15 February

BLINK BLOG: Spring Break + Reading Lists

Spring Break is just around the corner so we asked some of our authors about their plans for their time off. Also curious about what’s on their reading list for 2017? Keep reading for the answers!

Spring Break is coming… what are your plans?

Ashley Royer: I’ll be close to graduating high school! I’ll probably be deciding on what college to attend and applying for scholarships.

Christina June: Not working!  Other than that, I haven’t thought that far ahead.  Lounging on a beach sounds nice….

Evangeline Denmark:  I live in Colorado. Whatever Spring Break plans I make will be ruined by snow. Every. Single. Time.

Jonathan Friesen: I know I am speaking a lot over that week, so likely nothing that would impress you. Maybe I’ll go to a tanning booth.

Lorie Langdon: We have no travel plans over Spring Break this year. We’ll plan some fun staycation things like movies, game nights, and the aquarium.

McCall Hoyle: Well, that’s still up in the air. My two children are begging for a trip to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. I want to stay home, read, write, and drink lots of chai tea. I’ll let you know in a few weeks how it works out. It’s kind of a no-lose situation for me. I’ll enjoy either outcome.

Stephanie Morrill: We’re embarking on a crazy road trip (crazy because we have a toddler who doesn’t like to be strapped into anything for very long!) from Kansas City to Santa Fe, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. This will be our first vacation as a family of five—yikes!

What book release are you most looking forward to this year?

Evangeline Denmark: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Lorie Langdon: Normally it would be my own, but my next book, OLIVIA TWIST, doesn’t release until March of 2018. So, I’ll choose my friend Melissa Lander’s book STARFALL!

McCall Hoyle:  That’s a tough one. I like books as much as I like chocolate. I have several author friends releasing books in 2017 that I’m super excited about. I’m excited about all the Blink debuts, but if I really have to pick the one I’m “most looking forward to”, I’d have to say Sarah Dessen’s Once and for All, which comes out in June. I love the complexity of the characters and relationships in her books. I love the way she uses secondary characters to mirror and reflect where her protagonists came from, where they’re headed if they don’t change, and where they’re headed if they learn and grow. I think she’s a genius.

Stephanie Morrill: Kerri Maniscalco’s new one comes out this fall. Her writing style is beautiful. I loved her Stalking Jack The Ripper.

09 February

Blink Blog: Goals, Reading Lists, and Valentine's Day

We recently chatted with some of our Blink authors to ask about their goals for this year, what they’re reading, and if they have any plans for Valentine’s Day! Keep reading below to see what they had to say…

What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Ashley Royer: I hope to do well at my first year of college! I’m nervous, but I’m excited too!

Christina June: I hope to be the very best me I can be.  Maybe that sounds cheesy, but in the current political climate, it would be easy to lose one’s self and lose sight of what’s truly important.

Evangeline Denmark: I’m really hoping this will be an intense writing year for me. I have several projects just begging for my attention, and I’d like to hole up as much as possible and just play with my words. Other than that, I’m making an effort to change the way our family eats. I’m trying to swap whole foods for convenience foods, which sounds easy but is a lot more work than you think. So, eat healthy and write, that’s what I hope to accomplish.

Jonathan Friesen: Balance. I know that’s not a concrete goal like writing a book in November or losing twenty pounds, but I think it’s more important. I want to figure out how to live as a full-time professor and a full-time author and a speaker and a substitute teacher and a home-school dad and a husband and … well, you get the idea. I lost my footing in 2016, and I need to get it back.

Lorie Langdon:  This year I hope to finish an epic fantasy novel I’m writing. It’s the biggest book I’ve ever taken on and I’ve thought about walking away from it several times. But the story is worth it and I don’t want to give up!

McCall Hoyle: I want to take drawing classes—not because I aspire to any great artistic endeavors. I want to write a story someday about a daughter and her estranged mother. I want their art to be the language that opens the door to their communicating and healing.

At the moment, the extent of my drawing ability includes stick people and the horses I spent hours and hours drawing and daydreaming about as a little girl. So I see lots of opportunity for growth in this area of my life.

Stephanie Morrill: I’m a big Kansas City Royals fan, and I’ve always wanted to go to a spring training game. Also,  I have several books that are begging to be written, and I’ve scheduled time with a writer friend to get away from home for a few days to write. We’ve done that several times now, and it’s always really fun.

