July 11, 2013

The Vacation Had to End Sometime

My family and I returned from a two-week vacation on Tuesday. It was, in a word, heavenly. Getting to spend all day long without my husband going to work? Awesome. Getting to see how much my girlies love their daddy. Love it. Getting to go to Arches National Park and seeing the incredible landscape there was worth all the stress that packing myself and three little people can induce. If you've never been, it's worth the trip. We hiked to Delicate Arch with the baby strapped to me (in the 95 degree weather I ended up being just a tad sweaty), my five-year-old walking, and our three-year-old in the jogging stroller. It's a Jeep so we figured, "Hey, why not." Luckily I have a strong, tough husband who lugged that thing there and back again. I don't think it'll ever be the same.

Then we headed to cooler weather and stayed with my sister in Colorado. We ate too much ice cream, fished, picked cherries, watched fireworks, and swam.

Now I'm back in the 100+ degree weather, but hunkering down under the A/C and the ceiling fan and typing. Why? I'm trying my darndest to get The Reaping out before the end of the year.

May 16, 2013

They Grow Up So Fast

Sorry I haven't been posting much of anything on here lately. Life has been calling and has been beautifully busy. I'm not going to complain about that--taking care of cute girls is fun (and frustrating) and being their mom is the best job in the world. So writing doesn't always get done the way I'd like it to.

My oldest girlie had her preschool graduation today. I can't believe she's going to start kindergarten in two months. I don't think I'll be one of those moms that cry when their child goes off to school, but I could surprise myself. I'll let you know :)

So now with her school done, we're officially into summer and I'm determined to get more writing squeezed in when my babe's taking her nap and the other two are having "quiet" time in their room. Which is rarely ever quiet and rarely stays in their room, but whatever. I'll work with what I can get!

April 25, 2013

It's Getting Hot

Summer is slowly but surely descending down on us. We've had some 90+ degree days, and I'm already missing the cooler weather. Our air conditioner is running regularly in the afternoon now, and I'm dreading the high utility bills that will start coming up.

On the plus side, that means we're not outside as much, and I've spent more time writing. I'm plugging away, and Terra's final story is starting to come together. It's been bittersweet, especially since I've known the end from the beginning. It's just interesting to see the twists and turns along the way. Terra is really growing up, and even now I feel like I'm going to miss her once this is all done.

I've also been able to get some reading squeezed in here and there. Before I had kids, I could sit down and read for hours on end. That rarely happens these days, so I've been trying to make time for more reading. After all, reading is one of the best ways to become a better writer. What have I read in the past month? Life of Pi (I forgot how much I love the ending), The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimeaus is a great character), and Beautiful Creatures (I hope I don't offend any Twihards by saying the angst is just so much better written!). I just started Beautiful Darkness last night, and Days of Blood and Starlight (I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so I have high expectations for this one) is next in line.

Have you read anything good lately?

April 15, 2013

Family Time

I didn't get very much writing done over the past week or so because my parents were here visiting me. We live 700 miles apart, and that usually feels like 700 miles too many. My three girls love their grandma and grandpa, and let's face it...sometimes a girl just needs her mom and dad!

We almost never do anything exciting. We hung out, ran errands, had a picnic, and ate way too many treats. My dad went to fill up the car and get a car wash the day before they left. As soon as he was out the door, I turned to my mom and said, "What are the odds are that he comes back with a treat?" She smiled and said, "Pretty good." Yup, he came back with donuts.

One of the things I love about my parents is how supportive they are. Dad asked me, "So how is the next book coming?" I sheepishly smiled and said, "Slowly but surely. Life's pretty busy right now." And he just smiled and nodded. No judging, just love. And lots of spoiling of my girls.

I can't wait until they come back again.

March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays because of the hope it brings to my life--for me it's a time of renewal and faith. I just wanted to wish all of you a very happy Easter weekend. I hope you spend it with family and friends.

February 26, 2013


I'm in the middle of writing the third book in The Burn series, The Reaping. Writing these books, I've had an outline every time, and it's nice to have a sense of where the book is headed. But I create loose outlines. I know basic plot points, but I don't always know how Terra is going to get from point A to point B. Case in point:

Today I've been working on (get ready for it...here comes a teaser!) Terra trying to sneak into a hospital. I've known this event would happen the whole time I've been working on this book. But what I didn't know is that she would find a secret door. And I didn't know what she would find behind that door. But I do now, and let me tell you, the government-run Burn is not a happy place.

How's that for some suspense? :)

February 13, 2013

Creating a Post-apocalyptic World by Mari Mancusi and a Giveaway!

