Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review - "Sun Tunnels and Secrets" by Carole Thayne Warburton

"On a trip to the Sun Tunnels in the Utah desert, Norma and her sisters find a body on the side of the road. But this awful discovery turns out to be the least of their problems. Norma's husband just passed on, and she learns he kept a secret from her for sixty years. LaRue is keeping a secret from Norma. The sisters' young friend Tony is keeping a secret about his famous father, and Tony's mother is keeping a secret of her own. Tony is secretly in love with his friend Kelli, who recently escaped from a polygamist cult. And who is the mysterious young car thief with whom Norma feels a special connection? Everything converges in Grouse Creek at the Fourth of July celebration. Will secrets prove everyone's undoing? "

A group of sisters finds a body in the desert. A young girl escapes from a polygamous cult. A mysterious young man steals a series of cars while searching for his missing girlfriend, who is pregnant with another man's child. A cowboy nurtures a hidden crush. These characters meet in a small Utah town, and their relationships will be changed forever by secrets.

I really enjoyed this book. The author has created vivid characters who are entertaining, touching, and completely believable. I was sorry to see it end.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review: "Oh, Say Can You See?" by L.C. Lewis

Oh, Say Can You See? is the fourth installment in L.C. Lewis' Freemen and Dreamers series. Although it continues the story of the American Revolution, it has been written as a stand-alone book. You will have no problem reading this book even if you haven't seen the previous works. But after you read Oh, Say Can You See?, you'll want to have the rest of the series.

The British have burned the capitol building, a rag-tag, untrained American army struggles against much better trained and equipped British soldiers. Baltimore will be the next target. Will it also fall to the enemy?
Francis Scott Key takes time from his diplomatic duties to pen an epic poem recording this important moment. Set to music, the anthem spreads across the infant nation and gives new life to the American struggle.

You will be drawn into the story by events, but want to continue to read because of the characters. L.C. Lewis weaves together historical figures and fictional characters in a masterful way that allows the reader to have a sense of what it was like to live during that critical time in American history. The author gives us a glimpse of a war that was deeply personal on many levels, and helps us understand the tremendous sacrifices made for our future.

My only challenge with this book was keeping it away from my college-age children long enough to read it myself.

Makes a great gift, and speaking of gifts, take a look at the contest posted on the sidebar to the left. Enter to win yourself a beautiful necklace designed for this book launch. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Perilous" by Tamara Hart Heiner--Out Today!!!!!
Today is the release date for Perilous, a young adult novel by Tamara Hart Heiner!

Jaci Rivera lives the life of a (relatively) carefree college student, except for Amanda, a pushy neighbor. Everything unexpectely changes when she manages to catch a theif red-handed. Next thing Jaci knows, she and her friends have been kidnapped and taken on a 2,000 mile odyssey across the Canadian border.

You will find this book impossible to put down as the captives escape and are tracked by agents of the kidnapper. You will be on the edge of your seat, and not want the book to end. Fortunately, Tamara Hart Heiner is working on a sequel!

I can't wait to give this to my daughters for Christmas--they're 18 and 22.

You can buy Perilous at, and be sure to check out the book trailer here! Tamara also has some great contests on her blog--win signed copies of her book, or a Kindle!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Backpack a Winner!

Tami loves her new backpack from CSN stores. It's well-padded to protect her laptop, has plenty of pockets to hold her engineering tools, and is strong enough to hold her big textbooks!

Tami and her roomates think it's pretty good-looking, too! It's comfortable, well-made, and lightweight.

Ordering was fast and easy. Tami was able to take a good look at every choice and pick the one she liked best. Her order arrived in a couple of days--in plenty of time for school.

Check out everything from backpacks to bistro sets! Take a look at CSN Stores for yourself!

There's even a contest to brighten up your ugly office. Enter today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to School Backpack Put to the Test

In honor of the return to school, I'm testing a new backpack. Actually, my daughter, Tami, will be trying it out at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Tami will choose from the wide selection available at CSN Stores, a group of over 200 stores that sells everything from bistro sets to . . . well, backpacks! Take a look at CSN Stores for yourself!

