Nov 30, 2011

A Double Feature

As I work on Book Two of the Jinn Series (I Dream...) I am often distracted by a second movie playing in my head... It's like being at a drive-in movie theater where you are watching one movie, and then you glance behind you and see another movie playing at the same time.

Right now, I am trying to keep my mind focused on I Dream... but sometimes I can't help but dip into my other project when some piece of inspiration refuses to be ignored.

Just to give you a small sample of what is playing on the other big screen... Here is the first entry of Diary of a Freak... a semi-autobiographical novel about a girl who wants to just be seen for her, but she hasn't quite figured out who that is yet.

Diary of a Freak

You know that feeling when you are just learning to swim. Your strokes are confident in the shallow end, and then you take one... two... three more strokes. You are so proud of yourself until... Your feet float down to support you, but you have gone just too far. Your head dips down, and you swallow a little water as you gasp in surprise. The tip of your big toe reaches the bottom just as your face goes under. You push back up. Your arms are flailing, and your feet are kicking out sharply... floundering. That's what we call it in swimming terms. Not quite drowning, but definitely not on solid ground.

This is the story of my life... floundering.

October 13th, Friday


I don't know if diaries usually have a preface, but I figured that this diary needed one to explain to future generations that I am writing this against my will.

My mom came to 'have a talk' with me after several hours of being 'sent to my room.' She had her mouth all scrunched up in that 'I thought better of you' mixed with a touch of worried 'not you too.' I guess I get that since I am supposedly one of the normal kids around here.

She said after a little throat clearing and a pat on my knee, and I quote, "Lauren, I understand that you are... that you feel out of place. I know that living in our family has its challenges, but that doesn't give you the right to..." some more throat clearing before her eyes looked back up into mine with a spark of anger in them, "Well, it doesn't give you the right to embarrass your family, like you did."

Yes, she used the word embarrass! My mouth must have dropped open because her eyes just squinted more determinedly, before she went on. "Don't you even start. We are all in this together, whether you like it or not, and the sooner you realize that; the faster your life won't feel like... how did you put it? a 'freak show'?" She used actual air quotations to make me feel the full impact of my words... and I did.

She just sat there for what felt like forever, letting those words sink to the bottom of my stomach with a heavy thud. I knew I was in the wrong, but weren't they in the wrong when they went off and collected every weird kid from all of the corners of the earth, instead of giving their own kids a nice normal life? Yeah, I guess that might sound petty, but I feel a deep streak of petty, right now.

I just sat there with my legs crossed in front of me, hugging my pillow, unable to say anything... just waiting for the consequences of my actions to fall on my head. She gave an almost imperceptible nod after she had determined that I properly felt the weight of my actions and said the words I truly dreaded, "This is for your own good." First of all, never believe anyone that says "I only want world peace," or "It's not you, it's me," or especially, "This is for your own good." They are all lying through their teeth! Those words are a sure sign that whatever punishment you were expecting is actually going to be ten times worse than anything you could ever dream up on your own... and it was in a very evil-genius type of way.

So, these are the terms of my punishment:

1) I am to write in this stupid diary every day. Not just about anything though. No, I am to write about my family... my memories, my experiences, my feelings and all of that touchy-feely stuff that will help me to come to terms with any 'issues' I might have. (Yes, she did use the phrase come to terms and mini air quotes for issues.)

2) I am to write one true thing at the end of each entry. Something that I have learned on my own... that no one else has told me to believe. (I personally don't get it, but whatever.)

3) Lastly, I am to help with my sister's Special Olympics class coming up as a volunteer for three weeks. (Just what I need in my life... more weird people.)

Some of you FGs (future generations) out there are thinking that this doesn't sound so very awful; oh, but that's where you would be wrong. I think that I will have to give you a little history lesson in tomorrow's entry.

On a side note, I think that it is beyond ironic that I should finally have a melt down on Friday the 13th.

A Freak

Truth: Whoever it was that said "Always look on the bright side of life." never had to deal with my life.

Nov 29, 2011

Ways to Share I Wish...

I have had so many people exclaim at how much they LOVE I Wish... and then they ask me how they can help to spread the word. Here are just a few ways:

Facebook! You can share any post from I Wish... by just hitting the share button. You can also post a link to my blog, my book trailer on youtube, or amazon to read reviews and buy I Wish...

Pinboards. Not the old-school ones in grocery stores. I am talking about Pinterest and Two Peas and other e-pinboards that you can share links on and recommend books to anyone who is interested in listening.

E-Bookshelves like Goodreads and Shelfari. Please review and rate I Wish... so other can see that it is out there.

