Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Gateway to Reality

Title: Gateway to Reality
Author: Becca J. Campbell
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Romance
Pages: 234

Rating: Just Right, 4 stars!
Recommendation: It is a good read, worth your time!  

The main character, Wes Teague, must face a major dilemma; remain living in a dream or accept his true reality. At the height of the conflict is the beautiful Emily.  In his dreams, she is his girlfriend but in reality she doesn’t recognize him. Author, Becca Campbell, leads you straight into conflicting realities where Wes must make a choice that will change everything.

The first chapter was interesting but took a little effort to get involved. Beyond the second chapter, the speed increased and I could not stop reading until I knew what choices Wes would make and what the consequences would be. At moments, I found myself skimming through details explaining the logistics. Romance between the main characters was strained in both realities. Otherwise, the story continued to keep my attention as it built an intriguing world within a chaotic reality.

I am definitely in the FAN ZONE! I will be ready for the next book in this series.

You can find the author, Becca Campbell, at:

Too Hot -- Borders on erotic. Very graphic sex.
HOT -- Ranges from conventional lovemaking to explicit sex.
Just Right -- May or may not include lovemaking. No explicit sex.
Too Cold - No romance

5: Marvelous, I will read it again and again!
4: Fan Zone
3: Comfort Zone
2: Safe Zone  
1: Work Zone
0: Disaster Zone

Monday, July 29, 2013

10 Epic Failures for Pick-Up Lines

The Countdown:

10. Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

9. Are you tired? Because you have been running through my mind all day!

8. What does it feel like to be the most beautiful girl in this room?

7. Are those space-pants? Because you're out of this world!

6. Your hair is so shiny it reminds me of my dog.

5. You've got the whitest teeth I've ever seen!

4. If you were a booger, I would pick you first.

3. If you were a fart, I would hold you in because you are the sh##

2. Wanna Snapchat?

1. Nice shoes, wanna F*#%

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview with author of Songstone, Lena Goldfinch

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? 

I've been inspired to finish by all the writer friends in my life. I'm
also inspired by my kids, who think it's pretty cool that their mom
writes books. (If I don't finish, what kind of example am I setting
for them? ;))

For the most part, I'm just stubborn and I'm a teensy bit obsessive.
If I set out to do something and I don't finish it I feel awful. I
avoid feeling awful. LOL

To tell the truth, Songstone was one a book that I set aside over and
over because it was emotionally draining to write. (As an adoptive
mom, I was using a fantasy setting to explore some painful issues of
adoption.) Many times I'd ask myself if I wanted to quit. I referred
to it--somewhat jokingly--as that "stupid book." As in: I need to
finish this stupid book before I can work on SHINY NEW PROJECT.
*sheepish smile* Time after time, I decided I needed to finish or I
wouldn't be happy.

When I did finish, I felt I'd accomplished the impossible. I'm glad,
because I truly love this book. I love the characters. Kita is a
deeply flawed character at the start of the book. She's immature and
angry--with good reason!--but she also has this vulnerable quality and
a toughness about her that makes you stick it out with her. (At least,
I hope so!) She took over the story. Pono is, well, Pono is wonderful.
Where he came from I don't know. I'm just glad he came. Kita needed
him. The story needed him. I get the most reader comments about him as
a matter of fact!

As for publishing, I'd recently self-published a novella (The Language
of Souls, first published by a small press). When I got my rights
back, I knew I wanted to rewrite it and self-publish it. I loved the
whole process (mostly ;)). I had so much to learn, but it was
fulfilling and fun. So much so that I then self-published a
full-length YA fantasy novel, Aire, which had been considered by a
couple of publishers (ending with "positive" rejections, one of which
was a life-changing rejection from an editor who loved the story but
didn't get buy-in from her publisher.)

With Songstone, I knew in my heart I'd be disappointed if I didn't get
to do everything myself (and when I say "everything myself," I mean
with the help of Amber and Thyra, two wonderful freelance editors I
work with for content, copy editing, and proof reading, and with the
support of Lisa Amowitz, a generous soul who mentors me in cover
design, and with the continuing support of fabulous critique partners,
beta readers, and my family and friends.

2.What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the
publishing and marketing process?

First, master the craft of writing. You need to write. You need to
write a lot. You need to finish things. Seek out input and revise.
Write some more. Try different genres. Do whatever you need to do to
find your voice and your niche. Ex. I've been writing for many years.
I worked on my craft. I entered writing contests and was fortunate
enough to be a finalist in a few (which was fun!). I polished my work,
sought out critique partners, went to writers' conferences, workshops,
and retreats. I joined writers' organizations. I learned how to write
query letters and synopses. (Very useful skills for when you write
your own book descriptions! Although, that's a skill in itself to
master.) I submitted my work to publishers and agents; I was with one
agent for several years. I read continually on writing craft and
publishing, and I connect with other writers.

