Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Post with Marcia Argueta Mickelson

I'm uber-excited to have Marcia on my blog today. I've been stalking her in the least-creepy way possible for a while because her book looks fantastic! Check her out!


Researching Your Book

Every author knows that writing a book takes extensive research that involves finding out about the book’s setting, characters’ occupations, and many other details that must be accurate to make the book authentic.

A lot of this research can be done online which makes me think what did authors do before the Internet? Research must have been extremely difficult. While reading online and watching videos about your needed topic are very helpful, sometimes you have to do it yourself to make the experience more authentic. Of course, this is not always possible, but when possible, it’s a great idea to do it.

Recently, I drove by a high school in my town, which is the setting of my current work in progress. It was right as school was dismissing, and so I parked outside of the building to observe. I might have seemed like a stalker. After all, I don’t have any children that go to that school and my behavior may have seemed creepy, but hey that’s what an author has to do! I wanted to observe the after-school experience—what students were wearing, how they walked in groups, how they headed home, what they carried with them, what the ethnic make-up of the school was.  I have since made contact with one of the students and have asked her a ton of questions about her school. She has been so helpful and kind to answer all of my questions. I want to describe the school as authentically as I can.

Another such research project occurred last summer. In the book I’m currently working on, I describe a scene in which my main character takes a friend to the beach to watch the release of turtle hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico. I read extensively online and watched Youtube videos to describe the event. I wrote the scene and then a few months later, I had the opportunity to go see the event myself. I went with my friend and her daughter and watched as park rangers released these tiny turtle hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico. I found that I had described it pretty well, but I was able to make a few adjustments to make the scene more authentic. (Youtube videos are great, by the way. I had to watch a few videos depicting people drawing their own blood for my book, The Huaca Yeah, I know. Gross and kind of creepy.)

As an author, it’s important to make the scenes as authentic as possible. Currently, I’m writing a scene about a family’s house burning down. A friend mentioned that they might be burning down a house on their property. This would be an incredible opportunity. It may not be possible for me to attend, but if I do get the chance, it would be amazing.

Take all of the opportunities you can to make the book as authentic as possible even if it does mean somewhat suspect behavior and a questionable browsing history on your computer.

 Find Marcia:

Here is a little bit about my book, The Huaca.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything,
and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret.

Find Huaca:
Barnes and Noble

Friday, May 24, 2013

Guest Post by Joselyn Vaughn

Joselyn Vaugn is a fellow author, and she's doing an incredible thing. Her newest book is about a runner and the his dreams of running the Boston Marathon. She wrote it long before the marathon bombings, but when she heard the horrific news, she had an idea.

She would give a portion of her royalties to the fund for the victims and their families. How amazing is that?! Check it out:

When I heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon, I couldn’t—pretty much anything. I was stunned. Who would do that?
 Two people I knew were running there: a college teammate and a man from my husband’s work. I flipped between social media and news sites, trying to learn enough about what happened to know if they were safe. After a couple hours, the messages came through that they were okay, one of them having finished the race only minutes before the explosions.
 I had cheerfully anticipated the Boston Marathon this year. My next book, Climbing Heartbreak Hill, features an elite runner who has never been able to conquer this marathon. I was excited that I knew people running in the historic event. In those few hours all that changed. How could I release a book so closely tied to a fresh tragedy?
 Then I had an idea – maybe the book could help those whose lives were forever altered simply because they chose to support their family or friends in one of the ultimate challenges to mind and spirit. A portion of my proceeds from Climbing Heartbreak Hill will go the One Fund for Boston to help those injured recover. I hope that in a year we will hear about some of these people completing their first 5k, a mile, or even a few steps.
Proving that nothing can defeat a runner’s spirit. Run on.

Professional runner, Ryan Grant, blows out his knee training for another attempt at the Boston marathon and the dreaded Heartbreak Hill. Ryan retreats home, not looking for anything more than a fast recovery, but he finds solace in the arms of his tax preparer, Tara Mansfield.
Tara’s cheerleading career ended abruptly and she faces an upward climb beating the stereotype as dumb blonde in her new calling as an accountant. Framed with defrauding the IRS during the last weeks of the tax season, Tara’s tentative confidence is shaken, but Ryan coaches her in ensnaring the true perpetrator. She cheers him on in discovering his identity as a coach rather than an athlete.
With the help of the junkyard king and a mechanical bull, can Tara and Ryan find the courage to climb Heartbreak Hill together?

Want to help? Here is the link to her charity:
The One Fund/Boston 2013

Buy Climbing Heartbreak Hill:
Astraea Press

Contact Links:
Twitter: @joselynvaughn

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Clarity by Zedd ft. Foxes

Writing and music go hand in hand for me. When I'm writing battle scenes, it's impossible to do without the right music. And it amazes me that there are songs out there that capture the essence of my characters. One is by Halestorm. I can't post it here because it has a ton of naughty words. It's called Here's to Us, and every time I hear it, I think of Ari singing it.

