Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Freebie--Third Time's The Charm

There are so many great deals today, but I chose to highlight one that I really enjoyed from the Aliso Creek series, Third Time's the Charm.

This is the first one I read in the series and it's what got me hooked.  Here was my review of it:

"Wow! I really wasn't expecting the story to take the turn it did. I am a big fan of Heather's work, and this story was no exception. It had some delicious toe-curling romance and yet the characters were well-developed enough for me to connect with them. It definitely made me want the story to continue.

Even though it was a novella, it seemed to go deeper into the characters than I expected and I really can't wait for the next in the series. (I hope we get to find out more about Sloane and Liz in the next one as well. *le sigh*)

You can click here to download your free Kindle copy if you're interested.

Here's the back copy:

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone . . . if perfect is even possible.

In fact, Liz Carlson will settle for a normal man. A normal man with a job, that is. Married twice, then divorced twice, Liz had her rose-colored glasses fall off and shatter on the ground a long time ago. Her main focus now is raising her six-year-old daughter and surviving long days at work on her feet as a hairdresser. When Sloane Branden answers her call for help, quite literally, Liz doesn’t even give him a second glance. She has sworn off dating for as many years as it takes, and it seems that Sloane has done the same after his own tumultuous marriage. But when Liz realizes that Sloane defies every stereotypical deadbeat she has dated, she might just find room in her heart and discover the third time’s the charm.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is filled with good food, good friends, and lots of good books.

I am grateful for all of you.  Thanks for being such great bloggy friends!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Did You Do With NaNo?

NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. How did you do?  Did you win? Get close?

I was going to work on my novella during November, but it didn't happen.  I don't know if you remember last year when I was purging paper and clearing my basement of the boxes of paper that I had kept for years and years.  While I was down there I found a box of unfinished projects and among the myriad things in that box was a Utah Jazz quilt that I'd started for my oldest son in 1998.  The Jazz had won the Western conference and were in the finals and I'd gotten all the materials to make my Jazz fan a quilt.  When I pulled it out of the box, I showed it to my son and he asked me to finish it for him.

Now, if you know me, you know that crafting, sewing, quilting, are all things I'm not good at.  I don't even know why I started the quilt so many years ago because even as I look at it, it looks like a drunken sailor sewed the seams.  But he asked me with such sincerity that I couldn't refuse.  So I have been picking out seams and piecing together this very old quilt. It's my son's birthday this week and I really want to finish it for him.

Quilting is hard.  I don't think I've ever said the word crap so many times in my life.  This will be my first quilt ever and it's a steep learning curve, especially since I have to work with what I had from 1998.  (The old colors, etc.)  But it's almost done and I'm proud of myself.  No, it's not perfect, but it is a gift of love that I hope my son will cherish for a long time even with all it's imperfections.

So that's what I've been doing this month. (Besides reading a few books, including this awesome manuscript a close friend sent me to read!)  It's been a nice break from writing, one that I didn't realize I needed.  I know when I come back to it, I'll be better for it.  (Maybe one of these days I'll post a picture of this quilt.  Maybe.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Most Adorable Castle Episode EVER!

Oh my goodness.  Last night's Castle was full of EPIC adorableness!

The episode starts out with a heavily bleeding man who staggers up the aisle of a church and before he dies he hands over a swaddled baby to the priest.  Back at Castle's apartment Beckett and Castle are discussing Thanksgiving plans and he tells her that his family dresses for Thanksgiving as either Pilgrims or Indians. Oh man, the look on Beckett's face was funny. But then they get called to the crime scene.

Lainey is holding the baby when they get there, but Castle immediately takes him.  Beckett says Child Protective Services will be called and he's all, I'll take him while you do your thing here.  He's hungry, needs a few things.  Castle also assures Beckett he's highly qualified and has his RHD, so there's no problem.  What's an RHD you ask? Ruggedly Handsome Dad.  And he so totally is.  Nathan Fillion is absolutely ADORABLE with that baby.  He's holding the baby and heading out the door telling Beckett he'll take a patrolman to help him get all the stuff.  (And the look the patrolman gives Beckett is also hilarious.)

The team starts the investigation, trying to figure out where the baby came from.  He doesn't belong to the man who brought him in, since his wife says they've only been married two years and aren't ready for children.  They question his boss and get some information about a scary man that came into the dead guy's work a while back.  So they try to track him down.

Meanwhile, Castle comes back to the precinct with the baby and the patrolman following him has an armload of bags and baby paraphernalia.  Beckett gives him the raised eyebrow and Castle is all, what? You don't want little Cosmo going hungry, right? He named the baby Cosmo because that's what he wanted to name Alexis if she'd been a boy. Haha.  Oh man.  All I could think of was that guy on Seinfeld.  Anyway, Castle also dressed Cosmo in a turkey outfit and he's so proud of himself. It is heart-melting to see Nathan Fillion with this baby. He's such a natural!  The baby has some pretty expressive looks whenever Castle talks to him too, which just adds to the whole effect.  He does correct Beckett that it's not an "outfit" it's a onesie and Beckett is all, I suddenly have a picture of what my future is going to look like.  Oh man, I laughed. I have missed the banter between these two.

Ryan asks a couple of times to hold the baby for practice since his wife is due to deliver next month. (That seems fast to me! Didn't we just find out she was expecting?)  Anyway, the baby cries every time Ryan tries to hold him and Castle takes him back and he's calm.  So funny because then Castle tells everyone he's the baby whisperer.  And I believe him!

Back to the case, they find the scary guy and figure that the dead guy was a getaway driver for a bank robbery a long time ago, but that the scary guy wasn't the one who killed him. He has an alibi.  Lainey comes in to play with the baby and reports in a baby voice what she found under the dead guy's nails.  So funny.  When the Child Protective Services people finally come Castle is concerned about handing Cosmo over to strangers and Beckett is all, don't get attached.  She also mentions she's not really a baby person which is shocking to Castle. He asks her if she hates rainbows, too. Ha!  They end up taking the baby home since there's no beds at the Child Protective Services place and the baby is crying, crying, crying and then pukes on Castle. Oh I remember those days.  Caskett makes a good team in changing and quieting him, though, but go into the precinct the next day looking like zombies. (Alexis also shows up and looks at Martha holding the baby and a tired looking Caskett and is all how long have I been gone? I love normal Alexis again. I've missed her.)

