Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Project Life Spotlight and a book giveaway

Every couple weeks, Becky spotlights one of the members of the Project Life Creative Team. Today, it’s my turn to be featured. Hop on over to Becky’s Blog to read more about how I use Project Life.

Also, as a little bonus, Becky is giving away one signed copy of my book. Enter before Monday, August 4th, to win.

no words

Some days I just don’t have a lot of words. I sink deep into my thoughts and memories, and writing it all out just feels like too much, too personal to share with the world, too overwhelming to deal with and sort through.

It probably doesn’t help that I am sick and have spent the last couple days feeling not much like myself.

The tears feel close to the surface today.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I let them fall.

a Girls Days birthday

With the busy days of summer, more trips, and fun family time comes less blogging. When I’m in the middle of all the routine of the school year, I long for the long lazy summer days. But when I don’t have that routine, I find it hard to stay organized and keep any sort of blogging schedule. What day I post becomes kind of random and that’s OK.

It’s awesome to get away, though, and so good for the soul. I spent last weekend, my birthday weekend, with my Mom, my Aunt Pat, and my cousin Tonya for our annual Girls Days trip. This year, we chose Frankenmuth. We’ve gone there before with more of the family, but it had been eight years. It’s such a cute little town, lots of shops, a quaint downtown area, horse & buggy rides, ferry boat rides on the river, a covered bridge. A fun place to spend a day.

It’s also only about 10 minutes from the outlet mall in Birch Run, so that’s always good for some more shopping fun. :)

My aunt brought along the copies of my book she purchased and she had me sign them for her. :) Also, Tonya told me that her daughter (13) read my book for her summer reading project and she really liked it. Tonya didn’t even have to remind her to do her reading, she sat down and read it all on her own. She has to write a report on it and asked me a couple questions. I love it. That just made my day!

We had a fabulous time and, even though I was away from my hubby and kids (who sent me sweet birthday wishes via text), I had the BEST birthday. So much laughter, as always, and I needed that.

The blog will be quiet again until early next week as I’m off again this weekend with Jen for our annual camping trip! Have a wonderful weekend, guys!

And if you need something to read this weekend, my book is now only $2.99 in eBook form. So if you’ve been waiting to pick it up, now’s a great chance. :)

random thoughts on a friday night

It’s been quiet around here without our girl. I miss her and that loud, crazy personality of hers. But it does us all good to spend a little time apart every now and then. And I know she had a wonderful time with her grandparents this week. She sent me texts and pictures, and I was thankful for that little connection. The pictures above were taken last weekend when we visited and dropped her off. We all went for a family walk down the dirt road by their house. Nice houses along there and some ranches, where we admired all the pretty horses.

We’re swapping out the kids on Sunday, so next week will be Zach’s turn with MiMaw and Poppi.

Hey! Heidi and Kyle chose a name for their baby. Graham! I love it. We have a Graham in our family, too – my cousin Traci’s son.

Mom took Zach and I out for lunch on Wednesday to Applebee’s. Then he deserted me to go hang out with her for the afternoon. They always have fun playing board games together, and that’s exactly what they did.

The weather here was unseasonably cool this week. In the 60’s. I even wore jeans and long sleeves the other day when I went out on a grocery run. I do enjoy cool weather … in the fall … or after a really long stretch of 90 degree days. But we need summer to come back so we can finally swim in Big Blue.

This morning, it was super quiet in our house. We made the decision to cancel our satellite yesterday. We’ve been talking about it for a while now. I doubt we watch more than an hour or two per day of channels other than the local ones, which we can get through our television with an antenna. Anything else we watch, we usually wait until it’s streaming online or available on Netflix. It was a good decision that will save us $55/month.

I sat and read “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Niequist this morning in our super quiet house. We don’t have an antenna for the TV yet to pick up the digital channels, so it stayed off. It was wonderfully silent. I sipped on my coffee, and decided to pick up the book, which I started reading a while ago, but never finished. The first chapter I read was about how a friend of Shauna’s, who always has a neat and tidy home, stopped over unannounced one day, and the house was a disaster, with dishes overflowing in the kitchen, and a smell coming from them. I had to laugh. That is so me. The point of the chapter was that no matter how imperfect your home is, invite people in. Because it’s those connections that are the most important, not a perfectly clean home.

