Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who needs talent?

I ran across this video recently when I was checking out writing advice on Youtube (I swear, you can find *anything* on Youtube) and was really intrigued with Howard Taylor's class from last year's LTUE (Like, The Universe, and Everything) symposium at BYU. I think it's completely fascinating, and couldn't agree more with him. This is a three-part lecture, but well worth the time to check out. I hope you find it as eye opening as I did. Even though the presentation was given at a writer's conference, it's not so much about writing as it is about having the guts and determination to meet your goals. When you finish this video, it'll give you a link to the next one.

In other news, Rebound sales seem to be making a resurgence (I wish I knew why so I could keep it going!). I've sold over 100 copies to Bookscan stores in the past month alone, which is really decent considering it's been out nearly a year, and the prior month's sales were maybe twenty copies for both my books combined. The Ball's in her Court has still managed to sell a couple copies a week as well, so it hasn't completely disappeared.

Also, I've been super busy between work, my writing, and trying to get my Whitney Award reading done. I finished reading the mystery/suspense finalists last week (which were predictably awesome and going to be incredibly difficult to pick a winner), and am already making serious headway on the YA general list. I read Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That might Kill Me by Kirsten Chandler last night/this morning and was really impressed. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next! I love discovering new writers, and I loved her character's voice and the funny way she has of describing things.

I also laughed my way through Janette Rallison's My Double Life, which had great characters, an engaging plot, and an ending that will have many a person flipping back to reread it. This should be no surprise, as Janette has long been one of my favorite writers and never fails to entertain.

My editing has been seriously falling by the wayside the past month, but I'm keeping up enough to provide something for my critique groups still, so I'm not being a total slacker. I'm going to get back to that soon. I plan to finish up this Whitney category and read the last one for the romance category by the end of the week, which will leave me with only eleven books to go, and another two months before the deadline--which should be oodles for me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: "Dearly Departed" by Tristi Pinkston

When Eden's job as obituary editor puts her in contact with a woman who believes her mom was murdered in a nursing home, she has only one choice: to call in the Secret Sisters! Since Ida Mae Babbit has recently fallen and broken an ankle and her wrist, she's the perfect choice to go undercover and she moves right into Shady Aspens nursing home, looking for clues and making new friends (read: partners in crime), though she couldn't solve the mystery without Arlette, Tansy, and, of course, Eden's assistance. Eden's co-worker and new love interest, Kevin, comes along for the ride, adding to Eden's confusion as Ren is still on his mission and her feelings for him have not diminished.

A second murder, mayhem, and plenty of hi-jinks ensue as the Secret Sisters, and their new friends track down the murderers, and try not to become the next victims.

Okay, I guess I ought to admit that Tristi is in my critique group, so I read this book in its ridiculously clean first draft two years ago (seriously, the woman hardly even needs a critique group, but we're not letting her get away!). I reread the book, giggling all the way through for the second time. The characters are as bright and funny as they were in the first book of the Secret Sisters series, with plenty of great quips and one-liners (Tansy is still my favorite, though Eden sure does shine in this one). The plot has oodles of twists and turns along the way, and since Tristi changed a name or two after we read it, even I went a good portion of the book before figuring out who was responsible.

This cozy mystery is one of my favorites, and sure to please anyone who likes snappy dialogue, zany characters a twisty who dunnit.

To learn more about Tristi's first book in the Secret Sisters mystery series, check out my review of book one here, or visit Tristi's website here. Also, don't forget the giveaway being held in conjunction with the blog tour. Learn how to sign up here.

And if you enjoy Tristi's cozies as much as I do, keep an eye out, there are more on the way!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Dearly Departed" book tour and giveaway!

Ida Mae
Babbitt rides again!

Ida Mae Babbitt may be a reformed woman, but trouble just can't stay away.
Follow the blog tour for Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston and learn
about Ida Mae's latest adventure.

We will be giving away THREE copies of Dearly Departed . One
GRAND PRIZE winner will win this fun
scrap booking pack.

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read Dearly
. Remember to include your email address.
2. For an additional entry become a follower of Walnut Springs Press blog,
Tristi's blog, or any of the fabulous reviews blog. Leave a comment letting
us know who's blog you now follow.
3. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry for each post.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on March 6th.

Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed
woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter
Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the
perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into
the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing
around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping
files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of
this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next

February 16th
Starcrossed book
(Nichole Giles)

Febraury 17
(Karlene Browning)

February 18
Heather Justesen

February 21
Elizabeth Mueller

February 22
LDS Women's Book Review (Shanda

February 23
Rachelle Writes
(Rachelle Christensen)
Hard But Oh So Worth It
(Kimberly Coates)

February 24
Fire and Ice (Heather

February 28
Cheryl's Book Nook
(Cheryl Koch)

March 1
JDP News (Joyce DiPastena)

March 2
Teri Rodeman

March 3
Why Not? Because I Said
(Sheila Stayley)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love at first sght . . . or not so much

A bunch of writer friends and myself decided to do a special blog fest this month for Valentine's Day--the theme is Love at first sight . . . or not so much. I was excited to have a chance to show off this scene, which I had a ton of fun writing. I can't wait to spend more time with these characters some day. You can find the page of links to other people's blogs to check out their segments here.

