Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ED Awareness: Everybody knows somebody

If you don't know already, and I'm fairly sure I've mentioned this before, This year's Eating Disorder Awareness week's theme is "Everybody knows somebody".

Some of you might be aware of the 'Six degrees of separation' theory. Even if you think you don't know somebody with an eating disorder, chances are you do. For the longest time, whenever I heard this phrase I thought "That somebody is me. I'm the one everybody knows with an eating disorder."

Then I started asking around. I shared my story, and people I knew started sharing theirs. There was a boy I knew ever since elementary school; he told me one day at the gym that he knew, somewhat, what I was going through. His explanation: He was bulimic during high school, when he was in wrestling.

This was a major shock to me. I was so involved in my own disorder that I didn't even bother to notice anyone else's. When I changed schools, it didn't change. I met new people. One of which was a girl who didn't like 'eating unless standing'. I knew that was a symptom, but let it slide. At that point I wasn't about to lecture about eating disorders for fear of being a hypocrite. She ended up getting worse, getting into drugs and landing in the hospital a few months after I did.

And of course, when I went into the hospital, I met at least two more people with eating disorders. I didn't need six degrees of separation. Chances are, you don't either. Pay attention this week to your friends. To the hard workers, to the withdrawn, to the ones who refuse dinner dates even when their romantic lives depend on it.

Pay attention to the boys and girls in your life who blend in, who seem completely normal. Start a discussion. You might be surprised about who you know who has or had an eating disorder.

If you find a friend who is struggling, help them out. Get them help, and be a friend. There will be a post later on on how to do that.

related reading:

Six Degrees: The science of a connected age; By Duncan J. Watts

Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life


By Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ED awareness: The facts

The week is about halfway over now, and it's time to show how serious eating disorders are. Not only as a disease, but as a disease that is underfunded and ignored. As an activist for NEDA's Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I'm going to share some statistics from their website. If you go all the way to the bottom, there, are the references (So you know I'm not making this up, in spite of my passion)

  •  In the United States, eating disorders are more common than Alzheimer’s disease (as many as 10 million people have eating disorders compared to 4 million with Alzheimer’s disease).
  •  Despite its prevalence, there is inadequate research funding for eating disorders. Funding for eating disorders research is approximately 75% less than that for Alzheimer’s. In the year 2005, the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded the following disorders accordingly:
    Illness Prevalence Research Funds
    Eating disorders: 10 million $12,000,000*
    Alzheimer’s disease: 4.5 million $647,000,000
    Schizophrenia: 2.2 million $350,000,000
    * The reported research funds are for anorexia nervosa only. No estimated funding is reported for bulimia nervosa or eating disorders not otherwise specified.
  •  Anorexia nervosa is more expensive to treat than schizophrenia, yet insurance coverage for treatment is exceedingly insufficient. The average direct medical costs for treating anorexia nervosa is $6054 a year compared to $4824 a year for schizophrenia.
  •  Research dollars spent on eating disorders averaged $1.20 per affected individual, compared to $159 per affected individual for schizophrenia.
  • The average direct medical costs for treating eating disorder patients in the United States is currently between $5-6 billion per year, whereas the global cost of anti-psychotic medication is $7 billion per year.
  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest premature mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. The majority of deaths are due to physiological complications.
  • Although recovery from anorexia nervosa is often protracted nearly a decade, the outcome of treatment is better than for obesity or breast cancer.

Crow, S.J., Peterson, C.B. The Economic and Social Burden of Eating Disorders. Evidence and Experience in Psychiatry. World Psychiatric
Association (in press).
Lacey, J.V., Devesa, S.S., & Brinton, L.A. (2001). Recent Trends in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality. Environ Mol Mutagen, (39),
McDowell, I. (2001). Alzheimer’s Disease: Insights from Epidemiology. Aging: Milano, (13), 143-162.
Powers, P.S., & Bannon, Y. (2002). The Burdens of Eating Disorders are Rarely Recognized. Evidence and Experience in Psychiatry. World
Psychiatric Association (in press).
Striegel-Moore, R.H., Leslie, D., Petrill, S.A., et al. (2000). One-year Use and Cost of Inpatient and Outpatient Services Among Female and
Male Patients with an Eating Disorder: Evidence from a National Database of Health Insurance Claims. International Journal of Eating
Disorders, (27), 381-389.
Strober, M., Freeman, R., Morrell, W. (1997). The Long-term Course of Severe Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescents: Survival Analysis of
Recovery, Relapse, and Outcome Predictors Over 10-15 years in a Prospective Study. International Journal of Eating Disorders, (22),
Tamminga, C.A., Lieberman, J.A. (1999). Schizophrenia Research Series: From Molecule to Public Policy. Biological Psychiatry, (46), 3.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jenni Schaefer's "Life without ED"

A unique new approach to treating eating disorders
Eight million women in the United States suffer from anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia. For these women, the road to recovery is a rocky one. Many succumb to their eating disorders. "Life Without Ed "offers hope to all those who suffer from these often deadly disorders. For years, author Jennifer Schaefer lived with both anorexia and bulimia. She credits her successful recovery to the technique she learned from her psychologist, Thom Rutledge.
This groundbreaking book illustrates Rutledge's technique. As in the author's case, readers are encouraged to think of an eating disorder as if it were a distinct being with a personality of its own. Further, they are encouraged to treat the disorder as a relationship rather than as a condition. Schaefer named her eating disorder Ed; her recovery involved "breaking up" with Ed Shares the points of view of both patient and therapist in this approach to treatment Helps people see the disease as a relationship from which they can distance themselves Techniques to defeat negative thoughts that plague eating disorder patients
Prescriptive, supportive, and inspirational, "Life Without Ed "shows readers how they too can overcome their eating disorders.

Jenni Schaefer is an internationally known author and speaker whose work has helped change the face of recovery from eating disorders.

Her breakthrough best-seller, Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too (McGraw-Hill), popularized an approach that enables men and women to personify their illness (Jenni called hers "Ed," short for "Eating Disorder") and "divorce" themselves from it. Her latest book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life (released in September 2009 by McGraw-Hill), takes the journey a step farther, from recovery to liberation.

