Monday, May 31, 2010

Eclipse Countdown Contest

Karlene Browning over at Inksplasher is sponsoring a super cool contest with lots of great prizes as she takes a virtual road trip to Forks, Washington to countdown to the premiere of Eclipse. I'm sponsoring one of the days so be sure to check back here tomorrow to answer my question. (It'll be easy, especially if you've followed my blog).

To find out more about the contest http://inksplasher.blogspot.com/2010/05/chasing-twilight-contest.html
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To find out about the super cool prizes http://inksplasher.blogspot.com/2010/05/chasing-twilight-prizes.html

Prizes include: Jewelry, framed photos of characters, books, perfume, and the grand prize: a basket full of Twilight  themed gifts.

Go to Inksplasher to find out more! Be sure to come back here tomorrow to find out my question and have a chance to win a copy of  Heaven Scent or Altared Plans.

Now, I'm on my way to go fishing--or should I say, chase my 4-year-old around while the other kids attempt to catch fish (we have yet to catch fish on any of our many fishing trips).

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win


Didn't I promise you a big, awesome summer contest? Now didn't I??? Here it is!


Welcome to our second annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest! Last year, some author friends and I put together a month long contest where we gave away a prize a day for the entire month of June. The contest was so successful that my friends and I have decided to do it again…only this time we’ve gathered together enough prizes to last through the first week of July! Again, we have something for everyone: romance, fantasy, mystery, suspense, historicals, contemporaries, young adult and middle grade fiction; children’s picture books; and a variety of non-fiction titles. We also have some exciting non-book prizes: a hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case; a book/jewelry combo; a Mary Kay cosmetic assortment; a The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD; and (you aspiring writers won’t want to miss this one!) a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel by a three-time published author!

How can you enter to win one of these awesome prizes? Just follow the rules below!

SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES:

You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).

(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST

(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.

All winners will be “drawn” by WWW.RANDOM.ORG.

You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd-July 9th to read the names of the winners.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.

And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

June 1

SPONSOR: Donna Hatch

PRIZE: Queen in Exile, (fantasy romance), autographed by author

QUESTION: The princess must rely upon her magic to save whom? (Hint: Look under “Bookshelf” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.donnahatch.net/

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
WINNER:  Amber Nielson of Vermont
ANSWER: Herself and her people from tyranny and death.


June 2

SPONSOR: Laurie Lewis

PRIZE: Awakening Avery (women's fiction), autographed copy

QUESTION: Avery's signal that she isn't handling her husband's death very well comes to her when she tosses what into what? (Hint: Look under “books &reviews, then click on the cover to Awakening Avery and read the first chapter)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.laurielclewis.com/

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 3

SPONSOR: E.A. West

PRIZE: Riley's Mission (PDF: romantic suspense)

QUESTION: Where does Jade sit after she sees Aziz Khadoul? (Hint: Click on “Books” tab, then on “excerpt” link for Riley’s Mission)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://eawest.mcphitty.com/

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 4

SPONSOR: Jenna Dawlish

PRIZE: Sprig of Thyme (Victorian romance), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the name of the hero in Jenna's first novel Love Engineered? (Check out “The Library” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.jennadawlish.com/

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES


June 5

SPONSOR: Rachael Renee Anderson

PRIZE: Divinely Designed (contemporary LDS romantic comedy), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the title of Rachael's second book, being released in August? (Hint: scroll down to Rachael’s “Goodreads” titles on the right hand sidebar))

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://rachaelreneeanderson.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 6

SPONSOR: Linda Kay Garner

PRIZE: Some Secrets Hurt (picturebook), autographed copy, plus a handmade cuddling blanket. This picture book is for all ages. It is simple enough to be understood by a very young child, meaningful enough to appeal to teenagers, informative enough to be helpful to parents, and powerful enough to reach out to a wounded adult.

QUESTION: The only thing worse than finding out that your child is being sexually abused is ____ ____ ____? (Hint: Listen to 5 minute KSL TV interview on the right side of the website or dowload the free Parents’ Guide)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://somesecretshurt.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 7

SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne

PRIZE: (New/Sealed) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Widescreen DVD)

QUESTION: In Danielle Thorne's novel, Turtle Soup, what is the name of the marine biologist who inspires Sara Hart to name her deli Turtle Soup? (Hint: read the blurb for Turtle Soup on Danielle’s website homepage)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://daniellethorne.jimdo.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 8

SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley

PRIZE: Lab Partners (sweet 1950’s romance), ebook

QUESTION: What are the first names of the hero and heroine in the short story Lab Partners? (Hint: Check out “WIP Report” post for April 4, 2010)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://larryhammersley.blogspot.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 9

SPONSOR: Linda Weaver Clarke

PRIZE: Melinda and the Wild West: (historical romance, YA and adult), autographed copy

QUESTION: What was Melinda doing when she first met Gilbert and why did he act flustered and then abruptly turn and briskly stride away? (Hint:. Click on “Sample Chapters” tab, then on the book title for Melinda and the Wild West to read a sample chapter.)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com//

