Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

Sponsored by: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
I LOVE SPRING (on east coast USA)! How can you not? Okay, well, I hate the allergies that go along with it. And this year has been my worst by far. But allergies aside, when the crocus bulbs bloom - I know spring is here! I have them planted in my front garden (photo below), and they make me smile when they poke through the ground!

To celebrate the season of rebirth, I'd like to offer a giveaway of my young adult paranormal romance (an eBook novel), The Keeper. The Keeper is not your typical supernatural story. It's far different than the "norm" and has many surprising twists and turns. I will also throw in some spring stickers, a spring bookmark, and some of my signed swag. By the way, I love stickers, they make me happy, too!  =)

For more info on The Keeper see: and/or here:

The Keeper Book Trailer:

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Writer’s Voice, By Patti Larsen

Patti Larsen is my guest today! I love Patti she's a super nice lady, and an awesome author. I'm happy that Patti finally found her all elusive voice and could bring us the Hayle Coven Novels (it's one of my faves)! Here she shares with us how she found her "voice"...

Writer’s Voice
By Patti Larsen

When I started writing so many years ago (I was twelve, I’m now forty, do the math), I had no idea what voice meant or that I was supposed to have one. In fact, as I continued to create and grow, even after I heard the term, I was lost—that ever-elusive voice was missing. Or, at least, I had no real definition and couldn’t find anyone who could solidly quantify it. Yes, I was told, finding your voice is key to great writing. Every writer needs it. But when confronted and asked point-blank how to uncover it, no one was able to actually tell me how to do it beyond, “Keep writing.”

Through decades (OMG really? I’m so old…) figuring this stuff out (and I’m still at it, believe me), after a journalism diploma, five years with an all-female improv troupe (I still miss the F.I.G.H.T. Club), independent film making and screenwriting, inventing, songwriting and performing… I still struggled to find my voice and despaired of ever, ever uncovering what it meant.

It was like this elusive, phantasmal entity endlessly taunting me. Yes, I could write. I was always good at it. But the lack… the lack of voice tortured me until I gave up writing for the pursuits you read above.

Until I found young adult literature, thanks to my darling niece. She thrust a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone into my hands one day and insisted I read it. When I did (and all the books that came after) it was as if something opened up inside me. This was the genre. This was the source of voice. I just didn’t know how yet. But the passion to write novels flared again and I embraced it.

I remember going to bed one night, asking the Universe (it gets much more crackpot than this, just wait for it) for an idea, a new, fresh path to take. For my voice to find me. If I was meant to be a novelist, to write as I’d always believed, I had to get it right this time.

I woke that same night around 2:30am with a girl in my head (see? More crackpot). She insisted I get up, badgered me until I stumbled to my office and wrote down what she had to say. Only then did she let me go back to sleep.

Suddenly, a floodgate of understanding opened in me, a tide of wonder and knowledge and knowing that was so powerful and so profound it changed everything. Everything. My eyes were wide open, the meaning now of what had been so elusive for so long as clear as a freshly polished sheet of glass: my voice.

I found my voice. But it’s not mine. That’s the secret, the part others had been unable to tell me. But I’m telling you now. That voice belongs to Sydlynn Hayle (the teen witch who badgers me even now to get back to book six of her ongoing story, bless her) and all the clamoring, demanding, smart-ass teenagers who began showing up, one after the other, jockeying for position and my attention until I had (and have) enough books onepaged to take me into 2016.
My voice. Their voices. Awesomesauce. I’ve found it at last.

About the Author: Patti Larsen has a serious passion for YA paranormal and thrillers. Her novels Family Magic and Run have just been shortlisted for the PEI Book Awards. Now with multiple series in happy publication, she lives on the East Coast of Canada with her patient husband and four massive cats.

You can find her:

On her website
On Facebook
On Twitter!/PattiLarsen
On and Goodreads

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Autism Blog Hop

Annual Autism Awareness Giveaway Hop
April 11th to 17th

Hosted by: 

April is Autism Awareness Month.  To help spread the word about Autism we are hosting a giveaway hop.

There are one hundred blogs participating, and about seventy five are hosting giveaways.  You will find lots of variety among the prizes. 

I know the causes and treatment of autism can bring controversy.  However, the point of this blog hop is simply to make people more aware about the subject by sharing information and experiences.  