While Alexis and Martha babysit, the team starts Dumpster diving near the abandoned building where they found the bullet holes and dirty diaper.  They find ping pong balls and assorted other evidence, but nothing is really adding up. I LOVED this case.  So twisty.  Castle figures out that they've rigged the lottery with the ping pong balls and then they head down to the TV station where the host that just announced the winning numbers is anxious to get away. She finally tells Beckett her husband and baby were kidnapped and won't be released unless she picks the case with the implanted balls and does exactly what she's told.  The team heads back to the dead guy's work where they find the kidnapped husband and reunite him with his family while arresting the dead guy's boss and the security guy for the TV station where the lottery was broadcast.  A happy ending for all and the parents are grateful the dead guy gave his life to save their son.  The baby is brought in by Alexis and Beckett promises Castle that it will be different when they have a child and he won't raise their child alone. Awww. So sweet!

The end scene is hilarious when Beckett walks in for Thanksgiving dinner dressed as Pocahontas. Castle tells her he was only kidding about the costume thing and she hands him a Pilgrim costume and tells him to get dressed.  Haha! Oh man, I love them.

I love everything about this episode.  The banter, baby, the case, they were all superb, but Nathan Fillion and that baby stole the show.  So so ADORABLE!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Book Review! And Ornaments Too!

I am so excited to share with you and awesome book called Christmas From Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber.  It's a children's book about the Gail Halvorsen and how he became the Candy Bomber.

He was delivering flour to war-torn Germany when he noticed a group of children over by the fence.  He went over to talk with them and wanted to give them some candy, but all he had with him were two sticks of gum.  He gave those and watched as they were divided up into the group.  This gave him an idea of what to do with his candy ration and some white handkerchiefs.  The humanitarian effort quickly expanded and this book shares a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations.

My five year old and I read it together and she looked at all the pictures while asking questions about the kids who got the candy from the sky.  It was a nice reminder that even in an uncertain world there are still pockets of peace to be found in individuals who look for it and help create it.  I loved all the little extras that were included, even a picture of the thank you letters some of the children sent, but most of all I loved the DVD that came with the book of Tom Brokaw reading it along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Definitely not one you want to miss.

Click here for a purchase link.

Here is the back copy:

"From little things come big things," Gail Halvorsen remembered his father saying. As a twenty-seven-year-old American pilot, Brother Halvorsen's job was to airdrop much-needed food and supplies to the people of West Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. But it was his simple gift of two sticks of gum that launched an extraordinary humanitarian endeavor and earned him the nickname "The Candy Bomber." Each day as hundreds of small white parachutes delivered treats to the children of West Germany, the wounds of war began to heal. "Operation Little Vittles" captured the imagination of people everywhere, bringing the spirit of Christmas to a world in need of peace and hope.

Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD.
Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own "Candy Bomber" parachutes.

The second thing I wanted to tell you about is an heirloom ornament set of stars with the different Biblical names of Christ.  They are really sturdy, (made of metal) which is important to me as a mother of lots of kids, and they are a great reminder of what this season is really about and what the star that appeared that night meant for mankind.  I'd like to use each one as a family home evening piece and discuss why Jesus would be called that name and where it is in the scriptures.  Lots of ideas are running through my head on how to stress Christ in my family Christmas this year.

Click here is the purchase link for the ornaments where they are exclusively available.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hawaii Five-O Review--Thanksgiving With the McGarretts

Last night's show featured Carol Burnett as Steve McGarrett's Aunt Deb and she did a fantastic job. It ended up being a really sweet holiday episode and I was so glad we were together.  (Love Carol!)

Let's start with the "family" football game at the beginning.  It was adorable and everyone was having fun.  It did seem a little odd for Grover to be there, but Steve explained to Danny that Grover's family was out of town so that's why he was invited.  Aww, Steve is such a nice guy.  He has to leave, though, just as the game is tied to go put the turkey in the oven.

He goes home to find Mary blow-drying the turkey because she forgot to defrost it.  She looks a bit frazzled and Steve is regretting making her his prep cook.  The doorbell rings and it's Aunt Deb. Surprise!  Steve gets a phone call and has to go into work and Aunt Deb assures him she'll take care of the turkey.  She has a fun scene with Mary and the baby at the butcher's trying to get a turkey. Mary admits she feels overwhelmed and Aunt Deb assures her every caregiver feels that way---she did when she first had Mary to take care of, too.  It was a sweet moment.

Steve and Danny arrive at the crime scene where a Secret Service officer's body has been found in a barrel filled with lye. Ew.  They start investigating and realize the president is on his way to Hawaii and his itinerary etc. may have been compromised.  The team starts to retrace the Secret Service guy's steps and find an assassin for hire has been on the island and that's who the Secret Service guy was on to.

Steve has to stop in the middle of the investigation to go get Aunt Deb out of jail because she got caught trying to get some marijuana.  She then tells Steve she has a medical marijuana card for her brain cancer and isn't going to get chemo or radiation treatment because it won't help.  Her and Steve have a very tender moment filled with tears and it was so heartbreaking to watch.  Steve has lost so much and I don't understand why the show would bring on another family member that is going to die on Steve.  I mean, the man has lost his father, thought he lost his mother, lost most of his friends, (like Freddie and the bad SEAL friend whose name I can't remember and Jenna Kaye who helped him escape North Korea before she died) and now Aunt Deb.  Really? That seems excessive for any one man.  Anyhow, after a nice family moment Steve goes back to the case, but not before confiding in Danny about Aunt Deb.  I love the close friendship Steve and Danny share and that Danny gives good advice sometimes.  He is really there for Steve.

Catherine goes to take Aunt Deb home and she introduces herself as Steve's "friend." That was so odd to me because in earlier episodes Danny has referred to Steve as her "boyfriend," so I thought we'd moved past that. Just odd.  Anyway,  Aunt Deb and Catherine do have a nice talk about how Catherine should help Steve and Mary stay close because Aunt Deb knows Catherine will be sticking around.  At least Steve's mom and aunt both like Catherine.

