About Reading

My Dream Reading & Writing Room

| About Ali, About Reading, About Writing

Recently I read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. It was awesome! It’s not rocket science, or anything you haven’t heard before, but she shared the information in a way that really resonated with me. (Maybe I need a drill sergeant cursing at me to get me to sit up and take notice. What does that say about me? Hmm.)

One of the things Jen says we should do is visualize. Heard that before. But there’s a disconnect between my goals and the realization of said goals. Even though I’m a very hard worker—one of the hardest I know. So, I’m kicking off my new year with dreams and wishes in pictures. I’m claiming my future and visualizing it so I can fully realize these dreams one day.

Many writers require very specific environments in order for the words to flow. I’m not really like that, but I certainly can’t deny that certain things feed my imagination.

This, my friends, is where I want to write. I want to live in a home near a mountain lake, with windows that open to the world outside. I want library shelves and a big comfy chair that I can curl up in or drape over with a cozy sherpa throw. Because reading is mana for a writer, and to be surrounded by books and mountains and trees and water? Heaven. Then on the other side of the window, I’d have my desk. A beautiful, unique desk that makes me feel special to sit at it.

Reading and writing go hand in hand, and this is the space where I want to do both.

Ali's dream reading & writing room.


I’d love to see YOUR vision boards, too! Share links to your Pinterest board or blog post and I’ll come check it out! Happy New Year!

All the furniture came from http://www.Arhaus.com
Athens Libraryhttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/living-room-bookcases-and-cabinets/athens-library-in-tuxedo-black/
Arc Floor Lamphttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/lighting/floor-lamps/arc-floor-lamp/
Martin Rectangle Trunk End Tablehttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/end-tables/martin-20-inch-rectangle-trunk-end-table/
Wessex Leather Tufted Chairhttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/chairs-and-chaises/wessex-56-inch-leather-tufted-chair-in-bronco-whiskey/
Wessex Leather Tufted Ottomanhttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/living-room-furniture/ottomans/wessex-32-inch-leather-tufted-ottoman-in-bronco-whiskey/
Portier Writing Deskhttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/home-office-furniture/writing-desks/portier-writing-desk/
Addy Upholstered Tufted Desk Chairhttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/home-office-furniture/office-chairs/addy-upholstered-tufted-desk-chair-in-samantha-sand/
James Table Lamphttps://www.arhaus.com/furniture/lighting/table-lamps/james-table-lamp/ 

Find these pieces at http://www.Arhaus.com. Take a look at their living room pieces for even more inspiration! 

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Pretty Lunch Ladies Who Make Delicious Food?

| About Reading

It’s gotta be a joke right? Oh, but it’s so much more. It’s danger and mystery and super exciting! It’s The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza by Mikey Brooks!


Ten-year-old twins Ethan and Emmy’s parents have never told their kids what they do for a living. Then just before Halloween, Ethan, Emmy, and their best friend Jax discover a HUGE secret: could their parents actually be . . . witch hunters?

Buy it now on Amazon!

I read an ARC of Potions in the Pizza and I so loved it! It’s fun and smart and has a fantastic mystery. I think you’ll love it, too!

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Fan Friday: The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell

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I started listening to this series a couple years ago (there’s five books in all) and I loved it. It took a bit for me to get into, but primarily because it’s a highly unique and complicated world so there was some work to set it all up. But once I was in? W.O.W.

This series, this world and style of writing, opened up my mind to the possibilities of storytelling. And seriously raised the bar for what I expect from both the stories I read and the stories I write.

I listened to it on Audible, with MacLeod Andrews narrating. I LOVE HIM!!! He’s my favorite narrator by far.

The Dragons of Dorcastle a genre-bending tale that blends science fiction, steam punk and fantasy. Check it out!

dragonsFor centuries, the two Great Guilds have controlled the world of Dematr. The Mechanics and the Mages have been bitter rivals, agreeing only on the need to keep the world they rule from changing. But now a Storm approaches, one that could sweep away everything that humans have built. Only one person has any chance of uniting enough of the world behind her to stop the Storm, but the Great Guilds and many others will stop at nothing to defeat her.

Mari is a brilliant young Mechanic, just out of the Guild Halls, where she has spent most of her life learning how to run the steam locomotives and other devices of her Guild. Alain is the youngest Mage ever to learn how to change the world he sees with the power of his mind. Each has been taught that the works of the other’s Guild are frauds. But when their caravan is destroyed, they begin to discover how much has been kept from them.

As they survive danger after danger, Alain discovers what Mari doesn’t know – that she was long ago prophesized as the only one who can save their world. When Mari reawakens emotions he had been taught to deny, Alain realizes he must sacrifice everything to save her. Mari, fighting her own feelings, discovers that only together can she and Alain hope to stay alive and overcome the Dragons of Dorcastle.


john_hemry_1Jack Campbell is the pen name of John G. Hemry, a retired U.S. Navy officer. His father (LCDR Jack M. Hemry, USN ret.) is a mustang (an officer who was promoted through the enlisted ranks), so John grew up living everywhere from Pensacola, Florida to San Diego, California, including an especially memorable few year on Midway Island.