For More Information about Austism: 

My son was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was four (he is now twelve). Asperger's is a high functioning form of Autism. I knew at a very young age that he was different than other kids. He had quirks, and very strong likes and dislikes that went against the norm.

  • Rules, routines, boundaries, and logic kept him happy. (Still do). 
  • He wouldn't look you in the eye. (He is a lot better with this now). 
  • He would only speak to certain people. We never figured out why he chose those he did, and at the age of two when he spoke it was in full sentences, he could hold a full conversation. (He has a high IQ - tested in the 98th percentile, and is in the "smart kid" programs at school).  
  • He was uncomfortable with too much noise, or florescent lighting (it was too bright and it made noise - he can hear things others can't).
  • Food was, and will always be an issue with him. He only eats fourteen things at last count. Certain smells and textures make him unable to process most food as edible to him. 
  • His clothing needed to be just right, or he would have a bad day. (This has improved for the most part). He used to only wear cotton twill with elastic waist bands. It took us ten years to get him in denim, good thing because cotton twill elastic bands don't translate into larger sizes. But now he only wears denim jeans. 
  • My son will never be one for small talk, especially if he doesn't like you. Why should he? It makes perfect sense to him. He doesn't understand formalities, some body language, or facial expressions. And figure of speech is lost on him. He's getting there though. He might not get it, but he understands that's how other people operate.  
  • He's had a full body stim since he could walk. I think he will always stim. He pretty much holds it together during the day and stims in the evenings. I pray for understanding friends and girlfriends along the way that might encounter this different behavior, and let him be who he is.

Before he was diagnosed people would judge, and people would call me overprotective, but I knew my son, and I knew what he needed. I knew deep in my bones, that I had to be an advocate for him, and I didn't care what anyone had to say about it. Doctors would tell me I needed to put my foot down as the parent and force him to eat what we ate. I refused, I could tell there was something more to it than a stubborn child testing me. He would power puke if he ate anything that he wasn't prepared for, or if he grabbed and ate certain foods by mistake. His brain wouldn't allow it for whatever reason. 

After he was diagnosed we could never get any kind of help or assistance from: the school, the city, the state, or the military (my husband was active duty at the time). We were told he was too old, he needed to be diagnosed sooner, and that he was far too smart for help anyway. A child who earns A's & B's in all the major subjects with no attitude problems is fine. Yet he struggled (and still does) with reading, writing and spelling. Just because it wasn't a major subject it didn't matter. My argument? Don't you need all of those to be successful in the other subjects, or how about just in everyday life? No one helped. The school turned down a couple of our requests for an IEP or a 504 plan. 

Not knowing what else to do we sat our son down at the young age of five, and explained to him that he was different, and why, and what it meant. We also explained that we were unable to get him any assistance. As we spoke to him I saw what looked like relief flood his face. He was probably thinking; "Thank God there is a reason why I am the way I am". From that point on I noticed a difference in him, it was almost immediate. I could see him try to deal with things on his own. It was fascinating to watch. 

No two people are the same. My son, the Aspie, for all intents and purposes looks like a "normal" child. Herein lies our problem, when he is having a bad day, shutting down, or having a meltdown, he does it quietly. More internally. He won't speak. I know this, but the average person doesn't, because he appears "normal" to the outsider. I still hear stuff from people about his picky eating, how I should force him to eat what I eat. I won't, because that's just plain mean. It obviously causes him a great deal to be around certain food, why would I force it on him? It's inconvenient and annoying at meal time. But he is old enough now, if he doesn't like what we eat, he can pop chicken nuggets in the toaster oven. Oh, but they have to be Tyson brand chicken nuggets!

My current work in progress is the next installment of my novel, The Keeper, it's told from the view point of a quirky teenage boy. I don't label him as having any specific type of PDD (persuasive developmental disorder), but it's implied. I was going to use my son as a model for him, but decided against it. I made the character's PDD vague so maybe others could relate, or learn that some people are different for a reason, and we should treat them the same as the next guy.

For this blog hop I would like to offer a giveaway to one lucky winner- The prize package consists of ONE autism pin (show below), ONE autism bookmark (shown below), and ONE digital copy of my novel, The Keeper. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.

“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.

As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.