Sunday, February 27, 2011

ANWA Writer's Conference

This past week was extra busy with work and Sweetie Peach getting sick--but I had signed up to attend the American Night Writer's Conference in Phoenix and was not about to miss it. I had never been to a writer's conference before, although there are many I would have loved to attend (O, to live in Utah!). I committed to myself last summer that I would definitely be at the ANWA conference this year. And can I just say, I am so glad I went!

My favorite two classes were taught by Elana Johnson, author of the upcoming book Possession (which I am so going to read). She was such a fun presenter; I loved her relaxed style that had me laughing through 4 (count 'em F-O-U-R) hours of class time. And not only that, I learned so much. I was talking to my friend and carpool partner afterward and we were both so impressed.

I was also able attend a class by Janette Rallison (one of my favorite authors whom I aspire to write like). I admit I did not go up and meet her personally, but someday I plan to gush all over her and get her autograph. In another class I attended, though, Janette Rallison was only two seats away from me.

And I have saved the best news for last. During the conference I had a pitch appointment with a senior editor at Covenant Communications that went fabulously. Yes, he called one of my manuscript ideas "brilliant" and said to send it to him right away. (And I somehow did not fall out of my chair or start drooling all over him--don't even ask me how I was able to accomplish that.)

So all in all I would say my first writing conference was a huge success. And I must admit I am very much looking forward to the next.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Makeover

I bought Shannon Guymon's book Makeover late last year and enjoyed it. Makeover is a light read about an LDS hairdresser who has to deal with being abandoned by her father at a young age and poor treatment from the paternal side of her family. As she learns to maneuver these (often humorous) family realtions, she also meets a great guy to date. I enjoyed the different family interactions Guymon presented in the plot--it added a lot of dimension and took what could have been another stand-by chick-lit novel to something a bit more.

Ten years ago her father abandoned her and her mother for a younger, richer woman. The majority of boys her age ignore her. And now her boyfriend - the missionary she waited faithfully for over the last two years -- dumped her at the airport for a beautiful brunette he met in the mission field. Hurt and humiliated, Sophie vows to get even with Blake and get over him - fast. Desperate for a full-scale makeover, Sophie is determined to shake off the girl she was and become the woman she wants to be. Standing up to her incredibly snobby relatives and getting back into the dating game proves to be easier than she thought, but can she trust the men she dates? Paul seems nice, but Sophie suspects he might be in love with another girl, and she's not about to put up with that again. Sam makes her heart flutter, but what about his psychotic ex-girlfriend - is Sophie in any danger? And to top it off, it appears that Blake may still love her. But will she allow herself to trust him again?

Read additional reviews on Goodreads here.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 121:11

Monday, February 21, 2011

This had me laughing

Yesterday Patch (age 13) asked if he could wear cologne to church. After warning him about wearing too much cologne, the DH sent him to our bathroom to find it and a short while later Patch came back asking if it smelled okay.

I sniffed him and couldn't smell it hardly at all.

So he came closer and lifted his arm for me to sniff.

Apparently he thought cologne was worn in the armpits!

Scripture of the Day: Moroni 7:47

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweetie Peach's Baptism

It took me a while to download the pictures off my camera, but I wanted to share a few of Sweetie Peach getting baptized last Saturday. Here she is with Patch, who was not happy about speaking at the baptism!

Here she is immediately after being baptized (and getting her hair re-done).

The traditional bounce house each kid was rewarded with after getting baptized (courtesy of the grandparents) was a actually a big slide this time. Sweetie Peach loved it, as did all the neighborhood kids!

Some of the friends and family at a get-together after the baptism.

Scripture of the Day: John 14:15

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Cross My Heart

My good friend Mary passed this LDS romance novel on to me a bit before Christmas. Cross My Heart is the first book I have ever read by Julie Wright, and I really enjoyed it -- although it's possible I found this book entertaining because I majored in advertising in college and the main character, Jillian, works in the advertising industry.Still, the writing is upbeat and the plot has a good ending. This would make for a good summer read on the beach (yes, I am already looking forward to a summer vacation).

The first man is Geoffrey--in Boston, which is Jillian's hometown. Hazel-eyed Geoffrey, the brilliant ad exec whom Jillian would've married if he hadn't stolen some of her best work and gotten her promotion as a result.

The second man is Jack in Los Angeles. Insecure Jack, who signs Jillian up for a love study at a local university "just for fun" but secretly intends to find out if she still loves Geoffrey. Flaky Jack, who splits as soon as her brain neurons fire and emphatic yes.

The third man is Allen on the airplane from LA to Boston, where Jillian's boss has ordered her to investigate the underhanded dealings of a competing agency and where Jillian's crazy parents still live. Allen, the electric-blue-eyed dentist who hates the advertising industry because his ex-girlfriend, Nicole, recently dumped him for some hotshot ad exec.

Head spinning yet? Well, forget about love triangles--this turns into a full-blown love quadrangle that quickly becomes a high-stakes game with savvy players, snappy dialogue, and a plot that won't stop twisting...until another love study delivers surprising results.

