Tuesday, December 13, 2011


One small act can have such a big impact, and with Christmas almost here, let's hope all the little acts of kindness make a huge difference. I truly believe there is more good in the world than there is bad. But if you watch the news, you would probably think otherwise.

I teach a course to elementary age students about anti-bullying. In the course, I encourage them to look at the good in others and what's around them, rather than just seeing the bad. If they were to do that, then they would in turn act off that kindness. Well, it worked. One child came up to me and said he was going to help his parents cook Christmas dinner, or at least help bake the cookies. His face lit up when I smiled at him. Then wouldn't you know it, another child, then another raised their hand and practically stumbled over their words trying to tell me EVERYTHING they would do to be nice. Maybe I should get them to come to my house!

Okay, here's something that I think is a good act happening on December 24th. Coffee Time Romance's Santa Watch  http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/ will host an event that last all day with authors, some NYT bestselling authors, and lots of giveaways. Always love a giveaway!! 

My friend, Zee, from http://firepages.blogspot.com/ is the only blogger asked to guest post for the event. GO ZEE!! I'm so happy for her. Zee was asked to talk about books she loves, and ALTERED will be listed under the category "Amazing First Impressions." She always amazes me with her kindness. Me and my work will be mentioned, as well as a giveaway. So mark your calendar for the 24th and be sure to leave a comment. That's the only way to be included in a drawing for lots of great stocking stuffers.

To you and yours, have a very peaceful and Merry Christmas filled with good acts of kindness!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Feature In Magazine!!

Have you ever had something happen that you were expecting, but it turned out waaay better than you thought it would? Well, that sort of thing just happened to me. My friend, who happens to be a published author, Josephine Temepleton, writes for a local magazine called Town Favorites. Where I live, the magazine is a hit and one of my personal favorites. Before I met Jo, I knew of her articles and would search for it each month (page 38 - and I can go right to it!)

Now to the good part. I knew I would be featured in the December issue, but I had no idea when I read the final it would give me the warm fuzzies like it did. Okay, I'll admit it, I did tear up. Jo is an exceptional writer, and if you get a chance, please check out her published work at http://www.josephonetempleton.com/. She has more on the way, so keep your eyes open.

Instead of me telling you more about the article, here's the link so you can see for yourself. Christmas surprizes come all sorts of ways. For me, one I'll never forget is the gift of someone choosing me as their feature article. Thanks, Jo!

                                            December 2011 issue with Laura Burks


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Catchy title, right? Reminds you of WIZARD OF OZ? I thought so. Crazy how some words from a movie, or lyrics from a song, or even a sentence in a book can stick with you. I've even seen quotes as a tattoo. There's just something haunting and wonderful about storytelling that we cling to. Even enough to want it branded to us forever.

All my life I've been drawn to the art of telling stories. Think about it this way. Someone had to write the story (script) for a movie. Someone had to write the lyrics to a song. And of course, someone wrote the novel you so wish would be the next big movie. It's in those words, whether sung, acted out, or read, that we escape. Some we even relate back to.

This past week I had the privledge of being an extra in a movie. Living in Hollywood South does have it's advantages. To be on a movie set was no less than amazing. But while I was sitting there for two days clapping for 14 hours (no joke, clapping for 14 hours) that little self discovery bug hit again. Oh, by the way, to all my new acting friends, I'm so glad we met. You made it so much fun. Okay, back to what I was saying. It takes so many people, and so much time to reach that final product. Just like in books and music, you pour your heart out and work until you can't see straight, hoping that when you're done, it all comes together and makes sense. Then comes marketing. It's not just about the first thought of a project, it's the entire package.

The story telling industry is filled with familiar faces and names, and some you may never even get a glimpse of. But they are there! So the next time you're walking down the street, or at the mall, or wherever you go, you just might be surrounded by talent beyond your wildest imagination. Don't forget to count yourself in that group. Everyone is capable of telling great stories. It's as unique as you are.

Anyone have a great story or experience to share? Leave a comment. You just never know who might be reading.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Luncheon Fun!

