10 – Action Kids Book Release

10 Days! 
Can we all take a moment here to gasp in amazement? Ten days. This is a project I’ve been working on for over four years. Y’all. Excitement. 
I was finally able to finish some really big projects yesterday that I’ve been working on for a while, so I’m feeling a great sense of relief. I have so much on my plate with my book release, but each day it’s looking more and more manageable. Manageable is good. 
Today I got some more of the prizes that I’ve ordered for giveaways for during the blog tour. Y’all are going to be blown away by some of the stuff I’m offering. I’m so excited about it! Blogging is such a huge part of my journey as an author and it’s so much fun when I can give y’all something extra. 
By the way, right now I have my cute little rat climbing on me. It’s fun. Having Autumn is a lot more rewarding than I had thought it would be. She doesn’t take much care and she’s a great pet. Even if my siblings ask me to keep her in my room because they don’t really like the idea of a rat around the house. Oh well. Understandable, I guess. 

10 Days…

Since today marks 10 days until the release of the first book in the Action Kids series, here are 10 countries I’ve never been to that I would be delighted to visit one day (random order): 

1. Ireland 
2. Australia 
3. Scotland
4. Kenya 
5. Antartica 
6. China 
7. Egypt
8. Israel 
9. India
10. Italy 

That was actually really hard though… Because, pretty much, I want to go to all the countries. New Zealand and Iceland are two that really fought for a place on this list…

*  *  *
Now it’s YOUR turn! If you feel so inclined, you can either write a post (and link it back to this one) where you talk about 10 countries that you like to visit and leave a link in the comments section. Or, just leave your list in the comment section. 
Everyone who participates during the next two weeks will be entered into a drawing for their chance to receive one of the very first signed copies of the Action Kids book!

11 – Action Kids Book Release

11 Days!

Life is good. I might have had to go three different places trying to find Internet that works, I might have taken pictures of the elven stickers in three different rooms, trying to get one that would turn out well and I might be behind on several projects, but still, Life is good. By the way, I got those stickers at the doctors office yesterday when I went for a check-up because I think about y’all even there. I’m a blogger through and through. 

Today I was thinking about how crazy it is that while I’m here, living my life, going from task to task, there are kids reading my book. It’s so weird to think about that! I mean, a lot of my life is filled with doing laundry, sweeping the floor, cooking, cleaning up, cutting grass, etc… When I was a little kid reading I never imagined the author could be living, doing mundane tasks at the very moment I was reading a story she wrote. 
Being an author is pretty cool cause it’s kinda like I’m getting to do more than one thing at once. I can live my life here with the list I have for the day Including, yet not limited to, Making lunch, helping out with a Science project, cutting grass, helping make supper, working on my blog tour stuff, working on a book report for work….   and I can also be influencing/entertaining/helping kids basically anywhere in the world. Yikes. That’s almost mind-blowing. 

11 Days…

Since today marks 11 days until the release of the first book in the Action Kids series, here are 11 pets I have/would like to have one day:

1. A dog (have one)
2. A skunk 
3. A rabbit (have one)
4. A hedgehog
5. A horse
6. A prairie dog
7. A rat (have one)
8. A penguin 
9. A donkey
10. A raccoon
11. A monkey 

*  *  *
Now it’s YOUR turn! If you feel so inclined, you can either write a post (and link it back to this one) where you talk about 11 animals that you like to/do have and leave a link in the comments section. Or, just leave your list in the comment section. 
Everyone who participates during the next two weeks will be entered into a drawing for their chance to receive one of the very first signed copies of the Action Kids book!

