Valentine’s Faves


I love pink and hearts and romance. So of course I love Valentine’s Day. Here are some of my must-haves for this pink hearted love day.

- Cinnamon hearts. Of course I love chocolate as much as the next girl, but cinnamon hearts have always been a favorite Valentine’s Day treat for me.

- Pink lipgloss. I love Jordana’s Lip Out Loud! gloss in LOL-110. It’s a bright pink, shiny color. Other faves: Jordana Stay Glossy 3D in Lights, Camera, Action; Jordana Twist & Shine in Candied Coral; and Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Coral Shimmer.

- Pink nail polish. My picks are all Wet N Wild Megalast polishes because I think WNW makes great nail polish at a very affordable price. My fave colors for Valentine’s Day are Sugar Coat, Club Havana, and Candy-licious.

- Romantic YA books. I love a good connection between characters. I like the ones where the characters can’t get along, but also can’t stay away from each other. I like the ones where the characters instantly connect even though the rest of the world is trying to keep them apart. As long as I fall in love with the characters, I’ll cheer for them to be together. Some favorite YA love stories:

- Romantic movies. It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a romantic movie, would it?

What are your Valentine’s Day must haves?

Meet the authors from TEXT ME

Meet the authors and books included in this awesome set of 

8 Novels of First Love.
Just in time for Valentines Day!
Only .99 cents for a limited time.
If you bought each book separately, you would pay over $20.00.
Confessions of a 16-Year-Old Virgin Lips by Cindy M. HoganStalk Cindy in all these places: Newsletter  Blog  Twitter  Facebook

Where did you get the idea for this book? 
Right before my daughter went to college, we were feeling a bit nostalgic about her high school years and we started talking about all her first kisses. It was fascinating and I thought her story would make a great book. And it really did!
Cindy M. Hogan 
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I’d have to say I love Ali. She’s the sassy best friend we all need.
What is something about yourself that others might not know? 
I’ve spoken German to my children since they were born. It’s fun to have a bilingual family. And my husband doesn’t  know it so it’s like I have a secret language with my daughters.
Do you wear socks to bed? 
Definitely in the winter. I’m cold-blooded for sure. Only occasionally in the summer.
The Curse Girl by Kate Avery Ellison

Where did you get the idea for this book? – I got the first sliver of an idea when the power had gone out one night and my husband and I were eating pizza by candlelight. The whole house was dark and flickering with firelight, and I’d put a mirror under some of the candles to better reflect the light, and I had this idea of a girl all alone in a huge, dark ballroom with walls of mirrors, holding a candle.


Kate Avery Ellison
What was the hardest thing about writing this book? – Finishing it. I love to start projects and I hate finishing them. The ending is always the most difficult part.
Do you wear socks to bed? – In the winter, yes. I particularly like stealing my husband’s warm wooly ones.

What is something about yourself that others might not know? – I have a lot of reoccurring dreams. In one of my most common ones, I’ve just purchased a new house only to discover that it has an entire extra wing hidden away in a basement or through a secret door, and it’s haunted.

Winging it! by Shel Delisle
Who is your favorite character in your book?
 While Grace, the main character, is near and dear to my heart, Aisha, the angel assigned as Grace’s guardian, is my favorite character.  Aisha is kind and spunky. Plus, She provides just the right amount of antagonism to offset Grace’s bravado. 
 Where did you get the idea for this book?
 The main character Grace just showed up one day and she wouldn’t leave me alone until I started putting words on paper. Still, there are times I wonder if episodes of “The Flying Nun” from my childhood stayed buried deep in my sub-conscious and if this book is just a more modern version of those characters.
Shel Delisle
 Do you wear socks to bed?
 I rarely wear socks during the day! :) Living in Florida, I almost always wear sandals.
That said, when the temperature drops here I’ve been known to keep my toes bundled up.   
 What is something about yourself that others might not know?
 I can inflate a pair of jeans while treading water and make it into a life preserver. Fortunately, that’s one life skill I haven’t ever used! 
Like Clockwork by Elle Strauss
Where did you get the idea for this book?
Like Clockwork is a companion book to Clockwise. Clockwise takes place on the east coast and the main character travels back in time to the civil war era. I wanted to write a story from a character living on the west coast and the most interesting historical time for me in that locale was 1950s Hollywood. Thus, Adeline was created!
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
Lee Strauss
It wasn’t exactly hard, but it took work to research the details of the school and neighborhood. I’d been to Hollywood a few years before writing Like Clockwork, but didn’t know I was going to write a book based there at that time. Google Earth was a life saver!
Do you wear socks to bed?

What is something about yourself that others might not know?
My very first book was published in 2000 in Germany, in German. I don’t speak German.

