Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Sale!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and I hope you're all enjoying this Black Friday!  In the spirit of spending and giving I have lowered the price of my book so that no one has an excuse! 
From now until December 31st Veiled will be on Super Duper Sale!

$.99  E-Boook from Amazon and Smashwords

$12.00 Paperback if you buy it through me!  (Free Shipping U.S. only)

So buy your copy today and entertain someone you care about with Veiled. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Givaways this way!

If you're in the mood to win some free books,
come on over to
and enter to win! 
From there click on the links below and hop from blog to blog and enter as many giveaways as you want.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vote here!

Voting booth with flagIf you are feeling like you need to voice your opinion...go to Goodreads and Vote for Veiled!

That's right! Veiled has been nominated as one of Goodreads Favorite YA Angels Books, but I need your vote!!!

So please take a minute and VOTE HERE!

Thank you so much :) S.B.~

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews.

Publishing is an amazing journey. There is so much to learn along the way. Finishing a manuscript is only the beginning of a seemingly never ending journey.

After you finish your book you edit, after you edit and edit and edit, you find an agent or a publisher. You can also go the Indie way, which is an ever growing trend thanks to the many new options we have today. But no matter how you publish, that is not the end…oh no.

As I look around me and try to find what makes a book successful, I find that there is not one recipe. One thing I’ve found to be a key ingredient in making your work sell is simply, that it be known.

Here is where book reviewers come in. You can never underestimate the combined power of book reviewers…yet you can’t let them get to you either. The combination is a bitter sweet sauce that you simply have to roll with. Some reviewers will love your work, some will not. But in the end, booksellers like Amazon grab your average rating and turn it into a bestseller list.

While I’m still trying to climb my way out of obscurity, I am proud to say that my ratings are pretty darn good! But I still have a long ways to go before I make any lists. So if you are a reviewer, or would like to review my book, I would love to give you that chance! If you are an author and are interested in an exchange of reviews, let me know as well…hey! We’re in the same boat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meet Author Meagan Frank

"You don’t have to be born into the right place, nor do you have to have had all the right things given to you to improve your own life." M.F.

Meagan, I actually share a publisher.  TreasureLine Books & Publishing and that's how I first met Meagan.  When her book, Choosing To Grow Through Marriage came out, I bought it because I had been on Meagan's blog and was so impressed with what she had to say. 
I was not disappointed.  Though a non-fiction, her book read like a fiction novel.  I was sucked in and couldn't put it down.  Her journey and her insight are very real and very relateable dilemmas that we all face at one point or another during our married lives. So I recommend you read this book and even have a "Tea Party" with your book club friends when you're done, so you can discuss this very important topic.  
First lets get a little background on Meagan.  Tell us a little bit about yourself .   

I'm a writer.  Actually, I’ve always been a writer, but I’m finally attempting to make writing a career. I am a mother of three great kids, ages 11, 9 and 6 and I’ve been married to their father for thirteen years. In my life I’ve been a high school English teacher, a newspaper reporter and a college soccer coach. All of my jobs have been incredibly fulfilling for me. I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I can continue to pursue something I have always loved.

Do you believe that we all have an intended purpose, destiny or mission to fulfill in life?
I do believe my life has an intended purpose. I don’t know if there is a specific mission for me, but I do feel as though the gifts God has given are meant to be used for a purpose bigger than me. If I had to speak to what gifts I have to share, I would say I can write and I can teach. Yes, I’ve been trained for both, but it is deeper than that. I feel driven and passionate about both writing and teaching.

When I started the project of my first book, Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage I was moved to gather everything I needed to know so I could improve our marriage while I wrote and shared about all that I found. I am doing the same thing with my other Choosing to Grow books, and I hope to share the things I find through both writing and speaking platforms.

I can’t really imagine my life without the Choosing to Grow projects. I started working on my first book in response to an incredibly low point in my life. I needed to dig my way out, and with every hopeful nugget of truth I found, I became more and more motivated to share what I was finding with others. It is now a way of life for me. Every day is an opportunity for growth, and I seek out chances to tell everyone who needs to hear that.

And that is exactly what I liked about your book! Your honesty.  Tell us more about your writing background and what you're working on right now.

My writing portfolio is journalistic in nature. I wrote for a newspaper for a while, and I have a few magazine articles published. My first book is a non-fiction, creative memoir based on research and interviews about modern marriage. I am using the same approach for my current non-fiction work in progress, Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It. In addition to the non-fiction book projects, I write regularly for my own blog, and I have just signed on to be a contributing writer for the Mother’s & More Voices blog. I plan to continue to do some freelance article work as well.

Non-fiction is only part of what I want to do with my writing. I have a long-term goal of adding fiction to my resume, and I have a WIP about a world-renowned reporter who finds herself in a situation where she cannot research her way to understanding. I practice my fiction writing in weekly challenge submissions to a website called Clever Fiction:

How do you balance your home and family life and your work?
I am really lucky to have a hard-working and supportive family. We work as a team to stay balanced with all the things that need to be done, and I am really grateful to be a part of such a great group of people. I am currently establishing a routine that allows scheduled writing while the kids are in school, and then I am on full-time mom duty when they get home. During the vacation time, or summer months, I do a lot of writing either before or after the days’ activities. The best scheduling trick that I have is our dry-erase board calendar. Every person in our house has a designated color, and the activities are listed by day in the color for that person. We’ve all become pretty dependent on what is listed on the board to keep us on track. There are weeks when the board looks much more like a rainbow than it does a calendar!

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

I would tell people, who feel they lack purpose, that I think it is a temporary feeling. I have felt that way too, and I think a lot of people feel like that at different times in their lives. The key is to keep searching for purpose.

