Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Book Review!

I always say it's not what you know, it's who you know.
And I have the privilege of knowing Jackie, who knows Ashley, who's a publicist at Shadow Mountain Publishing.
I wish I could say this blog post was about my own manuscripts finally achieving publication, but it's not.

It's about a book I was lucky enough to review!

Jackie first told me about this book because it's written in the Regency time period-- the same dearest, loveliest time period as Jane Austen and her books. Jackie knew I was a fan of the genre. So she put in a good word with Ashley, who contacted me asking if I'd like a copy to review.

I jumped on the chance. Yay!!

So here's what I thought after I inhaled this book:

Well written. I thought the main character Marianne was cute and very relatable. She's not your average Regency heroine even though she tries to be an "elegant lady." I think she's a cross between Elizabeth Bennett and Eleanor Dashwood. A spunky character who would put the happiness of her sister before her own.
Lots of tasty (and not-so-tasty) gentlemen, a few ladies who are actually kind and obliging for once, and a haughty but lovable grandmother (think Dowager Lady Grantham from Downton Abbey). And let's not forget the rather nasty, ambitious pieces of work that make their appearance, as they should in every good Regency romance.
And naturally, in addition to our token nice guys/bad guys/hot guys/mean girls, you HAVE to have the good old Regency standby: an entire book of people who are crazy about each other and refuse to admit it because of some aggravating sense of propriety.

Well, at any rate, it kept me turning the pages.

If you're a fan of Jane Austen and/or clean romance, this is definitely the book for you. A great way to introduce the Regency period to a younger reader (I'm thinking ages 12 and up) as it's a much easier read than the works of Austen herself.

I did find a few (seriously, a very few) historical inaccuracies as far as the English customs go for this time period, but they are so minor that it didn't detract from the story. The rest of the manners, dress, and speech seemed well researched and otherwise accurate.
And the word "flirt" was used a lot. Too much. Flirt, flirt, flirting, flirtatious. Also, lots of peeking from beneath one's eyelashes and a few cases of smoldering.

But overall, I really, really liked the story. It's definitely one I'm happy to have on my shelf, happy to one day let my future daughters read, and happy to re-read myself. Charming, light, and it will make you sigh. A lot. Sir Philip.... wow

Thanks Jackie, for the connection and thanks Ashley, for the opportunity!

And please, please do yourselves a favor and visit Julianne Donaldson's website: http://juliannedonaldson.blogspot.com/
This woman had to have been my friend in the pre-existence or something. She's like Ames squared. In a good way.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bucket List

In less than twenty-four hours, I crossed off two major "to-do's" on my before-I-turn-30 bucket list.

1. Last night, I saw a Broadway musical I hadn't seen before:
WICKED!! So fun, so incredible, exceeded all expectations, worth every penny.

And now for the good stuff:

One of the top items on my "bucket list."

Get pregnant with a healthy baby.

Well, according to the ultrasound this morning, we've done just that. They said everything looks really good, the heart is functioning properly, and everything else looks normal.
BIG sigh of relief. Like, the biggest I've ever had.

Bet you're wondering if it's Pink or Blue, aren't you?


IT'S A BOY!!!!!
we have pictures to prove it, but I didn't post them.
We're very, very happy.
I'm so grateful, so humbled, so ecstatic, and so prepared to not take a single moment for granted. Thank you so much everyone for all the prayers and faith.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Today I post as Hero London

that's my pen name for whenever I become a published author. When that happens, Hero and Amy will be kept separate. Not a Hannah Montana thing. I'm not going to hide out or keep my identity a secret. I just prefer to keep my personal life and my writing life in their own place.
Generally speaking, most people won't know Amy and Hero London are the same person unless they come to a book signing or recognize the picture.
This is to keep me safe should I become ridiculously famous, anonymous if success is small, or discreet if I'm an embarrassing failure.
Win win win.

So, Hero got tagged by writer and friend Darci Cole, along with a few other writers. I thought it was fun, so I wanted to answer the 11 questions she gave me.

1. Fruit or vegetable?  

2. Do you snack while writing? If so, what is your snack of choice?
I try not to. But it depends on what I have on hand. Flavor blasted goldfish or m & m's are my snack of choice.

3. If you could go anywhere to feel inspired, where would you choose to go?

4. What is your favorite animal?
Lion. King of beasts, Aslan, Gryffindor mascot. What's not to love?

5. Have you written a story? What was your first one about?
I have written many ever since I was a kid. The first one I wrote when I decided that I really loved writing and wanted to make a career out of it was a story about a long-lost princess who was returned to her family and fell in love with a stable boy. She then discovered treason in the king's court and saved her beloved from hanging. Gripping, I know.

6. Favorite pizza topping(s)?
Pineapple. Extra pineapple.

7. What's one odd thing you can do that few people know about?
Quote movies from beginning to end. The ones I've done: Ever After, Willow, some of Pirates of the Caribbean (got interrupted and couldn't finish), and I could probably do any Disney movie that's more than ten years old.8. Chocolate or flowers? 
Oh dear. Both?

9. Name one fictional character you wish you'd been the author behind (besides Harry Potter! That's too obvious for some of us...).
Elizabeth Bennett.

