Wednesday, February 1, 2017

If I Were Beautiful Excerpt + Giveaway!

If I Were Beautiful 
by Devon Hartford 
(If I Were…, #1) 
Publication date: January 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance


Is life better when you’re beautiful?

Jane Johnson has tried every beauty tip and trick known to woman, but none of them have ever made men notice her.

Until now.

Finally, something is working. She barely recognizes herself in the mirror. Is it her new haircut? Two years of yoga class? Her new eyebrow tweeze? Or is it all that nasty wheat grass juice her sister insisted she drink finally working some kind of magic? Whatever it is, something is transforming Jane from plain to downright beautiful.

For the first time in her life, men are noticing her.


Jane is getting so much attention from men she doesn’t know what to do with it.

Before her inexplicable transformation, she couldn’t get a date to save her life. Now she has a date every night of the week. Gorgeous eligible men are throwing themselves at her. They’re even fighting over her. Actual fist fights to win her affection.

It all seems too good to be true.

The only question on Jane’s mind is whether or not her newfound beauty is going to last or if it’s some cruel trick of fate that will fade away as quickly as it appeared.

Because everybody knows, when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

***If I Were Beautiful is a saucy romance with a mystical twist that will leave you breathless to find out what happens next. This is book one of a three book series. Book two will release April 2017, Book three, July 2017 (or sooner).

I had just gone insane.
Or had a stroke.
Or maybe I was still asleep.
Whatever it was, there was no rational explanation for what I saw in the mirror.
Someone else.
Not pudgy little me with bad hair.
Some supermodel I didn’t recognize.
I blinked several times.
But I still saw the supermodel.
I was hallucinating.
I squeezed my eyes shut and rubbed them until I saw stars. Then I opened them.
Still seeing a supermodel.
Long flowing blonde hair, a bit messy and bedish, but it was silky and shiny gold and looked good enough for a photo on a box of hair dye.
A finely shaped face with high cheekbones, trim nose, wide full mouth and lush lips. Her lashes were naturally thick. When she smiled, she had perfectly straight white teeth.
The supermodel was taller than my five foot nothing. If I had to guess, I’d say she was almost 5’9” with long and slender arms and legs and an hourglass figure.
Then it hit me. I was looking through a window at another person. It was the only thing that made sense.
So I stuck my head slowly out my bathroom door to see if the blonde supermodel was standing on the other side of the wall, looking at me through a window. Super Blonde matched my movements exactly and, surprise surprise, she wasn’t standing behind the wall in my hallway.
Nobody was.
Back in front of the mirror, I scratched my head for a moment and Super Blonde did too.
Wait, wait, wait.
I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I was just imagining all this. The brain can be like that. Wishful thinking and that sort of thing. Probably left over hallucination from my crazy five day flu.
I walked into my bedroom and found my glasses on the nightstand where I always left them before bed. I put them on.
I couldn’t see!
My glasses really hurt my eyes.
I yanked them off and looked at them. Were these my glasses? They seemed like it. Was it an old pair? Maybe that was it. I put them on again. My entire bedroom squiggled and vibrated and had this magnified quality that made me nauseous. I took them off and searched through my desk for a different pair. Put those on. Same thing. They hurt my eyes too. I went back in the bathroom with my glasses and put them on in front of the mirror. Same result. They hurt my eyes and blurred everything, so I set them on the counter.
Had someone given me LASIK while I was asleep?
I’d think about that later because one thing remained the same, whether I had my glasses on or off.
I was the blonde supermodel in the mirror.

Want to win your own signed copy? Enter the giveaway below!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.

Join Devon’s newsletter and you’ll receive teasers of his upcoming books before anyone else, exclusive freebie short stories and novellas, and no spam. Copy and paste this link into your web browser to sign up:

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Monday, October 31, 2016

NaNoWriMo is about to Begin!

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, Thirty days devoted to writing an entire novel. That's 50,000 words in thirty days.

