Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Video Blog is Up!


Hey everyone! My newest video blog is up, covering my Thanksgiving break and the following week! 
Wow, Christmas is coming up very soon...I can't believe it!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Video Blog: Excel, Rainstorms, and Broken Socks

Hey everyone! Here's my latest video blog. I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving? Did you do anything special?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My scary encounter with 80 billion birds...



Hey everyone! Watch my latest vlog for: my scary encounter with 80 billion birds, a college registration that almost didn't work, and my donut eating habits


Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Day in My Life

Hey everyone! So here's one of the video blogs I was talking about. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meet Me in Kansas City!

Hello again,
I wanted to invite anyone near the Kansas City area (and anyone else, too!) to come visit me at a booksigning.
When: Dec. 5th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Where: Woodneath Library Center, Liberty MO

Come, bring friends, and get a signed copy of Carried Home and Swept to Sea!
There will also be several other local authors at the fair, so come and support some Kansas City talent and find new authors.
I hope to see you there!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Other Ways to Connect with Me!

Hey everyone! So, I obviously have not been posting here very much. I wanted to let you know that I have switched from the blog-y format I have typically used in the past to short updates that I am sharing on my Facebook Page.
I feel like this is a lot more personal and easier for me to interact with people there. Even if you don't have a FB account, you can still see my Facebook posts on the side of this page. And, there's the contact tab on my page that you should feel free to use. I love hearing from you guys and answering you back!
You can also reach me on my semi-personal Facebook account, where I am glad to friend you.
Also, follow me on Instagram, because I sometimes post stuff there that I don't elsewhere.

I am also working on experimenting with a video blog documenting what I've been doing every few weeks or so. I know that at my summer Facebook party, you guys enjoyed those videos, so I thought I'd try some more. I may upload one soon.

Of course, I will still be around here and happy to hear from you all and will be posting major updates as well. I hope you all are doing well!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Guest Review: Five Enchanted Roses

Hi guys! I have another guest review for you guys! Here's my sister, Cortney:

Thanks for having me again Heather!

What happens when the stories of five different authors are selected for an anthology of Beauty and the Beast retellings?  You get the imaginative and exciting Five Enchanted Roses: A Collection of Beauty and the Beast Stories by Kaycee BrowningSavannah Jezowski, Jenelle SchmidtDorian Tsukioka, and Hayden Wand.  Each of the stories are unique and intense with very different Beauties, Beasts, and settings.  Some Beauties are sweet and compassionate while others are tough and temperamental, but all are brave and willing to face the adventure that comes their way.  The Beasts, also, are varied in temperament.  All are afflicted with a curse of some kind, but they cope with this hardship in different ways.  They alternately embrace the curse, deflect the truth with jokes, or nobly accept the results of past decisions and mistakes.  In addition, the various settings are quite different from one another.  Still, all of the stories are united by their inspiration and by their theme of redemption.

The first retelling in Five Enchanted Roses is Esprit de la Rose by Kaycee Browning.  This is a very interesting historical/fantasy story with vengeful mermaids, suffering pirates, a magnetic captain, and a compassionate heroine.  Cecilia wants a new life, so she sets sail with her privateer father, hoping to find a home with her respectable aunt in England.  However, her father’s greed has summoned the wrath of the Fee who attack his ship and accidently send Cecilia to world where they intended to punish her father.  Cecilia finds herself on another ship with inhuman specters who used to be sailors who had crossed the Fee.  She alone on the ship is a solid human, and the spectral sailors all believe she is the key to their escape back to the real world.  However, in order for them to escape, she must suffer, but Captain Pepin claims to know a solution to all their problems.  Following his plan is not easy, though, and Cecily has much more danger and adventure in her future.

The second retelling is Wither by Savannah Jezowski.  Bet, the Beauty in this story does not match the typical ideal of a beauty in a fairy tale.  She is more gruff and hardworking with a real temper.  Her sister, Sookie, is a much more innocent, tender, and traditional beauty, so she is a logical choice for a companion for the hideous and unloved Corwin.  However, the world is a dangerous place with Creepers, Ghouls, and other monsters on the prowl, and Bet is not about to let an unknown monster claim her little sister.  She marches off to the mysterious Briarstone Abbey to fulfill her father’s debt in her sister’s place.  After several harrowing experiences, Corwin realizes Bet may actually be the perfect companion for his dangerous life.  Bet, too, begins to realize that rumors may not always be true and that appearances can hide a deeper truth.

