Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All kinds of cool contests

I hope my friends forgive me if I miss them, because there are lots of fun things going on right now.

My friend Rachelle is giving away a prize for the amazing Workbox company (huge scrapbook/crafters dream organizer). You can choose from one of two prizes, and the winner gets entered to win one of the really big organizers--which is worth $1200. Seriously, if you love to craft, and don't have huge amounts of space, you have to check this out. There are lots of ways to enter.

My friend Nichole is giving away a free copy of Zion's Promise: Amidst War's Alarms, which is a hardcover of the third volume of this series.

Tristi's isn't really a contest, and there's no prize, unless you think meeting your goal is prize worthy--which it totally is. On her challenge blog she has announced the beginning of the newest quarterly challenge. Originally it was supposed to be a write a book in a month contest, but has since evolved to whatever project people need to get done, whether revision, new writing, edits, etc. I intend to finish my WIP, which still needs about thirty pages, more or less. I also want to completely edit and revise my third book (if we count the one with the contract as my first book and ignore all of the other books I wrote or mostly wrote or did a good chunk of work on before I submitted The Ball's in Her Court--which should be released next week) which I still need to name. Seriously. Anyway, the plan is to have it ready for submission by Halloween, which would be good since my book should hit stores around then and I'm hoping to be very busy with publicity.

And if you've just been looking for an excuse to get back into shape, or a lose a few pounds before the holidays, check out Cami Checketts blog Fitness for Moms, in which she is having a fitness contest which will culminate in lots of awesome prizes--including a copy of my book, The Ball's in Her Court. Even if all you want to do is drink 8 glasses of water a day and eat 4 or more servings of vegetables you get two points each day--how easy is that? There are other ways to earn more points (like, you know, cutting sweets or actually exercising, too). Go read up on it now.

I know there were more awesome things, but I can't remember what they all were, and it's far too late for me to be up anyway. Just as a note, check out my new blog where I'm going to post of information about great, clean reads you can give your kids, mom, cousin, sister or Relief Society president without worrying what they'll contain. It feeds to my new Facebook fan page so if you Facebook you can get a notice each day about something new and interesting you might want to check out.

Please, feel free to pass on any of these contest, blogs, fan pages, etc to anyone you think might be interested.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Win one of Shirley Bahlmann's books

This week Anne Bradshaw is giving away one of Shirley Bahlmann's books on her blog. The free book is entitled "Pioneers: A Course in Miracles" and is one of seventeen books this prolific author has published, several volumes of which contain true pioneer stories. Check it out and enter to win!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book review: Against the Odds by Jewel Adams

Last month I was offered the chance to review Jewel Adam's book Against the Odds. Though I've known who Jewel is for several years, I hadn't had a chance to read any of her books. Jewel writes for both adults and teens and specializes in clean romances. Many of the books promote faith, though even those that don't feature characters with strong morals.

Against the Odds is just such a book. First, the backliner:

Tired of dealing with an unfaithful husband after seven years of marriage, Raine Edmunds finally gets a divorce. Wanting to start over, she leaves her successful modeling career behind and goes to a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico to stay with her best friend. The ranch is the perfect place for her to take stock of her life and all she's accomplished.

Then Raine meets Hayden, her friend's brother-in-law, and the opposite of all the other men she has ever known. As their friendship blossoms, so does her love of ranch life. She discovers that what she wants most-what her heart truly desires-is right in front of her.

Everything about Raine and Hayden's love is against the odds. Now they must prove to each other and to themselves that no matter what trials assail them, their love will be strong enough to overcome any obstacle.

The characters face issues and fears many of our society have to deal with every day and handle them in realistic ways. This is a light, quick read finishing off at 210 pages, just right to curl up with on a free afternoon. It's available in ebook on her site, or in hard copy from Check out her website to learn more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Call for adoption/reunion stories

If you haven't noticed from my previous posts, my book, The Ball's in Her Court is about a woman who was adopted out of foster care and decides she needs answers to her past. With National Adoption Awareness month looming in November, I want to do a series of posts about people's adoption stories, as well as some about reuniting with family down the road. It's such a difficult process--on both ends.

So everyone knows about adoption, but how many people have heard of open adoptions, where the lines of communication remain opened between the birth families and adoptive families? This can range from yearly letters back and forth, to including the birth families in major celebrations and backyard picnics.

There is quite a bit of controversy about open adoptions in some circles, just as there will always be controversy about adoptees and birth families searching for each other years later. The fact is, there are no pat answers, and no two situations are the same. No matter which road those involve choose, adoption is something ripe with emotion on all sides, both good and bad. I hope to celebrate the good during the month of November and hope you'll join me.

And, if you have a story about adoption, foster care, or adoptive reunion that you'd like to share, please send me an email at {Heather at Heatherjustesen dot com}. If anyone would prefer to remain anonymous, I'd be happy to keep their identities secret.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Librarian's Conference

Today I was able to attend UELMA's Southern Utah Regional Workshop --I have no idea what UELMA stands for, but the attendees were librarians from schools south of Provo and included people from all over the region. I was able to sit at a table with Laura Bingham, author of Alvor, a YA fantasy book. See the cover, isn't it awesome? She sold and autographed copies of her book while I handed out fliers with information on mine, including a Web address so people could read the first chapter. (The copy of my cover in the column to the right of this post has a link to read the first chapter, if you are so inclined.)

