Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Month of Giveaways

My friend, Tristi, has an extraordinary giveaway this month. It's coming to an end, but she still has the rest of this week to give away awesome prizes. Don't miss out, go check out her blog and become a follower. At the end of the week, she's giving away a basket of goodies with lots of books and a stay at the Lions Gate Manor. You'll be sad if you don't go, you could win. I've won three times this month. You could too!! Follow this link.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kid History

This makes me laugh out loud. I hope it makes you laugh, too.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You can win!


You know you want to win any one of five fabulous books, right!?

The books are over there à on my sidebar. Hurry and head on over to Ali's blog to enter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Favorite First Lines

Have you ever gone to a bookstore, picked out a book and read the first line? Did it make you want to read more? Or did you put it back?

I am a bit fascinated with first lines. They can pull you in to the story. They can ask a great question and they can nail the main character's personality.

I looked through some of my favorite books and read the first lines. Here's what I found:

  1. The whole world is wilting. Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
  2. It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomachache. (Okay, that's two lines, but still . . .) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. This isn't about me. Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall
  4. Ida Mae Babbitt didn't know what cookie to serve with bad news. Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston
  5. He was going to kiss her. Life in the Pit by Kristen Landon
  6. I was sixteen years old the day I was lost in the forest, sixteen the day I met my death. (There is a prologue in this story and this is the first line of Chapter 1) Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
  7. I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. (I think this is my favorite.) The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  8. The problem with getting bad news is you hardly ever get to go home and cry, or sulk, or rip things up, like you'd like to.
    All's Fair in Love, War, and High School by Janette Rallison
  9. The best time to talk to ghosts is just before the sun comes up. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (She's got great first lines, eh?)
  10. (There isn't a first line exactly, the first page is the program for a funeral service.) The first line would actually be—Funeral Service for Joel Everett Espen—The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith (pretty moving, huh?)

Are there some great lines there, or what? What did they do for you? Did they ask you a question or make you think or make you want to know more? Did you get a great sense of the main character?

What are some of your favorite first lines?

I'm sorry there are so many. I really was going to stop at five, but I couldn't do it. I liked them all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Before I begin, I must say that this was the most difficult post I’ve ever written. I am placing my innards (ok, that’s gross, but for lack of a better word . . .) out there for the whole cyber world to see. And I don’t even let my friends see this part of me. Let me preface with this:

Today I read Elana Johnson’s What I Believe list. You need to go visit her blog. It is awesomesauce (that would be her word). Number six on her list hit me rather hard. You see, although I believe her, I have been struggling with this actual thing. Okay. Here goes.

Many writers not only want people to read and enjoy their stories, they want to make a difference with their writing. I know I feel that way.

Something I read this week in Ally Condie’s book, Matched, made an impact on me. (If you haven’t read it, go out and get it now, ‘cause it is amazing.)

When I read the part in Cassia's story about the poem her grandfather gave to her, I was very moved. There were two parts that specifically spoke to me. "Nothing I have written or done has made any difference in this world, and suddenly I know what it means to rage, and to crave." And, "Over and over I think do not go gentle, do not go gentle, do not go gentle."

I hope you don't mind that I explain a little why this meant so much to me.

I have been in a very dark place where my writing is concerned. I feel utterly and abysmally isolated and alone to the point of being consumed with it. How can I get any better if I have no critique group or support group to help me? No one to talk to about it or share my writing with. And everything I try seems to peter out.

If my Father in Heaven had not told me on several occasions that I needed to write, and chastised me when I wasn't, I would have thrown in the keyboard a long time ago. But alas, I cannot ignore his prompting. It has been dismally discouraging and these words spoke to me in a very inspiring way. I still feel discouraged and alone, and I do not know what the solution is or what the future may bring for me or my stories, but I cannot go gentle. I must rage so that one day my words may make a difference.

*whew* Thanks for listening.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Last Week’s Top Five

  1. Ally Condie's book launch.
  2. Not having to stay up until 1 a.m. writing an essay for a class I'm not even taking.
  3. Attending an amazing conference that lifted me higher than a very tall skyscraper.
  4. Winning nano.

