blogger

Let's Play the Random Game followed by a Game of Limbo

I like this little blog of mine. I'm sure you can't tell since it's been so neglected. In fact, you've probably considered calling the Division of Blog Services to tell them of this abuse and hoped they'd take my blog away and give it to someone who would better love it and care for it, someone who would post regularly about semi-interesting things. I even hired someone a couple of months ago to give it a makeover. I guess that's kinda like the mom who buys her kids a big gift to make up for the fact that she's never around. I really hope I'm a better parent than I am a blogger.

There's a reason the blog has been on life support. My life has been a little chaotic lately. I'm not on life support, but I do feel like I've been hanging on to my sanity by my poor, short fingernails.


Not to elicit your sympathy, but more for a record for myself, the last seven weeks have been full of highs and lows and moving fast, and faster, and faster still.

We sent Bruce on his tour of Asia. He's spending seven weeks in China, three days in Hong Kong, four weeks in Taiwan, all with a backpack and a briefcase. He's visited four huge cities, the Great Wall, and three branches of the church (Tian Jing 12-18 members, Beijing about 25 members, and Shanghai about 60 members). We're able to text and every few days we Facetime for an hour or so, so even though he's much farther away than Veronica, in some ways he feels closer. It's been fun to share this experience with him and it's given me a little taste of what it will be like when he moves over there to work, which is part of his plan.

Veronica is in leadership and is busy, busy, busy. She's been faced with some of the greatest challenges of her life as she's serving and honestly, it's been hard. Throughout her life, if she's had anything difficult--school, friendships, guy issues, disappointments--she's come to me. We've talked and worked through everything and we've been a team. I knew when she left on her mission that this would be different. I'm not there. I'm not a phone call away. She can't call me as she walks to class and get my opinion or ask for advice. She's had some really tough challenges lately. I've missed being her confidant and her sounding board, but I'm grateful she's learned that she has a wiser confidant than me and a sounding board who's there all the time. It causes a little heartache not to be there for her, but I'm so glad she knows her Heavenly Father is always there and has gone to Him.

I hate it when people complain about their aches and pains, so I'm not going to do it. I'm just going to say that arthritis and kidney stones have become two of my most reliable companions. That's all.

The Husband Maker is out and so far the reviews (I know I shouldn't read them) have been almost all good. I'm doing my best to be sure The Match Maker isn't far behind it.

Since this is my blog, can I vent for just a moment about reviews? I totally get that every book isn't for every reader. I understand that some people might like one of my books, but not another. I respect that. I must admit confusion, however, when someone reads one of my books and writes a review expressing how little they liked it and pointing out everything that bugged them--then they read my next book and do the same. And then the next. And then the next. I've released four full-length novels now and one novella. If you hated one and gave the next one a try, thank you. That was generous of you. If you hated them all and you keep reading them anyway, I have to wonder. If you dislike my books, think they're shallow, think the writing is flat, think nothing happens, etc, etc, etc, I give you permission not to read any more of them. I hate to think of the pain and torture I'm inflicting on you. But if you continue to read them, hmm. Maybe you don't dislike them as much as you say you do. Maybe you've just decided that it's your job to teach me patience and restraint. If that's the case, thank you again. I guess.

June was super busy with girls camp, basketball camps, trek, Aaronic priesthood encampment, jobs, traveling for work, getting our house ready to show, wanting and losing an amazing one-level house that would have solved the stair issue for me, busy church callings, a major birthday (ugh), publishing a large family newsletter, and more that I'll spare you the details of. There was so much that I feel our first month of summer vacation was yanked right out from under us and here we are, a week of July already gone. Time doesn't feel like my friend right now.

Would I be a horrible mother if I didn't send my kids to school this fall? Did I just say fall? Who am I kidding? They're taking my kids back the middle of the stinking summer. AUGUST 17!!! Who decided school should start in the middle of August? I know I had nothing to say about it. Every year, they rob us of a little more of our summer. Sometimes I wish I was one of those radicals who leaves normal society behind and goes off the grid so they can do their own thing. Wouldn't it be fun to make all your own rules? Oh, there are so many things I'd change.

Limbo: noun - a West Indian dance in which the dancer bends backward to pass under a horizontal bar that is progressively lowered to a position just above the ground.

Limbo: noun - an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.

What do these two definitions have in common? The need to be flexible, I guess. The first is obviously physical flexibility. The second is a different kind of flexibility.