And without further ado:

Delphi got out of her car and sighed as she saw the sign in the window of the photography studio. She checked her watch. “Punctuality is going to be a problem.” She was just on time, so if he showed up in the next couple of minutes, she wouldn’t hold it against him. The low rumble of a motorcycle reached her ears and she turned toward it, soaking up the sunshine as it hit her face.

The gray and charcoal bullet bike came to a stop behind her car, the BMW sports model made her salivate. The lean, black leather clad man straddling it wasn’t hard to look at either, she decided when he removed the helmet to show a shock of blond hair and brown eyes.

“You must be Delphinium,” he said as he got off the bike.

“Call me Delphi.” She crossed to him, intrigued by the punch of attraction she felt when his eyes met hers. “So you’re Jeremy?” Better and better, she thought as she extended a hand for a shake. As the events coordinator, she’d be spending lots of time in this man’s company in the future—if his work passed muster.

His hand covered hers with warm firmness, though he didn’t return her smile of pleasure at the meeting. “Guilty as charged. Sorry about not being here when you arrived.” His manner was distinctly cool as he tucked his helmet under his arm and turned toward the store. “I usually arrive early.”

“Good to know.” She took an step down from her warm greeting. No need to be effusive if he was going to act like that. And she’d see for herself how punctual he generally was.

They walked in and she took in the warm red tone of the wall behind the counter, the contrasting off-mustard color of the others. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. If he’d done the decorating, he had a good eye. And, she decided, if the portraits on the walls were any indication of his skill, that good eye extended to his work behind the camera as well.

“Just to clear the air,” he said after he deposited the helmet behind the counter. “I’m not looking for marriage, no matter how much money your father left you.”

Stymied by his declaration, she pivoted to look at him. “I don’t recall proposing.”

“I saw the way you looked at me when I pulled up.” He slid his hands into his pockets, crossed to her. “I know interest when I see it in a woman’s eyes.”

His arrogance totally floored her. “I was looking at your bike. That’s the new BMW S1000RR, isn’t it? Do you race? Because I can’t imagine why else you’d own a bike that’s been known to clock in the 180 mile-per-hour range. And what do you think of the rain setting? Have you had a chance to try it out yet?”

“Yeah, the rain setting comes in handy on these windy mountain roads. And I’ve been known to join a race or two.” His shock was obvious.

Feeling a little triumphant on taking him by surprise, she smirked. “It’s a hot ride.”


“And for your information,” she said with as much ice as she could muster. “Your bike is way hotter than you are.” She gestured to the counter. “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you going to show me your portfolio or not?”

His shock lasted only a second more before he appeared to shake it off and moved to grab a big binder. “Of course.”

She didn’t think she imagined his gratitude for the change of subject.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review: Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington

I really wasn't sure what this book as about, besides the obvious title, when I was asked if I would be willing to review the book. Still, I'd heard good things about the book, so I decided to give it a try.

Funny thing was, I expected Dan Harrington's account of his experiences with the Church and the missionaries to be his conversion story--but that isn't what it turned out to be. Instead it's a human interest story that included a lot more of himself than he'd planned on.

I know there are a lot of memoirs out there--and many of them seem to be more tell-alls than anything--but I found this one to be fascinating. I don't normally read a lot of non-fiction, though I pick up a few each year, more for research than anything else.

Harrington is a bright, witty writer whose story captured my interest right off. He's very candid about his impressions of the Church, and told the story with a very fair hand throughout. Each chapter gives more insight into him, his faith, his search for truth, and his stumbling blocks along the way.

Harrington was just starting his work as a freelance reporter when the missionaries first showed up at his home in Augusta, Maine. He let them in because he wanted to do a story on them for the newspaper. That opened the door to more teaching opportunities and friendships that developed with the missionaries, and the exploration of many religions and their beliefs for the newspaper. His original expectations of who and what Mormons were had me chuckling as it fell somewhere between the Amish and a militant cult.

At less than 150 pages, the story is short, but well worth the time. I absolutely recommend it whether memoir is your usual thing or not, whether you're LDS or not. And I really hope Dan does another book some day, fiction or non-fiction, I don't care, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.

Dan doesn't have a website that I could find (and if you Google him, you'll pick up lots of references to the big poker player--which is not the right man). But his blog can be found here, and you can read a fun interview Sarah Eden did with him for one of her I Need Friends Friday Linksegments here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Curing Lemuelitis

This week one of the authors in my writer's guild, Rob Ficiur, wrote this great post on a serious plague in our society: Lemuelitis Murmuronia.

Here's an excerpt:

Years ago the plague of Poliomyelitis ravaged the world. Polio was the most dreaded childhood disease of the early to mid-20th century, causing death and paralysis to those it infected. Lives were destroyed.

In 1952, Jonas Salk discovered a cure for the polio virus. The dreaded disease that plagued North American 50 years ago is almost unheard of by school children today. Caring parents have made sure their children are immunized against this life-threatening disease.

In recent weeks, I have discovered the cure for another plague that is spreading across the world, across our country, even our church and our families. As I announce the discovery of this new disease, I also announce the cure. Those who follow the vaccine that I describe will avoid the heartache, sorrow and lifetime of blindness that are associated with this disease.

The disease I have discovered I have named Lemuelits Murmuronia after that great Book of Mormon leader Lemuel, who is the son of Lehi. Lemuel and his brother Laman took every opportunity they could to murmur.

Click here to read the whole article on Mormon Times.