What qualities does a busy college student need in a backpack? Room for a laptop? A water bottle pouch? Space for an MP3 player? Does the bag need to be pretty? Sturdy? Waterproof?

Coming soon--Tami's choice along with her criteria. After she's tried it for a while, we'll see a review! Comments from her friends will also be included.

Meanwhile, your have plenty of time to shop 200+ stores at!

For the FTC: The backpack was provided through a gift certificate from CSN stores, but this will not influence the review.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Read "Chocolate Roses" for a Sweet Treat!


"Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS paraody of the classic novel Jane Eyre."

Many authors are currently rewriting Jane Austin's works with a modern twist. Most of those are thinly-disguised updates that are poor imitations of the original. "Chocolate Roses", however is fresh and original. Janie Rose Whitaker is a complex and interesting character, a mix of independence and self-doubt.

Joan Sowardsmanages to infuse this story with tragedy, comedy, and romance. Not only will LDS readers find a clean, compelling, and fun read, but this story can be enjoyed by readers of all faiths. Take your time and savor this book just like gourmet chocolate.....without the calories!

 I enjoyed this book so much I ordered Joan's previous book, "Haunt's Haven", and am in the middle of savoring every word.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How Much Have You Changed?

Researchers at University of California, Riverside, the Oregon Research Institute and University of Oregon claim that personality traits in children can still be recognized in them as adults. Children's personalities were rated by their teachers, then this information was compared to videotapes 40 years later.

Verbally fluent children were ranked as higher in intelligence and seen as more in control as adults. Youngsters with lower fluency became adults who sought advice and gave up when faced with problems.

Adults who were cheerful were adaptable as children and adults who spoke negatively about themselves struggled with new situations in their youth.

Impulsive chidren became talkative adults while the more controlled were more timid and shy. No surprise to any of their teachers, I'm sure .

Insecure adults were more humble as children, while condescending adults came from self-confident children.

So, don't expect many surprises at that high school reunion!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Contest Winner!

And the winner is ......(drumroll, please!) Bonnie! I hope you enjoy spending your $40 gift certificate! Email me at and send me your email address. We'll get that gift certificate right out to you!

Many thanks to CSN stores for sponsoring this contest!

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Contest! Win a $40 Gift Certificate!

Enter to win a $40 gift certificate good for use in any of CSN's more than 200 online stores! Whether you need dining room furniture, housewares, baby items, office supplies, or new shoes, CSN has a store for you.

Ready to win? Here's how:

1. Become a new follower on my blog for five entries.

2. Post a comment telling me how you'd like to spend your gift certificate for one entry (you can post a different entry for this each day).

3. Tweet about this contest or post it on Facebook for two entries each.

4. Find something you love here and post a comment about it for one entry (you can find something new every day).

5. Post a link to this on your blog for the duration of this contest (5 entries).

6. Be sure to post a comment and tell me how you entered. Good luck!

Enter every day, if you wish! The winner will be announced Monday, July 12. Your one-time-use gift certificate will arrive via email. There may be shipping charges for those living in Canada, or international fees on some products. Start posting those comments and get ready to shop!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mean Old Mom

I recently received the following text from my daughter, who has just started college, "Thank you for teaching me how to do laundry". This was one of many texts (like "can taking too much vitamin C turn you orange", and "my boss is selling his Jaguar for only $8,000" that required a little more investigation.

Cassie explained to me that she was doing a couple of loads when some other freshmen entered the laundry room. After asking which machines were the washers, and which were the dryers, one girl panicked because she didn't know that the washer would stop if you lifted the lid. After the initial disbelief and the resultant mocking, Cassie discovered an important truth. Mom wasn't mean, she was just preparing me for life.

My children started doing their laundry in middle school. This was partially because I had four children, but mostly because I didn't want to raise helpless young adults. I had run into many students as a high school teacher who had never given anyone a present, taken care of their clothes, or made an independent purchase. I was very concerned about their future independence.