In the third tale, Stone Curse by Jenelle Schmidt, there is more than one hero and more than one Beast.  Karyna, a lady-in-waiting, has survived a curse and loyally remains in the castle.  On the Princess’ birthday, the court turned to stone, the visiting Prince Barend was transformed into a beast, and the Princess herself disappeared.  Karyna’s father is among the stone courtiers, and she narrowly avoided the same fate.  Now, after two years, only a handful of servants remain while the country has fallen into turmoil.  At last, Karyna realizes that the person who cast the curse must be dwelling in another nearby castle and may be holding the Princess captive there.  Boldly, Karyna embarks on a journey to end the curse.  Prince Barend fears for her safety but cannot leave the castle without losing his human mind.  Meanwhile, another man is seeking to end the curse, and the castor is also suffering.  Only when four key characters come together once more can the curse be broken.

While the other stories have a traditional European feel, Rosara and the Jungle King by Dorian Tsukioka stands out with its jungle setting.  Rosara, the daughter of a chieftan, loves her jungle home, but her village is brutal.  One warrior longs to replace her father as leader, and he can only do this by taking Rosara as his wife.  Unfortunately for Rosara, he is a cruel man who already have two wives who bear the marks of his club and violence.  She seeks refuge in her beloved jungle where she encounters a regal jaguar named Tupa.  Her situation starts to grow more and more desperate, and she seeks the aid of the karawara, jungle spirits who sometimes interfere in the lives of humans but always with a cost.

Finally, the fifth story is a historical retelling called The Wulver’s Rose by Hayden Wand.  The story is set in Scotland in the 1600s and 1700s.  One of the last witches of the world has cursed Lauchlan, her former brother-in-law, and his daughter to be trapped in the forms of a wulver (half-human, half-wolf) and a rosebush.  Nearly a century passes, and her curse will soon result in their complete destruction.  At about this time, young Bonnie Alleway’s family suffers some terrible losses, and she blames herself for their suffering.  They lose their home and their wealth, and two of her siblings suffer severe after-effects to their health.  Her brother urges her to forgive herself as he has forgiven her, but she has trouble.  Her family relocates to a tiny cottage in rural Scotland where she begins to sense a dark evil and hears a repeated plea for help.  For comfort, she clings to her faith and a simple prayer she learned as a child, and she holds onto both of these after her father plucks a rose and a monster demands her in payment for her father’s mistake.  Hoping for redemption, Bonnie meets the wulver’s demand, but she still must discover why God has led her to the beast’s castle as well as whose cries she hears in her nightmares.

All five stories are ingenious, lovely, and well-thought out retellings of the classic tale.  I really enjoyed the whole collection!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Kansas City Live Interview

Hey everyone!
I just wanted to update you on a few things. First of all, this morning, I had an amazing time on a local TV show, Kansas City Live!
You can catch the interview here.

Also, tonight is opening night for Narnia at Weston Community Theatre. Come see me as a unicorn July 8th, 10th, and 11th at 7:00 and 12th at 2:00. 

Finally, my opera piece, "Regret," is being performed at the Kansas City Fringe Festival this month! I am so excited. For more information about the Words + Music performance at the Fringe Festival, look here.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Guest Review: Draven's Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Hey everyone!I am handing the reins over to my sister, Cortney, for her review of Draven's Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Here she is!

Thanks for having me, Heather!  And congratulations on your new book, Carried Home!

This review is of one of my new favorite books: Draven’s Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  It is a fantasy book (but with a strong historical feel) from the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s books are always amazing, so I had high expectations for this book, and Draven’s Light certainly did not disappoint.  The characters and their relationships with each other are deeply developed, the setting is darkly and brilliantly drawn to life, and the story itself reveals the bright beauty and power of love in a seemingly bleak world.

As the newest addition to Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Tales of Goldstone Wood, Draven’s Light can easily stand alone as an outstanding story, but it also casts new light on the history of the Goldstone Wood world.

