Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Writing Prompt!

Here is our writing prompt for today.

Rules: The first person to comment adds a sentence to the story. Then the second person adds another sentence and so on. All of the sentences added together should make sense and flow together. You can post more than once but please take turns. Let's see how long we can keep this going!

Sabrina and her child should've been able to enjoy paradise but..

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Please Meet Brenda Ballard!

My name is Brenda Ballard. I was raised in the Granite Falls/Lake Stevens area in Washington State. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write. My grandfather, who passed away September 13, 2010, would jab me with comments such as, "letters to the editor don't count." Unfortunately, my first book, The Boy From Granite Falls, came out last year and he didn't see it. He would have been quite proud!
The Boy From Granite Falls is based on the life of my late father in law, Fred Ballard, during his teen years in the 1930's in the mountain area outside of Granite Falls, Washington. It was a decade long dream to write this series as his legacy fades. I discovered this while helping my oldest stepson with a cultural fair project on his grandpa. There were some stories but it seemed as though different people had different versions.
Coming from a very close family, I found this disheartening and vowed to do my best to at least give a feel to what his childhood was like, even if I had to make it up in places. The series is considered historical fiction because of this.
Some of the stories I heard were verified when I happened to meet Fred's school chum, Rudy, and became friends with him. The church had called, asking if I would take an elderly, disabled man to the doctor. We got to talking on the way back from the appointment and I learned that he was Fred's pal! I told him that I had a picture of a guy but there was no name on it. We went to my house where I showed it to him...a tear rolled down his cheek as he quietly said, "That is me." The stories he told me over the next few years were the ones I had heard from Fred's family. It was a wonderful affirmation to say the least.
Books one and two are currently in print and can be found at as well as, and other fine online bookstores. Book three is currently only available in e-book form on (99-cents!) but does not have illustrations. Book four is in the midst of writing. There will be six books total in the series but I suspect there will be character off-shoots in the future.
I have chosen the genre of Young Adult on purpose. It takes me back to when I was that age and Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and so on captured my imagination. I like writing to those who choose not to subject themselves to profanity, colorful scenes and so on. There is enough out there to choose from and I get the sense that it is a relief to read a good book without these things. While my books are geared at the YA audience, most of my fans are adults.
In July, another book that is not related to the series above will be released. It is called Billy's Buffalo Lake Adventures and is a coming of age type of story line. Billy finds himself living with his grandmother on the Colville Indian Reservation after bad behavior leaves his widowed mother at her wit's end. One summer, a man who takes the youth under his wing and learning about his culture and heritage transforms the boy into a respectful young man. The release date coincides with the Pow Wow Trail's Nespelum dates. There will be a booth where I will sell copies and maybe do readings.
My books currently are available at Mountain Loop Books and Coffee in Darrington, Washington and Arlington Co-Op in Arlington, Washington. In April, they will be available at Upper Case Books in Snohomish, Washington.

I look forward to traveling to Portland, Oregon in July for their book fair and again in October for Wordstock. My baby steps are getting me closer to my goals...I'm on a five year plan, see....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chatting with cover model Julian Christian!

 Unless you live in a cave, you've seen the hot men who grace the covers of romance novels. Well, I've known Julian Christian on Facebook for a few years now and had the pleasure of interviewing him for my blog. Enjoy :) I sure did!

 Wendy:  Writing novels chose me, what brought you to the world of modeling? 

Julian: Let's see, I am an actor first so that just kind of goes hand and hand with modeling. Plus I am a big fitness guy and seeing my hard work in print gives me a visual feedback look at how my results are going.

Wendy: Can you give us a sample of what a day is like on a photoshoot?

Julian: Well it depends on the shoot. If its a fitness shoot it usually involves a lot of prep work, shaving, tanning and dieting. Other shoots are more casual and fun, usually meeting new people and being in a cool location.

Wendy: Your body looks amazing. What type of fitness/nutrition regimen do you follow?

Julian:  Lot's of cardio, weights and a high protein diet. Plus my supplements and lot's of water.

Wendy: I read in another interview that you run two clinics for special needs children. That is totally different from your modeling career. Why did you choose to do this as well?

