Questions for Keynotes at #utopYA2015!

The Paisley Reader


Hi Everyone! Today I have a fantastic opportunity for you all, but I’m going to get to that in a little bit. Last year at utopYA2014, Sylvia Day and Gennifer Albin gave two fabulous keynote addresses. Both were inspiring and motivating. They were feel-good moments of the conference for sure. This year, utopYA has expanded to an additional day, and because of that, there are THREE keynote speakers for 2015. This lineup is epic!!

Denise Grover Swank

Lauren Miller

Kim Holden

Now back to this fantastic opportunity.

Each of these amazing authors, in addition to their keynote addresses, will be answering 10 questions in a blog post interview on utopYA’s webpage.

Guess what? Eight of these questions in each interview will come from you! That’s right, EIGHT! This is your opportunity to ask your burning questions of these authors.

This week, I am accepting questions for Denise Grover Swank

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Blog Hop 2014: My Writing Process

I love talking about the writing process. When I’m not spending time with my family and friends, I’m writing. It’s my passion and a bright spot in my day. I was tagged by Rachel Harris to carry on the blog hop.

Rachel Harris


Rachel Harris writes fun and flirty escapes about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.

She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances and LOVES talking with readers!


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So here goes.

What am I working on?

On November 2013 I self-published my first book, Destiny.


You can watch the book trailer for Destiny here:

I just released Synchrony the second book of The Destiny Trilogy on April 8, 2014. You can grab a kindle copy of it here. (Sorry for the shameless self-promotion. I’m still working hard to get the word out about my books.)


Right now I’m plotting Complexity, a novella that will be a companion to the trilogy. It’s a lot of fun for me to get to know some of my side characters so well. These are characters who might be considered annoying at times in my first and second book, so it has been fascinating for me to show their perspective so that we can understand their motives and sympathize with them a bit more.

I work very closely with my cover photographer and business partner, Virginia Hodges of Virginia Rose Hodges Photography–or Photog VRH to her friends on Facebook. I run my plots by her, and and she gives valuable feedback. Then she goes to casting calls and brings back pictures of future cover models for my books. Just last week she found the models for the cover of Complexity, and we’re currently looking for another model for the cover of Harmony (Destiny #3).

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The Destiny Trilogy is unlike any series I’ve ever read–or even heard of for that matter. It doesn’t fit perfectly into any genre. Some may consider it a Christian Romance. Some may categorize it as LDS Fiction. I call it Young Adult Contemporary. Yes, it’s a religious book. But it’s not preachy. It’s about a Mormon girl who falls in love with a Baptist and all the tension it causes with their families. The message of the book is that we should try to get along with others regardless of their religious beliefs. My books are written so that people who may not be familiar with either religion can leave the story with a better understanding of both brands of faith.

Other than that, I’d say that I like to address sensitive topics in a nonthreatening way. My books aren’t just about religion. They deal with betrayal, heartbreak, bullying, teen pregnancy, cancer, and suicide. But they aren’t solely focused on such serious stuff either. There’s plenty of juicy kissing scenes and fun stuff like pranks and snowball fights.

Why do I write what I do?

Honestly, I often ask myself if I’m completely nuts for trying to write and market something as difficult as a teen romance about religious conflict. I’ve had people tell me straight out that if they saw my book in passing they wouldn’t think it sounded like something they’d want to read. When I hear stuff like that, I ask myself why I’m doing this. Because it’s extremely hard. But, deep down, part of me knows that it’s always possible that the world isn’t used to seeing these kinds of books, so they automatically shy away from them. But this is a message the world needs to hear, and I’m delivering it with flirty, fun, romantic packaging.

So why YA Romance?

I’ve always been enthralled with the whole concept of being sixteen, getting your first kiss, and finding your first love. Since teens are still adjusting to the crazy hormones flowing through their bodies, they tend to experience everything with extreme intensity, and for some reason, I find that passion incredibly addicting. When I write from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl, I feel everything she would feel. Teens are full of energy and life. I love seeing a bit of that excitement spilling over to my normal boring personality.