The story contains both familiar characters from the series as well as various new and unique characters.  The Brothers Ashiun will be the most familiar for readers of the series.  One of the brothers, Akilun, tells the story to a young girl.  His story is about a young man named Draven.

Growing up in a dark and barbaric world, the young man knows that he will have to kill an enemy in order to earn his name and the respect of his tribe.  However, when the time comes, he cannot kill, so his father, the chief, renames him Draven, or coward.

Only Draven’s club-footed sister, Ita, does not despise him even though the village sees them as complete opposites: Draven as a large and powerful coward and Ita as a weak but incredibly brave young woman.  She earns a place of honor among her people for her bravery, but she still values her brother’s “cowardice” for what it truly is: the bravery and compassion to stand up against the brutal and bloody rituals and conventions of their people and their father.

Unlike Draven, the fierce Ita does not have the courage to oppose their father’s will, so she blames herself along with her people when they invite a curse down upon their heads.  Soon, the lives of the people who despised and shunned Draven are at stake.  Is the coward they rejected brave enough to save them and his sister in time?  Not only their lives but the future is very much at stake, and the actions Draven takes will affect the entire area and its people for generations to come.


His story is a beautiful example of love and the true meaning of bravery, and I would highly recommend this book to any fans of fantasy and great stories.


Thanks, Cortney! Sounds like an interesting book!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Romantic Time's Convention (RT) Part 4

I think this is going to be my last post about RT, so if you were annoyed by me before, please bear with me and know that this is the final post. :)

So. After about three non-stop days of the busy writer's convention, I was ready to have a small break. So my dad and sister and I decided to go on an expedition to the mall and I had Dippin' Dots, which I hadn't had in years. It was almost eerie going to the mall, where things were much more quiet and in a "normal" setting. But after a while, I was itching to go back to the convention, especially because the next day was the Giant Bookfair.

 Finally, the day of the book fair came. I was SO excited, because my awesome publisher's mom had sewn me a dress that matches the cover of Swept to Sea! How fun is that??? It was a joy to do the book signing in the dress. I had so much fun, especially because a lot of young girls came up to me, excited, and said I was a princess. A lot of people wanted to take a picture of me. I loved talking to the younger people whose eyes brightened when they heard that I was published when I was 16. I love inspiring other people like that.

Oh, also: I ran into Arianna Rebolini of Buzzfeed once again, and wound up on another Buzzfeed post. I am number 53 on this list, where I mentioned one of my favorite romance novels.


Here's me and the owner of Clean Reads, my publisher. I always love a chance to see Stephanie! 

Below is me and Clean Reads' very own handsome cover model, Rob Bierman. He represented Clean Reads at RT this year, and he's so sweet. 

Regina Jennings and I with our matching book cover dresses! She wasn't wearing hers, but she had brought it along. 


My awesome friend Karen


The one and the only Francine Rivers!

Below is.. another Karen!  This is one of my favorite authors, Karen Witemeyer. All of the inspirational authors were organized into one line this year, which was really convenient. 

Tamera Alexander! Love her!

It's always a joy to see Deeanne Gist! She is such a sweetheart. I love all of her books. 

This is what I look like after standing at the book fair for four and a half hours in a heavy dress. I collapse on my hotel bed and eat Pringles and drink coffee. 

After I recharged in my hotel room, I went to a fascinator-making party. Here I am with my sister and my friends, Karen and Angela! Aren't our fascinators lovely?
At the final party of RT, I ran into Rob again, so we had to take another picture. This party was Heather Grahams's annual ball, which promises lots of yummy food and a spooky performance.



And...that's it! I packed up late that night and went to the airport for another early flight back home to make it to Kansas City in time for my performance at the Coterie Theatre.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Romantic Time's Convention (RT) Part 3

Be prepared for another chronicle in my adventures at the RT convention. 
So, remember how I told you about Club RT? Well, it was finally time for my slot of appearing at Club RT. After much ado, trying to find where on earth I was supposed to do, I spoke to a lady who gave my my name plaque and told me I could sit anywhere I liked. So, I set up shop and waited for people to come near me so I could tel them about my books. All in all, it was a fun experience. 

