Monday, October 1, 2012

Oscar the Cat

Once again, I'm breaking the rules. Sadly, it's not to report any good news.

I dedicate this blog post to our very close friend and humorist English author, Lord David Prosser, and Oscar the cat, who, sadly, passed away this morning (or, in England's morning) at 18 years old. Lord David posted on Oscar's blog earlier today: "To all our friends and followers of Oscar's Blog,  I have to tell you that Oscar passed away this morning at 18 years old. He's gone on to new adventures elsewhere. We thank you for all the remarks we've had over the course of his blog. The girls all gave him a goodbye salute."

I can honestly say I wanted to cry when I heard the news. My mom actually burst into tears. We hugged in the kitchen as we lamented the loss of such an ingenious, entertaining and amusing family member to Lord and Lady Prosser. Oscar, even though he was just a cat, had so much personality - at least, from the stories I heard about him it seemed that way. You must check out his blog (the link is embedded above). He was such a ticket, anyone with pets can certainly relate and get a tremendous laugh from his antics.

Well the whole reason I'm doing this is to let David and his family know that we miss Oscar as much as they do. He will be in our hearts forever. 

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. "
(Anatole France) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm being naughty and posting something non-Oscar related. Sorry, guys.

So as most of you probably know, my mom recently went in for surgery to fix the herniated discs (and a collapsed disc, as well) in her back (FINALLY, in both of our opinions) and I'm supposed to update all of you on her condition.

She went in last Wednesday (9/5) and came home Sunday. The surgery was a success and she says that already she is doing better than she was before the surgery. Her sciatica is better and she can almost comfortably ride in the car. Her incisions are tender and whatnot, and she is walking with the help of a walker (next is a cane!) but she's making progress and that's all that matters.

<-- This is from the first day. Obviously, she looks loopy and in a tone of pain (she even called Tony Romo a "fart-head") but she looked and sounded pretty awesome for someone just out of major surgery.

These are from Saturday, when Cathleen took Brenna and I to visit her. She looks so much better than Wednesday and she was a lot more comfortable. She even has her quick sarcasm back enough to make fun of me.

Front Incision                                                             Back Incision

First day home, saying hi to special boy (Milo).

And finally, thank you to everyone who sent flowers! She was so happy to see how much everyone cared. We even got two free meals! :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How We Got Oscar

So I'm going to back-track a little and start at the very beginning...

It all started when we had to put down our pitbull, Gimli, due to cancer.

We were all pretty torn up because he had been with us for so long (10 years), and we weren't used to not having him with us. My siblings and I grew up with him, and he was a true member of our family. Unfortunately, my mom's dog, Milo, was hit the hardest, though, and we knew that he would never get better unless we got another dog.

We started searching for Rottweiler rescues (my mom ONLY wanted a Rottweiler) and for the next month we debated on which dog was best. Eventually, we found Oscar and fell in love.

But, you see, Oscar had some... issues when we first got him. He had terrible separation anxiety, wouldn't eat... just a total basket-case. We had to work him into our house day by day until he grew comfortable with us. It took us two weeks to break him in. Finally, we claimed him as ours with the help of a ball.

Oscar was mental for a while after we adopted him. He would follow my mom around all day and didn't get along well with Milo at first. But now he has become a great companion - and a funny one, at that! Even though none of us can stand him at the moment because he's pulling his "rebellious teen" phase (more on that to come), I don't think life would be the same without Oscar.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oscar and the Kitten

So on Monday, I started school up again and Oscar has gone pretty crazy without the constant attention. My college-bound sister and mom have been painting my sister’s old room for my little sister, so he’s been hanging around them (since Brenna and I are gone). He loves to get in the way of everything, and now has bright blue paint on him. It is quite hilarious.

I was sitting in class today when my phone started vibrating. I figured it was just one of my friends trying to get me in trouble, so I waited until the bell rang before I checked my phone. What I saw made me start laughing out loud, and I got a few curious stares. It wasn't a friend trying to get me in trouble; it was my mom!

Cathleen recently got a kitten from my neighbor as a graduation gift to herself. He is an adorable black kitten with huge ears and an even bigger personality. We like to call him Radar because his ears are so prominent. If he was a boy, he'd probably be picked on. But he's a special little kitten. The best part is the fact that he has NO FEAR whatsoever (except for the vacuum. He hates the vacuum). So while Cathleen and my mom were painting, Mo was going after Oscar.