We've been in limbo for awhile now. The doctor said I should try to eliminate as many stairs from my life as possible. Since our house is very vertical, with three tall flights of stairs, we decided we should try to find something that will work better for me. For the last ten months, we've been on the hunt for main level living with personality. Oh, and it has to be in our price range. It's very rare and when it comes up, there are multiple offers (some with cash) and no one wants to wait for a house to sell. It's proven to be very frustrating. I've decided limbo isn't much fun and while I know from experience, I'm terrible at the game, I'm also discovering I'm not much better at the other kind of limbo.

And so we barrel into July. There's still no lazy, relaxing summer in sight. We still live in a vertical house, but it's more organized and it's a beautiful house, so my knees and hips are the only ones complaining. I'm working hard to make this trilogy an enjoyable read for those of you kind enough to read it, and I'm missing my kids that are gone and wishing we could just pack all four of them up and keep them close.

Travis suggested we sell our house and travel the world for a few years with the money from the sale. It sounds so heavenly--Iceland, Scotland, Norway, the Netherlands during tulip season, China, Taiwan, New Zealand... I could go on and on. I could write a book about it. But where would we live when we came home with no money? Sometimes I hate having to be responsible. (Sorry, I couldn't choose one picture. Just google "tulip fields" and prepare to be breathless.)









I just read through this post. It might be the most convoluted thing I've ever posted, but maybe that just reflects the way I feel right now. Maybe I needed to be all over the place to help me gain a little clarity. And I must admit, these tulip pictures make me happy.

So what has become clear from this?

Maybe we should just travel the world.

In Book News...

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry I've been MIA the last little while. The reason is because I've been working fast and furiously on all things book. And guess what? I have news.


First, The Husband Maker is now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. It's coming soon to Nook and will be available in paperback, possibly as soon as next week.

In other The Husband Maker news, I've chosen a narrator for the audio books for this series. Her name is Nicky Phillips. She's super talented and I'm so excited she's going to be Charlotte. Yay!

And finally, it's time to show you the cover for the second book in the series. It's The Match Maker and it will be available in the fall.
I hope you're having a fantastic summer. It's flying by much too fast for me.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Releases Missionary Collection



SALT LAKE CITY – The world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir will release The Missionary Collection today, featuring four best-selling albums in one set.
The albums Praise to the Man, Called to Serve, Teach Me to Walk in the Light and This is the Christ feature arrangements from the 360-member choir that uplift and inspire missionaries at home and abroad, of any age and of any calling.
Featured tracks in the four-disc set include Joseph Smith’s First Prayer, The Spirit of God, If the Savior Stood beside Me and I Believe in Christ.
The Missionary Collection has a list price of $39.98 and is available at Deseret Book, iTunes, and other select retailers.  
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The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is comprised of 360 volunteer voices and serves as a musical ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Orchestra at Temple Square is a 150-member, all-volunteer symphony orchestra organized in 1999 as a companion ensemble.   The Choir’s work has garnered a Grammy award, 2 Emmy awards plus 5 gold and 2 platinum albums.  Its music transcends cultural and generational boundaries to unite people through music around the world.  Follow the Choir on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest


My Thoughts: Veronica loves the Tabernacle Choir, so when I heard about this, I was so excited. What a perfect thing to send to your missionary (or with them if they haven't left yet). The songs are beautiful and a perfect soundtrack to the work our missionaries are doing. It includes primary songs as well as hymns and they're all beautifully arranged and performed. I loved it and what makes me even happier, is that I know how much she's going to love it.

Indie Author Writing Conference


One year ago I made the decision to Indie publish My Own Mr. Darcy. It was a scary choice to make, but the way the stars had aligned, we felt like it was the right choice. But man, there was a lot to learn and I'm still learning it. On June 7, there will be an all-day Indie Writing Conference at the Courtyard Marriott in Provo. If you've ever considered self-publishing a book, you should join us. At just $59 for the day, it's one of the best bargains you'll find. The classes and teachers that are lined up are top notch and there's even food provided.

Here is the link to the conference registration page: http://www.indieauthorhub.com/p/conference-2014.html

Here is the link to the class descriptions and schedule: http://www.indieauthorhub.com/2014/01/2014-publishing-conference-class-details.html


See you there!