So, while it may seem like doing everything for your children is an expression of love and support, it's not. After all, if you continue to carry them, they'll never learn to walk.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Underwater Pogo Schtik

While on a recent trip, I finished reading my novel, and decided to take a look at the “Sky Mall” magazine. In it I found some interesting buys—including some you can’t live without! We’re not just talking your average nose hair trimmer here. You can find awesome for your animal associates,

Perfect Pet Products

You can use the Canine Genealogy kit to analyze your dog’s DNA to discover the breed, physical characteristics, behavioral tendencies, and personality traits. Just in case you haven’t picked up on those things by living with the animal. Get double duty out of your decorating with an end table that’s also a pet crate. Let Fido blend in with the furniture. Or purchase the Kitty Washroom Cabinet to disguise the litter box.

Add a Potty Rock to help with toilet training outside. This cement rock has a built-in scent that encourages pets to “go” in a certain area. Assuming you’re willing to spend money on something that smells like dog urine. Spot tired of taking a daily walk? Get the Pet Wheel-Away and take him for a ride in what is essentially a wheeled suitcase that converts to a backpack.

Household Helpers

What about animals you don’t want? Use the Solar-Powered Mole Repeller to get rid of those pests safely with annoying vibrations. Do you really want to purchase a product that’s designed to be annoying?

Tired of that daily trek to the curb? Get the Step2 Mailbox with the hidden compartment capable of storing up to two weeks of deliveries.

Worried about intruders? Decorate your garden with Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti Statue. A steal at $98.95 plus $15 shipping and handling, guaranteed to keep even friendly neighbors away.

Fun and Games

And finally, the world’s only underwater pogo stick. I can have hours of fun splashing around the pool on this. Designed for use in shallow or deep water, looks like hours of entertainment for the whole family--not!

So, next time you're in the air, check out the assortment of "useful" products in the Sky Mall--worth a laugh!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Review - "The Thorn, Book One in the Chronicles of Gan" By Daron Fraley

Daron Fraley has dared to imagine what life might be like on another planet during the period just prior to Christ's life on earth. Tribes that sprang from a single ancestor are now at war. Biblical prophecies are interwoven with descriptions of a world similar yet far different from ours.

Following a difficult battle, Jonathan finds his father, the emporer, has been killed. As he continues to fight for his clan, he spares the life of a soldier from an enemy tribe. Can men from different clans work together to battle enemies from two different groups bent on total conquest? Will they remain true to each other and overcome the challenges they face?

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are compelling and the storyline will not only draw you in, but hold your attention to the end. The situations feel like stories from the Old Testament, creating a unique blend of fantasy and realism that will stay with you after you finish reading. This book was so interesting that I have recommended it to family members, and can't wait for the next installment.

You can order your copy of "The Thorn" here, and be sure to learn more about the author by visiting his website.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review - "I'll Know You by Heart" by Kimberly Job

Stephanie Roberts is struggling to escape her emotional ties to an abusive husband while supporting and raising her children alone. Where and how will they live? Can they stay safe? How will her children do without a father's influence? What should she do next?

With her life in turmoil, Stephanie meets Jared Wakefield. Each feels a spark of recognition, but she is not yet free of her past. Will Stephanie be willing to love again? Can she feel whole enough to trust another man? When Jared learns of her former life, will he still be interested?

Kimberly Job's characters are vivid and real. Her sensitive treatment of such difficult topics as abuse, difficulties, and difficulties found in some marriages will help you understand the challenges many face in these situations. This is not a simple "happily every after" romance. You will experience the circumstances and emotions that influence Stephanie's choices and take heart as Stephanie recovers through the healing power of love. 

Can't wait to dig into this engrossing and motivating tale of romance? Order "I'll Know You by Heart" here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Contest Winner #1!

Congratulations to winner #1 - Cindy Beck! Send me your email address & I'll get your gift card right out!

See the post below and enter to win an autographed copy of (dis) Abilities and the Gospel shipped when it's released in June!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Autism Awareness Month, Book Giveaways and More!

Celebrate Autism Awareness Month! Wondering what to do?

Wear a puzzle ribbon, have discussions with your friends, investigate bills currently before Congress that deal with disabilities. Click here for more information!

Discover sensory-friendly films for the family here.

Learn how "Build-A-Bear Workshops" are supporting Autism Speaks!

The BEST way to celebrate would be to preorder (dis) Abilities and the Gospel here at a discount price!