Now this is a five pound kitten versus a one-hundred pound dog! Thankfully Oscar, being the gentle giant that he is, didn’t go after Mo even though he had his claws out. Poor Oscar’s probably all scratched up, but he dealt with it and was a good spirit. This isn’t the first time that Mo has gone after Oscar, too. Poor dog doesn’t have a chance against the spitfire.

Pound for pound, the cat always wins.

Do you have a funny kitten against dog story? If so, let me know!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Introducing Shannon and Oscar

Hi there! My mom and I are doing something different with our blog. She has given me full control over it and told me to have a good time. My name is Shannon and I'm going to be sharing some stories about our ridiculous, funny, adorable, and loving dog named Oscar. He is 100 pounds of pure fun, and there have been many times we have laughed at his expense.

Oscar is a 1½ year old purebred Rottweiler. We got him a couple of months ago, and he was pretty mental. He had been given up because his previous owners had to move into a smaller house and couldn’t take him with them. Because of his experience, he had pretty bad separation anxiety, and it took a couple weeks to break him in so we could leave him alone. Now he is pure crazy, and totally comfortable in our house.

This summer introduced many new things for Oscar, and us. Our older Rottweiler, Milo, never swam, so we thought Oscar would be the same. Boy, were we wrong. At first, he would only go to the first step and try to herd anyone in the pool towards him because he didn’t like people in the pool. Eventually he got to the second step and so forth, until he would swim a little bit around (sometimes after being pushed in...). Now he is fine with the pool and jumps in a lot. We like to take his toy and throw it back and forth around the pool to wear him out so he calms down when we get inside. The pool isn’t always a good thing, though. He gets kind of crazy when certain people are in the pool (like little kids and such) because he doesn’t want them to drown, so when my little sister has friends over, he isn’t allowed outside. Sometimes it gets really annoying, but at the same time it’s kind of nice to think that he would protect you if it came to it.

But Oscar isn’t always crazy. When he does calm down he turns into a perfect snuggle buddy. He rests his head on you and stares up at you in a cute “puppy dog” look – which is gross because he is very slobbery. We think Oscar thinks he’s a lap dog, because he enjoys sitting on you. It’s pretty amusing, though, when you have a friend over and he just sits on her lap like it's nothing.

If you are an animal lover, you are bound to enjoy his stories. We have some happy ones, sad ones and funny ones. Every day is a journey with this gentle giant, and I can't wait to share them with everyone.
I hope you all enjoy his stories as much as I do!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Love's Touch Heals": A review of Nikki Arana's The Next Target

I recently took a road trip across the country with my children, the oldest of whom will be off to college in the fall. While making that long trip out to Washington, DC, I drove through the flat plains of America’s heartland - Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and into Tennessee. It was a rare opportunity for me to crack open a book, and I was lucky enough to read Nikki Arana’s The Next Target, a Christian thriller set to be released this summer.

Austia is a young, Christian widow who is determined to devote herself to her ministry of helping Islamic residents of her California community find jobs and overcome bigotry. Though she lost friends during 9/11 and her husband was murdered by fundamentalists because of his devotion, Austia is convinced to forgive and love, as the teachings of Jesus encourage. Though many cannot understand her dedication, she is determined to do what feels right in her heart. All seems to be thriving, until suddenly a young Islamic woman who escapes her conservative family is hunted for it. She is found murdered, and Austia begins to fear that her fundamentalist family will be coming after her next because she had converted the young woman to Christianity. When a strange Islamic man takes a job as an interpreter, she wonders if he has been sent to watch her. As the powerful and righteous patriarch of Austia’s young friend focuses in on her, she begins to truly fear for her life. As the drama unfolds, Austia confronts bigots from both Islam and Christianity, she faces fear from both religions and learns a most valuable lesson - that there are extreme emotions on both sides.