Surfacing by Shana Norris

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I think that would be Josh Canavan. He’s been through a lot in his young life and he’s built up a tough exterior, but then his vulnerability comes out at times too. And when he cares about someone, he becomes extremely loyal to them.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
Shana Norris
The idea came from my love of the Outer Banks along North Carolina’s coast. Swans Landing was based on the island of Ocracoke, which you have to take a ferry to get to. The small island has so much history and I thought it was the perfect place for a race of mermaid people to live unnoticed by the rest of the world.
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
Figuring out all the secrets everyone was hiding. Some of them I knew early on, but others I didn’t figure out what was really underneath their actions until later on.
Do you wear socks to bed?
No, they would annoy me too much! My feet get too hot while I sleep.


Stirring Up Trouble by Juli Alexander
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
My fave is Zoe because she is smart, ambitious, and nice. She’s also a witch but more than anything, she’s a typical teen. She has lots of self doubt and a crush on her friend’s boyfriend.
Where did you get the idea for this book? 
I started thinking about potions and magic. I thought it would be cool to have some side effects or punishment for performing magic. So I decided that witches get punished if they perform selfish spells. That’s why witches in history have green skin, ugly noses, etc. They’ve been using their magic selfishly.
Juli Alexander
What was the hardest thing about writing this book? 
I had a blast writing this book. The hardest part was making sure that Zoe didn’t put up with too much from Jake even though she had a crush. I didn’t want her to be a wimp.
Do you wear socks to bed?
No. In fact, I stick my feet out from the covers. I’m weird that way.
If you could change the color of one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
I’d change the color of ugly buildings to something bright and pretty.

Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice

Go stalk Amanda    Website  FB   Goodreads

What is something about yourself that others might not know? 

If they follow me on twitter, they know everything. Hmmm. I always wanted to write, but never had a story to tell. It was after law school when I finally took a chance on my writing. I’m so glad that I did!

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

 You’d think it would be Dani Spevak, the heroine, but you’d be wrong. Don’t get me wrong — I do love Dani (or I wouldn’t have written her!), but I have a soft spot for her best friend Maya Sapp. Maya is gutsy, outgoing, and really speaks her mind. She’s a lot of fun to write and one day maybe I’ll give her her own book.
Amanda Brice

Where did you get the idea for this book?Growing up I was a dancer. It was my life for about 30 hours a week. But other than non-fiction about the great ballets, there weren’t any books for teens about dance. All the fiction was for toddlers and young elementary students. I’d always loved mysteries, so I decided to write the book I would have wanted to read when I was a teen.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?Plotting, which is weird since I’m a plotter!  I’m one of those writers who CANNOT write from the seat of my pants. Everything must be plotted out — in full detail — before I can sit down to write. I know some writers say that takes the fun out of it for them, but if I’m presented with a blank canvas I tense up and panic. But because I require a full, detailed outline in order to write, that requires a LOT of prep work. I love coming up with premises and I love writing, but getting all the details right is hard — and yet so necessary in a mystery!

Through the EYES of a Geek by Kat Brookes

 Stalk Kat Brookes here:

Who is your favorite character in your book?
Ryan – the ‘angelboy’ – because despite the emotionally painful life he’d had growing up, he’s still got goodness inside him.  And I love his snarky sense of humor.
Where did you get the idea for this book?  My oldest daughter is special needs and there were a few occasions where she was ‘bullied’ in school.  I wondered how those bullies might feel if they were in her shoes.  Instead, I decided to write about life Through the Eyes of a Geek, hoping that if even one bully changes for the better from reading this story I’ve succeeded.
Kat Brookes
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?   The scene at the end when Ryan goes to his parents’ house.  Other than that, the book was fun to write.
Do you wear socks to bed?  Nope.
If you could change the color of anything what would it be and why?   My eyes.  Mine are hazel.   Boring.  Blah.  I’d love to have blue eyes.



What do you love about YA/teen books?

This entry was posted in Books.

My webhost killed my website

Sorry to anyone who has been trying to access my website for the past week. My webhost (or I should say, FORMER webhost) killed my website Monday night. Their server died and they worked to get everything fixed, but for some reason, my website never worked again. I put in multiple support tickets, got multiple responses to change to multiple different nameservers, but it never worked.

So I’ve now moved my domain to a new host and will have to rebuild my site since I could never get into the old site again to export my WordPress entries.

I’ve had a fantastic week. How about you?

Some book updates

Something Beautiful, the anthology my short story “Invisible” is included in, just got a new cover. Check it out!


What do you think? I love it! You can buy Something Beautiful now at Amazon.

A collection of stories and poems that will pull you in and take you away….

Silence by Carmen Tudor
Invisible by Shana Norris
She and I by Sarah Meira Rosenberg
The Poser by David Andrews
Being There for Jason by Susan Sundwall
Open Window by David Andrews
A Little Light by Keshia Swaim

From some of today’s most talented young adult authors comes this beautifully written anthology of short stories and poems that will touch your heart and make you realize you are not alone…

God is doing Something Beautiful through you.