OPEN TO USA AND CANADA ENTRIES

June 10

SPONSOR: Angela Morrison

PRIZE: Taken by Storm (Penguin/Razorbill 2009), YA romance, autographed hard cover

QUESTION: A legendary LDS author of over 30 books for teens called Taken by Storm, "An amazing story written with a clear, refreshing and creative voice." Who was it? (Hint: check “Taken By Storm” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://web.me.com/angelamorrison/Angela_Morrison/Welcome.html

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 11

SPONSOR: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

PRIZE: Trapped (romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal fantasy), autographed copy

QUESTION: The first trap Emi Warrin encounters is a mysterious letter. To where does it lure her? (Hint: Read the book summary under the Trapped tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://rondahinrichsen.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 12

SPONSOR: Anne Patrick

PRIZE: Journey to Redemption (inspirational romantic suspense), free download

QUESTION: What did Royce use to do for a living in my upcoming release, Out of the Darkness? (Hint: Look under the “My Books” link for Anne’s new release, Out of the Darkness)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com/

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 13

SPONSOR: Rebecca Talley

PRIZE: Altared Plans (contemporary LDS romance), autographed by author

QUESTION: What is unique about my youngest son? (Hint: Watch the YouTube video Extra C posted on the right side of Rebecca’s blog)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.rebeccatalleywrites.blogspot.com

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 14

SPONSOR: David J. West

PRIZE: Heroes of the Fallen (historical fiction), autographed hardcopy)

QUESTION: What is the name of my favorite author? (Hint: Scroll through David’s June blogs. He promises you’ll find the answer!)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://david-j-west.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 15

SPONSOR: Jennifer Stewart Griffith, author of Choosing Mr. Right and Delicious Conversation

PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages of a novel

QUESTION: What is the Japanese word for the hairstyle worn by sumo wrestlers? (Hint: Check out Jennifer’s favorite sumo blog, Sumo Beautiful. Look for Hama Bijin’s April 13th post)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://sumobeautiful.blogspot.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES as long as the manuscript can be emailed to Jennifer and is in English.
June 16

SPONSOR: Rebecca Irvine

PRIZE: Family Home Evening Adventures (non-fiction book of FHE lessons), free e-book on CD

QUESTION: What is the title of the first book written by Rebecca Irvine? (Hint: Read “about me” on Rebecca’s blog)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.rebeccairvine.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 17

SPONSOR: Marilyn Bunderson

PRIZE: The Mark (YA Fiction), autographed copy with a bookmark

QUESTION: In a deleted scene from my book, The Mark, Jon loses a bet to Shae. What does he have to do to pay up? (Hint: Found in post titled "Deleted Scenes From The Mark" dated April 15, 2010)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://mrbunderson.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 18

SPONSOR: Heather Justesen

PRIZE: Winner’s Choice: The Ball’s In Her Court (contemporary inspirational) or Rebound (contemporary romance), autographed by author

QUESTION: How much did the FBI agent expect John's bail to be set at? (Hint: Click on "My Books" tab, then "read more" about Rebound.)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.heatherjustesen.com//

OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 19

SPONSOR: Nichole Giles

PRIZE: The Sharp Edge of a Knife (inspirational historical, based on a true story), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the correct title of the humorous anthology I coauthored? (Hint: Look in the right hand sidebar)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.nicholegiles.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 20

SPONSOR: Karen Adair

PRIZE: Trendy blue/brown crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case (Check out Karen’s “Diva Strings” website for examples: http://www.divastrings.com/index.html)

QUESTION: Where did Karen learn how to type and what speed did she finally top out at? (Hint: Check Karen’s “Bio” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.kbadair.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 21

SPONSOR: Lynn Parsons, co-author of the soon-to-be released non-fiction book (dis)Abilities and the Gospel.

PRIZE: A pair of hand-knit socks.

QUESTION: What are three of the topics I list on the parent page of my website? (Look on “Parent Page” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.lynndparsons.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 22

SPONSOR: Kinzie Monroe

PRIZE: Reservations for Two (inspirational romance), autographed CD

QUESTION: What was Maggie doing when she and Carson first met in Reservations for Two? (Hint: click on the “Excerpts” link on Kinzie’s blog)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://kinziemonroe.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 23

SPONSOR: Michele Ashman Bell

PRIZE: Summer in Paris (YA romance), autographed copy and Eiffel Tower bookmark

QUESTION: What is Michele "dreaming of"? (Hint: found on sidebar above picture of Eiffel Tower

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://micheleabell.blogspot.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
June 24

SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant and JaysDesign Jewelry

PRIZE: A signed copy of Redemption, a Regency romance by Jaimey Grant, and a 19" hand-knotted strand of freshwater pearls ($45 value) handmade by Jay T Lyons of JaysDesign Jewelry

QUESTION: Artist Jay T Lyons did a sketch for the cover of an upcoming Regency romance of mine. What is the sketch of and what is the title of the upcoming book?

