Friday, April 29, 2011

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood by Jane Still

A mother's day is filled with all kinds of emergencies, from bumps and bruises to hospital stays.

 Find the perfect way to recover from your own family's little emergencies with Jane Isfeld Still's latest book on the hilarious daily challenges of a mother in the fray.

You're sure to laugh and cry as you celebrate the joys of motherhood.

As a mother of ten, I can relate to so many of these humorous stories (after all, if you can't laugh, you'll cry). Jane Still has such a dry sense of humor and she can find the humor in any situation. I loved the story about her little boy stripping down naked and playing in the fountain and Jane trying to pretend he wasn't her son. My kids have done embarrassing things like that. While touring the elementary school for her first day of class, my daughter proudly told everyone gathered in the office that the principal was the devil. Yeah, I wanted to pretend I wasn't her mother that day.

Another funny story is when her son locks himself in the bathroom and refuses to come out. Jane tries all sorts of things to convince him to come out and is stressed about what he's getting into. Been there. Done that. My son just locked himself into a bathroom stall at Walmart and I had to bribe him to unlock it because I sure wasn't going to climb underneath and have to touch the bathroom floor with my hands in Walmart.

I could also relate to her fear of the doctor walking in on her when she wasn't dressed. I've been to the OB a thousand times and always rush as fast as possible to cover myself up even though I'm getting a pelvic exam.

And I could totally relate to her story about trying to have a phone conversation. Kids have a sixth sense and decide to fight and have emergencies only when mom is on the phone.

I loved the story about the overflowing washing machine and laughed thinking about her chasing her laundry load and slipping in the soapy water.

This is a short book full of humor. It's a perfect Mother's Day gift because the stories are so funny and so relatable. I enjoyed it and recommend it.

About the author:

Jane is married to Rick Still, who she believes has the distinction of being the only man in history brave enough to give her earwax candles for her birthday. They had six children in eight years, and while her children were growing up, she discovered she had a great sense of humor. At least that was her take. Rick once said to her, "Honey, you know all those real corny things you say all the time? Who ever thought you could make money at it?" Her son Adam once told her, "Mom could you please stop telling jokes to my friends? It's really embarrassing." One of Jane's philosophies is, "You're not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you."

To read more about Jane and her exploits visit her website or her blog.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Honored to Be His Wife

Today is my wedding anniversary. 26 years ago I walked into the Los Angeles Temple as a single woman and walked out sealed to my eternal companion. Together we have built a life that includes 10 children and on daughter-in-law.

26 years ago I was completely clueless. I was totally in love and excited to start my life with a wonderful man, but I really had no idea what that meant. I really didn't even understand what love meant. I had a romantic notion of love, that life would always be filled with rainbows and chocolate. Don't get me wrong, my life has been filled with enormous happiness and I feel so blessed, but along the way there have been trials and stresses.

We have had sick newborns that had to stay in the NICU, my husband has had skin cancer, we've lost family members to death, we've cared for aging grandparents, we've had extended family members make decisions that have put their eternal salvation at risk, and we have a child with special needs. Through it all I have learned more and more what deep, abiding love is and I can honestly say I love my husband more and in a deeper, more mature way than I ever thought possible 26 years ago.

In 1998 we moved my maternal grandparents who had rasied me to a mobile home on our property so my sister and her family and I with my family could care for them. My grandfather passed away shortly afterward, but Grandma lived for two more years. One day in July of 2000 I took her to Walmart to shop. We had separated to do our shopping and when I was done she was nowhere to be found. She'd had a massive stroke while standing in line and had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance. She stayed in the hospital for a few dyas but had lost her ability to speak, to swallow, to eat, etc. We decided to take her home and allow her to die in her own home, surrounded by her family and beloved cat. Both my sister and I were pregnant at the time and my brother-in-law had had neck surgery. Since my grandma required 24 hour care we took turns as best we could. My husband stayed with her each night. He talked to her, gave her drops of water to soothe her cracked lips, rolled her from side to side to avoid bedsores, and even changed her diaper. I watched him serve her diligently each night until her death. He never complained, her never tried to avoid it, he simply served her. While he did this, my love for him deepened so much.

When our youngest son was born and were were told he had Down syndrome, my husband never even batted an eye. While I worried about how to care for my new son and the rest of my kids and what my son's life wowld be like, my husband quietly served both me and my son and stayed steady as a rock. He never worried. It didn't matter to him that our son has an extra chromosome. He supported me and helped me see that all would be well.

Through the years, my husband has never pointed out my weaknesses. He's never nagged me to change one way or another. He's never belittled me or made me feel inferior. He has always praised me, even when I didn't deserve it. He has always seen the woman I can become and has never been frustrated with the imperfect woman I still am. He has seen me at my worst and at my lowest points and he has always loved me through them.

