Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bracing For Impact: True Tales of Air Disasters and the People Who Survived Them

The authors of this enticing book, Bracing For Impact: True Tales of Air Disasters and the People Who Survived Them, reached out to me the other day, after seeing my short story, Getting Out Alive. It turns out that one of the authors doesn't live far from me, and we hope to do some collaborating this summer for book signings! Meanwhile, I want to share their book, a full-length novel which includes several individual stories of survival.

BRACING FOR IMPACT : True Tales of Air Disasters and The People Who Survived Them

“Surviving is a true blessing that few get to experience.”

Being strapped in the seat of a plane as it plunges into a nosedive midair is everyone’s worst nightmare.Bracing for Impact’s compilers and contributors know. They have both lived out that fear and survived, albeit badly hurt, in their own plane crashes.

In this collection of true-life survivor tales, people from all walks of life—a freelance writer, a crew member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, a naval flight surgeon, a teenager, and a newlywed on her honeymoon, among others—recount their traumatic narrow escapes as engines stalled, fuel ran out, hazardous weather conditions descended, and landings did not go according to plan. In the face of death, as life flashed before their eyes—or not, as some wryly note—these survivors encountered the terrific split of before and after the crash. Their lives, though preserved, would change forever.

Perhaps more significant than the crash itself is how each story plays out in the aftermath of the ordeal. In heart-wrenching, unrelenting honesty, these stories explore the wide spectrum of impacts on survivors—ranging from debilitating fear, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse, to a renewed sense of urgency, where survivors swear to live each day to the fullest and rededicate their lives to helping others.

Including the 1977 story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and vocalist Cassie Gaines, Bracing for Impact is as much a horrific account of air disasters as it is a celebration and recognition of the people who survived them.


Lindy Philip has 20 years of major marketing and advertising experience behind her. An artist and mother of two active teenage boys, Lindy also has a personal insight into the subject matter after surviving the crash of a four-seat Cessna along with the pilot and her husband. The accident forced Lindy to face up to her worst fear, and it directly led to her role as a mother and wife with a keen appreciation for life.

The experience has not stopped Lindy from flying and living out her desires to travel. To this day she still flies, though she does prefer the smoother ride of larger airplanes. Lindy has told her survivor story numerous times in collaboration with her husband/soul mate and how the crash played a role in their destined union. The accident has also been the catalyst for this book, the collaboration with Robin and the creation of a Facebook "Plane Crash Survivors" group.

An avid gardener and traveller, Lindy lives on a Vancouver Island acreage outside Victoria with her survivor husband Benjamin, her two teenage sons, a tipi and a pair of goats.

Robin Suerig Holleran is a full-time freelance writer with 20 years experience. For most of her life, Robin had deluded herself that statistically she was one of the safest people to fly with after her step-grandfather was killed in a PanAm accident in Brazil. But her father and brother also survived two separate crashes! She won Honorable Mention at the 75th Writer's Digest Writing Competition for a personal essay about the plane crash entitled "Did you think you were going to die?"

Robin is a single mother with three kids in college, a dog, two cats, one lizard and a lot of energy. She loves adventure travel and has visited every continent in the world (except Antarctica, which she has no intention of going to because she doesn't particularly like being cold).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why I Choose to Write Clean Fiction

I use to avoid this topic for a few different reasons. First, it's just uncomfortable to talk about. Second, I have friends that write more contemporary romance and I didn't want to come off as judgmental. Third, romance and erotica are a HUGE market, and I didn't want to alienate myself from those readers.

Over the past few years, however, I have learned a lot. There's a big difference between romance, erotica, and that darker realm that we won't even talk about. A lot of best selling authors write in the first two genres, and they're fabulous authors. People enjoy reading romance, and I certainly have nothing against the writers that pen them. In fact, I envy quite a few of them and have considered taking a stab at it myself. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't. So...why not?

Well, for me it's all about my comfort level, and who I want to tell a story to. It all goes back to the very reason why I chose to write in the first place. For me, it began when I was very young (like, in first grade). I grew up on Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and the Hardy Boys. I inhaled books. Sometimes, I would read two to three at a time. As I grew older, I advanced to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and yes, romance. I loved Nora Roberts, just to name one big name.

