book as a pseudonym. So, depending on how you count, she either published five books or four and a half books. In. One. Year. Also, they're fantastic. Which isn't fair, but how can you hate her when you're too busy wanting her to write another one?

Also, the girl has amazing covers. Behold!

As one of her privileged besties, I remember when she came up with the idea for this book (earlier this year, naturally). For the longest time, she kept going on and on about battle unicorns... and how she needed to find a plot for them. I think she did a great job with a really fun concept, and I think you will, too.

Wendy has been kind enough to provide me with a short explanation about why she is drawn to the YA Fantasy genre. Since I'm similarly drawn to it, and we get along famously (yes, it's fun to flaunt my friendships with amazing authors, thanks for asking), this comes as no surprise:

Hi there! I’ve been asked to write about why I write in Young Adult Fantasy—what it is about these genres I love so much.


I love the Young Adult genre because there is still so much potential at that age. Life’s decisions haven’t been made. Young adults still have their entire future before them, and I love that. Me, for example, I have three kids. I write. That’s my life and while there might be some changes in the future, it isn’t wide open and beckoning like it was when I was a teenager (I thought I was going to live in Africa and study lions. Never mind that I hate bugs and the sun and don’t like to watch things die).  Teenagers can save the world, and I love that.

My reason for loving the Fantasy genre is pretty much the same—there are no limits. I can make up entire worlds, new words, new animals, new everything! There isn’t anything that can stop me but my own imagination! That being said, I do prefer writing urban fantasies—which is magic set in our world. I love the idea that there might be magic right in front of me and I don’t even know it. In Warrior Beautiful, there are unicorns protecting us, but we can’t see them. I LOVE that sort of thinking.

I started writing Young Adult Urban Fantasy because that’s what I love to read. Yeah, I’m in my thirties and I have children and I’m married and stuff, but still—those are my favorite kinds of books! In fact, getting me to read anything else is sort of…difficult. I’ll do it, but I may or may not be pouting the entire time. This genre makes my head spin with possibilities. So many things can happen, so many different directions to take it. It’s just so much fun!

 She's so cool, right? So here's the deets on her book:

Warrior Beautiful (Riders of Paradesos, #1)
Author: Wendy Knight
Check out on Goodreads!
Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Synopsis: Working with the ex you secretly love to save the souls of the innocent is almost as bad as working with a mighty battle unicorn who would be thrilled to watch you plummet to your death.

Scout is used to pain. Her body has been broken, her heart has been broken, and the only thing keeping her together is her relationship with her younger sister. Lil Bit be-lieves in unicorns and terrifying monsters she calls soul stealers. But unicorns and monsters aren’t real…are they?

When Lil Bit falls prey to the mysterious disease sweeping the country, Scout has two options – believe the doctors who say it’s a pandemic or believe Lil Bit, who says it’s the soul stealers. She chooses her sister and goes looking for the unicorns who are supposed to save them. What she finds aren’t the cute pastel mythical creatures she expects. Battle unicorns are big and tough and full of attitude. Who knew?

Unicorns are real and so are the monsters. Soul stealers are reaping the souls of the innocent, and the unicorns are fighting to stop them. But to save the world, they need the help of humans – the enemy they’re dying to protect. And first to sign up for the fight is the ex-boyfriend Scout’s heart won’t stop loving, no matter how determined she is to hate him.

**Must be 13 or older**
**Opened to U.S. Only**
**Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen**

**Winner will win: an ecopy of Warrior International, a Warrior Beautiful key chain & a signed bookmark**

Love it, right? Have you also harbored a love of flying unicorns?

Also, this was supposed to have a top ten list on it, but Wendy didn't send that, and I'm NaNo-fried and can't possibly think of one myself. Instead, I want you to tell me the one or two things that SHOULD be in a Top Ten Best Things About Befriending Authors List. Go!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Returning with a Vengeance

This last year has been rough for me. Wild, crazy, with a lot of good stuff and a lot of really, really bad stuff. My few regular readers who followed me here from my old blog know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, know that the day the world shifted on its axis was November 30, 2012. I'd finished NaNo. I'd WON NaNo. Then my whole life fell apart. Just. Like. That.