My path to publication was definitely "a long and winding road." ;)

Everyone needs to find their own path, wherever it leads. Work at it.
Don't give up. Treat it like a job. Treat it like your passion. Love
it. Stick with it even when you feel discouraged. Develop a mental
toughness when it comes to rejections (or negative reviews). Above
all, maintain a pliable heart, because you'll need that the most to
write from an authentic emotional place.

As for marketing, I'm no expert. (I'm not an expert on any of this!
I'm only able to share from my own experiences.) I'd say a website or
blogsite is a must-have to deliver info about you and your books. I
also belong to two group author blogs. I love working as part of a
collective. I've experimented with pay-per-click ads on Goodreads.
I've also experimented with updating book descriptions and finding the
right categories and keywords for my books on Amazon. I'm constantly
reading blogs on what works and try out what makes sense to me. The
most successful marketing for me so far has been offering up free
books on Kindle.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?"

First, try what looks most accessible to you. You don't have to learn
how to navigate five sites at once, but do explore and try different
things, even if at first you don't think it's something you'd be
interested in. For instance, I recently tried Pinterest and discovered
I like it. It's not something I do every day, but I love posting (aka
"pinning") world-building photos that relate to my books. Your boards
don't have to be fancy. For example, I pin to a catch-all board called
"Stuff I Like." I also have one devoted--just for fun--to shoes and
sandals. ;-) On the business side, I have a boards for my cover
designs. So, if you like the idea of posting photos too, then
Pinterest or Facebook could be great for you.

I'm also active on Goodreads groups. I'm not there just posting to
push my books; I have shelves for the books I'm reading for pleasure,
and I post reviews. It helps me keep track of what I've read and is a
great way to share books with others who like the same types of books.
I write YA, so I love participating in groups for YA readers,
especially ones with Read for Review threads. Authors generally offer
up 10-20 free copies of their ebooks. In exchange, members sign up to
"read & review" the books, giving their honest opinion (whether it's a
one-star or five-star review, and everything in between). I've found
Goodreads members aren't shy about posting their honest opinions, in
the very best way, and I've connected with some awesome readers there.

Goodreads Tips: Read and follow each group's rules for authors. Be
genuine and friendly with anyone you come into contact with. Have fun.

You can explore and mix and match with social media, and, wherever you
decide to do, just be you.  (Well, you with the awareness that you're
in the public eye, and everything you post on the Internet is
forever--even if you delete it!) In other words, be authentic. Post
about stuff that's meaningful or fun to you. If something feels too
far out of your comfort zone, then maybe it's not for you. AND THAT'S
OKAY. Social media is about connecting with people--not selling stuff.
Sure, share about your books occasionally and squeal with excitement
when you have a new release, but most importantly interact. This is
yet another form of finding your own path.

Thank you, Lena, for the wonderful insight into publishing and marketing from an author's perspective! The next stop on Lena's Blog Tour is tomorrow at the blog: West of Newberry Street. 


Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld 
(or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as 
their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using 
drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.

Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have 
died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and 
decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people 
feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her 
deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill 
a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be 
chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and 
she'll risk her life to take it.

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Lena Goldfinch

About the Author 

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very 
spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose 
of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.

Author’s Links:

Website: http://lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lena_goldfinch

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lenagoldfinc

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4412038.Lena_Goldfinch

Newsletter sign-up: http://lenagoldfinch.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d20c77e0f3ef8dff993ecfcf7&id=6b1c2994d1 

Monday, July 22, 2013

10 Ways to Fight With Your Friends and Stay Friends

10 Ways to Fight With Your Friends and Stay Friends

1. Quit Screaming

No one likes a big mouth. Immaturity screams and cusses; maturity discusses!

2. Remember the Good 

Something about them drew you into that friendship. It is still there although covered up with anger.

3. Put All Anger/Feelings Aside and Use Your Brain

Feelings are deceptive. Treat the situation as if you are a detective searching for the truth who isn't emotionally involved!

4. Find the Truth

Quit believing every piece of gossip you hear from your "friends". Adults and teenagers alike, we talk too much and exaggerate!

5. Talk to Your Friend, Not Everyone Else 

Whoever the conflict involves needs to have a face to face discussion. NOT ON SOCIAL MEDIA


Text messaging can be misunderstood and cause hurt feelings when the author did not mean it to be negative. This happens to girls all the time (and guys), we think our friend is having attitude or being rude when in reality, they just ate dinner and wanted to stay home... LOL

7. Have a Heart

Friends are supposed to support each other even when their feelings got hurt. Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe their dog died and that is why they are lashing out at you?!