A few post ago, I mentioned that I would give you an update of this year's FALL INTO ROMANCE READERS LUNCHEON 2011. Well, here it is. I wish all of you could have joined us. Just like last year, everyone received a goodie bag filled with author bookmarks, a book, and extras. (Gotta love extras!) There was a chance to win a door prize and gift baskets. The gift baskets were filled to the brim with books of all genres. One basket, donated by the very generous Deborah LeBlanc, even had a Kindle. Now that's a basket worth fighting for.

After a buffet style lunch of Southern classics (if you've never had Southern food, you're really missing out,) the group was in awe as Deborah LeBlanc and Sabrina Jeffries shared stories that made us laugh and really think about the importance of being a writer in today's market. As Deborah mentioned, now is the best time to get published. So many have pounded the pavement of the interent, searching out agents, only to be rejected and heartbroken. As she stated, some are turning to the wonderful world of epub, with control of their own destiny, and keeping all the profits themselves. Hmmm ... that idea could have us sending the rejection letters.

The bottom line is, it's the readers that have the final say. They are the ones that encourage writers to keep their fingers on the keyboard and their mind in create mode. The readers are the ones that give us the most reviews and feedback. But most of all, the readers make us smile. How wonderful it is to look into the eyes of someone who has read your book and hear them say they can't wait for the next one.

That luncheon was my first official book signing. How cool is that? Not only did I get to celebrate with some of my family, I had friends and made new ones to help me hit the ground running. I'll never forget that day because of all who were there, and I can't wait for next year. Mark your calendar for November 5, 2012. The incredible and talented Heather Graham of New Orleans will be joining us. Trust me, you'll want to be there!

So keep reading. You just never know when you'll meet the author!

                      Before the crowd was let in to purchase and have their books signed.

Published authors who attended. I'm all the way on the right. It's not a very close picture of everyone, but with 90 people attending, it's tough to get a good spot for a pic. All attending authors were: Melanie Atkins, Christee Atwood, Nancy Brandt, Laura Burks, Dawn Chariter, Eleanor Cocreham, Chere Coen, Barbara Colley, Claudy Conn, Kimberly Frost, Sabrina Jeffries, Rhonda Leah, Deborah LeBlanc, Anne Clayre Mason, Farrah Rochon, June Shaw, Lynn Shurr, Candice Stauffer, Josephone Templeton, Robin Wells, and Ursala Whistler

                     Me with Sabrina Jeffries, our speaker and multi Best Selling author.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Literal Addiction & Book Monster Reviews are sponsoring a contest Nov. 7-19th! All you have to do is visit a different author site each day, answer the question, and unscramble the letters for a chance to win lots of cool stuff for your own personal stocking. (I know it's a little early to stuff your own, but what the heck? You deserve a little you time, right?)

Here's the LITERAL ADDICTION site where you'll post your answer and find all the other author sites. Okay, here's mine below. Good Luck!  Don't forget to visit my website for more information on my debut young adult paranormal romance novel, ALTERED - http://lauraburks.com/

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Well Deserved Cause

As a writer, you just never know who is out there interested in what you wrote, inspired by your words, or even curious after reading teaser scenes. We sit for such long hours allowing images and life situations to capture our mind and flow through our fingertips onto the page, hoping that what we produce is making sense. It's not just a story, but the gift of literacy that we are continuing to spread and nuture in the minds of those who love to read. And what about those that want to read, but the resources or funds are limited? This is where a new, but true story begins.

A month ago, I received an email from a very determined lady in Ohio who has a passion for helping her community stop illiteracy. You see, for her town, some of the libraries had closed, funds were limited, and school libraries hadn't seen a new book in years. As a result, the passion for reading wasn't being nutured, and so many were being denied the simple luxury of holding a new book in their hands.

Here's where it gets good. Due to a very popular young adult book, Lora Wiedenheft felt a passion for reading that she hadn't felt since high school. Like me, she mainly reads young adult books, but this is where her story takes a turn. She began to acquire so many books, due to a review site she started, that she decided to help out her local public library and dontate some of her beloved novels that were taking over her house. Later, she realized the demand and need was much greater than just the local library. High schools were in a bind and needed help. Lora still had books to review, but this time it would be different. This time she would involve the high school students, get them excited about reading  and reviewing, and then, stock the shelves in their school with the donated books they reviewed. With a huge YES from the schools, Lora designed a website where she keeps a list of books and a place to submit the review. READ FOR YOUR FUTURE was born.