Reviews and Reviewers

At this moment…
Setting: My office, dim overhead light on, sitting on my “writing chair” with my legs criss-crossed under me, a candle lit next to me
Listening to: Christmas music. Yes. I listen to Christmas music in October
Drinking: Ice-cold water
Eating: Well, I’m chewing on half a piece of delicious Ice Cube Arctic Grape gum that my lovely brother and sister-in-law bought me for my birthday
Doing: Writing a blog post and texting one of my sweet little friends
Thinking about: Book reviews and book reviewers 
So, where did this post come from? A little while ago I received an email asking me if I was interested in reviewing a book. I was busy at the time so just glanced over the email and then forgot about it. A week later I saw it again, emailed back and soon had the book downloaded to my iPhone. 
I proceeded to begin reading it. Began is the key word there, people. It didn’t take me long at all to realize that not only was this book not my style, but I didn’t agree with it. Even though the blurb sounded intriguing, the book… Well… I’m afraid I have nothing nice to say about the book. Which is really sad. If I had begun reading it from a store or a sample on Amazon, I wouldn’t have finished the first page. 
Finally, since I had been contacted by an actual person instead of working though a website, I decided to let them know what I was thinking. Exiting out of my kindle I pulled up my internet and shot them a quick email saying basically “Hey, I’m 45% of the way through _____ and this isn’t my style. I’m afraid my review isn’t going to be positive at all and I was wondering what you would think if I stopped reading it and didn’t review it? Since I agreed to read and review it I will happily do so, so just let me know what you think…” 
They emailed back and said sorry it wasn’t to my taste and it was fine with them if I didn’t finish it. So, I promptly thanked them, deleted the book and thought of how happy I was that they allowed me to not review their book. Ouch. Seriously, I mean that in the nicest way possible.
I really do not like writing negative reviews. Which is one of the reason I get such few free books to review. I’m an author. I know what it’s like to have someone who doesn’t like a book I’ve written. It kinda stinks. Have I written negative reviews? Yep. Check this one out, for instance. But there’s a right and a wrong way to write negative reviews, so I thought I’d let y’all know from an author’s prospective how a negative review should be written. 🙂 
Alrighty. Just how should a negative review be written? 
1. First off: by all means, if the book didn’t resonate with you then don’t hide that fact. Negative reviews are helpful to readers and I’m all in favor of them. I think that the exception should be if you get the book sent personally and you’re thinking “zero stars here”, then maybe you can ask about it like I did. 
2. Write it respectfully. Tell about your problems with the book, not the author. I actually got this little tid-bit from this amazing blogger. An author is a person just like you and has probably poured years of their life into that story you didn’t enjoy. I know, I know, it seems like such an awful waste sometimes!
3. Avoid using “strong” language like never and absolutely and worst unless you feel very strongly haha that those words need to be in the review. 
4. Don’t tag the author anywhere on social media in connection with your negative review. Again, I heard this hint from another blogger, but I forget who… You’re writing the review for the reader, not the author. There’s no reason for the author to get the negativity brought to their attention. Take it from me, we hear enough about what can be improved in our books without having it poured into our lives from a random stranger. Please don’t take that wrong! 

5. When writing a negative review, don’t just say “This book was a huge waste of time and money” go ahead and let people know what your issues were with it. Nicely. Like “The battle scenes seemed rather unrealistic to me and the main character whined too much” or “There were quite a few typos and the blurb didn’t represent the book well” or… something like that anyway. You can even give a specific example if you want to take the time. 
6. Try and find something nice to say about the book. If you can’t find anything that you liked about the book, maybe glance at Amazon and see what others have to say. For instance in the review I linked to up there^, I took a screenshot of the rating on Amazon because the book had a 4.5 star rating which is pretty amazing. So, even though I personally found nothing to like about the book, obviously others did. 
7. Re-read the review before you post it and make sure it sounds polite. 
There you have it, folks! Thank you for being considerate of us little authors who type away day in and day out. As Ernest Hemingway said: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 

12 – Action Kids Book Release

12 Days!

After a lot of hard work, I can finally say that I’m feeling fairly confident that I’ll be able to get everything in line that needs to be ready for this book release to come off smoothly and I’ll even be able to enjoy it. Exciting right? 

I’ve been sending out galoamzoes of emails, writing author bios, formatting, exploring character developments, updating my stuff, getting surprises ready, ordering giveaways, getting set up on Goodreads (I just about did a happy dance while singing Jingle Bells for joy when I got the email saying I was accepted as a Goodreads author!), finalizing various things, talking on the phone, trying to get business cards… Wwoooosssssssshhhhhhhhhh. Yes, I’ve been busy. 