Here's the break down:
 Sign up at
 Declare a project: Title, Cover image, Synopsis
 On November 1st, START WRITING!
 Everyday, check in with your word count.

And that's it. Easy as pie. It's great fun, and good practice for focusing. If you follow any of the nanowrimo boards on twitter there are usually admins running writing sprints, prompts, and other little tidbits to help you get through your writing day.

If you're still not sure you can do it...just try. Writing the first word is the first step. 

And Happy Halloween!!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

This Screaming In My Head

I'm taking a few minutes for myself while Lil Miss watches Peg + Cat to write this.
I've written before that I'm happy, much happier than I was before. But there's something that eats away at me.

It's failure. Every time Lil Miss asks for something, I have to tell her no, because we don't have the money. Every time she wants to go to the park, I have to look all over town on the weekends for a park that hasn't been rented out for someone's birthday. But what breaks me in half is when she cries because she has no friends.

We've moved to a new town, again, where we know absolutely no one. Lil Miss's birthday passed a few weeks ago and she had no friends to invite over for a birthday party. She didn't even have  a birthday party, just a cake I made for her and a few presents from us and my in-laws (who do live near us, thank god we're not completely alone). She received gift-cards from others that we used to buy her cold weather clothes, things she needed.

But it's friends she wants. People to play with. Mommy and daddy is all she has right now, and when she plays with her aunt and uncle she breaks down when we have to leave them.

I feel like a failure because I should be doing more for her, but what else can I do? I want to home school her, am trying to, but she wants friends. She did really well in Sunday school the few times my father took her to church with him and his girlfriend. So there's evidence she would do well in a school setting. And she wants to go to school. She doesn't see the schoolwork we do here as school, just something she has to do. The only real way to get her to sit down and pay attention is buy paying her in TV time.

Shows like Peg + Cat, the Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, they all do really well teaching her different situations. Lil Miss lea
rned her whole alphabet from watching PBS, even counting to 100 (the thing I helped there was counting with her when she would ride her bike in circl
es, and that was a game she invented). She can skip count by two's. She asks how to spell words. All of this from TV.

Math is easy for her. Reading, not so much.

Maybe if I put her in school she would do better. Teachers are trained for it better than I am. She wants so much to do things on her own.

Do you see why I feel horrible all the time? I can't give her friends, I didn't put her in a traditional school, she learns more from TV than me. What hell am I even good for in this situation?

I do I help Lil Miss when all she wants is to play?

Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm Not Dead!

Cheese and crackers this past summer has been a process. Neither good nor bad, just...a process. If you haven't guessed from earlier posts, I made some decisions for the better. The goal was to be happier and fix some relationships, and I got so much more than that.

I found out my mama is sick, has been for a while. As much as I wanted to hate her for everything she did to me growing up, I just couldn't do it. We don't know how much longer she has. So I've put everything behind me and stopped being angry with her. I cannot forgive or forget, but I can let it go. I wanted to make sure that she has time with the only grandchild she has. I know she loves her, she would give my Lil Miss her last dollar if she asked (which she probably would). She loves seating at the table and watching Lil Miss cut out strips of paper to build a railroad, or color pictures, or play hide & seek. It makes Mama happy, therefore, it makes me happy.

The most important thing about forging my own path was for my marriage. Sometimes we get so set in our ways we don't see the walls of our homes crumbling down. The roof was gone, the rain pouring in. So I left, and started a new home. I am very happy to say that my husband joined me in this new house. We're still working out problems, but now we're working together, instead of just living in the same house.

And what of the writing career (The whole purpose of this blog!)?

Well, it's getting there. I'm still writing, just not as much. I dedicate three, maybe four, hours a day to nothing but writing. In the morning I'm with Lil Miss and in the evening my husband is home and we spend family time and together time then. Once everyone goes to bed (they have an 8:00 pm bedtime, early work-shifts
), I get to sit alone in the dark at my desk, writing.

