Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Week FILLED with Giveaways!

So to celebrate the release of my book, and to round out my blog tour (which has been going great!), I've put together a week of giveaways--9I know, you're thinking that you've hit the jackpot!). That's right, every day this week (except today), I'll be giving away great prizes to you, my readers!

All entries will be kept until the end of the week to give early e
ntrants the best possible chance to win!

Want to know what you could win? Okay, I'll tell you!

I'm starting off with a couple of autographed copies of Tristi P
inkston's first two books, Nothing to Regret, and Strength to Endure, both historicals taking place during World War II. Nothing to Regret is about a man who is sent to the Japanese internment camp in the desert just west of where I live. He has to give up finishing college and leave nearly everything behind when he and his parents are forced to move there. During the course of the book he enlists and goes undercover in Japan. This is a great book!

Strength to Endure is set at the same time, only in Germany. Strength To Endure expertly portrays the consequences of war and the ability of the human spirit to conquer all.

Both of these books are out of print and even the author has no more copies left--this is it folks. Tristi has since written another historical, Season of Sacrifice; a romantic mystery/suspense Agent in Old Lace; and has a hysterical cozy mystery series coming out starting next year, called Secret Sisters. (I know, I'm in her critique group, and I can't wait to see these books in print!).

1) A couple of years ago I had the privilege of critiquing a manuscript for my friend Ronda--it kept me hanging on to the very end--so I was thrilled when she announced it was being released the same time as mine!

I'm giving away a copy of Missing, donated by new author, Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. This mystery/suspense story with romance elements will keep you gripping the edge of your seats! You can learn more about the book here, or read Ronda's blog here.

2) I've been hearing great things about Mike McPheters' book, Agent Bishop about his true story of being an FBI agent moonlight as a Mormon Bishop. Mike does firesides and speaks to groups all over the place, and has been a very busy man sharing his story this fall. (I seriously have no clue how he keeps up with it all). I'm totally excited to offer a copy of his book! You can learn more about him on his website.

1) I love vinyl signs and the easy personality they share, so I was really thrilled when Valerie Ipson offered to donate a $15 gift certificate from Vinyl Expressions. She has lots of cute designs and ideas! Check out her website here for more!

2) Do you like intense political thrillers? If so, you'll love winning Steve Alten's The Shell Game! This New York Times best-selling author is known for his book MEG, about a huge shark that lives in the Mariana Trench, along with several other major suspense books. He spoke at a conference I attended last spring (via Internet) and I'm telling you, the man is a meticulous wordsmith. Learn more about him and his upcoming titles at his website.

1) You may not have picked up from my blog posts (here, here, and here) that I like to bake, and I enjoy cake decorating a lot. (Oh, you did, well, then, you won't be surprised by tomorrow's post). I blame my parents for getting me started, and Kristi for egging me on. In fact, because I was having so much fun, I decorated a cake for Tristi Pinkston for her book launch for Agent in Old Lace, and I used an edible image of her cover.

Kristi's Creative Cakes (based out of the Salt Lake Valley) offered a free edible image using your photo or image and shipped to you (within the U.S.) free. If you live on the Wasatch Front and need a whole cake, she's willing to credit the winner $15 toward the price of a finished cake (which is at least half again what the edible image is worth, even shipped!). And let me tell you, she makes gorgeous and totally delicious cakes for weddings, birthdays, showers and any other occasion you might need. Learn more about her cakes on her blog. Her regular website is still under construction, but can be found here. The edible images are very simple to apply to your own cakes.

2 Who doesn't need a little magic? A little suspense--fighting against the bad guys and knowing somehow, in the end, the good will at least survive to fight again, if not attain a full victory? Reiyalindis is a YA fantasy which I haven't had a chance to read yet and I have been hard-pressed to keep my husband from snatching it up to read it instead of letting me give it away. You can learn more about Cory and the book here.

I have three giveaways this day--that’s right, three.

1) We’ll start off with Bone Warriors, by Bron Bahlmann, the fifteen year old who has already broken into the publishing business. This adventure/fantasy is sure to keep you hooked. it's gotten great reviews. Bron's been doing school visits and signings all over the state. You an learn more about him here.

2) Next is Anne Bradshaw’s newest offering, Famous Family Nights, which stories from much beloved personalities such as Allen Osmond, David Glen Hatch, Josi Kilpack, Suan Easton Black, and many more. Check out Anne's blog (where she does weekly giveaways), and her website.

