Monday, January 31, 2011

American Idol Judges

I didn't watch AI last year, not even once. This year, I happened to find the first audition show by accident while I was folding clothes and I got sucked back in.

It's fascinating watching the auditions. Some of these people really can't sing, Why doesn't anyone tell them they can't sing? It's embarassing. I'm sure some of them purposely go to the auditions to be outrageous  knowing full well they can't sing, but I think some of them honestly believe they can sing. When the judges tell them no, they seem to be shocked. Some get so angry too. I don't want to laugh, but I can't help myself--does that make me a bad person? And then there are those who knock it out of the auditorium and create an orchestra just with teir voices. Amazing talent.

The judges are interesting this year. Randy Jackson has become the new Simon. He tells people they're bad and that they can't sing. He seems to have assumed this role because both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are very nice.

Watching Steven Tyler flirt with girls young enough to be his granddaughters is a little sickening. I mean, the man is old. He reminds me of Johnny Depp on Pirates--he acts a little off-kilter. I admit, I never listend to Aerosmith. At Hollywood Studios in Florida, there's a ride calle Rockin' Rollercoaster--one of the best rollercoasters ever--and it is supposedly a limo ride to get backstage for an Aerosmith concert. There are posters of the group on the walls. They sure liked to dress up like women. And Steven Tyler looked a lot different back in the day. However, he's been in the business for decades so I think he knows what's what and he's a great addition as a judge.

Jennifer Lopez is also a great addtion. she's been in the business for years, she's a great singer herself, and she understands what it takes to be a pop star. She's been really nice, but she's also been honest.

I like this set of judges and I'm looking forward to this season of American Idol.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview, Giveaway, Guest Post

Three different blogs are featuring me and/or my book, including a giveaway, if you'd like a chance to win a copy.

If you want to learn a little more about me, check out A Story Book World.

Fire and Ice is featuring a chance to win a copy of my book and a guest post that I wrote about my son. This same guest post is at Parenting Partner.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

I did a book signing the weekend before last. The signing was great, but I learned even more on the way home. The four of us, Tristi Pinkston, Daron Fraley, Don Carey, and I stopped at libraries and bookstores between Logan and Salt Lake. Following Tristi's lead, I learned from a fearless master to step out of my comfort zone and approach people about my book.

I don't have a problem talking to people. I can talk for a long time (just ask my kids), but talking to someone about my author self and my books is something altogether different. I always feel funny talking up my book because I feel like I'm bragging and being conceited or something. I love to talk writing and I love my books, but I don't want people to think of me as a salesperson trying to pawn off my books. Yet, if I don't talk about my books than I may not be doing part of my job as an author. It's a catch-22 for me.

I used to think being an author meant I wrote books. That's true, but that isn't the whole picture. Promotion and marketing are a big part of being an author. With so many great LDS books by so many talented authors, how will I stand out, especially if I don't try to promote mine? And, yet, I feel like that obnoxious car salesman that won't leave you alone for two seconds. 

I haven't been too vocal about my books in the area where I live. I have visited, and even done a book launch, at an area LDS bookstore (I've known the owners forever) and I've contacted the newspaper to do an article. But, other than that, I leave my promotion to what I can do online because I'm way cooler online. But, after watching Mistress Tristi in action, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try a few more things in my area.

I visited an area library and asked if I could leave bookmarks, but was told I couldn't. I then visited Hastings Bookstore and asked again. Not only did they allow me to leave bookmarks, but asked if I'd like to do a book signing. A few days later, I visited another nearby library. After slipping on the ice and landing in a snowbank, I wiped myself off, shook the snow out of my shoe, dusted off my purse, and asked if I could leave bookmarks. I was pleasantly surprised when the librarian there agreed to let me. I then went to a bookstore near that library and was able to leave bookmarks. The gentleman even asked me to call back so they could get more information and help promote a local author. Hooray!!

I'd still much rather write than promote. And if I never had to promote again, I'd be happy. But, it is what it is and stepping out of my comfort zone didn't actually kill me so I may try it again. Someday.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kaylee Baldwin Author of Meg's Melody

I'd like to introduce a new author to you. Her name is Kaylee Baldwin.

Kaylee grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in English literature.

She currently lives in southern Arizona with her husband, Jeremy, and their three children. When she is not writing, Kaylee enjoys reading, starting new craft projects, and spending time with her family.

You can learn more about Kaylee at her website

I recently reviewed her book, Meg's Melody here. I loved the book. In fact, I nominated it for a Whitney Award. Here's the official back cover copy:

She paced the small confines of her bathroom as she waited the obligatory two minutes for the result. Yet, part of her sensed the truth. Not only did Austin take her self-esteem and plans for happiness, but he also took her get-out-of-this-marriage-free card.

The plus sign glared at Meg from the white plastic frame of the pregnancy test. The test fell from her hands and clattered into the bathtub as Meg’s back slid against the wall until she reached the floor.

“I’m pregnant,” she said into the quiet.