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://sites.google.com/site/jaimeygrant/jaytlyons

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 25

SPONSOR: Christine Thackeray

PRIZE: Lipstick Wars (LDS Women’s Fiction), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the name of the angel who needs a vacation in my recent pamphlet, “Could You Be an Angel Today? (Hint: Play the book trailer for “Could You Be an Angel Today” on Christine’s home page)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.christinethackeray.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 26

SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris

PRIZE: Mary Kay Satin Lips Set, Travel Size Satin Hands Set and a set of mineral eye colors

QUESTION: What is the name of my African Gray and African Desert Tortosie? (Hint: Read “About Me” in the left hand sidebar)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 27

SPONSOR: Teralee Deighton

PRIZE: Cup of Comfort for New Mothers (personal essay anthology)

QUESTION: Name the editor of Cup of Comfort for New Mothers

WEBSITE/BLOG:

http://www.adamsmediastore.com/category/cup-of-comfort-series?r=COC_Bookstore

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 28

SPONSOR: C. LaRene Hall

PRIZE: Martha’s Freedom Train (middle grade historical), autographed by both author and illustrator

QUESTION: How many short stories has C. LaRene Hall published in the humorous anthology, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief? (Hint: Look in the left hand sidebar)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.clhall.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

June 29

SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden

PRIZE: Courting Miss Lancaster (Regency romance), autographed copy

QUESTION: In his "I Need Friends Friday" interview, what reason does Edward Cullen give for not sleeping at night?

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.sarahmeden.com/2009/11/i-need-friends-friday-edward-cullen.html

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

June 30

SPONSOR: Marcia Mickelson

PRIZE: Reasonable Doubt (LDS Suspense), autographed copy

QUESTION: In what country was author, Marcia Mickelson born? (Hint: Click on “About Marcia” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.marciamickelson.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 1

SPONSOR: Kimberly Job

PRIZE: I'll Know You by Heart (romantic suspense), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the title of my current work in progress? (Hint: Look under “My Books” tab)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.scribbledscraps.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 2

SPONSOR: Joan Sowards

PRIZE: Haunts Haven (an LDS ghost story), autographed copy

QUESTION: What is the name of the town in which the story of Haunts Haven takes place? (Hint: Found on sidebar synopsis of story)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://joansowards.blogspot.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
July 3

SPONSOR: Margaret L. Turley RN

PRIZE: Save the Child (Reality Fiction), autographed copy

QUESTION: Where can you listen to an audio interview with Margaret L. Turley about her book, Save the Child? (Hint: Click on link at the bottom of Margaret’s bio on her “About the Author” page)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://margaretturley.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 4

SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena

PRIZE: Illuminations of the Heart (sweet medieval romance, a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist), autographed by author

QUESTION: Who were gifts usually given to on Epiphany during the Middle Ages? (Hint: Click on “Stolen Christmas” tab and read excerpt from “An Epiphany Gift for Robin”)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.joyce-dipastena.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES:

July 5

SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams

PRIZE: Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today (Arizona Glyph Award Finalist and Southwest Book Awards Finalist), a snuggle, giggle children’s picture book

QUESTION: There is a picture of Cindy holding two dragons on her website, http://www.cindyrwilliams.com/ The names of the dragons are in the caption below the picture. What are their names? (Hint: Look on the “Book” page)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.cindyrwilliams.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY

July 6

SPONSOR: Gail Pallotta

PRIZE: Love Turns the Tide (inspirational romance with suspense), free e-book on CD, with a pendant necklace and matching earrings

QUESTION: Who comes to Cammie O'Shea's rescue after she has a break-in at her unit in Destin, Florida? (Hint: Scroll down to: MORE ABOUT THE BOOK)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.gailpallotta.com//

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

July 7

SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson co-author of the soon-to-be released non-fiction book: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel

PRIZE: A 30 page manuscript edit.
QUESTION: Name three of the "special needs" addressed in (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. (Hint: Click on the "Books" tab for (dis)Abilities and the Gospel)


WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.queenoftheclan.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY
July 8

SPONSOR: Karen E. Hoover

PRIZE: Sapphire Flute (YA Fantasy), autographed copy

QUESTION: How many bloggers have posted their reviews of The Sapphire Flute? (Hint: Check out the list under “Sapphire Flute Blog Tour” in the right hand side bar and count ‘em up)

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://karen-hoover.blogspot.com//

USA ENTRIES ONLY


gOOD

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Author Interview: Laurie Lewis

I'm chatting with Laurie Lewis, author of Awakening Avery today. Readers may know her best as L.C. Lewis, the author of the historical fiction series Free Men and Dreamers. Laurie, why did you switch genres and write Awakening Avery? It’s not historical is it?

No, Awakening Avery is current, so it’s a nice diversion from my historical work.

What is the message behind the title, Awakening Avery.