3) And finally (I did mention how much I love cake decorating, right?), we have His and Her Treasures' donation of a $10 gift certificate to their store, which you can find here. Not only do they sell cake supplies (pans, tips, bags, colors, cake boards, etc), but they have candy supplies (melted chocolate wafers, molds, pretty bags and sucker sticks), sprinkles, color sprays, decorated cupcake liners, wedding supplies, baby shower items, and much more. They ship all over the world and have a much better selection than any cake store I’ve been able to find in Utah, and better shipping rates than most anywhere.

If cakes' aren't your thing, they also sell vinyl for Cricuts and similar machines, transfer tape, pet supplies and costumes for both pets and humans (eclectic place, isn’t it?).

So, now that you know what you can win, you probably want to know how—because that does tend to improve the odds.

There are several ways to earn entries—
First, for one entry simply leave a comment on this post. Make
sure I can reach you, either through a blog or by leaving an email address for me to contact you with. If I don’t hear back from you within 24 hours, I’ll draw again.

Next, for two entries, post on your blog about the giveaway, and link them back to this post (the permalink, not the general blog address), then leave me a comment saying that you’ve done so.

For two more entries, post a link to the contest on your Facebook account. If you aren’t my friend on Facebook already, you’ll have to become one so I can check out your post.

For four entries, post this cute blog button in your sidebar for the week, with a link back to this post.

And for five more entries, post my trailer on your blog.

That's 14 possible entries into the contest. Fourteen chances to win!

If you want to do several things in one blog post, I’m totally good with that. Just make sure to let me know by email, or a comment on this post what you’ve done so I can make sure and get your entries listed. I’ll post back here every day with the winners!

Today's tour stop:

I forgot to mention Keith Fisher's review on LDS Writer's Blogck, which you can find here.

Great bread recipe

Yes, I know, I've been a terrible slacker about blogging this week. I have big news to announce tomorrow, so check back and see what's going on. =) My sister asked for a good bread recipe, so I thought I'd post it here as well. I make this all the time, and we totally love it. The basic recipe came out of a book, but I've altered it some.

1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp active dry yeast (or 2 tsp instant dry yeast)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp Vitamin C powder (if you have it, if not, no worries, just leave it out).
2 beaten eggs
6-6 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

If you have instant yeast, you don't have to let it activate in warm water, but I usually do anyway. If it's not instant, put the cup of warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Then sprinkle the Tbsp of sugar over the bowl too. Set aside while you mix all the other wet ingredients, then add the yeast mixture, then add salt, sugar, and ginger and mix. Add the flour a cup at a time until it's the right consistency--smooth, not sticky to the touch.

Turn out onto floured counter and knead for 5 to 7 minutes. Prepare a large mixing bowl with a bit of oil along the bottom and sides, pop the dough in there and then turn it over to make sure the top is greased as well (sometimes I just pour a bit more oil on top and spread it with my pastry brush). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until double. Usually about an hour, but it depends on how warm your kitchen is. Punch it down and let it rest while you grease and FLOUR two bread pans, then cut it in two and form into loaves. Set in pans and cover with plastic wrap for an hour or so or until double. Bake at 350 degrees. My book says 45-55 minutes, but mine rarely takes that long. Start checking it for appropriate browning about 35 minutes in. Let it cool only for a few minutes in the pans before popping it out. If you floured the pans well it should fall right out.

I like to make mine with half wheat, or a bit more instead of all white flour. When I do this I always add 1/4 cup of wheat gluten per batch to help it rise properly and it makes a big difference.

Also, if you get interrupted or know you won't have one long three-hour period free to do this, you can let the first rising happen in your fridge over a three-to four hour period (say, while you attend your kid's ball game or run to church). It will raise in the cold just fine, but at a slower pace. When you get back home, pull it out to finish rising, or if it's done, just punch it down and prepare the loaf pans.

I also like to double the batch and freeze three loaves (because it's just Bill and me), pulling them out to defrost in the fridge the night before I'll need them and they taste fine. Remember, there are no preservatives in the bread so if you leave it sitting out for several days it will mold faster than store bought. I always store mine in the fridge.

This week's stops on my blog tour (because I was just that big of a slacker!)

Joyce DiPastena
Teri Rodeman
Valerie Ipson
Rachel Rager
Laura Bingham
Rachelle Christensen
A fun interview by Sarah Eden for her I Need Friends Friday post
Sheila Staley

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book review: "An Angel on Main Street" by Kathi Oram Peterson

Every year we see a new crop of Christmas stories that warm the heart and remind us what the season is really about. Kathi Oram Peterson's newest book, An Angel on Main Street is one of those special holiday offerings.