When it came to writing my own books, I went back to the type of story that made me passionate about reading in the first place: clean children's fiction. This is where my current middle grade mystery series stems from. (The Samantha Wolf Mysteries) They're light-hearted, clean, and have an ultimate good message for the reader.

My young adult sci-fi trilogy, (Forgotten Origins), is a bit edgier. Again, I wanted a clean read (or close to clean), that my teen daughter could read. She was thirteen when I started outlining it and was reading the chapters as I wrote them. It was a great experience to have her be a part of the process, and I even ended up using her as a model on the third book, and for some of my ads.

I guess if there was a take-away from my experience, is that in order for someone to be successful (in anything they pursue), is that it has to right for YOU. I believe that if I had forced myself to write a steamy romance, just because I thought it would sell more books, it wouldn't have been a good story. It's not what I'm passionate about (no pun intended). I'm a HUGE scifi fan, and my brain automatically goes to that type of story line. It was second nature for me to come up with a big, intricate plot involving aliens and DNA manipulation. It was tough, and it's a hard genre to compete in, but I don't regret it for one moment.

I believe that so long as you're pursuing what you love, you will find success. You have to stay true to yourself, and not let the market push you in a direction you don't want to go. I have a ton of respect for the romance authors that I know and they're just as dedicated and committed to their stories as I am.

I chose to write clean because it's what I like to write and read, not because I have an agenda.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Are You Following Your Dreams?

I'm going to stray from talking about books today. Well, in a sense.

It seems like a whole lot of folks are discussing happiness...or lack of. The world feels like a darker place lately, and everything is rushing by so fast. I feel that our rapidly growing field of technology, which provides instant information and connectivity has a lot to do with this. It's both a blessing and a curse in so, so many ways.

I grew up as a child in the 70s and 80s. How about you? Find yourself wishing you could go back? Even more, do you find yourself wishing you could take your kids back to that era? It felt more innocent...more sane...more stress-free. Or perhaps we ALL feel that way of our childhood years? I don't know, but I truly believe that if I had grown up in today's world, I wouldn't have fared so well. It's too much.

I saw this video today, and I'd like to share it: (follow link for credits. It is NOT mine)

So what are your regrets? Better yet...what are your accomplishments? What have you done that you are proud of...that made you happy...that made your family or friends happy?


Write them down. Both the good, the bad, and the yet to come. Then, focus on what made you feel good and how you can work towards achieving your dreams. Make a plan, a calendar and make it attainable.

My dreams? Funny, how when you ask yourself that, there might be one or two things that pop to mind, but the rest is sort of fuzzy. It's always been a dream to be a published writer. That is likely my longest running dream. I am published, and people are enjoying my work but it is still a 'dream in progress'. When I get to new dreams, it's harder to put pen to paper. That my kids are happy is always at the top. But you know what? If you are close to your children, they will not be happy unless you are. If they see you miserable, depressed, negative and working yourself to death in a job you hate, to provide for them...that isn't doing them any good. (That isn't my situation...I'm fortunate enough to enjoy my job in the 'real' world, that also allows for me to spend time at my writing.)

Realistically, most of us can't just drop our responsibilities to run out and go after our 'dreams', but there are things we can do. Smaller, day-to-day things, and then that will lead to the broader ones.

Are you just existing? What are your regrets? What are your DREAMS?

Go after them!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Get Your FREE Ebook Copy of The Beach House Mystery!!

This week, the third book in my middle grade mystery series,

The Beach House Mystery,

is FREE!

What should be a quiet week at the beach turns into the most challenging mystery that Sam and Ally have uncovered yet. What's the truth behind the odd family renting the cabin next-door? Is the tale of a sea creature and haunted lighthouse just a myth? How does a missing girl, and suspicious boat tie into all of it? The girls can't solve this puzzle on their own, so they turn to their brothers for help.

Travel with them to the scenic Washington Coast and into the Olympic Rainforest, where the four have to work together to untangle the clues and fit the mysterious pieces together.

This is book #3, but it can be read as a stand-alone. If you decide you like it and want to read the others in the series, here are the links!