And, whew, it's been a bumpy ride.

In trying to save life-as-I-knew-it, I made a promise to NEVER again participate in the time-suck known as NaNo. Turns out that wouldn't have saved anything, but that's largely moot at this point. As is my foolish promise.

Still, this year has been too full of adjustment and single-mothering to leave room for such sanity-saving trifles as writing and blogging. I've read about half my normal quota of books, which pains me more than I can express. (Susan is getting ahead!) My NaNo 2012 book has been completely neglected since I crossed the finish line. I hope to someday go back to it, but maybe after I figure out what the villain(s) really want. I've been working a little bit on a new-shiny, but I've hardly been able to call myself a writer all year ('cause writers WRITE, and I haven't been).

So here we are on November 1, 2013. Well, I guess, since it's after midnight, it's technically November 2. I'm gearing up to do NaNo again. This is my third year, though I registered under my shiny old name, so NaNo won't acknowledge that I'm a veteran. I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm wondering how I'm ever going to pull off 1667 words a day all month when I've barely been able to manage 100 words a month--and that's if you count writing-related Facebook posts.

All day, the world has been conspiring to keep me from writing. I had 161 words--half of which had to be re-rewritten (my tablet neglected to save my brilliant changes before I could transfer them to the desktop)--when I finally started sprinting at around 10:30.

By 11:55, I had 1,739.

I'm back.
I'm a:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's here! Slayers: Friends and Traitors!

Hosted by
There's something about dragons that makes geeks like me geek-out. I have absolutely no idea why we so adore giant flying lizards known to roast virgins for lunch, but, well, we do. Probably because they're imaginary. I can't see us holding the same love if our loved ones started getting barbecued on a regular basis.

The Slayers series by Janette Rallison CJ Hill proves my point: dragons might be pretty and sort of awesome, but when if you're ever given a chance to meet one... run. Run fast. Actually, better if you can fly. (Not that that will save you.)

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Slayers: Friends and Traitors and I. LOVE. IT! It's the perfect continuation from book one, with teenagers acting like teenagers would if they had superpowers and were instructed NOT to contact anyone from camp over the school year. Also, if the danger they thought they had years to prepare for was happening... oh... NOW. Lots of awesome high-flying action sequences and on-the-ground intrigue. And high-flying intrigue. And on-the-ground action.

Have I mentioned that you can't grow up with the name of a bird without loving all things that can fly?

One of these is for a giveaway. Both are awesome.
I asked CJ for a character interview, so she, um, attempted to interview Jessie, one of the hot guys you can see on the cover of Friends and Traitors, the book up there on the right. He was kind of squirrely, but can you blame him?
CJ: So I’ve had requests for a blog where I interview my characters and I thought it would be fun to try. I’ve got Jesse here with me today. He’s captain of the Slayers’ Team Magnus. (I shuffle through my papers because I’m disorganized and can never find what I’m looking for the first time around) Okay, Jesse, here’s my first question: How do you feel about having superhero powers?

Jesse: (looking squarely back at me) I don’t know what you’re talking about.

CJ: You know, the power of flight . . . the extra strength . . . night vision . . .

Jesse: You must have me confused with someone else.

CJ: I’m pretty sure I don’t. After all, I did create you. I’m your author.

Jesse: (shifting uncomfortably in his chair) I’m just an average teenage guy.

CJ: Except that you fight dragons.

Jesse: (sending me one of his intense glares) Look, if you’re really the author, you know that certain facts about me are supposed to be kept secret.

CJ: But . . . I mean . . . being a Slayer isn’t really a secret. You’re on the cover holding a weapon . . .

Jesse: Would you want me telling your secret identity to everyone?

CJ: I don’t have a secret identity.

Jesse: Really CJ, or should I call you Janette Rallison?

CJ: That’s a pen name, not a secret identity.

Jesse: Pen name, alias, secret identity—it’s all pretty much the same. It means you’ve got something to hide.

CJ: (putting my papers down) Um, okay. I guess that concludes my interview with Jesse, the average teenage guy, who isn’t necessarily a descendant of the knights who killed off most of the dragons during the Middle Ages. Can I at least say that dragons are coming back and a dragon lord is using them to take down the government?