This was a fast-paced and intricate story that held me riveted at all times. The author’s knowledge of the realities of Islamic life made the story very realistic and at times almost frightening. It was very easy to sympathize with the young Islamic women who were trapped in the traditional household but wanted to escape. You also could respect their culture despite the suspicion and sometimes hatred with which the ment of the family viewed Austia. The loyalty and dedication that the main character, Austia, had for both her faith and her friends was heartwarming and touching. In the midst of these emotions, you are held captive by the drama and suspense of the story. Will Hussein succeed in his evil plotting, is Zaki hunting Austia, and will Fatima be able to escape her abusive husband before he kills her? Most pressing: will there be another round of terrorist attacks inside the US? As the questions unfold, the author skillfully leads you down an intense road of tension, fear and excitement that keep you turning pages eagerly as you wait for the stunning climax to unfold.
Austia is a fine, modern woman with a heart of gold and backbone of steel, and her very human altruism will touch your heart and leave you cheering for her all the way. Though she is being hunted, she refuses to cower. This is a terrific story of hope, love and the triumph of good over evil that everyone can enjoy. I really enjoyed this story as I was driving across America’s heartland. While serving as a reminder that religion in any extreme is dangerous, for an edge of your seat thrill coupled with a story of hope you can’t go wrong. I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a good suspense and is interested in a well thought-out and well-written story that will not disappoint.

For more information about Nikki, please check out her site:

Twitter: @nikkiarana & @David_C_Cook

Twitter Hashtag: #nexttarget

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eyes on Tango is coming soon!

I have neglected my blog with the intentions of moving everything over to my website, but I just had to share that the edits are coming along well with Eyes on Tango, and I'm still geared up for a June 5, 2012 release date. It will be available on Smashwords and Amazon immediately. Barnes and Noble and iBooks may take an additional week or two for the shipment to reach them. So here's a bit of a blurb about one of my favorite stories so far:

Escaping a humiliating breakup, Dr. Danielle Ryan packs her bags for the beautiful Mayan Riviera in search of a peaceful, sunny vacation. What she finds instead is a sadistic smuggler, and he is hot on her tail to silence her when she inadvertently obtains the proof to expose his crimes. Her only hope lies in the mysterious Good Samaritan who saves her from a bullet and drags her to safety. But can she trust the sexy man with the dancing eyes, a gun in his hand and too many secrets he’s unwilling to share?

Known to his family as the irresponsible one, happy-go-lucky Hayden Evans was content to hide his double life and allow them to think what they will. All was going well when he suddenly finds himself responsible for an innocent doctor whose life is in danger, and he suspects his house of cards is about to come crumbling down. When ally turns to enemy and he becomes a target, he knows he should cut the beautiful doctor loose to save her life.

As their thrilling adventure unfolds during their run to stay alive, the chemistry between Hayden and Danielle grows. While fleeing up the beautiful Mexican coast, Hayden develops a plan. It puts him at risk, but protecting his brave young doctor is all that matters. Calling in the Evans troops, he soon learns that he is in the middle of their unfolding case, and more than Danielle’s life is on the line.

Special thanks goes out to Laura J Miller at An Author's Art for such a lovely cover. It fits Hayden and Dani's story so well. I love it and hope you do as well!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

First Five Chapters Project

I am pleased to announce that once again I have teamed up with the highly-esteemed Patti Roberts along with several other established and up-and-coming authors to offer readers a new alternative for finding books to read. While most eBook readers allow you to download a free sample online, at times locating a book you would even want to try to download can be an overwhelming task requiring hours on the computer. Word-of-mouth is often useful, but sometimes what may appeal to you may not appeal to someone else. This new project that we've been working on consists of various volumes of work containing the first five chapters of six authors’ books. Currently they are being divided by genre, and this month the first two volumes have been released.

These first two volumes are currently available. The goal is to offer them free through all major eBook retailers so readers can download the six volume samples and purchase at their convenience.
My contribution to this novel idea is my best-selling first installment of the Evans Family Series, If We Dare to Dream. It is currently featured in the Contemporary Romance/Drama Volume, #2. We have many more volumes in the works, with many more genres, from thrillers to historical, horror to crime/adventure. I hope you will take a peek and give it a try. Your next favorite author/s may be in one of these volumes!

Volume One:

This free book will give you the opportunity to discover & read the first five chapters from six up & coming new authors in the very popular YA – Fantasy - Paranormal genre.

On behalf of all the six authors featured, I hope you enjoy the read. Your reviews and feedback are warmly welcomed and appreciated.

The Authors featured in this volume.

