Thursday, March 28, 2013

A to Z and Happy Easter

Happy 10th birthday to my little guy today! We're throwing him a Minecraft party. It's been fun trying to make everything cube-shaped for the celebration. :)

Starting on Monday, I'll be participating in the A to Z challenge, where bloggers post every day during the month of April except Sundays. This will be my second year joining in, and I've decided to spotlight my favorite YA girl characters from books I've read. I hope you'll stop by and tell me about some of your favorite literary characters during the month as well.

I'll be celebrating a joyous Easter this weekend and wish you and your family a very happy holiday. See you on Monday!

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Website

Well, in case you haven't noticed, we've got some big changes around here: a new web design complete with links up there and everything. That's right, I'm all high tech now. With a simple click you can read more than you ever wanted to know about me or see where else I am on the interwebs. Even my Facebook and Twitter accounts are all matching now. Ooh lala.

The cool thing about this design is that there's special meaning to the red stars up top and tribal pattern below, but I'll save that explanation for another day. For now, feel free to look around and tell me what you think. And if you do choose to follow me on FB or Twitter or whatever other social media thing I've listed under the contact page, I'll follow you back.

I almost forgot to announce the winner of my 300 follower celebration from a couple weeks back. So who gets a 10-page critique from me? --everyone who asked for one. Yipee! So Jaybird, Connie, Suzanne, Leigh and Tammy...send your 10 pages over to me whenever you're ready. There's no expiration for this offer, so just send it when it's best for you. My email is under the contact tab above. Yay!

I'm feeling kind of zen today, so I'll leave you with a song from one of my favorite music-to-read-to artists, Dustin O'Halloran. Ahh, life is good.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Laie Falls.

It's a waterfall--small and secluded at the end of a trail a few miles from my childhood home. I grew up loving this place. It was a half-day's hike through orchard and forest, then rock and dense bush, quite a feat for a small child. I would imagine myself living there with wild animals as my friends. As I got older, it morphed into fantasies of meeting some handsome boy that would fall in love with me. And later, a cherished destination that I wanted to share with my own children.

laie falls

Not surprisingly, it became the setting of the very first scene of the very first book I ever wrote. There is no doubt my favorite places have influenced my writing. They appear, in one form or another, in all of my stories, and I'm sure they always will.

The waterways in Venice. Neuschwanstein castle at sunset. Lanikai beach early in the morning. The Wasatch mountains at the peak of autumn. These are a few of my favorite places. What are some of your favorites?

This video is a prime example of how powerful setting can be.
It's really something to see.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movie Countdown

Here is the countdown of my top ten favorite movies:

10. Ladyhawke--A fantasy of forbidden love with Matthew Broderick and Michelle, yes please.

9. Whale Rider--Overcoming tradition and fulfilling your destiny...LOVE this movie about a girl longing for love and acceptance.

8. Inception--I remember sitting in the theater watching Eclipse and wishing I could be in the next room watching Inception again. Everything a great mind-bending sci-fi should be.

7. The Village--Yes, I'm a big fan of M. Night Shyamalan. *ducks tomatoes* But come on, Lucius Hunt. *swoons*

6. Sweet Land--An indie-film about immigrant America...beautiful beautiful film (and love story)!

5. V for Vendetta--I've only seen an edited version of this, but if you're looking for a girl-power dystopian that will resonate for a long time...this is it.

4. Serenity--I'm cheating because really I want to put "Firefly" here, but it's not a movie. :)

3. Last of the Mohicans--I think I've seen this movie a hundred times. And no, I'm not exaggerating. I can recite Every Single Line from the movie.

2. Warrior--Who knew a story about Mixed Martial Arts could make me cry buckets every time I watch it?

1. Pride & Prejudice--The Keira Knightly version. The cinematography is insane, the music beautiful, and Mr. Darcy's long walk in the sunrise to proclaim his can you go wrong?

Do you like any of these movies? Tell me your favorites in the comments. And go here to see who else is participating in the blogfest.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Author Events

Tomorrow night, I'm going to this:

I'm excited because hello...Brandon Mull and Christopher Paolini? Um, yes. But also because this is the very first writerly event that I'm going to with my whole family. The hubs and kids are coming too, and I'm excited that they're excited so we've got lots of excited at our house right now.