In honor of Autism Awareness Month and my new book, (dis) Abilities and the Gospel, My coauthor, Danyelle Ferguson, and I are sponsoring a contest! Prizes will be awarded each week.

You really want to know about the prizes, right?

Week 1 – $10 Gift Card to Autism Speaks

Week 2 – An autographed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel to be mailed in June.

Week 3 – 8x10 Autism Awareness Art Print

Week 4 – An autographed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel to be mailed in June.

How to enter:

1 entry each - FB and/or Tweet about the pre-order w/ link to Valor pre-order link

1 entry each – FB and/or Tweet this contest post w/ link to this post

2 entries each – Blog about Autism Awareness Month & the book order w/ links to both author websites ( and and theValor pre-order link. Include the contest information w/ a link to our blog for an extra 2 entries.

3 entries – Sign up for our mailing list (snail mail address) & email newsletter. We will only send stuff to you via snail mail if we have a signing coming to your area. The email newsletters vary, but do not come out more than once per week. Your information will not be shared with anyone outside of the two of us. Email Danyelle at and email Lynn at

5 entries – Pre-order (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. Click here to pre-order.
For us to see your FB & Twitter statuses, you need to make us friends. We'll also have to be invited to view private blogs for your post to be eligible. You are still welcome to blog about the contest and book!

You can enter on each blog. All entries will be combined together and a winner drawn each week. You do not need to leave a separate comment for each entry. Just let us know what you did & we’ll add the entry points to our spreadsheet.

Good luck!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview with author Joyce DiPastena

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing silly little stories I never finished since junior high school. When I started a new story my freshman year in college I thought it’d end up the same as all the others…begun but never finished. But this one, my first attempt at a medieval romance, somehow captivated my attention and carried me through all the way to the words “the end”. It took me six years to get there, four years undergraduate and two years of graduate school. Although that book was never published, I’m still in love with its hero to this day!

What genre do you write and why?

I write medieval romances, although I tend to include so much additional plot alongside the romance that I had an agent tell me I don’t really write romances at all. But they’re all romances to me. There may be a lot of other stuff going on…mysteries, assassination attempts, medieval politics…but at the heart of each story is a man and a woman falling in love against all the odds around them.

Where do you get your inspiration to write?

My inspiration comes from many different sources. Sometimes it comes from a book I’ve written before. For example, my first published book, Loyalty’s Web, was based on characters from that first unpublished novel I wrote in college. The hero and heroine of Loyalty’s Web were an elderly married couple in that early romance, and I became curious to find out how they had met and fallen in love, so I wrote Loyalty’s Web to find out the answer.

Sometimes bits and pieces of research will fascinate me and influence how I draw a character’s background. For my second published romance, Illuminations of the Heart, I became interested in the subject of medieval illumination and decided to combine that interest with my new heroine, the daughter of a medieval illuminator from Italy. (Although the novel itself is set in France, like Loyalty’s Web.) During the writing of Illuminations of the Heart, I became interested in the subject of medieval troubadours. So that’s a subject I’m incorporating into the novel I’m writing right now.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you to overcome it?

Writer’s block is a toughie. There was a time I thought I had so many ideas that I’d never get writer’s block. Now I find myself struggling with it quite frequently. I’ve discovered it’s not a lack of ideas that I have. It’s a byproduct of stress. When my stress levels go up, I find it very difficult to “turn off” my worries and focus enough to work on my novels.

The thing that has worked best for me through the years is to set a timer for a specific length of time (an hour, two hours, whatever you can set it for) and tell myself that I don’t have to write anything, but I do have to sit at the computer until the timer goes off. I can’t go get a snack, I can’t play any games, I can’t turn on the TV, I can’t do anything except either stare at my blank computer screen or type something. And that “something” has to have something to do with my new story! Sometimes I only type a handful of words, sometimes I’ll end up typing a stream, but whether out of boredom or inspiration, I don’t think I’ve ever not written something before the timer goes off. And no matter how terrible what I wrote might seem at the time, it almost always ends up moving my story along no matter how microscopically. And I always feel better about myself just for trying.

If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who 
would it be? And Why?