We live amongst a lot of clutter. Our house is too small with not a lot of storage space. So, as we’ve worked on this room or that, we’ve piled things here and there. So, while I did relate to that chapter in Shauna’s book, there is NO WAY I am inviting anyone into this place. :D

It didn’t used to be this way, but years and years of kid clutter and husband clutter add up. And it wore me down. Maybe I didn’t teach my kids well enough. Maybe they picked up all their dad’s sloppy habits (sorry, babe!). Maybe I just wanted a little help and never got it. And I kind of gave up. I’m sure I’m not the only stay at home mom that has felt like this. Overwhelmed would be the word.

And it’s not how I want things to be. We simply don’t have enough room anymore. And that’s the reality of our situation right now.

Moving on …

If you missed it the other day, I put together a fun board over on Pinterest with locations from my book. For those that read the book already, it might be fun to see how the actual locations compare to what you imagined them to be. I’d love to hear what you pictured while you were reading. Leave a comment below or email me HERE. I’m sure I will add more as I venture out and take more photos around town. And stay tuned for a new Pinterest board soon with lots of locations/wedding details/inspirations from my current work in progress.

CLICK THE IMAGE to check out the board on Pinterest.

Haven’t read the book yet. Click HERE to pick it up in paperback or eBook.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Pinterest book location boards

I love Pinterest. Who doesn’t, right? You can get lost on there for hours and hours. I have a board on my Pinterest for little announcements about my book(s) and such, but I thought it would be really fun to make one for each of my books with pictures of locations that were in the book or were inspiration for the book. Some of the pictures I found browsing around Pinterest, but I also scoured through folders and folders of my own photos to find the places I used in my book. Lots of it was taken from my life, places I’ve been, etc. Write what you know, right? And I do.

Follow Kris’s board The Truth About Drew – locations on Pinterest.

Enjoy! You can follow all my Pinterest boards HERE.

I will soon be adding a new board for locations from the new chick lit novel. That one will be loaded with pictures of locations, but also many weddings I’ve shot, since they were so much my inspiration for this book!

welcome to the world, baby M

After a lovely weekend across the state at Jake’s parents, we drove away and left Chloe there for a week. It was strange to come home without her, but I know she will have a great time. And I believe Scarlett is coming to visit for a day or two also, so she’ll get to spend time with her cousin, too, and they always have a fun time together.

Yesterday, I woke early and headed to the hospital in Kalamazoo to take some pictures for Heidi, who was scheduled for a c-section to deliver her sweet baby. We were all guessing it was gonna be a cute curly red-haired girl, just like her daddy, but we were all wrong. It was an adorable boy, who looks just like his big brother, Grady.

Grady was instantly the best big brother ever. He was so cute with the new baby. I love how he’s got his hand on baby’s head in the picture above. And the one below … favorite!

Being able to be there when a baby has just entered the world is always so amazing and I’m so happy Heidi asked me to come. This little guy is such a blessing for their little family.

Congrats, my dear friends. My heart is filled with joy for you!

how can you help?

How can you, readers and lovers of books, help authors like me? Having people read and enjoy a book you wrote is wonderful. But how do we get our books into the hands of more people? With your help, of course. We need you! Especially we indie authors, who self-publish.

Here are some great ideas for you to help spread the word about the books you love!

Obviously, the best way to spread the news about a book is word of mouth. Talking with a friend about what they’ve been reading lately? Chatting on IM? Skyping or Facetiming? Texting? Share what you’ve been reading and where they can find it.

You can also share links on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, or wherever else you hang out online.

This is so helpful to authors as well as other readers looking for good books to read. If you read a book and love it, please post a review and rating. Your opinion and recommendation matters, especially for a new author trying to get the word out about her book. ;)

It doesn’t have to be a lengthy review telling all the plot points and definitely don’t give away any major twists or big reveals in the story. Just share what you loved about it. How it made you feel? What made you think about it long after you read it?