The only problem is since this is their first book signing / event / launch thingy, they might get these fantastical expectations that my book events will be like this one day. You all know how hard it is to convince friends and family that as a writer you will not be rich or famous, own a private jet, or start wearing designer clothing to clean the bathroom. So this really isn't going to help that cause.

Oh, well. I've decided to just enjoy it with those I love and revel in the presence of super cool writers.

Any one else going to this event? Have you ever taken your family to book signings or launches? Will I ever be rich enough to own my own big jet plane?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lotsa Love

First off, did you hear my CP Taryn Albright signed with agent Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency last week? Hop on over to read her story and give her some congrats. Yay Taryn!!!

Happy birthday to my little sister today. Love you Leimomi!

Hey, lookie there ---> I've hit 300 followers! How about a 10 page critique from me to celebrate? If you're interested, let me know in the comments and I'll randomly choose a winner!

So much love through the blogosphere last week for great writers and great causes. Like an anthology about overcoming adversity to help send a young man with cerebral palsy to college. The release of an MG novel from a writer whose daughter is in the hospital recovering from the removal of a brain tumor. Or tomorrow's release of a debut novel from an author who passed away from cancer in 2011. I was blown away by how writers came together to support one another. Truly humbling to see.

Speaking of helping fellow writers, I enjoyed my first IWSG post last week as well. I whined and complained about not knowing what to write next, and boy did you all come through with ideas and suggestions that work for you. And I took that advice. I watched movies and read books and searched through Pinterest. I people watched and took showers :) and even tried writing prompts. And guess what? I have a new idea that I'm super excited about. I spent the weekend plotting and am anxious to get started. So a huge thanks to YOU, my blog readers, for helping this girl out. Writers are the best! Anything I can help you out with this week--let me know. And don't forget to tell me if you're interested in a 10-page critique in the comments!

Here's an interesting music video (warning for the queasy: there is a pool of blood in one shot) that gets the gears in my writer brain going. Watch it til the end if you have a few minutes, and tell me what you think happened...or will happen next. Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Strength and Confessions + giveaways!

Two great books and giveaways today! First up, STRENGTH from Carrie Butler:

Title: Strength
Series: Mark of Nexus – Book 1
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing    Category: New Adult (NA) Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR) Release Date: March 07, 2013
Available at: Amazon, Barnes and Noble


When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

Book Trailer

About the Author:
  Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Where to find Carrie:
Where to find Strength:
I'm excited to spotlight another book from author Rachel McClellan. This one looks hilarious, and she's got a fabulous giveaway at the end!

Confessions of a Cereal Mother
by Rachel McClellan

In this humorous memoir you’ll discover several mind-saving rules, which include:

- Don’t throw your pregnancy test away before the full three minutes is up.

- Unless there is a rush on the grocery store pending a zombie-virus outbreak, never take your kids shopping.

- If your toddler is going to chew on a Band-Aid, hope it’s one found inside the community swimming pools chlorinated pool and not one found in their locker room.

- Never throw up in a cookie sheet.

- Things can always get worse. You could discover your child playing with a used tampon applicator. It’s not a whistle, sweetie.

- And most importantly, the moment one of your children is seriously ill, forget about everything else. You have the greatest honor in the world – being a Mom.

What others are saying:

"A realistic and humorous take on motherhood. Are you in my house?" --Robin O'Bryant, author of Indie Best-seller, "Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other lies Moms Tell Themselves."

"Delightfully humorous with factual truths about motherhood and womanhood. You’ll immediately be hooked with her fun story-telling and hilarious hooks. A truly fantastic read that will not only lift your motherly spirit, but remind you what motherhood is truly all about… and it’s all worth it." --Karie Elordi, author of the popular blog "The Dating Divas"

Author Bio:

Once upon a time, in a wonderful and carefree world, Rachel McClellan fell asleep in a warm and spacious bed, her long hair in great locks around her, and not a single blemish upon her face. Outside her window, bluebirds sang and the cloudless blue sky was full of promise.