Right after my time slot at Club RT, Melanie Dickerson appeared for her time slot. So, naturally, I had to stop to say hi and get a picture with her. She is so sweet! 


That night, after many rehearsals, my sister and I skipped out on the night's parties and went out to dinner with our dad and one of his friends from work. The lemon cake at the restaurant we visited was ABSOLUTELY fabulous. It was also a nice change of scenery to get away from the fabulous hustle and bustle of RT.

The next morning, I attended the "How Sweet It Is" breakfast mixer held by many fabulous inspirational authors. This is always my favorite part of RT. So fun, and such a great time to see lots of friends! 


The lovely Lenora Worth and I. I'm so glad she was able to come this year! She's so sweet. 

Betsy St.Amant and I! We knew each other from Facebook, so it was great to finally meet in person.


So..that's all I will post about for today. Catch me later for more about the convention including lots of details on the Giant Book Fair where I signed books, dressed as my main character Eden!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Romantic Times Convention (RT) Part 2

So...here's some more about the Romantic Time's convention.
I made a stop at Club RT. This was a room where, throughout the week, authors were scheduled to just sit at tables and talk to current fans and hopefully future fans. What a cool idea, right?  I was signed up to appear on Thursday, so I had to stop and take a picture of my name on this lovely sign. Then, at 12:00, the real work began. 
There were hundreds of workshops that went on, and the choices were endless. Basically, most days at RT went like this:
Get up. Get breakfast.
10:00-12:00 workshops. 
12:00-1:00 skip part of a workshop to get lunch in the crowded hotel venue. 
1:00-5:00 attend workshops.
5:30-12:00 parties, line up for parties, meet other authors and readers. 
So basically,, the schedule is jam-packed. On my first day, I attended a lot of very helpful seminars, and then got ready for the party of the night. This night's theme was cowboys and barbecue, so I dressed in fringes and, of course, a glittery cowboy hat. 

For dinner, they served: iced tea, (Which needed to be sweet. Oh my goodness. I put so many packets of sugar in there.), barbecue, potato salad, coleslaw, corn bread, and delicious fruit cobbler. The party featured dancing and a mechanical bull, but I didn't partake in either. 

So, while I was standing in line for this lovely party, I was approached by none other than Arianna Rebolini of Buzzfeed. You can imagine my shock at seeing the person who had written many Buzzfeed posts that I had read. (Thanks, Buzzfeed, for taking time away from my writing. Just kidding!) Arianna introduced herself and informed me and the group of people around me that she was writing a post about RT for Buzzfeed, and wanted to know reasons why we read or write romance. So, surprise surprise, I got to be featured in a Buzzfeed post! (Read it here. I am number two. on the list.) I also got her beautiful business card and some super cool Buzzfeed stickers. I felt really special. LOL

The next day, I started my day off right with attending an Inspy-author western pictionary party. That's right, folks, I played pictionary with the likes of Becky Wade, Francine Rivers, Colleen Coble, and many, many more. It was quite fun. 

Me and Becky Wade! I love her!

Stay tuned for more posts about my adventures at RT later this week. Read yesterday's post (Part 1) here.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Romantic Time's Convention (RT) Part 1

So...the morning after my graduation, I got up at about 3:30 AM for my super duper early flight to Dallas.

This was one of those early morning flights when it still looks like it is nighttime when you board the plane. When you see the darkness below you, only penetrated by the bright airport and streetlights as you take off. When you're well into the flight and you get to see the sun rise over the countryside and the whole world turns pink. I may have not been very happy about getting up so early, but this picture I took really reminds me of how cool it was to see the world like that. Flying never gets old. 

You could see the Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy from my room. I loved the view. 
Anyway, waiting for me a the end of the flight was something pretty cool. It was a bit of a drive from DFW to the RT Convention hotel in Dallas traffic, but we eventually made it. This was my first time attending the RT convention where I actually stayed at the convention site, and it was pretty cool and pretty convenient. I barely left that building during the week that I was there!

This is on the elevator from my floor, 15. This hotel had 28 floors. Never go from floor 28 to floor 1 on the super speed glass elevator while looking down at the ground. It was not a wise choice. They should charge admission for this thing, because it might as well be a ride at an amusement park. Really. 