I like the idea of steady toil. You don’t have to be born into the right place, nor do you have to have had all the right things given to you to improve your own life. Through prayer, reflection, intention and a willingness to keep putting one foot in front of the other, purpose is revealed. It is a decision in belief: belief in yourself…belief that your purpose exists…and belief that you will find it if you never give up looking.

Wise words Meagan! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your talents.  For more information on Meagan Frank and her work, please visit her web site at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The "Fallen" Bandwagon

As I was walking the YA isles of my local library, and appreciating the sight of my own book gracing its shelves, I came across the much publicized and beautifully covered Fallen Novel by Lauren Kate.

I picked it up and read the blurb. “Mm…sounds like a YA, looks like a YA…let’s give it a try,” I thought after I made sure my own book was slightly tilted for a better view. *wink*

I’ve had little time lately to read too many other books, though I am constantly reading, but my To Be Read and Reviewed pile is quite long. However I did want to put this issue to rest. I can’t help wonder what makes a book so popular. I had not read any other reviews, all I knew was that it is a bestseller and the cover is beautiful.

So what did I think? Blah…not boo, just blah.
It was a page turner, I have to say that much. Corny at times, but the author did do a great job at making you turn pages. If you rate books that way, then I would have to give it a four. But the ending was less than satisfactory…much much less.

The ending is meant to leave you wondering and so curious that you’d want to buy the next book, but frankly I don’t much care. I think I’ll just get more of the same: Build-up without resolution. Their pent-up passion and love seemed to come out of nowhere. She spent too much time making Daniel be “not interested” and little time showing us his own struggles to keep away from her. Frankly when he finally came clean and showed her how much he loved her, it was corny and anti-climatic.

But who am I to judge! The book has sold millions of copies! So obviously I’m alone here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Litte Bit Off The Subject Here...

MISC-MISC-12 SEP Pictures, Images and PhotosThis post has nothing to do with my usual quips about writing, but it has to do with another subject very near and dear to me:  Beef. 
I grew up in meat loving Argentina, where beef is served with every meal and is cheaper thank chicken.  So needless to say, I love a good stake.  This love however, may need to be curved for the next year or so, due to the unparalleled drought that the great State of Texas and Oklahoma have been experiencing. 
Here's an article, that you might want to check out about the impact that this drought may have on meat prices and availability. 

It appears that due to the drought, lost of cattle has been slain because it was hard to keep them fed.  This will cause a temporary drop in prices.  But Ranchers are saying that they will nave no beef for 2012.  If big beef producers from Texas and Oklahoma run out, we will still have the ranchers from other states, but this will increase the price of beef considerably. 
If beef goes up, so will other meats like chicken and turkey and pork.  Why?  Simply because the demand will go up.

So if you like beef, or any meat for that matter, I will be so bold as to suggest you buy some and stick it in your freezer. 

You can thank me in 2012!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Harry Potter Claims Another Fan

Like a wise mother, I've been keeping Harry Potter for the right time for my now 11 yrs. old son.
The criteria I used had less to do with reading level as with eagerness.  I wanted him to want to read it, I mean, really, really want to.
I wanted his curiosity to be so peeked that letting him read the books would be like a rite of passage for him. 
I started six months ago by attacking from where he would feel it most: Legos.  We went to and I showed him one of the biggest stets, the Lego Harry Potter Castle.  We told him that he could earn this castle if he did a whole school year worth of math in half a year.  Once he got it, he wanted to know what all those rooms and secret passages were.
He watched me take my nieces and nephews to the last movie, and he was so jealous that he didn't get to go--the big rule in my house being--read first then watch. 
Last week, I unleashed my son and let him check out the first book from the library.  It was a thing of beauty to watch a child with ADHD sitting...and reading...all day long!  He brought the book to the dinner table, he read in the car.  He stayed up late, skipped on whatever we happened to be watching on T.V!  Now he's done with the first book and begging me to take him back to the library for the second.
I have to admit, that part of me is a little sad, because I know that he will breeze through these books and then they will be over.... 
He will experience that lonely, disoriented feeling of, "what now?" 
He's read the Percy Jackson series, and really enjoyed those.  But I need more!  I need to keep that momentum going and I need new series to fill that void, and quickly! 
Please Help!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chatting with Megan Frank

Today I'm visiting
where she has interview me and is doing a giveaway! 
While you're there, check out her fabulous work!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wickflicker~ By Teric Darken

Please come by The Chicks In Lit blog and read about a fascinating new release called Wickflicker. 
This story is on my TBR and has gotten great reviews. 
Meet Author Teric Darken while you're at it, and find out how he came up with that name and what this great story is about!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Put a Little Umbrella In Your Drink... and enjoy a book in your hand!

Stop by Put A Little Umbrella in your Drink  to read more reviews and for another chance to win Veiled. 

Also, I'm pleased to announce that for a limited time you can buy Veiled through my web site with no added shipping fees inside the U.S.! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You Will Be Assimilated

I didn't post on the 22nd because I was having technical difficulties.  So late, as always, I'm posting today on this most awesome blog tour. 
I got into Star Treck when I was in college and by then The Next Generation was in full swing.  While I have to admit to knowing all those episodes by heart I have to say that TNG is not my favorite.  After watching all the Star Trecks ever made (a few times) I have to say that Voyager is my all-time favorite.  Why? The Borg and Seven of Nine. 
I loved her journey into humanity and her blunders as she tries to find her way back into de-assimilation. 
I also love how the metaphor of a whole culture being created by recruiting drones that all think alike. That is perhaps the main reason why I don't have cable and watch all my T.V. via Netflix! me paranoid or crazy...I don't care.  But I will NOT BE ASSIMILATED!

