Thursday, August 28, 2014

10 Songs That Give Country Music a Bad Rep

This post has absolutely nothing to do with me being an author, and I have no idea why I'm writing it, but...  

I like country music. I've listened to it most of my life. The songs tell stories and most of them are easy to sing along with. It recently occurred to me that there are a handful of songs that give country music its bad reputation. You know, lyrics that make you slap yourself in the forehead and say, "Seriously?!?" (Meanwhile, you continue to sing along.)

So, without further adieu, here's my list of the "countriest" country songs. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what songs I didn't think to add!

In no particular order:

1) "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" - Sammy Kershaw

   Even if this song had nothing more than a title, that would be enough to qualify it for my list.

2) "Ticks" - Brad Paisley

Okay, regardless of what this song is really about, the lyrics induce know, from all the eye rolling.

3) "Who's That Man" - Toby Keith

You know that old joke that if you play a country song backward the guy gets his dog back, his wife back, and his truck back?  Yeah, well, it would totally work with this song.

4) "Watermelon Crawl" - Tracy Byrd

I've been to a few small town celebrations. This one beats them all.

5) "John Deere Green" - Joe Diffie

It' a nice gesture, but totally redneck. And there's so much twang!

6) "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" - Trace Adkins

Just read the lyrics, that's all I gotta say.

7) "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" - Kenny Chesney

And then there were those guys in high school that thought it was funny to drive their dates to the prom in their tractors...

8) "Red Solo Cup" - Toby Keith

Adding this one to the list needs no explanation. The words speak for themselves.

9) "Trashy Women" - Confederate Railroad

Big sigh..........

10) Daddy's Money - Ricochet

Who compares a girl to turnip greens?  (Sadly, this isn't the only country song I know that includes lyrics about turnip greens.)

Feel free to comment about what songs YOU think are the "countriest."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Do YOU believe in ghosts? free polls 

I believe in ghosts. I think... 

I saw a ghost when I was a teenager. I think...

Here's the story: 

The day was bright and sunny. I can't remember exactly how old I was, but I know I was a teenager. Fifteen, maybe? It was morning and I was in my kitchen making a piece of toast. My mom sat at our dining room table nearby, folding a basket of clean laundry. We chatted a little, but there wasn't a deep conversation going on. At one point, I glanced up at her...but she wasn't alone. There was a man standing behind her, right where the dining room meets a hallway. The man was maybe ten feet away. He didn't look hazy, or ghost-like. He was of average height, in good shape, and had dark hair. He was fully dressed in normal clothes. (Think polo shirt and khakis.)

Naturally, I gasped when I saw him. (Not a scream...a gasp.) I remember my mom looking up at me from her pile of clothes. In my shock and surprise, I dropped the knife I'd been using to butter my toast. The sound of the knife hitting the counter top caused me to look down for a brief second. When I looked back up, the man had vanished.

"What's wrong?" I remember my mom asking.

"I'm not sure," I answered.

I walked down the hall and looked in every room. There wasn't a man hiding under the beds or in the closets of any of the three bedrooms or two bathrooms down that hall. HE. JUST. VANISHED.

Was the man a ghost? Was he an angel? Was I hallucinating?

I can't answer any of those questions, but I know what I saw and I can still picture the man to this day. He doesn't resemble anyone I know, and I don't think he looks like any dead ancestors that I know of.

Just to clarify, I was not on any medication (legal or illegal), and I don't drink, nor did I as a teenager. I'll let you draw your own conclusions of what I saw that day, but as for me, I'm not ruling out the reality of ghosts.

I honestly wonder how many people out there believe in ghosts, whether they'll admit it out loud or not. Take the poll at the top of this blog post and then share it with your friends. Let's see what everyone really believes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Being West is Best Book Blog Tour

I was recently asked to review a book for a book blog tour. The book is called Being West is Best, by Monique Bucheger, and it is the fourth book in the Ginnie West Adventures series.

Here's the book blurb:

Twelve-year-old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Too bad “lousy dad repellant” doesn’t come in a can. Even though Tillie’s dad has sobered up and is determined to make amends, Tillie would rather he just disappear again. If he stays, “Operation: Secret Sisters” may need to be renamed “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.” If that’s not bad enough, the biggest bully in seventh grade comes over often and wishes he could call the West’s farmhouse “home.” When the bully’s abusive dad shows up as well, Ginnie thinks it’s time to change her family’s motto from “When you’re here, you’re family” to “There’s no more room at the West’s.”
The main character is Ginnie West, but the book is also told from the point of view of her twin brother, her best friend, and her brother's friend. By doing this, Monique Bucheger shows the reader how each character is seeing the different situations.