Carolyn Hockley - Arazi Crossing
KaSonndra Leigh – When Copper Suns Fall
Mary Ting – Crossroads
Starr West – Tomorrows Child
Lenore Wolfe – The Fallen One
Patti Roberts – Paradox – The Angels Are Here

Available now for free at Smashwords, where you can download all versions of eBook formats or even an HTML.

Coming soon for free to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 Volume Two:

Contemporary Romance Drama - This free book will give you the opportunity to discover & read the first five chapters from these six talented authors. On behalf of all the six authors featured, I hope you enjoy the read. Your reviews and feedback are warmly welcomed and appreciated.

Book 1 - Emerald Barnes – Piercing Through The Darkness
Book 2 - Belinda G. Buchanan – After All Is Said And Done
Book 3 - Lorhainne Eckhart – The Forgotten Child
Book 4 - Katheryn Lane – The Royal Sheikh
Book 5 - Tarek Refaat - Ruptured
Book 6 - Collette Scott – If We Dare to Dream

Available now for free at Smashwords, where you can download all versions of eBook formats or even an HTML.

Coming soon for free on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

For an interesting character interview from Belinda Buchanan's After All Is Said And Done, check here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting To Know Author Ilil Arbel

I have had the great pleasure in becoming friends with the multi-talented and extremely intelligent author, Ilil Arbel. In addition to writing in multiple genres, Ilil is also an expert in the field of mythology and folklore. She brings this expertise to life in a charming and exciting young adult fantasy novel, The Cinnabar Box, which my daughter recently read and enjoyed tremendously. I was able to entice Ilil to make an appearance on my blog to talk about The Cinnabar Box as well as some of her other projects. Please join me in learning more about this fascinating author, Ilil Arbel!
Hello Ilil! I’m so happy to have you join me today. Thank you for agreeing to appear on my blog. So let’s get started with a little bit about you:

A Bit About Ilil Arbel:
Collette: Tell us a little about your background.

Ilil: I am all mixed up. Born and raised in Israel, I studied in Paris, and then moved to New York where I still live, fighting for survival in Manhattan. But that’s not all, I also have a shady past… I did not start writing until later, as a career change. I was a scientific illustrator for years! During those years, I studied mythology, folklore, history and literature, some formally and some on my own, so when I decided it was time to make a career change, I was ready for writing. I think I always wanted to write, though. My grandfather was an author so it felt good to follow in his footsteps.

Collette: That’s so interesting! A scientific illustrator? So you’re quite the artist - well rounded.

Collette: How often do you do collaborations?

Ilil: I collaborated with only two Authors. The first was an expert on the field of extraterrestrials, and I wrote two biographies based on his notes. The other was editing Lord David Prosser’s delightful Barsetshire novels. I highly recommend Lord David’s books, by the way.

Collette: Oh, I do too! I love Lord David’s humor and his stories! He’s one of my daughter’s favorites as well.

Collette: Where do you get your ideas?

Ilil: I walk in the street, and suddenly the ideas leap out of my bizarre subconscious mind and demand attention. We do a lot of walking in New York, so the ideas keep coming to harass me. I am sure books also trigger thoughts, but it is less obvious.

Collette: And I’m sure there’s plenty in Manhattan to trigger a story, haha.

Collette: Were you inspired by someone/something to write the genres you’re writing in?

Ilil: The Lemon Tree was inspired my mother’s stories about her life in Siberia and her family’s year-long journey to Tel Aviv. She was a superb storyteller. For general fiction, I would say that W. Somerset Maugham made a strong impact on me and I learned a lot from his short stories and autobiographical material. For biography, I was inspired by the style of Andre Maurois. For fantasy and magic, I learned mostly from the great Lord Dunsany; he invented mythologies!

Collette: What is your writing process?

Ilil: I write the story mentally, telling it to myself. Then I sit and type it on the computer. I rarely write by hand since I like to write fast, keeping up with the thoughts. If I get stuck and don’t know what the next scene is, I let my thoughts drift and suddenly it feels as if a door is opened and I step into the solution. From the technical point of view, I read yesterday’s writing before I start on today’s writing, so it will be a smooth transition. When the story is done, I rewrite, edit, and proofread several times. Then every book goes to a proofreader to make sure it’s professional and clean.

Collette: Do you write full-time now?

Ilil: No… I wish I could, but life is expensive these days! I need a day job.

Collette: What is your current day job?

Ilil: I work as an indexer. Believe it or not, it’s a lot of fun, like playing with a puzzle. I index both databases and books.