  Who is your favoite Star Treck Character?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For The Love Of Books ~ Review and Giveaway.

I am very honored to be over at Nikki's blog For The Love Of Books where she has posted her review of VEILED and is giving away a Paperback or an E-copy of Veiled to one lucky commenter!
I would love it if you took a minute and stopped by!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Today's stop: Taking Time 4 Mommy

Taking Time 4 Mommy
Is featuring Veiled today with a review for you to read and a giveaway!
It's easy to enter,
so if you would like an e-copy for your
Kindle, Nook or any of your E-readers,
this is your chance!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

and the little ones, too

Today I'll be at Ashley's blog

And The Little Ones Too 

Stop by for another great interview, giveaway and review from Ashley!

Here's an excerpt from her review:

"So when I went into reading this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve read books about God before and christian fictions but not a Christian Speculative Fiction. But I went into this book without an prior knowledge of what it covered. I was loved the book from the beginning. I love the character of Tess. She is the main character in the book and a good person to explain things since she is a discerner. Even as a spirit, you can tell that her gift helps her and doesn’t help her. I mean, she’s just like you and me… she denies feelings sometimes even though she can tell. I think that’s why I liked her so much.

"I was surprised by every turn; every chapter. Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect. I made sure I hadn’t read a single review or even the intro to the book before hand. I loved how she explained how Earth was made. It seriously made it real for me. Like I could see it in my head. It made me imagine about it like I was really there. That probably one of my favorite parts. I thought about every part of the book. It makes you think. I thought about everything covered in the bible. Another favorite part of the book is when Tess was an angel and helped people. It brought the bible alive for me. I thought about Angels helping in the past and currently, but never thought about it from their side. It was really cool."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First two Stops, come aboard for two chances to win a copy of Veiled.

Our fist stop on this
 Heavenly Veiled Book Tour
is the wonderful
with a fun interview and
a giveaway
to one lucky commenter!

...and our second stop is
the fabulous
Freda's Voice Blog
yet another giveaway.
So, for those of you just itching to
get your hands on my
here's your chance!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm going on Tour!

Please join me this month as I tour around the blogging world and introduce Veiled, with many, many giveaways along the way!

Also, I wanted to announce that the winner
for the Summer Blog Hop Giveaway
hosted by
I'm A Reader Not A Writer
and BookHounds
is Brenda Jean! 
I'll be in touch with you Brenda. 
Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you,
everyone that entered to win a copy of Veiled!!! 
If you still want to win a copy
follow me this month
while I go on my Book Tour,
because there will be more chances along the way!

Tour Stops

August - 8th

August - 9th

August 10th

August 11th

August 12th -

August 15th -

August 16th

August 17th * 18th

August 19th

August 22nd

August 23rd

August 24th

August 25th

August 26th

August 29th

August 30th

August 31st

Sept 1st

And more!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hop and Win

Check out my trailer for VEILED! 

This week I am participating in a huge blog hop, put on by I'm A Reader Not A Writer and Bookhounds.

I will be giving away a paperback copy of my book Veiled, so If you'd like t enter to win simply:
1-Follow my blog
2-Like my Facebook Page
3-Leave me a comment with your contact info.
That's it! Happy Hopping!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Blog Hop and Giveaway

Welcome to this seven day summer blog hop giveaway hosted by I'm A Reader Not A Writer and BookHounds, where over 300 blogs have linked together so you can hop from one blog to another and enter as many or all the book related  giveaways! 

Today I will be giving away one paperback copy of my very own creation Veiled

To enter my giveaway simply:
(1) Follow my blog
(2) Leave me a comment
(3) "Like" me on Facebook!

About Veiled:
"I have always existed, not just me but all of us, the un-embodied spirits who wait to live.”

Tess is an unborn spirit, who is about to embark on a much awaited journey into mortality to a brand new planet called Earth. She is chosen by the Eternals for an important mission, and is put under a rigorous training by a half-human, half-lion Seraph. This training exposes Tess to some of her darkest fears and insecurities. These experiences force Tess to work on her gift as a discerner of thoughts and reader of auras—thus helping her become one of Heaven’s most powerful angels. But even angels falter, and deep inside her a gnawing fear is growing. Will she meet her soul mate in life? Will their love be strong enough to overcome the forgetting effects of the Veil? And, is she prepared to take on the responsibility of keeping the most dangerous renegade and leader of the Fallen Angels at bay during mortality?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet Author Gordon A Kessler ~ Master Writing Instructor and Former U.S. Marines Parachutist!

Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing.  He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway.  He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Jezebel and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.  He is a founder and former president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and has does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book. His websites, and www.IndieWritersAlliance are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors.
Today Mr. Kessler is joining me in my paranormal domain, to talk about his latest novel Brainstorm and his journey as a writer. 
Mr. Kessler, it's an honor to have you on my blog today.  Let's go back a little to the beginning or your writing career.  When did you first start writing?
I found I had a knack for writing in my first college class—Eng Comp 1—right after getting out of the Marines. The instructor gave me straight A's on every paper and always read them to the class. I put the idea of writing away for about ten years after that. Then, during a rather low point in my life—both career-wise and personal—I started writing a comedy novel. I dropped it after I found out comedy novels weren't very popular unless your name was Jay Cronley (Funny Farm, Screw Balls). One day while sitting at the old electric typewriter, the family ferret came bounding around the corner, looking for trouble. Jezebel, I thought—ferret from Hell! My first novel, a thriller titled Jezebel (a large black Great Dane), was born.