Julian: Well I believe you always have to give to others in life. I thoroughly enjoy helping others, especially children. It's a great way to make a living.

Wendy: How is your surfing going?

Julian: Surfing has been on a hiatus for a couple of months due to a injury while big wave surfing out in Cortes Bank. I'll resume in the spring when the waves are more gentile. Anyone want to join me?

Wendy: Your career looks like its headed in an amazing direction, but we’d like to get to know you outside of your work as well. What do you enjoy doing 
 during your free time?

Julian:  I love being outdoors, whether it's hiking, mountain biking or just taking my dog Rocky to Dog Beach. I love music and sometimes play drums with my band at events.

Wendy: We know each other from Facebook, but I’ve noticed that you are on some romance novel covers. None of those novels are mine (but I would love to change that!) and I’m wondering how an author can make it possible to have you be on their cover? 

Julian: Just let me know and I will give you some pictures to choose from. All I ask is that you make a donation to an animal shelter in Rocky's name. This goes for any author. I don't accept payment for Romance Novel covers any more. Just that they donate in exchange.

Wendy: What is the best way for fans to keep in contact with you?

Julian: Facebook is the best way.  

Wendy:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers?

Julian: That I appreciate their support tremendously. I love them dearly.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, Julian. I hope you’ll visit again and I wish you the best of luck with your many projects! 

Here is the link for Julian’s facebook page just in case you would like to friend him:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Researching the American Old West by Elysa Hendricks

By Elysa Hendricks

When I first started writing there was no Internet or at least it was still in its infancy and I didn't have access to it. Google and Wikipedia didn't exist. There really weren't many people using email and Zuckerberg was barely out of diapers. So if I wanted to know about southwest Texas, what its landscape, climate, flora and fauna were I basically had three options: visit the area myself, talk to people who lived or had lived there, or spend a lot of time in the library reading books about the area. Oh, I also watched old western movies, but since many of those movies were actually filmed in Italy (hence the term Spaghetti Westerns) rather than in the American southwest, there was some question about their accuracy. 

Today I can talk with people all over the world via email and Facebook, getting information almost immediately. (Still haven't figured out how to use Twitter.) And when I need to know something about what a location looks like I jump on and take a quick tour. When I was researching my humorous women's fiction book GRANNIES AND TRANNIES:VEGAS OR BUST, I spent the day going up and down the Vegas Strip via Google's street view. I ended feeling like I'd actually walked the whole way, even though I never left the comfort of home and my feet didn't hurt.

Now there's Google Earth which even has a Historical Imagery site where you can take a peek back in time. Think of the possibilities. Now I just have to learn how to use it. Despite my ability to surf the web (does anyone still say that?) I'm pretty much a techno-idiot. I've signed up at two blog sites, but can't figure out how to create my own blog. But I digress.

Where before I spent hours and hours in the library pouring through research books for historical details about stagecoach and railroad schedules, wardrobes, towns, and people, and hundreds of dollars on books, now I spend even more hours on my computer searching through hundreds of web sites on every possible subject concerning history, only I can do it from the comfort of my chair at any hour I please. Having access to the Internet is great when insomnia strikes.

That's not to say I've given up my hours in the library or the research books I've collected through the years. I still love browsing through dusty tomes and unearthing unpolished gems of information. My western historical romances THIS HEART FOR HIRE and HER WILD TEXAS HEART were inspired by my reading of Lucia Robson St Claire's RIDE THE WIND, Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE and T.R. Fehrenbach's COMANCHES: A Destruction of a People. I wanted to re-create the world as it was during that period of history while still giving the reader a satisfying happy ending for the characters they'd come to care about.

One thing I've learned is wherever I'm getting my historical facts I always try to verify them, to find more than one source, especially if the source is the Internet. Sometimes information on the Internet is like the game of Telephone we used to play as kids. I tell someone something then they tell it to the next person and the next and so on until at the end what I said bears no resemblance to what the last person hears. Find at least two or more sources that say the same thing. Sometimes there's a question about 'historical' facts where even the experts disagree. History has a way of blurring the lines between fact and myth. If every source says something different then choose the one that based on your knowledge of the time period seems the most reasonable and/or fits with your story.