A Bit Bbout Ilil’s Writing:

Collette: You have written quite a bit so far and in different genres. You have somewhat of a memoir, The Lemon Tree, that’s on my Kindle eagerly waiting for me to start. How about a bit of a teaser into that amazing real-life story?

Ilil: Here is a segment, about an incident that took place as the family was traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Siberia to Tel Aviv, and reached Manchuria under very dangerous conditions.

Then another unbearable thing happened. A policeman motioned Papa to follow him to the men’s department. Papa looked back at us, his blue eyes full of pain. “It's all right, girls,” said Mama quietly. “You will follow me to the women's department, and soon we will meet Papa in the hall again. Don't worry.” At that moment, however, I wasn't worrying about myself, but about Papa. I couldn't bear the thought that he was alone; at least the three of us were together. If only Sasha were here to be with him, I thought, it's so unfair, so unfair, poor Papa, all alone . . . “Don't cry, Ida,” said Mama firmly and put her arm around me. “You will attract attention.” Somehow I managed. Mama's immeasurable inner strength never failed me.
            We were received by a very tall woman, dressed entirely in black. She even wore a black fur hat, like the hats of the Cossacks. Over her forehead peeked a few gray hairs and her face was wrinkled, not with friendly laugh lines around the eyes, but with vicious lines, pointing down around her mouth. She smelled of mildew, and reminded me of Baba Yaga, the horrible witch that ate little children in the Russian fairy tales.
            This looming apparition went straight to Feera and mumbled: “undo your braids and then take off your clothes.” Feera stood naked and shivering from the cold, with only her loose hair reaching her ankles and covering her back. The witch raised her eyebrows with surprise at the magnificent hair, but did not utter even one soft word or try a little smile to relax the terrified child. After Feera was searched I repeated the procedure. When Mama's turn came my heart stopped beating. I observed the speed with which she took off her coat, with the buttons loaded with gold coins, and her stockings' garters which also had some coins in them. The witch took the belt filled with all our paper money immediately. She didn't even bother to check what was in it. She knew. Wordlessly she waited for us to dress and led us to another room.
            At least Papa waited there already. It was the office of an official who took care of “criminals” like us, those who dared to smuggle some necessities of life. The official methodically recorded the list of our offenses. Suddenly, he raised his head and looked sharply at us as we stood there, pale and desperate. His eyes rested on the lemon tree in Mama's hand and he asked: “And what's that?”
            Mama's fingers went white as she clutched the pot to her heart. We all had the same thought: he will never believe us. He will dig the pot, searching for valuables, and the lemon tree will die of shock.
            “That's all I have left from my eldest son, who sowed this lemon tree with his own hands. He died recently,” said Mama.
            The official's eyes softened. He continued to stare at the little, upright lemon tree. On a chair, next to his desk, the witch left all her loot, including Mama's belt. The official, with a sudden gleam in his eyes, looked at the belt, and then at us again. He seemed to hesitate. Suddenly, he extended his hand to the belt, shoved it at Mama and said: “Take care of the lemon tree and of your daughters.” He hastily handed our papers back to Papa, poked his head out of the door and called: “Next traveler!” motioning us to hurry and leave so that no one would witness his act of kindness. He, too, was afraid.

Collette: You are even currently writing a book on your blog in installments. Tell us a little bit about “A Book in Progress”?

Ilil: It’s called The Golden Rule. This is the strangest book I have ever done. I wanted to write the life story of Hillel the Elder, a prominent Jewish scholar, lawmaker, and leader who lived two thousand years ago. I adore him; he was a lovely human being. The Encyclopedia Britannica claimed it can’t be done, reflecting the view of almost everyone that Hillel’s life was too shrouded in legend. This was a challenge, so naturally I decided to write it anyway. I figured if you take the legends and lay them out against the exciting, violent history of the time, as faithfully recorded by contemporaries, and then add a lot of material from other Jewish sources, it can be done. Since it would take years to write, I figured the way to get it out to the public right away is to write it online, as a blog. So every Sunday I place a new segment. I was surprised and delighted by the show of interest by readers. The book is of course free of charge and available to everyone on my website.

Collette: I have been following this story, and it’s fascinating stuff! The amount of research into Biblical times is staggering and well-written. Anyone who enjoys that time period is bound to learn something new, Ilil. You are to be commended.