King Henry II of England! I fell in love with Henry II back in high school when I first read The Conquering Family by Thomas B. Costain. Not “romantic” love. There was just something about the way his contemporaries described him that stirred a great affection in me for him. He seemed to be one of those rare kings who was actually more interested in trying to improve his country than in simply enjoying the “glory” or “privileges” of his rank. He is described as a man who hated war, even though circumstances forced him to spend most of his adult life at war. He was a man of tremendous energy and intellect. And he laid important foundations to the legal system that we have inherited from England and enjoy ourselves today.

His legacy was marred by his quarrel with Archbishop Thomas รก Becket, and the son who succeeded him, Richard the Lionheart, is a more flashy character of legend. But everything I’ve read about Henry II since those high school days has only increased my love and admiration for this man. Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart are both set during his lifetime, and although he has not yet actually appeared on the scene in any of my books, the references I make to him, small though they might be, are my own way of paying tribute to this great, underappreciated king.

What is your next project?

Right now, I’m just calling it “my troubadour book”. It’s based on a character from my second book, Illuminations of the Heart, and once again is set in medieval France.

Power round questions:


Favorite food? Chocolate chip cookies

Favorite dessert? Umm…chocolate chip cookies

Jeans and T-shirt, or designer clothes? Both! (Well, not really “designer”, but I also like fun, “nice” clothes.)

Guilty pleasure? Chocolate. (If only I felt more guilt than pleasure from it!)

One word that describes you? Shy. Why do you think this interview is taking place on a blog?

Favorite flower? Snapdragons

Favorite sport? If I absolutely, positively MUST be forced to watch a sport, then I’ll choose figure skating.

Where can readers find a copy of Illuminations of the Heart?

Illuminations of the Heart is available in Deseret Bookstores and some Arizona Barnes & Nobles. It can be ordered directly through Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores, or ordered online at ( (, (, and (

Monday, March 22, 2010

Magical Thinking

Dr. Dido Green at Tel Aviv University has developed an innovative therapy for children with locomotor problems. She teaches them simple magic tricks. They are motivated because the exercises are fun, and they can impress their friends. This leads to more practice, and a marked improvement in skills.

What's next? She plans to study a group of children to see if magic has an impact on their neurological skills. All with a little instruction, rubber bands, and sponge balls. Impressive.

This is an example of how out-of-the-box thinking can lead to significant breakthroughs. Other recent discoveries have challenged traditional thinking about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and bullying.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a "life shirt" that interprets the wearer's movements. This device can determine whether the subject has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Information from this study will also be used to develop new treatments.

Psychologists at George Mason University have discovered that many adults who were bullies in childhood actually have a form of social anxiety disorder. They suggest working with bullies to increase self control and reduce impulsive behaviors rather than focusing on aggression alone.

The takeaway from all this? When looking at a problem, take a break and try to see the situation through fresh eyes. Look from a new angle and a unique solution may present itself.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Turn off the TV & TALK to your Child!

Makers of educational videos were stunned when a study from the University of California at Irvine revealed that children aged 12 to 24 months did not improve their vocabularies by watching dvds. After six weeks of tube time, the studied toddlers did not demonstrate they had learned the target words.

After years spent in special education, I believe that expecting children to learn from video content presented in isolation is unrealistic. Children need the following:

  • Human interaction--talk, sing, read, and encourage infant vocalization
  • Exposure to symbols of all kinds, including pictures and the written word
  • Less time in front of video-type entertainment (this actually makes some disabilities, including Autism and ADHD worse)
I still remember waiting for over an hour in a telephone store with my six-month-old son. I spent the time walking down the row of phones telling him the colors. This entertained both of us. A crabby old man approached to inform me that, in his opinion, my baby didn't understand a word. I informed him that I was teaching my child to talk in the same way he had learned--frequent repetition.

Sometimes old-fashioned ways work best.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to  . . . . . . .

Stephanie, winner of the Pre-Easter Basket of goodies!

Send me your snail mail address (to, and I'll get it on its way!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pre-Easter Basket Giveaway!

Biggest giveaway yet!