I work this way so that I don't take time away from either of them. If I ever sit down to write when they're around nothing ever gets done. Lil Miss wants to play or ask a thousand questions, Hubby needs help finding this or that, asks my opinions on a kitchen island I desperately want (hopefully I'll get it for Christmas, handmade by the hubby), or someone just wants to cuddle.

The writing career is going slowly, but I haven't stopped. As we speak I am on draft 8 (yes EIGHT) of Legacy. Things there are going swimmingly, although I giggle like a little schoolgirl when I get to, eh-hm, certain scenes.
(I just giggled thinking about it. There is definitely something wrong with me.)
Crystallised is coming along even more slowly. I've changed a few things around and now the first draft is half done. My Tutore series is even further away from where I hoped it would be. For the first book I ever actually sat down to write (and never got further than the first chapter) it is definitely taking a lot of time to get to the end of step one.

That's it. That's my life up to to this point. Besides not having internet and keeping me from talking to all you wonderful, I'm content. Happy.

That was the goal for all this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: The Winner's Curse

*I received a copy from my public library and chose to review of my own free will*

The Winner's Curse
355 pagesPublished: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

They were never meant to be together
As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.
Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

My Review
I tried very hard to stay away from this book. I had read some review on Goodreads that made the book out to be one sided. If you don’t know, this book is about slavery, revolution, and a girl falling in love with the wrong man.

Slavery does not sit well with me, expecially not books who glamorize slavery. This book made slavery out to not be as bad as it actually is. the slaves had privileges and were taken care of...but in reality, slavery is a harsh life. You need permission to just go out and by food or shoes for your children. And in this book the slaves are a once free people enslaved because they valued beauty over war.

The young female MC, whose point of view we follow through out the book, has lead a privileged life. She is wealthy, well-educated, taught in the art of fighting, and has a love of piano. She feels a comelling urge to buy a young man at the slavery block and befriends him, only t later learn of his betrayal.

Her life is turned upside down just as the native’s lives were flipped when they were first invaded. Her people are slaughtered and driven out of the country while she is taken hostage, presumably for her own safety by the young man she once bought and fell in love with.

The book des a fairly good job and showing how people who grow up with slavery as a normal part of every day life really have no idea of the darkside of slavery. The MC wonders wh slaves are fighting against it when they are provided homes, food, clothing, and jobs, while at the same time seeing slaves punished for the slightest infraction and believeing them to be deserved.

The slaves on the other hand see only the people they once were, forced out of their homes and made to do for others, instead for themselves. We see a little of the young man’s point of view, what he does to get the upper hand.

Throughout the book we see these two people from two very different worlds grow closer, to the point where they forget who the other person actually is. Even in the end, despite the betrayals committed against each other, the MC fights for both of her people...her own countrymen and the natives she once called slaves. she has grown to care for these people, see them as people not just slaves.

I really liked the execution of the Winner’s Curse. The story was well told and well developed. It was traditionally published so you know it is well put together.

I am looking forward to reading the econd book in the series.

4 stars

Monday, July 25, 2016

Roadmaps Help You When You Think You Won't Need Them

When you want to be a published writer, many people still look to the exhaustive traditional publishing. Agents, query letters, rejections, and waiting. Sometimes you can wait months or even years. You will recieve fifty rejections before you get a deal.

I guess that’s why self-publishing is so appealing. You can publish when you want and screw the rejection. Plus, you get to keep more of the royalties. You are your own boss. Which means a whole lot more than you think.

To be your own boss and to self-publish, you have to treat your career like a business. You have to come up with a business plan, a marketing plan. There are legal things you have to do (such as IRS information). This all on top of writing, editing, and designing the cover.

If you have the budget, you can hire out editors and cover designers. Since the rise of self-publishing more and more people are branching out, becoming freelancers in their respective fields. A good editor can make a world of difference in your book and sales. Cover designers can give your book that leg up it needs to get people looking.