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Release in the Landry's True Colors Series

Here is the low-down on the newest release in the popular clean read, coming of age series!
Not only do I get to share an excerpt from the book, but we also get an interview with author, Krysten Lindsay Hager.

First, here is a direct link to the book

Series Info: The Landry's True Colors Series is a clean reads young adult humor series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, crushes, and self-image. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up.

Genre: contemporary clean teen fiction

Landry in Like (Landry's True Colors Series: Book 3) by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Blurb: Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes. Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cupcakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?  

I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.
“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”
“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”
“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”
I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.
“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.
I called Ashanti next and told her.
“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”
“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide IngĂ©nue modeling competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”
 “I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”
 I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.
“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.
Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.
“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.


Author bio: Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series and the new ​Star Series. Krysten writes about  friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? And Landry in Like, as well as in, Next Door to a Star (Star Series). Her sequel to Next Door to a Star will be out March 22 2016.
Krysten is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes YA, MG, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Author talk show interview:

True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book 1):

What people are saying about True Colors (Landry’s True Colors Series Book One):
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: “This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!”

Interview questions:

Who is your favorite author?
F. Scott Fitzgerald is my favorite. I had to read The Great Gatsby twice in school, but I didn’t connect to it until I was an adult and then I fell in love with it.

How do you describe your writing style?
I always write with humor and my main characters wear their hearts on their sleeves. My two teen series both deal with self-esteem, growing up/coming of age, and first love.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Landry in Like will take you back to your school days and make you laugh and feel for her as she grows up and navigates through school. There are funny moments, cringe worthy moments, and life lessons on how to deal with everything from frenemies, first loves, anxiety, and friendships.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I would choose Hadley from Next Door to a Star (Star Series: Book One) because when she moves to a beach town, she has the chance to reinvent herself and start over and that idea is very intriguing to me. Plus, she lives in Grand Haven, Michigan—a beautiful beach town.

What books have most influenced your life?
I read a biography of a YA author, Paula Danziger, years ago and it made me realize that writing young adult fiction was what I was meant to do. It was always something I wanted to do, but I never realized that all those awkward and difficult moments I went through in my teen years might have been setting me up to help another teen in the same situation down the road. That biography shaped my vision of what I wanted to do in life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Read a Special Excerpt from Getting Out Alive

I have been amazed at the response to my true, short story, Getting Out Alive, The Autumn Veatch Story. Especially at the amount of paperback copies that have been purchased. However, since the preview on Amazon is limited, due to the length of the story, I thought it might be fun to offer a special sneak-peek.

Per my agreement with Amazon, I can't share more than 10% of the written word, so we are limited to less than 600 words. I hope you enjoy this special look inside!

The mountains were timeless. After listening to the pounding of her feet and own raspy breath for what felt like forever, Autumn had no idea how long she’d been running. The shadows were lengthening, and the silence of the woods finally wrapped around her when she stopped again. The sounds of the fire that had been chasing her were gone and she could finally take a deep, shuddering breath.

The ground and all of the underbrush were wet. Even the air was damp, and she could feel the chill of the coming evening seeping in through her soggy clothes. Autumn knew that it couldn’t be much later than four in the afternoon, but her limited outdoor experience made her aware that night came early in the mountains. What if she had to spend the night out there? How was she supposed to stay warm?


Tilting her head to the side, much like a bird that is startled, she strained to hear a faint sound. Forcing herself to slow her breathing, she tried to concentrate.

There! It sounds like the freeway!

Her adrenaline once again surging, Autumn sprinted recklessly towards her possible salvation. Ignoring the steepening landscape, she slid down the muddy hillside, any rational thought gone for the moment. The journey came to an abrupt end when the ground disappeared beneath her, and she was suddenly nearly free falling down a cliff!

Landing hard on her backside, she put her hands and feet out to slow her descent. The pain of rocks slicing through her burns barely registered, and a part of her observed that she was almost numb to the ongoing agony.


I hope you enjoyed this small segment! If you would like to read the whole story, you can find both the ebook and paperback at Amazon, or simply click on the link of your choice below.


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