8. Get YOU Out of the Way

Sometimes people focus on themselves. Imagine that! Put yourSELF out of the way and look at the situation from both sides. Maybe, just maybe, you are wrong too.

9. Call Your Momma

Mom knows best. Why? Because she has "been there, done that"! Experience creates wisdom. So, obviously, your mom should be older than you and she is much wiser.

10. Sleep On It

The next morning you might wake up and laugh at your immaturity...

Watch my Twitter (@janagrissom) for more fighting tips! Remember: a true friend sticks closer than a brother and never leaves! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

10 Ideas For Summertime Fun With Teens

10 Ideas For Summertime Fun With Teens

1. Just add water! Teens love swimming at a pool, lake, or playing in the water sprinkler.

2. Air conditioning is cool! Go indoors for ice-skating, putt-putt, bowling, or walk the mall!

3. Action packed adventure; go-karts, Frisbee golf, or ride horses!

4. Nature; go to a state park and hike the trails or camp!

5. Movie marathon; rent a series and stay up all night enjoying popcorn, soda, and laughs! (or tears)

6. Oh shoot; Take them to an archery range and practice your sharp shooting!

7. Sleepovers never end up sleeping! Have the girls over (or guys) and plan one or two fun things. Then let them have fun and try to remain aside while supervising.

8. Theme Parks; Let your inner teen come out and ride a few roller coasters or water slides at the local theme park!

9. Road trip! Take the teens somewhere new. You don't have to go far just do a little research and you will be amazed at what you will find.

10. Build a fort! Go back in time and build a fort out of sheets and blankets full of pillows. They will love it (after the initial shock)

Have fun this summer! Your teen is growing fast and will soon be your young adult. Enjoy the time you have together! Next week I will be posting 10 Ways to Fight With Your Friends and Stay Friends. Remember to share this post!

If you want another real friend, find me on:
Twitter @janagrissom

Monday, July 8, 2013

10 Truths About Teens From Teens

10 Truths About Teens From Teens

*These statements are from real teens and not altered in any way.

1. We don't like showers.

2. Teachers/Parents never think we are good enough.

3. We are not mentally stable - ever.

4. Don't stare, we will flip you off.

5. We talk big.


7.We don't like being social.

8. We are searching for our soul mate.

9. Knock first!

10. Our drama IS real.

Next week I will be posting 10 Ideas For Summertime Fun With Teens. Remember to share this post with your friends!

If you want another real friend, find me on:
Twitter @janagrissom

Monday, July 1, 2013

10 Things My Mother Taught Me About Social Media

10 Things My Mother Taught Me About Social Media

1. Quit Whining

Mama says, "It is not very lady-like to whine."
I think, "Who wants to be a lady anyway?"
Mama reads my teenage mind, "You will be a lady and like it."
I think, "WOW, she must be psychic."

Whether you want to be lady-like or not, the point is: QUIT WHINING! No one wants to read posts where all you do is complain. My sister always replied to my childish whining, "Get over it!" In fact, I am 38 and she still tells me that. (Even in a tornado!) I guess Texas girls are tough and we don't like to hear it, say it, or cater to whining. So, ladies and gents, "Get over it!"

2. Fix Your Face

At dinner Mama says, "Wipe your face, sweetie," as she hands me another napkin.
I mistakenly say, "But I am saving it for later."
Mama gives me the evil, twitching eye and smiles, "Darling, fix your face."
I take the napkin and wipe furiously before I turn into a frog. Mama's have magical powers you know?!

A lot of online participants need to "Fix your face!" You are not portraying the persona you desire. You are saving for later what needs to be fixed NOW. Update your profiles, add new pictures, keep your contact information current. How in the world do you expect anyone to befriend you or make a professional connection with ketchup running down your cheek?

3. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You

Mama says, "Now, Jana, you wouldn't want your sister to take your clothes without asking, would you?"
I think, "She can't fit my clothes! Ha!"
Mama reads my mind, "Or your little brother?"
I relinquish to her powerful mind reading and ability to always be right.

When I was a teen, I would steal my sisters clothes. She would scream at me but the really scary times were when she didn't scream because I would find all of my clothes thrown out the upstairs window across the roof and yard. Not fun! (for me) A lot of online users are stealing their sisters clothes. This is called plagiarism. Ask BEFORE you steal it and then make sure you give credit to the author. Otherwise, you might find your stuff spread out everywhere!