The case goes on to find an Algerian cleaner who gets shot and Grover gives the line of the night when he leans over the guy and saying, "oh did somebody shoot you? You've got a nasty booboo." Haha.  They figure out the assassin isn't after the president but the nosy neighbor's daughter they talked to earlier (who happened to witness a Russian mob murder) and so they take off.  The nosy neighbor's daughter is an idiot however, and runs to the beach where the assassin has a clear shot.  Stay in the trees! Double back and get in a car! Thankfully she lives when Chin saves the day and takes down the assassin.

We all go back to McGarrett's house and Aunt Deb has told Mary she's dying. Steve goes out on the porch to console Mary and there is a tender moment with the siblings.  No, no, I wasn't crying, that was dust in my eye!  They vow to keep Aunt Deb's memory alive for Mary's baby and Steve tells Mary they'll get through this.  Sniff.

Aunt Deb hasn't been able to get a turkey big enough for the crowd so they all go to a tiki bar that we've seen in a past episode.  Aunt Deb is invited on stage to sing (she gave up her big break and a singing career to take care of Mary.)  She gives a very moving tribute to everyone with a song about being all right and counting her blessings.  What a tear jerker!  A great way to end the show and start the holiday season.

Sadly, we don't get a new episode until mid-December.  So, until then, I'll be tuning in to TNT to watch past episodes. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Freebie---With A Kiss

Today's Friday Freebie is a fun and witty story about twisted fairy tales.  It's called With a Kiss by Stephanie Fowers and though I haven't read it myself, I've loved Stephanie's other books and know she is a great storyteller.  And this one sounds like it has a great premise, with faery queens and leprechauns and a baby that needs help!

Click here to download your free copy!

Here's the back copy:

Faerytales. They're real . . . they just haven't happened yet.

Halley Starr finds out the truth when she loses her heart with a curse. Now she has to get it back from that dirty faery who stole it from her, but first, she must fight against the seven rules of the faery kingdom that
mortals must never break

No trespassing sacred faery territory

Don’t ever say thank you

Using a faery’s given name is a no-no

Resist all faery music

Never break a promise to a faery

Reject all faery food

And never, never fall in love with a faery

But if Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five Marketing Tips For Authors

I've been asked several times recently how to market a book, so today I thought I'd give some ideas of things that I've done.  The thing is, though, is that there is no one way to market a book.  Each book and each author is different so what works for one, might not work for another.  It's good to try out a lot of different things and see what works for you.

The one thing, though, that I KNOW works is this.

Write another book.

When you find an audience for your work, they will no doubt look for another book from you. Write one. My sales were fine for my first eight books, but they really took off after my ninth book, so don't get discouraged if you have two or three and your sales aren't quite what you expect.  Keep writing, keep producing and honing your craft, and you'll get there, even if it takes nine books to do it.

Some other ideas that you can consider are:

Be visible on social media.

This sounds so basic, but honestly I'm surprised at how many authors don't have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter, or even a webpage.  When your readers want to find you, make it easy for them.  Having a basic webpage is a great start, where you list all your books and where people can buy them, an about you page, reviews, maybe some fun things like deleted scenes, stuff for book clubs or whatever.  Also make sure there's a way for them to sign up for your author newsletter.  Personalize the page to you and give your readers that behind the scenes glance at what you're about and what books you have.  Same with Facebook and Twitter or Google + or Pinterest, or whatever social media you choose to focus on---be yourself.  Don't talk about your books all the time or you will be unfriended quickly.  Build relationships and a community and the side benefit to making great new friends is that people will generally want to know more about your books.

Do a Book Launch/Tour/Blast

It gives you visibility and you usually can get a jumpstart on reviews on Amazon and Goodreads if you do a book tour or launch.  There are several sites that will set up a book tour for you, or you can do it yourself with bloggers and reviewers.  But as someone who gets tons of requests to review books, please be courteous and know what kind of books are reviewed on the blog.  For example, if the blog reviews romance and you write horror, then you probably won't be a good fit.

When you are setting up a blog tour, you should do it at least a month in advance of your book release. Give the reviewers a choice of dates and then help advertise them when the post is live.  Some say ten stops on a blog tour is a good number, some go much higher, I think that's a personal decision.

With a book launch there are so many ways to do one.  Author friends used to do a physical one in a bookstore with prizes and a party atmosphere, but lately I've mostly seen online ones where there are prizes offered every hour or something on Facebook or Twitter, like the one I recently did with Jordan McCollum. Decide what works best for you.

Have an Author Central page

This is a way for authors to track their sales and rankings, and to do a professional looking page for their work on Amazon etc.

Engage with Readers and Groups on Goodreads

I've enjoyed the people I've met on Goodreads and love to talk about books so it's a perfect fit.  I don't talk about my own books unless asked, but word of mouth marketing is the best marketing out there.  When someone knows you and your reading tastes, they are likely to ask about your own books because they know you. Does that make sense?  Just be yourself. I can't stress that enough.  And make your presence known on the web.

There are tons of ways to "market" your book, but it all comes down to letting people know you and when they do, they will want to know your books, too.  Raise your visibility, build a fanbase, have fun doing it, and above all, keep writing!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Word Count Wednesday & I Need Your Opinion

Well, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and have been puttering around since then.  I hate sleep issues, you know?

But I thought I'd report in.  It's a really good thing I'm not doing NaNo because my word count was once again zero.  I am having a dilemma, though, and want your opinion.

I started the novella of Colby and Sophia, but it's sort of turning into a full-fledged novel.  And then I was talking to some of my readers about possibly doing a full-fledged novel of it and they said they'd rather get the Captain's story (the last book in the Hostage Negotiation series) first before I did another Colby and Sophia story.

So that puts me in a hard place.  What do you think? Do I do a full-fledged novel of Sophia and Colby or keep it as a novella? If I did do it as a novel, would you rather read the Captain's story first?

How did you do at word count this week? And can you come to a sprint tonight at 8 PM?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review of Castle "Ghosts"

That was probably the creepiest and most well done Castle episode of the season. Holy cow!

When we start off, it's on a creepy dock and the security guard scares off a homeless guy.  The fog is rolling in and he turns to see a woman standing a ways off. He tells her to move along, but as he approaches her he sees her feet are just off the ground and she's hung there.  Ew.