Books to Movies - Guest Post by Entertainment Writer, Spencer Blohm

            For readers all over the world, the classic film adaptation of their favorite book can be the greatest news, or the worst, depending on whom you ask. Hollywood has been turning books into films since the invention of the movie, and they show no signs of slowing down in 2014 and beyond.
            In response to the growing market for Young Adult (YA) novels, Hollywood has taken to adapting popular books from that genre, and as a result are reaping the financial rewards of doing so. Of course, you can’t exclude the giants of that genre, like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and the recently released Divergent, but filmmakers are now looking beyond the blockbuster best-sellers, and opting for more diversity in the books they bring to the big screen. Below you’ll find some of the most highly anticipated YA books making their way to the big screen this year.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
            This film, based off Lowry’s best-selling 1993 novel, is in a similar dystopian vein to The Hunger Games and  Divergent, but relies more on storytelling, as opposed to action, to capture the readers interest. It will be interesting to see how filmmakers try to convey the nuances in Lowry’s book to the big screen –hopefully they are able to do so without losing the core of the story.
            The Giver’s journey to the big screen has been a lengthy one that started nearly 20 years ago, when Lowry sold the film rights to Bill Cosby. Like so many other projects in Hollywood, it switched hands, people came in and out of the project, and it was picked up and dropped from too many producers to name. However, Jeff Bridges was always interested in being a part of it, so he signed on both as the producer and as the titular character. Joining him is the phenomenal Meryl Streep as Chief Elder and Australian newcomer Brenton Thwaites as Jonas. Rounding out the cast are Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift. The film is set to hit theaters this August in the US.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
            This emotionally charged teen love story is slated to become something of the teenage Notebook if it lives up to expectations set by the book’s fans. Starring the newly crowned YA queen Shailene Woodley (star of other YA adaptations Divergent and The Spectacular Now) alongside Miles Teller (also her co-star in the latter film), this book tells the story of two teens brought together by the cancer they are each fighting.
            The film, set to premiere in theaters on June 6th, tracks the journey of two teenagers who meet in a cancer support group for teens. Naturally, their shared experience with illness brings them closer and a relationship soon develops. However, as far too many of us know, cancer isn’t predictable, and living with it is an emotional rollercoaster. Pair that with teen love, and it’s set to be one wild, emotional ride.
           

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
            The Maze Runner is much more in line for fans of the more action packed YA adaptations. The book is set in a strange place called the Glade, where no one knows how, or why, they got there. Our protagonist is Thomas, whom we follow as he tries to figure out what exactly the Glade is, why he’s there, or even who he is.
            The film is slated for a September release, and the cast will likely provide a new batch of teen heartthrobs –especially since there are only two females in the entire cast! It’s clearly something geared towards a more male audience, which is an interesting move to make considering the predominantly female focus of many YA books and films.

            Of course, we can’t discuss YA film adaptations without talking about the reigning king of them all, The Hunger Games. The franchise is the most successful teen franchise in years, and one of the most successful film franchises in history, so Mockingjay should prove to be just as big as it’s predecessors.
            This time around the series focuses on the growing unrest in Panem, which Katniss is at the forefront of. She bows to the pressure put on her and becomes the “Mockingjay” or face, of the revolutionary movement. As with any revolution, things get messy and intense. The book has been broken into two films, taking a page from Harry Potter’s previous model, and the first half will hit theaters this November, just in time for the holiday season.


About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture blogger for Direct-Ticket.net. He always loves it when his love of book and film come together in fantastic ways, but isn’t above being bitter about the flops. He lives and works in Chicago where he can be found with his nose in a book or having mini film marathons.

Review - Immersed by Jennifer Griffith (The Last Ripple Effect Romance)




Now's your chance to pick up the last book in The Ripple Effect Romance Series. And it's a good one.

Jennifer's book is funny, quirky, and sweet. Her characters are so much fun and there are some really hilarious moments. I really enjoyed it and thought it was the perfect finish to the series. Kinda like dessert. 

Immersed is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, andKobo.

I hope you've enjoyed this series. It was so much fun to work with all these great writers and friends. 

Marriage Isn't For You by Seth Adam Smith


Marriage Isn’t For You: It’s for the One You Love
What is the best wedding advice you ever received? For author Seth Adam Smith, it was the advice from his father who said, Marriage is not for you. It is about the person you marry. These few words completely changed the way Seth looked at his relationship with his wife-to-be. Because at that moment he realized that an expression of love is not about the person expressing it. Rather, it is about the person they choose to be with. It is about making the person you marry feel loved. Seth’s blog post on the subject was viewed by more than twenty-seven million people, and he has been featured on several national TV programs including The Today Show. Now released as a hardcover book, these sage words make the perfect gift for newly married couples, those who have been around the block a few times, or anyone who wants to learn how to make their relationships stronger.
My Thoughts:
This book has a lot going for it. First, it's adorable. The cover is beautiful, the pictures inside are romantic and sweet and the advice is wise. It's perfect as a gift on it's own or as a great addition to that toaster or stack of towels you're giving at your next wedding. It's the perfect size to tie to the top of a package with a ribbon.
In this world of selfishness and instant gratification, this book is a breath of fresh air. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review - Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson Book Cover
  Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.
Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

MY REVIEW: 

I was lucky enough to be one of the first readers for Rachael's new book, Prejudice Meets Pride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It may be my favorite of Rachael's books, and that's saying a lot because I've liked them all.

