Writer friends – Kelsey Macke

Another success story from my group of writing buddies! I am so proud and impressed with what Kelsey has achieved here. In her contemporary YA novel, Damsel Distressed, Kelsey turns the idea of the stereotypical heroine of a story on its head with Imogen, an overweight and depressed teen with a history of self-abuse. Don’t worry, although the story may sound intense (and it is at times very full of emotion), you have plenty of humor and plenty of anticipation to keep the pages turning.

Here is the best part – at certain times in the story, you are prompted to listen to a companion song which was written and performed by Kelsey and her husband Daron who make up the band Wedding Day Rain. The soundtrack is available for download and the songs set the background stage for what Imogen is feeling.


You can order the book here.

You can download the soundtrack, Imogen Unlocked, here.

Official book site is here.

You can check out Kelsey’s website here.

You can check out Wedding Day Rain here.



Around the web…

My book club/writing group buddy Jessica Love landed a book deal for her novel In Real Life, to be published in 2015! 

My brother-in-law launched a website for his company, Darkvale Studios. 

Grace and Lace continues to blow sales out of the water, and they are now able to expand Angel House more than expected.

My writing group buddy Kelsey Macke released an EP with her husband Daron under their duo name of Wedding Day Rain.

If you like romance, Macy Beckett’s first novella in her new The Dumont Bachelors series, Make You Blush, releases today! Macy Beckett is the pen name for Melissa Landers, my writing group buddy who writes the Alienated series.



Friends who read books, friends who write books…

I come from a bookish family. My parents have shelves full of books, and my mom made sure we always had access to reading material. I learned to read at a young age, and never stopped. My siblings are all still avid readers, though our tastes all differ. As a pre-teen/teen I began writing, first in a journal (including a ridiculous 100+ page monstrosity dedicated to just one boy, and probably evidence of early stalker tendencies), then short stories and poetry. None of it was mind-blowing, but it was an outlet that I needed. It’s an outlet that I still need.

It’s no surprise that as an adult I sought out an online community of book fanatics, and over the past 6 years it has blossomed into a group of true friends. Some of them blog about their reading experiences (check out We Still Read), some of them write, and some of them just devour books on the daily.

A small group of us formed a writing support group, mainly for support during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a few years ago. Life has stalled my writing plans (though I have a ton of unfinished material waiting on me when I’m ready), but several of my friends have pushed through, worked diligently, and found success. I will do whatever I can to get their material into the hands (or e-readers!) of as many people as possible. I am so, so proud of each of them.

The first to publish this year is Melissa Landers. Her debut Young Adult novel, Alienated, was released in February 2014 and is the first book of a series. Alien exchange students. Witty dialogue. Drama. Definitely check it out.


Melissa also writes romance novels under the pen name Macy Beckett, including the Sultry Springs series and the upcoming Dumont Bachelors series.

Also coming up this year from my book nerd/writing buddies: Push Girl by Chelsie Hill and my friend Jessica Love, and Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke. I’ll post more on these closer to the release dates!



#project365: Box of Books

Once in a while I make a mass purchase from the bookstore, and I started filling up my Barnes & Noble wishlist since I was nearing the end of the unread books on my bookshelf.   However, my book club friend Katie let me know that she had a nice pile of mystery/thriller type books she wasn’t planning to read and graciously sent me a box of good ones.

Thanks, Katie!  I’ll let you know what I think after I give each book a try.

For my other recent reads, I made a new post over on CasuALLY Writing (my writing blog).  No reviews, just a little list but if you want to discuss any of them let me know!

Another update, this one non-TMI

First up – a book update.  It took me approximately 1 zillion years to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  For some reason, I just wasn’t into it for most of the book.  There were about 150 pages I flew through because I got really interested, then it lost momentum for me again.  I’ll probably pick up the second book, but I’m in no particular hurry.

In contrast, my next book was The Pillars of the Earth.  Amazing.  It’s about 1000 pages, but I pounded through it quickly since it held my interest the entire time.  I recommend investing your time in this novel.  Historical fiction really isn’t my cup of tea (minus Outlander…Jamie Fraser…swooon) but this one was incredibly well-written.

My plan was to start The Count of Monte Cristo next (can you believe I’ve never read this?  Even in school?), but my co-worker read a book she wanted me to read next, so I’m going to oblige.  It’s called A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White.  I’ve never heard of it, but I’m willing to give anything a try.  I’ll let you know what I think.

In other news, my baby brother graduated from high school last weekend (with honors, no less)!  Here are a few pictures:

Me with the graduate 🙂

The family.

The three sisters

My favorite pic of the day.

Also, June 13 was my mommy’s birthday!!  I’m so glad we were in town that weekend, because I rarely see my mom on her birthday and my older sister (who lives with her husband in Orlando) haven’t been able to spend my mom’s birthday with her in many years.  Here is a picture of my mom and me:

#Project365: 2 days behind… (151/365)

Here is a picture I took on Monday:

“His absence had made little different to the business…”   Say what?

Sunday, I found an error in my mass-market paperback of Pillars of the Earth (they had typed I’11 instead of I’ll…interesting) but Monday I found a flat-out grammar mistake missed in editing.  I’m not an editor and I have trouble even editing my own work, but it’s still so strange to me when I notice an error in a book because so many people have their hands on it before it goes to press.  If I notice it, surely everyone should notice it.

By the way, if you have never read this novel you MUST put it on your to-read list.  It’s amazing so far.

#Project365: Book rut (140/365)

Have you wondered why I haven’t done a book review in a while?  THIS is the culprit:

This book is so hyped right now.  There are sequels already published and movies being made.  So, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, why am I just not that into you?

I have been reading this book (which is not even 600 pages long, by the way) for nearly 3 months.    Only around page FOUR HUNDRED did I start to get that familiar feeling of wanting to stop what I’m doing so I can sneak off somewhere and read what happens next.  Even then, I wasn’t blown away.  I’m about 50 pages from the end, and to be honest I think I’m just going to be relieved I got through it.  Unless I am left with the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, I’m not so sure I’ll pick up the next one.

Next up?  Another first in a series, called Shiver.  This has been recommended by several friends and is supposed to be a quick read.  I’ll let you know.

Winners! Book Giveaway #2

Winners were drawn this morning!

Thanks for the great response.  Knowing so many people are interested in getting a free book makes me want to keep having contests!

I assigned everyone a number and had random.org generate randomly.

Congratulations to the winners:

Tameka Y – Getting the Girl

Lindsey F – Lisey’s Story

Jamie S – This Lullaby

I’ll email the three of you to get your mailing address.

Check back soon (or follow me on twitter) for my April book giveaway!!

Book Giveaway #2!

Here are the books I’m unloading from my shelf for March:


one of my new favorite authors, also wrote The Book Thief


favorite author of all time, but couldn’t get into this one

someone else should give it a chance!


popular YA book with great reviews


Winners will be chosen the last week of March and I’ll mail out the books shortly thereafter.


Good luck.