Cut to Castle and Beckett who are trying to decide where to go on a honeymoon, but he's been everywhere with other wives, except for Finland and Albania.  Poor Beckett.  Then the call comes that they've caught a murder.

They head to the scene and it's Lainey's doppelganger that's been murdered.  Lainey is shaken up about it, but she doggedly does her job.  They dig into the case and nothing is really making sense.  The victim is a former hooker, but recently was set up with a sugar daddy who bought her furs and an expensive apartment. The team tracks down her plastic surgeon, (played by Annie Wersching.  I miss 24!)  She is totally creepy on this episode, telling Beckett she's near perfect and Castle that he has potential.  Haha!

Ryan and Esposito track the suspect to a boat and when they board it, there is a guy standing there. Only when the flashlights go down to his feet they realize he's HANGING there.  Ryan goes around to face him and tells Esposito to go outside. Espo refuses and comes around to see that the guy hanging there is HIS doppelganger.  And the eyes were so creepy.  I had to turn away.

So someone has practically cloned Lainey and Esposito.  They take Lainey's statement and she realizes that an incident at a club may have been how they were able to clone her right down to her new tattoo.  They track down Espo's double and it all leads back to the plastic surgeon.  Beckett questions her, but nothing comes of it. Everyone seems to know she has something to do with it, but can't figure out what.  Until Castle starts putting some things together.

He thinks it's the 3XK killer.  Beckett isn't sure so they go to find his records which have all been removed. Every last one.  By Espo and Lainey clones.  And then they find out that the plastic surgeon was also the prison doctor when 3XK was there.  They also realize the security guard was in on it and when they go to the motel room where 3XK nearly killed Castle and escaped police custody, they catch him and we get a nice little Caskett moment of stay here and be careful.  I love the looks between them.  Sigh. But the questioning of the security guard gave me chills.  When he describes how their feet scraped on the ground as they slowly choked to death I seriously felt sick inside. Very well acted.

Anyway, they go back to the plastic surgeon's office, but it's cleared out except for a note that says better luck next time.  Castle and Beckett go home and discuss the case, and Castle is playing with the pen the surgeon offered to him at her office.  He realizes it has a thumb drive inside and he plugs it into his computer and a creepy song starts playing of I'll see you again.

Yikes.  The look on Beckett's face was pretty much how I felt about the episode.  So very creepy and so good.  Kudos to the writers on this one!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: The Rent Collector

I apologize for posting so late.  I guess I had a little too much fun celebrating my birthday weekend.

Today's review is The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.  I'd heard about this book before and was excited to read it because everyone said how good it was and they were not lying.  The way this book presents the human condition vs. the human spirit is incredible and thought-provoking.  I feel so grateful for the blessings I have, for basic necessities, and for my family.  This book really reminds me that home isn't always where you live, but who you're with, and many other life lessons that are easy to overlook in the daily grind of life.  I thought it would be depressing, but it is full of hope and a story I will think about for a long time to come.

If you haven't read this book, then put it on your Christmas list.  It's a must-read.

Here is the back copy:

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the ill-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman’s journey to save her son and another woman’s chance at redemption. It demonstrates that even in a dump in Cambodia--perhaps especially in a dump in Cambodia--everyone deserves a second chance.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hawaii Five-O Review: McGarrett vs. Grover

Well, we started off with the team kidnapping Sato, the guy who supposedly has Adam.  I felt really gypped during the scene, not because of Sato, (because, yeah, who cares about him), but because I didn't get to see the team's reunion!  I wanted to see them reunite with Kono, hugs all around, that sort of thing.  And it was so abrupt.  One second Sato is being interrogated (and he gives up the info pretty fast that Adam has faked his death) then the next minute it's Kono and Chin and she's telling him once again she's going to go find Adam.  I just shook my head.  It's starting to sound like a broken record, find Adam, find Adam, and I'm losing interest.  But it was nice for a second to see the team together again.

We then head back to Hawaii and Steve is talking on the phone to Danny. That's another thing becoming glaringly obvious is the lack of Scott Caan.  Is he doing another project or something? His appearances on Hawaii Five-O seem to be less and less.  He's not in this episode.  But we still get tension and arguments from Steve's partner-of-the-episode---Captain Grover.

There are some hints that Grover has come to Hawaii for reasons other than the climate.  His daughter had to pick up and leave and Steve hints at another reason as well when they're together.  Which was the best part of the whole episode---when they were together.  The governor calls them to his home to discuss the complaint Grover filed against McGarrett.  That doesn't make McGarrett too happy and he makes that known.  The governor says he doesn't have time to play principal so they need to get along in their "small sandbox" island.  Then he tasks them to go serve a warrant on a kid (played by Nick Jonas) named Ian Wright who has a bunch of unpaid parking tickets.  Neither of them are too thrilled, but they go do it anyway.

They take Ian into custody (and even let him put a stinky shirt on before they take him away) but before they can get him out the front door, shots are fired and McGarrett is hit in the arm.  A bunch of guys are out there with machine guns shooting holes in the house until it looks like swiss cheese.  McGarrett, Grover, and Ian are sitting ducks and even after they take out a few, the kid is still taken and driven off.  Of course the trucks McGarrett and Grover drove up there (because neither of them will ride shotgun) have flat tires and they start walking down the road.  Grover is cranky because he also realizes that the kidnappers stole his daughter's computer that was in his car.  But the funniest exchange of the entire episode was when he's cursing because of the missing computer and McGarrett tells him he has an angry disposition.  Grover gets this corny, insincere smile on his face and says, "Maybe it's because I'm with you."  HAHA! Oh man, that was funny.

They start walking and Grover keeps holding up his cell phone hoping for service.  McGarrett tells him to stop doing that since he looks like a blind giraffe (ha!) They track down the people, find evidence of tear gas and a dye pack and start to wonder if the kidnappers are bank robbers, too.  They both use their resources to start tracking down bank robbers and Ian.  (Even chasing the kidnappers down on horseback!) They go to the bank, which doesn't realize it's been robbed, and they also track down the lawyer that connected the bank robbers with Ian. Cut to one of the grossest scenes---a lone foot in the shower because the lawyer that was under house arrest had an ankle bracelet and CUT OFF HIS FOOT. Yeah. Gross.