By the way, if you want to get random updates throughout the day you can check out my Twitter page, Google+ profile and Facebook

12 Days…
Since today marks 12 days until the release of the first book in the Action Kids series, here are 12 things you’re likely to find in my computer bag:
1. My computer
2. My computer cord
3. A notebook
4. Pens
5. Notecards 
6. Envelopes with stamps
7. Sugar-free hard candy
8. Notes people have given me that are special to me
9. A little bit of money
10. A book or two
11. Wrappers 
12. A harddrive 
I carry my computer bag around a lot. Kinda like a briefcase and purse combined. So now it’s YOUR turn. If you feel so inclined, you can either write a post (and link it back to this one) where you talk about 12 things that you have in your backpack/briefcase/purse/computer bag and leave a link in the comments section. Or, just leave your list in the comment section. 

Everyone who participates during the next two weeks will be entered into a drawing for their chance to receive one of the very first signed copies of the Action Kids book!

14 Days – Action Kids Book Release

Two weeks!
Today marks the wonderful beginning of the countdown leading to the happy release of my first Action Kids book. Yes, y’all can scream and jump around and randomly hug whoever may happen to be nearby. It’s exciting.
Fourteen days. 
Exciting, right? Again, you’re welcome to express your joy out loud. No need to be solemn about such a wonderful occasion.
When my first book was released, I did a countdown which was tons of fun, so I thought I’d incorporate the same concept into the release of my Action Kids book. Which means, if everything goes as planned, you’ll be getting a countdown post every day for the next two weeks. People! This is going to be a stupendous amount of fun, just sayin’. It’s going to be amazing. I might slip in some normal posts, too, if the right ideas grip me. 

What will these countdown posts include? 1) A picture of some random thing with the number of days left until the book release. Fourteen random candies for example. 2) A fun list corresponding with the number of days left until the release of my lovely little book. 3) The option for you to help me celebrate by joining in and using the same topic as my list to create a list on your blog or Facebook to get people excited about this book release. Because excitement is good. I’m excited about this and I want the world to join in with the merry-making celebration. The more, the merrier, right? 
14 Days…

Since today marks 14 days until the release of the first book in the Action Kids series, here are 14 things I’m super excited about: 
1. Books! 
2. Drinking hot tea and coffee while working on my writing
3. A family get-together next month
4. Visiting friends for Thanksgiving 
5. Walking in the brisk air
6. My end-of-the-month review
7. Savoring each moment 
8. Sharing the first book in the Action Kids series with y’all 
9. Holding my Action Kids book in my very own hands
10. All the surprises I have for y’all surrounding the release of the book
11. Listening to music while working on my writing
12. Writing in general
13. Sending a finished copy of my book to my editor 
14. Hearing back from people who read the Action Kids book 
Now it’s YOUR turn! If you feel so inclined, you can either write a post (and link it back to this one) where you talk about 14 things that you’re excited about and leave a link in the comments section. Or, just leave your list in the comment section. 
Everyone who participates during the next two weeks will be entered into a drawing for their chance to receive one of the very first signed copies of the Action Kids book! 

Being Me

Life has been crazy recently and promises to continue with that trend for the unseeable future. Which is a good thing. What provides more story ideas than living a jam-packed full life? And of course autumn is in the air so craziness is good. 
(You can see my logic is really impressive there: If it’s happening in autumn, it must be good. Riighht.) 

This morning I’m trying to write a post for a blog I’m guest posting on. My problem? I really like this blog. It’s the most helpful and inspiring writing blog I’ve ever seen. Therefore, I feel kinda like someone who’s going to go and talk with their favorite celebrity or something and I want it to be perfect. And y’all know me. I’m passionate about what I do, but I don’t generally consider my writing perfect. (“Don’t generally” as in never…)

And, it doesn’t help any that I lost track of time and didn’t answer the blogger’s email until five days after she sent it. Ooops. When I looked back at the email this morning I kinda got this sad, sickish feeling and set to work right away on the blog post.