When you want to sell a book you have to think from the reader's perspective and how they choose a book. The cover is the first thing they it has to fit the genre and be eye catching. Next is the description...get across just enough to pull the reader in but don’t give away the whole plot. The next thing is the inside. The reader will usually flip through a few pages to see how the inside looks. Grammar, alignment, font size...all that will make or break it for you as a writer.

All of these things can be hired out or done all by yourself. If you are like me, you can DIY all the way only because I cannot afford to hire out full time professionals.

To be able to do that I have to do a lot of research. The different types of editing, designing, and tips & tricks that can help me make the absolute best my book can be.

I’m going to leave these two things here.Both resources are chockfull of tips and things you need to know if you want to be a self-published writer. I cannot begin to tell you just how helpful these two books have been. And they’re free!

You can Google the authors and sign up for loads of free tips and tricks, and resources you will definitely need on your writing and publishing journey.

Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn and Self-Publishing Boot Camp by Carla King

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Flawless Book Review

Flawless cover

I received a free copy of this book for a fair and honest review.

by Jennifer McGill-Sadera

Genre: Dark Contemporary
Age Category: New Adult
Release Date: September 2013

Nobody's perfect. Except Lia Copeland. She's flawless. And worshipped. And hated. From her perfectly proportioned figure and enviable bone structure to her instinctual talent for clothing design and cavalier attitude, Lia's the woman every other woman wants to be and every man wants to have. Catapulted from sigh-maker in the high-school halls to superstardom in the fashion world, she makes it look easy. A girl like that has everything; every reason to be happy. Then why does Lia Copeland just want everyone to leave her the hell alone?
A story about the choices made in the wake of travail and tragedy, it explores relationships with all their messy and marvelous moments and magnifies the beauty, wonder and endurance of first love.

My Review
This book is in two parts. The first was slow paced. I had to force my way through it because all I could see was a very shallow female MC who was always ‘Why me-ing?’ It took me two weeks to get through it.

So let’s start with this: I went into reading this book forgetting the description I had read when I signed up for the book review. I couldn’t for the life of me remember wat it was supposed to be about. Then little things started popping out at me: the darkness, her first time with her boyfriend. I still couldn’t remember what the book was about, but I was getting an inclination of it.

In part two, we finally hit the meat of the situation. The MC is now an adult, one of her closest friends pretty much forces her into therapy with a new psychiatrist, and the story has meaning.

The MC is no longer this little girl who is way too over confident and doesn’t give a crap about anyone. She is a woman who cares about people, has taken on the role of loving and doting aunt to her friends children, and who realizes something significant happened in her childhood that shaped her into the person she is.

By the end of the book, each meaningless scene in part one has meaning, a definition. There was a method to the narcissism. And I bawled like a baby.

Although the book could use some more editing and character building in the first part, I fell in love with the book.

The storyline is poignant and heart wrenching. Each scene created a person, not just a character or a world, but an entire person moving through life in different ways. The charaters grabbed you in their innocence, their loyalty. Their ends.

Flawless is truly one of those books that grabs you and pulls you in. It will break you down and build you back up again, just as th characters are broken and reshaped.

This book carries a trigger warning for depression, rape, and suicide. But as a victim of depression and rape, a survivor, I can tell you that it meant omething to read this back and come out stronger. Do not let fear of something that happened before keep you from moving on. 

I give 4 stars, all around. 

You can find Flawless on Goodreads

You can buy Flawless here:

JenniferAbout the author:
Jennifer McGill-Sadera first worked in the publishing industry as a junior copywriter for NAL/Penguin. She has written and edited for newspapers and magazines as a free-lancer and on the staffs of major women's publications "Woman's World" and "Redbook." Her New Adult novel "Flawless" is her first published book, though she admits to writing three previous unpublished books "just for fun." A nature lover, she recently became a certified horticulturist and has a side business designing flower gardens. She and her husband live in upstate New York with their two kids, two dogs and a lop-eared rabbit, who, incidentally, has a starring role in "Flawless."

You can find and contact Jennifer here:

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