I love it when characters grow and mature and you see them open themselves up to new things.Emma and Kevin were great. They both had issues that made them a little obnoxious, but so funny. And their interactions and how they overcome their stubbornness were so entertaining. I was cheering for both of them even though I wanted to shake some sense into them.

This is a clean romance with lots of personality. It was so much fun.

Savannah's Speech - So Proud!

Savannah told me several days ago that she needed to prepare a speech for school. She wanted help brainstorming ideas. We discussed self-worth, kindness to others, and a few other things. Last night she wanted me to time her speech to see if it was the right length.

This is what she'd come up with. I was blown away. I'm so proud of her.

To make a perfect crepe takes time. A master crepe maker mixes the batter well in advance, sometimes even a couple of days. This allows the ingredients to meld and incorporate, giving the batter a smooth, silky texture. Once the batter has reached its optimal state, the crepe maker uses a hot, flat surface to cook the crepe. He uses the crepe batter trowel to spread the batter into a perfectly thin round circle. Once he flips the crepe and you see the crispy, golden surface, your mouth begins to water. But he’s not done yet.
When the crepe is cooked, the crepe maker spreads a nutty, chocolaty layer of Nutella. Next he adds fresh sliced strawberries, along with fresh sliced bananas. Then in his expert way, he folds the crepe into a delicious little pocket of goodness. You might think it’s ready to eat, but you would be wrong. To make the perfect crepe, you can’t forget the chocolate sauce, artfully drizzled on top, and the generous dollop of sweet whipped cream. You know it’s going to be great.
What the master crepe maker has created is a crepe worthy of awards, blue ribbons, and hard earned money. Maybe this crepe could be the winning dish on Top Chef. This crepe could go on to make people's days better. Someone might talk about and remember this crepe for years to come. But wait what is he doing?
Right before your eyes he’s ripping that beautiful crepe apart. Piece by piece, the fruit is falling out, the chocolaty substance is smearing everywhere, the whipped cream plops to the ground. It seems almost barbaric what he’s doing to this crepe. He then throws every piece away for no one to ever enjoy.
Hello. I’m Savannah White and I’m a student here at Lone Peak. I’m here to talk to you about waste. Not just a wasted crepe, but wasted people and wasted potential.
In the United States of America, approximately 580 thousand people die each year due to cancer. About 120 thousand die from accidents, and around 69 thousand die of diseases related to diabetes. But each year 1.21 million babies are murdered through abortion companies.
We’re all against murder, are we not? People go to jail every day for killing other people. Why then, is it acceptable in our society to kill infants?
Every baby killed is a waste—a wasted life, a wasted imagination, wasted talents, and wasted potential.
Of course, pregnancy is not always expected or convenient. Perhaps it wasn’t planned, and maybe that woman doesn’t feel ready to have a baby. But does that mean she should be allowed to rob her baby of its life and future? There are always alternatives, choices to be made. Even though it isn’t convenient or easy, (we’ve all been in Health), there are people who would love and parent that baby. Isn’t that a better alternative?
Most parents would say teenagers aren’t easy or convenient. And yet we don’t sentence every difficult teenager to death.
Who’s to say this baby’s future didn’t hold something important and special. Maybe the baby that was just ripped apart and thrown into a garbage bag would have discovered a cure for cancer. Maybe this tiny girl that was just vacuumed out of her mother’s womb would have been the first woman president. Maybe this little boy that just had a saline solution injected into his home, slowly poisoning him and burning off his flesh, would have helped establish peace.
But it isn’t just these big things that are potentially wasted. Think of the art, the music, the movies, the athletics, the humor, the creativity, the love, the kindness, and the happiness that could have come from these babies had they been allowed to become who they were meant to be.
But no. They weren’t given a chance. Instead they were murdered. But somehow, in the eyes of society, this is all right. Is it okay to be the murderer of someone’s future. Someone’s life? Someone’s happiness and potential?
Are we simply going to sit back and watch this atrocity happen around us? Or are we going to be the people that encourage pregnant women to give their baby to someone who will allow this child a chance in life.
Imagine going to a crepe shop, watching a beautiful culinary masterpiece come to life. But this he hands the plate to someone who will appreciate and love it. This time it won’t end up torn apart and wasted. Now imagine a women who is pregnant but not ready to be mother. Instead of murdering the baby inside her, and ripping it apart, she gives the baby up to someone who will appreciate it and love it.
It’s time to stop the waste. 