Jesse: You can say it, but no one will believe you.

CJ: Right. Thanks for coming, Jesse. (To myself) Next time I’m so interviewing Tori instead.

I'm going to have to catch Tori's interview, too.

Anyway, Janette has been one of my favorite authors for years and years, and I was thrilled when she branched out in to urban fantasy. I'm loving the Slayers series and honestly still can't decide which guy I want Tori to end up with. Just when one seems obvious.... Ah, I'll just stop there and let you read them yourself.

To that end, Janette has given me a copy of Slayers to pass along to one lucky blog reader. I'm sort of torn about it, though. I mean, I HAVE a copy of Slayers, of course, and it's personalized and everything, but it has the old cover with the egg on it. And I love that cover, but this one has a DRAGON on the front! But, well, the letter that came with it said I had to give it away, so I guess I will. Unless there are no entrants. Then I'm keeping it.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Launch for AWAKENING by Christy Dorrity--With a Giveaway!

Christy and I met simply ages ago when we were both writing books with the same name (only she spelled hers "Geis" and I was using the so-much-cooler "Geas"). We bonded over the insanity that was the general ignorance of the SFF-writing community as to the definition of the word... and the sad fact that it was probably hard to market a book when no one understood the name.

I eventually changed the name of mine completely to the oh-so-much-better Dusted (which is still sitting on a virtual shelf somewhere around here, waiting for some needed edits), and Christy titled hers Awakening: Book One of The Geis. AND she got her awesome husband to create a to-die-for (or by) cover for it. AND she's published it!

She totally wins.

Anyway, while I pretend not to be bitter, read up on the awesomeness that is her debut novel, then enter the giveaway below.

About the Book

. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities. After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened.

When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy. A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

Awakening (The Geis, #1)

Praise for Awakening

"AWAKENING is a wonder and a delight. Christy Dorrity is a talent to watch."
~David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of Nightingale

"I thoroughly enjoyed AWAKENING, a captivating and unique debut novel that creatively integrates Irish dance."
~ CHRIS NAISH, Riverdance member and Creative Director of Fusion Fighters Irish dancers.
About the Author

Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and is the author of The Geis series for young adults, and The Book Blogger’s Cookbooks. Christy is a champion Irish dancer and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

Purchase Awakening by Christy Dorrity:

Purchase Kindle Book Purchase Nook Book 

Ready for the giveaway?

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Congrats, Christy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Change of Plans Audio Book!

My awesome friend Donna K. Weaver is releasing the audio book of her adventure romance A Change of Plans--and she and her publisher, Rhemalda, are hosting a giveaway. 

And there can be two winners!

When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. 

However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.

It’s hard to avoid someone when stuck on the same ship, and the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So where do you fall on the audio-book-lover scale? Do like them? Love them? Hate it when the voice doesn't match the one in your head?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Works Blogfest

LTUE's annual contest is taking it to the next level in 2014: it's going to publish the winners in the newly-created Sibyl's Scriptorium! To celebrate and to get everyone writing and drawing their submissions in time to have them polished up for the submission deadline, we're having a blogfest!

Because one of the three LTUE contests is for illustrators, I'm blogging about what draws me to a great SFF illustration.

Now, I'm not an illustrator, and my stick figures tend to look more like ants than people, but even I can appreciate the covers of Brandon Sanderson's newest epic fantasy series, The Stormlight Archives.

The Way of Kings came out in 2010 and I immediately loved the cover art.

The thing that's so great about this is that, in one picture, you get a sense of adventure, heroism, war, and that the landscape and the weather will be very important in the book. I'm sure someone with a better knowledge of illustration could tell you why it works so well, but, for me, I can't ever concentrate long enough on one spot to really take it in. My eyes want to keep wandering from the swirling clouds to the flag, soldier, spear, landscape, lightning, and back up to the clouds. The intriguing figure on the distant peak is shrouded in mystery, but not quite as fascinating as the rest.