I had the honor of being contacted by Lora. You see, I didn't know about her site, but somehow, she found me. Me? My book had only been out a few weeks and already something I managed to write sparked an interest enough to help a worthy cause. If I ever wondered why writing is a gift, I think I found my answer that day. ALTERED will find a permanent home there in an Ohio high school, shelved amongst so many other authors that I could only dream of meeting. But most importantly, my book will reach the hands of some very grateful students who have a passion for reading.

Lora's goal is: "We are dedicated to putting books in the hands of teenagers. Won't you please help in our fight against illiteracy."

With that being said, if you would like to contact Lora and help out, please visit her website at: http://readforyourfuture.blogspot.com/

In closing, later, my book will be reviewed and posted on her site. But for now, Lora surprised me with an interview that was posted on her blog recently. When you get a chance, please read and feel free to leave a comment.http://readforyourfuture.blogspot.com/2011/10/interview-laura-burks-author-of.html

Until we chat again, happy reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Something Said

Hey everyone.

I belong to a writing group, HeartLa, and every year we have our FALL INTO ROMANCE READERS LUNCHEON. Here's the deal. Last year was my first year to attend. Why? Well, that's because I joined in February, and the luncheon was at the end of the year. So, here we are again, gearing up for this year. I'll have to fill you in AFTER we have the luncheon on November 5th.

For now, I wanted to share my experience from last year. If you could have seen my face. I was beaming to meet so many other writers, whether published or not. Oh, and the readers. Without them, writing just wouldn't be the same. Everyone was greeted with a bag of goodies (including a special Sherrilyn, Dianna book) good food, and of course, lots of time to get to know each other.

Me with Sherrilyn Kenyon

HeartLa group at dinner the night before the luncheon.

Our speaker was Sherrilyn Kenyon, and our emcee was Leo Honeycutt. Sherrilyn brought her friend Dianna Love. What a triple treat. Anyway, I can remember listening to every word Sherrilyn said with such awe. To an unpublished, at the time, author like me, hearing her spill her heart out was a turning point in my writing. She was funny, caring, and above all, answered all my questions. Yes, I had a lot. I was unsure if I was even a writer. I thought only published authors could call themselves that. She very kindly shared inspirational stories of people who were never published, but their work still tugged at her heart. So, unpublished can be a writer. I was glad to hear that. Rejections were getting on my last nerve.

My point to all of this is that she was so humble and ordinary. Not ordinary, boring. Ordinary as in approachable and real ... normal. I so wish I could talk to her today after being published. I have a million question I would ask. And I'm sure she, Dianna, or Leo would answer.

In a few weeks, Sabrina Jeffries will be our keynote speaker. Debrah LeBlanc will be the emcee. I'm sure this year will hold some surprises. And just like last year, when I least expect it, something will be said that I need to hear. Something that I've had on my mind that somehow will be addressed in a way that finally makes sense. I'm sure you know just what I mean!

For an update on ALTERED, it's only been 6 weeks and the reviews have me speechless. So far, all 5 stars. Oh, and what people took the time to write is so encouraging and beautiful. When you get a chance, check out the reviews and new interviews on my website. A big thanks to everyone who continues to support me.

If you're a writer, or whatever you're doing, keep me posted. Some days you are so pumped to do what is driving you. And other days, well, we need SOMETHING SAID.

Until we chat again, have a great week.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Best Seller

Hey everyone!

Just found out that ALTERED made the "Best Seller" list for the month of September at my publishing house. Thanks to everyone for making this possible. I am forever your biggest fan!!

My fortune cookie had a very interesting message the other day - "Don't be surprised by the emergence of undiscovered talents!" This could have been your message. I've heard from so many of you that have put your talents aside thinking you don't have time or can't do it. WHAT? No more excuses. Today is your day to discover you. Keep me posted so I can cheer you on!