Our lead character is an LDS author/wife and mother who gets catapulted from her comfortable support role in the family to the lead after the untimely death of her wonderful husband. Although her husband, Paul, had been slowing fading for a long time, Avery had closed her eyes to the toll his illness and death had taken on her and her family. Her oldest son tells her he needs to get away to deal with his grief, and she is forced to face some hard truths—things are falling apart in her once perfect family, and instead of preparing for the eventuality of Paul’s death, she has been shriveling away. Avery needs to step up and take action, a daring thing that requires her to grow and stretch in ways she never imagined.

So is this story primarily about handling grief?

The Thompson family’s grief is the vehicle we use to address the major theme of the book, which is family vigilance. Their grief opens cracks in their spiritual veneer that weakens them, and makes them vulnerable, but hopefully readers will recognize that all of our families are vulnerable if we lower our vigilance for whatever reason. But another lesson from the book is the power available to us as we draw upon our families and friends for strength. The book is very hopeful.

The themes are serious, but you call Awakening Avery a chuckle-out-loud and grab-a-hankie read. Why?

Avery is grieving, but she goes through a summer of self-discovery where she opens her narrow world up to receive a host of quirky new friends. They all have life experience and strength she can draw from, and she discovers she has a few things to teach them as well. So it’s not a sad book. Parts are very tender—happy tender and sad tender— and parts are a riot. We’ve got some fun, crazy characters in here.

Like Teddie and Rider Davis? They’re hilarious!

Yeah, I love them! They remind me of kids playing dress-up, but they have already been through the fire, and under all their designer duds, they are people of great substance. They have been tested in the crucible of faith, and they are stronger because of it.

And George? I hear the dedication of Awakening Avery is also very personal to you.

It is. It reads, “To my father, Allen K. Chilcoat, the chef behind the magic of slumgolian and peanut-butter balls; and to my mother, Bernice, who kept us alive despite his kitchen exploits.”

Of all the books I’ve written, or that I will ever write, this one probably best reflects my childhood memories of my father. He is the model for George because when Dad went into the kitchen to cook we knew it was going to be an adventure.

So Slumgolian is a real dish? You actually ate it?

Oh yes! I think the recipe had its beginnings in Iceland where my father was stationed for a time. The men threw whatever they had into a pot and called it Slumgolian. One evening when we were camping, after a long day of crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, my dad offered to make dinner. Mom was horrified at what was being thrown together—baked beans, chicken noodle soup, corn, peas, you name it—but Dad insisted we’d love it. It looked dreadful, but Dad’s presentation and sales pitch transformed it from slop to Slumgolian, a very exotic foreign dish.
And the Kool-Aid pancakes and Peanut Butter Balls?

Yeah, they were all my dad’s recipes.

Avery is an author. Was that meant to be another biographical element?

No . . . I needed Avery to have a career that made her mobile enough to take this journey, and to provide her with a tool with which she could measure her personal growth. Writing her as an author fit that bill, and I already understood that industry. For Avery, her writing and the writings of another author—Axel Hunter—provide an outlet for expression . . . of her grief, her fears, her hopes. I think we all need an outlet. Hopefully one of our outlets is good friends.

Axel Hunter figures critically in this book.

Neither Avery nor Gabriel sees any personal life for themselves after their spouses die. Axel’s books open their eyes and hearts to possibilities they had shut out. As a writer, I’d love to think my books made a difference like that in anyone’s life.

That’s powerful, but there is also great power in humor. I love the story of the Carson sisters and the pink flamingo rug!

That was the most fun scene to write! I hope to begin a new pink flamingo trend in home d├ęcor!

The Thompsons are LDS but the Carsons are not. That becomes a major theme in the book as well.

Awakening Avery explores the additional tensions that arise in a marriage when religious differences exist, and the devastating consequences that occur when partners allow that to build a wedge in their family. The absolute essential nature of strong families is the underlying theme of Awakening Avery.

So what other projects are you working on?

I’m still promoting my Free Men and Dreamers series. Volume three, Dawn’s Early Light, debuted in December, and I’m hoping we’ll see book four on the shelves by late summer.

Thanks for the interview, Laurie. Awakening Avery sounds like a great gift for mothers and wives.



Reviews. . .

Readers will love the journey that Avery takes them on and will find themselves transformed in the process. —Martha Adams

“Teddie and Rider are most delightful, and they immediately find a place in Avery's heart and in the reader's heart as well.”

“I had to chuckle out loud.”

“A very . . . compelling read.”

“[This] author has a definite knack for making her characters' voices distinct.”

“I love Avery . . . a middle-aged woman being the heroine.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Revision Pain

Cedar Fort accepted my manuscript, The Upside of Down, a few weeks ago. Last week an editor asked me to cut it by 6500 words. Ugh!

I've worked really hard to create a fuller, more-developed story. I actually added 20,000 words before I submitted it in hopes of making it feel more realistic and give readers a more enjoyable reading experience. And now I have to cut it. I feel like I'm cutting off fingers.