Words of Radiance

The cover for the second book, Words of Radiance, was released at the end of July and it is just as awesome. Do yourself a favor and read the article by artist Michael Whalen, on This cover shows something interesting happening in the skies which will excite anyone waiting eagerly for the book to come out, but the most interesting elements are the characters. Kaladin, of course, is on the front cover, holding his spear and looking poised for action. Then, ominously, we have Szeth in the background on his pile o'bodies, looking very threateningly at Kaladin. If you've read Way of Kings, this scene can't help but excite the same feelings we experienced when we put the first book down: terror, pity, giddy glee at the thought of the coming battle, and a sense that something much, much bigger than either of these two is going to crash down on them both.

Do you judge books by their covers? Do you think that's fair or just to be expected?

Also see my blog post about what I like in a short story on the brand-spanking new Sibyl's Scriptorium blog.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Best Way to Kick-Start your blogging? A Blogfest!

Some of you may know that I've rather swiftly infiltrated the LTUE hierarchy and, in 3 short years, volunteered my way from She-who-had-never-heard-of-LTUE to Pitch Master. Then, during LTUE 2013, I agreed to be the Assistant Contest Coordinator. Coooool. :)

All of which leads up to this: we're having an LTUE Blogfest to advertise the contest for next year. Next year is gonna be huge because not only do we have amazing celebrity judges, but we also will be PUBLISHING THE WINNERS! Which is much cooler than me.

To gear up for the contest, which opens to submissions in a couple months, the Blogfest will explore What Works? What sci-fi or fantasy short story, poem, or illustration struck a chord with you, impressed you in some way, or made you recommend it, go back to it, ponder on it, etc?

Get all the deets at the LTUE blog, and make sure you sign up on the Linky list.

Cover Reveal: Feudlings in sight by Wendy Knight

To help me come back from my blogging haitus, I'm posting twice today. :)

First, a cover reveal! With a rafflecopter giveaway!

I'm again impressed by the awesomeness of Wendy Knight's covers. This one is a Fate on Fire novella, Feudlings in Sight! Available Thursday on Astraea Press, Amazon, and all other major ebook retailers.


Boys of war suck at romance.

Charity Delyle has lived in the shadow of her Prodigy cousin and his powerful Guard since the day she was born. And she doesn’t mind—really. Except that being in Hunter’s shadow means that he can’t see her. And she’d like that to change.

Hunter has one purpose in life: Protect the Prodigy, or die trying. That means a social life, school, and even Charity come last until the war is over. For the most part, he’s okay with that—he can lose everything if he has to…except his seer.

Starting at a new school should be much safer than living in a war-ravaged Carules headquarters. But this new school is different than the others. Friendships are forged and destinies are questioned, and Hunter’s decision could cost them all everything they’ve been hoping for.

“Okay, do you want to practice the ones we learned last week or just start new ones?” She had carefully color-coded the spell book with sticky tabs — spells they had mastered, spells they had practiced, spells that would come in handy one day — she was very organized. And if the Council ever found out she put sticky tabs in a book that was over three hundred years old, they would kill her completely dead.
“Learn as much as you can, Shane. Gonna be hard to find a place to practice in the mountains of Utah, surrounded by Normals.” Hunter idly traced spells in the air, letting them fizzle and die without igniting them.

“Well, alright.” Charity flipped to the red section — spells that would come in handy one day. She started at the top. “This one is called an Al-able.” The odd word rolled awkwardly off her tongue. “It’s like… it looks like it’s sort of a flat triangle of flames.”

Hunter and Shane both walked over, studying the spell in the book before tracing it slowly into the air. The spell wouldn’t actually ignite until they lit it with the flames roiling through their blood, but they both wanted to make sure they could do it correctly so as not to explode them all to pieces or something.

“No, no, Hunter. Less harsh lines. Softer.” Charity glanced down at the page and then up at Hunter’s disaster of an attempt. Sighing she laid the book on the metal next to her and pushed herself to her feet. She took Hunter’s hand, trying hard to ignore the way her own blood seemed to explode into flames. There’s no magic there, she told herself harshly. “Like this.” She led his hand through the spell until the air smoked and the image burned in front of them. She looked up, got caught in his gold eyes. He watched her, an unreadable look on his face.
It made her heart stutter in her chest.