That's not to say that you can't play around with some historical details to accommodate the needs of your book. Just remember that if you do so you risk pulling your reader out of the story. And if you do choose to 'adjust' history to fit your story be sure and let the reader know. I love books that include author notes about the 'real' history and the how and why the author adjusted her version.

A convent reared innocent and a gunslinger with no memory struggle to survive and find love while crossing the dangerous west Texas frontier.

Abandoned by his father and betrayed by his half-brother and fiancee on the eve of his wedding, JAKE GALLAGHER no longer believes in love. Though he longs to go home, his undercover work for the Texas Rangers keeps him in a lawless Texas border town. Even though it jeopardizes his mission he refuses to stand by and watch outlaws rape and murder a young woman. Getting shot and losing his memory wasn’t part of his plan.

While fleeing from her stepfather’s plans to steal their ranch, CHRISTINA GOODWIN witnesses her brother’s murder and is left in the hands of a merciless band of outlaws. Raised in a strict convent, Christina has little knowledge of men or the world, its dangers and temptations. Frightened and alone, she is forced to accept the help of the dark gunslinger who rescues her. Though drawn to Jake’s potent masculinity, she hesitates to trust him, fearing her stepfather has sent him to bring her back. Unsure of Jake’s motives for helping her, she struggles against him, determined to find a way to avenge her brother’s death and regain control of her ranch from her stepfather.

In a lawless west Texas border town, a woman has two choices: death or dishonor. Doctor's apprentice and former Comanche slave, KC O'Connor finds a third--she buries her femininity and longing for love beneath a boyish disguise. But the arrival of an injured greenhorn shatters the shell around her hidden heart.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Something to think about...

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Mark Twain

Monday, February 20, 2012

My adventure on Facebook

I spent time with my critique partner yesterday. When we get together we usually talk about everything author related. Both of us has been trying beef up our book promotions so we gave each other tips and discussed ideas to make sales better. She asked me about my experience with the facebook author page because she doesn't have one yet. I decided to share my facebook adventure here and why I have both a regular facebook page plus an author page.

I received my first book contract in January of 2009 and was already known as an author on social media sites. How? The moment I started submitting my first book to agents and editors I started marketing myself as an author. I had people emailing me to find out when my first book would be released. I got to know authors, editors, and publishers. I had fans before I had a book out.

To build my friend count on my page in the beginning, I added people who I thought I would have things in common with. I joined groups which is one quick way to find new friends. I "liked" my favorite authors (who I wrote similarly to) and chatted on their pages. I got to know their readers. Their readers wanted to be friends with me. I only sent out friend requests to the first few hundred friends. After that number had been reached, I let people friend me and stopped sending out friend requests and waited for people to start requesting to be my friend. I quickly learned that the more I posted, more friend requests came in. Also, people wanted to get to know me as a person and not just as an author. I was amazed to see the days that had 20 to 50 requests IN ONE DAY! Social networking did wonders for my career in the beginning. These are the same people who buy every book that I have released. I love them!

I hit my first milestone of maxing out facebook's friend limit (5,000 people) last year. I needed to do something but didn't like the idea of starting a fan page. I don't like to think of people on facebook as my fans but friends instead. An "author" page seemed less personable to me. But... I didn't want to be limited by facebook. To avoid this issue, I signed up for the author page. People quickly began liking my new page. I get friend requests on my regular facebook page nearly every day. I can't approve of any more friends right now so I refer those people to my author page. Some like the page. Others don't and it is okay.