I wrote the book in four months and had a royalty contract within the next year. Then, two and a half years later, the same week the publisher was to print 10,000 copies, they went bankrupt.

That really knocked the air out of my sails. From that point, I helped found the Kansas Writers Association and was their first president. I taught novel writing classes for a community college and conducted seminars while writing more thrillers. The only thing I love as much as writing is helping others hone their writing skills.

Do you have mentors? If so, who are they? What books have shaped your life?

My mentors, unfortunately, have passed over to the great unknown. Mike McQuay was an excellent sci-fi writer and writing coach. He taught me the rules and how to break them. He was the author of the novelized version of Escape from New York, and his big break-out novel (after thirty some published paperbacks) was based on a 750-word Arthur C. Clarke treatment. The hardcover Richter 10 came out on bookstore shelves a month after Mike died of a massive heart attack. He is missed terribly.

Leonard Bishop taught me how to entertain the reader without worry of the rules. He had the largest vocabulary of anyone I've ever met. A remarkable man, he wrote Dare to Be a Great Writer in a fashion after his own teaching. I truly miss him, too.

I honestly feel as though I've had the best mentors possible, and everyone who didn't know these two men, really missed out.

As far as novels that shaped my life; I can't say that there was any one book. I read a lot of Dean Koontz in my earlier, novel-writing days. I think his wordsmithing skills are incredible. I really enjoy the depth of Douglas Preston's thrillers, as well as James Patterson's Cross novels for mixing the protagonist's personal life into the story—and the first person/third person POV mix. And I like James Rollins for his really neat plots and action—I always learn something new about the world when I read one of his stories.

What is your advice to aspiring authors? How can the bridge the gap from querying to publishing?

It's tough in the traditional publishing world. I'm going to say, try it, and keep at it if that's what you want to do. That used to be my dream—get that big publishing contract and become a bestseller. Things are changing fast in the publishing world, however. EBook novel sales are outnumbering print sales and the big publishing houses are scrambling. Some big-name writers are defecting and going "indie". I'm going to suggest that any new, struggling writer write the very best story possible. Attend writing conferences and workshops. Read all you can about writing commercial fiction. Then, ensure that your story is well edited and get it out to a few agents and editors. If it doesn't work out, check into "indie" publishing. There are more pros than cons to self-publishing these days.

If you weren’t an author what would you be? What other hobbies do you have? How do you spend your time away from the keyboard?

Actually, my real J. O. B. is as an instructor of freight car sciences, believe it or not. Even though I've done many things, I can't imagine being anything other than a writer and a teacher—they are my passions. Hobbies? I tried some parachuting in the Marines—didn't enjoy it as a civilian. I like SCUBA, but I'm landlocked and don't get to the ocean much. I enjoy sailing, but sold my boat a few months back. I love snow skiing, but the closest good ski slope is ten hours away. I guess I'd better just write! I have a wonderful new diversion, however—she's a golden retriever pup named Jaz. She's one high-maintenance girlfriend!

What inspired you to write Brainstorm?

With Brainstorm, I've always been fascinated with the various covert projects the US Government and other countries have been involved in. They've done some pretty crazy, illegal and spooky stuff. At the same time, I'm interested in all the new, high tech nonlethal weapons that are being developed. Wild, near sci-fi sorts of things. Lastly, I wanted to write a love story—not a conventional romance, but a story about a woman who would fight impossible odds and go to the ends of the Earth to save her man. Voila: Brainstorm!

That is exactly what intrigued me about your book. I love this kind of sci-fi!
I had a blast writing Brainstorm. The research was incredibly revealing in a lot of ways—some real eye-opener sorts of things. Research is a big thing for me. I enjoy using it in my stories to add truth to them—make them seem real.

Thank you for hosting me on you blog. I'd enjoy answering any of your bloggers' questions.

It's been an honor hosting for today on your blog tour.  For those of you reading, make sure you leave a comment because at the end of his blog tour, Mr. Kessler is giving a random commenter the choice of a basic Kindle, Kobo, Sony Reader or Nook!!!  You can follow him along on his tour and make more comments for more chances to win. 

About Brainstorm:
In Brainstorm, Gold Rush seems to be just another sleepy little Colorado community full of friendly, caring citizens, quaint cottages, and a sort of quiet peace, held gentlypicturesque mountains that surround it. However, something isn't right in Gold Rush, and early on a Monday morning Robert Weller awakens with a cautioning and insuppressible voice inside his head. He soon finds a secret behind every door, a motive with every glance, and a lie beneath every spoken word.

After meeting a strange but beautiful woman named Sunny who insists they were once lovers, people begin dropping dead around him and his world twists upside down as paramilitary teams hunt him, and his own wife and friends turn against him. Weller is thrown into the middle of a military mission to rescue thousands of the town's citizens from a plot to destroy the Free World.

Time is running out: Weller, Sunny and thousands of innocent citizens are facing nuclear devastation. Major “Jax” Jackson and a U.S. Air Force Para Rescue team are their only hope—but how can Jax and his PJs save them all, armed only with nonlethal weapons?

“ exciting and fast-paced as a thrill ride on a dive bomber, a maelstrom of action, violence, murder and mayhem, way too much fun to put down...based on an actual black CIA program known as ‘Project Stargate. Kessler...really knows his stuff. An outstanding novel.”— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Codex, Relic and Book of the Dead and many more.

"...a wild ride into the reality of human consciousness...a kickass adventure story that will have you thrumming through the pages well into the night...handled with stunning effect."— James Rollins, bestselling author of Black Order, Sandstorm and Map of Bones as well as many others.

Please stop by these sites, where you can connect with Mr. Kessler and purchase Brainstorm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blog Hop for a Day!