Today, I celebrate the best and wisest decision I have ever made. My husband makes me a better person, he motivates me to live better, to be more like my Savior, to forgive, and to see the best in others. Today I understand more of what I only had a glimpse of 26 years ago. I will be eternally grateful that my Heavenly Father allowed me to find such a man and I am honored to be his wife.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Giveaway: The Upside of Down

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Upside of Down by Rebecca Talley

The Upside of Down

by Rebecca Talley

Giveaway ends May 03, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why I Write

I've heard and read all the hub-bub about authors self-publishing and making lots of money and earning a lot of fame in the process. And of course, there's the household author names both in the national market and in the LDS market that make huge waves and lots of people know and talk about their books.

What about the other authors out here like me? I'm not a household name and my name is not a big draw for a book signing. Does that mean I'm not successful. I guess that depends on your definition of success.

Sure, I'd love to sell 10,000 or 100,000 books because, to me, that would validate what I'm doing with my time and would also mean that many people shared in a story that I created from nothing. And, with The Upside of Down, that would mean that many people read my message about trusting in God and seeing trials as blessings.

But, I've learned that astronomical sales don't necessarily indicate success, at least not for me. Success for me is when someone says he or she enjoyed my story, was moved by the message, or came away with a new vision of something.

This week I wanted to share a couple of experiences. The first is from one of my daughters. She doesn't enjoy reading and she rarely reads novels. Instead, she reads non-fiction about gospel principles. I've been after her to read The Upside of Down since I'm her mom and wouldn't it be nice if my children read my books. So she decided to start reading it. Yesterday she called me and I could hear the emotion in her voice. I was worried she was upset or hurt or stressed. Turns out she'd just finished my book and was crying because she was "so happy." She said she'd cried throughout the book and she loved it (of course, she is my daughter so she'd have to love it) but I was pleased that she'd had such an emotional response to it. She listed all the things she thought I did right which made me feel very good.

Another experience was with my son's speech therapist. She'd purchased my book on Kindle and had just finished it. She isn't LDS so I was interested to get her reaction. She said that she didn't understand a few things (we do have our own lingo) but she really liked learning more about what we believe. She also liked the message about Down syndrome. But, what she got most from the book was how self-centered she is and how she needs to look beyond herself and do more service. In fact, she's doing a retreat this weekend and part of her message came from what she'd learned from my book. Wow! I was stunned because I didn't purposely write the book with service in mind, but that's what she took from it. I'm very happy with her reaction to my book--she even asked if I was planning to write a sequel.

Several weeks ago someone on an online site said that she'd never thought of Down syndrome as anything but a trial, but after reading my book she can now see it as a blessing. Her comment actually brought me to tears because she "got it." Someone has a new attitude about Down syndrome, one person has changed her attitude! Wahoooo!!

A young woman, not LDS, emailed me to say she was on Amazon shopping for books and she ran across mine and was very excited to read it. We exchanged a few emails and I was so happy to meet her. Of course, I believe in the book, but it's wonderful to hear from people who are excited to read it or who have read and enjoyed it.

For me, this is what defines success. Yes, there are those who don't like this book, but that's okay. Knowing there are people out there who've been touched by what I wrote is the validation I need. Sales may be the publisher's validation that publishing a book wasn't a mistake, but comments from readers are my validation for writing.

I may never win any awards or be a household name or make a million dollars, but the fact  that someone changed her mind about Down syndrome or someone now considers doing more service or someone was moved emotionally by what I wrote is what matters to me.

This is why I write.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Write Here in Ephraim

I'll be participating in an awesome author event "Write Here in Ephraim" this Saturday, April 9th, 8:30 am-5:00 pm, at 105 East 200 South, Ephraim, UT. 20 authors will be participating. We'll have door prizes throughout the day, refreshments, a meet and greet, writing classes, a literature game show, and lots of fun. No pre-registration is required and the first 50 people to walk through the door will receive a free novel.

If you love to read or write this is an event you won't want to miss. And it's FREE. That's right, no cost to attend. The event is sponsored by Ephraim Library.

Participating authors:

Abel Keogh, Linda Garner, Karen Hoover, Michael Young, Jewel Adams, Berin Stephens, Heather Justesen, Rachelle Christensen, Julie Bellon, Shirley Bahlmann, Gregg Luke, Tristi Pinkston, Cheri Chesley, Joan Sowards, Cory Poulson, Don Carey, Clint Johnson, Michael Knudsen, Bron Bahlmann, Carole Thayne Warburton, and Rebecca Talley.

Come see us! It'll be a fantastic day filled with writing, reading, and fun, fun, fun.

Here's the schedule and list of classes:

8:30 registration


9:15 A.M.

E-Books - JEWEL ADAMS Welcome to the wonderful world of E-books! Got a great novel you want to publish but can’t find a publisher? Or would you like to have full control of your novel an make it available to purchase until you find a publisher? Or do you just plain not care about finding a publisher and want to fly solo? - E-books aren’t just the future of book reading or a temporary fad, they are here to stay. Learn why you should give publishing E-books a go and take advantage of the wide open market. Come to understand that an E-books isn’t “just an E-books,” they are just as important as traditionally published books. Get tips on how to market your E-books and learn about the numerous outlets in which to sell your books and share your work with the world.

