Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con FanX

Pictures from Comic Con Part 2! Please note that I am super pregnant and did my best to make it all the way around the whole expo. 

Even pregnant people can feel small next to Hagrid. This was one of my favorite costumes there. 

Iron Man. How do they make these costumes?!

Middle-earth battles happening mid expo. 

My view from the Disney panel where Cruella De Vil posed perfectly right before the panel started. 

I had to search everywhere, but I finally found the mermaids! Biggest compliment ever: they said I had mermaid hair. 

And red coat (Allison?) from Pretty Little Liars! She was absolutely terrifying and I had to keep checking over my shoulder after bumping into her. Beware of red coat!

Until next time Salt Lake Comic Con! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Comic Con FanXperience

I can't even begin to explain the fun craziness that is Comic Con! There is just SO much going on in one place. It's like Disneyland for Salt Lake City. In no particular order, here is a little bit of my FanX experience so far. 

My sister Michelle and I making friends with Star Wars stormtroopers.

Getting ready to speak on another fun writing panel with Utah authors. Last night we spoke about villains, one of my favorite subjects.  

Signing at the Deseret Book booth. 

My mom fist bumping Jonathan Frakes. She's so cool. 

Oh, you know, Thor waiting in line for Pizza. Even superheros get hungry! 

David Bowie minus the terrifying puppets from Labyrinth. 

Oh, it's a jolly holiday with Mary...

Loki just being awesome (see, I like villains). 

A whole Star Wars family complete with an adorable ewok. I hope they took a family picture to use for their Christmas card! 

And Karl Urban from Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. One girl came up to ask him a question and erupted into a fit of giggles before she could even speak to him. It was a pretty great panel. 

Author Shannen Crane Camp and I trying to soak it all in with pink pants and pink hair. 

Stay tuned for Comic Con FanXperience part 2! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con Schedule

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience starts tomorrow!

Here’s my schedule of panels and signings.

Thursday April 17th
12:00 pm: What Inspires Writers?
3:00-4:00 pm: Book Signing

Friday April 18th
11:00 am-12:00 pm: Book Signing
6:00 pm: The Power of Imagination: Writing for Kids and Kid at Heart in Today’s Market
8:00 pm: The Hero’s Shadow: Writing Great Villains

Saturday April 19th
7:00 pm: Why is Disney Still Relevant to Adults?

See you there, hopefully in costume! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Ask an Author for Help

I get a lot of people asking me for advice on how to get published. 

When I was first writing my novels I learned quickly the best and worst ways to ask an author for help. Certain things you say can really help you out, while other comments can be offensive to authors. I've compiled a list below of do's and don'ts. These are actual questions and comments I've heard while being approached for help. 

PLEASE never ever say to an author:
  • "I want to get published. Obviously you know how to get into bookstores. So tell me how you did that." 
I understand that you genuinely want to learn how to become a successful author. However, please assume that most writers spent years learning the art, going to school, writing their novels, and working to get published. When someone asks me like that, I feel that they are looking for a one sentence answer of how to quickly and easily get published. Would you ask that same question to a doctor, musician, lawyer, artist, or pilot? 
  • "I have a great idea for a book. I was wondering if you would be willing to write it for me so that I can get it published. It's a really good idea, you'll definitely like it."
Sigh. Unfortunately I've heard this a lot. If you want someone to write your novel for you then you need to hire a ghostwriter. I have about twenty books that are waiting on the back burner for me to write. Most authors have a lot of ideas for novels and can't take the time to write someone else's book for them (unless they are a professional ghostwriter). 
  • "I just finished writing my novel! Will you please read it for me and then tell me how to improve it and get it published?" 
I feel terrible I can't help you, but there are too many problems with this idea. Authors need to spend that time reading and improving their own novels. Also, several authors have been sued because of copyright issues due to this scenario. Basically this is a job for your writer's group or a paid editor. 
  • "I live by you, know your aunt, go to the same gym, knew you in jr. high, etc. can you put a good word in for me with your publisher about my book?" 
This just makes authors feel uncomfortable. 
  • "It looks like you are successful as an author. Can you tell me how I can quickly publish a book?"
Yes. Go to school for several years to learn how to write, go to at least twenty different writing conferences and classes, take a couple of years to write your novels and edit them, spend months learning the art of writing a query letter, and another couple of years to submit to publishers. Also, make sure you have an amazing, original idea that is trending in the market you're going into. That's it! ;)

How to contact authors:

Almost every author has a blog or website. You can enter their name in a search engine with the word "blog" and their page will come up. I've received so much advice from talented, bestselling authors, and you know how? I put their name in a search engine with "blog" and found their site, then clicked on FAQ or ADVICE TO WRITERS. It helped me so much, and I didn't waste their time or my time. I'd rather spend that time working on my books!

Please do not Facebook message, Twitter message, or Google message authors, unless that author requests so on their blog or website. Most authors have a contact page. When you contact them differently than what their contact page suggests, it shows that you didn't care to take the time to even visit their site and see what they prefer.

If you have written a book, and you are earnestly seeking advice that is not already on their website, there are smart ways to approach the topic. Authors will be more likely to listen to you if you word your comment or question right.

