Monday, October 7, 2013

Slayers; Friends and Traitors by C.J. Hill comes out Oct 15th

 Slayers; Friends and Traitors is coming out Oct 15th. I'll be at Changing Hands Bookstore at 7pm to get my copy.

 Here is my review for book one, Slayers.

Today until Oct 15th Janette will be giving two books away everyday. Go check out her website for a chance to win one of her other books.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Movie Review of Austenland

Me in my Regency outfit

As promised, here is my review for the movie "Austenland" which is found on my other blog:

"This is a must see movie; you will laugh until you snort; you will get verklempt at times; Aaaahhh at the tender love scenes; and like any good Jane Austen story you will get your happy ending."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Movie Review time: Books to the big screen

I saw two of my favorite books turned into movies this week.

 Jace and Clary

First, City of Bones, I attended the midnight showing. This series has been a favorite book of mine for 3 years now. I reread the books to have a fresh memory of what happens in time for the movie release. I almost think it is best to forget all about the books before seeing its movie. You know very well they are going to have to change things to make it fit into 2 hours.  Here are the seven things that I’m glad made it into the movie:
  1. Clary is a heroine and not a damsel in distress. She is fearless and precisely how she acted in the book. (She was a little less redheaded than I imagined but it worked.)
  2. Jace’s instant attraction to Clary and need to be with her even though he is a wounded soul.
  3. Alec’s obsession with Jace must have gotten edited out because you didn’t see it much but when Clary accused Alec of being in love with Jace and he throws her against the wall was right on.
  4. The Silent Brothers with their lips sewn shut and gouged out eyes were creepily perfect.
  5. cob tshirtSimon with his Made in Brooklyn t-shirt was by far my favorite character in the movie. He stole the show with his broken-heart and big brown eyes.
  6. Valentine is the perfect bad guy you almost feel bad for but in the end he is truly evil with a lot of fight scenes.
  7. I was worried about how they would tastefully approach the end of book one. Like a lot of readers I was afraid people would be turned off by the revelation that our love triangle became incest with Clary and Jace being siblings. The movie addresses the issue and didn't make it at all creepy.
Well done, it was a great show. I’m planning to take my husband to see it. It has plenty of action and even if you haven’t read the books you will enjoy and understand the story line. 


Monday, August 19, 2013


I first read City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass around October  2010. 

Here is my book review:

I've started rereading the series for the movie release which will be out Wednesday Aug 21st. I hope they decide to make the whole series into movies. Time will tell. So excited to see City of Bones!

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.

Cast members: 
Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao with CCH Pounder, with Jared Harris 
and I'm really excited about Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing the bad guy. 

SHADOWHUNTER FANS: The only way we can guarantee Hollywood will make all THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series into movies is if we all go out and watch CITY OF BONES. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book review of Divergent by Veronica Roth

A friend recommended this book and I was not disappointed.
Right off the bat you're pulled into Beatrice's gray world. She can't look in a mirror. She has to be asked a question before speaking at the dinner table. What has the world become? I instantly know we are in a futuristic Chicago with trains everywhere and the sears tower. The people have separated themselves into five groups. The groups are set up by their personalities and strengths. When you turn 16 you go through an aptitude test and they tell you what group you would best fit but in the end you get to choose. When they first came up with the five groups it might have been a good idea but over time people became corrupt and the groups started fighting with each other. Beatrice knew she would disappoint her family if she didn't choose her own people the Abnegation. A group that was completely focused on being selfless, which Beatrice wasn't. She had been watching the Dauntless kids and admired them for being wild and bold. She felt like she fit that better. When she took her aptitude test and found it was inconclusive, which meant she was Divergent. Beatrice was warned to keep that hidden because people were afraid of those who didn't fit into one of the groups. Divergent wouldn't conform and follow the rules so they would be eliminated to avoid trouble. When you choose a different faction you leave your families and have to go through initiation before you are officially a member. If you fail you will be factionless (homeless). When Beatrice picks Dauntless she changes her name to Tris and instantly is whipped into a dangerous and deadly world. She makes friends with Al, Will, and Christina but they make enemies really quick with Peter, Molly, and Drew. The initiation is harder than Tris ever imagined and wonders if she has made a mistake. Even though she is brave you have to be strong and Tris is small and soft. Four is their trainer and Eric is one of the Dauntless leaders over seeing the training. The two seem to have different ideas on how to train and clash with each  a lot. Eric is ruthless and gives Tris the creeps. Tris has to learn to use a gun, knife, and fist fight. Four has empathy for Tris and wants to help her. Tris's father who is a Abnegation leader is in the news because both of his children choose different groups and rumors are starting. Tris visits her brother who choose Erudite because they are more logical and intelligent. He warns her that a war is about to start against the Abnegation. Tris excels in the next round of initiation when they have to face their fears in a simulation. This makes the others jealous and even her friends turn on her. Tris doesn't know who she can trust but something is wrong and she has to help her parents and the Abnegation people.