But that's also where the case stopped making sense to me.  The team figures out that Ian is the mastermind behind it all with his hacking skills and he hired the bank robbers etc.  But why were they shooting up his house then? And what was the point of the lawyer cutting his foot off?  I didn't get that.

The team tracks down Ian at the airport using Grover's daughter's computer. (And mad props for them using Radioactive from Imagine Dragons. Love that band!) Ian has taken over a plane's GPS and it will run out of gas and land in the ocean if the team doesn't put him on a plane, which they do, hoping that Catherine's Navy intel people will come through with a block on the plane hack. Catherine gets the block to work, but not in time to catch Ian and he gets away.  He does come back in the end by sending a message to McGarrett through an ATM, though, and that was cool.  "Should have paid those parking tickets."  Haha. Yeah.   (I do love that Catherine brings her own contacts and expertise to the team.)

I also liked the grudging respect that McGarrett and Grover seem to have for each other in the end.  I hope we see more of them in the future and find out why Grover really came to Hawaii.  So, for me, a good episode for the relationship development with Grover and McGarrett, not a great case since it was hard to follow, but the laughs in the episode covered some of that up.

Next week's episode stars Carol Burnett at McGarrett's aunt who has come for Thanksgiving. I am excited to see her on my screen again!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Freebie

Today's Friday Freebie is one I can whole-heartedly recommend.  I loved this story, I loved the stories that followed it, and I know if you like snarky spy stories with a Canadian setting (which was really well done) then this is the book for you!  It's Mr. Nice Spy by Jordan McCollum.

Here is the back copy:

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. CIA operative Elliott Monteith has made it work, just like he’s made things work with his longtime fiancée Shanna. Until Shanna lays out an ultimatum: move forward or move on. Meanwhile, Elliott and his best friend and fellow operative, Talia Reynolds, try to track an elusive leak at the American embassy.

But something changes between Elliott and Talia as they close in on the man selling out his country. Professional and personal lines blur and Elliott has to choose—his fiancée or his best friend.
Click here to download the novella

The best news is that the first full length novel in the series is only 99 cents and it is well worth your time and for such a great price, how can you pass it up?

Here is the back copy:

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too—until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Click here to download the first book in the series for only 99 cents!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Thank You & the Grand Prize Winners!

The Facebook and Twitter launch party on Tuesday was quite the success! Jordan and I had a lot of fun commenting and giving away our generously donated prizes. We want to thank our friends who donated:

Cindy Hogan
Emily Gray Clawson
Ilyan Lavanway
Stephanie Fowers
Monique Bucheger
Christy Dorrity
Cami Checketts
Rachael Anderson
Ranee` S. Clark
Heather Moore
Stacy Carroll
Lynn Hubbard
Jaleta Clegg
Konstanz Silverbow
Anna del C. Dye
Rebecca Shelley
Christy Hayes
Joyce DiPastena
Taunya Butler


And I'm happy to announce the GRAND PRIZE WINNERS!

We had almost 400 entries on our Rafflecopter giveaway, and our winners, chosen at random, are:

Alison Rogers Spelman: Spy Another Day books 1 and 2
Necia Monroe: Spy-on-the-fly kit
Cohlina Mae: Book lover’s basket
Thomas Edward Ticknor: Hostage Negotation Series books 1-3

Congratulations! Cohlina and Thomas please send me your mailing address to juliecoulterbellon (at)

Thanks to everyone who entered, commented, tweeted and played along! And thanks once again to all our sponsors, and especially to Jordan McCollum who had the great idea to do a joint book launch in the first place. I definitely couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Word Count Wednesday

Well, it's a good thing I'm not doing NaNo because in just this past week I did a presentation at a writer's conference, taught Gospel Doctrine, sewed all my son's cub scout awards on an Arrow of Light award, launched a new book, took all the kids and myself to the optometrist for a checkup, made sure the kids were fed, dressed, and where they needed to be with basketball, earning merit badges, piano lessons, dance lessons, etc., and today I am getting ready for my dad's visit. (It's okay to lie down on the couch to visit, right?) Thank goodness he is bringing a care package of Canadian chocolate with him from my mom because a visit from my dad and good chocolate always helps everything.

So long story short, my word count was zero this week.  And it probably will be zero for a few days yet. That's okay, though, because family always comes first for me and my novella isn't going anywhere.  I won't be here for a word sprint tonight, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it).  I'll be hiding from my kids to eat amazing chocolate all by myself. (And probably visiting with my dad. Maybe at the same time. Ha!)   

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's Launch Day for My New Book!

Today is launch day to celebrate the release of my new novel, Pocket Full of Posies---and my fellow author Jordan McCollum's book Spy for a Spy! (And just FYI all of our books are on sale TODAY ONLY!)

So join us TODAY on Facebook (at Jordan's page and  my page) and Twitter (follow Julie and Jordan) for drawings from 9 AM MST until 5:30 PM MST, and enter to win more fabulous prizes here!!

This is going to be fun! What are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review and a Giveaway!

First of all, I want to tell you that tomorrow is the official online book launch of Pocket Full of Posies!  I am doing a joint book launch with Jordan McCollum and we have TONS of great prizes.  It's going to be fun and we'll be announcing winners all day long on Facebook and Twitter so I hope you'll join me.  You can get a jump start on entering for the grand prizes below.  Go do it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today's book review is so pertinent to the day.  Since today is Veteran's Day (Remembrance Day for my fellow Canadians) and I always feel tender toward those who sacrifice for our safety and freedom, this book My Name Used to be Muhammad really spoke to me.  Tito Momen was born in Nigeria and was raised a strict Muslim.  This book is the story of his journey in finding Christianity and losing his freedom and it is phenomenal.

He doesn't pull any punches.  He talks about his childhood and what his father expected of his son who was destined to become an imam.  He talks about how women were treated, especially his mother, and how difficult life was for her.  The story follows him as Tito goes to boarding school, then college, falls in love, and starts to see more of the world around him.  He has brushes with the Muslim brotherhood and with western culture.  His impressions are starkly portrayed and I was completely drawn in.  When he embraces Christianity and is reported, he ends up sentenced to life in an Egyptian prison.  As we go through his prison experience with him, I was amazed at this man and so very grateful for the freedom of religion that I have.

