Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Guest Post by Stephanie Faris + the Latest PIPER MORGAN Cover!

Crafts and Writing
by Stephanie Faris

A romance novelist friend of mine published several books over the course of her life. When it came time to retire, she moved to the beach and began acting in community theater productions and designing jewelry. She also paints and redesigns tabletops. I’m in awe of her talent.

I’m not crafty at all, but I have a feeling it’s mostly that I’ve never tried. Creativity comes in many forms and I can see how the skills that make us great writers could also translate to other areas. In fact, knitting a sweater or painting vases could be a relaxing break from coming up with book ideas or working on the next chapter. It might even be a way to think through that tough spot in your current novel.

Crafts can have another use, as well. My non-writer friend was in a basket weaving class recently when she met a novelist who was researching her children’s book. I’m often aware that our characters have a wide variety of interests and when we have hobbies outside of writing, we can bring our extensive knowledge to our books.

It wasn’t crafty at all, but I once wrote a book about ghost hunters. It was something I was interested in anyway, so I loved the chance to take classes on it and go on ghost hunts any time we visited a town. If you think you might enjoy a particular craft but you’ve never tried, consider working it into a book. You can take the class as research and your characters will be better rounded as a result.

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Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

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And now for the cover...Puppies! Argh, aren't they just the cutest?!


Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Share to Win a Brave New Girls Prize Pack! #goSTEMgirls

From now until 2.29.16, if you share a pic of your favorite female engineer/scientist/etc., you can win a prize pack. And you can enter 3xs a day! I'll be honest, I have no idea what a CanaKit Raspberry Pi Quick-Start is (next stop, Google!), but that Kaylee Frye figurine is too cute. =) 

As for me, I'd like to share a pic of Nellie Bly. I first remember reading about her as a small tot. My mother bought us a series of books that were about historical figures, and told in a story book format w/illustrations (I wish I could remember what they were called, we had so many of them). I was beyond impressed with Nellie. Especially when she went into that mental institution, yikes! 

Nellie Bly, was an American journalist. She was also a writer, industrialist, inventor, and a charity worker who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an expose in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. (Wiki link)

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Muse Party Blogfest

Today I'm participating in a blogfest, created by the lovely, Sarah Foster!

1. Who did you bring to the party? Is he/she your Valentine or anti-Valentine?
I brought my newest character, Muriel. She's my friend-date, b/c my husband would never go to a Valentine's day party. So we are standing in the corner, looking awkward. I don't know Muriel all that well yet, but she has vague notions that I'm going to be putting her through the wringer during our acquaintance. Kind of kills the small talk, don't you know.

2. Which one of you is the more romantic person? I can't really speak for Muriel, but I'd say I'm not super romantic. Give me a nice card with something handwritten in it, and I'll be perfectly happy.

3. What gift are you giving to your (anti) Valentine? Nothing! I'm not in the habit of giving VDay gifts, except to my child (he got a chocolate frog). I'm getting a slight smile from Muriel, not sure if this is in agreement or not. She's from England, and honestly, not sure what they think of the holiday. *makes mental note for research*

4. Are you guys wearing red or pink (or black...)? I'm in pink, Muriel's in a type of glittery, silver dress. Think something from the Great Gatsby.

5. Did you bring any Valentine's Day treats? White choc. dipped strawberries. Muriel brought a lovely bottle of wine, of which I can't pronounce. *whispers so she can't hear: It looks expensive. Her family is from money.*

6. Name a song for our Love Playlist or Anti-Love Playlist (or both)! Uh...I can't ever remember song names. And Muriel has gone to visit the loo, so sorry.

7. Got a great anti/Valentine party game? Besides making fun of the messages on Conversation candy hearts? Not really! ;)

8. Feeling the love or just feeling nauseous? How will you have fun at the party? Yes! We both like grazing on sweet treats and watching the games. Except the later it gets, the more I'll be thinking about who will be putting the kidlet to bed. #parenting

9. Has your muse been a good Valentine? Yes, Muriel has been lovely. We sat out the Valentine games and gradually warmed up to each other (the wine might have helped...). I think she's missed conversation lately, as in her village, she's kind of an outcast.

*Jordan's Bonus Question (feel free to ignore him...): Did you bring me & Sarah a musiversary gift? (Because we've put up with each other for five years and I think we deserve something.)

I bought Sarah a lovely buttercream icing candle, b/c she's also a fellow cupcake lover. Jordan, you get this shirt:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Latest DIY

This is a plain denim banner that I bought at Wal-Mart. I then used white craft paint and as you can see, spelled out h-e-l-l-o. I have a grapevine wreath that I'll be hanging on my back porch as part of the summer makeover I plan on staging. It's a pretty good-sized wreath and I didn't want to deal w/buying ribbons and flowers and all that jazz, so I'm going the sweet and simple route. Banner it up and call it done! So that's one thing down on my list, only ninety-nine more to go... 

Another thing I absolutely have to have on my made-over back porch are lights. In my house, I have white lights in the kitchen (on a fake tree next to the fridge), and in my office (over my inspiration board). I just love white lights! I have my eye on these Thomas Edison lights from Hobby Lobby. Now, to snag them when they're 50% off!

Friday, February 5, 2016


Hey all! It's been awhile since I did a state of the union address. Heh. As for life around the Wallace casa, there's not been anything too exciting, as of late. Work, grocery store, and house cleaning is pretty much where it's been at. 

There is an ice skating party my work is sponsoring that is coming up at the end of the month. Which I am super excited about! My one claim to athletic fame (besides being a pretty decent swimmer), is my ability to cross my feet while skating. Maybe there is a term for this? Dunno. But anyhoo, you know when you go into a turn while skating, and it looks like this:


I can do that. Except...not nearly as fast or professional looking. Or as leaney and low, lol! Is it weird to be proud of this? Oh well, I am. We're taking the kidlet, and I know he's going to have a blast. We'll just have to make sure to snag one of those little walkers for him to use on the ice. I'll try to remember to take pics.

I've also been doing a lot of reading. There are numerous nights where I know I should write, but I just want to get lost in a good book instead. I've reread the entire Lockwood & Co series, and man, oh man. These books are AWESOME. Ghosts in London, w/kid agents who fight them, b/c adults can't see them. If you've not put these books on your TBR list, I suggest you do so like super fast. The humor in these books is fantastic, nice and droll and sarcastic, which is just how I like it. 

I designed the above on Canva. I'm thinking about printing out three different quotes that I love from the books, framing them, and hanging them somewhere. My office would be the normal space, but I'm kind of out of wall space. There's a perfect spot in the hallway I'm deliberating on, but I'm just not sure if I'll really like them there or not. 

On the writing side, I'm still getting in feedback on Chain Gang, my dystopian novel. Then I'll be sending it off again for one final read-through, making changes, and then hopefully, I'll be querying it this spring. I'm also writing a short story, an adaptation of The Princess & the Pea, to submit to the Circuits & Slippers anthology. That's going about as well as you'd expect first drafts to go...*wry grin*

One last thing, McDonald's is giving out books in their Happy Meals! At least in my neck of the woods anyway. The kidlet got the cutest little Pete the Cat picture book, that came w/stickers and valentines, that we're going to give out to family for VDay. It's nice to get something like that for a change. So if you have kidz, might wanna get 'em that Happy Meal they're always clamoring for. ;)