I got all signed in and settled in my hotel room, when my publisher, Stephanie texted me. She wanted me to come to her room for a surprise, and boy, was I surprised! She had a box full of print copies of Carried Home for me! How exciting, right????

Book selfie on the glass elevator!
Better quality picture with a better backdrop of Dallas!
After that, I met up with my completely awesome friend, Karen who is an aspiring writer. (Heads-up: she's totally awesome and totally motivated. I'm sure she will be a published author soon.) I spent most of the week at RT with Karen, and I miss her a lot already. :( 

So, I don't want to bore you with a super-long post, so that's all I'll share for today. Look for another post soon to tell you more about my adventures at RT!




Friday, May 22, 2015

Catching Up: Graduation


My graduation week was a whirlwind to say the least. And so, rather than to overwhelm you with one really long post, I am going to break things up into a few smaller posts.

Last week, I graduated. That still sounds weird to me because I cannot believe I am out of high school already. I am definitely glad to be out of school, but it really does feel weird. Texting my friends who aren't out of school yet feels weird. My best friend rejoicing about entering her senior year feels weird. (I've known her since she was in kindergarten!) Planning my next year at college feels weird. Everything feels weird, actually.

But I've already had a ton of fun. At 4:00 AM in the morning, after I had gone to bed at nearly 2:00 AM, I left for Dallas to attend the RT Writer's Convention. On Sunday, I flew home bright and early in time for my performance at the Coterie Theatre. Despite the many nights with little sleep this last week, I have had a blast. (This counts the day after I got home when I fell asleep on the couch at 1:00 in the afternoon watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's a good show. Really.)

Anyway, my graduation night was a blast. I got all dolled up and ready to head to the country club where my graduation was being held. (Don't you just love my glitter shoes?)

After I arrived at the graduation in style, I got to devour (Ahem, I mean dine on) some yummy food, chat with friends, and eat two desserts. The school staff presented awards (I got the Presidential Award and a perfect homework award and attendance award.) Then, I went up onstage (I guess there wasn't really a stage there, but you know what I mean.) and I gave the valedictory speech to the Class of 2015. It was a totally fun experience to write the speech and deliver it to the crowded room. After my hopefully-not-boring speech, the Class of 2015 received our diplomas. The room erupted into a flurry of cheers, tossed gradation caps, and flashing cameras. 
Aww, look at me throwing my cap in the air.
After receiving many congratulations from friends, family, and teachers, and stopping for photographs with my friends, my graduation night was over. And it was on to another adventure.




Monday, April 27, 2015

CARRIED HOME IS PUBLISHED

Hey everyone!!! Just a quick, friendly blog post to let you know that:

CARRIED HOME IS PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm SO EXCITED, GUYS!!!!!


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WRJO0JY/


Doesn't it look so pretty on Amazon??



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CARRIED HOME COVER REVEAL

I am pleased to say that I have revealed the cover art for Carried Home, sequel to Swept to Sea, which will be released and ready for you to read APRIL 28TH! I am so excited!

Here it is!

About the book
   The Caribbean is no place for a society lady of London, yet after a daring quest to save a friend, Lady Ivy Shaw finds herself trapped far from home.  Now, driven with worry for her young brother, she is determined to return to England in all haste. So, when a new acquaintance offers to sail her to her brother’s side, she jumps at the offer, scarcely caring that the man is a privateer.
   Captain Gage Thompson is just learning how to be a captain.  He sailed for years under the command of his longtime friend, Caspian Archer, but serving a captain and being a captain are, as he soon discovers, two very different roles. While struggling to gain the respect of his newfound crew, he now faces the distraction of beautiful Lady Shaw.  He finds himself entranced by her and promises to give her passage home.
   After a brief stop in Port Royal, Ivy and Gage discover an abandoned child. They both decide to bring her with them on their voyage to England. But problems soon arise in the form of hurricanes and enemy pirates, and Ivy and Gage find themselves scrambling to not only care for a lonely child, but also gain command of a motley crew.  
   Will love bud between Ivy and Gage as they journey home?
Here's my two babies side by side. Eden and Ivy!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Interview with a friend: Emily Rachelle

Hey everyone! Today I have an interview with my friend Emily, in honor of her self-pubbing her second book, Rain in December, a poetry book. So...straight to the interview!