This lovely basket has hand-knit socks, a hand-knit scarf, and a hand-knit wrap, PLUS vanilla-scented tea lights and chocolate covered cherries! Pamper yourself in warm knits, light the candles, and enjoy the chocolate!

How do you win?

Post this contest with a link on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. You can enter this way EVERY DAY! (1 entry per posting per day)

Comment and tell me how you pamper yourself. (1 entry each time)

Leave a comment to tell me where you shared the news, and remember only followers can win!

Good luck, everyone! Winner will be announced March 1!

Monday, February 15, 2010

How Gullible are You?

After listening to endless stories of the Bernie Madoffs of this world, I've been pondering our gullibility. He bilked believers of more than $65 billion dollars, including many who should have spotted this Ponzi scheme.

Nearly three decades ago, I was standing in line in the grocery store. As a newlywed, I had compared prices and stretched our meager food budget to its limit. A well-meaning (but rude) shopper behind me delighted in pointing out my purchases and what she believed were the deficiencies in my diet. I retaliated by mentioning that standing on tile floors causes cancer. I have to admit I enjoyed watching her try make her feet contact the floor as little as possible.

Many years later, I recall trying to teach a group of teens at church not to accept things at face value. I told them we had a new directive to pray only while hopping up & down on one foot. Being good kids, they kept trying (it's hard to hop on one foot with your eyes closed) until I told them it was a lesson on confirming sources of information.

Several years ago my father called from California all excited about investing in oil wells in Texas, where I live. Spotting several red flags, including a limited time offer, I got him to hold off until I could investigate. The Better Business Bureau informed me the file they had forwarded to the State's Attorney was over an inch thick. That was all I needed to know.

Being well-educated, well-heeled, or well-informed was no protection. Even Morley Safer of 60 Minutes was bamboozled on camera (see for the video).

What are we to do? First of all, stop. Take a breath. Try not to let your emotions (especially greed) interfere with your decisions. Research your sources. If you're not sure where to start, call or visit the reference desk at your local library.

Most importantly, as the stories above reveal, double check everything. Especially if it comes from a prankster. Like me!

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Giveaway!

Jenni James is  having a giveaway in honor of her upcoming book, Northanger Alibi on her blog at Check it out--the buzz is that this is a GREAT novel!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Winner and a Trip!

Congratulations to Grum, who won my gently used copy of "The Crayon Messages" by Christine Thackeray! Send your snail mail address to and I'll get it on its way!

Last weekend I went to Tucson to see the blessing of grandson #2, James Connor Parsons.

My husband and I love being grandparents, especially when he gets to play trains with William!

Another fun part is going to the zoo. The Tuscon Zoo takes about an hour, which is just right for a nearly three-year-old. We got to see the elephants being trained.

And saw many peacocks, one of which was an albino! New to us!

We also got a chance to attend the "Tucson Gem and Mineral Show". Loads of very cool things to see, and great jewelery to buy. People from all over the world were there, speaking many languages. Everyone seemed to understand the phrase "How much?" We even had an Australian offer us a pedicab ride back to our car! One highlight was this man pulling a wagon selling coconuts. The outsides had been removed, and when you bought one, he whipped out his machete, whacked off the top, flipped out the extra piece, stuck in a straw and a spoon, and handed you an icy treat! Heather bought one to take home to her hubby, but just had to sample some (as you can see). It was almost her birthday, after all!

We had a blast, and were sad to leave, but looking forward to the next time!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Value of the Unexpected, and a Contest!

Yesterday was my birthday. My coworkers did an AWESOME job of helping me celebrate, as did my family.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband took me shopping for birthday gifts. I picked out a white blouse, a new jacket, and some boots. When we returned home, he put them in his closet for safekeeping.

In the meantime, life went on. I couldn't find my brown jacket. I wear it all the time because it goes with so many things. I hadn't left it in either office, the car, or anywhere else. I wondered if I had left it at church or a friend's house.

Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped my presents . . . including my old jacket. My husband had gathered it with the rest and it had been hanging safely in my closet. I was just as excited to see this "old friend" as for my new treasures.

Looking for a new treasure that could very well become an old friend?

I'm giving away my copy of Christine Thackeray's book, "The Crayon Messages". See my blog post of January 26 for my review. Loved the book.