Here is what I like about using the regular facebook page:

  1. People interact more on my regular facebook. My friends post on my wall, email me, comment on my status updates. I don't know if this seems less formal to people, there is a big difference with the people talking to me. 
  2. More people add me as a friend on my regular page than they do "liking" my author page. 
  3. When I only had the regular facebook page, my life (and promoting) seemed more manageable. I have to keep both pages updated and interesting. 
  4. I can join groups with my regular page. By joining groups, I am able to meet new people often. 
What I like more about the author page: 

  1. I don't have a limit on my author page. One of the wonderful things about being an author is that I get to meet fabulous people. Most of those people come from facebook. With an author page, I get to meet as many people as I want. A few hundred people have "liked" my author page. Only about a hundred of those people are the same people on my regular page. 
  2. As I mentioned in my adventure story above, I get to refer any friend requests to my author page because I can't accept any more people on my regular page. I usually post similar updates on both pages so people on my author page doesn't lose out on the information. 
  3. I can't like any more author pages on my regular page but I can with my own author page. 
  4. I get information such as who is looking at my page and what posts people are interacting with. Demographic information isn't available on a regular facebook page. 

As you can see, I find some good and bad for each of the ways to socialize on facebook. If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me! Also, you can "like" my author page here: 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Writing Dreaming of Him!

I usually don't like paranormal anything. I don't watch paranormal anything and the genre itself scares the crap out of me. The whole ghost subject freaks me out. I believe in spirits but if something odd happens in my home I go into total denial or we will be packing our stuff. I do have a fourteen year old daughter who has a darker personality than I do. She is a paranormal and horror buff. She also writes novels already. After she finished writing her first book at age twelve she decided that maybe we should write a book together.

We set out plotting Dreaming of Him. We agreed that we'd both write it but I'd do a lot of the romance in the book because the thought of romance made her want to gag.  After we plotted most of the book, I wrote the opening scene and had her read it. "Mom," she had said, "I love it, but you need to write the whole thing." She decided that her talents weren't as good as mine (she is wrong!) and couldn't write with me.

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) was coming up and I figured that writing Dreaming of Him would be the perfect project to do in that month and an awesome gift for my daughter. I accomplished the task of writing the novella in one month (surprising since I know nothing of the genre!), edited it, and had a contract from my publisher shortly after.

Here is the opening scene of the book:

I stood by the lake’s edge and tossed a rock, trying to make it skip across the water as my
father had once taught me when I was a little girl. My lips twisted in a frown as the rock plopped
against the water and quickly sank. Obviously, rock skipping could be added to my list of

“Hey.” The sudden sound of a deep voice cutting through the silence should’ve startled
me, but it didn’t at all.

Curious, I turned toward the sound.

He stood there with a strand of dark hair falling down against his tanned forehead. He
brushed it back and smiled, revealing a brilliant set of teeth.

“Have we met before?” I asked, trying to place him from somewhere.

Instead of answering, he stepped next to me. “Let me show you how to do that.” He
picked up a rock and twisted his wrist just right, sending the rock skipping across the water.
Once the rock sank, he turned to me again. His dark eyes stared into mine as he slid his finger
down my cheek.


The blaring alarm pulled me from my dream, jerking me straight up in bed. The
obnoxious sound came from a little blue box sitting on my dresser, set far away from my bed to
force me up from the comfort. I groaned as the day’s reality set in. The manager of Rich Chick
expected me to be there for work in an hour. I hated not only the annoying beep-beep that ripped
me from my dream, but also knowing that I’d be behind a counter pretending to be someone
different. Then again, I hated most everything about my life. I glanced over to the bottle of
prescription pills on my dresser. Should I go another day pretending everything was fine without
taking the mood-altering drug people swore by? I shook my head at the notion. No more pills.
Not today. Not ever again.


The dark brings romance…and death

Loneliness has clouded Amber Addaire's life, but now she's ready for a change. After a complete makeover still leaves her unhappy, it's only when she starts dreaming of an oddly familiar - and extremely handsome - man that she begins to feel happiness.

Trace Elkson is a spirit stuck on earth long enough to let his childhood friend, Amber Addaire, know how much she meant to him before he died. He can't tell her what he is, or that he's watching over her. He can only communicate with her through her dreams and hopes she will eventually realize who he is. 

In the dream realm, Amber falls in love with Trace but can she figure out who he is and join him before his spirit is forced to move on?

WARNING: A deep friendship, impending death, and a life saved.

Buy the book here:

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Day Contest!