I’ve been feeling continually behind recently and I don’t like that feeling. I’ve decided there is no way I can possibly do all that I want to do, so I pick and choose what to focus on. Only, some times the stuff that is important falls through the cracks and it’s not very cool. I’m guessing y’all can relate to that.

Over all though, over all, life is great! It really is. I’ve been able to hang out a lot with some really great friends and my amazing family so that really fills up the memory bank quite fast. Plus, I have a fantastically busy week at work, but it’s fun work and I feel so blessed to be able to do it! And, of course… Autumn.

What about y’all? What have you been up to? 

Ice Age Book =)

Back in January when the wind was blowing strong and the temperatures dropped into the minuses, I braved the cold to hang out at my adopted* parents house and write a book about (what else?) the Ice Age.

Actually, it’s about the animals of the Ice Age. I learned so crazy much during the week. My lovely parents had already done all the research for the book and it was my job to help decide how to tell the story. Plus of course I threw in my cool (< haha) little ideas about the book having a cave bear showing up throughout the book and doing things like drinking hot chocolate. (Really, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself when it’s released…)

All work and no play? No, never! 🙂 

Believe me, people, there were some crazy animals during the Ice Age. Armadillo-like creatures the size of a small car? Yep. Wooly Mammoths found standing upright? Not even kidding. Saber tooth tigers? Those things freaked me out as a child, much the same way as monsters do the average kid. But they were real. 
So, why am I brining up the subject of the book today? Of course it could be just because I’m a random little thing. Or maybe I couldn’t think of anything to post today. Or maybe it’s really hot here today and I’m trying to forget about the heat by talking about the Ice Age. Or maybe…

WE SIGNED THE CONTRACT FOR OUR ICE AGE BOOK THIS WEEK. Um yeah, I think that just might be the reason. Can y’all believe it? I’m so excited! (And goodness, aren’t I good at not telling the news until I’m allowed to?)

So, who’s publishing it? Master Books, which is a part of New Leaf Publishing and also the world’s largest creation-based publisher. Master Books has been around since 1975 and has published a lot of Answers in Genesis books. I’m so very happy about this!

I can’t hardly wait to share the title and the cover of the book with y’all. The book is supposed to be released sometime next year, but we’re not sure about the exact dates yet. My dad did the illustrations for the book and they’re really cute! Here’s one, just to kinda tide you over until I have more I’m able to share with you. 😉

*I’m dropping the ‘adopted’ for the rest of the post. 🙂

Time to Party! // Book Birthday Celebration #1

 Do y’all know what Saturday is? June 14th. And do y’all know what June 14th is? (And yes, I do realize it’s Saturday, but that’s not really the answer I was looking for…) Saturday, June 14th, is the anniversary of when my book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactylwas published. Yay! Which, of course means it’s time for some fun celebrations!

Me with an armload of books for the first time. Pure joy, right there, folks! 
We’re gonna kick off with some random facts, add on a time for Q&A, fill in with a game or two, a trip down memory lane and end up with a contest. Yes, y’all heard that right: We are having a real celebration! (Which equals fun, of course…) And, if y’all watch closely, you might just see me popping up a few other places… 
Signing my first book with my bro cheering me on. 🙂
Random Facts… 

*I wrote Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl during November in 2012, right after I got my puppy, Novel. Therefore I had book writing and puppy training duty at the same time. :-0
Novel enjoys good books though, so it was fun for both of us. 
(Actually, her love for books was the worst part of her puppyhood, but I fixed the problem by turning my bookshelf around so she couldn’t reach them.)

*When I wrote Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl, I began sitting on a chair and using a lap desk instead of sitting at a regular desk. I’ve been using the same set up ever since. 

*I used to hate it when I was always guessed half of my age, but around the time I got Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl published, I realized it was a lot more impressive to have someone who looked like they were 14 to be published, than for a 20 year old, I began enjoying it. 

*Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl was originally published under the title of Our Adventure Begins. It took me a while to like the new name. 