Micah Connors, his mother, and little sister have only been living in Bolton, Idaho for a few weeks, but Christmas, 1953 is not looking to be a happy one. Micah's dad died in the recent war and his mom struggles just to put food on the table. Added to that, they moved to Bolton to get Micah away from some friends who were headed down the wrong road, and his little sister, Annie, is very sick. They've had to sell all of their nice furniture to pay for her medical bills and while Micah could seriously use a new coat and shoes, he's not complaining because he's trying to be the man of the house.

When the sheriff catches Micah in the wrong place at the wrong time, they makes a deal to keep it a secret from Micah's mom. Then a mysterious stable and nativity figures begin to appear in the island at the intersection in front of Micah's building, and he begins a quest to find out who's putting it there.

Through bad choices, bad timing, and a Christmas miracle or two, this book will touch your heart and make you yearn to bring the real reason for the season back into your home. At only 99 pages, this story is just the right length to curl up with for an hour or so of relaxation.

This is the second of Kathi Oram Peterson's books. You can learn more about the author at her website or her blog. Her books are available on Amazon, Seagull Book, Deseret Book, and many, many other stores.

Today's stop on my blog tour: Jewel Adams

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Mormon Mishaps and Mischief" now Available for Preorder

This will be a quick post tonight as I really need to get to bed early, since I have to leave town by 5 a.m. to get to Kanab on time tomorrow. Last week my friends D.N. Giles and C.L. Beck got their first glimpse of the cover of their new book, "Mormon Mishaps and Mischief: Hilarious Stories for Saints." It's a compilation of stories all surrounding LDS meetings and I have a story appearing in it. It's coming out next month, but is already available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. Both C.L. and D.N. (Cindy and Nichole) have more info about the book, some sneak previews, and announcements about their big book launch party next month. So check out Nichole and Cindy's blogs, or their LDS Humor blog they created when they were putting together this book.

Today, Aubrey Mace reviewed my book on her blog. Tomorrow, check out Anne Bradshaw's blog to check out an interview she did with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Come to the Boutique!

My sister Kristi puts together this great boutique in West valley City every year. Tristi Pinkston and I will be signing there all day tomorrow from 9 to 5.

In other news, I've spent the past two days at my alma mater--Millard High School--talking to the English students about writing. It was fun, but a bit disorienting to have English teachers asking me questions about writing as if *I* were the expert. Especially since both of them graduated from the same high school several years before I did. It was cool though. Most of the kids paid attention at least most of the time. And only a couple of smart-alecs asked me if I was rich now that I published a book. haha They were disappointed when they found out it wasn't *easy* to make a living writing! I had several students approach me later and asking me writing questions and had a chance to have actual conversations a couple of them during breaks and while they T/A-ed

I had writer friends asking me about what I do when I go to schools, so I tried to record the last session, but the camera shut itself off after four minutes, so I guess they'll have to go on that. I'll have to play with it and see if I can figure out why it turned off before I head to Kanab on Tuesday.

Oh, looky there--it's not even 10 p.m. and I have a little time to write and still sleep reasonably early (for me) before my alarm goes off at 5!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Deepest apologies

Yes, I know I promised a contest announcement for many fabulous prizes, but I'm going to have to put you all off. When I look at my schedule between now and Thanksgiving, the thought of adding one more thing to the stack makes my head hurt, so I am going to postpone until Thanksgiving weekend. Please, don't throw tomatoes (unless they are vine ripened and you promise to throw underhand--I could use some about now).

Apparently I'm getting great at letting people (mostly myself) down. My Nanowrimo count is abysmal (I just love that word, and how often does one get the chance to use it in conversation?) I still haven't finished The Hidden Branch, I have interview questions to answer and send back for my blog tour, and still haven't outlined my presentation for my school visit on Tuesday. And did I mention I have been horrible at updating my other blog? Yeah, I really need to do something about that tonight, at least.

Oh, and my PowerPoint presentation for my high school went great today, but I want to do some more tweaks to the slides before I return to hit the rest of the English classes tomorrow.

I promise to add at least one more fabulous prize to my contest in recompense for making you all wait a bit longer.