So far, I've cut 1300 words, but I've got a long way to go to make the 6500 request. I have to say, it's painful. I'm sure it will make it a better, tighter story, but it's agony at this point.

I don't want to cut any of the characters or storylines because I've created characters and storylines that intertwine and support each other within the framework of the story. Each character has a specific purpose as does each storyline.

Did I say this was painful? I guess I'm going to have to ax some scenes . . .

Anyone have any advice for cutting words?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Proud to be an American

My husband is in Denver. He left yesterday morning at 4:00 and will get home tonight around midnight. He's serving as a delegate for our district here in Colorado and he's attending the state assembly to vote on those who will be placed on the primary ballot.

I accompanied him to the county and district assemblies (I couldn't go to Denver because my son had his last soccer game today and my older kids attended a temple trip in Utah so I needed to stay home). It's been interesting to see this process. It does take time and effort, but I'm glad he could be involved in the process of nominating candidates for the primary election in CO.

I'm worried about the current state of our country. It seems that our Constitution is at risk. Freedom of speech is under attack now that the government wants to regulate what is said on the internet, specifically in blogs. When did we lose our freedom to express our opinions? Isn't that what makes our country great--the freedom to disagree? I may not agree with others' opinions, but I will fight for their right, and mine, to express those opinions.

I am proud to be an American. I am proud to voice my opinion of who should serve in political offices by casting my vote. I am proud to stand behind those who have the courage the fight for our country and to help others achieve freedom and peace. I am proud to defend the Constitution, a document that I believe was divinely inspired.

We need to be more involved in what's happening with our country. We need to learn about candidates and support those who best represent our values and standards. We need to stand firm in our resolve to protect our Constitution and preserve our freedoms. We need to send a message to those in power that we do not want a new world order, we do not want a different form of government, we do not want socialism.

We must be steadfast and immovable in our stand to keep America great.

This song says it for me:

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Blog

For those of you who know me or have read my blog, you know that I have a son with Down syndrome. I decided to start a new blog about my experiences with him http://www.theupsideofdown2.blogspot,com/ if you'd like to check it out.

I have never had a problem with him having Down syndrome. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father sent him to my family with an extra chromsome for a reason. Heavenly Father knows better than I and He sent my son to me for a purpose. That doesn't bother me.

What bothers me? How people react to him and/or to the news that I have child with DS. There are those who pity me. Those who are so grateful they don't have a child with DS and let me know it. Those who think I should've aborted him. Those who think he'll never do anything. Those who put him in a "box" and don't give him a chance to do anything outside of that box.

Of course, there are also those who love him unconditionally, who support me, who see him as a child of God, and who will encourage him to be everything he can be in this life. These are the people who see him as God does. The way that I see him.

He is a gift. A gift that I'm not worthy to have, yet I do. Heavenly Father has entrusted him to me and I must do my best to live up to that trust.

So, if you're interested in reading about my journey with my son, please check out my new blog. Thanks! 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards

Don't you just love that title? I'm all about chocolate.

From the back cover:

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.



You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS parody of the classic novel Jane Eyre.

Doesn't that sound like a fun book? Joan stopped by my blog for an interview.
Joan, when did you start to write and how long did it take you get published?


I have been writing over fifteen years. I felt prompted to sit down and write what a particular ancestor would say if I had the chance to interview her. She didn't want to give me much information, didn't trust me, and from that I wrote a short story that grew into a novel. Through that experience I discovered that I loved to write!

Kerry Blair lived in my ward back then. She'd edit my chapters and I tried to learn the rules behind her changes. I learned a lot from her. She realized she could do a lot better than I was doing, so she wrote her own first novel and sent it to Covenant. They accepted it within two weeks.

How did you break into publishing?

I admit it was luck. I was in the right place at the right time. Kathy Jenkins of Covenant Com. suggested I send Walnut Springs Press my novel We Have Seen His Star--so I did. I pestered editor Linda Prince every few months asking if she had read it. After the eighth month, she asked if I had an LDS romance and that she needed one right away. I sent Haunts Haven and she liked it!

What inspired you to write romance?

I think every story needs romance, if not just a touch of it.

What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?

I write LDS romance. Haunts Haven is a paranormal mystery romance, Chocolate Roses is pure romance with a Jane Eyre parallel. I haven't been able to get away from the LDS genre. I guess because it is so ingrained in me.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing a story about a recent ASU college grad who takes a journalist job in a seaside village in Oregon. It has a touch of the paranormal, and I love the characters.

What has surprised you about being a published author?

Before being published, everything I did had an eternal perspective: taking care of my family which included cooking and cleaning, etc., my relationship with my husband, my calling. Even writing novels and music was developing talents and I felt the Spirit affirming that was what I should be doing. As soon as Haunts Haven hit the stores and I was expected to promote it and myself. I felt uncomfortable with that because it didn't easily fit into the eternal perspective that gave me comfort. I'm still not comfortable about the promotion.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I'm a family history addict. I love to sew aprons to give as gifts. I write music (http://joansowards.com/) that I give as a service. My adorable grandchildren take a lot of my time, and I love being with my husband.