We both spoke to people about doing school visits, so hopefully we'll have lots of opportunities to speak with students this fall. I met a lot of great people. One woman remembers my mother from when we lived in Richfield more than 25 years ago. Another works at a school with a kid (yeah, I know, he's not a kid anymore, he's two years older than me!) with whom I went to high school.

Just watching Laura taught me so much about what to do or say, or what things I need to prepare for future signings--and that doesn't even include the things she said and pointers she gave me. I'm looking forward to getting out there and telling people about my book!

A big thanks to all the librarians who were brave enough to stop at our table and see what we were doing there. It made the day a fun one.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My cover's out!

Well, I got my book cover today. Isn't it bright and pretty?

Anyway, I'm counting down until I have copies of my book in my hot little hands. You can pre-order copies at, or on my website--where you can check out the first chapter if you haven't read it yet.

Here's the backliner (which gave me chills, so a huge thanks to whomever wrote it, because it's way better than my sad attempts!)

She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.

This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book giveaway winner!

I know I was supposed to announce the winner of Chef Shawn's book yesterday, but I spent a couple of days with my sisters and forgot. My bad. Anyway, the winner of "The First Timer's Cookbook" is....

Janet! Contact me with an address and I'll send it out.

Thanks for all of the comments everyone left. I wish I had more copies to spread around.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ready to print!

Just had to share, I got this from Tristi yesterday, which makes it all official, and I'm still grinning! My editor told me the editing and type setting is all finished for "The Ball's in Her Court" and it's ready to go to press next week (whoopee!). I should be getting my cover art this week, so I'll post that as soon as it's ready.

My book is already being pre-sold on at a really fantastic price here!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book review: The First Timer's Cookbook by Chef Shawn Bucher

I mentioned that I got to meet Chef Shawn Bucher at LDSBA this week, but it wasn't the first time I had heard about his book. there are so many cookbooks out there, I wondered what made this one different.

One peek at the inside answered that question.

The opening paragraph of the introduction reads:

You will have to learn to think for yourself if you're going to read this book. There, I said it. This book is not for someone who is looking for another collection of recipes. This is a book that will teach you haw to look at food, decide what you want to do with it, and then do it. This is the book that you start with when learning, or relearning, how to cook. This is the book that will lay the groundwork to enable you to create whatever you want.

How true his words are. He starts out with principals of food safety, then covers topics such as menu planning and how to set the table--always nice if you're like me and you can't remember if the spoon and knife go on the right or left (it's the right, by the way. I know because it shows a picture on page 9).

He then goes on to discuss (and show pictures) of pans, knives, cutting board, and other cooking essentials. there's a chapter on the right way to cut vegetables so you don't cut yourself, but get the job done efficiently, and one on cooking with wet heat (boiling, poaching, braising) vs, dry heat (grilling/broiling, baking).

Then you learn how to cook various kinds of meat, how to cut or process various fruits and vegetables, even how to chop up fresh herbs--and the best part is every section comes with plenty of pictures, which are essential in this kind of book. he also discusses processing and cooking rice, potatoes and pasta, and then ends the book with explanations of various cooking terms like deglazing and making a roux.

Seriously, this book will take the guess work out of all of the other cookbooks you have, teaching you how to preparing the food, and safe methods on how it's done. Every beginning cook should have this book--as well as some of us who've been cooking for a while, and are ready to become a bit more adventurous.

You can learn more about Chef Shawn, read his blog, or learn where to register for a class near you by checking out his website. The First-Timer's Cookbook can be purchased at here.

But, if you leave me a comment and tell me how much you desperately want this book, I'll include you in a drawing to win a autographed copy he's letting me give away (No one gets to have my copy, sorry.). Deadline to enter is midnight Thursday, Sept 10.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More Great Free Stuff

Okay, so I totally forgot all of the other awesome giveaways out there when I posted about Danyelle's, so here they are.

Anne Bradshaw is giving away Lisa Peck's new book "Stop Marrying Mistakes" on her blog.

Nichole Giles is giving away a book of mind-bending mazes on her blog. The deadline is midnight tonight, so hurry over and enter!

James Dashner has a new book coming out called "The Maze Runner." Author Aprilynne Pike is giving away an ARC of the book on her blog--but, before you go there, stop by James' blog to find out how to win a chance at a second ARC.

Don't forget Joyce DiPastena's blog tour for her historical romance "Illuminations of the Heart" is still going on, and there are several prizes available. Every time you leave a comment on a blog review, you can enter to win a copy, and it's a great story. To see who reviewed on which days, click here. To read the review on my blog and enter to win click here.

And, last but certainly not least, tomorrow I'll be talking about "The First Timer's Cookbook" by Chef Shawn Bucher. I met him at LDSBA, and he donated an autographed copy for me to give away. Very cool book. More details to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Check out this book giveaway!

Okay, I'm just posting a quick note because I need to get back to my edits. They'll be sending my book to the printers in about two weeks (Yeah!) so I better get my final read-through done.

Meanwhile, my friend Danyelle is giving away on her blog, a copy of Josi Kilpack's book 'English Trifle' a culinary mystery that was released this summer. Josi's a great writer and the book is getting wonderful reviews, so go enter to win right now!