VocalCrushCoverFront Final

Can you ever out run a broken heart? 
Lexi Court spent seven years traveling the world, living the nomadic Broadway life, in an attempt to outrun the broken heart Nick Rivers gave her. Now, there’s nowhere left to go.

When she accepted a position as a high school drama teacher in Las Vegas, Lexi hoped to get over Nick, find a nice guy, and settle down. But what should be a quiet summer gets turned upside down when Lexi’s best friend, Taffy, drafts her to be an emergency replacement coach on a televised vocal competition.

Feeling out of her league among the other three celebrity coaches, Lexi fights for the most promising contestants to be on her team. One note from a single voice shatters her summer. Nick unexpectedly auditions and joins Lexi’s team. With her vocal crush on him raging as strong as ever, she has nowhere to run from Nick’s dreamy looks or siren voice.

Lexi has no doubt that Nick can win the competition. The question is does he want to win her heart as well or will he damage it beyond repair?

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My review:
This book has a really fun setting. I don’t watch music reality shows, but I found myself pulled into the story and the dynamics of the voice competition. It was interesting to see how it all worked backstage and it felt very realistic how it was portrayed.

The main story revolves around Lexi and Nick, who had a relationship seven years prior. Due to some poor choices by Nick, Lexi’s unflinching stubbornness, and a lack of communication on both sides, they’ve been apart and never resolved their issues before. When Lexi finds herself a last-minute judge in the competition and discovers Nick is one of the contestants, they are once again in close proximity and are eventually forced to discuss what happened.

The secondary characters did a good job of adding to the story, but at times I felt that there was too much drama going on, which is probably normal in reality TV and in this type of thematic situation.

3 1/2 starts elevated to 4. It’s a clean story with a sweet ending, appropriate to young adult readers.


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Title: The {Re}Model Marriage
Series: Romance Renovations
Author: Maria Hoagland
Publisher: Red Leaves Press
Genre(s): Sweet Romance, Family Life, Women’s Fiction, Clean Gentle Read
Vendors: Will be available in paperback and all ebook platforms.
Release Date: March 29, 2016

Book Description:

From the outside, Kirk and Jamie appear to have a beautiful home and the perfect marriage. Inside, the aging Craftsman is falling apart, their marriage is crumbling from neglect, and Jamie Royce wants out! Kirk, on the other hand, isn’t ready to give up on either the house or their relationship.

With their divorce scheduled for the day after their daughter’s high school graduation, Jamie and Kirk have to fix the home’s problems to lift their selling price out of the basement. Working to renovate the home together, they discover secrets—in the home, in their marriage, and in the fertility clinic that helped give them their daughter—and find themselves questioning what true love really is.

About Maria Hoagland:

When Maria Hoagland is not working at her computer, she can be found combing used furniture stores, remodeling houses with her husband, or sitting on the sideline of a son’s soccer game. She loves crunching leaves in the fall, stealing cookie dough from the mixing bowl, and listening to musicals on her iPod. While she appreciates the home office she shares with her husband, Maria’s favorite writing places are outdoors where there is sunlight and no internet. She and her husband and their children have lived in Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, and in six Texas cities.
Maria Hoagland has several published works including The {Re}Model Marriage, Home for the Holidays, Nourish & Strengthen, Family Size, and Whitney Award finalist, Still Time. Her prize-winning poems and short stories have been published in small magazines. Maria Hoagland earned a degree in English at Brigham Young University.


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Connect with Maria Hoagland:

To learn more about The {Re}Model Marriage and author Maria Hoagland, find her at the following places:
Mailing List (with free ebook): mariahoagland.com
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  • NicolaMarch 30, 2016 - 2:08 AM

    Love the cover, especially the wooden door. I do like big wooden doors. Wishing Maria every success! Thanks for the post, Lucinda. Have a great week.ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the month again, first Wednesday, which means, it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!



Today I’m just doing a fun post about some of my favorite things. No books this time; I’ll be posting about my 2015 favorite books soon.

