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Monday, April 27, 2015

Soul of Smoke Cover Reveal!

I am ECSTATIC to share the cover for Soul of Smoke by Caitlyn McFarland, who is my agency sister and one of my besties. She's also my literary drug dealer, because I am OBSESSED with her books. I don't even like dragons, yet I have to resist the urge to create endless fanfiction of her novels which, yes, have dragons in them. As you are about to see.

So, what's Soul of Smoke about?

On a hike deep in the Rocky Mountains, Kai Monahan watches as a dozen dragons—actual freaking dragons—battle beneath a fat white moon. When one crashes nearly dead at her feet and transforms into a man, Kai does the only thing a decent person could: she grabs the nearest sword and saves his life.

As the dragon/man, Rhys, recovers from the attack, a chance brush of skin against skin binds him inextricably to Kai. Becoming heartsworn to a human—especially such a compelling one—is the last thing Rhys wants. But with an ancient enemy gathering to pit dragons against humanity and his strength nearly depleted, Kai has just become the one thing Rhys needs. A complete bond will give him the strength to fight; a denied bond means certain death.

Kai is terrified at the thought of allowing any dragon into her mind…or her heart. Accepting the heartswearing and staying with the dragons means sacrificing everything, and Kai must decide if her freedom is worth risking Rhys's life—a life more crucial to the fate of humanity than she could possibly know.


Soul of Smoke releases from Harlequin's Carina Press July 27th. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

And now, the cover. Drum roll!

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Eh? EH?

What do you think?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Learning to Love the No-Makeup Me

I've come to realize that women who don't wear makeup haven't "stopped trying," they're merely more comfortable with who they are than I am with myself.

I am a huge proponent of Beauty Redefined. They have opened up my eyes to things I don't think I would have noticed before. They can be really in-your-face sometimes, but there's truth to what they're saying.

I recently looked in the mirror before going to bed, at myself without makeup, and thought, I don't even know this person. And it's true--I am much more familiar with my made-up self than I am with my natural self. I realized that the image in the mirror was the real me, the way God made me, and yet I'm so uncomfortable with others seeing my naked face that I never go out without makeup.

In the Salt Lake area, people are really gung-ho about looking good. I didn't realize this until I moved out of state. As soon as you cross the border into Utah, you're assaulted with billboards for plastic surgery, fat removal, hair removal, spray tans, etc. It's ridiculous how many billboards and ads there are for that. Even listening to news radio I get ads for surgical "beauty." I recently heard one specifically made for "mommies," as though being a mother automatically makes you ugly.

When I lived in Moscow, I relaxed from the rigid hair-and-makeup routine I'd been practicing since before I was a teenager. The "standard" for "beauty" isn't as high up there--perhaps media hasn't hit it as hard. I started wearing ponytails. I began to feel comfortable with just mascara and cover-up. It was great.

Then I moved to Rexburg for a summer, and back to Salt Lake, and have been again assaulted with high ideals of beauty.

So I'm on a personal mission to like who I am without makeup. To not be hyper-aware every time I'm bare-faced. To be able to go to the store without mascara (which will be the hardest thing to give up). I want to like me without enhancements, because the enhancements are getting out of hand, and they're all focused on women.

My makeup basket. AKA the container for all
my self-confidence palettes.
I'm starting by being bare-faced at home, and I'm taking a selfie of myself every morning. I want to get used to natural me. When I do go out, I'm allowing myself mascara and cover-up so I don't look too different from me-me. (But I'm still going to do my hair.)

Wish me luck. And if you aren't familiar with Beauty Redefined, I highly suggest reading some of their articles.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Paper Magician Art Contest: WINNERS!

First, let me say thank you SO MUCH to everyone who entered the contest! Those who gave permission have their art up on CharlieNHolmberg.com.

I seriously adored every single one of these entries. I am floored by how creative and talented all of you are! I've looked through the pictures so many times just staring at them and being in love.

Yes yes, I know, get on with it. Half of you probably scrolled down to the bottom of this post without even reading this lovely introduction of mine. ;)

As a disclaimer, I gave my judges full authority over who won and who didn't. I did not vote for any of the prize-winners. I also let them determine what did and did not count in the contest (since technically the rules said to draw "your favorite character," which could be construed as only one character per entry. I think most of them weren't strict.)

ANYWAY, the winners. And I'll even restate their prizes so they can see all the stuff I'm sending them. :)

Drum roll!

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FIRST PLACE


"Pages of Adventure" by Jynette Tigner



Jynette has won:

$50 Amazon gift card, signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician
and
 The Glass Magician, signed audiobook copies of The Paper Magician
and 
The Glass Magician
, signed bookplate, bookmark, origami kit,
Cadbury roses, paper crane earrings, and an atomically correct silver heart necklace


SECOND PLACE

"Frisky Fennel" by Katherine Harrill



Katherine has won:

Signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician,
signed audiobook copies of 
The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician,
signed bookplate, bookmark, origami kit, and Cadbury roses.