Jenni is a regular guest on national radio and television shows including "Dr. Phil" and "Entertainment Tonight," a contributor to mainstream magazines and collections like the Chicken Soup series, and a popular speaker at schools, conferences, and other venues. She is also a consultant with Center For Change in Orem, Utah, and a member of the Ambassador Council of the National Eating Disorders Association. Her work has been recognized in publications including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and Woman's World.

A singer/songwriter living in Austin, Texas, Jenni uses both music and humor in her outreach efforts to help those touched by eating disorders. She is, she says, "single in the city," enjoying a life she considers a gift to be treasured.

She was also currently named as one of NEDA's newest ambassadors.

My Review:

Jenni's take on inspiring those with eating disorders to recover is a new one. It's different from books such as Marya Hornbacher's 'Wasted' in that it tells the story but doesn't include triggering information such as numbers, weight, etc.

It's also different from clinical books such as 'Gaining: the truth about recovering from an eating disorder' in that, again, there are no triggering stories.

Jenni tells the truth. She doesn't say "these are the symptoms and how to get rid of them." Instead, she says: This is my life with Ed, and how I overcame him.

I have since talked to my support group of recovered anorectics and bulimics, and we can all agree: It seems like Jenni read our minds, but our thoughts on paper, and gave us the hope we needed to recover.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Claire Mysko - 5 ways to help girls resist the pressure to be perfect

5 Ways to Help Girls Resist the Pressure to be Perfect

These tips are adapted from You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self by Claire Mysko (Adams Media)

Girls today are told they can do anything. Unfortunately, the message they’re often getting is that they have to do everything--and please everyone while they’re at it. All this pressure is adding up to big time stress. According to The Supergirl Dilemma, a study conducted by Girls Incorporated, more than half of girls in middle school reported that they often feel stressed. By the time girls get into high school, that number jumps to 74%. One third of all girls in grades 3-12 said they often feel sad and unhappy.

When girls get caught up in the quest to be supergirls, they are less likely to feel confident in themselves and more likely to struggle with low self-esteem and poor body image. Here are five tips to help the girls in your life tackle The Supergirl Dilemma.

 1. Does the pressure to do it all sound familiar? Supergirls and Superwomen hear the same voice, and it says “you’re not good enough.” Remember to give yourself a break and take time for healthy stress relief. If we want to break this damaging “super” cycle and set positive examples, we have to start with ourselves.

2. Teach girls to be savvy and critical media consumers. Resist the urge to simply lecture about what you think is inappropriate. Instead, ask them what they like about the movies and TV shows they watch and the magazines they read. What do they dislike? Talk about the difference between fantasy and reality by showing girls real examples of retouching. Point out how often retouching is used to make models and actors look artificially flawless.

3. Encourage girls to exercise their bragging rights. Girls are often hesitant to talk about what makes them amazing because they don’t want to be seen as conceited or they feel like they’re not perfect enough to be proud of themselves. Turn that thinking around by challenging girls to take pride in all of their amazing qualities, not just their achievements. Ask a girl what makes her amazing. If you get a sheepish shrug or an “I don’t know,” press on. You can spark the conversation by sharing a few of her qualities that you think are amazing, but don’t let her off the hook until she can say this sentence out loud: “I’m amazing because…”

4. Discuss the value of making mistakes and taking healthy risks. Many girls are so focused on being perfect and doing things “right” that they miss out on valuable opportunities because they are so afraid of failure. Share a mistake you made or a risk you took in life that helped you get where you are today.

5. When girls talk about the pressures they feel, the best thing you can do is listen. Don’t judge, interrupt, or get upset. Remember that what girls need most of all in their lives are supportive adults who take the time to hear what they’re saying.

           Amazing Girl
  •  Asks questions
  • Makes mistakes and learns from them
  • Talks about her feelings, fears, hopes, and dreams
  • Tries new things
  • Supports other girls
  • Is proud of her accomplishments, no matter how big or small
  • Knows three trusted adults she could turn to if she had a problem
  • Knows how to set boundaries and say no
  • Takes care of her body, mind, and spirit

  • Is afraid of not knowing the “right” answer
  • Makes mistakes and agonizes over them
  • Keeps it to herself when she’s stressed or sad
  • Doesn’t take on new challenges
  • Is jealous of other girls’ successes
  • Feels like no accomplishment is good enough or big enough
  • Wants adults to think she is happy, even if she doesn’t always feel happy
  • Sometimes does things she doesn’t want to do if she thinks people might like her more for doing them
  • Wishes she could be smarter, prettier, more popular, more athletic--the list goes on

Everybody Knows Somebody. Get involved in NEDAwareness Week 2012, February 26- March 3! Visit the NEDAwareness Week homepage under Programs & Events at to register today and learn more about how you can do just one thing to help raise awareness about eating disorders and become part of the solution.
National Eating Disorders Helpline: 800 931-2237

You've heard it all before: "Get good grades. Keep your room clean. Wear the right clothes. Try new extracurricular activities. And why don't you have a boyfriend?" All these demands can be mind-boggling What's a girl to do?"Girls Inc. Presents: You're Amazing " is a guide to help you deal with the amount of pressure you endure to be "perfect."

In this fun and enthusiastic, not-your-mother's book, you'll get advice on not-so-easy topics, including how to: Deal with stereotypes and cliquesFigure out the best way to balance school and a social lifeNavigate the crushes and dating worldFind a place in your familyPacked with guidance from older teens, female role models, and activities from Girls Inc., this fun to read book is truly a guide to being your very best-and happiest-self.

Girls Inc. ("") is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Through Girls Inc., girls can get together to be themselves and reach their dreams.

Claire Mysko is a writer, media consultant, and the co-founder of Inside Beauty (, a Web site and outreach program designed to give girls a healthy fashion and beauty reality check. She has served as the assistant director of communications at Girls Inc., the executive editor of SmartGirl, and the director of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association. Claire holds a master's degree in gender studies from The New School for Social Research. For more about the author, please visit She lives in New York City

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Happy(?) Eating Disorder awareness week!

     Something I may not have mentioned before is I am a firm Eating Disorder Recovery Advocate. This week, February 26 to March 3, is Eating Disorder Awareness week. This week is more or less sponsored by NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) and they are great people.
      During the course of this week, I will still be a Book Blog. Only there will be a theme. Can you guess it yet?

