Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Relic + The Healing Spell + giveaway!

Lookie lookie -- I'm blogging AGAIN! That's three weeks in a row. Can you even believe it? I'm totally on a streak. One might even call it a winning streak. Okay, not really, BUT it could be--for you!


Because I'm doing a giveaway to celebrate the return to blogging and school and a schedule (and trying not to be sad that summer is over).

First of all, my incredibly talented friend Renee Collin's debut RELIC came out TODAY!! You guys, this book. THIS BOOK. It is SO good. When I first read it, before it went out on submisison, I knew it would sell. It was just that amazing. Unique, awesome, romantic and just made-of-awesome. So to celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of RELIC!!!! (Which I will be procuring for myself in 2 weeks at Renee's signing here in SLC!) Can't wait! Congratulations Renee, I'm so over the moon excited for you!!!

From goodreads:

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.


Recently, another one of my friends, my agency sister AND editor sister Kimberley Griffiths Little came to my neck of the woods to do a signing, and I happened to nab an extra book to give to one of you (and got it signed, too)! It's the paperback with a shiny new cover. Feast your eyes on this:

Beautiful and haunting, right?

From Goodreads:

Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little brings to life a sweeping and heartfelt story set against the lush backdrop of the bayou.

Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption. Livie's powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.

Doesn't it sound SO SO good? Well, trust me, it is. I am just surrounded by insanely talented people. It's kind of intimidating!

So... Want a chance to win? Then enter below and may the Rafflecopter odds be ever in your favor!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway >

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Big Apple

In my last post, I promised a recap of my trip to NYC. And you know me (or if you don't, you will soon learn): that means picture overload!! (and also a plethora of CAPS and PUNCTUATION!!!) ;-)

I still can't quite believe it really happened. A large portion of my brain is still pretty sure it was a prolonged dream. The only reason I'm sure it wasn't all in my head is because I took pictures to prove it happened. Not to be corny, but it was, quite literally, a dream come true.

So here we go: Sara's first time in NYC!
In the air, still unable to believe this is really happening! I was also so nervous... not quite sure how I was going to handle being in NYC by myself. This might sound silly, but I was told my hotel was within walking distance of the Scholastic offices--only 7 blocks. Cue UT girl freak out. I'm supposed to walk 7 BLOCKS in my HEELS in a massive city BY MYSELF?? I was working on my whistle so I'd be ready to get a cab.
(My Hotel Lobby)
 And then I got to NYC and all my fear disappeared. As we drove through the streets I learned two things: 1. I LOVE NYC. And 2. It would be much faster to walk than take a cab. Holy traffic jam!
 (View in front of my hotel)
I had a little bit of time before I was supposed to meet Editor Lisa for dinner, and I decided to go wander around the city a little bit. (Like I said--all fear was gone.)
 (Me, being a nerdy tourist in front of my hotel)