So from the top and going clockwise-ish, in no particular order:

  • Lays Limón potato chips. I know, it’s junk food, but in my defense I don’t eat these every day, only once in a while. But what can I say? I love lemon-flavored potato chips.
  • Lavender buds and lavender sachets. I grow my own lavender in my backyard and I love having jars of it, or sewing little bags of muslin filled with lavender buds.
  • Knit fingerless gloves. They’re not much to look at but so hand during the cold winter months. I knit these pretty quickly leaving the top open for free fingers and a hole for the thumb. Really handy when typing and driving.
  • Pretty notebooks and pretty cedar pencils. The colored tipped pencil is from Lyra, a German pencil maker, and the other pencils are from Viarco, a Portuguese manufacturer. These ones are orange-blossom scented. I love writing with these, so invigorating. And I can’t have pencils if they’re not well sharpened. I prefer an  old-fashioned sharpener with good blades (in this case, German).
  • Guirardelli dark chocolate, in this case, Intense Dark Midnight Reverie which is 86% cacao. Yes, it’s intense, something to be appreciated sparingly, but since the kids don’t like it, I don’t have to worry if I keep it out in the open.
  • Lemon balm tea (herbal infusion). I also grow my own lemon balm in the backyard but this is a Lipton box I brought from Portugal a few years back. Lemon balm is the best herb, take it from one who knows about herbs.
  • Pride & Prejudice, the 2005 version, of course. My favorite movie of all time. Joe Wright (the director) did a superb job with cast, setting, photography, and music. It’s so beautiful, I can’t get sick of watching it.
  • Vitamin Water Zero, squeezed lemonade flavored. I just love this stuff. Zero calories and zero sugar, a refreshing lemon flavor, plus vitamins and electrolytes. I’d be this by the palette if I could.
  • Floral scarves from Land’s End. My go-t0 accessory. The pretty colors make it easy to coordinate with different outfits.
  • Fans. Yes, I like to use fans in Summer.

Insecure Writer #91

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  • Alex J. CavanaughMarch 3, 2016 - 5:35 PM

    I’ve not seen those chips! Must find soon.ReplyCancel

  • StephanieMarch 8, 2016 - 9:54 AM

    There’s something so fun about a tablescape full of one’s favorite things. Great idea for a post. I love fingerless gloves, but they’re hard to find in my area, so I wish I could sew.ReplyCancel

  • Mary WallaceApril 6, 2016 - 11:16 AM

    It’s all so pretty! I need some new fingerless gloves. I have essential tremor and when it gets cold here in Florida, my hands really suffer and make it hard to type. I’m also willing to bet those cedar pencils not only look good, but smell good, too! Thanks, Lucinda for a nice and colorful post! I did want to mention that “límon” is Spanish for “lime”, so we’re eating lime potato chips. I think lemon chips may be a bit harsh. I live in an Hispanic neighborhood and try my best to not be a gringa, with mixed results, because I took Russian for several years AFTER I took seven years of Spanish and what comes out of my mouth is usually some mixture of Spussian or something. 😀 Anyway, thank you for a delightful post! I must find cedar pencils now! Viola Fury aka MaryReplyCancel

    • LucindaApril 6, 2016 - 2:25 PM

      Hi Mary, thanks for the visit!
      The pencils do smell really well.
      I’m fluent in Spanish. Lime is “lima” and lemon is “limón”. Either way, they’re really tasty.ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the month again, first Wednesday, which means, it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Chalkboard Background Dark_Selfpublishing

When I first started writing my book, I would have been ecstatic to receive an offer from a certain Utah publisher. Since I was writing an LDS romance, and they publish a lot in that genre, I thought that was the best way to do it.

But during the process of writing, and waiting, and learning to write better, I also learned that I had other options that were more suited to me and my book, and I decided to self-publish it instead.

Here are my reasons for it:

  1. I didn’t like the available options. The more I learned about that Utah publisher, the less I liked it. Sure, they do publish a lot in the genre of LDS romance (both historical and contemporary) but that was as far as the appeal went. Other options in traditional publishing, namely the large US Christian publishers, don’t recognize the LDS genre so self-publishing became more and more appealing to me. Going with a small(er) publishing house didn’t make sense either since I’d essentially be paying someone to be a middle-man to my book.
  2. I wanted to keep control over the cover and title of my book. What if I went with a publisher who didn’t like the title of my book or published it with a cover I didn’t like? There are many, many examples of this in traditional publishing and, to me, it just didn’t make sense that I let someone else make these decisions for me. Keeping my creative freedom was an important factor.
  3. I wanted to be able to have higher royalties. When I learned how little authors signed with that publisher make (which happens with most traditional publishers) in comparison to the percentage offered by Amazon, there really was no competition. Keep 70% vs. 8-10% (or less)? No brainer. Also, with Amazon I get to see those royalties on a monthly basis instead of twice a year.
  4. I wanted to price it fairly. Over $10 for an ebook? No, thank you. Why would a reader want to try a new author when her book is priced so high? I was able to price my ebook and paperback competitively while allowing me to retain control over the royalties (see point 3).
  5. I wanted to work at my own pace. Sure, there are pros and cons to not having a boss looking over my shoulder, but by making goals and keeping a schedule of my own, I was able to learn as I went and put things aside when I had to (family commitments, health problems, etc). Life still goes on and it’s good to know I can make adjustments as they are needed without worrying about a tight deadline.