 Eating disorders!

  ......No. Not just that, but Recovery. Self-love, confidence, esteem, and authors who tell us how awesome we are, because sometimes we just forget.

 Check back tomorrow for the week's kickoff post.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feature and follow Friday!

Welcome, again, to Feature and Follow Friday! This week my internet's been wigging out on me so I may be slow in following you all back. But I'll get there, promise! ^_^

This week's question:

Activity: Share a picture or describe where you love to read the most.

Answer: Starbucks. I know, I know. But I don't even get coffee half the time, just chill out in those big comfy chairs they have and read before going to work across the street. The truth is, if the book is on my iPod via kindle or small enough to fit in my jacket pocket, I'll read just about anywhere. If the book is good, the place doesn't matter.

Today's featured blog (via Alison Can Read) is.....

Ezine of a Random Girl!

Yay! Check out the linky below for the hosts and other bloggers participating today!

Kristina's (tired) writing time: Loving against the law

Be warned that this is less of a pep talk and more of a plot bunny. Also be warned that I hadn't slept for QUITE a while before writing this.

 So. Your character has fallen in love with another. How sweet. But what's this? It's against the law to fall in love! Or, they're in a world where love simply doesn't (or shouldn't) exist!

Well, this brings up questions.

First, how is it possible that they are in love? Was there an error in the genetic coding? Did someone not take their anti-love pills? Are they just a rebel? Everyone loves a good rebel. This is a fundamental question to answer before you start your story. Otherwise, the whole thing won't make sense.

Why is it against the law in the first place? Or, why do people not fall in love in this world? Is the dictator just a jerk? can't think of any other scenarios for this right now. This is also a fundamental question, but you could still get away with answering "Just...because I SAID SO, okay?"

Who are they in love with? Maybe with the dictator who says love does not exist. Maybe with that cute transformer/policeman/alien dude. Maybe with everyone! This is a vital part of your plot. The person they fall in love could make, break, or not affect the novel. Depending on how well you write the love interest. Think 1984, or that other Anthem, but the other one. Maybe Anthem. I can't remember. God, I'm tired.

Does the love interest return the feeling? Why or why not? YOU MUST ANSWER THIS QUESTION. There is simply no getting around it. This is the crossroads of your novel. One path goes East, towards the town of "People have done that before but maybe you got a good spin on it" And the other goes up, towards the cloud called "How the heck do you write something like that? You must be a genius."

What are the consequences for falling in love? Are they bad, or good? Is it death? Something worse than death? Maybe they get banished. Maybe they kill the love interest. Who knows?

Does anyone find out? If so, how? Is this a bad thing, or can this person keep a secret? Maybe the government can read minds. Then there's no hope--someone is GOING to find out. Question answered.

Is there a happy ending, or do they suffer the dire consequences? Or, maybe the consequences aren't so bad. Maybe falling in love introduces or reintroduces the concept to this deprived land and the main character is hailed as a hero.

What makes this character special, that they are able to fall in love? Well, this kind of just follows the first question. I don't know why I thought this question was original.

When does this happen? In the future? Again, this is tied with another question. See the one below for details.

Is it on earth or in a fantasy world? An alternate universe? Ah! The question tie in! I know a lot of you love fantasy and science fiction, so maybe this is a no brainer for you. But it does affect the novel GREATLY. Choose wisely, young Jedi.

And lastly, where do they go from here? Dun Dun Dun! Sequel, anyone?

Transcend time title hunt!

Welcome to the Transcend Time Saga Title Hunt! The title hunt is the reveal of the title for the final novel in the Transcend Time Saga. Each of the bloggers participating in the hunt have been given a letter. Hop around to the blogs participating to hunt for the letters. (And remember that two of the letters are used twice, so the title is eight letters long.) 

Once you've unscrambled the title, go to Michelle Madow's blog and use the title name to enter the giveaway for a voucher for an advanced e-copy of the final Transcend Time novel! (She is giving away a voucher because the novel is planned to be released at the end of the year, and she hasn't finished writing it yet! This voucher will ensure that you will receive an advance e-copy once they are available). 

And we have the lovely Letter.......

What I hope happens: We were left on a pretty big cliffhanger at the end of Vengeance. In general, of course I want Andrew and Elizabeth together, but I also want to see more of Jeremy's past. At this point, we've seen Drew's, Lizzie's, and even a bit of Chelsea's former lives. I'm curious about Jeremy's.

Sale!: Michelle Madow's Remembrance will be only .99 cents until her tour ends in April, so go grab that deal!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Poetry of the day - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi by Emily Dikinson

I've always loved this poem. I must have read it at least fifty times. It always makes me happy, and reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in 'Roman Holiday'.

"Sic transit gloria mundi,"
"How doth the busy bee,"
"Dum vivimus vivamus,"
I stay mine enemy!

Oh "veni, vidi, vici!"
Oh caput cap-a-pie!
And oh "memento mori"
When I am far from thee!

Hurrah for Peter Parley!
Hurrah for Daniel Boone!
Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman
Who first observed the moon!

Peter, put up the sunshine;
Patti, arrange the stars;
Tell Luna, tea is waiting,
And call your brother Mars!

Put down the apple, Adam,
And come away with me,
So shalt thou have a pippin
From off my father's tree!

I climb the "Hill of Science,"
I "view the landscape o'er;"
Such transcendental prospect,
I ne'er beheld before!

Unto the Legislature
My country bids me go;
I'll take my india rubbers,
In case the wind should blow!

During my education,
It was announced to me
That gravitation, stumbling,
Fell from an apple tree!

The earth upon an axis
Was once supposed to turn,
By way of a gymnastic
In honor of the sun!

It was the brave Columbus,
A sailing o'er the tide,
Who notified the nations
Of where I would reside!

Mortality is fatal --
Gentility is fine,
Rascality, heroic,
Insolvency, sublime!

Our Fathers being weary,
Laid down on Bunker Hill;
And tho' full many a morning,
Yet they are sleeping still, --

The trumpet, sir, shall wake them,
In dreams I see them rise,
Each with a solemn musket
A marching to the skies!