Before he could say anything she dropped his hand. “Now try it on your own. I can’t do everything for you, you know.” Charity grinned playfully, dodging out of the way as he tried to push her over. She rescued the book from the twisted metal and perched, watching them expectantly. “Go. Do something.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Give the girl a book and she’s suddenly the boss.” He moved away several feet so he wouldn’t accidentally ignite her. He’d done it before, and Charity didn’t relish the idea of it happening again.

BIO: Wendy Knight was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, etcetera, etcetera). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big: her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S. You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion may be. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

Twitter: @wjk8099
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sometimes Hiatuses are Unplanned

It's been over a month since my last post.

It's been longer than that since I've written in my WIP. Any of them. Including the new-shiny.

This Thursday will mark six months since my divorce.

Next week is eight months since the world turned upside down and I had to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about the one person I'd sworn to love forever.

A week and a half ago, that person swore to love someone else till death do they part.

Sometimes creative energy has to be diverted to bolster fried logic centers. And to compensate for a brain made so much mush by too little sleep.

I'll be back. Not sure when--this working-single-mom gig takes a lot of time, but summer is gonna be over eventually and I'll be able to get the restless natives to go to bed at a more reasonable hour. Methinks. Mehopes. Meprays.

Meanwhile, I'm pretending that my subconscious is hard at work on my WIP. Maybe by the time I can write again, I'll know who my antagonist is. And what s/he wants.

That would be nice.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Inerview with Parker, star of INSOMNIA by J.R. Johansson

Have you heard about this awesome book yet? Keep reading--there's an awesome prize opportunity at the bottom. If you're a writer, you'll want it....

I first met Parker when he was still a bit rough around the edges--his author, J.R. "Jenn" Johansson was in my writer's group and I had the pleasure of critiquing INSOMNIA before she got her agent. I was so amazed at her talent, I told her she was going to be published very, very soon. Once again, I have proven my prophetic prowess.

'Cause it's all about ME.

Ahem. Anyway.

Parker is one of those heroes who could also turn out to be the villain in his own story. As such, I sat down with him recently and had a little heart-to-heart. He had some 'splainin to do....
Me: So, Parker, you know stalking is a crime, right?
Parker: You're kidding, I hadn't heard... aren't you supposed to read me my rights or give me a phone call or something?
Me: No, this is just a friendly conversation: you're not in custody, and you can leave at any time. Do you WANT to be arrested? Is there some reason you SHOULD be arrested?
Parker: No reason that I know of. I can handle friendly, as long as it stays that way.
Me: Good, good. So tell me about this girl you... like.
Parker: Girl? What girl?
Me: The girl you're stalking, Parker. The girl who tells me you're always just around every corner, waiting for her. Ring a bell?
Parker: I walk around a lot of corners. Daily really...I kind of thought everyone did.
Me: Sure, sure. What's more unusual is when the same person is waiting behind each. And. Every. One of them.
Parker: This is feeling less friendly...
Me: I'm guessing she feels the same way about you, Parker. Just what exactly is she supposed to think when you keep popping up?
Parker: That we go to the same school? Live in the same town? Look...I don't want to hurt her and I never would.
Me: Really? Then why are you sending her threatening emails?
Parker: I wasn't. I wouldn' that.
Me: Uh-huh. So these emails from your email address aren't from you. Really.
Parker: My email? They can't be from my email...
Me: Fine, deny it. The evidence speaks for itself. Just do yourself a favor and stay away from her, okay?
Parker: I'll do my best.
Me: Somehow I'm not struck with a real strong confidence after that reply. Is doing your "best" the same as staying away from her?
Parker: Sure, like I said. I don't want to hurt her.
Me: So she's not going to be running into you anymore?
Parker: We go to school together, I can't avoid her completely. But I'll try to bother her as little as possible. Are you satisfied?
Me: And you'll stay away from her after school?
Parker: I think I already answered these questions. My mom's probably worried. I should get going...since this is just a friendly chat and all.
Me: Does your mom know about your interest in Mia?
Parker: I don't know, maybe we'll have a chat about it when we get home. A friendly one... like this one.
Me: You know, I think that's a good idea. In fact, I think it'd be even better if I came along. Just in case she had any questions.
Parker: Nope. That's fine. I'm sure I can handle this conversation without your help.
Me: Fine, but just remember, I'll be watching you.
Parker: Seems fitting. Thanks for the chat. Have a nice day.

