The False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilson

The False Prince was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. From page one, I loved the main character, Sage. He’s clever, strong, everything a hero should be. The twist at the end wasn’t wholly unexpected, but felt like another prank Sage had played–on me.

From the Jacketflap:

In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.

Choose to lie…or choose to die.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

About the Author:

New York Times Bestselling author, Jennifer Nielsen, was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She is the author of The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE; of The Underworld Chronicles, beginning with ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR; the forthcoming PRAETOR WAR series, and will write the sixth book of the Infinity Ring series (BEHIND ENEMY LINES). She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.


One thing I learned from Mrs. Neilsen’s blog was that you should never give up. She set a goal to be published before age 17. Though she didn’t make that goal, she kept trying. She wrote four books before getting her fifth published, and is now a great success!


Happy Birthday Julia Child

It is her birthday, 101 years today. This is the Julia Child I remember.


She said something as a cook that I can relate to as an author:

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.

And I echo her statement. I was 34 when I started writing novels; up until then, I just read. I’ve never appreciated the written word more than now, after I’ve written several novels, rewritten, edited, cried, fought, torn them up, and then started over with a blank page. There have also been the times when I read what I wrote and then reread it because it sounded so good to me, I couldn’t believe it was mine.  I doubt many people appreciated food as much as Julia Child did. Hopefully, someday, I might attain a fragment of her talent and accomplishments.

#WriteMotivation Update

1) Finish 100% my final edit of THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

On page 183 of 324. Kids are back in school, and I’m going strong. I can make it.

2) Blog once a week.

So far, I’ve done this.

3) Go visit at least 5 other blogs per week.

Done this, and I’ve loved hearing about all of you!

4) Submit PR:S to at least 5 agents.

Not yet. Giving my list to a writer friend who will give me the skinny on all the agents on my list.

5) Go on a date with my man.

Dinner at the Outback and a movie (Ironman 3). Lots of talking, kissing, etc. Woot!

6) Take my oldest kid to college. I’m so excited for her, and I know she’s ready to go. (But this is the one I dread most. *small tear*)

We’re packing, on track to fit in the car.

I feel good about things so far!


August Goals and WriteMotivation

When thinking about goals, I tend to look back on the things I didn’t do rather than focus on the things I did. I’m the one laying flat on my face being kicked when I’m down. What’s kicking my butt? Work, laundry (which I tried to avoid until I had no underwear left), moving, registering my kids for school (the school lost one of them and can’t seem to get him back), yadda, yadda, you know the drill. So I’m pulling myself back on my feet and changing my perspective. The people in WriteMotivation seem to be doing so much, blogging all the time, reading five books a month, and it makes me want to do more.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about the strikethrough. It’s like punching my goals into oblivion. I get to strike through all of the completed tasks and it gives me such a sense of what I’ve accomplished. So here’s to my next bout in the WriteMotivation ring.

1) Finish 100% my final edit of THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

2) Blog once a week.

3) Go visit at least 5 other blogs per week.

4) Submit PR:S to at least 5 agents.

5) Go on a date with my man.

6) Take my oldest kid to college. I’m so excited for her, and I know she’s ready to go. (But this is the one I dread most. *small tear*)

Thanks to everyone who’s been so supportive. You make me better!


WriteMotivation Round-Up

Things are going. Having my mom, sister-in-law, and niece here derailed the writing train, but I wouldn’t trade the time I had with them for anything. As far as goals go, here’s how I did.

1) One blog post per week.

End: If I average, I did one post per week. Does that count for something? I know I didn’t report my progress, but getting the site up and running was a huge hurtle for me, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

2) Visit twitter three times per week.

End:  Done. Accomplished!

3) Eat some cookies.

End: This was tough, but I did it. The success tasted sweet!

4) Finish my final edits for WIP, THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

End: Some previous CPs contacted me to join a new group. It has proved a good thing, and when they looked at my work, they spotted some no-nos like passive verbs and such that have caused me to go back and make some changes. They are way better. Just proof that we can always improve. Thanks SW, KH, and BJ! Thought it wasn’t completing my previous goal, I did make the WIP better with a lot of editing and feel good about what I did.


I did okay. Looking forward to August!


Books I Love


All of us have books that make us love reading. These are mine. I add to this post occasionally, as I get more favorites. To be here, the book has to change my world view, confront me with a new idea, or make me rethink something, doubt myself. I’d love to hear about the books that do that for you. Books put in the comments of this blog will be added to my list of books to read!