What’s on your reading list for the year?

Ashley Royer: I have a lot of books I want to read! I’m going to start a book club with my followers soon, so that should be fun.

Christina June: I’m really looking forward to THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, ALLEGEDLY by Tiffany Jackson, DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone, THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi, HOW TO MAKE A WISH by Ashley Herring Blake, THE LOVE INTEREST by Cale Dietrich, and A COURT OF WINGS & RUIN by Sarah J. Maas.  Among others!

Evangeline Denmark: Everything I didn’t get to last year. My TBR is insane! But it’s going to have to wait because next up I’m reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula with a friend in February. I haven’t read it since I was 18, but it’s one of my favorite books and definitely kindled my love of the Gothic and fantasy.

Jonathan Friesen: A classic horror story: I am the Cheese, by Robert Cormier.

A modern “love” story: Eleanor and Park.

And I will now admit that I have never read Harry Potter. (Collective gasp) But look at it this way; I have all the joy in front of me.

Lorie Langdon: So many things! A few new releases I’m looking forward to are: SHADOWCASTER by Cinda Williams Chima, THE EVAPORATION OF SOFI SNOW by Mary Weber, TOWARD A SECRET SKY by Heather Maclean, THE DARK DAYS PACT by Alison Goodman

McCall Hoyle: I’m in two debut author groups, so I have the opportunity to read lots and lots of Advance Reader Copies before the rest of the world. A couple debuts I’m especially looking forward to are: The Black Witch, by Laurie Forrest, and Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson.

Stephanie Morrill: I have several Beatriz Williams books on my reading list, A Certain Age and The Wicked City. Since I write stories set in the 1920s, I have to be really careful about when in my writing process I read books from the same era. Otherwise it can mess with my voice and style.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans or traditions?

Ashley Royer: I don’t have any traditions or any plans yet. The day after, I’m judging a local Spelling Bee, so I’ll probably be looking over the words on Valentine’s Day.

Christina June: No real traditions, other than we try to have a nice dinner.  Sometimes this means going out and sometimes it means staying in and cooking something we wouldn’t normally have.  My husband has mastered the art of the steakhouse filet mignon at home, which is in my top 5 favorite foods, so that’s a Valentine favorite.

Evangeline Denmark: Do you have any Valentine’s Day plans or traditions? Not really. Back in the days when music came on CDs, my husband and I would buy each other a CD for Valentine’s Day, preferably by an artist the other was not familiar with. I came up with this tradition thinking it was kind of romantic because you have to really know a person to know what music they like. Then I remembered my husband’s favorite band is The Eagles and I wondered how I ended up married to him in the first place. I can’t stand The Eagles. There, I said it. Anyway, we stopped giving each other CDs. But don’t worry, we’re fine. We agree on lots of other stuff.

Jonathan Friesen:  


Me: Isn’t Valentine’s Day coming soon?

Lovely Wife: Yeah, it was yesterday.

Me. Right. Well, I have something planned (thinking really hard)

Lovely Wife: Sure.

Me. Seriously, I do.

I imagine it going something like that.

Lorie Langdon:  My husband and I usually buy each other cards and do something low key like have an at home date night.  

McCall Hoyle: I’m sure my husband will plan something special. I’m pretty easy to please as long as there’s chocolate involved, preferably Godiva Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Oysters. Have you tried them? They’re not really oysters. They’re pretty milk chocolate seashells filled with hazelnut praline, and they are to die for.

Stephanie Morrill: Valentine’s Day is always a mix for me. Some years my husband and I don’t even exchange gifts. Other years he surprises me with diamond earrings. So I never really know what to plan for! We’ve given up on going out to dinner. We usually work together to make a special meal at home and enjoy it by candlelight with our three kids.

01 February

Blink Blog: New Year's Round-Up

The Blink Blog series is back!! This week, we checked in with our Blink authors to see how their New Year’s Resolutions are progressing as well as what their goals are for 2017. Keep reading below…


Ashley Royer: I’m trying to eat healthier and learn to cook! So far, I’ve cooked chicken for the first time and butternut squash. They both came out great!

