Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.

2012 has been such an amazing year for me. My first novel was released and I got to have all the exciting experiences that come with being an author. The Shapeshifter's Secret was launched in June, and since then I have met hundreds of incredible readers who have blown me away with their kindness and support.

Some of my favorite memories were at signings meeting fellow readers and writers, during my blog tour when so many awesome bloggers connected with me, and anytime I saw my novel sitting on a shelf at a bookstore, library, or home. Thank you for all your support! I hope that 2013 brings you happiness and success!

Here is a quick list of some of my favorite discoveries of 2012.

Dystopian Novel: 
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Middle Grade Novel: 
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

Fantasy Novel: 
The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Contemporary TV Series: 

Drama TV Series:
Downton Abbey

Thursday, December 27, 2012

And Miles to go Before I Sleep...

My yard has turned into a winter wonderland. The surrounding fields are covered with a blanket of snow and the mountains are white with icy clouds encircling them. Winter has completely taken over, and I constantly find myself staring out the window thinking of one of my favorite poems: 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. 

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

This poem has always meant so much to me. The words resonate deep inside my soul and I can swear that I've been in those snowy woods. I can see my breath rising in the coldness, I can feel the urgency from my horse. 

I love the conflict between his attraction to the woods and the pull of responsibly. In the end the traveler must refuse entering the darkness of the woods and continue his journey. I can't help but wonder what is truly in those magnificent woods. 

Robert Frost has a way of crafting poems perfectly, and each sentence seems to be made for each other. I see two versions of this poem. One is simple and literal, the other is as complex and deep as the very woods it speaks of.

So many times I have repeated the lines: But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 13, 2012


Nichole, my cute writing friend, shared this with me today, and I couldn't help but post it here.

The picture of the writer snuggling with the cat, in particular, makes me laugh. It seems like every time I get a spark of inspiration and grab my laptop and heater I somehow end up with two snoozing pugs next to me. I'll be honest, they are both snuggling with me at this very moment.

I can also say that the bottom right picture of someone with their head down on their laptop is something I have definitely done. In fact here's a picture from this summer when I was editing my sequel.

It happens. Mostly because it's hard to make all of your ideas translate beautifully through your writing. And even though I know that others have certain exceptions of my writing, I'm definitely my hardest critic. 

The top left picture of someone writing in a cozy restaurant is something I've always wanted to do. I think it would be wonderful to write while drinking a steamy cup of hot chocolate with Pandora music playing in the background . Alas, I don't know if I will ever be able to do that. I get distracted way too easily. Besides, who would my dogs snuggle with? :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


I can't believe how close Christmas is! I've been trying to soak up every fun-filled, frosted day before December ends, and I've discovered a lot of different Christmas recipes and crafts.

I'm a big Pinterest fan and I love searching through different boards and finding the perfect pin.  I've posted pictures below from my Christmas board, and I hope that you can find some inspiration from these brilliant ides. (Note: I did not come up with these ideas, but I'm happy someone was kind enough to share them on Pinterest!). 

I just barely tried this one today. You use old scraps of wrapping paper to make bows. I think I'll be making these scrap bows for years. 

This idea is amazing, and I love how mine turned out. I used an old tree skirt and hot glued strips of cream colored fabric to make this beautiful ruffly one. I'd definitely recommend this one. 

Peppermint candy tray. I used red mints and made a tray for our gingerbread houses. All you do is place Starlight Mints on wax paper and put in the oven. Pretty cool, huh? 

Mmm. Peppermint ice cream. I've been eating this a lot lately, and there are several recipes to choose from on Pinterest. 


This is the simplest idea, but It looks so cute. You can hang all your Christmas cards along your stairs with clothespins. Easy! 

These are the ideas that I still want to try. I think these chocolate covered pretzels would make great neighbor gifts. 

Tomato cages upside down with garland wrapped around them. I think I'll hang on to my tomato cages and try this one next year! 

And lastly I just had to post this adorable picture that I found on Pinterest. I love Christmas at Hogwarts. Sigh. 

