Monday, April 30, 2012

Blog Tour for "Protected" by Cindy Hogan

Today, I am doing something new. My blog is one of the stops for Cindy M. Hogan's Protected blog tour. Protected was released on March 24th and is the second in a planned trilogy. Watched, the first book in the series, is about fifteen-year-old Christy Hadden, who witnesses the brutal murder of a senator's aide and finds herself watched not only by the killers, but by the FBI. She used to hate who she was, but now, she must become someone else to save her own life and the life of her friends.

Here is the cover and the blurb for Protected:

She has the guy. The terrorists have been taken care of and she has a shot at becoming popular.
Life is great!
Until they find her.
Now she must run and leave behind everything she knows,
including herself.

I've asked Cindy to answer a few questions about writing and about her novels. I'm so glad she had the time to fit me in between the book signings and the writing of her third book in the series (which she plans to finish by the end of next week!)

When did you begin writing fiction and what do you love about writing? I only started writing about 5 years ago.I love being transported to another world and finding ways to make that world interesting and captivating as well as realistic.

What inspired you to write the Watched series? I had this awesome dream. It was so vivid and real that I told my family about it and how it would make the most awesome movie. I decided to write the idea down and that was it. I just couldn't stop. The characters came alive and I had to write their story.

Watched and Protected are full of suspense, intrigue, and conspiracy. What type of research did you do as you wrote your novels and did you learn anything that surprised you? I traveled to both Washington DC and different parts of Florida and talked to people while there. My husband is a police officer and my neighbor is an FBI agent, so I had ready access to all my questions. Lucky me.

That is convenient! I have family living near Washington DC, so I enjoyed reading a story in that setting. What is the biggest thing you think you've learned throughout your publication process? I've learned that the work is not all done once you are published. In fact, there might be more work after. Yes, I'm sure of it. There is definitely more work after publication.

As a writer aspiring for publication, that is really helpful for me to know! What advice would you give to young writers who want to write a novel?Read a lot, write a lot and go to writers' conferences. Make sure you get into a good critique group with people who want you to succeed and help you succeed.

Thanks for answering my questions, Cindy.

And here is her bio:

Cindy M. Hogan graduated with a secondary education teaching degree and enjoys spending time with unpredictable teenagers. More than anything she loves the time she has with her own teenage daughters and wishes she could freeze them at this fun age. If she's not reading or writing, you'll find her snuggled up with the love of her life watching a great movie or planning their next party. She loves to bake, garden and be outdoors doing a myriad of activities. 
I love to bake too! I'm baking a fresh batch of homemade cookies today in Cindy's honor. I'd share some with all my readers, but we'll have to pretend. As we all munch on our white chocolate cranberry cookies and chase them down with milk, check out Cindy's contest for the cover model of her third book.

Click here to view the previous stop of the Protected blog tour and follow this tour tomorrow with Julie Daines. If you enjoy fast-paced plots full of suspense, twists, and intriguing characters, click here to buy Protected.

Best of luck to you, Cindy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

30 Days, 30 Stories and Geeking Out About Books and NYC

The Utah Children's Writers Blog is running a different short story, poem, or novel excerpt every day in April. Not all of the contributing authors live in Utah, but some have come to Utah to participate in a wonderful writing conference called Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. My day for the "30 Stories" project is tomorrow, April 14th. If you haven't already, head on over to the blog for some fun reading. One of my favorites is "Walking Cemetery", a ghost story with a surpise ending.

Now, on a different subject... I've spent the week on the East Coast with my family, during which Mr R and I took a whirlwind trip to New York City. Finally. For those of you who have read my post about my adventures with vacation euphoria, you may be wondering what sort of mischief or danger I got myself into this time. Considering this was my first visit to the home of my two most favorite things--publishing and Broadway theater--I could have seriously lost my head. To my dear Mr R's relief, I did not attempt anything too crazy. I didn't bid $1900 for Nick Jonas' green bow tie at the end of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" like some people. (Although the money did go to a good cause). I didn't throw up on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We did find a signed copy of Beatrix Potter's "The Tailor of Gloucester" at a used and rare books store (because I really do "geek out" about books that much). We visited Scholastic Publishing, ate in Little Italy, and found all the designer stores at which I cannot shop. I cannot bring myself to pay $425 for a keychain, no matter how much I like the designer and his logo. But I had a great time in NYC and I hope to go back very soon.

What is the most outrageous price you have paid for something and why? We paid $28 for a bowl of oatmeal was a fancy hotel and breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Mr R liked his fancy oatmeal, but my maple ginger pancakes were AMAZING!