Okay, so Parker's a bit squirrely. You might have to read the book to find out what he's up to. On second thought, you DEFINITELY want to read the book to find out what he's up to.

Here's the cover description:
Her eyes saved his life. Her dreams released his darkness.
After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can’t take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he’s made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.
Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that’s utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker’s furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he’d go. And when someone begins terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker’s memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

Awesome, no? Here's what other awesome authors are saying about it:
“The perfect blend of everything I love in a story. I hope a sequel comes soon!” –James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER
“Completely unputdownable. I’ve decided to nickname Johansson: Scary McScarypants, because she spooked me in all the best ways.” –Carrie Harris, author of BAD TASTE IN BOYS
“Cleverly written and dangerously dark, Insomnia will take you to the brink of insanity. A must-read for thriller and romance fans alike.”—Elana Johnson, author of POSSESSION
“A riveting story of terror and despair that will keep you up long past your bedtime.”—Jennifer Bosworth, author of STRUCK
You ready to win? Excellent. Just follow the widget:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I've been in Jenn's critique group (have I mentioned that?) so I can tell you--you WANT her to look at your story. She's amazing.

Now get to know her. Stalking is encouraged. It's only fair....

J.R. JOHANSSON is a young adult thriller author published with Flux & FSG/Macmillan. Her debut, INSOMNIA is coming June 2013. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. When she's not writing, she loves reading, playing board games, and sitting in her hot tub. Her dream is that someday she can do all three at the same time. She has two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than her cat, Cleo, she's nearly drowning in testosterone.

In case you were wondering (and I know you were) INSOMNIA is available now:

Are you excited? Scared? Excited to be scared?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jori's Interview for the A CHANGE OF PLANS Blog Tour

One of the best things about being part of the writing community is that, inevitably, your friends start publishing. Donna K. Weaver has been my friend for a long time, and is one of the nicest, most giving writers out there. I'm proud to be part of her debut. (Make sure you enter to win free ebooks and swag, at the bottom of the interview.)

Blog readers will have seen this cover already, but it's pretty enough to show again:

*sigh* I love that cover.

Today, I'm pleased to share an exclusive interview I was able to obtain with Jori Virtanen, one of the hunky side-characters in A Change of Plans (hunky enough for his own book, as it turns out...). As you'll be able to tell, getting this interview wasn't easy, but I hope you'll be pleased with the results:

Me (quietly): I'm sneaking into Jori Virtanen's hospital room, where he's been recuperating from the pirate attack that has shocked the world. Rumor has it he was friends with the four young people still missing, so we'll see if he can tell us anything about them.
 Jori? I'm sorry to bother you...
 Jori (eying Robin suspiciously): What do you want? Haven't you taken enough blood?
 Me: No, no... I mean, yes, I'm sure they have. I mean... I just wanted to check to see if you're okay.
 Jori (with a you-can't-be-serious glare through his one exposed eye, before turning to stare at the wall): Do I look like I'm okay?
 Me (sighing, sitting on chair by bed): I can't imagine what you've been through. Who would have thought pirates would attack a cruise? I think you're so brave.
 Jori's face turns even blotchier, the pale sections turning whiter and the bruises, showing under the huge bandage covering half his face, darken. His mouth works but nothing comes out.After an awkward moment, he grimaces. Jori: I wish people would quit calling me a hero. I'm not hero material.
 Me: Well, you have to admit that there's a lot of evidence for the hero theory, right? You did what you did, put yourself in danger, and all because you cared about your friends. That seems really heroic to me.
 Jori: I was the only one stupid enough to get plowed in the face.
 Me: (laughing): I thought stupidity was a prerequisite for heroism. I can't think of a single fabled hero who carefully planned his exploits.
 Jori: (tries not to smile): All right. Point taken. Are you from the psych unit?
 Me: (smiles): Why? Are you crazy?
 Jori: I'm not talking to any shrink.
 Me: (grins) Then it's a good thing I'm not a shrink.
 Jori: If you're not a shrink, who are you?
 Me: I'm sorry, I know you're probably resting. I just wondered if you wanted some company. Sorry. I'll leave if you want.
 Jori: Are you really assigned to keep me company? What, am I on a death watch or something? Afraid of what I'll do if the Coast Guard calls off the search?
 Me (with a sympathetic sigh): You must be frantic. Did you know the ones who are missing well?
 Jori: Yeah. I did. That Jimmy is really going places. (Jori's eyes widen) I do know them.
 Me (winces): Sorry. I'm sure they're okay. Jimmy is a musician, right?
 Jori: Actually, he's supposed to be a rancher. Just graduated and is expected to go help with the family business. But you have to see that guy on stage. He's wasted in Texas.
 Me: What about the others? Maria? What is she like?
 Jori: She's Jimmy's fiancée.
 Me: His fiancée? When were they going to get married?
 Jori: They haven't set a date yet. He still has to break it to his mother. (Jori rolls his eyes.)
 Me: (laughing) And Braedon and Lyn? Are they engaged, too?
 Jori: Engaged? Are you kidding me? They're barely talking. Well, Lyn's barely talking. But Braedon and me, we got a plan.
 Me (leans in, intrigued): Do tell.
 Jori: I don't know a lot of the details, but Lyn got burned bad a while back. And she's afraid of fire, if you get my meaning. And she saw Braedon as fire.
 Me: Well, I've seen pictures, and that man is sort of hot. And he's a surgeon, right?
 Jori: I don't know about hot. I'm hot. Or I was. But Braedon is so approachable. He must have an amazing bedside manner. It was something else to watch the two of them before she got scared off, like something special was happening right in front of me. Man, that sounds sappy.
 Me: No, it sounds sweet. Did they meet on the cruise or come together?
 Jori: They met on the cruise. And hit it off almost from the beginning I think, from what Elle says.
 Me: Elle’s Lynn’s best friend, right? So you were friends with both of them?
 Jori: Will you quit talking about them in the past tense? Yes, I was friends with both of them. All of them. I AM friends. Now you're making me do it.
 Me: Sorry, I'm so sorry. I just meant, you know, before they went missing.
 Jori: Yes, they're my friends. The first real friends I've ever had.
 Nurse: Jori, time to change your dressing! (Stops, stares at Robin.) Who are you? You can’t be in here.
 Jori: I thought you were with the hospital. Who are you?
 Me: I’m just… a fan. I’ll be going. (Runs away before Jori can throw his water mug at her.)
Le sigh. Men with scars are sexy. Doncha think?

As if that's not enough, behold the Rafflecopter!
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Make sure you also order your own copy of this awesome book:

In closing, let me leave with the blurb about the actual main characters in A Change of Plans. Jori is awesome, but this ain't his book.
When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship’s make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. 
However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer.
Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.
Have you read it yet?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's my birthday and I'll b*** if I want to....

Last week I got a "flirt" on an online dating site from a 29-year-young man who wished me happy birthday. He was much too young for me (I'm OLD, yo!), but I thought it was nice. So I responded with a friendly thanks.

His next message was "Not interest ed." (Space included in original.)

I responded: "Lol. Well, duh. You're MUCH too young for me."

To which he replied "You're a typical nuerotic LDS divorcee...." (misspelling included in original).

If your blood is boiling on my behalf, thanks... but let it go. When I charged headlong into the online dating world, I knew full well what I was getting myself into. I didn't suspect that single boys had changed much just because they were single men now. I don't harbor a fantasy that everyone I "meet" will be mature and kind. People are wonderfully weird. They misinterpret simple communications all. The. Time. Especially when they're feeling vulnerable (which is to be expected on an online dating site).

I have had occasion many times in my life to observe first-hand the results when someone chooses to take a perceived slight to heart. To let it fester and grow beyond all proportion. Some people go through life hyper-vigilant for any offense, from a slightly negative word to an inconsiderate driver. My 9-year-old takes great pleasure of late twisting my words to mean something negative (i.e. "That was a stupid decision" becomes "You called me stupid! You think I'm stupid! I can't believe you would say that! I'm going to go hide in your closet until doomsday!") (Yes, this particular child is my mother's worst revenge for my own childhood. How'd you know?)