Until we chat again, have a great week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Do You Know?

Okay, here's one for you. How do you know what people really think of you? The answer is you don't. They might tell you kind words to your face, and you only hope that they do behind your back, but do we really know?

One of the reasons I'm bringing this up is because I was thinking back to elementary school. Yes, way back to first grade. I'm not going to say how far back, just trust me, it was in the early 70's. Seems like just yesterday. Anyway, I can remember the very first day of first grade when the teacher came around and asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. Some said a doctor, a teacher, a bus driver. Then it was my turn. I answered I wanted to be famous. What was I thinking? At the time I was fascinated with TV shows and all I could think of was I wanted to be on one. If only the Brady Bunch needed another sister, I would have had it made. Well, that and bleaching my hair blonde to fit in.

I can remember a few kids laughing, but to me, it was an honest answer. Come to find out, a few others wanted the same thing, but were too chicken to say it out loud. It seems even as time goes on, people are sometimes afraid of saying what they really think or feel. That's a shame. We miss so many opportunities that once it's gone, it might not come back.

I'm writing this because as a young adult author, I want the youth of today to know that you should never be afraid of speaking up or being who you are. With that being said, thanks eveyone for all your emails and kind reviews of Altered. It's been a dream come true to share my book with you and have the opportunity to get to know you.

Now go out there and grab your dream ... it's all yours!  Oh, and if you have anything you want to share with me, I'd love to know.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beyond 5 Star Review!

Today I received a review that had me in tears, but in a happy way. As a writer, you love your creation, but you're not sure what others will think of it. I'm well aware that not every book can please every reader, but for today, I'm humbled and in awe of my review. Here's what I received from Zee at firepages.blogspot.com.

5/5 Stars

"Altered is everything I could have asked for and more! Laura Burks delivers paranormal, suspense, and a touch of romance in a major way. It is by far on of the best written, most creative novels I have read. Altered is beyond 5 stars!"

Favorite Character
Jenna Larson is my favorite character. She is curious by nature and doesn't mind following her curiosity and exploring her surroundings. That is partly what gets her in trouble, but unlike other leading ladies in books and movies take on their problems by themselves, Jenna doesn't keep what she finds to herself. She shares her experiences with her lovable grandfather, John Larson. Jenna is independent, but also knows when she is over her head, when she needs to accept help. 

Although young, Jenna is a very mature teenager. She is kind, honest and considerate to her grandpa. She is a good friend to her friends, Shelly and Danny. And most importantly, she is honest and respectful of herself. Regardless of the other worldly mess she gets into, Jenna is a friend I would like to have!

Quotable Quote
"Another day, another time, I would go back. But for now, my day had turned out much better than what was originally planned. Sometimes the unexpected is way more exciting." - Jenna Larson, Page 47

"'I've waited for someone like you all my life,' he breathed." - Jess Parkin, Page 254

Final Thoughts
Altered is an amazing story, one which kept me guessing all the way through. I loved that this was not your typical paranormal title. The paranormal aspect of this novel was more subtle, more disturbing. Let's talk about Louisiana and a curse from a deal gone wrong. This title makes you think twice before shortchanging someone you have made a deal with. Altered makes you think again before deciding to have your cake and eat it too. 

I enjoyed reading about the budding romance between Jenna and Jess. It was slow, sensual, and deliberate. Jenna and Jess would let each other know where their heart was. There were no games. No drama. It was honesty in it's purest form. To just be with each other was enough. Every hand held, every gaze in each other's eyes, every secret shared was monumental. They lived in the moment with each other. I was often taken back to the days when my young heart was filled with that much innocence, when I experienced my first throws of love. The romance in Altered will make your heart leap more than once in fond remembrance. 

Burks kept surprising me at every turn of the page. I would have it in my head where I thought the story would go next, and it never did. I was glued to this book. Quite literally. Every second I had, I whipped out one of my devices - HTC smartphone, iPod Touch, Kindle, HP Touchpad - to finish a chapter or read one more sentence. Altered is just that good of a novel! Laura Burks writing style is flawless. I don't remember seeing a typo nor did I have to reread a paragraph to understand what was going on. She kept her plot tucked away nicely, waiting on the right moment to reveal information to the reader, and as a result, everything fell smoothly into place.