This is a book you don't want to miss. It has an easy style to it and the story is riveting.

Here's the back copy:

The True Story of a Muslim Who Became a Christian.

Tito Momen was raised Muhammad Momen. He was born in Nigeria and was taught to observe the strict teachings of Islam. At age five he woke at 4:45 every morning to attend the mosque and perform dawn prayer with the other men in his village. Training to memorize the Qur’an began at age six. It was at this same age that he began copying the entire Qur’an word for word. He was being raised to emerge as a leader among clerics, capable of leading a jihad, or holy struggle, to convert nonbelievers to Islam. However, Tito’s path took an unexpected turn when he was introduced to Christianity. His decision to believe in Jesus Christ cost him his family and his freedom. Tito thought he would spend his remaining days enduring a life sentence in an uncivilized Egyptian prison. For fifteen years he suffered and waited and prayed. Tito said, “I never gave up hope. I never stopped believing.” Although he was falsely imprisoned, beaten, and ridiculed, Tito’s remarkable true story is one of faith, forgiveness, and testimony that God does hear and answer prayers.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Review of Hawaii Five-O and an Announcement

So, I'm really excited to announce that I am launching my new novel, Pocket Full of Posies, in a joint online Facebook and Twitter launch, with spy novelist Jordan McCollum.  We'll be online Tuesday, November 12th, with tons of prizes including a Book Lover's basket and sets of our books.  Don't miss it!

Last night's Hawaii Five-O was adorable and a showcase of the many sides of Steve McGarrett.  We started off with Catherine getting ready to bait Sato's man by going undercover to a casino.  Steve isn't sure he's okay with it and is concerned about her getting compromised.  She assures him she'll be fine and he gives her a Five-O badge just in case.  Awww.  I love this "boyfriend" side of Steve.

We head into the casino with Catherine with James Bond type of music playing in the background. She gets Sato's man's attention and leads him downstairs where she has one of the most epic bathroom fights I've seen on television.  She was awesome and came away with the suspect, boxing him in the "blue room" for Sato's whereabouts.

Steve's case was also underway with an undercover ATF agent being killed and the team trying to uncover who had access to his information and possibly compromised him, or if the undercover agent was really dirty.  There were a few things I didn't like about the case, like the fact that Steve was walking a fine line with one of the gun runners, using force and threats to try to get information out of him when they weren't really sure who the players were yet.  Then, he talked with Danny about Matt being an agent while still on the gun runner's property.  Twice.  I was thinking, you know, you might not want to say that too loud since I'm sure this guy has guards and surveillance around.  And was ATF mad about that since Steve was wrecking their case they'd been working on for three years?  We'll never know, I guess.  But that was another side of Steve who does what he wants or what he thinks is best, no matter what.

But this time, Grover calls him on it.  Steve gets a location on the people who have been robbing the gun runners and instead of waiting for SWAT he goes in with just Chin---and they get pinned down because the suspects have a lot of guns.  Grover is completely annoyed with Steve and when the third suspect gets away tells McGarrett in a totally disgusted voice, "Exemplary work, McGarrett."  I love the tension between these two and am interested to see where they take it.  I also thought Grover brought up some great points to Chin when Chin is having breakfast and texting Leilani.  (I hope they go somewhere with those two.) Grover doesn't want to talk to McGarrett because he's not a cop and doesn't think like one.  But as I was thinking over what he said, I decided that that's what makes Five-O great---they have Kono, Danny, and Chin who were trained as cops and think like cops and then Steve who thinks outside the box, but still has the training and discipline of the U.S. military.  It's generally a good combination, in my opinion.

Anyway, the case was a bit weak and I called the culprit the first time we're introduced to her.  But the case really didn't matter because of how CUTE it was to see Steve, Danny, and Chin with Mary's baby.

Mary, Steve's sister, shows up on his doorstep with her newly adopted daughter.  Steve isn't exactly thrilled and says what we're all thinking, "Mary you can't manage your own life, how are you going to parent her?"  Mary calls him a buzzkill, but then, in the middle of Steve's homicide investigation, she gets hospitalized for salmonella and has to ask Steve to take care of baby Joan for her.  Steve says no, but relents when she calls him a bad uncle.

Steve takes the baby to work and Danny is cackling like an old woman at the sight of it, amused to see Steve on diaper duty.  Chin comes out to ask why Steve has a baby attached to his chest and then gets put on babysitting duty while Steve and Danny go out to investigate.  That baby is adorable and her facial expressions when she looked at the team were too cute.  I wish I could screencap because Steve holding her hand and playing with her was, again, adorable.  Danny gets put on babysitting duty later on and he tells the little girl this story of the handsome prince with a black stallion that he never gets to ride since the hairy greedy ogre won't let him because of his control issues.  Oh man, I laughed so hard at that story.

Daryl Hannah guest starred as the real estate agent who seemed drunk or on drugs, but it was a funny scene because Danny had the baby with him and kept talking to her about what was going on.  Steve meets them there, making sure the baby properly has her sun hat on and in general just being so concerned about his little niece's well-being.

When the case is over (after one more confrontation with Grover, and then Steve getting the transcriber and her boyfriend in the blue room) Mary comes to pick up the baby and you can see the guys are totally attached to her.  Steve reaches for her hand and they all wave as Mary takes her to storytime.  I'll say it again, it was so, so cute.

Then Catherine comes in with a location on Sato, surveillance package, movements on his servants, the whole nine yards.  Everyone seems impressed and when she tries to give back the Five-O badge Steve loaned her he tells her to keep it, that she needs a job and they need help.  Danny says Steve needs all the help he can get, Chin tells her not to think about it, just to say yes, and she does.  Steve tells her welcome to Five-O.

Love, love, love that Catherine is joining the team by proving her worth and doing it on her own.  I also love that she's helping Kono. I think those two could be great partners when Kono is back.

This episode had softie Steve, concerned and worried Steve, and kick-butt Steve.  With all the supporting cast of adorable Danny, some great Chin moments, and amazing Catherine scenes, it was another episode that was well-done overall in my opinion.  Can't wait to see the confrontation with Steve and Grover next week!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Freebie--A Three Book Series is Free Today!