What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Don't give up. Be ready for when you are "in the right place at the right time." Learn the craft of writing and be open for critiquing. There's a lot to be learned from other writers.

Thank you for the Interview, Joan. I loved learning more about you and your books.

Thank you! My blog is http://joansowards.blogspot.com/. As all bloggers know, there is joy in getting comments!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blog Tour: Mormon Mishaps and Mischief

The Mormon Mishaps and Mischief Giveaway and Blog Tour!

In celebration of Mothers, and all they do for us, Mormon Mishaps authors C.L. Beck and D.N. Giles have put together a giveaway in conjunction with a week-long blog tour. If you aren’t interested in winning a fantastic advertising package valued at $150, you can stop reading now.

Wait, you’re still reading. That must mean you want to hear about our prize package, correct? Well. Okay then.

Let me first tell you a little about our sponsors, yourLDSneighborhood.com and YourLDSradio.com.

yourLDSneighborhood.com is an online shopping mall which features innovative products and LDS-based services, and great ideas for your home, all without the worries of questionable content. Shopping categories include Clothing, Music, Preparedness, Family Entertainment, Scrapbooking, Books and Art, Health and Food, Travel and Recreation, Weddings and more! Visit yourLDSneighborhood.com today.

Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter is a free online newsletter that comes three times a week right to your email inbox. It provides topical stories and insights that set the tone for your day. The newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources, and interviews from around the world, all with an LDS focus. Sign up today by clicking here!

YourLDSradio.com commits to bringing you the best in LDS Music – all day, every day and it is totally FREE to listen! Make them your web-surfing companion. It's free and easy to use and makes for the perfect online companion. Listen for yourself at yourLDSradio.com!

Okay, and now for the prize!

Your LDS Neighborhood has offered a YEAR LONG advertising package which includes space on the Neighborhood website as well as tiles in the newsletter. Were you to purchase advertising with them, this package would cost $150.

Here’s the best part. You don’t have to be LDS to advertise with the Neighborhood. As long as the business, blog, or product you’re promoting is family friendly, this advertising package will benefit you. Neighborhood ads are viewed daily around the globe, and by thousands of people.

So how do you win?

Entries will be accepted between May 4th and midnight, MST, May 16th. On May 17th, (or as close there about as possible) the winners will be chosen and announced on the LDS Humor blog. Although it's not required for entry, please take a minute to read the Mormon Mishaps and Mischief review/interview I've posted. Then, you must do the following four things to enter (but don't worry, they aren't hard):

1. Follow my blog, here.
2. Leave a comment here, at this blog.
3. Follow the LDS Humor blog.
4. Follow the Your LDS Neighborhood Newsletter blog.

Extra entries:

1. Blog about this contest, then come back and leave either a url address or a link in a comment.
2. Follow me on Twitter. http://twitter.com/rebeccatalley And then tweet the contest. (Make sure to mention this in a comment.)
3. Facebook the contest. If your Facebook page is private, and I’m not your friend, I can’t see that you’ve done this, so you’ll need to friend me. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/rebeccacornishtalley Be sure to leave the link to where you've FB'd the contest in a comment.

All of these options can be mentioned in a single comment, and you can enter at all the participating blogs, as long as you follow and leave a comment for those bloggers so they know you love them.

You may enter this contest here, as well as on any of the tour posts at the following blogs:

May 4th Rachelle Christensen
May 4th Shirley Bahlmann
May 5th Karlene Browning
May 5th Heather Gardener, Fire and Ice Book Reviews
May 6th Kellie Buckner
May 6th Rachel Rager
May 7th Shauna Chambers
May 7th Heather Justesen
May 10th LDS Humor Blog
May 10th Keith Fisher
May 11th Tristi Pinkston
May 11th Rebecca Talley
May 12th Taffy Lovell
May 12th Kimberly Job
May 13th Connie Hall
May 13th Ali Cross

To purchase Mormon Mishaps and Mischief click here.

Ward meetings have never been so funny!

This collection of humorous anecdotes from celebrated LDS authors shows off Church members at their finest. From primary pranks to cheeky comments made by Zion’s youth to high priests hijinx, no age group is immune to the potential for humor.

Though it may not be in the official Word of Wisdom, laughter really is the best medicine. Whether you’re a senior missionary, or an eight-year-old graduating to senior primary, you’re bound to get a kick out of these silly stories.

Read about:

*The preschooler who was afraid of being eaten by ‘Sunbeans’
* Establishing Zion in Cougar Stadium
*The ‘oddmonition’ of Paul
*The 14th article of faith
*Doing battle with the “Laman Knights”
*A young women outing that almost landed the class behind bars…and lots more!

Perfect for those long Sunday afternoons, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief will keep your family laughing all week long!