Laura Burks is a seriously talented author and very creative to boot. Altered, her debut novel, is a hit and a personal favorite. I can't wait to read more novels from Laura! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Only One Yes Away

Today, while the tropical storm stayed for a visit, I thought of how one word can make a difference. So many of my friends are in the waiting stage of hearing something, anything from an agent or press house. I know that feeling all too well. You wait, you pray, you write, and you wait some more. Wait for that one email you hope to see when you turn on your computer, and it isn't there.

Or, how about when you finally do get an answer and it's the typical form letter "it's not quite the right fit for my list at this time." Yep, gotta love those. The point I'm trying to make is, whether you're published or not, you are a writer. The only difference is a published author received that one word - Yes. Don't let whether you receive that one word or not dictate how you feel about yourself or make your question if you are a writer. And let me tell you, even it you do get published, those little doubts still pop up and try to steal your happiness. That one word is not the end, and it surely doesn't mean you are more deserving or have it made. Nothing in life is ever finished. It simply is a step to lead you to another step. Honestly, it's all about doing what you love to do and the the self-discovery along the way.

I love the movie Last Holiday. There's a line that Queen Latifah says that gets me every time I watch it: "... we will laugh more, we'll love more ... we just won't be so afraid ... "

Don't be afraid of what others will think if you don't get published or even if you do. You, my fellow writers, area a writer. "Yes" or not.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Lot To Learn

My first born (book that is) was finally born September 1, 2011. Yes, that long awaited time when I can sit back and take a breath knowing all my edits, galleys, website building and so on has made it full circle. But only a short breath, marketing is my new challenge. This should be interesting!

During all the months and even years of work, sometimes we find out something about ourself that we never thought we could survive. The goal is not reaching the end, it's the complete journey. Yes, I wanted to scream, yell, cry and everything in between, but I also laughed. Laughed and learned that along the way you pick up little treasures called friends. And to me, that in itself is worth it.

One of those friends is a newly published author like me. She lives in Canada and we've only chatted through facebook (gotta love social networking) but to me, I feel like she lives next door. Her name is C. Elizabeth (Char) and her book is Absolute Obsession. When you get a chance, check out her website and book. She's an amazing person and author and I'm so glad she calls me her my friend.

The other day on facebook I posted something that I think is worth posting again. Never underestimate the power of prayer ... and the people He uses to send small messages. It just might be what you need to hear.

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finally Published!

Hey everyone.

Well, here it is. My very first blog on my very first website for my very first published novel, Altered, scheduled to be released September 1, 2011. Whew... I feel like a teenager getting her driver's license. Ever had that feeling where you're excited and scared at the same time? Yep...that's me. Being published is all those emotions, and then some, all wrapped together and put out there for the world to see. FOR THE WORLD TO SEE? Okay...my stress level just spiked a notch or two.

If your wondering why I chose to write young adult, well, it's because that's my favorite genre to read. Not only is it relatable to adults, too, but it brings you back to the days when first love and growing up was fun and exciting. Funny how when you're young, you can't wait to be in high school. And then when you're out, in your mind, you think of those days often. Certain songs might trigger a memory, whether good or bad, it still brings you back to a place and time. You might even remember what you were wearing. Scary!

If you're just hearing about my debut novel, Altered, a young adult paranormal romance mystery, here's a little blurb to catch your attention:
   For eighteen year old Jenna Larson, spending the summer falling in love should be normal. But when she discovers a cursed book capable of secret writings and a hidden message, finding a way to alter the curse to save a life changed everything. Only Jenna's choice may have already chosen her.

When you get a chance, check out the rest of my website and feel free to leave me a comment. I'd love to get to know you. Altered also has a book trailer.

Have you suscribed to my blog yet? Check out the side bar and sign up.

Okay, one last question before I sign off. If you could pick any book and have your name as the author, which one would you choose?

Thanks and we'll chat again soon!