So I decided that the last giveaway would be BIG. I will give away 3 of my books to the winner of this contest. How do you win? Leave a comment on this post for one chance to win. Leave a comment and subscribe to my blog for 2 chances to win 3 of my books. You even get to choose which books you'd like to receive! Comments must be left tonight (Monday) or on Valentine's Day to count. Winner will be announced the evening of Feb. 14th.

Don't know what I write? The covers on the left and right side of the blog are links to excerpts.

Happy Valentine's Day from me to you :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dreaming of Him Excerpts!

I haven't shared this excerpt before. I hope you enjoy it!

     “What do you like to do?” I asked Trace, upon spotting him sitting on the large rock. I hadn’t physically been to the lake in a long time, but apparently it held some significance for us,since it was the only locale he visited in my dreams.
      “Why?” He slipped his fingers through my mass of wavy hair.
      “Just curious.” I sat down on the rock next to him and wanted those strong arms to wrap around me, to make me warm and comfortable again.
      He didn’t make a move, though. “Tell me why and then I will answer your question.”
      “Is it such a big deal for me to know? It’s a simple question…one that most people ask when they’re trying to get to know each other.”
He crossed his arms over his chest and wouldn’t even swing his gaze in my direction.
          “You’re trying to find out more about me? You don’t need to try and get to know me, Amber.”
          “That makes zero sense, Trace.”
          “Everything will become clear once you find me.”
          Anger washed through me, raising me to my feet. “I need to find you. Do you know when
we will be together in real life?”
          “Keep looking and you’ll get all of your answers.”
          Whirling around to face him, I asked, “How? I look for you everywhere. I visit unusual
places with hope that you’ll be there. You never are.”
          The tension that had set his chin in a hard line had disappeared, letting him soften. He
reached for me. “It’s frustrating for me too, honey. I can’t tell you when we’ll be together, but it
will happen. I’m sure of it.”
           “Why would it be frustrating for you?” I let him pull me into his lap. Finally his arms
embraced me, letting me lean my head against his shoulder. “This is my dream. My premonition.
You probably don’t even know that you’re going to meet me someday soon.”
           He shook his head. “It’s frustrating to me, because I know you’re not looking in the right
place. You’ll find me, honey. I know you will.”
           “I want to find you now.”
           “Honey, your alarm is about to go off. I’ll see you tonight in your dreams.”
           “As long as you don’t drink any alcohol.” He laughed right before his lips met mine,
sending shivers of excitement racing through my body. And as he promised, my irritating alarm
pulled me from the safety of his arms and tantalizing kiss.

          The alarm clock had turned into my new enemy. It had the power to yank me away from
Trace without any warning at all. And right when the dream had started getting good. Damn it!
He’d actually kissed me, but I had to get up and ready for work. I groaned and then noticed the
blanket on the other side of the bed, which was usually perfectly tucked in, was folded back as if
someone had intended to lay there. Chills ran up my spine. I crossed my arms over my chest and
glanced around my room.
          Both windows were shut and the blinds in place. No one had messed with them. All my
dresser drawers were still closed, telling me a burglar hadn’t ruffled through anything, even
though that idea almost made me laugh. Why would someone trying to rob me pull the blanket
back to sleep in my bed? I probably had been restless during the night.
         I glanced up at the dark picture of the lake from my dreams. It wasn’t a skillfully painted
image, but my mother knew how much I had loved visiting that lake, and had made the picture
for a birthday gift a few years ago. In all my dreams, the lake was a sunny place, even though it
was always fall type weather. But in the painting, the lake looked as though a storm had been
preparing to hit.
         The beeping in the other room caught my attention, sending me rushing into the kitchen
to see what the hell had caused the noise. My coffee pot had been turned on and enough coffee
had been brewed for one cup. What on Earth? I rarely drank coffee at home and never set the
coffee pot on the automatic timer. Had I been sleep walking?
         In my state of mind, nothing could be ruled as impossible. The clock on the coffee pot
caught my attention. Shit. Forty-five minutes until I had to leave for work. I hurried through a
quick shower and while getting dressed, the lake painting caught my attention again. This time it
had been turned slightly, about an inch, sideways.

Buy this book:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Have an affaire with chocolate!