Welcome to talented YA author, Mari Mancusi! In her novel Tomorrow Land, the world has been decimated by a plague that turns the population into zombies. Good luck, survivors! I asked Mari if she'd talk about creating a post-apocalyptic world. Here is her response:

With my Blood Coven vampire series—anything goes. And those who have read the series know—I mean anything. Vampires, werewolves, fairies…In Soul Bound, which was just released in March, there’s even an army of chupacabras and a whole cast of characters from Greek mythology. It’s wild, campy, funny, and doesn’t even try to be realistic. In fact, the more over the top—the better. And yes, I try to outdo myself in every book.

So you’d think when I sat down to write my post-apocalyptic zombie story, Tomorrow Land (formerly published as Razor Girl), I’d go all out as well. A Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland kind of farce. But instead I decided to go darker…and keep things true to life.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. The zombie apocalypse is not exactly realistic. But think of it more of a game of “what if.” What if the world was decimated by a killer plague? What if some of those who caught the virus didn’t die—but were transformed into brainless creatures with a hunger for human flesh? What would the few survivors of the apocalypse do? How would they survive in a dead world filled with monsters? Would we still live like human beings with human decency—banding together and forming new societies, enacting new laws, keeping the peace? Or would we become monsters ourselves? Out only for our own survival—fellow humans be damned. Would we find a new family? Would we succumb to drug addiction or alcoholism to block out the pain? Would we be able to protect ourselves—and the ones we love?

And I think that’s something at the heart of every good zombie tale. The monsters provide a lot of external conflict—and who doesn’t love a good zombie fight scene? But it’s the human element that keeps us coming back for more. The question these books and films and TV shows all raise: how would we continue to live and love and exist as a species in a world decimated by plague and populated by monsters?

So while there’s plenty of zombie action in Tomorrow Land, at its core I see it as a story of human survival. Of first love and second chances. A coming of age adventure in a world gone mad. A romance that defies all odds. In short, I want people to read this book and think, “Wow, this could really happen. And what would I do if I were there?”

Because really, you never know. The zombie apocalypse could be right around the corner. Might as well be prepared! 
Sounds exciting, right? If you'd like to purchase Tomorrow Land, here are the details:

Buy Tomorrow Land on Amazon
Buy Tomorrow Land on B&N  

Mari has also generously offered to give away an ebook of Tomorrow Land. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below. If you'd like to know more about her post-apocalyptic tale, here's the synopsis:
Can true love survive the end of the world? 

Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. And now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind. 

All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.

Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones of a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all the while attempting to save what's left of the human race?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And after you've entered to win Tomorrow Land, click on over to Mari's blog and enter to win a copy of The Burn and Infraction

January 07, 2013

Back in the Swing of Things

The holidays have come and gone, and I'm sad about that. I spent the holiday in Utah with my family, my parents, and all my siblings and their families. There were three babies, three cute little girls, lots of games, and way too much good food. My five-year-old and two-year-old got to go sledding for the first time, and seeing the sheer joy on their faces as they slipped down the (albeit small) hill in my parents' backyard made the twelve-hour drive worth it.

Today was the first day hubby went back to work, and it's just me and the kiddos around the house, and I have so much to get done. I still haven't gotten the Christmas tree down, but honestly I'm not in a hurry to do it. The house is so bare when all the decorations go away. I have a huge list of the deep-cleaning jobs I need to do around the house. My babe is three-months-old, and now that I feel like I'm finally out of survival mode, the housework that sat neglected is now roaring at me.

And I need to write. I finally made myself sit at the computer last night and start plunking out the finally volume of Terra's adventure on the Burn. Yes, this will be the last book for Terra. There may be prequels (my husband asked my last night if I would ever write a prequel about the colonies being formed, and my brain instantly started churning as I thought, "Hmm...intriguing..." and then my brain jumped to, "Ooo...and a prequel about the Event!"--but there's no promises on that front right now. I have another project on the backburner).

So now I'm hunkering down. Today I already have: fed the kids breakfast, worked out, ran in the grocery store to get milk, vacuumed and mopped, started two loads of laundry, fed the girls lunch, cut some coupons, nursed the baby three times, managed to squeeze in a shower and a pinch of makeup, put the chicken in the oven to roast, deadheaded and watered my beautiful oversized pot of petunias, kissed a few owies, wrangled my girls into cleaning up their shoes and the family room, read two books with my girls, and wrote this blog post. That's all I can think of off the top of my head, at least :) Those people who say that a stay-at-home mom doesn't know how to work obviously have never done it!

Wish me luck. According to the outline I've written, this last book is going to be a doozy, and who knows how it will veer off when I'm in the midst of it. That's the great thing about outlines--they always change.

So Happy New Year to you! I hope this year is full of joy and love, and lots and lots of good books!