THIRD PLACE

"Ceony Twill" by Anna Papadopoulou


Anna has won:

Signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, signed audiobook copies of The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, signed bookplate, and bookmark.


While this wasn't in the original contest, due to the votes I wanted to extend an honorable mention to the fourth place winners. Yep. Two entries tied for fourth place: "stories. sunlight." by Isabelle and "Ceony and Fennel" by Diantha Ngo:

stories. sunlight.

Ceony and Fennel


Isabelle and Diantha, I'd love to send each of you a signed copy of a book of your choice--The Paper Magician or The Glass Magician, whichever you'd prefer!



I will be contacting the winners to get their mailing addresses. :)




Thank you again to all the participants! You really made my story come alive, and that means so much to me. :)







Friday, April 3, 2015

Children's Book Day--My Favorite Stories as a Kid

Yesterday was Children's Book Day, and I had a request to share my favorite bedtime stories as a kid on the blog. I know there are many more than I'm listing here, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind:

The Poky Little Puppy. There were a lot of Little Golden Books that I read/had read to me as a child
(like The Saggy Baggy Elephant or The Fuzzy Duckling), but this one stands out to me the most. It's one I now read to my little girl!

Roger's Upside-Down Day. This one is a little more obscure, but my sister and I adored it. I actually memorized it for a poetry reading in elementary school. The entire book is about how Roger Poger goes upside-down for a day.

Clue series. Based off the popular board game. I ate these up. Which is funny, because I'm not much of a mystery reader anymore.

The American Girl books. I got into these in sixth grade and adored them, even though I didn't own any of the dolls. The stories I remember most are the ones about Addy.


What were your favorite books as a kid?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Winners Announced Monday, April 6th

Winners for The Paper Magician Art Contest will be announced this Monday, April 6th! (Which also happens to be both Caitlyn McFarland and Jesus's birthday.)

Thank you for everyone who entered! The number of entries put a big smile on my face. I had no idea my readers were so very talented! :D

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Review: I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

Today I’m reviewing something a little different from my norm: a kid’s book! And an LDS kid’s book at that. It’s called I Hope They Call Me on a Mission, written by Benjamin Hyrum White (who was my seminary teacher in high school!) and illustrated by Corey Egbert.


If the title doesn’t give it away, this book is about LDS missionaries, designed namely for kids (I’d say ages five to twelve) who may be considering serving a mission.

(For those of you unfamiliar with LDS missionary work, it’s a service of about two years for young single adults to preach the gospel. It’s usually done out-of-state unless handicap prevents it, and the missionaries pay for all their expenses out-of-pocket. My husband served in Paris, France from 2007-2009. :D)

The book has a great format for the information: Missionaries [do this], plus a few lines of description. Enough to understand, not enough to bore. ;) It covers things kids don’t always hear about missionary work as well, such as exercise and rejection.

I really like the style of art for the book too—it’s very colorful and isn’t monotonous. I Hope They Call Me on a Mission depicts both male and female missionaries, as well as multiple nationalities, so it’s very diverse.

The book starts with a missionary sending a letter home to talk about what he does. The only slightly negative thing I could say about the book is that I wish the motif of the “letter to home” had been kept up through the pages more, and not just at the beginning.

All-in-all, I think it’s a cute and informative book that I’d be happy to share with my own kid.

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission is being sold at Costco, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble, so go check it out!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Paper Magician Art Contest!

It’s officially the month of valentines, cheap candy, social expectations, love, and heartache. This is great. Why? Because Valentine’s Day and The Paper Magician have one big thing in common: they both have paper hearts!

Ba-dum ch. (Cue drums breaking down into hot mess in corner.)

ANYWAY, I wanted to utilize Valentine’s month to announce The Paper Magician Art Contest.


What is it? It’s a contest for artists of all aspects to draw (paint, collage, photograph, etc.) their favorite character(s) from The Paper Magician series. The contest will be open for six weeks (February 16th to March 30th) and will have three winners.

Yes, yes, prizes. Behold:

First Place:

$50 Amazon gift card, signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician
and 
The Glass Magician, signed audiobook copies of The Paper Magician
and 
The Glass Magician, signed bookplate, bookmark, origami kit,
Cadbury roses, paper crane earrings, and an atomically correct silver heart necklace

Second Place:

Signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician,
signed audiobook copies of 
The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician,
signed bookplate, bookmark, origami kit, and Cadbury roses.

Third Place:


Signed paperback copies of The Paper Magician and The Glass 

Magician, signed audiobook copies of The Paper Magician and 
The Glass Magician, signed bookplate, and bookmark.


All entries will, with the artists’ consent, also be showcased on CharlieNHolmberg.com.

So, how do you enter?

Starting February 16th, email your entry to CharlieNHolmberg (at) gmail.com, along with the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Title of work (optional)
  • Method used (optional)
  • Can we display this entry on CharlieNHolmberg.com? (Y/N)


…and that’s it!

This contest is open internationally, and there are no restrictions on who can enter. Each participant can send up to two entries.

Questions/concerns? Send them to CharlieNHolmberg (at) gmail.com or through the contact form on my website.