Collette: And your “Personal Histories”, would you like to share a bit about that interesting journey?
Ilil: My personal histories were never done professionally. I did it as a hobby since I think everyone in the world has a story that should be told, and I had an opportunity to interview several elderly people who were extraordinarily interesting. A few samples are available on my website; I would love to come back to it someday, either as a blog or as a book.
Collette: With your background in mythology and folklore, do you plan to continue in that vein or with more historical/memoir stories?
Ilil: I will probably come back to it eventually. For the moment, they will be used for the sequel to The Cinnabar Box.

Collette: Okay, so we’re back to the story that my daughter read and loved! Let’s talk a little bit more about your YA novel, The Cinnabar Box. My daughter recently finished that novel and truly enjoyed it. She had a few questions she’d like to ask you about your adventurous story:

Collette: How long did that story take you to complete?

Ilil: It took about six months.

Collette: Can you describe your research into your subject?

Ilil: I did not need much research, to be honest, since this is the type of mythology I know well. I checked for accuracy against my mythological dictionaries.

Collette: She found it very informative the way Donna traveled to alternative worlds. Did you draw on your background in history, mythology and folklore to describe them so accurately?

Ilil: Yes, all the characters and locations are based on accurate mythological or historical figures and situations, even the vegetable lamb, the balalaika-playing toad, and the Devil’s School. Except for one thing – the flood scene is based on a horribly realistic dream I had when I was about twelve years old.

Collette: Are there going to be more stories about Donna and Yolanda?

Ilil: Yes, I am hoping to start a sequel soon.

Collette: Now that’s what she wanted to hear!

Collette: Her favorite character was Bartholomew. Did you have a favorite character in the story?

Ilil: I liked him too. It’s a tossup this irresistible donkey, and Camellia, the elegant camel who wears pearls and a flower behind her ear.

Collette: Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?

Ilil: No, never. I make them all up. I don’t want to upset my friends…

Collette: Haha, I know what you mean! So do you ever incorporate yourself into your characters?

Ilil: Not deliberately, but I am sure some weirdness must seep into them.

Collette: Are you still writing? If so, what will your future projects entail?

Ilil: Yes, why stop? Writing is great fun. The Golden Rule will take years to research and write. But in the meantime, I am also trying my hand at my first detective story. I can’t give details since the publisher wants to wait on that for a while and swore me to secrecy. But soon all shall be revealed!!!

Collette: Considering how well rounded you write, do you have a favorite genre to write or do you write what stories come to mind?

Ilil: I like to try many different things, but I think my favorite is biography of historical figures.

Collette: How often do you read?

Ilil: I read every single day since I have learned how to do it. I think the only day I missed was the day my son was born. It would have been awkward to ask for a book under the circumstances.

Collette: That's true. Besides, I'm sure you were busy! So what is your favorite genre to read?

Ilil: For entertainment, I prefer late 18th and 19th century British classics. For nonfiction, including research, I love ancient Jewish history and folklore.

Collette: Does your reading inspire you?

Ilil: Reading is not an option for me, it’s a necessity, so it’s hard to decide if it is an inspiration or a horrible addiction…

Where can we find you online?

Blog: The Golden Rule (blog/a book in progress):





Angela Thirkell Society of North America:

Encyclopedia Mythica:

Collette: Where are your books available for purchase?

Ilil: Most convenient are and The books are also on a bunch of independent sellers but I can’t keep track. I am sure some are pirated…

Collette: What formats are your books available in?

Ilil: The books that are available for sale exist in paperback and/or on Kindle. The free books on the Angela Thirkell Society and Encyclopedia Mythica can be downloaded and saved on your computer as PDF or Word.

Thank you so much, Ilil! It was fascinating to learn more about your work and your writing. I wish you all the best success and we can’t wait for you to release The Cinnabar Box’s sequel!