Book Reviewing Blogs. Do you know anyone who reviews books? Recommend my book for review. I would love to donate a copy to their blog and do an author interview.

Talk about it. Review it on Amazon, tell you friends, mention it to you book club...

Again, I really appreciate all of the support and responses from everyone. Thank you all so much!

Nov 28, 2011

Top 5 Genie Influences

There are not a lot of genies, jinn, and djinn references out there in the world today. The subject has been touched upon, but hardly ever focused on. Throughout my life these are five of the places that I have found touches of genies. They are all interesting takes, but none of them give genies the golden spotlight like I have in I Wish...

Arabian Nights

Christina Aguilera's 'Genie in a Bottle' covered by Sara Bareilles

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

I Dream of Jeannie

B.o.B. 'Airplanes'

Disney's Aladdin

Nov 27, 2011

Nov 25, 2011

200 Hits!

I Wish... Book Trailer

In a very exciting twist today, the I Wish... book trailer has reached 200 hits! Let's continue to see the growth and share it on pin-boards and facebook, twitter and google+. Thank you all for your support

Black Friday Gifts

Kindle Deals!
This model now sells for $69. Such a great deal!

I Wish...
Don't forget to add I Wish... to your Christmas purchases. It's only $2.99! It can also be a great respite from the chaos of the Christmas rush.

A Great Shirt!
You can always buy a shirt to match Jack's. Super cute with babydoll sleeves.

Nov 24, 2011

A Moment of Gratitude

On this Thanksgiving I would like to express my gratitude to all of those people who made publishing I Wish... possible.

I would like to thank my sister Keira for reading chapter after chapter of my awful first draft and cheering me on the whole way.

To my other sisters for reading and critiquing draft two.

To my brother Brian who sat down and wrote a book from beginning to end. Thank you for leading the way.

To my friend's niece, Michelle, who had no idea who I was, and yet fell in love with my book and the characters inside. You really helped me to focus my book.

To my many readers along the way who have helped me to tweak and perfect I Wish... I am sooo thankful for your support.

To Audrey who covered up my flaws and lack of comma skills with her amazing editing. Without you I don't know how I would have finished.

To my Mom for reading a fantasy novel even though it isn't really your thing, and then being my biggest cheerleader.

To my Dad for inspiring me and letting me borrow on your tenacity.

To my husband who gave up evening after evening with me, in order to let me finish what I started. You have shown your support in so many ways. I love you!

And lastly, to my Father-In-Heaven. He has given me inspiration, let me find hidden talents, and blessed me in so many ways along this path.

Today I am thankful, indeed.

* PS- If I have missed you, it is not because I am not thankful... It is because I am imperfect (I know, it is a shocking revelation). I love you all and appreciate you all!


When I am writing I love to be inspired by real places. The world is filled with so many magical things, that we only have to open our eyes to find inspiration.

During the time that I was writing I Wish... I was racking my brain to figure out a magical barrier that would conceal the Jinn world from humans... and then I found this picture. It was all I needed to open up my imagination and let the characters take over.

I hope you recognize the scene from the inspiration.

Nov 23, 2011

Avoid The Holiday Rush!

The perfect holiday gift for the readers in your family would be a Kindle Book. Usually more inexpensive than other gifts, a kindle book can be easily given to anyone in the world.

"Any Kindle book available for purchase in the Kindle Store can be given as a gift to anyone with an e-mail address. You do not need a Kindle device to send or receive Kindle book gifts, and the recipient can read their gift on a registered Kindle device or any free Kindle reading application." Amazon Website

For more details about giving and receiving kindle books click on the following link:

Kindle Book Gifting

Did You Know...

Did you know that kindle now has a free download for your computer? It is beyond amazing! Even though e-readers are getting much more affordable than just a year ago, sometimes it is just more convenient to curl up with your laptop on the couch and settle into your favorite books.

For the free download go to this link. It only takes a few minutes and then you will be able to sit down at your PC and enjoy your copy of I Wish...

Kindle on Your PC

Nov 21, 2011

The 5 Simple Steps to Writing a Book

So, I am not the type of person who responds well to a long detailed laundry list on 'how to do something'. For instance: Last year my husband and I decided to make over my daughter's room. We found this really cool wall design that my daughter L-O-V-E-D (I mean with the two hands cupped like a heart and puppy dog eyes- loved)... Only the design came with a 5 page instruction manual. My head started shaking back and forth, and I was inching my way out of the room. I mean, how could anyone expect me to follow such an intricate plan and not mess it up.

My hubby smiled at me, and said, "It's okay. It really is only 5 steps."