John graduated from Lyons High School in Lyons, Kansas in 1974, then attended the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of ’78), where he was labeled “the un-Midshipman” by his roommates.

John speaks the remnants of Russian painstakingly pounded into him by Professor Vladimir Tolstoy (yes, he was related to that Tolstoy).

He lives in Maryland with a wife who is too good for him and three great kids. The two eldest children are diagnosed as autistic but are slowly improving with therapies, education and medications.

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Fan Friday: Submerged by Dani Pettrey

| About Reading

I listened to this book on Audible last year and I still think about it. The whole Alaskan Courage series (of which this is the first book) is excellent. If you enjoy romantic suspense with a little inspiration, you’ll really enjoy this series. 🙂

Submerged by Dani PettreyA sabotaged flight. Two murdered divers. A single clue—a grainy image of sunken treasure.

Dive Rescue Captain Cole McKenna has never worked a case like this, but who he’s working with may prove more dangerous than the assignment. It’s been a lifetime since Bailey mangled his heart. Now she’s back in town and he needs her expertise to track down the illusive treasure.

Professor of Russian Studies Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again, but when her beloved aunt dies, she has no choice. Her plan of attack is simple: return for Agnes’s funeral, get the family business ready for a quick sale, and then put Yancey and all the heartbreaking memories wrapped up in it behind her for good.

Cole walking through her door, asking for her help on a murder investigation, wasn’t part of her plan, neither are the feelings he’s resurrecting—feelings best left dead.

Bailey agrees to help for the sake of the victims, and travels with Cole across Alaska’s rugged terrain and deep beneath its coastal waters. As the case escalates, so do their feelings for one another. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to let go of the past and just when Bailey thinks she can’t take it any longer, the case shifts in a new and extremely personal direction, fastening her in for its duration.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Cole and Bailey fight to find the treasure and uncover the hidden history at the root of it all. But will they be too late?


dani-pettrey-bio-photoDani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.

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Fan Friday: A Five-Year Anniversary!

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I missed doing this last week, on November 11th, but I, CK Bryant and RaShelle Workman all celebrated an anniversary! It’s been five years since we published our first books! We did it together, in our Dark Karma tour. We thought we were alll that, didn’t we? And ya know? I’m still proud of our efforts and what we accomplished.

So today, I want to celebrate our three books and say Happy Bookversary to my release-mates! And YOU can enter to win your choice of one of our three books. I’ll *try* to get them signed by the author, but I can’t promise.

boundBound by CK Bryant

When a photo shoot ends in tragedy, Kira discovers her best friend, Lydia, has been keeping a secret. Knowing the truth, and accepting it, will change Kira’s life forever and thrust her into a world of ancient curses, magical objects, and savage enemies. What happens next will challenge everything Kira knows about her world, herself and the shape-shifting warrior she’s falling in love with. No longer the timid mouse her mother accused her of being, but a woman who finds the mental and physical strength to endure and survive.


Exiled by RaShelle Workmanexiled

Venus isn’t from Earth, she’s from Kelari. On her planet she’s next in line to rule, but there are those who will go to great lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen. Including frame her as a traitor. Accused and sentenced, the gods of her planet exile her to Earth. They’ve given her one week to help a human find his true love. If she doesn’t succeed, she’ll die, but if she does she might lose her heart.




And Become by ME!

(Uh, that’d be ali cross in case you forgot whose blog you were on!)

The battle over Midgard begins with just one girl …

Earth has been without a Guardian since its creation, but Loki means to take it for himself. His daughter, sixteen-year-old Desolation, wants nothing more than to stay in Hel where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent to Midgard to make her choice–and what she chooses will determine not only her own future but the fate of all the worlds.


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Fan Friday: Motley Education by S.A. Larsen

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S was a bloggy friend, then a Facebook friend, and now I’m super excited to be able to help celebrate the release of her debut novel–Motley Education! And, bonus!, it’s built on Norse mythology! AND, it’s middle grade! I have a soft spot for truly excellent middle grade. 🙂 I hope you’ll check out Motley Education and consider supporting S.A. in her new adventure!


Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.

Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad’s moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.

Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.


s-a-larsen-author-image-1S.A. Larsen is a writer, reader, and Maine-iac ice hockey fan, who has watched more hockey games than she could ever count. She loves books that open upsecret passageways and hidden worlds to inspire and challenge the heart. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, Motley Education, will be published October 10, 2016 by Leap Books and her debut young adult novel, Marked Beauty, is set for release late 2016.

She can be found in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty years, four children (yes, they all play hockey), a playful pooch, and two kittens. 

Follow S.A. Larsen: Facebook | Website | Twitter


Fan Friday! The Haunted Stepsister by Medeia Sharif

| About Reading

Here’s another great one for the spooky month of October! I actually formatted this book, as it’s published by Leap Books and I do their formatting. I haven’t read all of it yet, but gleaned a lot while I was formatting it and it looks great! Plus, I’ve been a fan of Medeia’s since I read her first book, Best Ramadan Ever.

haunted_cvrSixth grade isn’t easy for Jesenya Moradi, especially since her father’s recent remarriage and tension with her new stepsister, Kammy. After an incident at school that nearly destroyed Kammy’s life, Jess has been desperate to get on Kammy’s good side. But a fateful trip to an allegedly haunted bathroom changes both girls’ lives forever.