Angela Morrison's Taken By Storm three book series is free today.

Book One
Taken By Storm

Mormon girl Leesie has life figured out until devastated Michael lands in her small town high school. He needs her like no one has before. A rare journey into a faithful LDS teen’s intimate struggle.

All new reformatted ebook! Now with a bonus, never-before-published, scene that comes after Taken by Storm and before Unbroken Connection!

“Passion, pace, pizzazz and a perfect finish.” – Boston Globe-Horn Book Winner, Tim Wynne-Jones (Blink and Caution)

“There are moments of yearning and transcendence that took my breath away.” – Susan Fletcher (Ancient, Strange, and Lovely)

“Morrison’s distinctive mix of poetry and modern dialogue bring the subjects of peer pressure, religion, and grief to the forefront in an accessible and dramatic way.” – Deseret News

Book Two
Unbroken Connection

Against all odds, the couple that swept you away in TAKEN BY STORM is back. Michael is in Thailand diving his dream. Leesie is at BYU living hers.

And they just can't leave each other alone.

Their romance rekindles, deeper than before. They grow desperate to see one another again. To hold one another again. Michael decides there is only one direction their relationship can go and asks Leesie the ultimate question. Her answer challenges everything Michael is and wants to be.

Can she change for him?

Can he change for her?


Book Three
Cayman Summer

In Morrison's debut young adult novel, TAKEN BY STORM, Michael faces incredible loss, but he finds Leesie. UNBROKEN CONNECTION is Leesie's story. By the final page, she is broken and battered--physically and spiritually. Morrison vowed to her readers not to leave her that way. CAYMAN SUMMER recounts Michael and Leesie's final journey.

Michael takes Leesie to the Cayman Islands to heal. Time, sunshine, and Michael's devotion free her of physical pain, but grief and guilt haunt her. Michael will do anything to find the old Leesie who prayed, spoke of visions, and kept the rules. For Leesie, that girl is lost forever. Rules? What's the point now? She's ready to break every one.

Click here if you're interested in your free copy of these Kindle books!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why You Need A Writing Progress Bar

You all know I'm not doing NaNo, but I am writing.  And a couple of days ago I put a word count progress bar on my blog.  Why you ask?

1.  I am a visual person.  I like actually seeing progress toward my goal and the progress bar moving up motivates me to put every little word on there to push it just a little more.

2.  It makes me accountable.  Everyone can see what I have or haven't done.

3.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Even on the days when my word count is low I can see how far I've come.

If you have a blog, this website has some free Writing Progress Bars you can use.

If you have an android phone, this app can track your progress.

Try it for a little while and just see if it doesn't help motivate you a little more.  I know it worked for me!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

We're Sprinting!

Okay fellow writers and friends!  We are sprinting!

You know the drill.  Everyone comes back to the blog at 8:15, 8:30. 8:45 and 9:00 and reports their word count in the comment section.

Let's do this!  Ready, set, go!!!

Word Count Wednesday

First of all, I came across this awesome site for matching readers with books.  If you love to read, check out The Fussy Librarian. You choose from 30 genres, select content preferences and then she sends you daily ebook recommendations.  Worth looking into!

Well, my novella is starting to take shape.  It only has 976 words, but it's a good start! I'm hoping to write some more today and of course, I WILL be here at 8 PM for the word sprint.  I promise this time!  (Sorry again Debra.)

How is your word count doing? If you're doing NaNo, are you on track to reach your goals?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Castle Review: Rick and Alexis' Road Trip

This was a really interesting case with a ton of twists and turns.  I really enjoyed this one because while it was "Castle-centric" it also had the team.

Alexis is working with the Innocence Project (I thought she was a science major, though, so that surprised me a bit) and the guy that's on death row has his last appeal denied.  Alexis goes to her father to help her even though she's still mad and they go up to Pennsylvania to dissect the case.  (That was the only detriment to the whole show was how bratty and immature Alexis came across to me.  Thankfully it got a bit better by the end.)

Castle goes to meet with the death row inmate, Frank and Frank's fiancee Maggie.  Everyone at the table is looking at Castle like some sort of savior and it freaks him out.  He calls Beckett and I like how calming she is for him.  Alexis and Castle are looking at crime scene photos, running down leads of fingerprints on doorknobs and old boyfriends.  The team back in New York is running support by doing background checks, running trace evidence, interviewing suspects, and looking through bank records.  Castle is actually really good at seeing things that are overlooked, like the dolphin charm (a guy wore that? Really?) and charming the school lady out of telling who the chemistry book belonged to.  (Did you see Castle's face when she said to make it out to cash? Haha!)

The show did bring forward an issue I've been wondering about, however, and that is why Alexis isn't really including Kate.  Her father is about to marry Kate and yet when the family goes to see Alexis' new apartment, Kate wasn't there.  She didn't go to Kate for help with the death row case and one does wonder how she's feeling about the whole stepmother thing.  I like that Kate is thinking about it and talking it over with Lainey.

The case had some twists and turns, but I was proud of myself for calling the killer when we first saw him. A nice ending with the exoneration of Frank and his brother, and Frank and Maggie hugging.  Also nice with Alexis and Kate hugging and Castle looking on.  Definitely one of the better episodes of the seasons in my opinion.

Did you watch? What did you think?  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Emma: A Latter-day Tale

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read Emma: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca Jamison.  I love Jane Austen and have found very few modern retellings of her stories that I've liked.  This one is a retelling of her story, Emma, and it has an LDS angle to it, which was fun.  

We meet Emma who wants to be a life coach, but until she's certified, she just works on a new girl that's moved into the neighborhood to be a nanny.  Harriet has lost weight and moved to a new place and needs friends and help overcoming her insecurity.  Emma tries to "help" her get a makeover and make a love connection, but that goes badly.  Her sister's brother-in-law Justin is the voice of reason, even though Emma doesn't appreciate it at times.  I think Justin was my favorite character out of all of them.  There's one scene where they are decorating a Christmas tree together with the little girl that Harriet is the nanny to, and Justin was so sweet with her I could totally envision it and sighed at how awesome it was.  