To find more about these pins and the bloggers that came up with the great ideas, you can find their links on my Pinterest here:


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cyber Bullying

I've heard about the dangers of cyber bullying for a long time. Because Facebook didn't exist until I was out of high school, I never really felt like I had a problem with it. I knew it happened a lot, and that many students became "anonymous" online because it was easier to bully someone when they didn't know who you were. But I never had an experience where I was personally attacked, until recently.

Last week I was going through my book's Facebook page and noticed someone had shared over ten of my photos. Normally I love it when people share my photo's from The Shapeshifter's Secret Facebook page. It helps people find my book and my blog. Since I saw so many shares by the same person, I decided to click on their profile and see if I knew them. I didn't, and when I saw the caption above my picture I immediately felt sick. I found picture after picture of me, my book, and other photos I had shared that had awful, vicious, terrible things written as the captions. There were several swearwords and one picture even had a caption that said I was evil. I couldn't believe it. A lot of the captions were so bad I couldn't even repeat them.

I blocked the person, reported everything to Facebook, and took all the necessary steps to ensure the facebook user never does it again, but it was really unnerving.

I began looking up facts about cyber bullying and I found this from

  1. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. One in four has had it happen more than once.
  2. One in three teens has experienced cyber-threats online.
  3. Nine out of ten middle school students have had their feelings hurt online.
  4. About 75% have visited a website bashing another student.
  5. Four out of ten middle school students have had their password(s) stolen and changed by a bully who then locked them out of their own account or sent communications posing as them.
  6. The psychological and emotional outcomes of cyber bullying are similar to real-life bullying outcomes, except for the reality that with cyber bullying there is often no escape. School ends at 3 p.m., while the Internet is available all the time.
  7. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
  8. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
  9. About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.
  10. 90% of victims will not inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
  11. Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In a national survey of 10-17 year olds, twice as many children indicated they had been victims and perpetrators.
Reading that made me feel so sad. I didn't have to worry about cyber bullying in high school, but I can't believe how prevalent it is now. It's frustrating and scary. The internet holds many amazing, helpful, uplifting possibles, but it's also so dangerous. I know this post is a little more serious, but this experience was definitely an eye opener for me.

I can only take so many serious blog posts. My next one needs to be about Christmas, hot chocolate, snow, and other happier things.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Friday, November 30, 2012

Les Miserables and other wonderful things.

Today I was listening to my music on shuffle and Phantom of the Opera came on. I had to go back and listen to the whole album while I was driving, and it was then that I realized how much of a sucker I am for musicals. I watched My Fair Lady over Thanksgiving break, reminisced about how much fun I had seeing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with my sisters in the summer, and I even put the release date for Les Miserables in my phone calendar! 

I can't sing or play any musical instruments, so maybe that's why I appreciate a good musical so much. I love Broadway musicals, classical musicals, and listening to Pandora stations with musicals. When I was dating my husband and found out he was musically talented, had been in choir his whole life, and even play Dodger in Oliver when he was little, I swooned :)

I know I should be counting down the days until the Hobbit (and I am excited for it), but I can't wait for Les Miserables to come out. 

I love The Phantom of the Opera, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Wicked, and West Side Story, and I've been lucky enough to see them on Broadway. I haven't seen Les Miserables live, but I hope to one day have the opportunity. For now I'm just excited to see the movie. 

What are your favorite musicals? 

If you haven't seen it yet, here is the trailer for Les Miserables. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A little Random, but always Fun.

Hello! How was your Thanksgiving? I had a great time, so much so that I wasn't a very dedicated blogger. I did however keep getting little sparks of inspiration for blog posts that I wanted to write. I'd hurry and scribble down, Write blog post on Christmas recipes, or Reminder: write blog post about magic, basically a lot of random stuff. I even made a note about doing a post while I was watching my favorite Boy Meets World episode...but now that just seems weird...well, maybe I'll just post one picture.

Hee hee. Okay, moving on. 

So during the break I had a great book signing, started reading two new books that I'm loving so far (more on those later), and I got to spend a lot of time with family. Honestly this Thanksgiving was one of the funnest I can remember. 

My family is pretty silly, and I loved spending time with them while watching old home videos and laughing--and eating pie, can't forget about the pie! Though I try and tell them, I feel like I never can say enough how truly thankful I am for all of them. 

I love this boy so much and I'm so thankful that I'm married to him!