As I mentioned, my daughter enjoyed this book so much that she wanted to write a review. Once she started it, she was unable to put it down until the end. She reported that she was totally engaged with the characters, feeling their fear, excitement, sadness and stress. By the end, she was so caught up in the story that she did not want it to end and is thrilled with the news that there will be a sequel. Here is her review:

Though somewhat slow at first, don't let that deceive you. Once you get into this book it's hard to put it down. It was a great story, well written and so descriptive you could almost feel like you were in the book. I loved the travels that Donna and Yolanda took, and the adventures they participated in were at times breathtaking. I would definitely recommend this book and hope she writes more!
5+ Stars

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Evans Family Series Q & A

Through Winter Skies was released as planned on February 14, 2012. It was a long time coming, and I'm very excited to have had so many requests to keep publishing the series! I'm working on it, promise.
In the meantime, I've been compiling some frequently asked questions regarding the series and thought I'd post the top 10 here today. I'll move it all over into a page as new posts come along, but for now enjoy! I hope this gives you some more information on what's to come.
Thank you all for your comments and happy reading!
1. Who are the Evans family?
The Evans family was born from Forever Sunshine. In that novel, Chuck Evans is a close friend of Brandon Nicholson. They worked together and shared plenty of fun.

2. Why create a series?
After receiving so many requests for a sequel to Forever Sunshine, I noticed that the book I was currently working on featured a single sentence that soon had me take off with the idea: “Jamie Morton, formerly Evans”. It caught me off guard, for it was totally subconscious, but I grabbed on to what my brain was telling me and developed it from there. Since Forever Sunshine was written in the first person as a memoir, I wanted to make sure I could keep it realistic enough as well as please the fans of the story. It will take place over several novels and Cher appears more as a supporting character than a lead, as readers will soon see.

3. Tell me a little more about the series.
The series begins with an introduction to the Evans family. The first tale, If We Dare to Dream, is Jamie Evans’ experience with finding her love, Andrew Sheehan. Jamie is lucky enough to have four, strapping and over-protective older brothers. They are cousins to Chuck Evans, who is the oldest out of the cousins. Each book from the series will be stand alone, but the case from Forever Sunshine is an important back story in books one through four. The final two, which I am in the process of writing now, are more contemporary romance, similar to Hannah’s Blessing, while the previous four have some suspense.

4. Who are the main characters in the second book?
In Through Winter Skies, which was released on February 14, 2012, Zach Evans is introduced. He is cousin to Jamie’s family and Chuck Evans. In this story, Zach is in Colorado to help his childhood friend, Emery Flores, fend off some ruthless gang members who had invaded her home when she was a teen and currently believe she is hiding money left there during that terrible night. This second novel is where the case for Forever Sunshine is introduced and the heat begins. When you read that novel, pay close attention to some of the newer characters. They will appear again.

5. What about book three? Whose story is that?
Eyes on Tango (scheduled for late-spring 2012), returns to Jamie’s family. This is Hayden Evans’ story and takes place primarily in Mexico. I particularly love this one, as it’s an adventurous tale with plenty of action and fun despite the fact that he and Dr. Danielle Ryan are on the run from a Mexican drug lord. In this installment, the case pulls together and connections are made.

6. Will you be releasing more in 2012?
Yes. If all goes well, I plan to release book four, Ian’s story. I’m hoping for an October release on that one. Kat’s Last Chance is where the case is finally solved, and Ian reunites with his high school sweetheart.

7. Will Kat’s Last Chance be the final installment in the series?
No. I am currently working on books five and six. These are contemporary romances and focus on the children of the youngest brother in the main Evans group. Brian and Brianna Evans are twins, and each one, and their stories take place almost simultaneously. I’m doing something I’ve never done before and writing them at the same time. What an interesting experience this has been so far! I’m hoping to release them in 2013.

8. Who is your favorite Evans?
Hayden has been my favorite so far, but as I’m writing the final two, I’m developing a love for Brianna and Brian, too. They’re great people. Brianna’s fun and Brian’s sympathetic. I truly enjoy working with them. In fact, I love the entire family and wish they were mine! J

9.  What is next on your agenda?
Hmm, now I must admit that I’ve received a lot of requests and questions about whether or not I’m going to follow up with a sequel to Hannah’s Blessing. I have to say that my mind is spinning up new and exciting tales, and I’ve even been considering tying them in with the Evans series. Right now I’m focusing first on finishing books five and six, but after that I think I may be playing a little bit with Roxanne from Hannah’s Blessing. I think she needs a little wakeup call, and I think I have just the man to deliver it!

10. Does Cher come back for a major role?
All I’m going to say at this point is “not yet” J. Time will tell…

Have any more questions that aren’t listed here? Let me know! Leave me a comment below or drop me an email at