Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary To Me!!!

My anniversary was yesterday, but I waited for my regular schedule blog day to share what I've been thinking a LOT lately ...

 "How do you balance life and writing?"

When I ask other writers, the usual answer I get is they make the time to write. Unfortunately, with 2 little kids at home with me all day, I can't do that. I'm told, 'Get up earlier. Write at night.'

Getting up early is out because my daughters are up and in arms by 6:00 am. And till hubs is home, fed, & the kiddos sleeping, my brain is fried.

So how do I do it? In 1 to 5 minute segments. If all is quiet in the Rochenski household for more than those 5 minutes, though, I'm more than likely in trouble. Permanent marker on faces and walls, large bottles of baby powder opened to create a winter wonderland inside a bedroom ... UGH. A nice scent, but NOT easy clean up!

On the rare occasion that I wake up at 5, mind churning over a scene or chapter, I jump from bed and write like mad before my real life begins for the day. Doesn't happen too often.

For me it's all about priorities and balance.

Some days I need to forgo staring at my laptop to read Dr. Seuss till my ears ring. Some evenings I sit and watch American Picker re-runs for the health of my marriage. I carry a small notebook & pen in the diaper bag just in case inspiration strikes during gymnastics class or while I'm barreling through the grocery story.

I do what I can when I can. Writing is what I do for myself. It's the ONLY thing I do for myself. Chances are I won't ever make it to the best sellers list, but that's alright cuz my precious family is the most important thing in my life. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Do you make time to write? Steal snippets of time whenever available?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review: Entwined

A YA fantasy
by Heather Dixon 
4 stars

Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

My Review:

A rendition of the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this story takes us SO much further. It's fresh, with a modernized voice.

The central conflict doesn't become apparent until almost the middle of the story, but the journey TO that conflict kept me flipping pages. Or, clicking the arrow on my kindle, rather.

With a focus on family, forgiveness, and love, this is one easy, thoroughly enjoyable read.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Dreaded Line Edits

I've heard horror stories. Seriously. Like the kind that make your stomach clench - the kind that makes bile rise up the back of your throat. Ok. Maybe that was a bit extreme, but still. Since these are the next step in my journey to publication, I've been watching my email like an obsessed, nervous animal.

What are line edits, you ask?

It's when a REAL editor fine-tooth combs your manuscript - line by line - for grammar, logic, flow, story, clarity, sentence structure, specific errors, overuse of words, and many other elements.


Well, I got mine for Sacrificial Oath which will be featured in the Make Believe Anthology from J. Taylor Publishing due out December 3rd. The email said (and I quote):

"Feel free to talk with me if you need to vent or scream. And yes, I will forewarn you, you likely will. That's the editing process."

Needless to say, I procrastinated an hour before opening the email's attachment. I expected to do this:

And, how did I respond?

I was pleasantly surprised. They weren't too bad. Imagine that!! All the anxiety for nothing. Sure there were a few grammar issues, and the editor offered a couple of changes in word choice and sentence variations, but that was it.

I actually felt good. Relieved. By the time I post this blog, I should be done making changes.


Till I get the 2nd round back from her, that is.  ;)

Have you ever received a similiar dreaded email? Did it prompt heart-stopping anxiety? Are you still waiting for this day in your dream to arrive? Keep writing. It will.

Book Review: The P.U.R.E.

A contemporary romance
5 Stars

No one ever said Gayle Lindley’s first job would be a killer.

Fresh out of college, Gayle’s career path should follow the yellow brick road straight to the top. Thanks to a menial errand gone wrong, a wayward tongue, and a randy supervisor who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, Gayle’s stuck in corporate hell.

Discovering a company secret only turns up the heat.

The one part of her life not going down in flames is her friendship with the gorgeous but intensely private, Jon Cripps. Jon would make the perfect consolation prize for Gayle’s pity party if dating a co-worker wasn’t career suicide. Then again, with all Gayle has been through, maybe falling in love is the lucky break she needs.

Hitting the cool sheets with Jon soothes her mind and body, but it also enrages whoever’s behind the smokescreen she’s uncovered at work. Someone is willing to kill to protect their secrets, and Gayle and Jon are the targets.

With both her heart and livelihood at stake, Gayle’s early career-limiting moves could turn into life-terminating ones.

My Review:

Yummies:  Sparks, steam, & tension galore.

I don't normally go for contemporary romance, but seeing as how Ms. Gillian is a fellow JTP author and a Scribo bud, I had to buy it.

Well. I was impressed. Mystery, part thriller, & romance was all wrapped up with a light-hearted bow. Yes, I said light-hearted. The MC, Gayle, is a riot. Even while eaves dropping (hiding beneath a conference table)she's amused and making the reader smirk. She jokes with herself while fleeing a gun-toting murderer intent upon blowing her brains out. Something like this you might think would feel contrived, but it didn't. It worked.

And Jon, her coworker? *fanning face* Um ... yum. Meticulous and private Jon Cripps - he has secrets. A suit and tie wearing bad @$$. He kicks butt and kicks Ms. Lindley's hormones into overdrive.

Yuckies:  There aren't any. I just wish I understood the accounting, number-crunching world a bit more. Some stuff was over my head, but it took nothing away from the story itself for me.

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely. Even if it's out of your normal genre-of-choice, pick this up. You'll be glad you did!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Make Believe Cover Reveal!!!

Here it is, folks - my name on the cover of a book. *major dork dance* It's my first anthology publication with the great

Let's go ahead & let that SQUEEEEEEEEEEE out, shall we? hehe

And yes, I DID re-do my blog & website to match. It's that OCD thingy that sometimes rears its silly head.

So what is this anthology about???

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski
An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.
With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

The Amulet of Ormisez by J. Keller Ford
There is only one way to save Elton Fletcher’s brother from an insanity-ridden death.
After years away from home, fighting for his people, Elton returns to discover his only sibling, Cayden, possessed by greed and malice, and responsible for malicious, unthinkable deeds. Cayden, though, isn’t the only one afflicted by the Amulet of Ormisez, and Elton finds himself in yet another battle, where the price of failure could be his own life.

Birthright by Lynda R. Young
Christa can mask the pain and hide the scars, but running from a birthright is impossible.
She’s tried to escape her grief by fleeing to a small town in Florida. Much to her frustration, the locals think they recognize her even though she's never been there before. To make things worse, a man named Jack spouts outrageous theories about her.
Both spur Christa to bolt, to start fresh yet again, but there’s something about Jack that intrigues her enough to stay. The only problem? Someone else wants her to leave, and they won’t stop until she’s dead.

Petrified by Kelly Said
A mysterious storm has replaced summer with winter, devastating crops and smothering Castle lands in snow.  Prince Sterling August stands alone as a leader, lost in personal grief as well as a desire to help his people but with an inability to do either.
The answers he needs await him, but without Lochlyn, a woman who’s just as isolated as Sterling, he’ll never see what stands before him, cloaked in illusion.

Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton
Emily is a Red, a woman whose sole purpose in life is to produce offspring. When her husband dies and leaves her childless, she risks her life and forsakes the safety of Terra—a disease-free city born after the nuclear holocaust. Beyond its boundaries, she knows, survives a man with whom she can be properly paired.
The Outside, though, holds secrets the government struggles to keep, and what Emily discovers on her quest for a mate will change her life forever.

Escort to Insanity by J.A. Belfield
From a charity auction, to a stroll in the park, to the craziest night of her life. Nicole Harrington can’t help but wonder how a simple event went so drastically wrong.
Of course, the male escort she booked is wholly to blame. Not only charming but shrewdly intelligent, Benjamin Gold drags Nicole into a platoon of unimaginable problems—ones from which she’ll have to find the courage just to survive.

So are you excited? Gunna gobble this one up on December  3rd or what!??? Can't order one yet, but add it to your Goodreads shelf by clicking HERE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: The Trouble With Nightingale

A fantasy novella
5 Stars  

When eighteen-year-old Millie Scrubbings moves to new digs on East London’s Nightingale Estate, she believes she’s finally closed the door on a childhood dictated by strangers. But overnight, her peaceful high-rise turns bonkers, and a series of grisly murders leaves Millie frightened and more helpless than ever.

Millie must accept her lead role in rescuing Nightingale from its descent into anarchy, or risk all Hell breaking loose.

 The trouble? I'll tell you what the trouble is - this story is too stinkin' short!!!

The MC, Millie, drew me right in, and her neighbor, Mrs. C's, description brought her alive - jumping right off the page & onto the porch with me.

Not paying attention to the percentage flitting by with every page click on my kindle, the 'the end' actually made me gasp, "WHAT?!?!?!?" I was all settled in for a good read and it ended. Just like that.


Yes, the villian had been slain, but I felt sure another was about to make an entrance. Double blah.

Ms. Ison has a great imagination, an awesome grip on characterization, and a distinct voice. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes out for more of her work!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Me? A Brand??

While trying to do the A-Z weekly blogging (self-inflicted) challenge, I've noticed something.

I'm off course.

I had intended my blog to be a record of my writing journey - my scribbling sojourn. Lately I've jumped on the book review / reveals bandwagon, straying from my original purpose. Now that I've begun blogging on a regular basis, I'm going to drop the A-Z and just do my weekly Thursday updates.

Book reviews, cover reveals, and blog touring will be posted as scheduled or released.

All that for this: Today's update.

I got my marketing kit yesterday from J. Taylor Publishing, who offered me a contract for Sacrificial Oath in their Make Believe Anthology due to release in December. Well. I read through all 50 pages this morning, and good Lord do I have have a lot to do in the coming months!!

According to them, I am now a brand. Like Coca-cola.

Yup. I find it amusing, too. What a climb this will be - ONWARD to world wide recognition like the best soda on the face of the earth. Uh ... yeah. Right.

Gotta start somewhere, though.

While a daunting task, I'm excited to be involved in my own marketing. Networking, newsletters, tweeting, facebook, enticing friends & family's to help with word of mouth, blog tours ... sigh. That's all I can say. Thank GOD JTP has it all mapped out into a 20 week program. Otherwise it would be way too overwhelming. I'm hoping to get some volunteers!

*hint hint*

Anyhoo ...

Have you been involved in marketing your own name? Any tried & found 'true' methods that worked for you? Suggestions? Advice on what NOT to do?

Book Review: G: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)

YA fantasy novel by Rae Carson 
4.5 Stars

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do

By the end of page 1, I was hooked. By the end of the first chapter I was in love with the 16 year old MC, Elisa. An overweight, unremarkable young woman - unlike the heroines of most fantasy novels written today. If it weren't for her age, this novel easily could be classified as adult fantasy, IMO. Elisa is unaware of how wise she really is, and Ms. Carson did a beautiful job of bringing this woman to life.

As for the world building and other characters in this debut novel ... phenominal job. Believable and vivid, I was transported to another land quite unlike our own. At least where I live, anyway.

Love, loss, religion, and magic, this story has it all. The only reason I didn't finish it in one sitting is because I have two little girls vying for my attention. Yeah. Sometimes a quickie read takes two weeks.

Anyhoo ... if you love fantasy as I do, I highly recommend this book. The only reason I didn't give it a full 5 stars is because a book has to MAKE me ignore whining, crying children to earn it. While this is a top notch story, I put it down with ease when needed.

Definitely looking forward to reading more from this awesome author!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cover Re-Reveal: Darkness & Light

Release Date: July 1, 2011
ebook Re-Release Date: June 1, 2012 (with bonus scene content!)
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Jem Stonehouse, a housewife with a neurotic husband bent on keeping her in line, dreams about werewolves in, what she believes, is a bid to escape boredom.

Sean Holloway is a werewolf, living a charade within the human race, whose mind drifts to a bond he shares with a woman he hasn't met — at least, not in this lifetime.

Apart, the two are safe but live unfulfilled lives.

Together, they'll become prey to rival packs just as they have been for hundreds of years.

When their worlds collide, and not for the first time, instinct takes over. Dreams become reality. Futures are uncertain. To keep history from repeating itself, Sean must teach Jem about his heritage, convince her of her role, and win her love.

Can Jem accept her destiny before it's too late, or is her inner wolf buried too deep to save her future with Sean?

Bonus!The re-release of the Darkness & Light ebook will include three bonus scenes from Sean Holloway's perspective.

Double Bonus!
For the month of June (June 1 - 30, 2012), Darkness & Light will be on sale for just $.99 USD.
Available HERE.

Other Books in this series include:
Instinct (#0)
Eternal (#0.5)
Blue Moon (#2)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

A Fantasy Novel by N. K. Jemisin 
4 Stars

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

What can I say??? This is one engaging, complex, and confusing (if you're not paying attention) debut novel from N. K. Jemisin. She's got a great voice and a great imagination, but honestly I was a bit lost here and there due to all the scene breaks / 'head' hopping. Once I got an inkling of what was going on within the MC, Yeine, it was easier for me to follow.

Now I must say, however, that this could totally be due to the 'mommy brain' I'm fond of blaming things on. It happens when you have 2 toddlers at home with you ALL DAY LONG.

If you're into fantasy & looking for something fresh (& just a tad bit hot), definitely give this a read.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


So. It's official. Sacrificial Oath is contracted with J. Taylor Publishing !!! 

Squeeeeeeeeeee! Here's the link to MY PAGE on their website.

*insert another squeeeeeeeee here*

Here's part of the press release: 

Make Believe Anthology authors revealed!
Five authors to be featured with J.A. Belfield in Make Believe Anthology from J. Taylor Publishing.
On December 3, 2012, J. Taylor Publishing will release Make Believe, an anthology of six short stories, ranging from contemporary romance to fantasy, written based on a photo prompt with a wintery setting and a woman in red.
The anthology will open with Terri Rochenski’s Sacrificial Oath, a story of self sacrifice. J. Keller Ford’s The Amulet of Ormisez will follow—a story of success in failure. From there, Birthright by Australian author Lynda R. Young will delve into secrets revealed. Kelly Said returns to this anthology with Petrified, taking the reader on a journey of finding one’s purpose. Last Winter Red by Jennifer M. Eaton finds us in a post-apocalyptic world where not all is as it seems. Rounding out the anthology, is our headline author, J.A. Belfield, author of Darkness & Light and the to-be-released Blue Moon, with Escort to Insanity

 December is a LONG ways away, so I'll leave you with one last SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Best Photographer EVER

Seriously, folks, Tracey rocks. I had a photo shoot with her yesterday, and all I can say is WOW. I've never had so much fun sitting for a photo. (And I HATE getting pics taken!!)

If you're needing a great picture - senior pics, family pics, children's pics - whatever - check her site out. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, May 4, 2012

E: Enjoying a Break!!

Up at the lake house on Pine River Pond.

No internet. No phone. No cable.

I should have been writing or editing, but I just couldn't do it. Books called, their pages crinkling late into the night. And in the mornings, I drank coffee while looking over my back 'yard', which is THE BEST place to write. Ever.

This pic is from last summer. The lake hasn't filled yet (thanks to no snow, runoff, or spring downpours), but here's to hoping!! Trees aren't that green yet, either.

Yes, I enjoyed my break, but now it's back to the old grind. Life and the muse are fighting for my undivided attention.

Where do you go to relax? Escape? Write?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

{Cover Reveal} Reaper by L.S. Murphy

YA Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy

Release Date: Janurary 7, 2013

There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.
Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.
So whatcha think?? Gunna nab this one? I am. Without doubt.