Places to review a book:
Do a search for the book title on these sites. You can even copy your review from one site and review it on the others also.

A girl on Goodreads, who won my giveaway, enjoyed the book and told me she is going to pass it around a reading group she is a part of after she lets her teenage niece read it. I love that. I encourage anyone who bought a copy of my book to share it with a friend or give it away to someone you know will love it. For me, it’s not about the number of sales I get, it’s about the people who get to read it.

If you pass the book on, make sure to tell them how to spread the word, too.

Not all libraries will do it, but you can request books and the more requests they get, the greater chance they will add the book. Having a book in the library makes it easy (and free) for many more people to read the book!

If you have a blog, write a post/review about the book. Besides a review on book sites like Amazon, you can share more about the book and your thoughts on it as well as links to the author’s website/blog, places to purchase the book, etc.

When you’re done reading it, you could even give it away on your blog. If you can part with it, of course. ;)

Some authors are also willing to be interviewed for blogs. Open your blog up for questions from your readers, then invite them back after the author answers their questions.

Take a photo of yourself with the book, something fun and creative. (If it’s my book, include the hashtag #thetruthaboutdrew.) :)

Instagram is a fun place to share your photos, but if you aren’t on Instagram, you can post it on Facebook. (Again, if it’s my book, visit my Facebook author page and add your photos to the “Reader Photos” album.)

Are you in a book club? Suggest it as the book one month. Sometimes authors are even willing to answer questions via email, chat or Skype to go along with your book discussion.

Goodreads is such a fun place to hang out, make new friends, join groups, and talk about books. Start a discussion in your favorite group about books you’ve read and loved. And don’t forget to leave reviews there as well.

Tweet favorite lines or quotes from books you are reading. (Don’t forget, if it’s my book, add the hashtag #thetruthaboutdrew.) ;)

Let the author know how much you liked the book, what you loved about it, how it affected you. This isn’t really about spreading the word, but this can be so encouraging to an author. Some days, just a little email or comment or “like” can totally make their day and give the boost that’s needed to write through a tough scene in their next manuscript.

It’s wonderful to hear what kinds of things you’re doing to help spread the word about a book, too.

Here are links to my book on the various sites. If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please leave a review or do any of the things I’ve listed above. I appreciate all that you guys are doing to tell people about my little book. Thank you!


the making of a BOOK COVER

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for the design of my book cover, I had a very clear vision of what I thought it should look like. Close-up of a teenage boy with his arms crossed over his chest in the sign language for “love”. This is something that the characters do in the book and I thought that would connect the cover with the story. Drew also carries around this worn leather notebook all the time, and I knew I wanted to incorporate that as well.

And shooting my own cover, well, that was no problem with my years of photography experience. So I wrangled Zach, my thirteen year old son, into being my “Drew” for the cover and we shot two sets of pictures. One of him wearing an aqua/teal blue shirt and another wearing a red shirt. Obviously, I went with the blue for the cover, but the leather of the journal looked pretty nice next to the red shirt, so you just never know until you shoot it.

Once I loaded the images and took a look at them, I knew it had to be the blue shirt. It looked much better with his skin tone and it just popped. Plus, I love that color.

Another thing I knew … the journal was too small. While writing the book, I always envisioned Drew’s notebook to be larger, like 8×10 or something closer to those dimensions, but the only one we could find that looked similar to my imaginings was this small one from B&N. And I didn’t want to drop a small fortune on a larger one and didn’t really like the styles, so I went with it. I knew that I had the photoshop skills to alter the size of the notebook, thanks again to all my years of editing wedding photographs (I have literally swapped heads from one photo to another to make sure everyone’s smiling in family and bridal party photos.) ;)

You might also notice that the backdrop is the siding of my parents’ house. I erased the background to make that white, then went about resizing the journal. I will not explain all the many steps it took for me to do that. I don’t even remember half of them. I will just say that it took many hours to get it to look just right. ;)

Here is the before and after:

Once that was finished, I used the template that Createspace gives for authors to design their covers and worked on the layout.