I truly enjoyed this book. The characters are so real and you're involved in what happens to them. When they hurt you hurt. The writing is gripping and keeps you needing to know more. This is the first book in a trilogy and they are far from being out of danger. I'm going out to pick up Insurgent as soon as possible. They are also filming the movie right now and should be released in March 2014. Veronica is a wonderful writer and I just saw on her blog that the third book Allegiant will be released this October. Yipee! I think this is a book my husband would like too. It isn't to mushy and romantic but enough to keep me happy but it has plenty of action to keep the men happy. A great read!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Reviews for House of Night series by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

For my birthday I received 5 books and have been on a reading rampage. I read the first 4 books in the House of Night series. I also read Divergent which I'll do a separate review for it on my next blog.

House of Nights starts out as a typical high school drama but when Zoey gets marked as a vampire things change. In this story the world knows about vampires and they mostly live in harmony. This book really makes you feel like your hanging with teenagers again.(*Because I review a lot of clean romances I'll put out a disclaimer that this book does have language and sexual content.)

Marked book #1
Zoey Redbird is 16 years old and having issues with her almost ex-boyfriend Heath. He is the high school quarterback and chooses to party more then focus on school. Zoey is marked and will start the process of becoming a vampire. She has to live and attend school at the House of Night, a school for Fledglings (A Vampire finishing school in Tulsa, OK). She is more than happy to leave her family behind since she doesn't fit in with them and especially hates her step-dad. Her mom only cares what her new husband wants and his obsession with church. Zoey's Grandma is the only one she can count on. Her Grandma is Cherokee and lives on a lavender farm. She understands Zoey's special talents with the godess Nyx. Zoey meets a groups of friends at her new school. Stevie Rae is her roommate and they become best friends. Erin and Shaunee are roommates and act like twins even though they look nothing alike. Damien is the gay "boy" friend of the group. Eric is the hottie of the school. And his ex-girlfriend Aphrodite, the perfect popular blonde warns Zoey that Eric is hers. Zoey and her friends plan to overthrow Aphrodite as the head of Dark Daughters because she is abusing her power.  

Betrayed book #2

Zoey's hot vampire boyfriend Eric is out of town at a Shakespeare competition and she's missing him. Loren Blake, Vampyre Poet Laureate is the perfect man. Loren starts flirting with Zoey and makes her feel like a women. He should be off limits because he's a teacher. A couple human football players turn up dead and detectives start asking Zoey questions. Some Fledglings died too because their bodies didn't accept the change and Zoey has seen them as ghosts. Heath is the next football player that goes missing and Zoey has to save him before he's killed. 

Chosen book #3
Zoey is juggling three boyfriends and can't decide on who she really likes. Zoey is trying to help Stevie Rae with her humanity and has to keep secrets from all her friends. Aphrodite is the only one she can turn to for help. Vampire teachers are being killed. Zoey's friends and boyfriend learn the secrets she's been hiding and no one can trust her anymore.