The rumors about the bathroom are true, and now Jess is convinced a demon’s possessing Kammy. Eerie things happen whenever she’s around – flying objects, flickering lights, not to mention the fact that something, or someone, is making people into its puppets.

Worse, the demon seems fixated on making Jess confess her part in ruining Kammy’s reputation. Sticking to her Muslim faith, Jess enlists the help of an imam to exorcise the demon from Kammy. But can they get rid of the demon before it destroys her new family?


Medeia Sharif was born in New York City and now lives in Miami. She received her master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Published through various presses, she writes middle grade and young adult short stories and novels. In addition to being a writer, she’s a public school teacher.

Follow Medeia: Website | Twitter



What are you reading right now? I’m reading Potions in the Pizza (ARC) by Mikey Brooks. (I loved A Man Called Ove!)


Fan Friday! Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

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I remember seeing Bad Taste in Boys hit the interwebs during its promotion stage back in 2013 and thinking it was a cool cover and title. I added it to my TBR, but never got to it. Fast forward to 2016, and we need to find a new critique partner for our little group, and Elana says, “What about Carrie Harris? She recently moved to Utah.”

I’d seen Carrie’s name around, but didn’t know her personally. I knew she was published, but didn’t know what books she wrote. In crit group she brought Illegal Alien (which releases next week! Woot!). I liked Carrie’s critique pages and then immediately liked HER upon meeting her. She had turqoise hair!

Well I finally got around to reading Bad Taste in Boys and thought it was a perfect October read for you! It’s smart, fun and quirky – and dude, it has zombies and science. And zombies.


Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate! She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town  . . . and stay hormonally human.


carrieCarrie Harris is a geek-of-all-trades and proud of it. Brains are her specialty; she used to work in a lab where they were delivered daily by FedEx. After that, it seemed only natural to write a zombie book–BAD TASTE IN BOYS. She’s followed that up with a variety of books for tweens, teens, and adults. Carrie lives in Utah with her ninja-doctor husband and three monster-obsessed children. She is an organizer of WriteOnCon, an online kidlit writers conference, the president of the Class of 2k11, a marketing group for young adult and middle grade writers, and marketing director for Evil Hat Productions, an RPG and book company. In her spare time, she mainlines caffeine like whoa.

What are you reading right now? Now I’m reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Fan Friday! Ghostsitter by Shelly Brown

| About Reading

I’ve known Shelly Brown for several years now. I’ve never read her writing, but I know HER–a kinder, sweeter, more supportive person you’d be hard-pressed to find. And now … Her first novel has debuted! I just picked up my copy! If you or someone you know enjoy middle grade mystery and ghost stories (yeah!) then please check out Ghostsitter by the incomparable Shelly Brown!

Ghostsitter Shelly Brown Middle Grade Mystery

Tiffany Hart dreams of one thing, to be class president. But dreams turn to nightmares when she ends up almost dead in an abandoned slaughterhouse and develops the gift of ghost-seeing. Unfortunately she only knows one person who can help her shake her ghoulish problem, her neighbor and the weirdest boy at school, Justin Henderson. Justin has been seeing spirits since he was nine, a creepy claim that has earned him the privilege of eating lunch by himself for years.

Together they start to unravel a mystery with dead orphans, a white witch, and phantom spiders. To save their lives (and afterlives of innocent children) they must face a terrifying specter and a ghastly woman who isn’t afraid of hurting kids, dead or alive.

Add to Goodreads

Meet Shelly

Unlike Tiffany and Justin in this story, Shelly Brown hasn’t seen any ghosts. But she has seen lots of movies, traveled to different countries, read hundreds of books, acted in oodles of plays, and made thousands of friends.

She has worked as a comedian, a tour guide, and a shake-maker, but is currently a substitute teacher for some of the coolest kids ever. In her spare time she helps her husband, author Chad Morris, write awesome children’s books. Shelly also loves a little spooky in her life.

When she was twelve-years-old, she kept her Friday nights open to watch the newest X-Files episode. Every Friday. With the lights off to make it extra creepy. Now she’s married and has five kids and three chickens. And occasionally, she jumps out and scares them. Well, not the chickens.

Follow Shelly!
Amazon & Goodreads
Facebook & Twitter
Shelly’s website

What are you reading right now?

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fan friday!

| About Reading

I formatted this book last year and I just learned that Lisa’s next book is expected out shortly ~ so I figured it would be a good time to tell you about Quake … just in time for you to read and be ready for book 2!

Quake by Lisa Arrington
Ali and Caden thought they were your average teenagers trying to navigate high school pressures and college decisions. 

During a camping trip all of that changes when an earthquake ushers in an Alien invasion on their small desert hometown. 

Lives are lost and friendships are tested as Ali and Caden, along with their best friends, begin running for their lives. However, nothing can prepare them for the secrets they discover when they begin learning more about themselves then they ever thought possible.

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