Hi, Emily. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I'm an aspiring journalist and a bit of a nomad, having grown up moving every three or four years. I love chocolate, cats, and Netflix, so if I don't manage to wrangle a husband in the next decade or two, I'm the perfect modern spinster in the making. I also quite enjoy a good rain.
What is your book about? Target age range? It's a book of poetry sorted into four categories, but overall I'd say the book sort of chronicles my own coming-of-age experience. The target age range for readers is about fourteen-twenty years old.
Emily, can you tell us about the publishing process? Was there anything in particular that surprised you or that was easier (or harder) than you expected? I was surprised by how much easier it was to publish this book than Sixteen. I mean, technically, I followed all the same steps. But with Sixteen, everything was new and foreign. For every single decision, I had to do a ton of research and make sure to keep the costs as low as possible. With Rain In December, I spent a lot less time and money and ended up with a book just a beautiful and professional that I'm happy with. To anyone struggling after deciding to self-publish -- it's getting started that's the hard part. Once you've done the work the first time around, things are so much easier next time.
Nice! Which are you - panster or plotter? That's actually a really interesting question for this book. Normally, I'm a huge plotter. I seriously write out an average of 5K words in notes before ever starting the rough draft of any novel. But for poetry, I'm the polar opposite -- I sit down, I write until it feels finished, and then I go back and make a bunch of changes until I'm happy with the result. Either way, though, my writing schedule is always sporadic. I might spend an hour or two writing prose or write five poems in one sitting, and then go a month without writing anything besides blog posts and school papers.
Awesome! Are you planning any other books? I am! Right now, during Camp NaNoWriMo, I'm working on the first draft of a Snow White retelling titled Mirror, Mirror. As for books coming out this year, the first in a series of fairy tale retellings (Mirror, Mirror is not part of this series) will be out later this year if all goes as planned. The series is called Once Upon a Dream, and the first book is an urban fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, titled World of Shadows.
That sounds interesting. I love Snow White! Well...I love all types of fairy tales.What genres have you written? Concerning pulished works, I have one Christian contemporary YA work and this new book of poetry. If we consider all genres I've ever written, several types of fantasy YA, historical YA, and childrens' works are added to the list, as well as a handful of short stories. However, the childrens' and historical works are definitely not books I ever intend to publish, so my published works will probably be restricted to poetry, contemporary YA, and urban fantasy YA.
When you read, what is your favorite genre? I actually read from quite a few genres. Which is my favorite depends on my mood. I've switched between adult and YA works, contemporary and historical, sci-fi and paranormal, romance and suspense. Overall I'm most likely to enjoy a YA speculative fiction work, but right now I'm on a contemporary YA kick. I just finished re-reading The Fault In Our Stars, and now I'm re-reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Where can I find you online? My blog and website are located at http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com/, and there's contact and about pages with links to all my social media pages.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Love Being Busy: Operas, New Covers, and Fifth Graders

Hey everyone! So, I've been extremely busy lately, but that is a good thing. As long as I have time to write, I enjoy being busy! 

Two weeks ago I had Spring Break. The weather was nice, and I had fun attending rehearsals for something called Words + Music, which was a collaboration between the Coterie Theatre, The University of Missouri-KC, and the Lyric Opera. Six writers from the Coterie wrote pieces that were turned into opera moments by UMKC composers, and performed by Lyric Opera performers. During Spring Break, I was able to attend rehearsals for this every day, and on Thursday, the pieces were performed in a Master Class led by opera professionals Mark Adamo and John Corigliano. My opera moment, which is inspired by the Salem Witch Trials, will be performed again several times in the future, including at the Coterie Theatre Young Playwrights Festival.
My composer and my performer for "It Was Only A Joke" after the performance!