4. Eat Your Vegetables

Mama says, "You cannot leave the table until you have eaten all of your green beans."
I smile thinking, "That is why I have pockets!"
Mama starts washing dishes and watches me from the sink. I put a nasty green bean in my mouth and gag as I try to chew. While dramatically chewing, I slip green beans in my pocket. In a few minutes, I hop up and take Mama my empty plate and rush upstairs. Advice: don't put warm gooey green beans in blue jean pockets. It is not easily removed.

The online moral of this; you have to do tasks that you don't want to. Otherwise your pocket is full of a gooey mess. If you don't take the time to create a professional blog, FB page, website, etc, then you will spend a lot of time fixing your mess to recreate a strong influence. Do it right the first time. Research, ask for help, pay someone to help, etc. In the end, you will have ingested what is good for you and avoided a mess.

5. Never Call A Boy; Wait For Them To Call You

Mama picks up the other end of the phone and says sweetly, "Jana, please hang up and come see me."
I reply, "Okay," with a little too much sarcasm.
Mama explains, "Jana, you never call a boy. You make them call you. Then you know they are interested and you don't appear desperate."
I roll my eyes; big mistake. GROUNDED!

Online use needs to practice this moral! Quit calling the boys. You appear desperate and it's annoying. (Gender is neutral in this moral) You will lose followers because they do not want a sales pitch every time they interact with you. How do you like telemarketers? If I see 1-800 starting a phone number, I don't answer. Why? They are annoying! If I want to purchase something, then I will go shopping. Same thing online. Let them find you, quit chasing people and begging them to buy your product. Your job is to be discoverable online by using strong keywords, keeping your information up to date, and occasionally sending out a message linking to your product. Amazing how many get this wrong and actually turn away potential customers.

6. Well Bless Your Socks Off! - Have Faith

Mama laughs, "Well, bless your socks off!"
I think, "That is so stupid."

Upon reflection, Mama is very wise in her silly statement. First, bless people. Make them feel cared about and supported. Isn't that what friends are for? Second, have faith. Once you put your self and your message out there, have faith that people will flock to it. If it is a current, interesting, original piece, then people will care about it and share it. Third, socks stink. Bless people so much the stink come off. They forget about the bad in their life and find something or someone to give them joy and fun! That, my friends, is wise!

7. Make Them SMILE

My Mama loves to make everyone smile (and I mean EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE strangers included) She will talk to a brick wall and have it laughing. In fact, my Mama is quite the comedian and loves to dress up in different characters to spread her message of joy. At times, I laugh and other times, i duck my head in embarrassment because we are in the doctor's office and she starts singing.

Quit being so serious! It is okay to sing in the doctor's office. You might actually make someone SMILE! Have fun and so will others.

8. Wait Your Turn

Mama takes my little hand and pulls me away from the slide, "Jana, you must wait your turn. See the line of little children waiting?"
I look up at my Mama and nod my head.
"After they go, then you can go. Okay?"
I nod again but think, "I don't want to wait."

Online platform building is a lot of waiting. If you start today, do not expect profound results for at least six months or longer. Word of mouth in the online world is powerful but SLOW! We are ready to slide but there are others in front of us who have been waiting too. If we all help each other and take turns, then we can all enjoy the rush of wind in our hair when it is our turn!

9. Don't Steal - Give the Bubble Gum Back

Mama stops the car and turns around, "Where did you get that bubblegum?" Her eye is doing the twitching thing again!
I freeze with eyebrows up and a bubble ready to pop on my face. What do I say? My brother and sister stare back at me. I am caught red handed with huge, delicious bubble staring back at me. Mama turns the car around and drags me and my Watermelon Bubbalicious Gum back into the grocery store. She asked for a manager and made me hand it back, pay, and apologize.

Humiliating, but I learned a life lesson. I can't even take a paper-clip from work without feeling Mama's twitching eye staring at me. And I promise she would drag me back and make me apologize. Social Media is hard work. When you find something interesting, quote them and give them a back link. Every link from your site to someone else's helps with their online status. You are actually helping to promote them. Likewise, they will probably return the favor.

10. Play Your Music

My Mama plays the piano and writes music. She does not fit into any genre that I know. She mixes a little Elvis with old country and sings with a twang but she loves it. Everything she produces is to make others smile and happy. She even writes hilarious and cute children's musicals that have been performed with standing ovations. (I wish she would send them off for publishing!) My Mama is unique, beautiful, and makes everyone smile.

You need to remember one last thing that my Mama always says, "You are so beautiful!" Don't let anyone change you or try to make you conform to a specific genre. Be who you want to be. Hold your head up with pride and show the world who you are. The world has plenty of conformist. What we need, what we want is something fresh, new, and fun that is beautiful! Just like MY Mama!

Next week I will be posting 10 Truths About Teens From Teens. Remember to share this post with your friends!

If you want another real friend, find me on:
Twitter @janagrissom