I also love all these crazy, cute, fun sisters of mine and had a blast spending time with them. 

I have so much to be grateful for, and I try to always keep that in mind.

 Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well and that you're looking forward to December as much as I am!

P.S. I've been listening to Michael Buble's Christmas Album for weeks now and it's been great. What other Christmas Albums can you recommend? I hope to make the ultimate Christmas music playlist!

Monday, November 19, 2012


“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Breaking Dawn Twist! What did you think?

I'm posting about Breaking Dawn Part 2, but before you read any further please know that this contains SPOILERS. So if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read this! I don't want to ruin the ending for you.

Also, if you don't like Twilight or Vampires that is perfectly fine. I read the series when I was in college dreaming about becoming an author and I always admired Stephenie Meyer's imagination. So if Twilight isn't your cup of hot chocolate (my preferred beverage), then please don't feel like you have to read this. I've read the books, seen the movies, and been involved with the series for a long time, so I like talking about them.

All right, am I safe to talk about the ending now?

SPOILERS ahead. Sorry, one last warning!

So all that's on my mind is the battle scene! WOW. WOW! Ahem, sorry, I'll try to stay collected here.

I remember seeing the trailer for Breaking Dawn last week when it advertised a "surprise" ending. I thought, how can it be a surprise? We all read the books, we know what happens, right?

Wrong! How very, very wrong I was. The beginning is a little slow, then there's the gathering of the vampires across the world, which by the way, I LOVED the cast.

At the end, everyone lines up to potentially battle the Volturi.  Every vampire and every werewolf is ready to attack, even though the books tell us no battle ever takes place. But then, TWIST. *GASP* Alice tells Aro that it doesn't matter what she shows him, the volturi will fight against them no matter what. Then the mind blowing battle begins...

Every vampire and werewolf faces off. Good verses the Volturi. Good verses evil. The BIG ENDING. The fighting, throwing, and limb tearing leaves you in shock. I kept thinking, this ins't in the book, this isn't in the book, this isn't in the book!

Then the ultimate shocker. Carlisle dies. My jaw dropped and my heart raced. Suddenly the movie theater felt much too warm. The girl next to me started bawling. Even though my husband denies it, I know he was surprised!

Next Jasper dies. Carlisle and Jasper? Come on, they can't die! I felt a little numb at that point, I thought, okay, well then, they just decided to rewrite the whole ending. But the only part that almost made me come to tears was seeing the werewolves fight. When Seth died I was so disappointed. Why did he have to look like a dog?! I'm such a dog person and seeing Seth whimper and die just broke my heart. I had to pull a "it's not real, it's just a movie."

Luckily though, with all the sadness and shock of losing such lovable characters, you also get the satisfaction of seeing Volturi members go down. When Jane (Dakota Fanning) died brutally, the whole movie theater broke out into applause. Then, the ultmiate Volturi death: Aro dies. The face of evil is finally gone!

Still in shock, and wondering why the ending was so different than the book, everything ends. Suddenly a new scene flashes. NONE OF THE BATTLE REALLY TOOK PLACE. It was all in a vision.

Everyone in the audience cheered again. They all took a deep breath (and secretly wiped their eyes). No Cullen or werewolf died! YAY! Everyone realized it was all a vision between Alice and Aro. AMAZING.

But, wait, a vision!? I thought one of the biggest rules of writing was NEVER ever have an epic scene and then flash back and say, never mind, it was all a dream (or a vision). I thought that was against the rules!

It worked though. Everyone was so sad with the battle that it made it that much more marvelous when everyone was still alive. Best of all, we got to see all the vampires fight and use their gifts. An awesome battle scene, plus no one really got hurt? Yes, I believe that qualifies for an epic twist of an ending.

The Twilight series is far from perfect, and there are a lot of scenes I could do without. But lets all admit that the ending of this movie was amazing. At least that's how I felt about it.

I want to hear your thoughts! What did you think? Were you as shocked as I was with the ending?

P.S. I'm sorry if any of the names or events are mixed up or out of order, it was midnight after all.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sequel, sequel, sequel!

I'm happy to announce that I've signed the contract for my sequel, The Siren's Secret, and it will be released this summer! Woohoo!

Get ready for more adventure, romance, werecats, and....sirens

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Interview and Giveaway

Writing Snippets is a wonderful site with lots of great advice for writers. They were kind enough to interview me for a podcast and also host a giveaway for The Shapeshifter's Secret. Click the link below to listen to the podcast and enter the giveaway. 

These ladies are such talented authors as well as great friends of mine. Enjoy!

P.S. I get really nervous listening to my own voice, in fact it makes me cringe. Does that happen to anyone else?  I've got a lot to learn about interviews and public speaking! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Have a Magical Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Edit until you die...

I'm sorry for my leave of absence! I hate when I check a blog to find that the author hasn't written anything new. Not that I'm saying people check my blog often. And if anyone does, well, you just made me the happiest author in the world.

My time away has been spent on two things. Number one, my little sister just got married this past week and it's been a whirlwind of wedding plans, family, cake, and glitter (More on that later). The second reason I've been away is because I've been editing. A LOT. So much so that I believe I started looking like this...

However, I may have been influenced from being tired (after pulling all-nighters to edit) and continually glancing at my skeleton candelabra Halloween decoration. Sometimes my imagination just runs away. 

Anyway, through the experience of writing my sequel, I've realized there is a specific formula I follow for completing novels. I've recorded the formula below. 

1. Get an awesome idea.

2. Spend 934574954058409 hours writing it down and typing it up. 

3.  Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit,  Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit.

4. Edit some more. 

There you have it, that's my formula. Hopefully you have your own tailored, editing plan that you use when writing. Maybe you edit as you go, or perhaps you can finish a novel in a month or two. For me, I have to take my time. I need to read every single line and make sure it's something I can feel good about. Writing is my dream job, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity's I've been given. Editing is hard for me, but after it's done and I have the final, finished product, it's well worth the blood, sweat, and tears. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Words to live by

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Reading List

I've inhaled a large variety of books this month, so I've complied my list and posted them here:

I absolutely loved A Year Down Yonder. It was lighthearted, funny, and very entertaining. It's a middle grade novel about a girl who goes to live with her hilariously unpredictable grandmother for a full year. It's a short read, something you can read in a day, and it received a Newbery Medal. This one was gold to me, and I will definitely be reading more Richard Peck books. 

I try to make sure that I reread as many classics as I can. I'm not sure I quite appreciated classics when I was in high school, but now I see the importance. It's remarkable to see where we've come from and how we've developed overtime. Mark Twain of course is one of the greatest authors of all time, and his southern voice is contagious. Every time I read a chapter I suddenly have a southern accent.  

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by The Brother's Grimm. Overtime it seems that Hollywood changes fairy tales. That's why I like reading the original, even though often they're more, well, grim. You know the general story of most Grimm fairy tales, but why not read the true versions? Plus if you have a kindle they're free to download. 

Have you ever read or watched The Secret? It's about changing your life for the better using laws of the universe. I'm definitely a big fan of positive thinking, so I always love reading this kind of stuff, but I understand it's not for everyone. This book is similar to the Secret, but talks about using the magic of gratitude and happiness to give you a better life. Inside you'll read chapters about magic dust, magic mirrors, and even magic wishes. 

So there you have it. That was my array of books I've read this month. Have you read any of these books? What's on your list this month? 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Child's Imagination

I think it's so important for children to have a good imagination. It supports intellectual growth, helps children build self-confidence, gain social skills, and even work out fears. Reading is a huge step in building a child's imagination, and I think that Einstein had it right. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret Interview and Giveaway

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer has posted an interview and Giveaway for The Shapeshifter's Secret!  The giveaway is for a paperback copy and an Ebook copy, so make sure you enter. Here is a portion of the interview. Click the link below to see the full interview and to enter the giveaway.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Every time I receive a letter from a reader saying that they enjoyed The Shapeshifter’s Secret, I am overjoyed and humbled. I don’t know why, but it always brings me to tears. I suppose it’s because getting published is a long, tough journey, and receiving those letters reminds me that it’s definitely worth all the hard work!  

What is your favorite Quote?
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.” 
--Robert Frost

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret Art by Anastasia

I got this picture in a message from Anastasia, who drew this sketch of the main characters after reading The Shapeshifter's Secret. This is so amazing, and it reminded me once again why I write. I love Julia's shirt, the werecat, the magical tablet letter, and all the details put into each character. Thank you Anastasia for sharing this incredible picture, you are so talented! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Strong Current

This week just hasn't been my week. I'm not one to wallow in self-pity, but I just feel like things are working against me. Sometimes I feel like I'm swimming really hard against a current. Today a particularly strong wave knocked me backward, and I just gave in. I stopped struggling against the current and let the water flush me away.

I try really hard to not make my blog turn into a journal. I have plenty of notebooks to fill up with my emotions and feelings. However, I realize that as long as I stay on topic of writing, then I'm okay.

I know that life is supposed to have its ups and downs. It's what makes us appreciate the wonderful, blissful, amazing things in life. When I write my characters, I have absolutely no problem making them go through trials and hardships. They endure battles, evil villains, and brutal love triangles. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with making them go through difficult tasks, because we know that they are learning something. Each battle makes them stronger. Every time they fight the villain, they learn more and become smarter.

Of course the character doesn't want any conflicts. Frodo does't want to go to Mordor. Harry doesn't want to meet Voldemort over and over again. Katniss doesn't want to go to the Hunger Games. But that's their story, and that's what they must endure. It's what makes us care about them. They had conflicts, but because of the hardships they figured out who they were and what they stood for.

I wish that I didn't get so down every time I face something hard. I wish that I could remember that it's all a part of the hero's journey, that my story would be boring if there wasn't conflict. I know that even though right now I'm hitting a low, everything could change tomorrow. Perhaps it will be great with little resistance. Whatever does happen, I must remember to learn, grow, and become a better person because of the conflict. The current is strong, but if I use the resistance to become stronger, then I can handle it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Never, never, never give up.

I'm seeing a theme running through my day, and I think it's an important topic (plus I'm a rather superstitious person), so I'll go ahead and talk about it.

Today I got my "daily kick in the pants" from David Farland on the subject, here are some of his thoughts: 

"Most of the time, when we talk about giving up, it is because we feel depressed or overwhelmed. But we can get over it. Winston Churchill went through some hard times in his life. He fell a distance of thirty feet as a teen, ruptured a kidney, and spent days in a coma. He failed in business over and over again. He lost his position and became so depressed that he could not speak for days afterward.

And he led England through World War II, against incredible odds. One of his oft-quoted sayings is “Never, never, never give up.” He has a lesser-known quote that I like: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

One can think long and hard and not find any value in giving up. It’s certainly not for me." 

See the rest of the kick here:

David, thank you for so much for all your great writing advice! It has helped me so much over the years. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Shapeshifter's Secret in Hawaii

I've always wanted to visit Hawaii, and last week I finally got the opportunity. So I'm going to be LAME and show you a slideshow of my pictures. How can I make it more interesting you ask? How about by starting out with a picture like this!

Hawaii. Barnes and Noble. The Shapeshifter's Secret. Yes, I was freaking out. This was such an amazing moment, and I could have stayed in that bookstore all day. People were looking at me, probably wondering why I kept posing in the teen fantasy section of Barnes and  Noble. I didn't care, I was way way way too happy. 

And this is what we did the rest of the time...

The beautiful, incredible, and educational Polynesian Culture Center.

 The delightfully, delicious, Dole plantation.

Pearl Harbor.

"Dear lord / Lest I continue / My complacent way / Help me to remember / Somehow out there / A man died for me today. / As long as there be war / I then must / Ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?" -- The inscription said Eleanor Roosevelt carried it in her wallet during WWII.

The beautiful Laie Hawaii temple.

And every other awesome thing: 

Amazing Sea Turtles (which I had to keep reminding people, we only LOOK, no touching them). This guy's name was Tripod. 

That little black dot on the island is my brother. I dared him to swim out there and sing songs from the little mermaid. And he did it! 

Waterfalls, even though they are freezing, they are worth hiking to. 

My cheesy, look-we're-on-the-beach pose.

 Conquering my fear of heights at Waimea Bay.

And you can't visit Hawaii without getting some Matsumoto Shaved Ice.

This wahine thanks you for checking out my post. Hang loose and Aloha!