And, last, but certainly not least,

  1. Hearing "I love you, Mom," from my fourteen year old son.

There it is. The top five events of my week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Think Ye of Christmas?

Christmas is one of my two favorite times of the year and this book explains why.

"Christ, they say, has been taken out of Christmas. Small wonder, they say, that some don't even call it Christmas any more."

This beautiful book shares some of the favorites of Christmas and shows us how they symbolize the Savior of the world, and even more powerfully, it shows us how we can be reminded of Him and come closer to Him.

The amazing art of Jana Parkin coincides so beautifully with the message.

I had seen some other reviews of the book and I had read on Jana's blog the story behind the book, but it wasn't until I held it in my hands and read through it, listening to Christmas music, of course, that I felt the peaceful Spirit of the Christ, the reason for the season.

It would make a wonderful gift for those on your list or even for yourself. Mine is going to be displayed in my living room.

I love this time of year because of its peace. I can remember the Savior, not only his birth, but his life and mission. He lived and died for each of us.

I believe this with all my heart.

Thanks Ester Rasband and Jana Parkin for the gift of this book.

Click the link on my sidebar and it will take you to Jana's blog where you can follow the link to her website to purchase the book. She has discounts going on right now!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Four T’s

Or The Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For
and not to be confused with the forty's, which I am, but we are not here to discuss that right now.

I have been thinking all month about the things I am thankful for. And there are a lot. Here's my top ten:

  1. My precious children who are inspiring, fun and talented.
  2. My sweetheart who amazes me at all he can do.
  3. My laptop which allows me to sit anywhere in my house to do whatever I choose to do on it.
  4. My sister, whose friendship means more than the world to me.
  5. Laughter, 'cause if it weren't for that I'd be in a padded room somewhere.
  6. Books – 'nuff said.
  7. Writing that frees my mind and fills my soul.
  8. My friends who love and support my writing addiction.
  9. Good food—what's not to love about that?

And . . . drum roll, please . . .

  1. All of you
    who come and read my sorry excuse for a blog. Thank you for stopping by. It has been awesome making new friends and keeping in touch with old ones. You Rock!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Carol's Dark and Twisty Book Giveaway

There are numerous books on this giveaway. You will definitely want to check it out!

I just met her and her blog and they are both awesome. Thanks to Sara for the introduction.

Don't just sit there. Go! Before you do, though, you may want to take off your shoes. Wanna know why? Go to her blog and see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LEVIATHAN! Anyone? Anyone?

I know you want to win a free signed copy of this book, so check out Nichole's giveaway. (Or don't and then there's more chances for me!) All right j/k on that last part. Do check it out. She has her own awesome books, too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To win free art is divine

There is a fabulous giveaway by Jana. (Check out the sidebar.) She is an amazing artist. Her watercolors are to drool over. Head on over to her blog and check them out. You won't want to miss this. Really.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A few years ago, when I decided to write seriously—not just silly poems, stories for my kids or essays for school—some of my writing friends were talking about nano something. I nodded and smiled like I knew what they meant. But I completely did NOT.

Eventually, I figured out that it entailed writing. Still, my slow brain did not clue in to what they were talking about.

Somewhere, somehow, I stumbled upon the mystery of nanowrimo. You have to write a novel in a month, or at least 50,000 words. Okay, go ahead psycho writers. Have fun with that.

Then, I found out what the crazy word meant—National Novel Writing Month. That makes way more sense. Still, I did not have a desire to participate.

Until now. I think an insane alien took over my body and signed me up, because that was definitely NOT me. I cursed the alien.

And then, November 1 came. I couldn't just blow this off. I had to start writing. So I sat in front of a blank screen and let my fingers go.

Guess what? I'm not pumping out words like some do, but I'm kicking my own tush. I'm even ahead of schedule.

What gives? I have NO idea, but I AM having the most fun I've had in a very long time.

So . . . GO NANOWRIMO! And everyone who has chosen to live in front of your computer screen this month, too!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween, the Holiday


Not my favorite holiday. Excluding the candy, its right up there with Toilet Cleaning Day. (Okay, I know that's not an actual holiday.) I absolutely do not like the whole trick or treating thing, making costumes, answering the door every five minutes, etc. etc.