1) Paint the background color
2) Snap the lines
3) Paint the accent color inside the lines
4) Outline in black
5) Paint dashes

He had condensed the entire manual down to steps that I could do. Sure it was still hard, but it was also manageable. Even I couldn't mess up 5 steps that badly.

When I finally decided to write my book, I have to tell you that I was under the extremely false impression that I would have an amazing dream that would come in the night. The next day I would sit down and pour it all out on paper... maybe even with a quill to make it even more romanticized. Then just for the heck of it, I would send it off to a publisher, wrapped in a brown paper cover. The publisher would love it, and I would instantly become rich and famous... or at least be able to send my kids off to college.

Umm, yeah! That didn't happen. So, I formulated a VERY basic 5 step plan.

1) Come up with a good idea. This may sound simple, but it is apparently not. It is a lot harder to think up something new than one might think. I came up with 3 or 4 very basic ideas... No storyline. No plot. Just ideas... And then I ran my ideas past a friend. Not one of those friends who support you in everything... the friend that will tell you if your butt looks fat in those jeans. Once they stop looking at you like you have sprouted a second head, then you know that you have a good idea.

2) Research your subject. Has it been written about before? Are there any ancient myths? Discover how you want your idea to be different than it ever has been in the past. All of the little details you find and like will help your story to become richer.

3) Write. Find a writing prompt on some obscure website (like mine) and apply it to your idea... Or find a song that inspires you... or a picture, or that weird kid that sits next to you in class and hums off key show tunes.

Don't worry about being amazing and getting every word right. That won't happen the first time through. The first draft is all about quantity over quality.

4) Write again. Yes, you will have to go back through your novel again (and probably, again and again)... to fill it out, to insert missing scenes, to provide the quality back into the quantity, and to make you passionate about your book. You will need to be passionate about it for the next step.

5) Publish it. Sounds easy, right? There are so many opinions on the subject. All I can say is that, if you can get an agent... do. If you can't, do what you have to do to share your book with the masses.

This step should come with a warning label. ***Brace yourself for rejection*** It happens, but that doesn't mean that you aren't amazing. You are, and someone will see it... but not everyone.

That about sums up the 5 step process. Sure you could break each step down, and add a dozen more. But for your sanity's sake, focus on these 5 simple steps.

Nov 20, 2011

The Wait Is Over!

I Wish... is finally here! After the long, nail-biting wait you can now buy the ebook on kindle.

I Wish...

Did you know that if you don't have a kindle you can download kindle onto your pc... for Free!?

Kindle for PC

Sunday Ponderings

On the subject of viewpoints I offer you a quote and video... One to make you think and the other to make you smile.

There are no guarantees. From the viewpoint of fear, none are strong enough. From the viewpoint of love, none are necessary.
Emmanuel Teney

Nov 19, 2011

Eeeek! Today is the day!

Hi Everyone,
I am so sorry for the delay in receiving Friday's sneak peek (computer issues). So, for a special treat I am going to put out 5 Chapters to preview before you buy your copy on Kindle.

Here is the link:

I Wish...

Nov 17, 2011


Aaaahhh! It is so exciting! Two days left to the launch. Today I would love to have us share a secret wish we have always had.

I have always wished to stand apart in something. I know that sounds odd, but what I mean is... I have always been a sister, a daughter, a wife... but rarely am I ever seen as just me. This is my wish.

I Wish... Book Trailer

I finally published the book trailer for I Wish... Make sure you stop by youtube and 'like' it.

Nov 16, 2011


Tick-Tock! Three days left! Today's wishes are specific things that you wish you could do for someone close to you.

I wish... that I could pay off my parents financial obligations, so that they could just worry about how to spend their retirement.

Location... location... location!

When I thought about the setting of I Wish... it really wasn't very hard to fall back on my childhood hometown of Springfield, Oregon as a guide. Living in that particular area of Oregon was like living on the edge of a fantasy world.

Springfield is small enough to still be quaint, but big enough to have something to do past 9:00 at night. The town often falls victim to relentless rain, but the rain makes everything a lush green that practically begs you to go barefoot.

To the east of Springfield lies a ridge of mountains... To the west is the ocean... And filling the areas in between is one continuous magical forest filled with creatures of all sizes.

I have fond memories of walking to school each day with my dad, swimming at the local indoor pool with friends, delving into endless bookshelves at the public library, and playing soccer in the numerous parks around town.

To me, Springfield was a non-fiction town begging to be fictionalized.

Nov 15, 2011


Four days left! Yesterday we shared wishes for our families. Today, I would love to hear wishes for the world.