Untamed book #4
Life sucks for Zoey.  She lost all her boyfriends and friends. Erik is now a full fledged vampire and is teaching drama at the school. Things couldn't be more awkward. Neferet blames the humans for vampire killings and wants to start a war. Shekinah the head priestess of all the schools arrives to try to find out what's happening. Zoey knows Neferet is evil and behind everything but she'll have to prove it first.

All in all, I like the series. I do hate when Zoey makes stupid mistakes, but what teenager hasn't made their fair share of them. It has captured my interest enough that I will read on. Check out the website which has lots of fun pictures and videos.

Thank you P.C. and Kristin for putting your creative juices together to make another fun vampire story I can obsess over.

P.C. and Kristin Cast
Photo: Joerg Steinmetz

The 11th book in the series Revealed is coming out October 15th. I have a lot more reading to go but It's an easy read so no problem.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

I attended the Changing Hands Bookstore official launch party - bus tour - book signing for CLOCKWORK PRINCESS-The Infernal Devices #3 

One big thrill for me is meeting my favorite authors and learning where they get their inspiration from. Cassandra Clare said she meet with a friend who's a tattoo artist and they talked about the different designs and meanings and the idea of Shadowhunters having tattoos to help them have special powers was born. 

At her launch party she played the movie trailer for City of Bones which is coming out August 23rd 2013.

She also played the book trailer for Clockwork Princess.

Cassandra Clare told how she was in England sitting in a park plotting for Clockwork Princess and a large worm crawled onto her blanket and she said, "there's going to be a  worm in the book."  

And indeed the book has a large vicious worm attacking the shadowhunters and this is where the book starts out. Tessa shows up to help in her wedding dress and ends up getting blood all over it. Jem takes a turn for the worse and needs more medicine. With Tessa & Jem engaged, Will has to push his love for Tessa aside. More than anything he wants to see his best friend Jem happy. 

Mortmain is determined to get Tessa for his own evil plan to get revenge on the shadowhunters. When he buys up all the medicine that will keep Jem alive Tessa has to put her life on the line to save the man she loves. 

There are lots of tie-ins with the Mortal Instrument series through out Clockwork Princess. It made me want to reread the whole series starting with City of Bones. 

If you don't want the biggest spoiler of all don't read the family tree on the inside flap of the book. I did that. Ugh!

Cassandra Clare is a great writer and she intertwines a bizarre supernatural world within our world. This wrapped up the series nicely and it was a great end to The Infernal Devices. 

If you haven't read it buy your copy at:

Learn more about Cassandra Clare and her awesome series:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review Vanguard Legacy: Foretold by Joanne Kershaw

I finished this YA Paranormal series and can't stop thinking about the story. It's similar to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and The Mortal Instrument series. It's like them but very original in its own world crisis and endearing characters. With a perfect balance of familiar and unfamiliar you are inducted into a world focused on training their children to fight against evil. Elora is in Vanguard training with fellow classmates Aaron, who is her best friend; Matthew a Magicae who is learning to be a spirit reader; and Teya a vampire who is training as a forensic. All of them are learning how to defeat the Dark Seekers. Elora's mother is one the best Vanguard's and has returned to the training compound. Elora thinks her mom only came to keep an eye on her. The relationship between them has always been bad but the secrets and lies start to come out and Elora doesn't know who she can trust. Thankful for her friends and new boyfriend Zak, who's a senior trainee, they try to figure out what Elora's visions mean.  With Elora's special talent her group is placed in an accelerated training class. When all "hell" breaks loose Elora has to face her family secret. Don't miss out on this exciting new book.