How does my writing process work?

Back when I wrote Destiny, I used the pantster method for part of the story, and it caused me months of rewriting. Eventually, one of my editors recommended that I read a screenwriting book called Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. I highly recommend it! I was able to go back and fix a lot of the problems with Destiny because of what I learned in that book. With Synchrony, I used the method described in Save the Cat, and it left me with very little to edit developmentally. I’m much happier with the way I do things now.

At the very beginning I like to start with a pad of paper and a pencil. I sit outside where I can let nature inspire me, and I create profiles for each character. I describe the character’s appearance, favorite food, back story, hobbies, hopes and dreams, fears, friends and family, and setting. I invent weaknesses and determine how the character should grow in my story.

Once I have a good idea of who my characters are, I brainstorm story lines and form an outline. When I have my outline down on one to two sheets of paper, I pull out my bulletin board and index cards. I stack my cards on the table, label each one with a scene from the book, and then spread it across the table like a card game. I organize the scenes according to acts and take note of which part of the story it coordinates with. Then when I have it mostly figured out, I pin the cards to the bulletin board into the appropriate acts.

Before I begin writing the first draft, I take down the first few cards, and everything I need to know is already there ready to go. When those scenes are written, I repin them to the bulletin board and move on to the next few cards. This process took me only six weeks for Synchrony. Once my first draft was written, I discovered it to be fairly clean after the first read through. I sent it out to my beta readers and gave them about a month to read through the manuscript and get their feedback to me. A month after that, Synchrony was available for purchase.

So from start to finish, Destiny took me about fifteen months and Synchrony took me about four months.

That’s pretty much it. I’m still a fairly new writer, so I’m sure this process will evolve for me over time. But for now, this is what works for me.

Thanks so much for stopping by be sure to visit these authors next week for the next stops on the hop:

Cassy Roop:




Cassy has been a lover of all things romance from a young age. Her taste ranges from Sandra Brown to E.L. James and Sylvia Day. Writing has always been a passion, and thanks to a few great author friends, she has penned her first novel The Price of Love.




Twitter  Facebook  Goodreads Amazon




Amanda Leigh


Amanda Leigh is a recent college graduate with a BA in English and Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. During college, she worked on the literary magazine and loved every minute of it. She has two poetry collections out so far with another project due out in 2014. She lives with her mom and a kitten named Sawyer – named after one of her favorite characters on Lost. She’s engaged to a man with the same rare chronic condition as her (Nephropathic Cystinosis). Amanda enjoys reading, writing avidly in a journal, writing poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking and art – particularly photography. She also keeps up two blogs. On one she posts all about books and writing,… and on the other she talks about everything else (medical experiences, music, about her and her fiancé etc.),…. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her.

Twitter  Facebook  Website Amazon

Rachel Bateman


Rachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, despite living in the south (usually on a beach) in her head. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering edits and formatting/interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets.

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Synchrony Book Blitz

Check out the Synchrony book blitz for the second book in my series and enter to win free books, swag, or a $50Amazon gift card.

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It’s Here!! Synchrony Cover Reveal!!!!!!

I’m so excited to share this amazing book cover with all of you!

For those of you who don’t know, Synchrony is my second book to ever publish and is the second book in the Destiny Trilogy.

The cover models are:

The talented model and actress Selena Renteria as DESTINY


And the former American Idol contestant, the amazing Christian Lopez as PRESTON! You can learn more about him and his music by visiting his website at

I was able to find these amazing models through my longtime friend Virginia Hodges of Virginia Rose Hodges Photography.
The cover design was done by Steven Novak.

Anyway enough blabbering here’s the cover!


Here it is! The cover for Synchrony! 
And the full jacket!
So if you’ve read Destiny, you’re probably wondering what Preston’s doing on this cover and where Isaac is. Well, read the blurb to figure it out!

Here’s the blurb:

When her parents discover she’s been sneaking out with Isaac Robinson, the forbidden Baptist boy, Mormon girl Destiny Clark decides it’s time to keep their relationship quiet. As their relationship moves to shakier ground, Destiny discovers that Isaac has a terrible secret, and she is left completely shattered.