I wish... that I would be able to open up my gaze upon the world to include just 5 more people... To care about them and show them love. If we all did this imagine the changes we could make.

Gold Nuggets

You know, I really enjoyed writing I Wish... It made me smile and laugh and cry along with the characters, and I honestly didn't want the book to end. It was fun to think about what I would want in a book, if I was a fan. The idea finally came to put in little gold nuggets... Hidden bits and special pieces of me that are intertwined into the story. There are several of them, but you have to look close to find them. Good hunting!

* A clue to one of the hidden treasures is to look at several of the names.

Nov 14, 2011


That's right! 5 days! In honor of this being publication week, I thought we could all share wishes we have for different parts of our lives. Today I would like us to all ponder on wishes we have for our families. I'll start.

I Wish... that I will always feel the way about my hubby as Kira feels for Jack... heart-stopping adoration.

If I Wish... Had A Soundtrack These Would Be Its Top 5 Songs

I love sighing over the beauty of sunsets, or absorbing the emotions I get from reading a great book, or letting the tears stream down my face as my favorite character in a movie has her heart crushed. I know, it all sounds really sappy, but when something touches my heart... it sticks. And nothing touches my heart faster than music.

So, as I sat down to write I Wish... I made sure that I was listening to the music that conveyed what I wanted my readers to feel. The music really inspired me and pushed me to try to give my readers the same feelings that I felt while I wrote each scene.

One of my readers asked me, "If I Wish... had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?" These song picks are my answer to that question. They are from all different genres and tempos, but they all fit the feel of the book perfectly.

Nov 13, 2011

Sunday Ponderings

The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.

~Author Unknown~

Nov 11, 2011

Why I Opted For Self-Publishing

tenacity [tuh-nas-i-tee]-  noun
The quality or property of being tenacious.
Origin: 1520–30; < Latin tenācitās equivalent to tenāc- (stem of tenāx) holding fast, derivative of tenēre to hold + -itās -ity2
Synonyms- perseverance.

I Believe. I believe in the process of being published. I believe in the position a literary agent holds between an author and a publisher. I believe that not all good books are published because they can't reach the right person. I also believe in the power of tenacity.

I have always been a do-it-yourself type of girl. I don't tend to stand around hoping for a miracle if there is any way that I can figure out how to do it myself.

So, when it came to getting published I researched the heck out of all of my options. I discovered that the absolute best way to publish a book is to get an agent. That was great... until I had to take my fantastical new novel, with a new world and mind boggling twists and turns, and condense it down to a paragraph or two... and then ask an agent to fall in love with it. It's actually harder than it sounds.

After a few... dozen very polite rejections, I was feeling a little discouraged. I didn't know what else to do.

Then one morning, my friend called me up and frantically told me to turn on the tv! A new author from Oregon was on Good Day Oregon telling the world (ie: Portland metro area) her story of self-publishing her YA fantasy books. She had gone through the same process as me in trying to find an agent.

Now, I was still a little leery of the whole 'self-publishing stigma', and so I dug in and did some more research. It turns out that several agents actually keep an eye on the top sellers list on kindle, nook, and ibooks. They collect new clients by seeing who has tenaciously pushed through the process of self-publishing and made it to the top on their own.

I was truly intrigued. I know how to work hard. I know that I have a great new book with a fresh perspective. I know that I have tenacity! So, why not?

Well, as it turns out, it is a lot of work!.. but all of the work has been well worth it.

* The picture is of me using a backhoe during our remodel... since I didn't want to miss out on all of the fun. :D

Nov 9, 2011

Wednesday Writing Prompt

The most important thing that I have discovered about writing is that your brain is a muscle... And much like some of the other muscles in my body, if I don't use it, I lose it. My brain has a tendency to turn into cellulite if I take too long of a break from my books. So, I am planning on exercising my cranium and pushing forward with my books, all at the same time.

I would love it if you would join me in some writing prompts. You can share your responses or keep them for your very own.

Here is our first writing prompt inspired by the essence of every good romance novel out there... The hero. What is he like? Write up a first glimpse of the him. How does she react? How does she feel? Be creative and have fun!

A little Chris Pine for inspiration-

Nov 7, 2011

Top 5 Influences On My Writing

So, I would not say that I was ‘born to be a writer.’ It was more of the twists and turns within my life that led me to the path of writing. One segment of my life would lead to another, and then a new segment would be added and all of the parts added to create the person I have become today.

If I had to pick the top 5 things in my life that influenced my writing, I would pick the following:

5) Jane Austen. I know it sounds totally cliche, but, to me, Jane Austen was a guru at love stories. She revolutionized the modern romance. She can still, in this day and age, make a woman sigh over a proud man who badly insulted the woman he loved.
She was a genius at giving women something to smile about!