Also, this ebook bundle Text Me: 8 Novels of First Love is back down to $0.99! You get EIGHT young adult books for that price!

TEXT ME is a fun, fresh bundle collection featuring light-hearted teen novels from eight bestselling authors with more than 300 combined reviews and an average 4.3 star rating on Amazon!

Discover a new favorite or a new series with this box set of contemporary and paranormal first love stories with sassy heroines that will have you crushing, swooning, or laughing out loud.

Purchased separately these eight novels would cost more than $20.00, so you can get a whole bundle of great reads for a great price!

This entry was posted in Books.

This Week I’m…

This Week I'm...

My So-Called Life on Hulu Plus. Jared Leto will always be Jordan Catalano to me! <3

The Well-Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman and Shucked by Megg Jensen

I have been eating way too much junk food lately and it’s making my teeth hurt, so I’m trying to be good by eating more fruit. So I’ve got tangerines and clementines, my favorite fruits for this time of year! (But I did still eat some chocolate I found in a cabinet…)


Chopping off my hair! By myself! I’m really lazy about getting haircuts because…I hate the small talk. My mind can’t come up with small talk! I feel so pressured to think of things to chat about with this hairdresser I barely even know. So I tend to let my hair grow and grow until I can’t stand it anymore, then finally I go get it cut. This time though I decided just to cut it myself. So I watched some YouTube videos, decided I was now and expert it hair cutting, and went into the bathroom with some scissors. It’s a mid-length angled bob, so it’s slightly longer in front than in back.

(The nice thing about angled bobs being in style is that if you accidentally cut it that way, you can just pretend you meant to do that!)

This was the first time I’ve ever cut my own hair and I was super nervous. But my sister cuts her own hair (she took cosmetology classes years ago) and so I told myself if I messed it up, I’d just get her to fix it and no one would ever know. I think it turned out okay though!

So anyone else out there cut their own hair?

Top Ten Tuesday


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday revolves around worlds that we would NEVER want to live in, or characters you’d never want to trade places with. Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here are my picks:

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – This is probably the first one to pop into most people’s minds since the movie franchise is so big right now. I’d never want to have to deal with the reapings and worry each year about being chosen or see my friends and family get chosen.
  2. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer – This world felt like something that could potentially happen one day and it’s frightening.
  3. Feed by M.T. Anderson – Another one that feels really possible one day. I don’t like the idea of having information fed directly into my brain and how reliant everyone was on that.
  4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Love considered a disease? No thanks!
  5. Matched by Ally Condie – I don’t want to live in a world where marriages are arranged either.
  6. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – I’d rather have my world free of zombies, thank you.
  7. Divergent by Veronica Roth – Let’s just say that in general, I don’t want to live in a dystopian world. I wouldn’t want to have to leave my family and join a faction.
  8. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – I also don’t want to live in a world with bad witches trying to destroy everything.
  9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – I’ve never read Twilight. Or seen the movies. But I know enough to know that I don’t care at all for vampires or werewolves, so no, I’d never want to live in this world.
  10. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce – Werewolves again. Nope. Not happening.

What worlds would you never want to live in?

This entry was posted in Memes.

How I use Scrivener to write my books

I’ve always really loved to read about other writers’ writing process. I still devour books where authors tell you how to write a book because I like to see what they do. Sometimes I’ll try some of their tips, and maybe they’ll work or maybe they won’t. But I still love hearing what works for other people and why.

I’ve been using Scrivener for over a year now and I have to say that I absolutely love it. I love reading how other writers use Scrivener and so I wanted to share some screenshots on how I use it. My writing process in general is a combination of tips I’ve learned from other writers and things I’ve figured out on my own. I used to do it all on paper and had these big three ring binders with my story notes and outlines, etc. But a few years ago, I turned my process into an almost entirely digital format with Liquid Story Binder. LSB is still a really great program and definitely worth looking into, but when I switched to a Mac I had to get a different writing software because LSB is Windows only. So I decided to switch to Scrivener and have been very happy with it.

These screenshots are from my project file for The Rules of You and Me. I write on a Macbook Air, so I do use the Mac version of Scrivener. The Windows version doesn’t have all of the options that the Mac version has, so keep that in mind in case you see something that I do that you can’t do on yours if you’re using Windows.

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(Click on the picture for a closer look)

This is how I typically lay out my project. I like to have a “Summary” document (sometimes I call it plot or synopsis, just whichever word pops into my head first when I create a new project). I’ll also have an “Additions” document which is where I add things that pop into my head as I’m writing. For example, say I’m working on a scene toward the end of the book, but I think of a detail to add into a scene at the beginning of the book. Instead of stopping and going back to that previous chapter, I just open the Additions text and type it in there, then deal with it later. I do this also for ideas I have for later in the book when I’m working on the beginning. I don’t have one in this project, but I’ll usually also have a “Cuts” document where I stash things I cut out of a scene that I think I might want to use somewhere else.