Of course the story was predictable because it follows Jane Austen's storyline quite well.  At times the characters came across a bit flat, but that could be because it wasn't an original story per se.  The LDS angle did provide some flair in the activities and plot and I was entertained.  This was a light-hearted afternoon read.

Here's the back copy:

Emma's her name and matchmaking is her game! Quirky life coach Emma wants to help her first-ever client, a lonely nanny named Harriet. But all of her attempts at matchmaking result only in embarrassing miscues and blunders, leaving the pair disheartened and confused. This modern take on the Jane Austen classic shows that sometimes the greatest match is the one we make for ourselves.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Review of the Hawaii Five-O Halloween Episode

We started off this episode with cute Max and his girlfriend Sabrina.  They have such a great vibe about them---so innocent and sweet.  They're at a beach screening Halloween party and sort of dancing awkwardly together, when a guy comes out of nowhere and starts attacking people, including Max.  Poor guy.  I think his little scene by the ambulance when he faints after thinking he was bitten by a "zombie" was one of my favorites.  And him with Sabrina in the hospital was adorable.  Awww. I hope we see more of them in the future.

The case was appropriately creepy---someone doing brain experiments on humans.  There were so many twists and turns.  Finding the spy cameras, the unexplained kidnappings, the brain cysts, to the homeless guy in the tunnel.  I was a teeny bit surprised that Danny was claustrophobic and very surprised that he would let Steve go into that situation without backup.  That was a creepy tunnel! Although Danny did save the day in the end by catching the guy as he ran out of said creepy tunnel and he redeemed himself by going into the tunnel in the doctor's house.  I was completely grossed out by the "beheading" part and the explanation of injecting parasites into people, so that went right along with the Halloween theme.  I liked the way the case went to the motives of a doctor trying to rehabilitate criminals with this "brain therapy" and how his theories had escalated to the experiments and failed.  I was surprised at Corbin Bernsen's role in bankrolling the doctor's experiments, and he played the desperate dad to perfection. Good to see him on my TV again. (Yeah, I watched L.A. Law once upon a time.)  The bloody scene at the end with the doctor's death was a little much for me, though, and I was glad they didn't really dwell on that.  A solid case this week, anyway.

Danny's yard being TP'd and his obsession with it was funny. "It's a gateway crime, first TPing then armed robbery." Haha!  Of course he got the "really?" look from Steve which made it that much more funny.  And the look on Danny's face when he realized who'd done it was awesome.  Poor Grace. Dared by her friends, but not wanting to be mean and do it to someone else, so she TPs Danny's house. The last line between them was hilarious. "Call me next time and I'll take you over to Uncle Steve's." Love it!  And Danny asked Steve the one question fans have asked for a while now, "Why don't we take your truck?"  "The car gets better gas mileage."  Uh huh.  Sure that's the reason, Steve.

Another part I really liked was the continuity with Catherine.  She's still suffering from the guilt over Billy's death and the kitchen scene with her and Steve felt raw and real.  He's been where she is, she has to forgive herself.  Her emotional answer of "I want to" was right on point.  She needs to find something else to focus on.  So, of course, she goes to trying to help Kono come home and find out who is laundering money for Sato.  She shows her research to Chin and then follows the lead with an awesome disguise and great undercover work. (And she got to dress up for the Halloween episode! Girl looked good, too!)  I love the angle they're taking Catherine.  I also love that she's not dependent on Steve, but a person/investigator in her own right.  The look on Steve's face when Chin told him where he'd gotten the lead was great and the ending scene of him bringing dinner, looking at her research, and asking her "what's the plan?" was perfect.  I'm looking forward to seeing where they'll take that story next.

And the previews for next week?  Three men and a baby.  That little baby girl was adorable! The guys' reaction should be must-see TV for sure.  Can't wait!

My Five NaNo Writing Tips

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and while I'm not participating this year, I thought I'd share some of the things that have helped me in the past.

The one thing that always ups my word count is to have an idea of where I'm going.  This is how I do it.

Tip #1 Know Where You're Going

I do a one sentence chapter outline.  Like this one I did for Ashes Ashes

 It's very basic as you can see, just one sentence about the main event that's going to happen in that chapter.

Then, I flesh it out a bit more and write a paragraph about what else is going to happen in that chapter, like this one I did for Ribbon of Darkness.

Once I have those things in place, I can sit down at the computer and flesh it out.  I know the main event, I know the supporting incidents and players, and that's what keeps the words flowing onto the page for me. It's a loose and flexible outline, that inevitably changes as I write, but it gives me direction and that's the important thing.

Tip #2  Suppress your inner editor

This is a hard one for me because I itch to go back and edit things and tell myself I'll just smooth it over really quick.  But it's like quicksand.  If I "smooth over" one thing, then I need to fix another and then I get caught up in editing and don't add to my word count.  Don't fall into the trap! You'll have all of December, January, February, however long it takes to edit.  Just get the story out right now.

#3 Do word sprints

Word sprints are so motivating to me, that's why I do them on Wednesday nights here on the blog.  I block out that one hour to just sit and write, write, write.  Checking in every fifteen minutes with my friends pushes me harder and by the end of the hour I have 1000 new words to work with!  It's always worth my time to do a word sprint. (And I will be doing them every Wednesday on the blog throughout the month of November.)

#4 Set aside time every day

Even if you can only do half an hour in the morning and half an hour at night, set aside time every day for writing and guard it.  Don't let other things take precedence over it and be able to say no to any extra stuff at least for this month.  You need that precious writing time and while NaNo takes some planning, you'll be glad you did in the end.

#5 Go take a bath 

Take a bath or a long shower, go swimming, or sit by a lake or other body of water.  It sounds silly I know, but I read a study once that said whenever you are near water your creative part of the brain is more alert and I believe that's true. (And it might not be, who really knows?) But I get a lot of great ideas for my books while I'm near/in water.  Plus, it's relaxing and what writer doesn't need a little relaxation once in a while? (Maybe that's why the creative brain is more alert, because we're relaxed and able to tune in, you know?)

NaNo is always so exciting and stressful, but I know you can do it.  If you have any writing tips you'd like to share for NaNo please let me know in the comment trail.  I'm sure we can use all the help we can get.  

I hope you have a great writing run this month.  Go get 'em!