Today I will be over at my other blog CHICKS IN LIT. interviewing Author K.F. Ridley and her newest novel The Curse of Yama 
Make sure you stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win this exiting juvenile book!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Grapes of Wrath

I actually have a passion that I haven't talked about much, but that is definitely there.
 It's cooking!

But not just any type of cooking...I like to make things from scratch.
I am obsessed with food processing and what goes into turning one thing into something completely different.   I grind all my wheat, and make all the bread we consume. 
I make Greek Yogurt and all kinds of other wacky things that most people just buy at the store.

It all started in college when I saw a block of tofu.
I knew it came from soy, but how?
How did you turn a green soy bean into a perfectly white and square jelly block that tastes like nothing.
I ended up going to Culinary School and I loved learning the basics, but I knew that I was not cut out for the gastronomy industry. I like cooking at home for those who I love.
Luckily I married a guy who loves to garden and has transformed our back yard into a fruiting paradise.
For my hubby it's a hobby,
he starts his seed research and collecting in January,
gets it all ordered by February and starts the seedlings soon after.
For this I am grateful,
because it has allowed me to wander into my back yard and see what is ripe
and transform it into something else.
This last month we have been busy harvesting
 tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini, eggplant,
blackberries and grapes!

Lots and lots of them!
  One bucket of white and three 5 gal. buckets of red!

I always fantasized about what I would do with these many grapes, and this last week I had my chance of fining out! It took us one hour to clean two buckets.  Then a whole day of processing them into Grape Jelly!
We blended,
Then added pectin and lots and lots of sugar!  Let me tell you right now, no one has enough sugar in their home to make this much jelly!

Then we cooked it, maybe a little too much, we were not sure for how long to cook it. 
But then we figured that we would chance it and call it done.  So we ladled them into the containers, we ran out of containers, so we had to run out and get more before pressure cooking it. 
Needless to say, it was midnight when we got done, and the last thing I want right now is
Grape Jelly!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Taking Time 4 Mommy ~Mandie Stevens~ Unveils Promotional Books Tours.

"If you find yourself lacking purpose, remember what is really important in life."

Mandie Stevens is one of those amazing women who do it all and still manage to look like this! 
She's a busy mom, a home schooler, a blogger/reviewer, an on-line community founder and now she's adding an author promotional tool to her to-do list.

My name is Mandie Stevens and I am co-owner and founder of the Time 4 Mommy Community. I am also owner of and Promotional Book Tours. (A Work in Progress). All came out of complete selfishness.

The community sprang from my blog Taking Time for Mommy. which I’ve had in one form or another for the last five years. I started it because I left a career to stay home with my children and needed to stay in touch with the outside world. Now we have an entire community where moms can connect with each other with several groups including the writing and critiquing groups I’m involved with.

The book site and tour group came out of my love for reading and writing. I have a lot of marketing resources at my disposal and wanted to be able to help other authors like myself get their books noticed.

What is your goal or purpose in what you do in life?

My goal is to be the best mother and wife I can possibly be. If I wasn’t writing or blogging I can honestly say as long as I have them I’ll still be happy.

What are you working on right now?

My WIP is an urban Fantasy Novel called Grapple. I’m building Author Websites, scheduling Virtual Book Tours, and blogging.

How do you balance your home and family life and your work?

I home school my daughters (and yes before you ask they are socialized *wink* *wink*) We have a very strict schedule. Between school work and housework, I am on and off of the computer working. I have to remember what my priorities are and to make sure not to take too much on.
(Sounds like someone I know...)

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

If you find yourself lacking purpose, remember what is really important in life.

Thanks Mandie for bravely subjecting yourself to my questioning!  For those who want to connect with others, please make sure you stop by TIME 4 MOMMY and check out all the different communities they have there.  There literally is something for everyone, including giveaways.  If you are an author and are interested in having a blog tour, please contact Mandie at .

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elizabeth Muller's Darkspell

"Being steadfast and toiling through writing has given character to my writing. I have improved the craft on so many levels as well as a person altogether. Brilliance alone can’t possibly shine through without the quiet power of overcoming trails."

Ultra talented and extremely gifted, author Elizabeth Muller, is visiting my spiritual realm today! It is an honor to have her here, and to showcase her debut novel: Darkpell.
From a young age, Elizabeth has enjoyed acting, singing, illustrating and writing. Talents that she continues to nurture and develop.  Stay a while and get to know Elizabeth, whose enthusiasm for life is downright intoxicating.

I started writing way back in childhood. But before I could write, I drew stories with bubble conversations for entertainment. I role-played. I used my imagination A LOT. In 4th grade, I wrote poems, in 6th, many short stories. When I was in high school, I was way into poetry. When I was 17, I started my first novel that I finished 8 years later--by hand. During that time, I wrote other novels, too.

You're an avid blogger, when did you start your blog and why?
I actually started blogging a few years back. I wanted to try it out because I've heard it was a good thing to get into so when I become published, I'll have following. It was awkward and small at first. It was hard! I had no idea what to blog about. I joined another blog (Mormon Mommy Writers) later on. Then one day, about 2 am, after much praying; I was hit with so many ideas of blog topics I've never run out since.

You also have an illustrator blog, tell us about that part of your craft and your interest in acting.
As far as my drawing, I developed it when I was growing up--drawing stories when it rained. I'd rather draw than play barbies. It was fun! I drew in school all the way up to now. I've never stopped. I have a portfolio of my drawings from high school on. I've developed using graphite pencils quite well. It's the other medium that has me a bit intimidated, though I know I'm good at those too, I just need to gain my confidence!