A few interesting statistics about Mormon Mishaps:

* 200 stories in the book.
* 78 are written by Cindy.
* 48 are written by Nichole.
* 126 stories, total, were written by Cindy and Nichole, or in other words 63%.
* 74 stories, total, were written by others, or in other words 37%.
* At least 80% of the stories required substantial editing and rewriting (and a big thank you from Cindy and Nichole to those whose stories didn’t require that).
* None of the anecdotes submitted to the publisher were cut—a feat that Cindy and Nichole were tickled about because they’d like to think it says something about the quality of their writing and editing abilities. Or maybe that they have really sharp eyes and can see nitpicky problems.
* The book took six months to write, and another year and a half to publication with Cedar Fort Inc.

This book is hilarious. I laughed out loud,which was embarrassing! You'll enjoy it!


Interview with the authors, C.L. (Cindy) Beck and D.N. (Nichole) Giles:

Q. What prompted you to write Mormon Mishaps and Mischief?

Cindy: The moon was full, Aquarius was on the cusp, and the chickens were molting, all of which combined to make this the right time for a book of humorous anecdotes. Well, that and the pantry was empty, so a book that might actually sell a few copies seemed like a good idea.

Nichole: What Cindy says might be true. Or it could be that one sunny spring morning, one of us woke up and said, “I think I’ll write a book of humorous anecdotes today.” Then there was email involved. Lots of email. And brainstorming and collecting and chocolate eating. And maybe some Twinkies. Thus, the proposal for a book of humorous anecdotes was born.

Q. What’s your favorite story in the book?

Cindy: There’s this fantastic story about a crotchety old man who gets visited by three ghosts at Christmas, and by the end of the story, he vows to keep Christmas … oh wait, that’s Charles Dickens’ stuff. All right then, my next favorite is “A Good Impression” contributed by Cathy Witbeck. It’s about a little girl who gets all decked out for Easter and puts something interesting into her purse to take to church. (But I’m not going to tell you what, because it would ruin the fun.) On the other hand, I do have to tell you that because they’re all so funny, my favorite story changes about every five minutes.

Nichole: I’m with Cindy. Choosing just one favorite would be like playing favorites between my children. Which I’ve never done. Ever. I’m a good mother. I promise. Oh, but speaking of motherhood, there are several stories about children doing funny things, like licking worms and bringing a head of lettuce to pray. Love all of those.

Q. Where do the stories come from?

Cindy: From the demented … er … I mean, the creative genius of our minds. And from the funny events that we, and our contributors, saw happening at church, home and everywhere in between. Rest assured, however, that all contributors to the book signed a statement that the stories were true, and so even though real names were seldom used in the anecdotes, the situations actually happened. Which means if you think you recognize your bishop in there, well … we’ll never tell.

Nichole: None of them came from my current ward. They all came from other people’s wards, which I visited while wearing my invisibility cloak. So if you happen to be in my ward and recognize a story or five or twenty, well I didn’t see those things or write them down in my handy-dandy notebook. Er. Um. I mean…I plead the fifth?

Q. Thank you for letting me interview you. Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Cindy and Nichole: It was our pleasure! Readers can visit us at our website, MormonMishaps.com, or laugh with us at our humor blog at ldshumor.blogspot.com. In addition, there are our personal blogs—follow Nichole at nicholegiles.blogspot.com or Cindy at bythebecks.blogspot.com.

We really like having followers. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, we like to post funny stuff and make you laugh.

(I did receive a complimentary copy of this book because I am a contributor).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Exciting News!

I'm so excited. Cedar Fort will be publishing my new novel The Upside of Down. I don't know the release date yet, but I'm guessing it'll be in the first quarter of 2011. I'm giddy! This book is really important to me and I hope you'll help me spread the word.

Here's a blurb: Amidst the demands of raising a large family, dealing with an anti-Mormon mother, and struggling to maintain a relationship with her rebellious teenage daughter, Natalie Drake, an ordinary LDS woman, is called to serve as Relief Society President. Still reeling from the shock of her new calling, Natalie learns that she’s pregnant. When she delivers the baby with unexpected complications, it turns her life upside down and she suffers a crisis of her faith.

I wrote that blurb, and, well, I'm not really a blurb writer so I'm sure the pros at CFI will come up with a better one, but you get the gist. And, if you've followed my blog or know me, you might be able to guess the unexpected complications.

I plan to have a platform for this book, but I'm still working on exactly what that will be. I am hoping to make a difference, even if it's only a small one. I'm also going to try to sell 1000 copies on Amazon in one day--a big undertaking but I'm hopeful it'll pan out..

Anyway, I'm super excited!! I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Review: Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell

I recently read Summer in Paris a YA novel for the national market by popular and  prolific author Michele Ashman Bell. Though I did receive a complimentary copy from Valor Publishing and think Michele is one of the sweetest and kindest women I know, that did not influence my review. I read this book with interest because I want to find clean reads for my daughters and I'm happy to see one for the national market by a talented LDS author.