A coward will remain, Sir,
Until the fight is done;
But an immortal hero
Will take his hat, and run!

Good bye, Sir, I am going;
My country calleth me;
Allow me, Sir, at parting,
To wipe my weeping e'e.

In token of our friendship
Accept this "Bonnie Doon,"
And when the hand that plucked it
Hath passed beyond the moon,

The memory of my ashes
Will consolation be;
Then, farewell, Tuscarora,
And farewell, Sir, to thee!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: BaSatai: Outside In, by Suzan Battah

Seventeen year old, Armani Radnelaq a full blooded BaSatai is plagued by a curse in her blood. A curse created from hate and designed to break the divide between two parallel worlds of Earth and H-trae when Armani's blood is spilled in attack and she dies.

Armani has remained hidden on earth with her adopted father Elijah since her birth. She has been raised in the human way and fights her natural instinct to evolve into a BaSatai. The BaSatai in her requires her to evolve and shift, use her powers and strength. Yet Armani is freaked out by the need to shift. She smokes, has a bad attitude, must deal with aggressive bullies and control her natural BaSatai instinct. Her Guardian with BaSatai Warriors are coming for her. She refuses to accept her fate and doesn't believe any BaSatai should die to protect her.

The blood curse maturing in her veins makes her a target for her enemies. Her Guardian Karhl and an elite BasSatai Warrior Rafael are the first to arrive and prepare her for her crossing over. Her attraction to Rafael complicates her purpose to stay on earth even more. They both insist she fall into line and follow their lead but she is not ready to leave earth just yet...

There are many, many things going through my head about this one. The story itself is good. It's interesting, it's full of emotions, and I didn't leave regretting that I read the book. Those are all major pluses.

But there are a few things that bothered me about this book as a whole.

1. Prologues are tricky things.
     In fact, it seems that most of what bothered me about this book lies in the prologue. On the whole, it seems to me that this was the kind of book that didn't actually need a prologue, but it received one anyway. Instead of not affecting the book, it hurt the novel as a whole just a little bit.

2. Know where to start.
     Assuming we keep the prologue, I still think the story should have started on the second paragraph. The first few sentences, while descriptive, were not necessary. Compare first sentences: "Thump...thump-thump-thump." or, ""Why me?” Elijah rocked the peaceful baby resting in his arms; she was wrapped in the softest, purest cloth, finely woven." I vote for sentence number two.

3. Originality and consistency
     Props to Suzan for coming up with "Ba'Satai" as a species name. I love it. It's original, and easy to read so I didn't find myself stumbling over it while I tried to get through the book. That's a bonus. What really irked me, though, was the naming for nearly everything else. "H-trae," "S'teuqoub," and even "Gnusmas Rebmevon" struck me as lazy backwards words that for the most part had nothing to do with what they represented.

4. Lazy with a purpose
     As I kept reading, the logic that H-trae, being parallel to Earth, might have a completely backwards lexicon made sense to me. But this point should be made earlier in the book--or else do away with the prologue.

5. Twilight-syndrome
      Another instance of "Girl sees boy and is instantly turned on" appeared in this book. Granted, the girl and boy in question are not actually human and instant love is natural for their species--but it's always just a little disconcerting.

6. Superpowers done right.
      As Armani matures, she is told she has super-human abilities. What doesn't happen (and I am so grateful for this) is Armani getting the hang of it right away and becoming everybody's savior. What I love about this book is that Armani has to work at using her abilities. She lands face first in the dirt more than once. That seems more realistic to me--like having to make mistakes and crashing your first car before being a perfect driver.

7. Plot Twists done right
      I did not see anything in the last half of the book coming. It was a complete surprise and I ended up not even trying to predict what would happen. Definite bonus.

All in all: My rating, with the prologue, stands at a 3/5 rating.

If you skip the prologue, it's an easy 4/5 stars.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I've been tagged--yay!

thanks to Jennifer at some lie it paranormal.


1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create ten new questions to ask the people that you have tagged.
3. Tag six people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Your Questions
1. I like it paranormal! lol So tell me your favorite paranormal creature?
I'd have to say the siren. Unless Doctor Who counts, then it's a tie between the Time Lords and the Daleks.
2. Favorite books? I'm horrible with boundaries so feel free to list as many or few as you want!
Oh god, here we go. Favorites of all time: What Child is this by Caroline B. Cooney, and the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite kids books: Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? by Eric Carl, Oh, the Places you'll go by Dr. Seuss, and the Ramona series by Beverley Cleary.  

Recent favorite books: Open Minds by Susan Quinn, Remembrance by Michelle Madow, and When Copper Suns fall by Kasonndra Leigh.
3. What book did you just finish reading?
 Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher.

4. Favorite book boyfriends?
 How can I even pick? I'd have to say either Matt or Tack from What Child is This; Andrew Carmichael from the Transcend Time saga, and Brett from the Spy Goddess series.
5. What book was the hardest for you to review and why?
 Paper Angels. Mostly because I didn't make any notes in it as I was reading, so the Spy Goddess series falls under that category too.
6. What books have made you cry?
 Any book that has an emotional passage. Honestly, I'm a crybaby when it comes to books.
7. What are your favorite parts of blogging? 
 Meeting other bloggers and authors, learning from them, and making my blog something that's mine.
8. The best book you have read that not many other people have read or heard of?
 Once again I'll have to refer to Caroline B. Cooney for "What Child is This?" I love that book. READ IT.
9. Where do most want to travel to?
 India. Or The island of the dolls. Or that one haunted place in russia where everyone evacuated because of radiation and all that's left is the children's belongings. Yep, Russia it is.
10. Do you have any pets?
 No. I used to, but I'm really bad at taking care of small animals and we gave away our dogs when we moved. I do, however, have a stray cat the wanders into our backyard every so often.