Once a year a neighboring city has a Valentine's/chocolate festival called The Chocolate Affaire. Every thing is love or a romance themed. And of course, CHOCOLATE! You can find almost anything chocolate covered here. I even tried chocolate covered potato chips because a fellow author encouraged us to broaden our horizons. Ha. I will never eat them again. I do like the chocolate covered cheesecake. Here is a pic of my daughter with one! As you can tell, these cheesecakes on a stick are so big that we end up splitting one every time. By the way, she is probably going to kill me for posting this picture of her on my blog ;)

Besides stuffing our faces with chocolate, we love the live bands. We prefer the classic rock bands when they play. My daughter is pretty good on the guitar and has a huge interest in music so we spend a lot of time hanging out by the stages. Here is one of the bands I really liked. I don't know their name, but the lead singer had a voice that could melt butter.

I live in central Phoenix so how did I discover this festival that is pretty far from us? Valley of the Sun Romance Authors of course! I've signed here twice but go even if I'm not on the list each year. I get to meet lovely new authors like Morgan Kearns.  I collect autographed novels so of course I picked hers up. Here is me being all fan-girl! Just so you know: That book I am holding is titled Fade to Black and it is
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Its also like 500-ish pages. I looove love love long romance novels!

This year my daughter is a freshman in high school so she needs to do community service. She talked me in bringing her on the second day of the festival to work with the authors. I hung around, handed out fliers, met some really amazing people, and chatted with talented authors like these ladies. These pictures are of Tia Dani, Abby Irish, Stacy Connelly, and Marie Patrick.

But wouldn't you know... they brought a cover model this year. Yep, I got to meet Jimmy Thomas! I had a fabulous time touching his rock hard body while taking the picture!

So that is how I spent most of last weekend, friends! Going to this event is a lot of work but so much fun. I am already looking forward to next year.

Talk to you soon,
Wendy Ely

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reviews for Dreaming of Him

So far Dreaming of him has been out for a few weeks so the reviews will start coming in now. Here are two:

On Amazon, Carolyn Hughey rated Dreaming of Him 5 stars and says: " Wendy Ely spins an engaging tale about love and loss. This story is about a deep friendship that lasts beyond your imagination and carries over into the here and now. I always love reading this author's novels."  To read the rest of the review click here

Romance Book Scene rated Dreaming of Him with 5 hearts and says, " This book is a compelling read and not at all what you would expect." to read more of the review click the following link

If you would like to order a copy of Dreaming of Him for yourself (or your sister, mother, best friend, or anyone else in your life...) click the cover on the left.

Talk to you soon,
Wendy Ely

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feeling Free

If you have been following me any where during the past few years, you'll know that I haven't been writing much. I do have a new release out, but I wrote that novella in one month and edits almost killed me. Other than writing Dreaming of Him, I haven't done any other writing outside of the legal field. Being in school had squashed my creativity. Maybe it had been because my brain had been overworked or my mind had been stuck in technical writing. I don't know. I don't really care anymore.

I sat back to review my life (which I recommend people do every so often) because I haven't been happy in two years. I had been in a rut and needed to figure out why. What happened two years ago, you might wonder? I enrolled in the paralegal program. Sure, I was good at it, got good grades, made an honor roll program, and did my internship at a criminal defense attorney's office. I would never ever sit here and tell you that it was boring. My internship was the best part and had the opportunity to do some fantastic things. Honestly though, working in an office isn't something I like to do. I don't think (besides writing) I have been wired to do that type of work. I have many regrets about the choices in my life but am on the path to fix those things that I feel went wrong. 

The biggest thing is that I had stopped writing. I am back at it with a vengeance and love every second of it. Writing lets me feel alive... lets me feel free. When I sit for a long time and write some really fantastic scenes, I feel so light and happy. Nothing in this world compares to that feeling. I will never let me that part of me disappear again. I need to preserve that piece that helps make me who I am. 

I am a writer, an author, a creator of characters who you will laugh with, cry with, love, and hate. 

Dear Readers: Get ready for some new reading because it is on its way! I'm finally going to bring it to you :)