Read additional reviews on Goodreads here.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 130:19

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude #9

Today marks the 99th anniversary of Arizona becoming a state - happy birthday AZ! So today I am grateful for Arizona. I love living here and all the benefits my state provides. Here is what I love most about my state:

~ Today's weather: 79 degrees!
~ Sunsets
~ The Grand Canyon
~ Variety in landscapes (mountains, desert, rivers--it's all here)

~ Swimming 6 months out of the year
~ Close proximity to LA, LV, UT, NM, and CO
~ Pioneer, Native American, and Hispanic heritage all rolled into one
~ Bandits (although I have never been to Tombstone)

Scripture of the Day: 1 Samuel 20:17

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review: A Very Merry Chase

Note: To enter the Follower Love Giveaway, scroll down to the next post!

Last month I won an e-version of A Very Merry Chase, a fun regency romance written by Teresa Thomas Bohannon. I have to admit I admire Ms. Bohannon--in the intro of the book she tells that this was 30+ years in the making. Personally, I am not sure I would ever have that much patience with the process; however, I think the end result was worth the effort because A Very Merry Chase has memorable characters and fast moving plot. I particularly liked Sabrina St. Clair, the lead character in the novel. She is a spunky woman who more than meets her match in Lord Branderly.

AVMC is a mostly light-hearted tale with just the tiniest taste of Napoleonic era intrigue.  The heroine is the Right Honorable, Lady Sabrina St. Clair, who is wealthy, beautiful, and most independently minded, and who also happens to be on the verge of becoming--according to her less generous peers--an ape-leader and antidote.  Sabrina is a bit anachronistic in that she does some things that no well-bred lady of the Regency era would ever do more than dream of doing; but she's not particularly blatant about it.  For Sabrina, the rebellion is more passive-aggressive in style, manifested, I would imagine, much the same as the small rebellions of most women actually living in the Regency (or any other historical era).  The hero of the story is Brenton, Lord Branderly, Duke of Brensted, an unusually tall gentleman, who has returned to England in search of a bride and heirs, after spending most of his adult life wandering the world.  They meet under rather unusual circumstances, clash repeatedly and eventually fall in love--she reluctantly, he determinedly--against a comfortably Regency backdrop of witty repartee, beaux, belles, dancing, mishaps, mayhem and misunderstandings. (Included as part of an interview Ms. Bohannon gave with Joyce DiPastena, which you can read here.)

Following is a book trailer of A Very Merry Chase.

Read additional reviews of A Very Merry Chase on Goodreads here.

Scripture of the Day: John 13:34

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

***This giveaway is now closed!***

Welcome to the Follower Love Giveaway Hop! This fun giveaway promotion runs from Tuesday, February 8th through Sunday, February 13th and is sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Each of the 100+ participating blogs is hosting their own giveaway with their own entry requirements. All participating blogs are linked up through a Follower Love linky (see below). After you have entered one giveaway, hop to the next giveaway on the list.

For this giveaway I am offering a free CD-rom version of my book Family Home Evening Adventures.

Here is a synopsis:

Scripture study during family home evening is no longer stressful! Family Home Evening Adventures is the perfect way to help your children stay focused on the scriptures while building their testimonies. Filled with 12 fun seasonal activities and lessons, this book will help you effectively plan for the year by setting up a theme for each month. Learn more about the Atonement, feasting upon the word, preparing for baptism, having reverence, and feeling love in the home. Together, your family can have a testimony-building family home evening based on the scriptures without all the stress, boredom, and inattention. This handy aide is sure to help your children to actively learn from and appreciate the scriptures while also increasing their faith. 

To win a copy of the CD version of Family Home Evening Adventures become a follower and leave me a comment about a fun FHE your family has had.

Good luck!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 133:52

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude #8

Today I am thankful for fun family traditions. Yesterday was our annual Super Bowl Sunday tradition. My parents started this years ago--here's what we do:

~ We get together with extended family.
~ We eat Sunday dinner out of large bowls instead of on plates (not soup; usually a roast, mashed potatoes, salad, etc.)
~ We eat guess before the game starts what will be the combined scores of the teams playing at the end of the game. The winner gets a prize from Mimi and Papa (Yesterday Kitty won!).
~ We have a good time laughing at commercials.
~ We (or maybe I should say I) pretty much ignore the game except to add up the scores here and there.

So, what was once a tradition of my family growing up, it is now a tradition involving my children. And I love that I can see the family fun passed on to a new generation. I look forward to seeing if this, and other family traditions, will be passed on to even more generations yet to come.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Corinthians 13:4

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Friday

Just a little something that made me smile today. Hope your day is going well.

Scripture of the Day: 1 John 2:15

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Whitney Awards

The 2010 Whitney Award finalists have been announced and I am looking forward to finding a few more good books to read. If you have not heard of the Whitney Awards before, basically it is an awards program for fiction written by LDS authors. There are a number of different categories, including romance, paranormal, historical, and youth. I have already read about 10 of the novels nominated this year, but I have a good many more to choose from for new reads. Here are a few I am considering:

Lucky Change, by Susan Law Corpany

The Sheen on the Silk, by Anne Perry

The Legend of Shannonderry, by Carol Warburton


Murder by Design, by Betsy Brannon Green

Scripture of the Day: Malachi 1:2