T. P. Boje
The once and future librarian
The night bookmobile
Enna @ squeaky books
not just nonsense
natalie @ mindful musings

My questions:

1. Are you a reader or a writer?
2. What's your family like?
3. If you could live anywhere (real or fiction) where would it be?
4. Top five favorite books of all time?
5. What is your opinion of parody children's books? (i.e Pat the zombie, Go the F to sleep, etc.)
6. What song best fits the part of the book you're reading right now?
7. What's your favorite animal?
8. What is your favorite genre?
9. If you could only read books from one author for the rest of your life, who would it be?
10. Finally: As a topping for soft serve ice cream: caramel or chocolate?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review(s) - Spy Goddess Series by Michael P. Spradlin

Wisecracking Beverly Hills brat Rachel Buchanan doesn't exactly have an ordinary life. For one thing, she attends Blackthorn Academy, which is secretly a training school for spies. Then there's her arch-nemesis, who's convinced that Rachel is this ancient goddess reincarnated to stop his evil plans.
It all sounds pretty lame to Rachel.

My Review:

I love this series. I adore it. I generally don't go for teenage spy books...okay, I just don't ADMIT that I do, but Spradlin manages to make this all somewhat realistic.

Without giving too much away, Rachel is (was) ((but still really is)) a trouble maker from a well off family in Beverly hills. After one last stint, she was sent to Blackthorn academy and discovered all sorts of awesome secrets and met some bad guys and still doesn't consider herself a hero. I like that about her. 

After reading the first book, I went out and bought the second book and the manga series. The third Spy Goddess novel was also released as an ebook, which I recommend. The only thing about that one is that you must keep in mind that it "never actually happened," according to the author on his website. It's still highly recommended that you look that one up and give it a shot, because it's something that shouldn't be missed. If you're curious about the spy goddess series, I'll be giving a copy of the first novel away later in March.

If you like this series, I recommend reading the Gallagher Girls series (because I TOTALLY DON'T read girl spy novels) ((lie)) 

Overall rating: 5 stars.

Sunlight on a Pond

It's one of my poems again! Less sad.

As dawn breaks
The tadpoles creep out,
Slowly turning into
Something wondrous.

Dewdrops infect everything—
Flowers and webs,
Grasses as far as
The nearest stream.

Reeds dance in the wind
Just for you! See?
A chorus of twitters and chirps
Melt into sweet harmony.

Oaks, Aspens, and Dogwoods alike
Stand proud, protecting
This magical place—
You, as well, must now be a knight.

For even as the sun fades,
And day turns over to night
You must never forget
The pond’s special light.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kristina's writing time part Two: Love Triangles

Titled: Boy Meets Girl, interest? On Love Triangles in your novel

 It must be a law of nature, like gravity. Whenever there is love between one person and another, there must be a third person trying to break them up.

I tried to avoid this. And I did...for the first novel. But then a pregnant ex-fling started to come in between the two real players of the game.

So how can you avoid this? Or rather, SHOULD you avoid this? Let's admit, adding a third person into the mix adds spice to your story. It adds deception, craftiness, fights, and mind games. Better than that filler you've been writing on the MC having breakfast.

Maybe you don't have a third love interest. Maybe your MC is very interested in monogamy. But you want a little more drama. There are a few ways to add that:
1) a girl from the past.
2) an arranged marriage that no one knew about until now.
3) a love spell
4) a drunken night at the bar.

Use your imagination. Who will your main character choose? Can he choose both? What if he broke up with his love interest for the third wheel?

And, how do you write a love triangle so awesome that it doesn't fade in with all the others? No fear, I'm here to help!

The simplest love triangles only risk one person getting hurt. 3-1=2. Jacob, Edward, Bella minus Jacob equals Edward and Bella. But simple does not a novel make. We want complicated, dangerous relationships. Take Wicked for example. Green witch and Fiyero are a couple. Green witch and white witch become best friends. White witch and Fiyero start to fall in love. 3-1=0. Justify that, math majors.

And what about a love triangle where love itself is frowned upon? (Think Hunger Games) The love itself isn't wanted, and certainly not wanted is two love interests instead of one complicated one.

A really great love triangle exists when the main character doesn't realize there's a triangle at all. We see this in The Iron King and Eyes Like Stars.

So now you know what makes a great love triangle, or at least how to make it interesting. Go forth and write...and stop procrastinating! Really now, my post can't be THAT interesting.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Feature and follow Friday!

Brought to you by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's view

This week's question:

Q: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across? 

 My Answer: I can't even begin to remember all the unique names I've come across. A recent one: Gnusmas Rebmevon. I found it's something odd spelled backwards, but it works. I also absolutely adore coming up with names when writing.


This question comes from Beef cake and Babes, this week's featured blog. :)

Comment with your answers or--a fun thing, too--your thoughts on my blog in general.

Prose of the Day - Emilie Autumn's Smirking Girl

This isn't actually prose this week, but poetry. Below is the poem, and below the below is the video where you can hear Miss Autumn reading it to you.

 If you turn the pages of the past
you'll often find a story without an ending.
No 'Amen' to say it's bull.
All you have is a name you would rather forget.
But it isn't over yet,
not when you've built your castle out of barricades
to guard against the fools you beat so long ago;
Long before you even knew they were fools
but even longer since you saw a god in anyone.
And for such an independent soul,
you sure wanted to believe in someone else.
Can you blame them, that you hate them?
Smirking girl, you ask too much.
Who said anyone would show you the way?
Who said anyone would care what you'll lose someday?
You're all alone here.
You can't buy what isn't there,
and you're all alone here.
You can't change what isn't fair.
How obstinate you are.
You can't forgive them;
all they did was make you cry
on every day that passed you by.
How wise they were to know you didn't like them.
How foolish they should have to ask you why.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher

Kevin Morrell is a forty-three-year-old husband and father who runs a successful design and marketing firm that's crashed into the suffering economy. Attempting to navigate the busyness of the mall at Christmas, Kevin is humbled when he stumbles across the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Project. His wife insists that he take a paper ornament. The name on the ornament is Thomas Brandt, a fifteen-year-old still reeling from the implosion of his family--from years of verbal abuse from an alcoholic father to a mother who finally left him behind, only to find herself and her children penniless and struggling. The only thing has allowed Lynn to survive is her faith. Thomas shares that faith, but he also wonders why God has seemingly abandoned them.
This is the story about a man and a boy one December. A man whose life is changed by a simple expression of kindness, and a boy who takes that expression of kindness and shows the true meaning of Christmas.