As a matter of fact, several years ago I bribed my children into having a family Halloween party (pizza, pop, treasure hunt for candy, watch a movie) instead of trick or treating. They actually went for it. We've made it an annual tradition ever since.

But . . .

This year I fell in love with this amazing idea and thanks to my sister was able to pull it off. Thanks Jill!

I attended an actual Halloween party. I know. I'm as shocked as you.


What think ye?

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Stuff to Win!!!

All right, I know I said I would be posting something, and I will, but I had to post this contest by the awesome Sara Larson. She's giving away books or a critique . . . and . . . chocolate. Not just any chocolate, either—no, it's Swedish chocolate. Yummmmm. So, go check it out. You can win a book or a critique and CHOCOLATE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Win Graceling!

My great friend, Christine Bryant, blogged about this amazing opportunity to win a signed hardback copy of Kristin Cashore's book, Graceling, which I found utterly unable to put down. Go to Amber Argyle's blog and you can enter to win!!!!

Hurry up. Don't just sit there. Go! Go!

And stay tuned. I have come back from the dead and will be posting soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yeah, I’m Cool

Last week, my sister invited me to go to dinner with her and a couple of our friends. We went to Tagashi, which is a sushi restaurant, apparently a very popular, busy one.


I'd never eaten sushi before.


I really have never had any desire to eat raw fish. Ever.


But I wanted to be supportive, so I went. I even ordered some raw fish. And then, after trying it, I swiftly ordered the teriyaki chicken. Which I enjoyed very much, by the way (the chicken, not the fish).


Well, that's not the whole point of this post, so let me get to that.


When we finished with dinner, I scooted over on the bench to leave and immediately landed on the floor, my head smashing into the occupied chair next to me and my wrist whacking the table in front of me. (Remember, this is a very crowded restaurant.) Everyone around me exclaimed, "Are you okay?" People on the other end of the restaurant looked down to see the crazy lady on the floor.


I just sat there, covering my face in humiliation—and laughing.


I gratefully left with my head bowed as a goose egg formed on the side of it.


How fabulous that I was able to be the entertainment for the evening.


Yeah, I'm cool.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light

This reached into my soul, grabbed my heart and moved me beyond words. I hope it does the same thing for you.

Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Until We Meet Again

Visit this beautiful message. It will bring peace to your day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Giving Tree

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking about that book by Shel Silverstein. It's true that's a good book, but this "giving tree" is way better. It's a gift from my most wonderful sister and friend.

Here's how it works—whenever your spirit is droopy, pick one of the leaves and read the gift of words on it. It will brighten your day and possibly make you cry (happy tears).

Here's my beautiful tree on my favorite shelf.

You can't see from the picture what's written on the leaves. Here are a couple of examples from my tree —"I love you more than Ben & Jerry's" – "Motherhood suits you" – "You were born to sing."

My tree makes me smile. Thanks, seester!

And lookout my blogging friends. You just might be getting your own giving tree.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Birthday Wishes

Today is my birthday. I'm not announcing it to the world so that everyone will send me well wishes or gifts. Actually, I'm announcing it because I've decided that instead of presents I want something else for my birthday.

And you can help me with it.

I want everyone to perform random acts of kindness
today – for my birthday. It can be weeding part of your neighbor's flower beds. It can be sending a card to someone you've been thinking of. It can be smiling at the ornery clerk. It can be writing a note to your children and sticking it in their lunchbox. It can be any act of kindness given to someone else.

The next thing I want you to do is leave a comment telling me what it is you've done—not to boast about all of the kindness you showed today, but because my love language is words, I want to hear about what you've done. It will make my birthday the best I've ever had.

So . . . what are you waiting for? Go show someone how kind you are!

And don't forget to come back and share it with me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Wise Man Said . . .

"…to every man [and woman] there comes… that special moment when [they are] figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to [them]… what a tragedy if that moment finds [them] unprepared or unqualified for [that]which [could have been their] finest hour." –Winston Churchill

I found this quote on an amazing woman's blog. If you are interested in reading her story, go here. You will be inspired.