It's easy to see how juvenile this sort of reaction is. It's harder to see that reacting even to intentional slights is just as, well, stupid. (Yes, I called you stupid. Deal.)

This silly young man doesn't know me. He may have read my perfectly awesome (but limited) profile, but he still doesn't know me. He can't know that I'm about the least neurotic divorcee he'll never meet. Also, he's apparently one of those stupid men who goes around looking for offense. All in all, not worthy of my time or my angst. As soon as I'm done with this diverting blog post, I'm going to forget he ever existed.

For those of you NOT in the dating scene, online or off (lucky suckers), this advice applies to every aspect of your life--but particularly to those where you have to make yourself vulnerable in order to succeed (so, like, all the time). Yanno, like when you're querying a book. Or letting people buy and review your published book.

People are wonderfully weird. They will misinterpret what you've said, written, intended, etc, all. The. Time. They will hate what reasonable people should love. They will strike back at you simply because you make them feel vulnerable. Lesser. They will try to tear you down so they can feel better about themselves. And, no, these stupid people aren't worthy of your time or your angst. You can feel free to ignore their existence, because it's not important.

Like Anton Ego said in Ratatouille, "...the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." This is true for people, too. Even neurotic LDS divorcees.

So to all the haters, whiners, offense-takers, and their ilk, have at: Do your worst. Those of us who create meaningful junk, who are earnestly engaged in a good cause, and who refuse to waste our time worrying about what others think of us can't help but be more successful than you are. Not that we can remember that you exist.

We don't like to b**** about things that don't matter.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Bomb for Ben

If you're not getting the Daily Kicks from David Farland, well, you're missing out, first of all, but most importantly, you probably missed this one yesterday (slightly modified so as not to make the email addy quite so obvious):
David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—We Need Your Help
As many of you know, Dave’s son, Ben, was in a serious long-boarding accident last week. He is 16 and suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drum, road rash, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.
We are having a book bomb this Wednesday on behalf of Ben Wolverton to help his family out. You can view the event’s facebook page here.
For those that don’t know, a book bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.
Many of you have expressed sympathy for Dave and Ben and have asked if you could help. Now you can. We need you to help Ben get the most out of this book bomb. Right now we are focused on spreading the word and telling others about it. If you could share this event on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog, or through email, please do. This is a way everyone reading this can help, whatever their financial situation.
On Wednesday, we will have the book bomb. If you haven’t yet purchased Nightingale orMillion Dollar Outlines, please consider doing so on Wednesday. If you have already purchased them, you can donate money to Ben and his family here.
If you have a blog and would like to do a post about this book bomb, please email me, and I will send you some information you can use.
Please consider “attending” our event on facebook.
I don't support a lot of book bombs, since I think they lose their power if overused, but this one seems like a very worthy cause, and David's books are well worth reading (also, I'm in the acknowledgements of Nightingale, so...) :)

What the kick didn't say about book bombs is that the one-day boost in sales helps bring the books to the attention of many people who aren't involved in the bomb, since it makes it appear to be a bestseller... then they buy it, too, and it really does become a bestseller. If that seems like cheating, consider that becoming a bestseller is always more about luck and marketing than skill (witness 50 Shades).

So please consider spreading the word about the book bomb, then go buy a copy of either book on Wednesday. I've met Ben, and he's a really nice kid.

You gonna play?

We now have a website dedicated to Ben, thanks to James Duckett, who put it together. The site has updates about Ben's status, links to the donation page, and talks about the book bomb. The address is
For tomorrow, you should know that anything purchased through these Amazon links for Nightingale( and Million Dollar Outlines ( will help Dave. He gets a small percentage of anything purchased through those links. So, if you want to buy several other books or products tomorrow, with or without Nightingale and Million Dollar Outlines, please do. Those who are doing blog posts, please update your Amazon links to the two provided here. 
If I'm reading that right, you can follow those links and then buy ANY Amazon product and the Wolvertons will get a portion of it. So join us, k?