A friend of mine, the amazing author Laura Josephsen, led me to this song today. She hasn't read Feudlings but she has heard me chatter about my characters for over a year, and she said this song reminded her of them. So I checked it out and fell in love. Like, instantly. Love at first sight :) Here's the video with the lyrics!

What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beyond a Doubt by Felicia Rogers!

Felicia Rogers is a fellow author at Astraea Press. She recently released her newest novel, Beyond a Doubt. It looks fabulous! Check it out!

Beyond A Doubt, The Renaissance Hearts Series, Book Four
The end is finally here…

The final chapter has been written for The Renaissance Hearts Series. What began with Sarra and Cedric in There Your Heart Will Be Also concludes with Bryce and Lucy in Beyond A Doubt. Set in the turbulent times of Mary I of England, or Bloody Mary, and Henry II of France, the fight for religious freedom abounds. Intrigue, loss of property, and loss of life rule the day. Follow the epic ending of a family’s struggle.


Bryce Cameron is finally going home. Years spent away have him longing for the craggy landscapes from his childhood.

Lucy Lombard is on a mission. The mantel she carries was never meant for her possession yet it has been passed to her anyway. Alone and in danger, Lucy stumbles onto her greatest find.

Rescuing Bryce is either a blessing or a curse but regardless time is running out. With Bryce's help can Lucy fulfill her mission or will she be too late?

See what others have said about the Renaissance Hearts Series.

I really enjoyed this book. I do not typically favor historical romance, but the romance was not too mushy, and the historical was not too heavy! This was an enjoyable, delightful read!!!.” Taken from Rachel’s Amazon review on There Your Heart Will Be Also, Book One.

If you are in for a good mystery with plenty of adventure, suspense & romance, you have come to the right place for this recommended novel because "By God's Grace" will give it all to you.” Taken from Arlena’s Amazon review of By God’s Grace, Book Two.

Okay have to say this is my fav book so far in The Renaissance Heart Series! Felicia Rogers just gets better!” Taken from Danielle William’s Amazon review of Labor of Love, Book Three.

Buy it Now on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/c285w6u
Buy it Now on B&N: 

Don’t forget the other books in the series. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Astraea Press.
~There Your Heart Will Be Also, Book One
~By God’s Grace, Book Two
~Labor of Love, Book Three

Felicia Rogers
Felicia Rogers is an author of six novels and three novellas. When she's not writing, Felicia volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America, teaches at a local homeschooling group, hikes, and spends time with her family.

To find out more information about Felicia Rogers visit the sites below. She loves hearing from readers.

Email: feliciarogersauthor@yahoo.com

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Feudlings Trailer!

The awesome Opal Campball at Astraea Press created a book trailer for Feudlings -- and then she got it featured on USA Today! Check out the link, here

AND you can see my brand new video on the side ---->, but here it is in the post, just because I love it so much :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rachel Van Dyken Got the Contract Blog Party!!!


When I signed my contract with Astraea Press, Rachel was one of the very first to befriend me and congratulate me. After Feudlings came out, she patiently answered all my questions (there were LOTS), and encouraged me even when I thought I was failing miserably. She's one of the sweetest people I know!

She's also a fabulous writer -- several of her books have been on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestseller lists. And this girl puts out a gazillion books a month. She's unstoppable!

Rachel put an excerpt of Feudlings in the very back of Elite, so she gave me an ARC to read to make sure I wanted to be associated with it (crazy, crazy girl. How could I not?!). I devoured that thing in a few hours, unable to move away form my computer. I've been daydreaming about the mafia ever since. It is that good!

She recently signed a contract with Grand Central Publishing for her two self-published books, The Bet and Elite. To celebrate, we're having a huge Blog Hop! We're celebrating Rachel, her books, her deal, and because she's so sweet, she made us promise to celebrate our own books, too :)

Picture Picture
About Rachel:
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandyken.com

And, per Rachel's request, here's Feudlings!
AND visit the rest of the blog tour to win awesome prizes and celebrate Rachel's success! Check out the links here

NOW for the giveaway: Want to win an ecopy of Feudlings or an ecopy of one of Rachel's books?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Big Birthday Bookie Bash

Hey! An author friend is celebrating her birthday in a big way -- she's having a weeklong party with lots of giveaways! I'm contributing an ecopy of Feudlings, and there are lots of other awesome prizes. Check out the Facebook event and join in the fun!

Monday, May 6, 2013


We just went on a fabulous weekend escape to St. George. It's about five hours from our house and with kids...that's like eternity. But it was worth it! I stayed off my computer (for the most part. It's like an addiction), and we made fantastic memories and recharged our batteries.

This is what happens when you're having too much fun

Now I'm home and I have final edits for Waiting Fate, which releases in, like, three weeks, and I have the prequel to Feudlings (which I think I'm titling Sparks of Feudlings) racing around my brain like a toddler hopped up on Halloween candy. Lots of work to do!
Unfortunately, I've got sick kids today, I'm babysitting, plus dogs and a cat that will NOT get out from under my feet (abandonment issues, apparently), and most of the rooms in my house are buried under stuff so that carpet is a distant memory.
So. Tackle real life or tackle my books?

Wish me luck!