I’m not saying this is easy and it’s certainly not for everyone. If something goes wrong, I don’t get to hand over the problem to someone else. It’s all on me. A lot of authors still prefer to go with a traditional publisher and they like it. Nowadays, we have the means and the ends to choose which is best and, fortunately, the writing community is a very giving one where more experienced authors share with the beginners, making it possible to make that choice.

Early on, another thing I decided was to publish a quality book. Just because I didn’t have the reputation and the means of a publishing house behind my book didn’t mean I could use that as an excuse to publish an inferior product. I didn’t want to do it all by myself because there were aspects of publishing that I didn’t know how to do, or couldn’t do. I ended up getting a part time job as a substitute teacher which enabled me to save the money I needed to hire a professional editor, cover designer, paperback formatter, and marketing specialist. I spent more money in publishing my first book than most author friends I know, but I have no regrets about the quality of it. Again, this is why self-publishing offers so many options because authors are able to get their book published in the way it most suits them and their budget (which sometimes is not always a good thing, but that would be material for another post).

For anyone looking to publish their first book, the best advice I have is to be informed. Don’t sign a contract with a publisher that’s not good for you, and don’t start a self-publishing career you’re not ready to take on. Read and research, and then choose.

Insecure Writer #99


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  • NicolaMarch 2, 2016 - 11:35 AM

    I’m on a similar journey for similar reasons, Lucinda and it was great to read your post and be able to relate. Wishing you lots of success and enjoy the journey!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Buie-CollardMarch 2, 2016 - 11:37 AM

    Great post. There are so many pluses and minuses to both versions of publishing. The only enemy, in my opinion, with Indie Publishing is TIME. Came looking for your IWSG March post! Hope all is well…ReplyCancel


It’s that time of the month again, first Wednesday, which means, it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


My new book, The Secret Life of Daydreams, officially came out yesterday. It’s a bit surreal to know it’s for sale on Amazon and that anyone can buy and read it. I used to worry about not being able to write a good story, and now I worry about what readers will think of it. Will they like my characters and my writing? Will they download a sample and get so engrossed in the story that they need to go buy it to read the rest? Will they post a review?

Each step of the writing and publishing journey brings a new set of worries and insecurities. Writers are artists so it goes without saying that we’re pretty much always insecure about our art.

Of course, now that my début book is out, I worry about writing and publishing the next one. It’s finished, but needs lots of rewriting.


Insecure Writer #99


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  • Stephanie FarisJanuary 6, 2016 - 2:06 PM

    Ah yes…there’s something about knowing that book is out there. So scary! But sometimes it’s easy to pretend nobody’s reading it! The disconnect is fairly strong. If I ever walked into a place and saw a kid reading one of my books, I’d totally flip out. But I’d have to keep it quiet because I learned early on that telling a kid, “I wrote that book” makes them look at you like you’re a crazy lady!ReplyCancel

  • Charity BradfordJanuary 6, 2016 - 3:29 PM

    Congrats on having a book out there! At least your second book is already for revisions and edits. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Sheri LarsenJanuary 6, 2016 - 5:46 PM

    It’s a never-ending battle of writing worry, isn’t it? Strangely, the more we fight it the stronger the strains become. I’m all will be well. Congratulations on your debut!!! Wishing you a wonderful and productive year!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth HeinJanuary 8, 2016 - 7:28 PM

    Congratulations on the book’s release. I hope you can take a deep breath and just enjoy this moment. The worries can wait until tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • NicolaJanuary 15, 2016 - 3:53 AM

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! What an accomplishment. Enjoy every step of the journey and continue to love the writing. Wishing you lots of success and happiness throughout the year.

    ps: I love the look of your website. Very fresh and welcoming.ReplyCancel

  • Donna K. WeaverFebruary 1, 2016 - 7:57 PM

    And yet we have to move on. As much as we love that first book, others are calling to us. And then there’s the crush of how well any of our little babies are received. People who’ve never written a book don’t realize how important those reviews are.ReplyCancel

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