Do say: 
  • "I am a fan of your books. I was wondering if I could get some advice..."
  • "I met you at "blank" writing convention. I was wondering if I could get some advice..."
  • "I went to your class/panel at "blank" writing event. I was wondering if I could get some advice..."
  • "I really like your blog/website/Twitter/Instagram account. I was wondering if I could get some advice...."
  • "I've checked your FAQ on your blog and I was wondering if I could get some advice..."
(Disclaimer: Make sure you actually did what you are saying).

In my own quest of asking authors for advice, I quickly realized something. If I had read their books, read their blog, gone to their classes, met them at a convention, or had gone to their signings, they were a thousand times more likely to give me advice or help me out! I feel the exact same way when asked for advice about getting published.

Plus, bonus points if you went to my blog and read my "advice to writers" page or FAQ. Then I just want to be your friend because obviously you are a great person with fantastic taste.

If you're ever in doubt, ask yourself how you would want to be approached for advice. Everyone wants to be treated with kindness and respect. Please know that I do love helping writers! I try my best to give genuine advice that will help you accomplish your writing goals. So if you have any questions, my blog is a great place to ask!  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blog Tour! Cindy C Bennett's The End of Feeling

After missed deadlines and pushed-back release dates, it's finally here!

Benjamin Nefer seems to have it all. He’s the most popular guy in school, the star quarterback with college scouts looking at him, his grades are near the top of his class, he can get any girl he wants . . . but he hides behind his dream life to mask the nightmare of his reality.

Charlie Austin is the new girl. Forced to move in with a bitter aunt, she only wants to protect her fragile mom from the world’s cruelty. When Benjamin sets his sights on Charlie, she’s armored against his charm—friends warned her about Benjamin’s game of pursuing and then dumping a long line of girls, not caring about the broken hearts he leaves behind. She doesn’t count on how single-minded he can be when she refuses him, or how charismatic, easing into her life through what he claims is just friendship.

Benjamin thought he could keep Charlie in the same place he keeps all girls—something to be used and then discarded. But Charlie has as many secrets as he does, secrets he’s determined to discover while keeping his own hidden. He realizes she’s the perfect girlfriend candidate . . . someone he can use to keep up the fa├žade of a perfect life. Now he just has to keep his frozen heart from softening toward this unique girl, because if he doesn’t, his carefully constructed lies might just come thundering down around him, crushing him beneath the burden of feeling.

Get your copy today at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords CreateSpace Kobo

Proud to be a part of Amazon's Kindle Matchbook - Purchase the paperback, get the Kindle version free!

Win a copy of The End of Feeling here

The End of Feeling is a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. Haunting, heartbreaking, in other words, another winner for Bennett!
~ Sherry Gammon, author of Unlovable

From the moment I picked it up, my heart was warmed, melted, broken, and pieced back together again. A beautiful story that will leave you aching long after the last page.
~ Jamie Canosa, author of Falling to Pieces

A tale of hope and love about a couple of teens who have every reason to believe in neither. It's raw and real, but leaves us believing in the power of redemption.
~ Juli Caldwell, author of Psyched

The reality both characters live makes their story captivatingly unique, and emotionally powerful. . . Demonstrates the beautiful truth that two people can learn to be true to themselves, no matter what—especially while falling in love. 
~ Heather Frost, author of The Seers trilogy

The struggles in this story bring to light the fact that beauty and truly miraculous things can be found in the everyday, and that the most important thing any one of us can possess, is love.

Once again Cindy C Bennett's incredible talent shines through yet another masterpiece . . . a triumphant story of love, compassion and human strength.

Bennett brilliantly weaves the fears and trepidation of two teens treading the hazards of acceptance, young love, and. Curl up with this story and enjoy the ride—it's terrific.

Learn more at Cindy C Bennett's blog.

Visit The End of Feeling blog to read the full reviews.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Favorites: Animal Friendly Makeup Products

If you know me, you know that I love animals and try to make a difference wherever I caneven small changes can make a big difference. One change I've done this year is research my cosmetic products to see what is animal friendly and what isn't. I hate knowing that I'm buying a product that supports animal testing, so I began switching out my products for happier, healthier, animal friendly ones. Below you can find some amazing animal friendly products that I've tried and loved.

Burt's Bees Radiance Day Lotion $7.99 on Amazon.com.
I feel like this lotion makes my skin glow, plus I like wearing SPF protection everyday to avoid sun damage.

Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow
E.l.f. Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow $3.00 on Eyeslipsface.com.
I really like E.l.f. products and have used them for years, their makeup usually ranges from $1.00 to $5.00.

It's a 10 Miracle hair mask $24.00 on Amazon.com.
The benefits of this hair mask are amazing, it's great for restoring dry, damaged hair.

Tarte Lip Tint $24 on Tartecosmetics.com.
These lip colors keep your lips smooth and and stay bright for hours! They have so many colors to choose from and mine has lasted forever.

E.l.f. Studio Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder
$3.00 on Eyeslipsface.com.
This blush and bronzer is simple, but I love the natural-looking glow it gives my skin.

If you have any more suggestions for animal friendly cosmetics, I'd love to hear them!

**As far as my research shows, these products do not test on animals. However, I know that company policies change often. If you have any updates on these products, please let me know.