The document labeled “Rules” between Summary and Additions is unique to this book. I needed a place to keep track of the rules for life that Hannah has and the ones she and Jude make up in the book.

If you’ll notice, the book is divided into chapters and also parts. I want to point out here that I do not write in chapters and parts when I write the first draft! I concentrate only on scenes, not chapters. After I have the first draft done, then I go back and structure the book by adding in chapter breaks and arranging the book into four parts: beginning/set up, first half of the middle up to major midpoint, second half of the middle up to the climax, and ending/wrap up.

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Another thing I do after writing the first draft is to change all of my icons for each scene to a certain flag color. The flag color represents the major plot line that runs through each scene. For this book, green flags are the family plot line, purple is personal development, red is romance, and orange is friendship. That doesn’t mean that each scene only deals with that particular plot line, it just means this is the plot line that this scene touches on most. There may be a scene that’s labeled personal development, but it also includes a little bit of romance. However, I color code it to the plot line that is mostly dealt with in that scene.

Why do I do this? Besides the fact that I like looking at the rainbow of colors :) it also helps me at a glance to see how the story lines are weaving together. If I have too many red flags in a row, I know to work in some of the other plot lines a little more.

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In the right column, I store a short synopsis of that scene. I also label it according to the story line the scene is mostly about (the label matches the color of the flag I used on the left). Status sometimes changes if I feel like changing them. Sometimes I’ll write document notes in the yellow box, little bits I want to remember or add, but sometimes it’s blank.

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One of the things I really love is making character sheets. I used to do this in composition notebooks and I still have some from stories I wrote as a teen. Now I create them in Scrivener. Yes, that is Channing Tatum. That’s what I imagine Jude Westmore to look like. (With longer hair.) The character notes are just some basic info I want to be able to pull up easily. Mostly when I can’t remember what color eyes a character has. Sometimes the character sheets are very detailed, sometimes they only have a couple of notes on them.

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(Click the picture for a close up.)

Now this. This is one of my favorite parts of Scrivener: my inspiration board. To do this, I make a new collection called “Inspiration” and I use the cork board view to pin pictures and song lyrics as inspiration. I also include bits of dialogue I want to use in the book. This is part of my beginning process for creating a new book, when I’m just throwing a bunch of random things together from the ideas in my head. On the right, I start writing down notes and ideas for the book. Don’t read that if you don’t want to be spoiled about some things that happen in The Rules of You and Me! And yes, those notes do say Jackson instead of Jude. I changed his name after I started working on the book. He turned out to be more of a Jude than a Jackson.

Sorry to whoever that girl is. I don’t remember where I found the picture. I was searching online for an inspiration picture for Hannah and found that one. I don’t use it for anything except my own personal use in my inspiration board.

So this was a basic overview of how I set up Scrivener and how I like to use it. I love this software and rely on it for most of my writing now. I write articles for different clients as a freelance writer, and so I have an “Articles” project file in Scrivener. That one is simply divided into the following sections: Written, Submitted, and Published. I create a new document for each article and it gets first placed into the Written folder in Scrivener. Once I’m done with it and have sent it off to my client, I move it to Submitted. If it’s good and is accepted, it gets stored into Published. If it’s rejected, it gets moved back to Written. This is so I can know at a glance which articles are available to be sent out, which are currently waiting for a reply, and which articles I could try to sell reprint rights or develop a new idea off of. I also have another project file for short stories and each story gets its own folder and documents. Since they’re such small projects, I just don’t see the need to set up tons of new project files for each individual article or short story, so I group them together.

If any of you have questions about how I use part of Scrivener, or want some more detail on a certain feature, let me know in the comments! I have no affiliation with Scrivener or Literature and Latte, and I don’t receive any reward if you guys start using it. I’m just a writer sharing one of the major tools of her writing process.

Throwback Thursday

Several family members have been posting some old family pictures lately on Facebook and it’s been fun seeing ones I’ve never seen before. This is one that I had never seen and I don’t even remember taking it.


This was taken in Knoxville, Tennessee, back in 1989, at our big family reunion. The woman in the middle is my great-grandmother, my dad’s dad’s mom. She’s passed away now, and this trip is the only time that I remember having met her. I’m the third kid from the right, the biggest one, lol. I was 9 years old in this picture. My brothers are next to me and my sister is between me and our great-grandmother. On the other side are three of my cousins. These aren’t all of my cousins though–just on my dad’s side, I have 15 first cousins. And then another 14 first cousins on my mom’s side. That’s what happens when your dad is one of seven kids and your mom is one of six! ;)