As far as acting, because of my love of role-playing and my passion with life, I've always wanted to act. I've done a few skits and things here and there and loved it. I hope to develop this area of my life as well!

As for my singing, I was in choir in elementary and high school. I've always been in the ward choir. When I was in YW, I dreamed to be in the Tabernacle Choir, and when I moved to Utah, I thought, I'm halfway there! But now that I'm a mom, I feel that my place is here with my kids, though I have a hidden yearning to be in the Tabernacle still. Some day, I guess! ;)

You have some illustrations that go with your book, right? I seem to have picked that up along my stalking. 

There are a few that I drew a few years back—I wasn’t really trying for anything formal, just fun as you can tell!

The other thing I’ve done is use my son as the model of my cover. I had to make him about 5 years older to fit the main character look! I’ve taken some photos of my daughter as Winter for my upcoming book trailer. I’m quite excited to get going on that!

Ooh...really?  Can we see a preview?

Okay, how did you come up with the story for Darkspell?

If you venture into Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic, on page 4, there is a writing prompt. It is the 5th one down if you want to see how Darkspell was born! As I jotted the prompt down, I let my muse take full control. Since I love romance, the first thing I thought was how would it be if the second person was a girl? And what if the first one fell in love with her? What if there was something special about her that lured him to her that she didn’t know? My mind deepened so wide, I didn’t think on the 2 dimensional level of these questions, but I felt them stirring as people bursting to be born on paper.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about 2 months from beginning to end, but add a few more months to that for editing.

What’s your genre?

Darkspell is Young adult Paranormal Romance, but I write in just about any genre that hits my muse, but I stick within YA for the most part.

About Darkspell:

Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary . . . until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.
As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter’s protector against the darkness that hunts her. Violently thrust into a magical realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.
Will love prove thicker than magic?
Darkspell, coming fall 2011!

What is your advice to talented women out there?

Believe in yourself, in what the Lord has blessed you with and don’t let the cynicism of others drown you. There’s a whole lot of writers out here that believe in you!
(Amen to that!)

Any last parting words?
Please join me in my celebration for Darkspell’s fall release all July long! A pre-book launch party if you will. Click here for details.

You can also find Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads!  It's been an honor to have you on my blog Elizabeth.  You are a fireball!

Monday, June 27, 2011


    Apparently, you can die more than once.  At least that's what happened to a woman in Russia.
  According to a report on Fox News  ,  a woman in Russia was pronounced dead and while her relatives were holding an open casket vigil, she woke up screaming, shocked by the fact that she was at her own funeral.  This shocked her so much that she ended up having a heart attack and dying...again!  This time for good. 
This story actually was not the first one of it's kind I've heard of.  There's this urban legend in Argentina that surrounds this Beattles-like rock band from the seventies called Sui Generis.  The lead singer Charlie Garcia, wrote a song about a girl who suffered from a rare illness that made her go into a death like coma. 
The story I heard said that she would come out of this coma after a few days, but one time she did not and eventually doctors pronounced her dead.  She was buried, but at her funeral her boyfriend (Charlie Garcia) heard her sream. 
No one believed him, but eventually he had the body exhumed.  When they opened the coffin they found her indeed dead, but...the lining of the coffin was ripped to shreds from the inside and fragments of the fabric found in ther hands. 
This is the song he wrote.  It's called "Rasguna Las Piedras" (Clawing the Rocks)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Beth Thomas~Fighting Cancer one step at a time.

“Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind to achieving.”

   As some of you know I've been interviewing people who I think exemplify the quote "Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance." By James E. Talmage.
Beth Thomas is one of these people who I admire greatly.  Beth and I actually go back a ways... she is an old former college friend of mine.  We found found each other though Facebook a few years ago and that's when I started noticing that she is very committed to a very important cause.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. My childhood was spent watching my three brothers play sports. Whether it was hockey (complete with our own backyard ice-rink), football, baseball, or basketball – I was always attending some kind of sporting event. I tried to get into dance at a young age, but having three very masculine brothers didn’t help in that cause and I was very bored with dancing (still am!). I always wanted to do what the boys were doing! Since I obviously couldn’t try out for the hockey team at the time (HA!), my energy was directed on being a good student and not causing too much trouble for my parents (they had their fill with my brothers…;) ). I didn’t have a lot of hobbies when I was younger. Unless you consider watching my brothers play sports a hobby?? ;)

Years later I graduated from the University of Utah promising myself I would never end up in a field that was business or financial related. Where did I end up? In a financial related field. “Expect the unexpected”, right? While I have worked in several financial related jobs since I was about 20 years old, I didn’t find my true passions in life until about 2006. It was at this time that my “Bucket List” wish to run a marathon collided with my parents both being diagnosed with Cancer. If you have ever had someone that you have cared deeply for diagnosed with Cancer, you know that it rocks you to the core. I felt helpless. I didn’t know how to direct my energy or how to help them. It was then that I started running miles upon miles on my treadmill. No particular goal in mind (having no clue how to train for a marathon), but to tearfully run out the stresses of life. I connected with running. It cleared my mind; it helped me to cope with the world that seemed to be collapsing around me. Running became an outlet and a necessity in my life. I never have been a fast runner, but I always could go for long periods of time.

How did you get involved with Fundraising?