The moment Destiny feels all hope is lost, Preston Nelson, her longtime church friend and Isaac’s bitter rival, arrives like a beacon of light. It isn’t long before two separate disasters strike for Preston and Destiny’s best friend, Hannah. As Destiny helps them through their issues, she discovers that sometimes the best way to forget about your own problems is to help a friend in need.

Just as her heart begins to mend and her friendship with Preston begins to heat up, Isaac walks back into her life, threatening to rekindle the feelings she’d hoped to bury forever. Will Destiny and Preston find the synchrony they so desperately need, or will she find a way to forgive Isaac and return to his outstretched arms?


To celebrate, I’m offering a Rafflecopter Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Still haven’t read Destiny #1 and don’t want to wait for the Rafflecopter to end? Well, this week is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of that because Destiny #1 is on sale for $0.99 for the first time ever! Go ahead, buy it now!! You know you want to!

Feeling intrigued by that gorgeous ad? (thanks again Virginia for the amazing photography) Learn more about Destiny here:
You can also take a look at some excerpts from a few of my favorite scenes from Destiny.

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Destiny Sale!!

Destiny Sale!!

Destiny is now on sale for $0.99 for the rest of the week!!

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January 14, 2014 · 4:52 am

Synchrony Cover Reveal Coming 1/14/14!!

Synchrony Cover Reveal Coming 1/14/14!!

In celebration of the cover reveal of my upcoming novel, Synchrony (Destiny #2), I will be lowering the price of Destiny #1 to $0.99 for a few days! Stay tuned for more info!

Can’t wait until the sale? Grab your a of Destiny at

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January 11, 2014 · 9:20 pm

Why Should You Register the Copyright of Your Manuscript?

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

It is not required for an author to register your work or even provide a notice. But… there are reasons to protect yourself and what you created.

Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work in any form. And in most countries, a work – such as literature, music or software – is automatically protected as soon as it is created. Excluded are ideas, titles, names, facts and short phrases.

However, proving your claim may be a very difficult matter without proper evidence. Often it boils down to a case of “their word against yours”. Without proper protection, work that you have created, could end up making money for someone else.

Claims in US Courts:

• If you have registered your work before infringement, you can collect Statutory Damages plus attorney fees.
• If you registered after infringement, but before filing suit, you can only sue for…

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{Blog Tour} Destiny by Cindy Ray Hale: Guest Post + #Giveaway

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Guess who’s one of the most beautiful authors ever!!! Cindy Ray Hale!

As many of you know, I provide editing services for authors. And I love it! It keeps me busy and happy, and it would be absolutely brilliant if one day I could support myself on just that and my writings.

One of the reasons I love editing is the lovely authors who go on to do fantastic things! Like publish! Cindy hired me to do content editing for her first novel, Destiny, which is the first book in a trilogy. Batabing, bataboom, she turned my and others edits into a brilliant first book!!! I bought a hard copy (for me to love and cherish forever) and an eBook version for my mom to put on her Kindle.



*dances in delight* Also, this is first time you can see my whole face, hello internet, how you doing

It really is an amazing…

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Destiny Blog Tour

Thanks Emerald Barnes for hosing me on your blog!

Dreaming Awake

Destiny Banner 1.2
This is my stop during the blog tour for Destiny (destiny Trilogy #1) by Cindy Ray Hale. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours . The blog tour runs from November 5 till November 25, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours

Today, she’s talking about how Les Misérables inspired her novel, Destiny.

Welcome, Cindy! 

Before I started writing Destiny, I hadn’t ever seen Les Misérables.

I’d heard the CD maybe once back when I was about 18. Then a couple of year later, I’d seen about five minutes of the musical while I was flipping through the channels on TV. My husband was obsessed with it when I first met him. He’d gone to the musical and had a t-shirt and everything. I never understood what the big fuss was. To me it just seemed like a bunch of dirty…

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