10. What does your Christmas stocking look like?
We don't really use them in our family yet (we will once we have kids). At my mom's, my stocking is mostly green and very cute. 

11. What's your least favorite genre to read?
Least favorite? Well, I refuse to read harlequin romance. Not a bodice-ripper kind of gal. 

There you have it! Now you know a little bit more about me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Any Guesses?

In one week, I go in for an ultrasound.

To find out if we're expecting a little Mr. or a little Miss.
I'm happy with either.
And though the baby is still quite small, development wise,
I still have hope that they'll be able to see enough to tell us that
all is well.

Anyone want to take a guess at pink or blue?
Yes. Pink for girl and blue for boy. We're like that.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ethan's Run 2012

Ethan's Run is a benefit to raise money and awareness for Congenital Heart Defects. It is so named for a baby boy named Ethan Skidmore, who lost his battle with a heart defect just like my little Ella did. His family organizes the run each year to help families who are facing the same war.

That's why their children are called "Heart Warriors."
The ones who cheer them on from heaven are our "Heart Angels."

This was the second time we participated in the Run. Last year, two of my sisters ran their first 10k at Ethan's Run. (NOT an easy course! Lots of hills.) This year, one sister, a sister-in-law, and a friend of ours ran the 10k. (Other sister would have too, but she just had a baby :) Next year, right Jess?)

The rest of us did the mile walk/fun run.

"Team Ella" with our Ladybug Shirts.

Chicken fight with the adorable Nephews.

Another nephew with his stinking cute faux-hawk. He called it a "flo-hawk."

Sister Jen (facing us), friend Rachel (to the left), and Sister-in-law Kierstie (to Jen's right, in the blue) getting ready for the 10k

Me, my sister Alyssa, and my dad cheering on the flo-hawked Nephew running the mile.

Niece running her heart out during the fun run!

Me and large, bald older brother Rick during fun run (or in our case, walk). He's awesome.

Sister Alyssa pushing Nephew in the stroller, Rachel's cute daughter, my Niece, and my Mom in the lavender sweater during the fun run/walk.

Jen and Rachel at the finish line for the 10k! (Jen did her first half marathon a week before this and Rachel has done a full. A 10k was cake!)

Kierstie's triumphant arrival at the 10k finish line! 
SO proud of her!!

It was a fun day. Lots of love, lots of smiles, and a feeling of contentment among the bittersweetness of looking back and missing our Ladybug.

Next year, I'm running the 10k for her.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It came!!!

Ordered three books and a movie from Amazon. Saved a TON! (Love that free shipping option even though it means a longer wait...)

Sorry about the sideways pic, but here's what came today:

Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theater version... all 228 minutes of it. LOVE!!)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have loooots of reading to do.

And about an hour later, the rest of it came!

Here's all four:

I wasn't expecting the rest of it until Thursday! Now I have Forest Born, final book in the Books of Bayern series (with the gorgeous artwork and hard-bound cover) and a book I've been waiting forever to read: Risen, by Britney Jensen... who happens to be a friend of mine and fellow member of Typelings writing group!
Can't wait for an autograph. :)

Back to reading...

Friday, February 3, 2012

The cutest little Storyteller

This is the Harry Potter Story, as told by my niece, a brand-new five year old! Happy Birthday, little B!

Just to see their faces.

We find out in three weeks if our baby is a boy or a girl.

We also hope to find out that the baby's heart is healthy and functioning properly. (I still have to get a fetal EKG even if everything looks good on the first ultrasound. My gosh, I'm not looking forward to that. Just hoping and PRAYING that the results are good and I can finally feel like we're really going to have a baby.)

Once we know if we're to expect little Beetle or little Butterfly, *smiley* I know the number one question (after 'when are you due?') is going to be:

What's the baby's name?

I've always wanted to come up with crazy names to tell people. Just to see a reaction. A blank stare, a fake smile, a clamped jaw in complete flabbergastment before they say something like:

'Oh, that's interesting/unique/original/nice!'
'Is that a family name?'
'Hmm.' with a completely ingenuine nod of approval.

And then I'll laugh and say what names we're really thinking of.

Definitely Albus.
Or Hermes.
or if it's a girl,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Liebster Award

The German language is somewhat dear to my heart because my husband speaks it fluently. Liebster is German for ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’-- but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The Liebster award was created to give some attention to those blogs with less than 200 followers. So when I found out that I won the Liebster Award from Carrie at The Rowdy Stroudy's, my heart just giggled.

In accepting the award, you are supposed to follow these rules:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your five picks for the award and let them know. 
3. Post the award on your blog. 
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogshare-other bloggers. 
5. Finally and the best rule of all………have fun and spread the love! 

And now here are my 5 faves that follow the guidelines for the award so you can check these lovelies out:

Darci, the Page Traveler

Mandy, at Dash it All.

Jamie, at What I did Today.

Meredith, at Haute to Sew.

It was SO HARD to choose these people among my favorites. I had to find people who didn't already receive the award, people who had less than 200 followers, and I had to leave out family (even though I love their blogs too. I couldn't just pick one.)

All of these people are either funny, insightful, creative, inspirational, or all of it rolled into one! 

Thanks for the award, Carrie. It made me happy. :)