Also this week, I got to see the cover for Carried Home (out April 28th). Oh. My. Goodness. The cover is spectacular!!!! I cannot wait to share it with you. Ahhh! :D

On Friday, I had the honor of speaking to a fifth grade class at Prairie Point Elementary. This was an amazing experience, and I would love to do it again. Those kids were really special, and they were so excited about me and about writing. I was greeted with huge smiles from the moment I entered the room, and I felt a little bit like a pop star. The kids asked me tons and tons of amazing questions about writing. Their questions were better than what most of the high-schoolers I go to school with would ask! I loved their inquisitiveness. And at the end, my hand was tired from signing so many bookmarks for every child and my cheeks hurt from grinning so much, but I was the happiest I had been all week. I left the school after getting a few hugs from the kids, and receiving a card that they had made me as a thank-you for coming that day. I'm going to keep that card forever as a token to remember that special day. 
Me speaking to the awesome class.
The card they made me! Everyone signed it on the inside, too.



I hope to have the opportunity to speak to many more school groups like this in the future!

So how have you all been? Are you excited to see the cover for Carried Home? What's new with you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review:Thief of Glory

Hey everyone! I finished a book, so here's a book review. I didn't love Thief of Glory by Sigmud Brouwer very much, but maybe you would like it, so I suggest you check it out and give it a chance if you think you might enjoy it. 

Here's what I thought:


I have to admit that I was not completely in love with this book, while the general idea of it was interesting. I didn't like that I was made to believe that this was a romance, when it really was not. I hate to write a negative review, and I don't think the problem was with the book, but more so with the marketing involved with it.
I felt that the main character, Jeremiah, was able to do way more things than a ten year old should have been able to do. Since he was 10 for 2/3 of the novel, I had difficulty taking this book seriously.
However, the historical aspect of this novel was great. I never knew Dutch POW camps existed in Indonesia. I liked reading about the history here. All in all, this novel was very rich in historical ideas, but I didn't love the actual story.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm in the Library!!!!

So I have some pretty darn exciting news!!!
This Saturday, I found something very special at the library! SWEPT TO SEA!

I'm super super excited!!!!! (Can you tell from all of the exclamation points I am using?)

Anyway, besides that, I wanted to let you know that the first round of edits for Carried Home is complete. That means only a few rounds of edits left to go, and it will be ready for you lovely people! I'm so excited. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"How Do I Look?"

Most writers are procrastinators, and I have to admit that at times, I do my fair share of procrastinating.

So, as I'm working on edits for Carried Home, I've found many useful things that I absolutely have to do before I complete my edits. 

One of those useful things just happened to be redesigning my blog. What do you think? Do you like the look?

I hope you do!


So...another activity I chose to spend *ahem waste* my time was creating a brand new Swept to Sea quiz. (You've taken the old one, right? Right?)

Now, you can find out which character from Swept to Sea you look like! It's a lot of fun. I took it, and I look like Eden. (Surprise, surprise...)

Who do you look like? Take the quiz now. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Monday: Captured By Love, Jody Hedlund


Hello everyone! I haven't visited this blog in quite a bit. I'm afraid that life is catching up to me, and handling Swept to Sea AND the publication process of Carried Home AND writing Tossed Together AND handling senior year at high school with its ACT prep and scholarship applications AND all of my other activities make it too much to keep my old blog schedule. 

Please bear with me and follow my blog/FB page/Twitter to get the latest updates from me. 

Anyway, I finally finished a book! This review is of Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund. 

ABOUT THE BOOK:
"Michigan Territory, 1814
A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.
Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.
As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love."


MY THOUGHTS:
I really liked this book!

This is set on Michilimackinac Island, also known as Mackinac Island to modern-day people. (I've visited this island before, so that made it even more special!) But this book is set during 1814, almost 200 years before I went there.

It follows the story of Angelique, who lives on the island with her crazy-cruel stepfather, who strongly limits how she may live. She is reunited with her childhood friends, Pierre and Jean, during the course of this novel.

I felt that the characters were very well written, and I loved all of them. This story had enough action, romance, and history in it to make me love it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Win a Signed Copy of Swept to Sea

Say Happy New Years to yourself when you win a signed print copy of Swept to Sea!


My friend Jessica interviewed me on her blog and is giving away a signed copy of my book. How neat is that?
To enter, please head over to her blog or enter right below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway