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