Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Reading Thing

I'm going to participate in the Summer Reading Thing sponsored by LDS Publisher.

My list of books:

1. Trail of Storms by Marsha Ward.

2. Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack.

3. Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston.

I wish I were a faster reader, but I'm not. And, I have so much going on this summer. Girls' Camp, Scout Camp, MTC Camp, family reunion, kids to take to college, YW, my writing website Pursue Your Writing Dream, a new blog (to be announced next week--how's that for intrigue?), my two new novels I'm working on, oh, and cleaning the house, laundry, yard work, gardening, reading with the kids, sewing, swimming, and enjoying the summer :). And my house needs to be painted in a very bad way--I'm hoping I don't have to paint it myself!

My #3 daughter was at a graduation party last weekend and was playing a game. I like to call it the "I'm going to see if I can break my nose again" game. And, well, she won, because she did, in fact, break her nose. Again. Last year she broke it backstage during a performance of her play and, now, she's broken it again. Who does that? Answer: my #3 daughter. So, in addition to all the other activities, she has to have surgery to repair her nose. Super duper!

Iwill also be attending a writing conference at Cedar Fort next week in Springville, UT. See this post for details.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer vacation!

Friday, May 22, 2009

My New Book Cover

What do you think of the cover for my new book? It's an LDS romance. It went to press this week and should be available on Amazon soon and in bookstores in July. I'm way excited. I love the pink accents. (My son asked if I could get him a date with the model).

Here's the back copy:

The perfect day. The perfect marriage. The perfect groom.

What could go wrong?

Caitlyn has been preparing for her perfect wedding all her life. But when her fiance abandons her at the altar, Caitlyn vows she'll never love again.

Going to BYU doesn't make that easy, however, and avoiding all social contact can only last so long. When her bishop calls her to be the "mom" of her family home evening group, Caitlyn is suddenly thrust into surprising circumstances that leave her flustered--the attention of two unwanted suitors.

Travis, the FHE "dad" has plans to woo Caitlyn by using his cowboy charms while Chase has his own ideas for dating her. Will Travis or Chase change her mind about love? Or will it be deja vu?

Follow Caitlyn through all the flirtatious looks, dates, ex-girlfriends, and unexpected surprises. Altared Plans is a light-hearted romance that is sure to please.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kris Allen Wins Idol

Wow, wow, wow. I was surprised last night when Kris Allen won American Idol. Not because he isn't talented, but because it seemed like Adam Lambert had more fans. I thought Adam was very gracious when Ryan Seacrest announced Kris as the winner for Season 8. Kris looked completely shocked. I loved seeing him hug his wife at the end and watching his dad wipe away the tears.

Kris Allen has a beautiful voice and he's so creative with the music. He's also "hot" according to my daughters--I keep reminding them that he's married and they can't have a crush on him. I think he'll do very well because he's talented in so many ways. Randy Jackson even told him that he liked the way Kris sang one of the songs on Tuesday night better than the original artist. That's high praise. Kris seems like a genuinely nice kid and I wish him the best.

The finale was filled with great entertainment. I loved seeing the finalists all reunited, especially Danny Gokey and Scott MacIntyre. Scott is so inspiring. Not only is he a great singer and an amazing musician, he's shown the world that what we see as a disability isn't necessarily one. He's overcome his sight limitations to place in American Idol, that's huge. And Danny's such an inspiration as well. He's overcome a devastating personal tragedy. What awesome examples they are of endurance and faith.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweetwater Writing Conference

Cedar Fort Publishing will be holding its annual writing conference in a few weeks. It promises to be a great conference. Click here for details.

DISCOUNT: If you register before May 23, 2009 you will receive the discounted price of $97. After that date, the price will go up to $127.

This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from bestselling authors, Steve Alten and Catherine Lanigan, as well as Lyle Mortimer, Bryce Mortimer, and Lee Nelson who are all in the publishing business.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Testimony of Seminary

I'm not a morning person. My husband is super cheerful in the morning. He greets all of the kids with a happy face and kind words. I grunt. I can't even think straight early in the morning. I'm happy if I can put one foot in front of the other and remember to remove the wrapping from the cheese before I place it in sandwiches.