 Join the release party for Vanguard Legacy – Foretold on April 5th

Joanne Kershaw lives in Wakefield, England, with her husband, four young children, and an uppity cat named Dipstick. As a teacher of five- to eleven-year-olds, she spends her days playing at being a grownup, then goes home to delve into Young Adult dark romance and being sixteen again.
Joanne lives and breathes books, whether reading, writing, or marking them. She wrote her first novel in six weeks. Encouraged to submit her work by a friend and fellow YA novel addict, Joanne now finds herself a signed author at Xchyler Publishing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

She loves you, She loves you not: Writing Romances

When an editor started editing Anything but Normal she didn't like Boyd my hero because he allowed Krystal to get into trouble and didn't save her like a strapping hero would. After Janette's romance writing class I'm making my hero much more Knight-In-Shining-Armor. Hope it helps the reader fall in love with Boyd. 

I'm sharing my notes in hopes it helps you too. 

She loves you, She loves you not: Writing Romances Editors want to buy – by Janette Rallison -

Romantic Heroes qualities need to be- Powerful in some way, Rich, Titled, and have a successful job.

We want to read heroes who are clever, street smart, resourceful, tough, and protective of the heroine.

We love the witty banter.

Heroes need to be faithful and loyal.

Love triangles really only work one way.

He’s also good even when he’s a bad boy.

Don’t make them too bad. You don’t want a hero who is a total rake and a player. They can change for the heroine.

Romance has grit, wit, and hot.

#1 rule – It is not enough for heroine to fall in love. The reader has to fall in love too.

A heroine is:
-          Fairly young
-          She doesn't know she’s beautiful
-          Likable and strong
-          MC is a woman (POV can change)
-          She isn't weak
-          She isn't perfect
-          She is well developed

6 elements every story needs:

  1.      . A likable character
  2.         Who has a problem
  3.         Which leads to a goal
  4.         The character encounters obstacles
  5.         There is an antagonist
  6.         There is a consequence of failure if the MC doesn't get the goal. 

The character needs to grow. Romance is character driven more than plot. If hero and heroine don’t have to change, what’s keeping them apart?

Writing exercise:  

 Write 10 good qualities about your MC.

 What are her fears?

Main Plot-line can’t be that the heroine’s goal is to fall in love.

Rules of thumb-

-          Must be worthy goal that the heroine wants to accomplish
-          Best goals are important and urgent
-          If goal can be postponed until next year than it isn't good enough
-          All MC should have goals
-          Goals can change
-          They don’t have to be achieved always
-          Be specific

Strong obstacles/ conflict

Conflict is not arguing. Conflict that can be cleared up with a 2 min conversation is not good enough.
Don’t throw unrelated conflict at MC.
Make sure the consequences of failure are big.

10 mistakes to avoid:
  1. Physical attraction is not the only reason why they are in love.
  2. Weak conflict (a snippy rude heroine overcomes and falls in love.)
  3. Unlikable characters – example: a Jerk or a vixen
  4. Not enough character development
  5. Starting slow
  6. Bringing characters together to soon.  For romance we need tension, something has to keep the    hero and heroine apart.
  7. Bad boy is too bad
  8. Weak, stupid, or poorly motivated heroine. Your readers shouldn't ever say, “I’d never do that.”
  9. Not knowing sub-genre and all the rules and cliches
  10. Writing like it’s 80’s or 90’s

    Here are some of my favorite romances.  Please share with me some of your favorite romance novels. 



Me with Janette Rallison my favorite author

Thursday, March 7, 2013


As an aspiring author I need a paying job until I hit it big (haha), and lucky for me my job goes right along with what I love to do. I'm promotion coordinator for Geode Press. I get to promote  great books like Zenobia - Birth of a Legend. I've been sharing my notes from a recent writers conference I attended on the Geode Press website but I wanted to post this here on my blog because this class really helped me with my MC Krystal and developing a better archetype for her.

Archetypes, not stereotypes was one of my favorite classes I took and I learned so much. Jennifer Griffith is a fun energetic person. Jennifer says she writes, “cotton candy for the soul.”

This class will help you improve your characters in writing and makes them more believable. 
It's fun to take real people and see where they fit in the archetypes: 
Zenobia is a Crusader. 
I would say Jennifer Griffith is a Spunky Kid. 
Russ Wallace, author of Zenobia - Birth of a Legend is a Chief & a Professor and so is my husband Jason Wallace. 
Read below and you'll understand in a minute what all this means. Have Fun!