4) SHS. The High School that I grew up in was great! It was amazingly clique free and generally welcoming to all kinds of strange and off the wall people… and the students were pretty cool too (:D). It seemed like everyone I met there plays a part in the movies going on in my head.

3) My family has been a HUGE influence on me! My sisters and I have been swapping books for years and laughing over ridiculously funny romance movies since my world began. My Mom has always been my biggest cheerleader. She moves me to tears each time she tells me how proud she is of me. It has definitely given me the confidence to write. But my Dad is the real reason I put fingers to the keyboard. We went on a walk once, many years ago, when he said, ” You would think that with so many kids, I would have one who would be the next JK Rowling.” It still makes me smile. I am no JK Rowling, but I have the tenacity of my father and will not give up until I tell the world the stories inside me.

2) JK Rowling. What can I say? She is a genius! Harry Potter was the first ‘non-romance’ book that I read. I say read, but I mean inhaled. I read the first HP in about 5 hours. It was like a lamp being turned on in a pitch black room. My eyes were blinking back the worlds that were opened up to me. I know that I Wish… never would have come about without it.

I also have to say that her story really inspired me as well. She worked on her books for a really long time, and then when she had finally put her passion into words… she was rejected time and again by both agents and publishers. It took a child to tell them that it was amazing, and look what has come from it.

1) My kids. My kids mean the world to me. I remember curling up on the couch with my infant son and reading Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six aloud to him. He would coo and gurgle and smile as I read through bloody action scenes.
Now, as my kids are getting older, I want them to find more stories like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia. Stories about good overcoming evil, stories that make them smile and stories that make them cry. I want them to discover stories within themselves.

I’m sure that I could fill another 10 pages with people and places, things and feelings that have inspired me. But, at this moment, these are the top 5 inspirations on my writing.

Nov 6, 2011

Hi. My name is Tia Harrington… and I am a Dreamer!

It is rather funny that you could ask any of my friends, for the whole of my life, how to describe me, and not one of them would say ‘a dreamer’. You would get: practical, thrifty, organized, hard working, sturdy, tenacious, strict, a goof ball… and many more, but never ‘a dreamer’. But, deep down, I have always been a dreamer.

I think that it comes part and parcel with being one of the youngest in a large family. You dream of your own room, you dream of new clothes (not hand-me-downs), you dream of boys who like you for you and not because your older sister turned them down flat (true story!).

I have always had a movie playing in my head and a soundtrack to hum along with it. I like the idea of things and the possibility that anything could happen.

I dream of Kira and Jack, of Aunt Sheila and Sam, and all of the other characters that are acting out a movie in my head.

My name is Tia Harrington… and I am a Dreamer.

Nov 4, 2011

A Beginning

Every story has a beginning, it is like an unalienable right… it can not be taken away. My beginning, as a writer, came unexpectedly during a state mandated short story ‘competition’ in the 8th grade… Yeah, it was just a test, but it was a test of my imagination. I had a fanciful mind that loved to take boring things and twist them and bedazzle them and make them into fun adventures, but I usually kept it hidden away behind an unassuming facade of intelligence. However, this test mandated that I let my imagination take rein. So I let it.

The story was only 2 pages long, but I giggled and grinned the entire time I wrote it. It was a simple story about an awkward teen girl who showed up for a first date at a boy’s high rise apartment for dinner before a homecoming dance. There were candles and delicate hors d’oeuvres and a starry, moonlit view. The romance was palpable. So, when the he leaned in for kiss, she returned it and… their braces locked. They ended up in the emergency room at the end of the night flanked by both sets of parents. She feels shy and more than a little mortified until he reaches over and hesitantly holds her hand.

I remember that none of us found out the scoring on the papers until the final day of middle school. The gymnasium was packed with kids, and awards were being passed out right and left. They had several for perfect attendance, best high jumper, tag students, teacher’s pet (or maybe not), and then they announced the students with the top 5 scores on the state wide writing test. Mandy Duffenshmirtz… Tyrena Huffenflagen… Bob the Tomato… Lily Momo… and with a perfect score in all of the sections… Me.

It was a complete and utter shock to me. I turned about 20 shades of fuchsia and quietly went to accept my award with a mumble and a head nod and promptly went to sit down again, but on the inside I was dancing the jig and singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

I can’t say that I fell into a life of writing after that, because I didn’t. I still tamped down my imagination and pretended not to care, but I never forgot the feeling of writing that particular story. It gave me joy.

And that is the end of the beginning.