Leave a comment telling me which of the following you've done to win:

Posted this on facebook with a link (1 entry)
Blogged about the contest with a link (2 entries)
Tweeted with a link (1 entry)
Left a thoughtful comment sharing an unexpected treasure you have found (1 entry)

Remember--must be a follower to win!

Winner will be chosen Tuesday Morning, February 9.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Congratulations, Sandra!

The winner of the maroon socks is Sandra Cooper!

Look for a new contest Monday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Running Out of Time!

So far, only one entry to win these lovely socks!

As the winter winds blow in, imagine your toasty toes curled up with hot chocolate and a good book!

Post this with a link on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog for an entry to win. Contest ends Friday night! Winner announced Saturday morning--so don't delay!

Be sure to leave a comment telling me how you entered!

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Crayon Messages" by Christine Thackeray Book Review

Have you ever been lonely in a new place? Had your well-meaning actions misunderstood? Worried about an errant teen? Wondered if your best would ever be good enough?

Then you can relate to Cath, the main character in "Crayon Messages" by Christine Thackeray. Despite the many challenges facing this mother of four, we can all feel inspired by her persistence. You'll laugh out loud as she battles toilet-papering teens, hot fudge, and her fears.

This book is as fun to read as it is encouraging. I loved the characters, and hope the author writes a sequel.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More socks!

Enter to win another pair of cozy hand knit socks by:

1. Posting a link to this contest on Facebook.
2. Tweeting (with a link).
3. Blogging (also with a link).

Must be a follower to win! Leave a comment to tell me how you entered.

This pair is maroon. Photo to come soon!

Contest will be open until Saturday, January 30.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cozy Feet Winner!

The winner of the new socks is . . . . (drum roll, please!) . . . . Rebecca Talley!!! I hear you just won a book, so this is your lucky week!

Send me your snail mail address to and I'll send them right out!

Thanks to Random Choice for selecting the winner.

Watch for another sock giveaway in a few days!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Free Socks--Running Out of Time!

Imagine your happy toes luxuriating in these soft, fluffy, warm socks! Put them on after a long, hard day, or when it's cold outside.

Today is the last day to enter to win the free hand knit socks! Winners will be chosen tomorrow morning.

Contest is only open to followers, and you can enter by posting on facebook with a link, tweeting with a link, and blogging with a link, and post a comment here to tell me what you've done.

Good luck--and if there is a big response, more sock giveaways will be in your future!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Silent Warrior Trilogy

The Silent Warrior Trilogy is complete!

The saga started with book one, The Elf and the Princess:

Menarm was a great and prosperous kingdom, known throughout the lands for its friendly, hard-working people and fair trade. But a bitter struggle of succession between brothers left the kingdom devastated, the people divided. Some stayed with Fenil, who had conquered the crown, others followed Renil to the north, founding a new kingdom.

Now Adren, the last princess of the vanquished realm of Menarm, finds herself alone in a world where women live in the shadows of men. Not only must she battle her enemies, but also a truth that could obliterate her last hope for happiness and bring dishonor to all those whom she hold dear. On her quest, she finds unlikely allies in a powerful prince and a defiant mercenary, only to be devastated by an ancient elf.

Book two, Trouble in the Elf City:

It’s been three years since the war between the Orks and Tahitans destroyed the proud kingdom of Menarm. Adren, the land’s last princess, has settled comfortably into her new life as wife to the elf Dellin in the kingdom of Lothia.

But all is not well. And when a mysterious enemy shatters their peace, an enemy the elfs appear powerless to fight, complete annihilation seems imminent. Will Adren witness the destruction of yet another kingdom and once again find herself alone in the world? Or can the Silent Warrior come to her rescue and save them all?

Book Three, Elfs in a Conquered Realm:

King Paletin and Adren, the last Princess of Menarm, set forth on their mission with a team to find the hidden treasures of the now vanquished Kingdom of Menarm. Led by the young strategist, Zyrthal, the team is strong in number and sure of purpose, yet they find themselves facing ruthless mercenaries who are determined to claim the kingdom’s riches for themselves.