In other news, I'm going to be signing at Honey's Jubilee grocery store in Kanab Tuesday, November 17th from 4:30-7 pm after I present at a couple of the area schools. If you or someone you know lives in the area, please take pity on me and at least stop by to enter the drawing for 101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes. You know how I love cupcakes, and this book has got some of the tastiest-looking recipes I've ever seen! If you're not fabulously lucky enough to live in Kanab to win this prize, you can learn more and buy a copy here. Wendy Paul also has her own Youtube channel where she had videos from cooking demonstrations she's done.

Today's tour stop:

Keith Fisher's blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Family Home Evening Adventures" Winner!

I know, I know, I said I would announce the winner when I reviewed GG Vandagriff's book, The Hidden Branch, but I've been insanely busy, so I haven't quite finished the book yet. Look for a review tomorrow...or possibly Friday. Yeah, I know, I'm a slacker. But the book is shaping up pretty interesting so far.

I am, however, going to announce the winner of Rebecca Irvine's book, Family Home Evening Adventures. I used to make the decision for me and the winner was Julia! Julia, send me your address and I'll have Rebecca mail you out a copy.

In other awesome news, I just found out today that Deseret Book and Seagull Book have decided to carry The Ball's in Her Court, so you should be able to pick it up from one of them soon. Seagull didn't order very many copies, so you may have to order it--the upside of that is if enough people, ask they may stock more copies. The Sandy Barnes & Noble has a few signed copies on their shelves now, and some of the other stores are starting to get a few here and there.

I'm going to be talking to students at my alma mater over the next couple of days, which is exciting and a bit daunting. It will be the first of my school visits. I have six others in the works and a few other feelers out, so the next month will be busy with those on top of signings and my blog tour, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Today's stop on my blog tour is at Danyelle Ferguson's blog, Queen of the Clan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Links to all of my Blog Tour Stops

I had a request for me to post all of the links to people's blogs. I had a few shift around, but this is the current list. As the blogs are posted I'll change the links to point directly to the post instead of the general blog.

November 6: Michelle Ashman Bell

November 9: Nichole Giles

November 10: Cami Checkets will post on her book blog

November 11: Danyelle Ferguson reviewed the book here, but will also do an interview here.

November 12: Keith Fisher

November 16: Aubrey Mace

November 17: Interview with Anne Bradshaw

November 18: Jewel Adams

November 20: Joyce DiPastena

November 21: Teri Rodeman

November 23: Valerie Ipson

November 24: Rachel Rager

November 25: Laura Bingham

November 27: Rachelle Christensen

November 28: Sheila Staley

December 1: Kimberly Job

December 2: Alison Palmer

December 3: Molly Edwards

December 4: Connie Hall

December 18: Kathi Oram Peterson

Cami should be posting up later today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Release party updates and blog tour stops

I know, I meant to post these photos two weeks ago, but you know how that goes. I had my Fillmore launch party on Oct 24th at my local library which went pretty well! I had a lot of friends show up and stay to talk and yummy cookies and punch.

My friend Danyelle Ferguson actually flew into Utah from Kansas to be there for me on my big day--because she's awesome.

She helped me get everything together Friday night so Saturday morning I wouldn't be too frazzled and she stayed up WAY past her bedtime two nights in a row.

If you want to see more photos, check out Danyelle's blog because she posted a ton!

Here's me and Danyelle at the library. My totally sweet mom bought this corsage for me. Isn't she the best?
This group includes Mary Greathouse, author of several books including the new Family Record Keeper. She's not part of my regular critique group, but she did edit The Ball's in Her Court for me. Everyone else is in my weekly critique group: Nichole Giles, writer of many a published article who is shopping around a really great YA fantasy right now. Me, Keith Fisher, who is working on a great women's fiction book right now, but has several other interesting books in the works as well. Danyelle Ferguson, who has a non-fiction book titled (dis)Abilities in the Gospel which is being released by Valor Publishing next summer. And Tristi Pinkston, writer of several wonderful historical books, A romantic suspense called Agent in Old Lace and some upcoming humorous mystery series starting with Secret Sisters next March with Valor Publishing.
Nichole, Tristi, Danyelle, Keith, me, and Karen Hoover with her two sons--who came all the way from Tooele. Karen has a new book also coming out with Valor Publishing next March called The Saphire Flute.

Lots of local people also turned out to support me and bought books. It was a great day. Afterwards me and most of those in the above picture came to my house for a barbecue.

