Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Series: SMARTS

Wow, it's been ages since I've posted! I've been busy writing and am super excited to have finally finished my first book in THE SMARTS SERIES.

By way of introduction, here is a sneak peek at Book 1.

Twenty years ago American scholars stumbled across a gene exclusive to people with abnormally high intelligence levels. They were nicknamed Smarts, the Einsteins and Mozarts of the world.

Since childhood, JENNIFER RICHARDSON has been forced to hide her Smarts. Obeying her parent’s wishes to stay under the radar, she’s perfected invisibility as a shy freshman at Princeton University. 

But someone knows who, and what, she is.

When motorcycle riding bad-boy LUKE STRONG abducts her and takes her to his home of Wonder, a hidden village of Smarts, Jennifer has one goal: escape. But motives shift when she uncovers a globally devastating plot, the bitter secrets threatening everything she knows and loves.

Yet she has a dark secret of her own: an intense attachment to her kidnapper. Will Luke turn out to be the hardened enemy he plays, or could he possibly be her rugged and loyal rescuer? And can they both see past their lies and learn to trust each other before it’s too late?


As he walks toward the crowd, girls hug each other and scream like they’re at a rock concert and he’s a mega superstar. A group of five girls to my left are particularly salivating.
“I’ve died and gone to heaven,” one of them says, hanging onto the girl beside her.
“What I wouldn’t give to have him all to myself for a night,” the other says back.
“Are you crazy?” the one with a low ponytail cries. “That’s way too much testosterone for you to handle, Kirsten.”
They laugh through wide, excited smiles and Kirsten says, “But wouldn’t we all give up our souls for the chance…”
“He’s coming closer!” another shouts.
 I follow her dreamy gaze to the back of the outdoor arena and my right heel begins a nervous, rhythmic tap as Luke gets closer. He walks ten yards behind his opponent, dressed in the same black, long sleeve shirt and bottoms. His fitted attire manifests his strength, from his broad shoulders and protruding chest down to his strong, muscled legs. He really is built to perfection. 
“Oh sweet mother of Adonis, look at him,” Kirsten breathes out.
“We are,” another says reverently. They join in on the shouts and cheers.
His body language screams power. His head is casually bent, he’s got a natural swagger, and he exudes confidence. I can’t imagine anyone standing a chance against him in the cage.
“You know what always gets me scratching my head?” Nash asks. “It’s the way none of this ever ruffles him.”
He’s right. As Luke moves into the cage through the door next to where I sit, he looks like he’s casually climbing into bed for the night. And I’m trying my hardest to think of something other than the guy I can’t stop staring at.
He’s fascinating. I feel a strong desire to know him, find out what drives him, discover why he’s willing to kidnap and fight. I want to understand the way he handles his family, why he teases someone he loathes, and how we’re connected.

Thanks for checking out my newest book! 
I'll post soon on the expected publication date. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SHOUT OUT TIME: Goodreads interview

Shout out to moderator, Jennifer and the 8,000+ member Goodread's group, 

for their fun interview! 
Here's the full interview below, 
along with some illustrations, of course (ha).

Tell us about your book and what was your inspiration for writing it?

Reflection is about a spunky high school grad named Heather who leaves her small hometown and ventures off to college. Something happens and she lands in a coma. In the beginning of the book she proceeds to tell her story of attending college and falling madly in love with a classmate named Nick. Throughout the book, we as readers are trying to figure out if her love story is real or if it was just an amazing, potentially heartbreaking dream she had while resting in her coma.

Reaction is the continuation of that story.

I find dreams and comas very fascinating! What inspired this specific plot line?

One day I was in my bathroom drying my hair in front of the mirror, and a scene popped into my head—the balcony scene in Reflection. The following day I was on my computer. I enjoyed writing that scene so much, I knew I had to write a beginning and an ending. And that’s how it all started.

This is where it all began - me, my wet hair, a hairdryer, and a balcony scene.

At first, the book had a paranormal bend, but I decided to take out the sci-fi parts and go the contemporary romance route instead. The reasoning behind this is sort of funny. I am a complete sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal fan. My imagination can go pretty far out there. My husband, on the other hand, is a non-fiction, true-story, “Saving Private Ryan” kind of guy. For example, one time I made the mistake of taking him to a “Lord of the Rings” movie, and the whole time on the car ride home, where I was freaking out at how awesomely amazing the movie was, he just couldn’t get over the walking trees.

This would be the walking trees...completely believable, right?  What's my husband thinking??

Anyway, I thought it would be sort of fun and challenging to find the middle ground of our two polar opposite interests, to delve into all the ways life hovers on the edges of reality: dreams, comas, our bodies, our brains, the way adrenalin allows us to lift cars off of people in emergency situations, how some people can hold their breath for ten minutes or more…all those amazing phenomenons of life (some of those themes will be included in my next books, The Smarts Series).

I decided that would be my writing niche: the “in betweens” of reality. 

Did you do any research for your book?