Meg never imagined she'd end up like this. With nowhere else to turn, she's forced to rely on the family she pushed away, the church she abandoned, and an unexpected friendship to help her find her forgotten melody. Meanwhile Matt is still mourning the loss of his wife. But determined to keep things together for his daughter's sake, he decides starting over in a new place might be just what his family needs.

This touching story combines romance with redemption and real conflict to remind you it's never too late to find joy. Kaylee Baldwin's capable hand renders a sincere, heartfelt story of rediscovery and hope. Perfect for romantics of all ages, this book will captivate your heart and rekindle your belief in the magic of music.

Kaylee is holding a contest. If you leave a comment here or at any of the blogs listed below you will be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of Meg's Melody.

January 10th
Shanda at LDSWBR

January 11th
Tristi Pinkston

January 12th
Jolene Perry

January 13th
Shaunna Gonzales

January 15th
Taffy Lowell

January 17th
Heather at Fire and Ice

January 18th
Marsha Ward

January 19th
Alison Palmer

January 20th
I am a Reader Not a Writer

You can purchase Meg's Melody at Deseret Book and Amazon. I recommend you read it, it's a great story.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Signing Report

Left to right: Don Carey, Tristi Pinkston, Rebecca Talley, Daron Fraley

Last Saturday, Tristi Pinkston, Don Carey, Daron Fraley, and I had a book signing at The Book Table in Logan, UT. Super cool bookstore. I could've wandered through that store for hours. We had a lot of fun and even sold some books. We also visited other bookstores and libraries between Logan and Salt Lake and dropped off bookmarks. It was great to meet people and what's better than a bookstore for a group of authors? I had to control myself so I didn't buy all the books in the store. It was a successful and fun day!

Someone posted a very nice review of The Upside of Down on Amazon and over 200 people have added it to their shelves on Goodreads. Every time I look at the cover, it makes me want to have a newborn.

Thanks for all of the support!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winners of Giveaway

Wow! I'm blown away by the response to my giveaway on the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. I'm so happy with the response and the support. Thank you so much for participating!!

Since the response was so wonderful, I've decide to give away 2 books. Yay!!

The winners, as selected by are: Janelle and Ellie. I've sent you emails so you can send me your addresses and I'll get the books in the mail right away.

Thank you so much for all the great comments--I really appreciate it! This book is very close to my heart and I hope readers will enjoy it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. This is the first time I've participated and I'm excited!

The giveaway I'm offering is a copy of my new book, The Upside of Down.

Here's the back cover copy:

"Hmmm," the doctor muttered.
Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, "What does that mean?"
"You do know you're pregnant, right?"
Her breath caught in her throat. "Excuse me?"
"You're pregnant."
Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. "I'm what?"

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise--she's going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn't what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

Rebecca Talley once again carefully crafts together a touching and heartfelt story that is sure to inspire you. With true-to-life characters and situations,
The Upside of Down will reignite your faith and remind you of the importance of family.

To be entered, you can do one (or more) of the following and just leave a comment letting me know what you did. Each one counts as one entry into the giveaway contest.

1. Become a follower of my blog.
2. Sign up for my newsletter (I promise I won't spam you) located in the right column of my blog under my photo.
3. "Like" my author page on Facebook.
That's it. The hop runs through midnight January 17th. I'll draw a name on January 18th using Be sure to check back on January 18th.

Have fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book Signing Change

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Tristi Pinkston, Daron Fraley, Don Carey, and I will not be signing at the Wisebird Bookery in Ogden, UT on Saturday, January 15th. We will still be signing at The Book Table in Logan, UT so, please, if you're in the Logan area this Saturday, stop by. We'll be at The Book Table, 29 South Main Street, from 11:00 am-1:00 pm and we'd love to see you!


Contest Featuring My Book

There's a cool contest going on over at Inksplasher and today it's featuring my new book The Upside of Down. (I'm always giddy when I realize I actually have more than one book published and I need to differentiate between them--yay!).

If you're interested in entering the contest you can go here. Besides my book, there are several other really great prizes. Go check it out--you won't be sorry.


Visit Inksplasher.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who's at the Door? by Dan Harrington

From the back cover:

Experience the gospel in a new perspective while witnessing Dan Harrington's spiritual journey. 

Not just another tale of conversion, Dan reverently reveals the Mormon religion through a non-member's eyes as he reflects upon his experiences with missionaries and Church members, forges new friendships, and finds an unexpected common ground of faith. 

Find out who's at the door and see what can happen when you open it. 

I enjoyed this book. My son served his mission in Rome, Italy and I often wondered what it was like for the people that met him. He's so full of energy and excitement that I'm sure many he met caught his enthusiasm. This book allowed me to see a mission from another perspective--that of an investigator.