Christina June: This year, I didn’t make any resolutions.  I’m learning that I achieve more with smaller, more immediate goals.  That said, a general goal for this year is to fight for the things I believe in and set a good example for my daughter while doing so.

Evangeline Denmark:  Attempts to train Neville the kitten to battle Voldemort have been thwarted by the fact that Neville has not yet joined our household. We are still searching for him and remain hopeful. As for the rest of my resolutions, I’m working on my new book every day. I’m making new friends–with characters, not with people. I’ll keep working on that. And after an intense intervention, I’ve come to see that I can live my life without ever wearing the color lavender.

Joan Lester: My New Year’s resolution was to resume a monthly blog for SheWrites.com, a popular site aimed at women writers (and want-to-be writers). I’d committed  last summer to a monthly post and did write several, then let the fall go by without another til December.

Happily, I’m doing well with my goal. Published one in January, on “Pruning Your Prose,” with over 1,000 views already, and am working on two more to have ready to go for the next few months. Writing these craft essays is something I love when I take the time away from longer projects, and it’s a satisfying feeling to meet my commitment.  

Jonathan Friesen: Fantastic. I finally found the secret: Start your New Year’s Resolutions on December 1. That way, when you get to January, you already have a habit going, and if you blew it, you get a second chance. So I joined a health club on December 1. I’d gone twenty times before January rolled around. I’m doing great!

Lorie Langdon:  In place of a resolution this year, I chose a word. My word for 2017 is “wholehearted.” I see this as being present and living in each moment with my whole heart. A book I’m reading called, PRESENT OVER PERFECT has been a huge help and I feel like I’m making progress!

McHall Hoyle: This is the first year I haven’t made any real resolutions. In fact, I’ve made kind of an anti-resolution. My plan this year is to be quiet, to be still, to listen, to observe, and above all, to be grateful. I’ve wasted too much of my life reaching and striving and yearning for things I wanted. This year, I plan to spend my time observing, appreciating, and enjoying life.

Stephanie Morrill: This year for New Years I decided to focus on developing several habits rather than creating goals. One is writing every day, which hasn’t been too hard since it’s something I love. But it’s easy to let it get squeezed out when I’m in the middle of a marketing season. Another habit I’ve created is carving out specific times of the day to be present to my children. I’ve been getting up early to have breakfast with them before school, and then I’ve been having “tea time” with them after they get home. Only one of my kids actually likes tea, but they all like to be gathered around the table together.


Ashley Royer: I am looking forward to my book Remember to Forget coming out in paper back and different languages! I love the new cover, and I’m very excited for the release.

Christina June: I’m super excited, obviously, that IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, launches in just a few months.  I’m also looking forward to taking my family on a stealth trip to Disney World and later on, attending book festivals and speaking on panels with fellow authors.

Evangeline Denmark: Finishing a novel. Maybe two?

Joan Lester: I’m looking forward to selling a memoir this year. I’ve spent two years on Dare to Write, about my journey to taking my writing seriously enough to become a published author. I’ve just completed what I hope is the final revision. We’ll see what my agent thinks!

Jonathan Friesen:  I’m heading to Alaska. I’ve never been. If you are reading this and you live in Alaska, you are probably thinking this is not much of a goal. But for me it’s really cool. I’m bringing my youngest, and I told him I needed him for Grizzly bear bait. He didn’t seem frightened. He said, “I just have to run faster than you, and then you’re the bait.” Smart kid.

Lorie Langdon: In 2017, I’ll be teaching a writer’s workshop in Ireland!!! You could tour the countryside and sharpen your writing craft with me! We have a few spots left! Get the deets at http://www.irelandwritertours.com/

McCall Hoyle: Let’s see… just kidding. I am so looking forward to sharing The Thing with Feathers, the book of my heart, with readers that I can barely stand it.

Stephanie Morrill: I have several things! One is The Lost Girl of Astor Street releasing. This book has been on my heart and in the works for several years now, so it’s amazing to think it’ll finally be on shelves! Another is that my six-year-old son has been on a medical diet for two years to control his epilepsy. This year we get to do an extended EEG to see how his seizure activity is. If he looks good, then we can try weaning from the diet. It’s a very strict, very time consuming diet, so I’m excited for a lot of reasons!