Walking up and down the streets of NYC - this is Broadway. You guys, I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved it here. There was such an amazing, cool energy in the city. I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face as I wandered around, taking it all in. If I weren't married with 3 kids, I think I'd be tempted to up and move here. Not forever, but maybe for a year. It was just so... I don't know. I just loved it!
 Then I got to meet Editor Lisa for the first time in person and we went to dinner at this amazing restaurant in SoHo. She was kind enough to let me take pictures with her, even though she was due in only a couple of weeks. She's so beautiful and wonderful! I honestly can't imagine a more perfect editor for me and DEFY.
 My delicious breakfast as I got ready for my luncheon with Scholastic! I got up early, even though it was SUPER early for this UT girl, so I could have time to wander around the city some more. I brought a big bag to carry my stuff in--including my heels--put on my flip flops (yep, with my fancy outfit) and headed out the door!
 Anyone else out there a fan of FELICITY? My sisters and I used to watch it all the time, so I had to take a pic and send it to them!
 I found a (relatively safe looking) stranger to take this nerdy picture for me in front of the Scholastic building (complete with my awesome flip flops haha). She positioned that street sign just perfectly, don't you think? ha. Oh well! Here I am!
 Coolest building ever, right?? Notice how there are two doors--one said "Scholastic Store" and one said "Scholastic" with the Bldg number on it. So, being the savvy tourist/author that I am, I decided to go into the store first, and then head over to the other door and go to my luncheon.
 When I walked in, there was this huge lobby with security guards... weird for a store, right? But oh well, whatever! Nice to know my book will be well guarded once it's on those shelves.
 After I wandered back out front, I asked one of the nice security guards to take my picture with Harry. He asked if I liked the store and I told him how cool I thought it was, and then said, "My book is going to be back there in five months!" He was excited for me and asked me about it, so I told him a little bit about it and that I was actually there for a luncheon with my editor. "So, I better get going!" I said and breezily waved and walked out of the door. A different door than I walked in. And yet it still didn't click. I blame it on the nerves. So, anyway, I walk out, turn left to go in the "other door" and realize I'm past the Scholastic building. WHAT? I panic for half a second, until it FINALLY dawns on me. HELL-O! I had to turn around and go back in that door I'd just walked out of, straight up to those same two security guards and said, "Remember how I said I was a totally dork? Yeah, um, I need to go upstairs and see Lisa Sandell." I still can't believe I was so dumb. Haha. Oh well! The guard was very nice not to laugh at me as he printed off my badge and buzzed me through to go upstairs.
 Me and Lisa in her office with my ARCs of DEFY!! 
 The luncheon was absolutely amazing. I loved meeting the other authors there, and all of the incredible people at Scholastic. I'm so incredibly blessed to be working with all of them!! It was so fun to talk to people who love my book and are as excited about it as I am. I can't even put it into words.
 Just a few of the awesome people at Scholastic - Sheila Marie (my publicist), Bess and Emily! I don't want to go on and on, but this day was just... wow. I don't have words.
 The skyline on my way back to the airport. I hope I can stay longer next time and see more of the Big Apple, but I was also so excited to get back to my family. It was so strange to be the one on a business trip instead of SHH!
And speaking of him... he surprised me with the best "car service" (and sign) of the whole trip! Have I mentioned that I'm so blessed??

If you're still reading this -  congrats! You made it! That's the end of the recap. Phew, right? But here's the thing. So much of this journey is hard. Years of rejections, being told no over and over... Feeling like you're not good enough and never will be, and yet you somehow keep pressing on. I did that for seven years. It struck me the other day--I've been trying to get published for almost the entire time my oldest son has been alive. I started writing again and pursuing publication when he was eight or nine months old. He's 8 now. And it's finally happening. 

I don't know what lies ahead of me--I don't know how well DEFY will do. I don't know how many more books I'll be able to publish. I don't know--and can't control--SO MANY THINGS. But I can control one thing: enjoying the journey right now. 

And that's what this post is. Putting down my feelings right now, my happiness and excitement. So I can always come back to this and remember. I've learned this very important lesson through all these years and years of dreaming and working and hoping: You have to celebrate any success that comes, no matter how big or small. Savor the happiness that is there; find the joy and cling to it. 

I don't know what the future holds, but I do know this. Right now, I am happy. And that is an amazing feeling. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A triumphant return to bloggerville

So... it's been kinda quiet around here recently. Sorry about that. This summer has kicked my trash and I can hardly believe it's almost over! Deadlines and kids and vacations and birthdays and everything you can possibly imagine took up every last second of my time, and unfortunately my blog had to be one of the things that kind of fell by the wayside. 


I'm back!! Or, at least, I hope I can get my act together enough to be back! At least once a week! (Aim high, my friends, aim high.)


At least I'm returning with a bang! Yep, that's right. Awesome stuff has been afoot in my absence. (Prepare yourself for much capitalization and usage of the dreaded exclamation point...)



I got a little package in the mail recently...!

 YES - those are my ARCs of DEFY!!!!!!


 Yes, I am a nerd. But how could I resist?? I mean, seriously. That thing is GORGEOUS.
 Yes, SHH loves them, too...

And you may have noticed a little somethin' somethin' on the front...

I can finally share one of my happy secrets: YES! That is a blurb from MARIE LU!!!! I about died of happiness when I found out she had read it and loved it enough to blurb my book. I still can't quite believe it, honestly. (THANK YOU AGAIN MARIE!!)

Well, so as not to overwhelm you with pictures and rambling and a plethora of exclamation points and stuff, I will stop there. But stay tuned! I will recap my amazing trip to NYC soon!

For now... just join me in drooling over my ARCs some more. Come on, you know you wanna! ;-)