Harrington is candid and honest about his experience with the missionaries. He also shares his feelings about members of the Church he met. One particular experience made me cringe. A member of the ward was supposed to come and meet with him and the missionaries but didn't show up, on more than one occasion. I realize that things come up and we all have tremendously busy lives, but I wish someone from that ward would've been able to attend the discussion with Mr. Harrington and the elders.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, I'm not a big memoir reader, but it pulled me in. I found myself thinking about it and hoping for a particular ending. This isn't a conversion story, it's about Harrington's spiritual journey and I liked his candor.  He didn't sugarcoat anything. It made me realize that I need to teach my boys even better how to be an effective missionary, how to be a friend to those they teach, and how to bring the Spirit to any meeting.

I hope Mr. Harrington continues on his spiritual journey and I hope it leads him to the Savior. I feel like I know him, or at least a bit about him, after reading his book and it's made me ask myself some questions.

I recommend this book to any who want to venture out on a spiritual journey and to any who want to know the other side of a mission.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Storyfix #1

This is exciting news for Larry Brooks. He will be the keynote speaker for the LDStorymakers Conference May5-7 at the Salt Lake Sheraton. If you haven't yet registered for the conference you can go to to register. It's going to be an amazing conference.

January 9, 2011 - Scottsdale, AZ --, the website created and authored by bestselling novelist and Writers Digest Books author Larry Brooks, has been named the #1 writing blog and website in a major nationwide judging. Hosted by, this five-year old competition asks for reader nominations to cull a list of 20 finalists, after which four judges (all major blog owners in this niche, and prior winners) announce a Top Ten Blogs For Writers listing, with a hierarchical ranking that factors in content quality, reader response, and the quantity and content of reader nominations (there were over 500 nominations submitted). This year Brooks' took the #1 spot among the ten finalists.

See the announcement here: .

Brooks' blog/site is 18 months old, and placed as a finalist last year while failing to crack the Top 10. After a year of subscriber growth to over 3500 daily readers, and a wide breadth of content with an emphasis on story structure and characterization, the judges found Storyfix sufficiently mature and worthy of the top spot.

Brooks' book, "Story Engineering: Mastering The Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing," comes out from Writers Digest Books in February 2011. His blog will continue with two to three major posts weekly, and Brooks continues to speak at workshops around the country.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Growing Up Gracie by Maggie Fechner

From the back cover:
As the fifth of six kids, it's sometimes hard for Gracie Fremont to see what makes her special. But with the help of friends, family, and her faith, Gracie discovers that even the most ordinary girl can do extraordinary things. Told with sweetness, humor, and heart, this unique coming-of-age story will resonate with readers of all ages.

Maggie Fechner wrote her first book in First Grade for the Young Author's program. She received a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and has worked as a reporter for several newspapers.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a warm and humorous look at the life of Gracie as she grows from a girl into a young woman. I loved the descriptions and I loved how the relationship built between Gracie and  . . . . well, I don't want to include any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Fechner has created realistic characters and a voice that made me feel like she was sitting next to me sharing this story as her own. I could relate to many of Gracie's experiences in the book and I found her to be a very honest, endearing character.I'd compare this book to comfort food--it makes you feel good and all warm inside.

I recommend it! And, it's been nominate for a Whitney Award.

You can purchase Growing up Gracie at Amazon.

(I did receive this book as a review copy but it did not influence my review. My opinions are my own).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Signing for The Upside of Down

I'm doing my first book signing for The Upside of Down on Saturday, January 15th. I'll be joining authors Tristi Pinkston, Daron Fraley, and Don Carey for the signing. We'll be in Logan at The Book Table,  29 South Main Street, 11:00-1:00 and then we'll head over to Ogden to Wisebird Bookery, 4850 Harrison Blvd # 5, and be signing there 3:00-5:00. If you're in the area and have time, please stop by. I'd love to meet you and Tristi, Daron, and Don are super fun so we'll be having a great time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Goals

Happy New Year! Every year on this day I find it hard to believe a new year has begun. Time flies by so fast, it's a blur.

December was certainly a blur for me. We spent the first week in Florida at Disney World and came home in time for all the Christmas shopping, wrapping, making goodies, singing carols, sending out cards rush. It was a whirlwind. We've spent the last few days celebrating Second Christmas because all of my kids are home.

Now it's a fresh new year with all sorts of possibilities. I make yearly goals, but I also make monthly and weekly goals. In fact, I make daily goals. I'm a list person. If I don't write something down, I'll forget and I won't get it done. I'm a little stressed right now because I forgot to get a new daytimer so until I go to town next week, I'll have to use loose paper to write my daily goals.

General goals:
Repaint/redecorate bathroom upstairs
Reorganize and repaint master bedroom
Clean carpet upstairs
Organize basement to utilize space better, including food storage
Return to exercise schedule 5 days a week. My honey bought me Zumba and lots of Wii dance games to help me.
Return to proper eating habits and lose the weight I've gained in December. I'll be doing South Beach.

Writing goals:
Complete a full first draft of YA paranormal "Glow"
Revise and submit "Glow" to publisher
Revise, format, and have available eBook on first chapters
Market "The Upside of Down" and hope to sell through first printing
Outline next novel
Make my blog better

That's a good start. How about you? Goals? Want to share? Remember, a goal not written down is merely a wish.