Lots! I read a variety of medical journals about coma patients and talked with doctors and nurses who deal with coma patients on a regular basis.

How long did it take to write your book?

If I compiled all the writing days together, it probably took about 4-6 months to write Reflection. But since I wrote in spurts, here and there whenever I had time, taking the summers off in the process, I would say it took about 3-4 years from start to finish. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. It’s hard enough to sustain some semblance of fluency even if you write every day. But when you’re a mommy, you do what you gotta do!

Reaction took about 3 months (I locked my kids in the closet for the summer).

The closet I locked my kids in. They were very happy to hang with Harry.

Did you create an outline first? Did you know how it would end from the start?

Outline? No. Ending? Yes. I am a “happily ever after” type of gal, so I know the endings before I know the beginnings. 

Most of the scenes in the Reflection series were already in my head before I started writing, but many of the scenes changed along the way. Sometimes when characters develop, they begin to take on a mind of their own! For example, Teacher Jerry. At first he was someone completely different than who he turned out to be.

What is your favorite part of writing and the most difficult part?

I love writing dialogue; it comes really fast. The difficult part for me is everything in between that.

What was your favorite scene or character to write?

My favorite scene was probably the balcony scene since it was the first one I wrote.

Character??? Hm…I really liked writing Liz’s character. She was a breath of fresh air for me.

What was the most difficult scene?

The scene in Reaction where Heather finds out what the “reaction” is. Those places I was referring to earlier—where a character is standing on that edge of reality—can be delicate and tricky to flesh out on paper. On one end, the scene needs to WOW the reader, on the other end it also needs to be realistic.

Do you ever get writer's block and if so how do you overcome it?

Yes, I do. Jogging or talking to my bff always works!

Jogging with my best friend. This is her.
This is me trying to keep up with her...

Did you always plan for the series to only have two books?

Yep. I really like two-book series, so I thought it would be consistent to be a two-book author.

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

“Jessica Roberts is good to me. She listens to what I say, even in the middle of the night when she’d rather be sleeping. See, my friends and I talk all night and force her to get out of bed and write down all the things we say. Oh yes, we all love her because she sacrifices her sleep for us. And she loves her sleep, so it is a very large sacrifice.”


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

(And being a cook, house cleaner, and taxi driver? Haha)
I like to be challenged. 
For the past ten years I’ve gotten into jogging. I’m not a naturally good long distance runner, so I think that’s what keeps me going. Last year I ran my first marathon. I puked my guts out when I finished…but I finished!
I love all sports, which I guess is inevitable when you grow up with four brothers. I currently play in a women’s volleyball league, and I play indoor soccer too.

What are you currently reading?

Unfortunately, I’m not currently reading. I’ve been in writing mode—for way too long! I’m so ready for a vacay!!!

I love book suggestions! I like male leads that are rugged and masculine, so please, do share!!

List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Slammed series by Colleen Hoover, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins.


Favorite book(s) and/or book crush(s)?

My most recent "book crush" would have to be Daemon (just like a bazillion other females). I'm not very proud to say that I'm completely drawn to the bad-boys. The more of a jerk he is, the more I want to tame him - haha. But let me end with a disclaimer here: "book crush", meaning fictitious. In real life, arguing 24/7 with my other half would get very old, very fast.   

Any future writing plans you can share? Are you currently working on anything?

I am currently working on The Smarts Series. I’m super excited about it!  It will debut sometime in 2013.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

A rock star!!

Tell us something random/share a guilty pleasure.

Random…hm…okay, random guilty pleasure: I am a total eye-candy type of person. I don’t know why, because I usually admire people after I get to know them. But if a guy is super hot at first glance, I just really enjoy staring at him. I’ll totally say to my husband, “That guy over there is soooo hot!” My husband just laughs at me. But my husband is my best hottie, so it’s all good. Hahaha

My other guilty pleasure is caramel.

A question you would like to be asked in an interview and the answer

A previous interviewer asked, “If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?”  I thought that was sort of fun. Here was my answer: 

"Laughter!" I love to laugh. Maybe too much sometimes. For instance, when my husband and I were dating, I was driving his car one day and ran into a parked car. He was in the passenger's seat in red-hot shock, and I was behind the wheel laughing my head off (oops!). 

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Welcome to the REACTION launch party, hosted by
Grab a virtual dessert and come on in!


The party is going on 
all day long! 
Scroll down for 
fun & games, 
playlists & virtual music, 
contests & giveaways, 
and much more!!


1.  What is Rusted Pearl?   

An amazing vintage jewelry company 
owned by two awesome twin sisters!

I am so excited to be partnered with Rusted Pearl, the inspiration and company behind the vintage jewelry featured in Reaction.  

I am even more thrilled to let you know they have made two original replicas of Heather's necklace featured on the cover of Reaction
One is being given away in the drawing with Reaction's book tour, hosted by YA BOUND, and the other will be given away right here, tonight on my blog!  Here's how to enter:

and like their page some time today before 
midnight eastern time.  
One lucky winner will be chosen at random by Rusted Pearl, 
and notified here as well as on Facebook!  
Good luck!!