Monique Bucheger
In my opinion, Being West is Best is good crossover book for kids who are getting a little too mature for some of the Middle-Grade books on the market, but aren't quite ready to handle the sometimes more mature themes of Young Adult books. Being West is Best tackled a theme that can be a little tough for some sensitive younger readers to handle...child abuse and the repercussions it can have on family life and friends.

No one will ever accuse Monique Bucheger of lacking individuality in her writing. One of my favorite things about Being West is Best were her funny, picture-inducing descriptions. Here are a couple of samples from the book that brought a smile to my face. (I hope Monique doesn't mind me posting quotes!)
"Sure, she was pretty in a blonde-haired, blue-eyed twelve-year-old pop star sort of way, but she was more trouble than she'd ever be worth. Kind of like a rabid cocker spaniel ... cute, but dangerous."
"Ginnie's mouth opened like a tent flap in a windstorm."
"If things didn't change soon, Ginnie would be exploding like a mouthful of Pop Rocks."

As I mentioned above, the subject matter is a serious one, but Monique does a good job of introducing it to a non-adult. If your child is a horse lover, check out this series!

You can find the book right ... HERE!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shadow of a Life is NOW AVAILABLE!

The much awaited day (at least by me) has arrived!  Shadow of a Life has officially been released by  Creative Prose Publishing and is...

Now Available!!!


Barnes & Noble 


Jamie Peters plans to spend the summer before her junior year with her nose stuck in a book—not saving lost souls. Usually the girl that blends into the crowd, Jamie’s world is turned upside down when a mysterious ghost begins to follow her.

But Sophia isn’t just any ghost.

A hundred years earlier, Sophia’s disappearance sparked a national mystery that remained unsolved. Jamie knows the legends surrounding Sophia’s disappearance, but she never dreamed she would find out what really happened . . . or that her family might have had something to do with Sophia’s disappearance.

Determined to set Sophia free, Jamie blows the dust off her family’s past and unearths clues to discover what she must do to save Sophia’s soul. She enlists the help of childhood friend—and secret crush—Peter Ashby as she sets off on a dangerous quest to find a missing map. Spending the night in a graveyard, crawling through a dilapidated barn, and staring down the barrel of a gun aren’t enough to deter Jamie from helping Sophia. But can she find the answers she needs before another ghost gets revenge on her and Sophia?

Creative Prose Publishing

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Shadow of a Life will be spotlighted by the following people from August 11th - August 18th. Check out their fun blogs and websites each day

August 11, 2014       Anna
August 11, 2014       Jamie
August 12, 2014       Holly
August 12, 2014       Rebecca
August 13, 2014       Becky
August 13, 2014       G. L. 
August 14, 2014       Mikey
August 15, 2014       Cynthia
August 18, 2014       Alison

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I LOVE this new series! Perfect for middle-grade readers.

I recently got to read a preview copy of a new book by Mikey Brooks called Battle for Acropolis. It's one of six books in a new series called The Gates of Atlantis. I've read some of Mikey's books with my kids before and I was excited to see what this new series was all about. He did not disappoint.


Don't you hate it when you find a book you like and you have to WAIT for the sequels? (GASP!) Here's the catch with Battle for Acropolis: It is one book in a series of six...and they were ALL released on the same day! Isn't that a fun idea? No waiting!

Here's the blurb for Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis:

Thirteen-year-old Talon is in trouble...again. He didn't mean to burn down the school library. It just happened. Things like that always happen to Talon. His life is a mixture of the weird and bizarre. No one else he knows can shoot fire from their hands or cause an earthquake...but he can.

Every night the same dream haunts Talon: the destruction of an underwater city. He doesn't have a clue what it means but he feels like fate is trying to warn him. It's not until he runs away with his foster sister Hattie that he discovers his trouble-making powers and strange nightmare are connected. Together they are the key to saving saving Atlantis.

Doesn't that sound fun??? I read this book to my kids while we were traveling recently. I was completely hoarse from reading out loud for so long, but I didn't care. I had to know what would happen next. AND, it kept my kids completely enthralled all the way across west Texas and New Mexico. (If you've ever traveled in those areas, you know it's saying a lot to say we didn't get bored.)

I feel like most books have a part or two that you "just have to get through." Know what I mean? I didn't ever get that feeling from Battle for Acropolis. It really kept moving. 