Memoirs: How to Tell Your Story - ABEL KEOGH- Writing a memoir is a great way to share a personal experience. Learn how to bring your story to life in such a way that will wow readers and keep them engrossed from page one to the end. In addition we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of memoir writing as well as how to know whether you have a story that agents, publishers, and readers will want to read

Fish Slap: What’s your writing motivation? - BRON AND SHIRLEY BAHLMANN Many people say they want to write a book but never follow through. Yet if, say, a fish slapped their face every time they missed a deadline, the result might be the opposite. In the absence of raw fish, what separates the sayers from the doers?

A humorous and informative look at various motivational strategies for writing.

10:00 A.M.

"A Serious Look at Comedy" – BERIN STEPHENS

Essential Elements of Suspense – GREGG LUKE: A brief overview of each element and how each contributes to writing nail-biting suspense. Q&A to follow. Key Points covered: Characterization, Pacing, Anticipation, Detailing, Resolution.

Finding Time for our Talents– JULIE COULTER BELLON - Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? Wondered how you can fit it all in? Is being a writer a dream you have yet to accomplish because you just don't have time? This class will give you some insight, tips, and inspiration on how to maintain that balance of developing your writing talent with the other demands on your time. Julie Coulter Bellon, the author of seven books, a mother of eight children, and a teacher at BYU, will share all her secrets for how to have it all.

10:45 A.M.

My Journey as a Writer and How I Got That Book Published – CHERI CHESLEY

Writing Mystery – JOAN SOWARDS - There is nothing more fun than losing yourself in a great mystery novel than writing one! Every story can have a touch of mystery. Learn the tools, terms, and how to diagram a story, along with basic plotting and good writing elements, no matter if your mystery is a cozy or hard-boiled.

Blog Tours and Book Promotions – It's a Piggyback Ride – RACHELLE CHRISTENSEN - Learn the secrets of effective Internet marketing for you and your products/books including author promotion, blog tours, blog hops, giveaways & more. How can you increase your blog readership and followers? Find out how Rachelle promoted her blog, increased her followers to over 500 in one year and got paid to do it.

11:30 A.M.

Author Panel – Habits of Published Authors –Heather Justesen, Berin Stephens, Rachelle Christensen, Tristi Pinkston, Clint Johnson, Karen Hoover

12:15 –MIX AND MINGLE with guests

1:45 P.M.

Story Construction 101- REBECCA TALLEY - A story needs a strong foundation and certain building blocks to be successful. Learn what you need to include in your blueprint to begin building your story. After we learn what essential materials we'll need, we'll use our tools to begin construction as a class. Come prepared to share your creative ingenuity.

Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd: Essentials of Picture Book Writing – LINDA GARNER - In this Picture Book Primer you will learn that writing picture books is not necessarily kid stuff. All the rules for good writing apply to picture books but with less margin for error. If you’ve ever wanted to write a picture book, you’ll love this class. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children”. Madeleine ‘L Engle

The Long and Short of It: Writing and Selling Short Fiction – MICHAEL YOUNG - Writing and selling short stories is a fun and rewarding way to improve your writing and to gain a readership. Writing short stories, however, takes a different skill set than writing longer works and also are sold in a different way. Learn some of the techniques you'll need to craft quality short fiction and the ins and out of getting it in print.

2:30 P.M.

"Chuck the Junk - Self-Editing for Word Hoarders" – MICHAEL KNUDSEN - Most writers are terrified when they read through their first draft --it can be rough, ugly and bloated with excessive verbiage, lame adverbs, and entire scenes that go nowhere. But there's hope! We'll look at rough text at all levels and toss the dingy bathwater while keeping your baby!

Fragile--Handle With Care: Writing on a Sensitive Subject - LINDA GARNER- -Death, suicide, divorce, abuse, war, depression, drugs, pornography, religion, eating disorders, bullying, hate. Do you have an interest in a subject that is hard to talk about? Just because it’s a sensitive subject doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. The walls are coming down. Lots of people are talking about subjects that used to be taboo. You can write about anything, if you handle with care.

How to Become and Idea Factory- KAREN HOOVER

3:15 P.M.

Author Panel in the Big Room – The Path to Publication: Panelists – Carole Thayne Warburton, Mike Knudsen, Julie Bellon, Rebecca Talley, Abel Keogh, Gregg Luke, Cory Poulson

4:00 P.M.

Children's Literature Game Show – CLINT JOHNSON Simple, Strange, Sophisticated, and Stupid Questions for Smart Kids (and Kids at Heart)--The game show that teaches more than you ever wanted to know about writing and writers, some of which you will certainly regret later.

Prove your superiority in a humorous and educational contest that explores the world of children's literature, from its comical quirks to personalities and events that profoundly shaped our world. Numerous participants of all ages are selected from the audience and given the chance to compete for fun and glory and prizes!

5:00 P.M. END

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Winner Is . . . .

Congratulations to Lexie@BookBug, you are the winner of The Upside of Down. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks to everyone who commented and played along.