In high school I had early morning seminary and basketball practice. I loved seminary, but hated getting up early in the morning. When I went to BYU I was sure to schedule all my classes after 9:00 am so I didn't have to get up before the sun. One year, I had annoying "morning people" roommates who insisted on singing each morning and flouncing down the halls. Not my favorite.

For a few years, I escaped early mornings, but made up for it by rarely sleeping through then nights with babies and small children. Then school hit and I suddenly had earlier mornings.

I could almost deal with that until we moved out to the country and suddenly had to get kids on the bus at 6:40 am. When my kids entered high school, I was relieved that we had release time seminary (a hard won battle with our school district). Unfortunately, that only lasted for my first child and half-way through my second child when we then had to revert to early morning seminary. 6:00 am at the church every morning. Not my favorite.

Fortunately, my seminary-age children are more spiritually in tune than I, and have never complained about going to early morning seminary. They love it.

My daughter has actually been complaining that seminary has now ended, a few days before the end of the school year. She loves seminary. She loves beginning her day with that spiritual uplift. And, I have to say I'm so proud of her and my other daughter for faithfully attending all year. They get themselves up, get ready, and fully immerse themselves in the lessons. All of my children have benefited greatly from seminary.

I have noticed with all of them that their grasp of gospel stories as well as the principles behind those stories have expanded exponentially. Not only do they "get" the principles from the lessons but they have put them into practice. They apply what they've learned to their individual lives. Their spirituality and testimonies have grown in ways that they could never have grown without seminary.

So while I was focused on disliking early mornings, my children were concentrating on more fully understanding and ingesting the gospel. What a blessing seminary is to our family. I am so thankful for committed teachers who have reached out and touched the lives of my children and helped plant their feet firmly in gospel sod.

I not only have a testimony of what seminary has done for my own life, but what it's done for my children. And thought early mornings still aren't my favorite, I'm so grateful for the seminary program and the difference it's made in my children's lives.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Danny Gokey Goes Home


I was so disappointed last night that Danny was sent home. He was my favorite. I love his voice and I love his singing style. I'd definitely buy a CD from Danny Gokey. I'm sure he'll still get a contract and make albums, but I really wanted him to win American Idol. I think he will be a successful recording artist, especially since he has such perfect pitch (except for that one scary note last week).

In a way, I'm relieved because next week is so busy with graduations, end of the school year parties, and lots of field trips and now I won't have to be stressed about missing American Idol.

I really like Kris Allen's voice and I'd definitely buy his CD. I love how creative he's been with songs and the sound of his voice. I was especially touched by the embrace between his father and him last night. What a sweet moment. I think he'll be successful whether or not he actually wins next week.

Adam Lambert is very talented and creative, but his performances sometimes leave me feeling uncomfortable and I hate when he screams the songs. I would not buy his CD just because I don't like the screaming he does in his songs and he doesn't sing songs that appeal to me (except for Mad World--that was amazing). I think he'll be a highly successful performer and I do love to see people attain their dreams. He seems like a nice kid and I'm excited for him that he's done so well, I just don't care for his type of singing.

American Idol is always fun to watch. The judges seem to have some drama going on this year and Simon is always so full of himself. The best part of the show, though, is watching these kids rise from obscurity, take hold of their dream, and improve their talent each week. I love seeing people develop and magnify their talents.

Good luck to both Kris and Adam next week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Proud Mamma

Wow, this week has flown by. The end of the school year is always jam-packed with activities, concerts, projects, plays, and, this year, award presentations.

I have a daughter who will be graduating from high school in two weeks. She has been involved in theater all four years of high school. This year she's served as the secretary of the troupe. She played Mrs. Harcourt in the fall musical Anything Goes and a sweetly insane Florence in Curious Savage in February. She is now playing the lead, Madeleine, in the play The Clearing. She's worked extremely hard this year to learn and then apply what she's learned to her acting and last week she was awarded Acting Student of the Yearfor her high school. She was shocked, but so pleased with the award as it was a validation of sorts. After all, we artists are a sensitive bunch and every positive message we receive makes a big difference.