How well do you know your romance books and movies?  The answers are below the questions, in white type.  Just highlight the answers to see them.  Leave your scores in the comments so we can see who worked it!! 

1. I name the character, you name the YA novel (Must get all five for a point!):

A. Travis
B. Jacqueline
C. Kaidan Rowe
D. Bliss
E. Beatrice

A. “Beautiful Disaster” by Jamie McGuire
B. “Easy” by Tammara Webber
C. “Sweet Evil” by Wendy Higgins
D. “Losing It” by Cora Carmack
E. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

2. Why does Stephenie Meyer spell her name with an “e” instead of a typical “a”?

Answer: Because her dad’s name is Stephen, with an “e”.

3. In the movie “The Notebook” Noah (Ryan Gosling) tells Allie (Rachel McAdams) that although he's just a common man, he's succeeded in life “as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived.”  What reason does he give for this?

A. “I saw the look in your eyes on the day you learned to truly love.”
B. “I met you. And for a brief moment, you were mine.”
C. “I felt your heart beating against mine.”
D. “I've loved another with all my heart and soul.”

Answer: “D”

4. What is the REAL name of the main heroine in the “Mortal Instruments” series? (“City of Bones”)

A. Maia Fray
B. Clary Fray
C. Clarissa Morgenstern
D. Isabelle Wayland

Answer:  “C”  Clary was born to Valentine Morgenstern and Jocelyn Fairchild-Morgenstern. She was named Clarissa Adele Morgenstern according to her mother's wishes.
5. In the movie “Burlesque”, who are the two leading actresses?

A. Barbara Streisand and Christina Aguilera
B. Cher and Christina Aguilera
C. Britney Spears and Celine Dion
D. Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis

Answer: “B”

6. What YA novel is this line taken from: “You know what they say about boys next door...”

Answer: “Obsidian” by Jennifer L. Armentrout

7. In the movie “Made of Honor” with Patrick Dempsey (Tom) and Michelle Monaghan (Hannah), where is Hannah’s fiancĂ© from?

Answer: Scotland

8. In reference to the YA novel, “Slammed” by Colleen Hoover, what is a slam?

Answer: A competition at which poets read or recite original work.

9. What do the movies “Enchanted” and “Leap Year” have in common?

Answer: Amy Adams

10. What series is headed for the New York Times bestseller list (You better get this one right!)

Answer: “Reflection” series by Jessica Roberts  

How'd you do?  
Did you get all ten? 
Write your score in the comments below! 


3.  Virtual Music! 
Okay, so I lied in my video above.  She's not singing "Fallin' For You" because that's a song from Reflection, Book 1.  So here's my daughter's tribute to Reaction, Book 2, since that is what we're celebrating today!  Good song for the playlist, but too popular to be included.  Scroll down for Reaction's playlist. 
Love this girl!!!

Reaction Playlist
1.     Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson (Heather’s post-coma and college life)
2.     Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (The banquet dance)
3.     The Perfect Day by Bess Rogers (Four-wheeling date)
4.     And Then You by Greg Laswell (Heather meets her father)
5.     Gravity by Sara Bareilles (Heather finds out about engagement party)
6.     I’d Rather Be With You by Joshua Radin (Liz’s song to Creed)
7.     A Thousand Perfect Things - Original song coming soon!  Stay tuned!!
             (Nick’s guitar song to Heather)



Join me on twitter tonight from 7-8pm Eastern Time.  Type both hashtags #Reflection and #Reaction in the search box to go directly to the thread.

Press HERE to be linked to my twitter page.  

I'm excited to be joined tonight by some of my favorite author friends!  Feel free to ask questions, make comments, and have some tweet fun!  Chat with ya soon!  

*Remember to refresh your page every few minutes to get the latest comment. 


5.  Love to cook?  Here's the recipe for the SCRUMPTIOUS soup referenced in the epilogue of Reaction:

Chicken Tortilla Soup 

2 boneless skinless chicken breast (cubed and cooked)
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrot, diced very thin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I never put this in mine.  I don't do spicy!)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups fried corn tortillas, cut into strips (Or just crush up some tortilla chips like I do.)
2 limes, cut into wedges


1. In a large pot, combine the chicken, broth and carrots. Season with allspice, thyme, cinnamon, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Pour in the tomato, coconut milk and hot pepper sauce. Heat through, but do not boil.

2. Ladle into bowls, and top with shredded mozzarella cheese and tortilla strips. Squeeze juice onto soup from lime wedges.



6. Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter below to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card (score!!!) or one of five copies of Reflection, Book 1.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for partying with me!  
It's been a blast!
A big thanks to the gals at Rusted Pearl 
and Nereyda at Mostly YA Book Obsessed for their awesomeness! 
Now go read a book!