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

the count of monte cristoThis beloved novel tells the story of Edmond Dantès, wrongfully imprisoned for life in the supposedly impregnable sea fortress, the Château d’If. After a daring escape, and after unearthing a hidden treasure revealed to him by a fellow prisoner, he devotes the rest of his life to tracking down and punishing the enemies who wronged him.Louis Français-Dantès sur son rocher.jpg

Original Title: Le Compte de Monte-Cristo

Published: The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts. Serialization ran from August 28, 1844 to January 15, 1846. The first edition in book form was published in Paris by Pétion in 18 volumes with the first two issued in 1844 and the remaining sixteen in 1845.


Red Rising by Pierce Brown

From Kirkus Reviews:

red risingSet in the future and reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, this novel dramatizes a story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power.

In the beginning, Darrow, the narrator, works in the mines on Mars, a life of drudgery and subservience. He’s a member of the Reds, an “inferior” class, though he’s happily married to Eo, an incipient rebel who wants to overthrow the existing social order, especially the Golds, who treat the lower-ranking orders cruelly. When Eo leads him to a mildly rebellious act, she’s caught and executed, and Darrow decides to exact vengeance on the perpetrators of this outrage. He’s recruited by a rebel cell and “becomes” a Gold by having painful surgery—he has golden wings grafted on his back—and taking an exam to launch himself into the academy that educates the ruling elite. Although he successfully infiltrates the Golds, he finds the social order is a cruel and confusing mash-up of deception and intrigue. Eventually, he leads one of the “houses” in war games that are all too real and becomes a guerrilla warrior leading a ragtag band of rebelliously minded men and women. Although it takes a while, the reader eventually gets used to the specialized vocabulary of this world, where warriors shoot “pulseFists” and are protected by “recoilArmor.” As with many similar worlds, the warrior culture depicted here has a primitive, even classical, feel to it, especially since the warriors sport names such as Augustus, Cassius, Apollo and Mercury.

A fine novel for those who like to immerse themselves in alternative worlds.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-345-53978-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Nov. 3rd, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2013


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

pride and prejudicePride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.

Published: 1893





Goal Check for #WriteMotivation

So far, so good.

1) One blog post per week.

Week 1: I’ve posted two posts.

2) Visit twitter three times per week.

Week 1: I’ve visited every day, not always commented but still saw what was going on.

3) Eat some cookies.

Still not done. But my kids did make home-made ice cream with Monster and strawberries. Yummy.

4) Finish my final edits for WIP, THE PANDORA REVERSAL: SHIFTER.

Week 1: I’m 1/3 through the MS, so on track.

its working


The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

This book was a recommendation from my daughter who loves books that can be lived in. This is one of them, and I enjoyed every minute I spent reading it. The characters are real, complex, and the story of the true Dracula was fascinating. His name was Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, a really interesting guy now that we can’t be impaled by him.
Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler

The depth and breadth of the settings made me feel like I had traveled Europe, from Romania with the wrinkled men and women of the villages to the rich, bustling cities of Buda-Pest. Kostova’s writing is beautiful, thoughtful, and historical, and still manages to have elements of fantasy and suspense that kept me turning the pages.

About Elizabeth Kostova: Elizabeth Johnson Kostova is an American author. She’s a graduate of Yale University and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won the Hopwood Award for the Novel-in-Progress.

elizabeth kostova
Her first novel, The Historian, was published in 2005, and it has become a best-seller.

Jacket-flap: To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…

the historianLate one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.

Hope you all take the time to read it!


Less is More

I went to a conference where Linda Sue Park presented a workshop.

lindasueparkShe said something I’ll never forget. “If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to give up things. You have to make hard choices, maybe have less sex, give up television, sleep less.” It was the first time I thought, Do I really want to be a writer?

Then I realized that without writing, I wasn’t happy. In her keynote address, she told us about her latest book, bk_longwalktowaterA Long Walk to Water, about a boy named Salva from Africa, the amazing trials he had to overcome, and how he freed 150 other boys and went back as an adult to help his community. She’s an amazing writer who gives to the community and to kids all over the world. And she’s super nice.

Looking to her example, I decided that what I wanted most for myself was to be a published author. Life isn’t always easy to prioritize, and I’ve found there are things I won’t give up for writing, like time with my kids, because my time with them is slipping away. But I’ve managed to make writing a daily part of my life, and I love it!