A couple of nights ago we were invited to another awards night where she was recognized as the student with the most improved GPA. Her freshman year was kind of nightmare as far as GPA goes, but she worked really hard to raise her GPA and for a trimester had a 4.0 (while being heavily involved in theater and attending early morning seminary). Her dad and I were very proud of her accomplishment in raising her GPA.

We so often hear about the bad things teenagers are doing and too often fail to recognize their accomplishments. I was struck by how many kids received recognition awards and/or scholarships. One young man receive a scholarship valued at $168,000. Others received four-year full-ride scholarships as well as other monetary awards for outstanding service and scholarship while in high school. Several students received numerous awards and recognition and it was gratifying seeing so many young people not only work hard, but receive recognition for that work. We have many, many good kids graduating from high school.

My daughter was awarded a ring for her GPA improvement and we bought her a dress to go with it :). I'm so thankful she, and the rest of her siblings, are making good choices. In a world where it's easy to do the wrong thing, I am grateful every day when my kids choose to do the right thing. While there's plenty of evil in the world and Satan stands ready to gently lull any and all who will listen down the road to hell, I am ever so thankful there are those youth who ignore Satan's subtle tricks and instead listen to that still small voice that will guide them to true happiness.

Yes, today I am a Proud Mamma.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Perez Hilton Get Over It

Perez Hilton, (is he related to Paris?), caused a controversy when he asked Miss California if she supported same-sex marriage. Miss California said she did not support it and is now in a commercial supporting traditional families--you know, the social unit that is the fabric of our society. No matter what your stance, same-sex marriages will never produce offspring and therefore will only contribute to the depopulation and disintegration of our society. What creates, and sustains, a society are heterosexual couples.

Now Perez Hilton (I've actually never heard of this guy--I think it's a guy--before this) is calling for Miss California to step down and give up her crown as well as her place as the first runner up in the Miss USA (I think) pageant. Why? Because she was courageous enough to voice her opinion that contradicts the very loud minority in California that supports gay marriage and is still angry about Proposition 8. The pageant board is also taking revenge on Miss California by releasing private medical information about her breast augmentation--information that only surfaced, conveniently, after her stand against same-sex marriage.

Didn't California vote on gay marriage? Didn't it fail? Didn't the majority vote for the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman? Wasn't that the 2nd vote in which voters declined same-sex marriage? The voters have spoken.

So, Perez Hilton, get over it. Stop trying to damage Miss California's reputation. Stop being such a poor sport. Accept that the majority of voters in California don't want same-sex marriage.

And Miss California--you go, girl. You speak up for traditional marriage and you hold your head high. We need more representatives like you to speak up for those of us who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. You have every right to represent the majority of California voters. Even more, you have the right to have an opinion.

And while we're on the subject, I'd like to know when a stance on a political issue ever dictated who won a beauty pageant.

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American Idol Results

I was surprised by the results show. Apparently, so was Adam Lambert. I figured it was Matt's turn to go home, though I was disappointed because I really like his voice and style. Of course, the reality is that someone has to go home each week and now that it's nearing the end those that go home are really good.

I think Kris has done so well. I love his voice and he sings well each week. I think he's also very creative and is a strong contender. My daughters think he's hot, but I keep reminding them that he's married.

Allison is very talented. It's amazing that she's so young and can sing so well. I don't listen to the type of music she will most likely make and her voice is a bit too raspy for me.

Danny is my favorite. He's been my favorite since the audition shows. I love his voice, I love his style, I love how creative he is with the music. I love how he puts his heart in every song. He's an amazing singer.

Adam is talented, but his performances leave me unsettled. I don't know how to explain it, but something about his performances make me feel uncomfortable. I think he has a lot of talent, but I wouldn't listen to his music.

I hope that Danny Gokey wins, but however the competition ends, all of these performers will be on the road to realizing their dreams. What a fantastic opportunity for these kids.