I hand wrote Drew’s name on my iPad using the Paper app and sent it to my husband, Jake, who turned it into a vector graphic for me using Adobe Illustrator. (I don’t have the program and have never used it before, but he does and has, and the letters were nice and smooth-edged when he was done with them.) I love the look of hand written words on covers and, because “Drew” is always writing in his notebook, I thought that would be a nice touch to have his “signature” on the front of the book.

So these were my first two versions. I decided that the blue background was too much, so I went with the white when I ordered my first proof copy. It was just too plain once it was printed. (The big gap at the bottom is the space for the UPC code, by the way.)

Another thing I noticed was the words “the” and “about” were too light and blended into the background a little too much. So I made those a little bolder and added a darker drop shadow. My name was also not properly centered, so I fixed that. And then I decided to go with a mix of the first two designs and add a gradient to the blue background and I liked that much better. A little bit of color, but not overwhelmingly so.

But still … something was missing. And then I remembered that when I originally doodled the name “Drew” onto my iPad, I liked that the “D” looked like a cross at the top (tying in with the Bible verses Drew is always quoting), but it also looked like the tip of a pen at the bottom. So I pulled out the iPad again and drew a swirly line to look like the tip of the “pen” had drawn it, and sent it off to Jake for some more vector graphic magic. I dropped it onto my cover design and loved it.

And this is the finished cover for the paperback version of my book! To take an idea from my head and make it a reality is pretty awesome. I’m proud of how it turned out and it looks great in print, too. :)

So … I told Zach, who will probably kill me for sharing these, that he didn’t need to smile while I took the cover pictures, because his face would not be seen in the finished product. This is what he did while I was shooting.

What a kid! Thanks, bud, for being my cover model. :P

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my cover design process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.


Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know today is the LAST DAY to get my book for $1.99 on Kindle. The Truth About Drew is an inspirational YA novel about friendship, family and faith with a little mystery and supernatural/spiritual thrown in the mix.

Click the above image to purchase.
Happy reading!

monday’s list

Favorite 4th of July photo from this year! Jake ended up being the one to light all the fireworks over at his sister’s house and this type of bottle rocket had a little more get up and go than he expected. :)

The 4th
We had a nice long weekend together. People in our neighborhood started shooting off fireworks on “Independence Eve”, so Chloe and I turned off the lights in her room and watched out the window. Lots of big ones on all sides of us.

On the 4th, Jake and I were up before the kids and we watched THIS CLIP from the movie John Adams that I always love to watch on Independence Day. I also saw online that the Star Spangled Banner is 200 years old this year. :)

In the evening, Jake’s sister Brenda invited us over to their house for some fireworks. It was a lot of fun. They invited all their neighbors and several came. The kids enjoyed sparklers and s’mores while Jake lit all the fireworks. They picked up some pretty big ones this year. It was pretty impressive. And, once again, just about every neighbor was lighting off the big ones, too, so it was like a nonstop show for a couple hours. We even saw some chinese lanterns floating by at one point, which was so pretty. I love those.

I realized today that I posted this on every other form of social media except my blog. :P But it’s not too late. My book’s on sale for $1.99 on KINDLE through tomorrow, Tuesday July 8th. Snatch it up now before the price goes up. CLICK HERE!

If you are someone who would rather read a physical copy of the book, sign up for my NEWSLETTER now to receive a special coupon code for a discount off the paperback.

Also, I want to say THANK YOU to those who have taken advantage of the sale and purchased the book. My book bumped up to #15 on the teen religious fiction top 100 best sellers list on Amazon this weekend and has remained in the top 100 ever since.

“You have to be willing to open your heart again, even at the risk of being broken.”

This is a line from my new book. Last night, Maggie (my main character) learned something huge about her “adversary” and took a big step forward. It was inevitable really. If you stay in one place for too long, wallowing in your past hurts, you’re never going to grow or be able to move on. I actually felt really proud of her.

And … I think I have a title for the book. Not sure I’ve settled on it. We shall see.

Happy Monday, everyone!

AJAXed with AWP