*There was a problem with the printing of the books, and so even though we had a big release party/book-signing thingie set up, we almost didn’t have the books on time. That caused a bit of stress and me assuring myself “This will be a good story for me to tell my grandkids one day…” Thankfully, everything worked out just fine. 
*I listened to the soundtrack for How To Train Your Dragon and The Story CD’s over and over again throughout the whole time I was writing the book. 
My adopted parents and me getting a picture with our new book after a long, tiring, exciting day. 
*I was in Hawaii when I found out my book was going to be published and I ran down to the beach where I sat and watched a glorious sunrise while gushing with my adopted parents (and co-authors) and asking for all the details. 

*I didn’t tell hardly anyone (including family) about finding out that my book was going to be published until the next day, because it was such wonderful news I wanted to keep it to myself. 

*When I was younger, I’d wanted to be published when I was 18, but I felt 20 wasn’t too far off the mark and was really excited. 

*I used to doodle my name all the time in preparation for book-signings. Unfortunately, I don’t think it helped me very much. 
The beach in Hawaii the morning I found out my book was going to be published
So, what about y’all? If you’ve been around here long, you’ve probably heard some of those random bits of information. I’d be delighted to know if you learned anything new, though! Thanks for joining me for my celebration and I hope you have as fun as I’m having! Check back tomorrow for the next segment in our party! 

The Hiding Place Part #1 // Giveaway

I was planning on writing about my Europe trip in order of how it happened, but since so many people have expressed interest in The Hiding Place, also known as The Ten Boom House and The Beje, I decided I would start with that. 

Ever since I found out we were going to go to Europe, I began asking if we could go to Holland and see the Beje. Seeing the Beje has been a dream of mine since I was about nine years old and read In My Father’s House for the first time. That was my first Corrie ten Boom book, and I was decidedly enthusiastic about all of her books from that point on. I went on to read Father ten Boom, The Hiding Place, My Years with Corrie, Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith and others, many of them multiple times. 
Corrie ten Boom’s books inspired me and changed my life. They were also one of the factors that got me interested in writing. I saw how my life had been changed through a book, and I wanted to be able to write books that would do the same thing for other people. 

For those of you who don’t know who the Ten Boom family is, I’ll give you a quick overview:
The Ten Boom family lived in Holland in the town of Harlem, in a narrow house over a watch shop that had been in their family for several generations. During WW2, Corrie ten Boom, who was in her 50’s at the time and a watchmaker herself, became very involved in the underground work. At this time she lived in the Beje (their nickname for the house, pronounced bay-yea) with her father, and older sister, Betsie (I actually have a sister who was named after Betsie ten Boom). Their house was a kinda in-between house where Jews would stop on their way to some safer place. Eventually though, they had a group of Jews that stayed with them because they didn’t have anywhere else to go.

One day the Ten Booms were betrayed by a fellow Dutchman and the Beje was raided. the family was taken to prison and eventually to concentration camps. Thankfully, they had built a hiding place and the Jews and some underground workers were able to hide there (more about this tomorrow). 

Corrie’s sister and father both died in the camps, along with one of her nephews (although not from the same raid) and Corrie’s only brother died soon after the war because of the horrible treatment he got in a concentration camp. 

After the war, Corrie traveled all over the world, sharing about God’s love and forgiveness. She even went as far as to turn the Beje into a home where Dutchmen who had betrayed their fellow countrymen and turned them in to the Nazis could come and stay. She also found out who it was who had betrayed them and wrote to him when he was sitting in prison, about to be killed for his war crimes. She told him what he had done to her family and how she forgave him and then she told him about Jesus’s love. 

We left our cars quite a ways from the Beje, and were walking all over Harlem, trying to find the house. I hadn’t realized we were so close to the Beje, until someone said “There it is!” And I realized I was standing just across the street from this history and loved filled building. I had been recalling and telling stories to my younger brother about the Ten Boom family during our car ride to Harlem, and it felt so amazing to be standing on the very street corner where these accounts had taken place. The watch shop is a jewelry shop now and they had watches displayed in the windows, which made it feel almost as if time hadn’t really passed. It was a marvlous experience.

I’m so very thankful for the people who run the Corrie ten Boom Museum. You don’t have to pay to go into the house (although if you wanted a guided tour it does cost a little) and it’s not affiliated with the government at all. They said they have it this way so that they can keep Corrie’s message true and strong and share the gospel and God’s love with everyone who goes there. 