I had the pleasure of interviewing Mikey so you can all get to know him and his writing. Here it goes:

TC: How long have you been writing?
MB: I have been a story teller as long as I can remember. I started putting words on paper when I was about 12, so a really long time.
TC: What books and projects have you previously released?
MB: I have a fantastic middle-grade series out called The Dream Keeper Chronicles. There are two volumes available in both book and audiobook. The final installment will be out this fall. My other middle-grade book is The Stone of Valhalla, which has been on Amazon’s bestselling list since it came out in April this year. I also have several picture books that I both wrote and illustrated including ABC Adventures: Magical Creatures which is also an Amazon bestseller.
TC: Each book in The Gates of Atlantis Series was written by a different author. Can you tell us about your part in it?
 MB: Yes. Each book is written by a different author and each has different main characters. If you fall in love with the characters from one book, don’t worry, they’ll make an appearance here and there in the others. The books do not have to read in any order, however, my book is best when saved for last. I had the opportunity to write the conclusion to the series arc. I guess you could say mine is the last book. I also was fortunate enough to illustrate the covers and do all the other art you’ll see through the books.
TC: Is the series complete, or will there be more to come?
MB: The series does end with Battle for Acropolis, however, I know several of the Atlantis authors, myself included, that have thought about more adventures for our characters to go on. I know for sure I have at least one other book in me featuring Talon as the main character.
TC:  You are an illustrator and a writer. Do you find yourself wishing you could spend more time on one or the other?
MB: I do get rather busy doing other authors’ books and wish I could focus more time on my own projects, but I’ve got bills to pay. If you want to know the truth: I absolutely LOVE what I do. There’s a saying if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, that’s me. I really don’t feel like its work. Whether I am writing or drawing I am doing what I love.
TC: The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis is a fantasy novel. How does it feel to create a "new reality"? Have you always been imaginative?
MB: I love the idea of a “new reality”. These fantastic hidden worlds like Harry Potter’s Wizarding World or Percy Jackson’s Olympians—they bring magic so close to home. I think readers will get the same sensations from the Atlantis books. They make you think that it “could” be real. And that’s what I love about them.
Yes, I have always been living in a daydream. I like to find magic in the mundane. It’s my own personal way of not getting bored. I am currently teaching my imagination ideology to my kids: Never settle for a life that is boring when you can dream it so much better.
 TC:  Who is your favorite author and what is it you like about their work?
MB: Oh gosh, I don’t know if I can answer with just one. There are so many authors that have influenced me in many ways. Two authors who really opened doorways for me are: L. Frank Baum and J.K. Rowling. I am the world’s biggest Oz and Harry Potter fan. My office is dripping with magical memorabilia from those books. It helps inspire me and keep me floating high above the clouds. You’ve already touched on what they do for me: they write in a way that straddles both the real and the fantastic. Other authors I adore include: C.S. Lewis, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Rick Riordan, J. Scott Savage, Brandon Mull, Eoin Colfer, and many more. Notice how those I just listed are also writers that open doorways to the “new reality”.
TC:  When not writing (or illustrating) where would you most like to be or what would you most like to be doing?
MB: I am a family man. I love to spend time with my girls. We can do just about anything together but I like it best when they are having as much fun as me. When the girlies are in bed, I like to snuggle up with “my girl” and watch a movie (75% of the time a chick flick).
TC: What book are you currently reading or which book is next on your list to read?
MB: I am a HUGE middle-grade book reader. It’s pretty much all I read. I just finished up the last book in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy (it was amazing). I highly recommend the first book: The False Prince. It will hook you! Before that was Alan Tucker’s A Measure of Disorder. (Totally excellent). Next on my list is the first Seven Wonders book by Peter Lerangis. I have heard nothing but good things. I am a BIG TIME audiobook fan. If a book is in audio I will give it a go. I listen to about 3 books a week as I illustrate.
TC:  Do you have any other projects in the work that you want to give us a sneak peek at? 
MB: I am currently finishing up on The Dream Makers, which is the last book in The Dream Keeper Chronicles, which is slotted for release in early fall. It’s going to be a spectacular ending so I don’t want to give anything away yet. I do have a book I am shopping to agents right now which just won 1st place in my chapters’ League of Utah Writers Writing Competition for Middle-grade and YA. It’s called The Witches of Roosevelt Elementary. It’s about two kids that find out their parents are keeping a huge secret from them: they’re witch hunters. When their parents mysteriously disappear, witches invade their school disguised as glamorous lunch ladies. I hope I find an agent soon because I have kids asking about it. I hate to keep them waiting.
Thanks, Mikey!

Here's a glimpse at the other five books in the series.

Written by Wendy Knight
Written by Jaclyn Weist
Written by Juli Caldwell
Written by J. R. Simmons
Written by Laura D. Bastian
(I really enjoyed her Eye on Orion!)



You can purchase any of the books on Amazon!  Happy reading!  (Now I'm going to leave so I can go read one of the other books in the series.)