Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome August Blog Hop

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

On my blog, you can win a copy of my book The Upside of Down

To enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog.
2. Subscribe to my newsletter (located in the right hand column). I promise not to spam you. I send out a newsletter every quarter or so.
3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things. If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Awesome August Blog Hop Participants
1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. Cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys

25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson

Learn more about Awesome August Blog Hop here.

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Good luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Whitney Awards: Nominate a Novel

Have you read a great novel by an LDS author? Would you like to recognize that novel? You can!  Just visit The Whitney Awards and nominate your favorite 2011 titles (yes, my book, The Upside of Down, is a 2011 title). The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2011.

If you aren't familiar with The Whitney Awards here's some info:

What are the Whitneys?

The Whitneys are an awards program for novels by LDS authors. Elder Orson F. Whitney, an early apostle in the LDS church, prophesied “We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.” Since we have that as our goal, we feel that we should also honor those authors who excel and continually raise the bar.

The Whitney Awards honor novels in the following categories: General Fiction, Romance, Suspense/Mystery, Speculative Fiction, Youth Fiction, Historical, Best Novel of the Year, and Best Novel by a New Author. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via this website or by mail), and nominees are voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others.

The awards were founded in 2007 and operate as an semi-autonomous subsidiary of LDStorymakers.

Who are we?

The 2011 Whitney Awards Committee is comprised of six members:

•Josi Kilpack (President)
•Annette Lyon
•Heather Moore
•Jana Parkin
•Sarah M. Eden
•Luisa Perkins

For more information about the roles and responsibilities of the committee, see the official rules.

The Whitney Awards are sponsored and endorsed by LDStorymakers, the authors guild for the LDS market.

For more information on The Whitney Awards or to nominate a book (yes, go nominate one right now!) you can visit The Whitney Awards here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Purging the House

I can't believe the summer is almost over. It makes me sad. I love having my kids home. We've accomplished a lot this summer.

We cleaned out, purged, repainted, and moved kids into different bedrooms. I love having clean bedrooms. I didn't repaint my bedroom, but I cleaned it out. Surprisingly, I eat a lot of granola bars and fruit treats, play with a lot of toys, drink a lot of water bottles, and wear a lot of small socks and underwear, at least that's what I found under my bed. My room seems to be the most popular room in the house and my kids hang out in it all the time.

I also purged my linen closet of old towels and blankets. I think some of those towels I'd gotten as wedding gifts--yeah, it was way past time to purge. I cleaned out our utility closet and all my kitchen cabinets and our china hutch. I've donated lots of items and thrown away others. I think we've been through every room in the house now and it feels wonderful!!!

Now to keep it up and not allow the mess to build up again. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ribbon of Darkness by Julie Coulter Bellon

Back cover copy:

A split-second decision could change the world’s darkest hour to one of triumph--but who is willing to pay the price?

Kennedy Campbell has been running away for a long time--using her position as an international journalist to escape the ghosts of her family's past. She finds some solace working in an Afghan refugee camp, until the Taliban attacks them and Kennedy is forced to flee. She is pulled into a terrorist's realm of darkness as she fights to save those around her, but will it come at the expense of her own life?

Ethan Barak leads a double life, helping MI-6 bring down arms dealers all over the world until his father is murdered by an old associate. Ethan makes his next mission a personal vendetta by tracking down the killer to Indonesia. While there, he finds himself in a position to either avenge his father or stop a terrorist attack on the Malacca Strait that will jeopardize innocent lives across the world. Can he look past his father's murder to save others?

The line between justice and mercy is blurred with each passing second, and international intrigue becomes intensely personal as the age-old struggle for redemption is brought close to home.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Julie Bellon is a fantastic suspense writer. One of her many strengths as a writer is her use of description. She includes all the senses to make you feel like you are right in the middle of all the action. In one of the scenes, Kennedy is trying to get away from her captor and it made my heart beat faster. I could "see" the places and even feel the atmosphere.

I love Kennedy. She is strong and certainly not a victim . She isn't about to take life lying down, that's for sure. I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm anxious to keep reading and see what happens. I know I won't be disappointed. Bellon is an excellent writer and I admire how she can capture the moment so effortlessly.

Ribbon of Darkness is on a special sale right now for $8.88 for the Kindle edition at Amazon. Go check it out--you can have a copy on your Kindle in under a minute! You can read the first chapter here.

To learn more about Julie Bellon visit her blog

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Painting My Guts Out

Have you missed me? I've been AWOL from the blogosphere for most of the summer. I've posted here and there but, for the most part, I haven't been online much.


Well, I wish it was because I'd been writing the next bestseller and had been offered a huge 5-book contract with movie rights and everything, but that's simply my fantasy.

The real truth is that I've been painting my guts out. All. Summer.

Child #3 decided to come home from college and live here for a while. She'd been living in Provo and this month would've lived there for a year and gained residency, or so we thought. Even though she'd been living on her own, paying her own bills, and bought a car on her own in Utah, since we'd claimed her on our taxes as a dependent for 2010, Utah would not recognize her as a resident. The difference in tuition between resident and non-resident at Utah Valley University was well over $4000 per semester and since we make our children pay for their own college expenses, she couldn't afford it. The state of Utah wasn't willing to work with her for residency and UVU couldn't care less if she stayed or not. We have a local college here that is $600 per semester for tuition so it made much more sense for her to come home and go to school here.

But, in coming home we had a ripple effect on bedrooms. We moved the boys from upstairs to the basement, the younger girls from their smaller bedroom to the boys' previous and bigger bedroom, and we moved my daughter into the smaller bedroom that will also act as the guest bedroom. It made more sense to do this because all the girls can use the big bathroom and the boys can now use the smaller bathroom downstairs to get ready.

I had already painted the bathroom and completely changed its decor. We then started to move out furniture, clothes, toys, and far too much junk from each bedroom. We decluttered and purged each bedroom (my kids belong on that show Hoarders: Buried Alive) which took quite a bit of time. Then we started painting. And painting. And painting. Did I mention we started painting?

I've watched far too many HGTV shows and thought I could spray paint the boys' furniture and steel bed frame without incident. HA. Not even close. Horrible experience painting their furniture. Never again.

Now ir's done. The rooms are clean, freshly-painted, and redecorated. I can see the carpet in each kids' bedroom. I can see the floor of the closets. It feels so much better. The bathroom looks beautiful and elegant. We have paint in our hair. Sore muscles. We're exhausted. And the summer has disappeared.

But, the upside is that when Hoarders: Buried Alive comes knocking at my door I can honestly turn them away :).