Within a few weeks of my parents being diagnosed with Cancer, I received a letter in the mail from Team in Training for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It felt as if that piece of mail was specifically meant for me (although it was not addressed to anyone). It was as if it was hand delivered by a higher power, as weird as that may sound. The letter was an invitation to attend an informational meeting to talk about what Team in Training was, and so it all began. I attended the meeting and joined the Team a month later. For those who don’t know, Team in Training is the World’s largest endurance training program. They train you to participate (and finish) endurance events, in exchange you fund raise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was a way for me to connect with my running as well as a way to do something about a disease that was affecting both of my parents. Since first joining in 2006, I have participated in (and finished) 4 events with Team in Training and 2 events with Huntsman Hometown Heroes (another endurance training program that raises money for Huntsman Cancer Foundation / Institute), as well as numerous events on my own. Fundraising all along the way, between the two teams I have managed to raise close to $18,000 for the fight against cancer, and I have no intention of stopping in that fight any time soon. While I don’t know that this is my “mission” to fulfill, I do feel that I was destined to be a part of this cause. I feel very passionate about the quest to find cures for cancers. I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what my parents have had to experience. Cancer is such a horrible disease and it will affect virtually everyone at some point in life. I can’t sit idly by, knowing that I can help in some small way. The funny thing is…through all of this, I have benefited the most. Through these two teams I have made numerous close friends who are in the same situation that I am in. They all have either fought cancer themselves, or are watching loved ones fight Cancer. We share a common bond that has been the best support system I could have ever hoped for. I am a happier and healthier person for being involved in this cause. I can’t imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn’t received that piece of mail at the exact right time. I know with every fiber of my being…..that was no accident.

How do you balance your home life and your training schedule?

I think the fact that I am a single adult helps me in the ability to balance my home / family life with my hobby and my work. . My life is organized around my training schedules and races. I go to bed early so that I can get up early to run before work. I make sure to get in a long run every weekend. I schedule races far in advance so that it forces me to train and to continue to be active. To train for marathons, you really have to make it a priority–otherwise you more than likely won’t finish the race. I am in a happier mental state when I am running regularly—so aside from everything else—it keeps me sane!! Pairing the good cause with the races also helps me to feel more connected. I feel as if I am running for those people who cannot run because they are battling cancers. I think about all the people whom I know with Cancer with every step I take. It keeps me going and propels me forward even when I want to quit sometimes…and it gets me out of bed when some days I really just want to sleep in!

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

The one thing I have noticed through participating in these events and being on these teams is that anyone can do what they set their minds out to doing. It may take time and hard work, but it can be done. Endurance runners come in all shapes and sizes. They run at all different speeds. But it is the “Steadiness and toil” that will get you across the finish line in fundraising, endurance events and in beating cancer! If you want something bad enough, work at it. Never for one second of your life ever waste time thinking that you “can’t” do something. Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind out to achieving. A negative attitude in life will get you nowhere.

If you find yourself lacking purpose, I recommend the following: appreciate the world around you (show gratitude), do things for others (service in the community), learn new things, set goals continuously, be part of something bigger than yourself, focus on the positive and surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and all your want to achieve!!

Beth, thank you so much for coming over to my blog today!  I admire what you do so much.  It's the simple things that we do each day that change our world!  I too feel very passionate about fulfilling a purpose in this life and people like you inspire me greatly.  Love you Babe!

(Oh boy!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ghost Encounters and Vampirish Experiences.

Join us today all day and swap ghost stories and weird vampirish experiences (Chupa Cabras count). 
We have a few of our own to share, some are true...some are can come, read ours and find out which is which.  There will also be many giveaways, so your chances of leaving this chat with something are high. 
Join authors Deanna Jewel, Teric Darken, Elizabeth Muller, Robin Renee Ray, Krisi Keley and myself TODAY in the LATTE LOUNGE

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My New Blog--Chicks in Lit.

I would love some visitors over at a new blog that I'm contributing to.  Chicks In Lit. is a brand new place where writers can "shamelessly" promote and network. 
Today, I thought I'd share some of my newly acquired knowledge about the history of writing.  I base all my learning form "The Story of Writing" by Andrew Robinson (a fun textbook that is recommended for the Montessori curriculum, I use it for my home school.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It is my honor to feature today a great book. Honor by Jaimey Grant

Lady Verena Westbridge would rather die than marry. When her father accepts the depraved Percival Winters on her behalf, flight seems her only option and entering into menial service the perfect hiding place. Resigning herself to serving her own kind for the rest of her life, she naively believes she is safe.

Lord Connor Northwicke arrives at a house party and rescues a young housemaid from the unwelcome advances of a brute. Feeling the need to be near her, he offers her friendship. But her disguise is undone and he must save her from her own father by doing the very thing she fears most. He must marry her.

But as Verena's past emerges in bits and pieces, fear threatens to overcome love. Verena must fight for her marriage...and her sanity.

While Jaimey writes what I consider to be "clean" romances, she also infuses her stories with what she calls an "edge".   This is usually in the form of a social or personal tragedy that though existed back in the Regency years of England, it was considered taboo and unspeakable.  You'll love how the characters deal with these issues in a time period appropriate manner.

Honor is the third book I've read from her, and I have to say, the stories are all fabulous and different.  The characters intermingle in each book, so once you read one of Jaimey's novels, you'll be eager to read the next and the next and the next! 

If you are a fan of Victoria Holt, you'll be a fan of Jaimey Grant.

Monday, June 13, 2011

100th Follower Winner

Congratulations to Jill Hathaway, for being the random winner from my pool of followers! Your copy of Veiled is on it's way!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Agatha Escaped!

Oh dear! I have no idea how she did it,

but one of my main characters has escaped

and has been spotted at

Hurry over, Elizabeth might be in trouble.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'll be over at Joyce Di Pastena's,

JDP News Blog today!
Please come by and say hi!