Kenzie is a spoiled little rich girl from New York. Her parents have handed her everything and she has no responsiblities. Her life revolves around her friends, her dancing, and money. She flips out when her parents tell her they've lost everything and she has to go stay with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho. On top of that, her parents decide to separate.

I love this premise. Too many kids are spoiled rotten and don't know how to work. They don't even think about it. I loved that Michele threw her character into a country setting. I thought Kenzie's reactions were realistic and I loved watching her attitude change through the course of the story.

I really enjoyed the sweet romance and the mystery. Michele added a twist to the mystery. I thought the minor chracters were developed well. Tawni is especially annoying and reminded me of girls I knew growing up. I laughed at Hoover's new activity interest because I can relate. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

Summer in Paris is a fun read, but it also touches on issues like casting judgment and making false assumptions. I also like the friendship that's portrayed. I think young women will especially enjoy this book. I guess that makes me a young woman because I enjoyed it!

Look for this book in LDS bookstore or visit http://www.valorpublishinggroup.com/Books/summer-in-paris.php. You can learn more about Michele Ashman Bell here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Author Interview: Erin Klingler

Today my guest is Erin Klingler. She's here to talk about her new release Between the Lines.

Hi Erin, welcome to my blog. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was about eight years old, actually. I wrote a silly little story (though I probably thought it was groundbreaking when I wrote it) about a dog who wanted a dog house for Christmas. I still have it saved in a scrapbook somewhere. My love of reading prior to that and ever since only strengthened my desire to become a writer. I soaked up everything I was taught in my English and creative writing classes in junior high and high school. Then after I got married and was busy raising children, I started writing a couple of different things when my kids were napping or playing. Between the Lines is my second novel.

Is your book based on a personal experience?

Not in the least. :) But I do love watching television shows that mix character relationships with criminal investigation--Alias, Castle, Bones, etc. My passion for those kinds of stories made me try my hand at romantic suspense. To my surprise, I actually love writing bad guys almost as much as I love writing romance! Who would have thought?

How long did it take you to write the book?

Um...forever. :) In its various incarnations, it was probably a three-year project. It doesn't normally take me that long, but it started out as mostly romance until Covenant's evaluators decided they thought I should stick in more "bad guy stuff." So I rewrote. Then resubmitted. Then had it accepted and rewrote various aspects of it many times. It's been a long road, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

What books or authors have most influenced your writing?

Definitely Kerry Blair, first and foremost. Her The Heart Has Its Reasons and subsequent books in that series were the first LDS books I fell in love with. They really were a turning point in my life. Shortly after I read them, we started exchanging emails, and she became a dear friend. She had an enormous impact on my decision to keep trying to get publish. Also, Traci Abramson's books really turned my thoughts to writing LDS suspense. She's such a master at it! I greatly admire her and her writing ability so much. Just getting to know her has inspired me to become a better writer.

What can we look for next? What current projects are you working on?

Between the Lines is out the first week of May, and I'm very excited about that! I hope all the years of hard work put into this book helps it to be something people enjoy. So much of my writing time has been focused on getting this book ready that I haven't fully jumped back into writing my next project. Now I can do that! Its working title is Deceit, and the book is high-energy action (the helicopter chase scene as the bad guys try to chase my main characters through the mountains of Colorado continues to be my favorite!) with a tale of rekindled love--if my characters make it out alive, of course!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Finding time, mostly! Being a YW president, raising five kids, and working part time as a medical transcriptionist rarely leaves me spare time. But writing seems to be vital to my mental health, so I squeak out whatever time I can.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Yes! Don't give up! I talk to so many aspiring authors, and most of them think the path is easy: write a book, send it off to a few agents, and then it's published. When they find out there's a lot of hard work and heartbreak along the way, they get a little freaked out. But anything worthwhile takes work! So be prepared to work, and don't give up! Most of the joy in the experience, I have found, comes in the friendship and learning experiences you discover along the way.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

In my 2 seconds of spare time? :) I love to play tennis, and I love to read. It seems to be easier to find time to read (while waiting for kids to come out of school, or in bed at night during the news broadcasts) than to play tennis, so I find myself reading more often than pounding tennis balls across the net.

Any last words you want the reader to know?

I'm just excited to be sharing my passion for reading by writing something I hope people will enjoy. If I've been able to give somebody a few hours of escape or enjoyment through the pages of my book, I'll feel like my time writing has been well spent. Every time I hear somebody say, "I haven't done a lick of housework in 2 days because I was too absorbed in your book!" I feel like I could die happy. :)

Thanks, Erin, for stopping by. Look for Between the Lines in LDS bookstores. You can learn more about Erin Klingler here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hawaii Trip

We stayed at the same hotel where we honeymooned 25 years ago. It's changed a bit, but it's still beautiful and right on the beach.
We went to this amazing luau. Great food, great fun. Germaine's Luau is awesome.