 When we first went in, we were in the dinning room, and my first impression was “Wow, this is so small!” How they able to fit so many people in there, I have no clue. I remember how Corrie often mentioned how crowded the table would be when everyone was gathered around, but I hadn’t realized just how crowded it really was. There were so many of us in the room I didn’t get many good pictures, and then after we left the room, they said we weren’t supposed to take pictures, so sadly I don’t have many.

I was standing there, looking at the table, then I looked out the window and I saw how we were about nine feet up from the street, and that’s when I was suddenly like “OH MY GOODNESS!” Because I could very clearly see in my mind the scene where they were sitting around their table with all their Jews and suddenly they saw someone’s head right outside their window and they kinda freaked out since generally people couldn’t see in the window and hence it being safe for them to have the Jews eat with them. Right away they had begun singing happy birthday and acting like they were having a party so the person wouldn’t think anything unusual about so many people being there, then they realized that why he was so tall is because he was on a ladder, cleaning the windows. It turns out he had gotten the address confused and was cleaning the wrong windows, but they were still scared for a while that he was really spying on them.
I can’t describe how it felt to remember that part of the book while standing in the very room it took place in. I wished I could have just spent all day, or all week, walking around the house, reading the books and imaging them taking place there.

And then I saw the Alpina sign, which they put in their windows, advertising a certain brand of watches they sold, but it was also a signal. When it was up, it was safe for the underground workers, if it was down, it wasn’t safe. During the raid Betsie had knocked the sign off the windowsill, but a guard noticed and realized that it must have been a sign, so he fit it back together (it had broken into three pieces) and put it back up. That was really bad, because some of the underground workers knew that the Ten Boom family had been found out and came to warn them and since the sign was still there, they didn’t know that the Nazis were in the house, so they kept getting caught. I think the Nazis got around 27 people in all, although not everyone was part of the underground. 

This blue sign says “Jesus is victor” and is a phrase Corrie ten Boom used quite often and she even wrote a book with that title. It helped remind her that even though evil was so prevalent and seemed to be winning at times, Jesus was still the victor and in the end, everyone would be able to see that. 

I’ve read where Corrie refers to this crown so often, yet I never realized how beautiful it is. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all, because the lighting was bad. Corrie used to carry this crown around with her, it’s cross-stiched and the back looks like a big mess and not beautiful at all. The idea comes from a poem by Grant Colfax Tuilar: 
My life is but a weaving 
between my God and me, 
I do not chose the colours, 
He works so steadily, 
Oft times He weaves in sorrow, 
and I in foolish pride, 
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, 
and the shuttle cease to fly, 
Will God unroll the canvas, 
and explain the reason why. 
The dark threads are as needful
in the Weavers skillful hand, 
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned. 

I was able to buy some bookmarks there that had a picture of each side of the crown, as well as the poem. Plus, I was able to buy a few of Corrie’s books, which was extra, extra special! I never imagined I would be able to go to her house and actually buy her books. 

Now, I hadn’t planned this at all, but when I saw how interested a lot of y’all are with the Ten Boom family, I decided I could share since I’ve been so blessed as to actually be able to go to the Beje. Therefore, I decided to host another (totally unplanned!) giveaway, where one of you can win a copy of Corrie’s book In My Father’s House, that I bought in the Beje. I hope y’all are as excited about this giveaway as I am! Plus, I’m also giving the aforementioned bookmark to five more of you wonderful people. With this giveaway, the first winner will get the book, and the next five will get the bookmark. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check back tomorrow for the next part of my trip to the Beje! And don’t forget to get more entries for our European postcard-tour giveaway! As always, when you share about the giveaways it really helps me! Thanks so much for passing the word along, y’all are great!

*Sorry, but the prizes can only be sent to addresses in the US. 


Interview With Author Stephanie Morrill

Ok, y’all! I’m totally thrilled to have one of my writing mentors, Stephanie Morrill here today for an interview! She’s the one who started the much-talked-about-by-me blog/Facebook group, Go Teen Writers. So, without further ado, here the interview is! 