 Few authors have shown such diversity as Travis Thrasher. From starting his career with sweet and moving love stories, Travis has navigated through various genres including suspense, adventure, and most recently supernatural thrillers. At the core of each of his stories lie flawed characters in search of redemption. He loves surprising his readers, not only with a different style of writing in each book but also with amazing twists in each story. The author of fourteen critically-acclaimed works of fiction, Travis lives with his wife and three daughters in a suburb of Chicago. 

My Review: 

Where to start? Usually I don't think to make notes about the book I'm reading unless I'm actively reading it for review. This was mostly for fun, since I saw it in Barnes and Noble and wanted it.

I originally picked this up because I thought it'd be a lot like Caroline B. Cooney's "What Child is this?" Not only was it pretty different, but it was different in a good way. It still has that element of points of views from the gift receivers/givers, and the storyline itself had real meaning. The characters were well developed and you ended up cheering for everyone by the end, even the "bad" guys.

All in all,  this is an awesome book to read by itself, but if you want MY opinion:

Read this book with:

  1. Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne playing in the background
  2. A cup of hot chocolate (or hot beverage of your choice)
  3. As a companion to Caroline B. Cooney's What Child is This?
  4. and a box of tissues. 

That's all! I loved this book and would gladly read it 100 more times.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love's Lullaby

 I'm thinking every so often I'll bore you with my poetry. ^_^ This one is Love's Lullaby, originally written, high school. But, among all the moody and over-dramatic high school poetry I wrote, this was one of the better ones.

As two young souls dance among the midnight stars
they reach out for each other
only to be broken apart.

One falls asleep to the lullaby
of screams and blood and tears
as the gentle cold of a winter's night
only unearths her fears.

a glance towards a collection of knives
the memory of blood,
the memory of that one last
goodbye kiss...shatters every wall she had put up

With the ghostly winds came a young face,
a child, a friend, a lover.
a soul so innocent,
waiting to be deceived,
wishing for belief in happiness.

A broken heart the world has already forgotten,
hungry for comfort, for pleasure, for her.
sweeping the girl into her cold embrace,
she promises the world for just one night.

In just one night,
two hearts can be broken
as the night goes on,
the pain only gets worse.

It's the cycle of love
The cycle of lust
the cycle of everything to come.

As two young souls dance among the midnight stars
they reach out for each other
only to be broken apart.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kiss Already! What to do when the romance is slow going.

A confession: I wrote this a year ago as part of a string of pep talks for a romance-themed writing challenge. But I think it can still be relevant.

 It took fifteen chapters for Janice and Roland (Of "Bad Apples") to hold hands. Five chapters later, Roland finally kissed Janice on the forehead. A party was thrown.

It can be pretty frustrating when you’re writing a romance and your characters are making “chaste” an understatement.
The first thing to do is Make sure your characters are compatible. If they’re not compatible as a couple, there’s really no reason for them to fall in love, is there? In the case of Janice and Roland, I had almost given up hope on this boy-meets-girl teenage love story. After all, it was beginning to look like boy-meets-girl and girl-tries-to-save-boy’s-soul. Which wouldn’t have been bad if he was, like, a vampire or something.

That didn’t make sense. Forgive me, I’m writing this on my laptop while watching Ellen. So. Back to the topic. If your characters aren’t compatible, don’t crumple up the fifty or so pages you’ve written already. Sometimes characters surprise you. Sometimes it takes an illegal fire in the middle of the park for them to touch hands but slyly pretend it’s just a coincidence just in case the other person isn’t interested.

So what I’m trying to say is this: don’t try to tell your characters when it’s time to fall in love. If they’re compatible, they’ll figure it out on their own. You just write.

“But, Kristina! What if they’re not compatible? Am I wasting my time?”

No. You are not wasting your time, imaginary question asker. Sometimes a tale of best friends is better than a story of a romantic couple. The only case where this is not true is when you’re writing a romance novel. If you are, then maybe you should rethink your genre.

The second thing to do when romance is slow-going is to have a serious talk with your characters. Write a couple romance scenes away from your novel to test the waters. Don’t jump into the bedroom scene right away. That’ll just freak them out. Have them hold hands. If there’s no hint of a spark there, consider forgetting about romance.
Or, do what I did. Just keep writing. Keep writing, with a sliver of hope for love in the back of your mind, and maybe your characters will surprise you.

It might take 26,753 words for them to hug. But if they’re in love, doggone it, they’ll get there. Be patient and don’t try to force them into the bedroom. I tried that with Clarisse. And not only did they not fall in love, but now Clarisse is actually a jealous witch from another life trying to kill Roland before she has her baby (That scene...won't be published). It’s complicated writing, that could have been avoided had I not written that love scene, and Janice and Roland (Ranice? Joland?) could be living drama free lives having fun in college.
Before I go on a rampage now, I’m going to stop writing. Besides, my foot has fallen asleep. Maybe I should clean off my desk instead of writing cross legged on the floor.

To recap:

1)   Make sure your characters are compatible
2)   Test the waters with a one shot hand holding scene
3)   Don’t force the characters into the bedroom. Let them go running in there themselves.
4)   Just keep writing. Give up the notion that you somehow control your characters and let them find their own way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Prose of the day - Joy Kogawa's Obasan

I've read a lot of poetry/prose lately that I absolutely adore. This one I'm about to share with you comes from Joy Kogawa's Obasan.


 From Goodreads: Based on the author's own experiences, this award-winning novel was the first to tell the story of the evacuation, relocation, and dispersal of Canadian citizens of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

It is so much more than that. The first page, right here:

 There is a silence that cannot speak.
There is a silence that will not speak.

Beneath the grass the speaking dreams and beneath the dreams is a sensate sea.
The speech that frees comes from the amniotic deep. To attend its voice, I can
hear it say, is to embrace its absence. But I fail the task. The word is stone.

admit it.

I hate the stillness. I hate the stone. I hate the sealed vault with its cold icon. I
hate staring into the night, the questions thinning into space. The sky swallowing
the echoes.

Unless the stone bursts with telling, unless the seed flowers with speech, there is
in my life no living word. The sound I hear is only sound. White sound. Words,
when they fall, are pock marks on the earth. They are hailstones seeking an underground

If I could follow the stream down and down to the hidden voice, would I come
at last to the freeing word ? I ask the night sky but the silence is steadfast. There is
no reply.