Are you ready to be tapped on the shoulder? Have you qualified yourself for your finest hour?

This quote got me thinking about what I'm to be preparing and qualifying for. I know what it is, but am I working towards it? Or am I sitting on my backside doing nothing? Don't I want to be prepared for my finest hour? Of course I do. So, what do I need to be doing to ready myself?

I know one thing. I best get busy.

What special thing is unique to you? What is it that you are to prepare for? What is to be your finest hour? Are you ready?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Deeper Thoughts

In commemoration of my Deep Thoughts post and Jack Handey (in whom I find great humor), and in relation to how I have been feeling lately (becoming a hermit and completely avoiding the blogging world, facebook, my phone, all people/animals/plants, etc.), I have re-written Jack Handey's beautiful and humorous deep thought to reflect myself and my personal situation.

*sigh* Here goes:

I remember that fateful day when my would-be agent took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "You're rejecting me, aren't you? I'm off the (insert name of literary agency here) team, aren't I?"

"Well," said Coach, "You never were really on the team. You wrote that sad excuse for a manuscript, and pawned it off as the next best seller. You show up at our office every day begging us to sign you and then either follow us to the restroom pitching lame ideas, or you try to ask us to read your work at inappropriate times."

It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought, something is brewing inside the head of this agent. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I saw the rejection stamp land on my manuscript and his index finger point me toward the door.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Deep Thoughts

I remember that fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "I'm off the team, aren't I?"

"Well," said Coach, "You never were really on the team. You made that uniform you're wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times."

It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought, something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on.

Thank you, Jack Handey. I needed a good laugh today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Chances To Win!

Here's your chance to win a submission/critique with agent Suzie Townsend of FinePrintLit, as well as several other great prizes. Go here to enter. It's easy and will be very worth it!

This is my second post today, so check out my post below. You just might be in it!

More Than Human

Thanks, Elizabeth for the Humane Blog Award! She said very nice things about me. And I do love her. She's awesome.

I am to pass it along to ten other humane bloggers (warm, kindhearted etc.). Here goes! All of these people fit the criteria for this award perfectly and I sincerely like each and every one of them.

Sara Larson
Ally Condie
Kristi Stevens
Melinda Morley
Carolyn Vawdrey
Julie Donaldson
Julie Dixon
Shelli Johannes-Wells
Jewel Allen
Rachelle Christensen

I hope you are all following my blog so you know you won. And Congratulations to you!

We are more than human. We are humane, humane bloggers that is.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I absolutely loved Shelli's blog post yesterday. I wanted to re-post it here, but since I don't have her permission, I'm just going to ask you to follow the link to her blog.

It's about lessons learned, and she presents it in such a creative way. It was right on and struck a chord within me. So, what are you waiting for, go check it out! Oh, yeah, don't forget to let me know what you thought.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thanks for the Scattering

Thanks Paulette for scattering some sunshine my way.

I could use it. I'm very tired of winter, the cold, the dormant blah landscape. *shiver*

Give me some sunshine. I'm ready to drink it in, close my eyes and lift my face to its radiating warmth. I'm ready to watch the buds on my fruit trees turn to flowering blooms.

Come on sun, scatter some UV rays my way. And green up my world while you're at it, or at least my neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Contests! Contests! Come get your contests!

There have been a lot of blogging contests lately, which have been fun to enter. Here's another one (or two) you should check out.

Elana Johnson is having a contest this week. If you win, you get a query letter critiqued by one of five literary agents! Also, another five winners will receive her book From the Query to the Call as well as a query letter critique from her. And wait, there's more! She's giving away to five additional people a package of all her favorite writing tools. Worth entering, huh? Huh? That's right.

Another contest this week is Shelli at Market My Words. There will be lots of giveaways on this one -- daily and weekly. Plus Shelli has some amazing marketing advice from those who know.

Well, what are you waiting for. Go check them out!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You Can Do Anything You Decide to Do (even if you're a late bloomer)

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity . . . You can do anything you decide to do . . ." -- Amelia Earhart

I recently watched the film Amelia. I like films based on actual people and events. This one was a keeper, in my opinion. Amelia was an amazing woman. She was a gentle person with a great amount of courage and strength.