However, when she awoke she discovered gum in her now ratted hair, a tiny, chocolate fingerprint smeared across her forehead, and four very wiggly children crowding her bed. There were no bluebirds singing outside her window (or perhaps she couldn’t hear them anymore), only a tornado, pulsing with thunder and lightening. Her world was in chaos, a raging storm on all fronts.

But what a perfect storm it was…

Find Rachel

Facebook  |   Blog   |   Website   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads 

Purchase Confessions of a Cereal Mother

Want to know about Rachel’s young adult books? Go HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


The first Wednesday of each month is one of my favorites. I can hop around the blogosphere and read about the doubts and fears of writers just like me, and at the same time soak in all the support and encouragement this writing community gives so freely. Funny thing is, I've been way too insecure to join--which probably means I really need to be here. So I finally did it. My name is Ilima Todd, and I am an insecure writer. :)

When I get an idea for a book, I let it simmer for months. The characters, plot, setting, conflict, etc. slowly build in my head until I finally sit down and plot it all out. Then I draft it fairly quickly (because at this point I am OBSESSED with the story), revise for a while, then tada: shiny new book. Problem is, I'm not one of those writers drowning in ideas they'll never get to write--and right now, I'm running on empty. I've got a really cool premise for a book with no plot yet. Another idea way outside of the YA realm that I don't feel comfortable tackling right now. And a sequel that for logistics reasons, can't be written yet. Yeah. *twiddles thumbs* What now?

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Jack London:

You can't wait for inspiration. 
You have to go after it with a club.

So my question is, where do you go to club down your ideas, because this insecure writer needs help. :)

Monday, March 4, 2013


It's here, the Overcoming Adversity Anthology! I am so privileged to be a contributing author to this awesome collection.

A collection of seventy moving and uplifting original pieces - real life, flash fiction, and poetry - about battling against the odds and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. The contributors include Amazon bestselling authors Alex J. Cavanaugh and Kyra Lennon, and the cream of upcoming talent.

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send the editor's stepson, Andrew McNaughton, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country of Scotland will not challenge him and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees, thus creating a situation of discrimination.

Help us get Andrew to college by buying a book that runs the full gamut of human emotions, ultimately leaving you inspired and glad to be alive. Whatever struggles you are going through, our sincere hope is that this book will help.

Purchase Links:

Speaking of adversity, Chad Morris wrote an inspiring post last week about how one of his dreams is coming true with the release of his MG novel, The Inventor's Secret. 

But right now it's overshadowed by a much more important dream...the health of his little girl. If you have a minute, stop by here to see how you can cheer her up and enter to win some awesome prizes while you're at it. By the way, his book is already up on Amazon if you want to support his family. My husband is currently reading it out loud to my kids and they are loving it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Bloghop of Joy

I'm so excited for this bloghop. I can't wait to read all the happy things everyone will be posting. As I began to think of what to post, I came up with a list of over 100 things that bring me joy. Seriously. Since I'm sure no one wants to read my giant list, I'm gonna stick to 5 things today, but sharing things that make me happy just might become a regular feature on my blog. It was too much fun thinking about it. 

Here are my 5 things for today:

1. Onion volcanoes. No matter how many times I go to a teppanyaki restaurant, I still get giddy in anticipation to see this food show staple.

2. Camera phone surprises. You know, when you connect your phone to the computer and there are a hundred versions of your little angel, or her knee, or the ceiling fan, etc. downloading. It's impossible NOT to smile/laugh in that moment.

3. Diving for octopus. So it's not diving so much as snorkeling in the reef with my dad wielding a Hawaiian spear, but it's by far one of my favorite memories growing up and what I look forward to the most when I visit my family back home. Here'a a goofy pic of my dad and our last kill. It was delish!

4. Secret passages. So maybe Downton Abbey has made these cool again, but we actually have one in our house. And it's super cool. Shh! Don't tell.

5. Stop motion videos. They are artsy and raw and oh so creative and beautiful. I also know firsthand that they are very time-consuming to make. So props to those who can make a good one.

What are some things that bring you joy? Tell me in the comments, because maybe it's contagious.