Also, help me get 100


for a chance to win

a signed copy of


Thursday, June 9, 2011

SheKows Magazine Reviewed Veiled

SheKnows Magazine Book Review--VEILED

"I have always existed, not just me but all of us, the un-embodied spirits who wait to live." Dive into Veiled and you are suddenly thrust into an amazing world of life before life that you never knew existed. This thrilling supernatural fantasy novel by S.B. Niccum breathes life into a mythical realm which asks powerful questions about the nature of mankind and existence.


A unique twist on a popular theme, Veiled transports readers into an extraordinary world where spirits exist before life on Earth. But it is not what you might expect. The unborn spirits struggle with their pre-existence in the same way we mortals do. They laugh, they cry, they get depressed, they fall in love, they have arguments, they get in trouble and they even become involved in a war that endangers the future of their new planet.

Tess is an unborn spirit chosen by the Eternals for an important mission. During her training, she grows close to the kind and quirky members of her clan and falls in love with one special soul named Alex. But when she is tested by dark spirits, her own fears and insecurities rise to the surface and it is unclear whether she will be able to live up to her responsibilities and rise to the challenges set before her.

Amid the beautiful other-worldly landscapes of Veiled, the book addresses profound spiritual questions such as: Where did we come from? Do other worlds exist? Are our spirits eternal? And is death just another form of life? But it never comes close to being didactic or forcing the reader to swallow unsavory spiritual ideas. If anything, it opens up a world of fantasy that gives readers the opportunity to think about provocative questions and come to their own conclusions.

Step into the ethereal world of S. B. Niccum's Veiled and join Tess in her journey through pre-mortal existence. What will happen when she crosses the Veil into the next world? Will she remember the work she needs to do? Will she be reunited with her love? Will she remember who she really is?

I am so honored for this review!!!

Thank you SheKnows!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Romance Author, fitness instructor and Super Zumba teacher Michele Ashman Bell.

“It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way!” Michele Bell

S.B. – Michele, tell us a little bit about yourself, your career and your family.

M.B. - I grew up in St. George, Utah. When I was a kid it was this small, dusty, tumbleweed sort of town, and now it’s amazing and beautiful (and crowded) and I’m so proud to be from there. I went to college at Dixie State College and Southern Utah University, then served an LDS mission to Frankfurt, Germany but ended my mission in San Jose, California. I married my college sweetheart (we served missions at the same time) and now live in the Salt Lake City area. We have 4 children, an amazing daughter-in-law and 2 adorable granddaughters. I’m a fitness instructor and thought when I turned 50 I would retire but I discovered Zumba and now I teach anywhere between 8 – 14 Zumba classes a week. My other hobby is collecting Steinbach nutcrackers and Doris Day movies.

S.B.- Okay, so I had to look up Zumba, because I actually have never heard of it! After watching this video, I want to do it!
(This is not Michele's class)

S.B. -So Michele, do you believe that we all have an intended purpose, destiny or mission to fulfill in life?

M.B. -I believe that we have all been given gifts and talents and will be held accountable for how we use them to bless the lives of others. I’m also positive that there are things in this life that we were meant to do and we need to live our lives so that we will receive guidance and direction to accomplish those things. I feel like if I put my family and faith first, and always fulfill my obligations there, everything else will work out the way it’s supposed to. I don’t really know if being an author was my “mission” but I always felt compelled to pursue it, even though it took me ten years of rejections before it happened. I get so much joy and fulfillment from being an author; I can’t imagine not having it in my life. When I receive a letter or email from someone who tells me my books have touched their life in some way I am reminded at how blessed I am to be a writer. How would my life be different? Well . . . I’d have a heck of a lot more time on my hands.

S.B.Tell us about your work, what have you done? What are you working on right now?

M.B. I have been so blessed in my writing career. Even though I’m categorized as a Romance Author, my books usually have a bigger issue driving the plot. I feel like Women’s Fiction is a better description of what I write. I love to write stories about women in difficult situations who fight their way through all the obstacles and emerge stronger. Having said that I am actually jumping genres and am working on a horror story and also a science fiction story. I’m excited and nervous.

S.B. How do you balance your home and family life and your work?

M.B. This is probably the biggest challenge I have in life. I always try and put my home and family first, but it gets tough with deadlines or when I am passionate about a project I am working on. I find though, that my days flow better and life goes more smoothly when I keep my priorities straight. I am a planner and a scheduler and first thing every morning I plan my day and then get to work.

S.B. What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose? How does the quote “Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance” helped you?

M.B. If I’ve taught my children one thing, it is that quote. Each of my children has excelled in different areas (basketball, dance, pageants, etc…) and I have told them over and over that success comes from hard work and persistence, not talent. I have seen so many wonderfully talented people not learn the strong work ethic that comes from having to acquire a specific talent or skill. Having a desire and a passion for something is a starting point, hard work and persistence can turn it into an accomplishment (i.e., talent or skill). I wouldn’t be published today if it depended on my talent, that’s for sure. Also, teaching Zumba did not come naturally. I have no dance skill or training, especially in Latin dance, but I wanted to learn so badly that I worked my tail end off to learn it. It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way! If someone is trying to find purpose in their life I would suggest several things:

1) Get outside of yourself and volunteer somewhere. Put your efforts in helping others and YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF!

2) Focus on developing a talent or skill. The joy that comes from accomplishing something difficult will give you great fulfillment as well as great self-worth!
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.

S.B. Thanks Michele, that is very good advice. I agree with you whole-heatedly in that service and growing our talents are one of the most important factors in happiness. I admire you very much and I did want to mention that Michele's latest book "The Perfect Fit" is available to purchase. I just finished it myself, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was one of the best contemporary romantic stories I have read in a while!

Thanks Michele for stopping by!

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.