Her first experience with an airplane was when she was ten. She said that the plane was "a thing of rusty wire and wood and not all that interesting."

Her first ride in an airplane occurred when she was about 23 years old. She knew at that point she had to fly. She took her first flying lesson the following January. She owned her first plane within six months.

Although when she first started flying, she did a lot of crashing, she never gave up.

"...decide...whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying...." -- Amelia Earhart

There were also many people that said she wasn't a very good flyer, but that didn't seem to faze her. She wanted to fly.

". . . it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it." -- Amelia Earhart

She was influential in starting the trend of women wearing trousers. She started organizations for women who wanted to fly. She encouraged women to do whatever it was they wanted to do.

She wasn't exactly a late bloomer, like me, but she didn't know from the time that she was small that flying would be her passion. She was almost 40 when she left on her flight around the world.

I am truly a late bloomer. Always have been, always will be I imagine. But, guess what? I'm not alone. Grandma Moses began painting when she was in her 70's. Julia Child's cookbook wasn't published until she was 49. Laura Ingalls Wilder's first book wasn't published until she was 65. And my first novel was finally finished when I was in my 40's. (If you think I'm telling you my real age, you've got another thing coming.)

If all of these women can do it, so can I. Thanks, Amelia, for your tenacity and perseverance, for your passion and drive and for being the catalyst for teaching me that being a late bloomer is okay.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Devil's Food Cake

I know. I know. You are starting to wonder about me and my food obsession, but wait! This post isn't about the real cake, it's about Josi Kilpack's new book, Devil's Food Cake.

It is the third book in her culinary mysteries series about sweet Sadie Hoffmiller. She's always getting herself in and out of trouble. I've read the first and second in the series, Lemon Tart and English Trifle and enjoyed both stories.

I am looking forward to Devil's Food Cake's release. It was supposed to be released on March 3, 2010, but according to Josi's blog it's coming out early and should be in bookstores by February 10, 2010.

To read chapter one of Devil's Food Cake, click here. You can find out more about Josi and her other books there also.

To purchase a copy of her newest book, click here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mmmmmmm. Treats. I love treats.

You all must check out these delicious treats. Oh boy, yummy. I would suggest you not enter the contest, but that wouldn't be very nice, so I'll just say, go look at them. You may want to go get a small towel to catch the drool.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spinning Wheels Go Round and Round

Do you ever feel like you are moving, but going nowhere?

Three times a week I go to a spinning class at the gym. I sit on a stationary bike and pedal for an hour. The instructor paints pictures in our heads of open roads and 16% grade hills, of drafting and then passing another cyclist, but at the end of the class, we're still sitting in the same room in the same place. The wheels spin wildly, but I don't really go anywhere, except in my head, and possibly to the fridge for a snack when I get home.

My writing feels like it's in a similar place. I keep coming up with new ideas and I keep starting all of these different stories. I plug along at my WIP as the wheels of time continue to spin. But I feel like I'm still sitting on that stationary bike. I've been moving, but not really going anywhere. In my mind, I've pushed myself up hills and through paths surrounded by creeks and trees. I've even crossed the finish line at the end of a race. At the end of the day, however, it's all been in my head. I'm still sitting in the same place.

I have to admit, though, that even though I haven't moved, I've pushed myself hard and my body has responded. My heart rate has improved as well as my muscle tone and endurance.

Just as I've seen progress becoming more physically fit, I've seen an improvement in my writing and will soon complete the first draft of my WIP.

So, though at times I feel like I'm going nowhere, I need only sit back and take a good hard look at the small strides. I might be moving slow, but at least I'm moving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is it a cookie or is it art?

My sister is amazing. She crochets, scrapbooks, reads faster than anyone I know (and I know a few people), cooks amazingly and outsings any female Broadway star I've heard. These are just a few of the things she does. There are so many more. She leaves me in the dust.

Here are some cookies she made for a friend who likes to quilt. Aren't they good?

I'm not sure if I want to frame them or eat them.