This past Saturday I had another launch party at the Sandy Barnes & Noble. I also signed with:
Aubrey Mace, author of several books, including her newest--Santa Maybe, which you can find a review for on my blog. Linda Chadwick, who has her first book Second Chances, out, which I also reviewed here. and Ronda Hinrichsen, who also has her first book, Missing, just out in stores. I read her book in a previous version and it was really good. It was great to sign with these ladies and I look forward to doing it again soon.
I also had some fabulous family support. Pictured is my Aunt Marilyn, cousin Misty and her daughter McKenna, me, my cousin Carolyn and her daughter (whose name has totally escapes me. Please forgive me!) and my cousin Cindy.
I also had several high school and college friends pop in, but apparently forgot to pull out my camera--I'm such a slacker. This is Sherry, we graduated from high school together, and her daughter Shelby, who has just finished a YA fantasy book of her own. Go Shelby!

We had drawings at both parties and gave away some great prizes. Now, if you want to find out how to win some things yourself (besides the Family Home Evening Adventures book, which you'll find out how to win here, and there's only a day left to enter--so hurry!) You'll have to check back on Wednesday for details.

Now, as I said, my blog tour has officially begun. Friday, Michelle Ashman Bell interviewed me and did a review of my book, which you can find here.

Today, Nichole Giles reviewed my book.

Thanks ladies!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Busy, busy month!

I really have been doing more than reading books for book reviews--I promise! There are actually a ton of things on my to-do list and I've been really busy. I did add nearly 13,000 words to various manuscripts last month, and I've already gotten another 4,000 or so added to my most recently one this month. I'm trying to do Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month where you try to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in November). Unfortunately, my publicity stuff is definitely going to get in the way of my writing goals this month, so I'll just be thrilled if I get halfway there.

The good part of that is everything I've got going on. First, I had my big Fillmore book launch party on October 24th at my local library--which went smashingly well. Most of my critique group made it down to see me that day, along with my totally awesome friend Danyelle, who FLEW to Utah from Kansas just to be here for me that weekend--a big thank you to her husband for letting her come because it was so great to have her here and she was such a help! Any my friend Karen Hoover who came all the way from Tooele!

This Saturday I have my Wasatch Front launch party. (If you don't live in Utah, the Wasatch front covers pretty much everything from Ogden to Payson--the biggest urban area in the state). I'm signing with Aubrey Mace (who I've been wanting to meet since she won a Whitney Award last April) and Linda Chadwick (who I met the first time in June. She's a new author too with her first book, "Second Chances" which came out last summer.) We're still waiting on final word as to whether the store will be able to get Ronda Hinrichsen's new romantic suspense book "Missing" in by tomorrow. I critiqued this book for her several years back, so I'm really excited to see it in print.

After that I have a spate of events from school visits (Millard High, North Sevier, Kanab, Orderville, San Juan, and several others coming up), my blog tour (starting Monday), putting together a fun giveaway later this month, and several signings--including two in Utah County this month, and a couple more in the Salt Lake area.

Oh, and did I mention Nano? Oh, I did? Well, you can see why I don't think I'll quite make the 50,000 word mark this month. But I'll have fun trying!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Book review and giveaway of "Family Home Evening Adventures" by Rebecca Irvine

You may have heard of Rebecca Irvine's first book, Adventures with the Word of God. She's recently followed it up her second book, Family Home Evening Adventures--a guide to help you plan your Family Home Evening activities. Each month you'll find a theme with song suggestions, suggested Friend articles, a game or activity, a thought-provoking quote and a fun treat idea that goes with the theme. The book also contains a sheet and ideas for planning for success for your Monday nights. I found the resources very easy to follow and adaptable to different family situations. You can win a copy of this book--read to the end to find out how.

This is what the publisher has to say about the book (aka the back-cover blurb):

Take the stress out of family home evening scripture study.
It s Monday night, and you re ready for another fun-filled, family activity. Family Home Evening Adventures is the perfect way to keep your children focused on the scriptures to build their testimonies. Filled with 12 fun seasonal activities, puzzles, questions, and lessons, this book lets you effectively plan for the entire year with a theme for each month.

Your children will learn gospel topics such as

Love at Home
The Atonement
Feasting Upon the Word
Preparing for Baptism and others.

With this handy helper, parents can teach children to actively learn from the scriptures and increase their individual testimonies during family home evening.

Okay, so now for the giveaway--to win a copy of Family Home Evening Adventures, visit Rebecca's blog and tell me which Friend article she suggests for building your FHE activity. Then email me at Heather at HeatherJustesen dot com with the answer -and- leave a comment in the comment trail here. Don't leave the answer in your comment. She'll send out a copy of the book to the winner--which I'll announce here next week when I review GG Vandagriff's newest book. Enter before Midnight MST November 10.