Once again, the Silent Warrior is called upon to rescue the captured team, but he has begun to battle demons of his own and has become unsure of his abilities as the champion of Adren. The shadows in his heart become all the more magnified with the disappearance of the two half-elf princes from the dead kingdom.

Front Street Reviews has praised Dye’s works as “fluid and flawless” and has said in their complimentary review of Elfs in a Conquered Realm that “it should come as no surprise that one will find this story as fulfilling as the first two in the trilogy. Her talent for writing fantasy will leave her name forever entrenched in our memories as we hope to read more of her stories long into the future.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Giveaway - Sony Reader Pocket Edition

See the "Book Giveaways" blog at for how to enter to win a Sony Reader Pocket Edition (value $199) for free!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cami's Still Giving Books Away!

Enter to win a copy of "My Son, John", and read a review at

'Tis the season for contests!

And keep entering to win the socks! Many entries will show me that I need to make another pair for a future contest!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First Winner and New Contest!

Congratulations to my first winner! And the proud recipient of "Eat This, Not That!" is Sue Layne! Send me your snail mail address, and I'll get it right to you!

Thanks to "Random Choice" for selecting the winner.

This week's contest:
Do you have cold feet? I have this pair of hand-knitted socks to keep your toes toasty!
All winners must be blog followers, and to get an entry:
1. Posting about this contest on Facebook gets you one entry.
2. Tweeting earns you an entry.
3. Make a comment for one entry.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Save the Child"

Margaret Turley's new book, "Save the Child", will be out in late February/early March. It deals with the parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children.

Her "Save the Child" blog has interviews with doctors and tons more information on this subject. You can read all about it at

***Don't forget today is the last day to enter to with "Eat This, Not That!"***

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Positively Negative!

I've been thinking a lot this week about impressions. There are those we give by mistake, those we erroneously form, and a few that are correct.

A few weeks ago, the wind caught my door as I got out of my car and banged it into the protective strip on the door of the car next to me. There was no actual damage, just a little dirt, which I managed to wipe off. The irate occupant of the vehicle in question leaped out, and accused me of deliberately trying to damage her door.

I explained what happened, then demonstrated where the door had hit and showed her there was no damage. She was still very upset, so I offered to exchange insurance information. She declined, so I apologized again and started towards the store.

After entering,  I felt impressed to turn around, and I saw her taking pictures of my license plate! Afraid she would accuse me of hit & run, or other damage to her car (there were other previous door dings), I went back outside, and again offered my insurance information. She declined again, so I called the police.

I'm sure the officer thought I was a nut ball, but I wanted him to witness that there was no damage and that I was trying to do the right thing. I just felt that I needed protection from whatever revenge this crazy lady was plotting.

Nothing happened as a result, but what I think upset me most was her characterization of me as someone who deliberately goes around damaging the property of others. It seemed that nothing I did could correct this impression.

Mom was right. First impressions are the most lasting.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Giveaway Contest

In honor of the new year, and the resolutions we all make, I'll be giving away a copy of "Eat This, Not That" by David Zinczenko.

How can you win????

First, you must be a follower of my blog.

You will receive 1 entry if you feature this contest with a link on facebook, Twitter, or your blog. Post a comment and tell me what you've done. A winner will be drawn on January 13.

Happy self-improvement!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cami's Contest

Enter to win a free copy of "Where the Wind Blows" by Caroline Fyffe at . She has giveaways all month long, so check back often.

Watch this space for my contest information tomorrow!

Book Review: "By Love or By Sea" by Rachel Rager

"When a mysterious and ragged sailor appears in the seaside town where Alice Lind Frank lives with her grandparents, Alice is shocked to learn that the sailor is her childhood love, Caleb, who she thought was lost at sea. She yearns to trust him again, but what about her plans to marry Clarence Hielott, the wealthy shipyard owner? When Clarence exposes the secrets of Caleb s past, Alice realizes that the boy she once knew is now a man with a dark history. Can she trust Caleb with her heart once again? And what will she do about Clarence? Find out in this thrilling and adventurous love story."

This book was a fun read, with great characters and enough plot twists and turns to keep me wanting more! My 17-year-old daughter enjoyed reading it, also.