Nailing down Our Main Characters and Making them Come Alive for the Reader

“Creating believable characters that connect with the audience is probably one of the most difficult aspects of writing an author faces. ARCHETYPES operate beneath the surface of the most original characters to forge a link with the audience based on shared human experience. The archetype tells the reader what the heroine’s or hero’s instincts are, what he feels, what drives him, and how he reaches his goals. The writer conveys these to the audience skillfully. Then the reader settles in to enjoy the old story told anew.” —Cowden, LaFever, Viders

MC (Main Character) + circumstances = Plot

Know your MC. What is their story?

There are many Personality types. You want to pin point what your MC is and make them believable.

You need good Villains as much as you need Heroes and Heroines. 

Keep your MC true to their type.

Core character should have one of these archetypes.

Multi- layer characters: As you go down the list you will find many characters could fit in more than one archetype. For writing purposes your character should have no more than 2 archetypes.

Characters should be evolving. Start out one way and the circumstances change them.

Good books of reference are:

“45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters” by Victoria Lynn

“Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes"

by Tami D. Cowden,Caro LaFever,and Sue Viders

Below are some samples of heroes and heroines. 


The CHIEF—a dynamic leader, he has time for nothing but work 

Captain Kirk from Star Trek
The Skipper from Gilligan's Island

John Wayne in every movie he was in but for sure McClintok

Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice 

King Arthur in First Knight

The BAD BOY—dangerous to know, he walks on The wild side


Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice

The BEST FRIEND—sweet and safe, he never lets anyone down

Mr Knightly in Emma

Gilligan in Gilligan's Island 

The CHARMER—a smooth talker, he creates fantasies

Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's day off

Magnum PI

The LOST SOUL—a tormented being, he lives in solitude

 Charlie Brown

Edward in Twilight 

Loki from Thor & The Avengers. Of course he is The Bad Boy too but it's because he's a lost soul. He just need love. :) haha

The PROFESSOR—coolly analytically, he knows every answer

 The Professor on Gilligan's Island. (I think the reason why Gilligan's Island was so funny is because they had every archetype on that show. Seeing them interact made for a good laugh.)

Ben Gates in National Treasure

MacGyver ( He is also a warrior)

 Castle (he can be a charmer too)

The SWASHBUCKLER—Mr. Excitement, he’s an adventurer

 Jack Sparrow in Pirates of  Caribbean 

Flynn Rider in Tangled

Han Solo in Star Wars

The WARRIOR—a noble champion, he acts with honor

 James Bond


 Superman & Batman (all superheros for that matter)


The BOSS—a real go-getter, she climbs the ladder of success

Lucy in Charlie Brown


Kate Beckett from Castle 

Queen Elizabeth I

The SEDUCTRESS—an enchantress, she charms to get her way

 Marilyn Monroe 

Ginger in Gilligan's Island



 Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind

The SPUNKY KID—gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end

 Mary Ann in Gilligan's Island


Stephanie Plum series

The FREE SPIRIT—an eternal optimist, she dances to unheard tunes


Ariel in Little Mermaid


The LIBRARIAN—controlled and clever, she holds back

 Hermione Granger  in Harry Potter 


Marion in The Music Man (the music man was a classic Bad Boy meets Librarian and changes.)

The WAIF—a distressed damsel, she bends but does not break

 Bella in Twilight

Princess Anne in Roman Holiday


Snow White

Pretty much you could say most of the Disney Princess's are Damsel's in distress. We love that classic story of a handsome prince saving the day.

The NURTURER—serene and capable, she nourishes the spirit

 Mary Poppins

Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility

 The CRUSADER—a dedicated fighter, she meets commitments

 Wonder Women

     Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games


 Share from your favorite books and movies and tell me what archetype they are. It's fun, try it.