First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Sure! I live in Overland Park, Kansas with my husband and two kids. I’m the author of five books for teens – The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. My sixth book, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet, comes out this November. I have samples of all my books on my website, http://www.StephanieMorrill.com


1. How old were you when you began writing? 

I started writing stories in first grade. We were given writing time everyday in class and could write about whatever we wanted. When we finished our stories, we turned them in and someone (a teacher or volunteer parent, maybe) would type them for us. We got to pick the color of our cover and binding, and then they printed out our “book” for us to illustrate and read to the class. I loved it and from then on I started telling people I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up.

2. Who would you consider your writing mentor? 

Jenny B. Jones. We don’t talk very often, but she’s totally been there for me with her support, encouragement, and kindness in my confusing career moments.

3. How much time do you devote each (day or week, whichever is easier for you) to writing (including proofreading, marketing, etc…)?

It fluctuates as my children grow up. My daughter is in kindergarten now and my son is in preschool two days a week. With my parents and my husband’s parents living in town, I also regularly have babysitters one morning a week. I use that time for writing (and writing related stuff) and nothing else. I don’t meet friends for lunch or stop by the grocery store – I write. And I work most evenings for at least an hour after the kids have gone to bed, but I’m trying to get out of that habit now that their school schedule allows me more time during the day. So probably about 25 hours a week?

4. Do you snack and/or drink while writing? If so, what? 

I don’t snack a lot, but I do always have something to drink. Mostly coffee and water, but iced tea (or hot tea) from time to time as well.

5. What was your best “author moment”?

I had a book signing for So Over It, which is the third book in the Skylar Hoyt series, two weeks after I gave birth to my son. I hadn’t slept well, I felt gross, and I just really didn’t want to do it.

But I was really glad that I did, because about halfway through it a teenage girl stepped up to my table. She seemed rather shy, and I was trying to draw conversation out of her. Fortunately, her parents were with her because her father told me that they lived in a small town that didn’t have a bookstore, and when So Over It came out, they’d driven an hour to go get a copy. And then she had seen I was having a book signing and begged to come.

When I got home, I looked it up on a map and saw they lived over two hours away from Kansas City. I felt so humbled by that since I’d been a bit grumbly about doing the signing in the first place. It reminded me that I’m very lucky to have writing and that because of it I get opportunities to meet lots of wonderful people.


6. Which season is your favorite? Why? 

I’m an autumn girl. I love getting out my jeans, taking walks in crisp air, and busting out all the soup recipes I’ve collected over the summer. And the leaves. I adore the changing leaves, even more now that I can play in them with the kids!

7. What is one of your favorite quotes? 

“Be a voice, not an echo.” I’m not sure who said that first, but I first heard it a month ago, and I’ve been dwelling on what that means ever since.

8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why? 

I’ve lived in California, Florida, and Kansas, and I love it here in Kansas City the most because it’s a great combination of affordable city life, great schools, (I’m at the age where I have to think about those kinds of things), and great culture. Plus both our families are here in town, and that’s hard to beat.

But if I didn’t have to factor in family or affordability, I think I’d be pretty tempted to move back out west. I visited Sonoma, California a couple years ago and totally fell in love with it. Great food, great weather, great culture. Loved it.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? Why? 

Funny story. My parents recently told my husband and I that for our tenth wedding anniversary (which is next May) they’ll fly us anywhere we want to go, so I’ve actually been thinking about this question quite a bit! Right now it’s looking like we’re going to tour Italy. Other places we contemplated were New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, and Greece.

10. You have a ebook sampler that can be downloaded for free right now, can you tell us about it?

Love discovering new teen fiction? Download this FREE ebook sampler from Amazon!

Featuring some of today’s strongest indie author voices, this fall teen reads sampler is sure to connect you with your next page-turning read. Perfect for fans of Sara Zarr, Meg Cabot, Jennifer Hubbard, Melody Carlson, and more.

Download the drama before it’s too late! Offer expires September 17.

For even more of today’s best indie teen fiction, visit PlaylistFiction.com.

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for joining us! I had so much fun learning more about you!