Don't you just love it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feature and follow Friday!

Hi! In all honesty, I had no idea 'Follow Friday' existed outside of twitter until...ten minutes ago! Look below!

Isn't that just awesome? At the bottom of this post, there's a linky! And the first person (Alison) is one of the hosts, who I love, and you should check her out if you haven't already. But before that, a little shout out to this week's featured blogger: Goldilox and the three weres.

This week's question:
What would you prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why?
Christen's (Goldilox's) answer:  "Why would anyone want to read hundreds of mediocre books? WHY? I would most definitely reread my favorite book over and over again. My favorites are my favorites for a reason! And which book would I reread until I was blue in the face? that's actually a tough question. Of course I can't pick just one."
Once again, the link (with a button!) to her blog:


And the Linky!

When Copper Suns Fall - The Dark Seraphine Tour and Interview

Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Dark Seraphine Tour. This tour is all about the wonderful Kasonndra Leigh and her Copper Suns series. I reviewed her first book, When Copper Suns Fall, quite a while back. If you want the summary: "Buy it and read it now. Stop wasting time."

Before giving you the details on how to win all sorts of envy-worthy prizes, I got the chance to Interview Kasonndra! So have fun reading that below. 

1.      How did you come up with the title? The title changed almost a million times! No, but seriously though, it was hard. My story was different and I knew that. But my readers had also confirmed that what made it unique was also what made it so memorable. The title had to fit the story and vice versa. So it came to me one day as I stood in the Barnes & Noble that your story is actually about what happens after the copper suns fall. I said all that without spoiling too much, didn’t I? Haha.
2.      Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?Absolutely. I explain a little about the message on my goodreads website, but I’m happy to mention it again. It’s a story of choices and possibilities and all of the wonderful things that can happen when you put your mind into validating something you believe in. 

3.      Can you share a little of your current work with us?The story follows Chela, a young girl who lives in a rebuilt society. She has recently learned that both she and her sick brother have certain powers. In Chela’s society, a place created from an apocalyptic war between good and bad nephilim, any type of supernatural power is illegal. Anyone thought to be related to a celestial creature will either be killed or exiled. So imagine Chela’s shock after she learned her father, a leader in the governing body, has been hiding his children’s secret. But in defense of Chela’s dad, I’ll say he had a reason for keeping them both in the dark. It’ll be up to Chela to save her brother without being discovered. Enter handsome, dashing demon slayer along with a best guy friend who’d walk the wire for her and Chela is all set!

4.      Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?Pegging the voice/style in a book that crosses genres has been tough. Seriously, I had my friends and family calling me for sanity checks. I also had a hard time being disciplined about the process. I kept wandering away, doing yard work, filing my nails, anything to keep from writing. It took me six magical years to get When Copper Suns Fall's voice right. So to all of you struggling with your first novel and learning your writing style, I'll just say stick with it. Don't give up. Writing takes time to get right, and it doesn't come wrapped up in a writing course, either.

5.      Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?Oh I have so many favorite authors. This question is always hard. But I'd have to say Elizabeth Kostova. Her book, the Historian gave me the guts to go for the MFA myself. I also thought it was pretty cool to see a woman writing horror. That's different. I remember saying, "Wow. I can do something like that." I can be different and give the readers in my genre a fresh type of story, and have people accept me for my, eh-em...oddness. But strange in a good way, though.

6.      Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?Yes! Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Read. Review. Review. Read. Write. I’m not kidding. Follow the percentages in this formula and you’ll see what I mean. Writing is a subjective business. If you want to survive in it, then you must know what makes your voice unique. It took me a very long time to find that voice. But by following the formula above I eventually got it right. And you will too. :-D

7.      How did you come up with the idea for copper suns?When I sat down and began writing When Copper Suns Fall, the story was a standard in your face, super-high fantasy. It came complete with blue creatures, unicorns, princes, and all that. Chela’s name was Cara and Faris had a name that has been overused lately.  I wasn’t trying to be fad girl or the Lady Gaga of the writing world. But rather, I was trying to write the story I always wanted to read. One that came to life when my oldest son asked me: “what if angels that looked like people lived in a dystopian society?” The seeds were planted, the lights in my muse’s apartment lit up. The challenge was on. I asked myself: “how do I stick to an urban setting with fantastical elements, but bring my love of dystopia into play?”

8.      Who is your favorite or least favorite character to write?Seth Alton, hands down, was my favorite character. I mean, the guy is sexy, cocky (in a good way, though) poetic, smart, strong, vulnerable…and did I mention sexy? Anyone who calls themselves the alpha and the omega when you ask him to describe himself is somebody to pay attention to right?
9.      There were a couple scenes in your book that made me want to cry. Were there any scenes you didn't want to write?Aww. My betas said the same thing. I probably know which scene you’re talking about because when I go back and read it I feel the same way. There were three scenes I didn’t want to write. And even though I can’t mention them without spoiling the fun, I’m sure you can figure out which ones those are. Being a writer can sometimes be hard. When you live with your character babies and you have to send one of them into angel land for real then it can really be tough. (Don’t be laughing at me now). 

10.  On the other hand, were there any scenes you liked that didn't make it to the final revision?There were tons of scenes that didn’t make it into the final revision. At that point, I knew that this was going to be a series versus a one-shot deal. Some of those scenes are going to show up in the sequel When Silver Moons Rise, so I can’t talk too much about them. But I will say you get the chance to get in the head of a hot guy in the next installment. LoL

Fun time!
In the point of view of any character you choose, answer these:

1.       What is your dirty little secret?My dirty little secret. Hmm. Where shall I begin. LOL. No, seriously though. I have a short story that I’m writing under a pen name. It’s for adults and you’ll find it to be not your typical goody girl story. I have a LOT of adult fans and betas who helped me get to this point. This story is my thank you to them.

2.      You're walking along and a dragon appears in front of you. What do you do?
I pull out my fireblade (a nifty little thing that aims itself…hehe) and let it rip!

3.      What is your heart's desire?
To purchase an Italian villa that’s as close to the Mediterranean as I can get.

And now what you've all been waiting for! *Drumroll*

Join When Copper Suns Fall as it tours through various blogs over the next couple weeks. This is a mini scavenger hunt.

Can you find the answer to this question: Who is the Dark Seraphine?

If so, then you can enter to win a prize package that includes a paperback copy of the book, a bookmark, an item related to the story, and a $40.00 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes&Noble. Plus, the bloggers get a chance to win something too. Tell us where you first learned about the Dark Seraphine Tour ( not included) and your favorite blogger could win a prize as well. Simply comment on this blog post, head over to and fill out the form to be entered for a chance to win on February 24th.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy the hunt!

Clue for Dark Seraphine hunt: The letter K

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wish List Wednesday

Hi everyone! The following books are ones that I haven't bought or pre-ordered yet, but ones that I want to read nonetheless. They are possibly very good books that I would love to get as a gift, but don't have the money to buy for myself at the moment.

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
 My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. If you will listen, I will tell you a tale of witches.  A tale of magic and love and loss.  A story of how simple ignorance breeds fear, and how deadly that fear can be.  Let me tell you what it means to be a witch. 

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate: the Warlock Gideon Masters. Secluded at his cottage, Gideon instructs Bess, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had. She couldn’t have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch. But will she be able to stand against Gideon—who will stop at nothing to reclaim her soul—in order to protect the girl who has become the daughter she never had?

 Enchantments By Kathryn Harrison

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.

Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.

 All that I am by Anna Funder

When eighteen-year-old Ruth Becker visits her cousin Dora in Munich in 1923, she meets the love of her life, the dashing young journalist Hans Wesemann, and eagerly joins in the heady activities of the militant political Left in Germany. Ten years later, Ruth and Hans are married and living in Weimar Berlin when Hitler is elected chancellor of Germany. Together with Dora and her lover, Ernst Toller, the celebrated poet and self-doubting revolutionary, the four become hunted outlaws overnight and are forced to flee to London. Inspired by the fearless Dora to breathtaking acts of courage, the friends risk betrayal and deceit as they dedicate themselves to a dangerous mission: to inform the British government of the very real Nazi threat to which it remains willfully blind. All That I Am is the heartbreaking story of these extraordinary people, who discover that Hitler’s reach extends much further than they had thought. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Open Minds: Author Interview with Susan Kaye Quinn

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.

Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.

She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.

Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.

  1. How did you come up with the title?
Titles either come to me in a flash early in the process, or fight me every step of the way. This one was easy, being a spin on the telepathic nature of the world as well as its closed-mindedness.
  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I firmly believe that everyone takes their own meaning from a story. But I also intentionally wove in strong themes about intolerance and its impact on individuals and society in general. Whatever the reader takes from the story, is what they’re needing to hear at that time. And I’m good with that. J
  1. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m working on Closed Hearts, Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy. I just sent the second draft off to my critique partners. While I wait for that, I’m drafting a detailed outline for the As-Yet-Unnamed Book-The-Third.
  1. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
All of writing is challenging. I had to conquer a lot of fear about my writing in order for it to really flourish, and I still occasionally struggle with fears – that it won’t be good enough, that people will judge the work, or simply not like it. Once my fears are beaten into submission, writing is like an addiction. I can truly say there’s no part that I dislike (except maybe for fixing commas. I just stink at that).
  1. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m a serious Scott Westerfeld fangirl. He’s brilliant, he takes chances with his work, his writing and imagination are fantastic. Simply brilliant! Did I say brilliant? The guy is wicked good at his craft.
  1. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Let me know what you think of the books! I always love hearing from readers. #makesmyday
  1. How did you come up with the idea for Open Minds?
I wanted to enter a 1st paragraph contest online, but I didn’t like the 1st paragraphs in my current novels. So I made one up for a novel that didn’t exist. The idea of it captured my imagination and I was pretty much forced to write the novel from there.
  1. Who is your favorite or least favorite character to write?
I love all my characters. Seriously. Although I have a teensy crush on my bad boy characters, which you can probably tell from reading the stories.
  1. There were a couple scenes in open minds that made me want to cry. Were there any scenes you didn't want to write?
I cry while writing all my novels. Partly because I’m a mush, and partly because I try to put my whole soul into writing. That makes really tough scenes very difficult to write sometimes. There’s one in particular in Open Minds that took me several months to finally push through and write (you can probably guess which one, if you’ve read the book). I kept trying to find a way around writing it, but the story demanded that it be there, so I had to write it.
  1. On the other hand, were there any scenes you liked that didn't make it to the final revision?
Oh lots! In fact, I rewrote the thing so many times, I’ve lost track of the scenes that were cut or rearranged beyond recognition. But just because I really liked a particular kissing scene (hm, they always seem to be kissing scenes), doesn’t mean that it needs to be there in the final cut. I’m a big fan of only having what is necessary for the story.

Fun time!
  • In the point of view of any character you choose, answer these: In the POV of Simon.

  1. What is your dirty little secret? I’ve got a lot of secrets. It’s hard to pick just one. Not that I would tell you, in any event.
  2. You're walking along and a dragon appears in front of you. What do you do? Slay it with my awesome mind powers. Or mindjack someone else into running slower than me.
  3. What is your heart's desire? To have Kira choose me, even if she finds out who I really am.

Bonus round!
Do you have any questions for me?  

What was your favorite scene in the book? 
 My personal favorite has to be towards the end, when everyone is having nightmares and them *ahem* suddenly start having good dreams. I think it was really sweet.
Which one made you cry?
*Spoilers* It's a tie between when they took Laney and when Simon never made it out of the camp. Thinking about it now, it's definitely when Simon died. That was just cruel. ;) 

Is there one last thing you want to tell your readers? There’s a short prequel story to Open Minds called Mind Games coming out in an anthology on Valentine’s Day. It will be free on Smashwords, and the story gives you a taste of Raf’s POV, and what it’s like to be a mindreader in love with the only girl in school that doesn’t read minds. You can add it to your TBR here. 

And lastly: Where can we all follow you?
Here’s all my online deets: blog, twitter, facebook, Mindjack website. You can also subscribe to my author newsletter to get information about giveaways and upcoming releases