Happy Birthday, Veronica!














Twenty years ago on April 25 I went to the doctor for an appointment. I'd been having contractions for a few weeks and he'd put me on bedrest so I wouldn't go in to labor too early. He stuck a large needle in my stomach and took a sample of amniotic fluid because that's how they could tell if your lungs were developed enough to be born without respiratory problems. Dad and I had to run the sample to a lab in Salt Lake and after about three hours, they called Dr Lewis and said your lungs weren't ready, so he put me back on bedrest.

Twenty years ago last Friday, we went through the same routine. The test showed that your lungs were getting closer, but they still weren't ready and if we could possibly make it one more week, you'd have a much better chance of having healthy lungs. So I went back home and went back on bedrest.

Twenty years ago today, Dr. Lewis took a sample of amniotic fluid. Dad and I drove it to the Salt Lake lab and then got a milk shake at A&W (by the lab). At about 1 p.m. Dr. Lewis called and said your lungs looked good and told us to be at the hospital at 4 p.m. that same day. We were so excited, but I was also super nervous. I'd never had a C-section before and I didn't really know what to expect.

We arrived at the hospital a little before 4 and they prepped me for surgery. About an hour later, our tiny, beautiful baby girl was born. We named her Veronica Lee White.

You were so little. 5 lbs 13 oz. 19 inches long. You were so skinny. Dad was afraid to hold you because you were so tiny, he thought he'd break you.

It was nice being at the Bountiful hospital. Grandpa and Grandma Higginson, Grandma Zesiger, and all your Higginson aunts and uncles (except Aunt Lori and Uncle John who were on missions) came to see you that first 24 hours. You were so pretty. You had big, dark eyes, a perfectly shaped head, and a little bit of dark hair. Oh my, we loved you so much.

You sounded like a little old man when you slept in your bassinet. You snorted and grunted and made all kinds of funny noises. Sometimes we'd just listen to you and laugh.

Bruce loved you so much. He always wanted to hold you and kiss the top of your head. As you grew a little bigger, you were very stingy with your smiles and your laughter. Sometimes I'd work and work and tickle and play peekaboo and make faces and you'd give me nothing. Absolutely nothing. Then Bruce would step up and no matter what he did, you'd smile for him. If he said "Boo!" you'd laugh until you had hiccups. I loved how much you two loved each other.

You have grown into one of the finest women I know. You're strong, you're committed, and you aren't afraid of hard work. That beautiful baby has turned into a beautiful woman who will one day be one of the most amazing wives and mothers. You're a good friend, a respectful daughter and a loving sister. You're an attentive grand-daughter, a thoughtful cousin and an amazing missionary.

I love you. I miss you on this special day but know you're exactly where you should be and where you want to be and I take comfort in knowing that even though it will be a couple of days late, I'll get to tell you happy birthday on Sunday.

Happy Birthday, Veronica

Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver


Description:
Thirty-seven year old Francie Davis, a recent widow and empty nester, gets to attend college at last. She’s sure her luck has changed when she also lands a job on campus that will pay her tuition, as administrative assistant to a history professor. When her handsome new boss yells at her on the first day of work, Francie worries she will never be good enough.

For Professor Alex Diederik, life is going downhill fast. Not only is his bitter ex-wife trying to poison their only daughter against him, but now his one place of solace—his work environment—is being complicated by his attractive new administrative assistant. She drives home his feelings of failure as a husband and father, and Alex wonders if hiring her was the right thing to do. 

Francie will have to put aside her hurt and insecurities or risk her dreams, while Alex must look outside himself if he’s to mend the breach with his daughter. And, perhaps, find someone who can help heal his pain.

MY REVIEW:

I have a soft spot for Second Chances 101 because I was lucky enough to introduce Francie in my book. I wasn't sure what to expect, partly because two of the main characters are a little older than most of the other main characters in the series. I was so pleasantly and instantly surprised. I loved this book. Loved it. Loved everything about it. Donna has told a story that is touching, uplifting, sweet, funny, and seriously entertaining. I whole-heartedly recommend it.


Available on

Guest Post - Review of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett


I love Cindy and have enjoyed her books so much, so when this came out, I wanted to read it and review it. Unfortunately, I'm not going to have a chance to read it until probably late summer because of my writing deadlines, so I asked Savannah if she'd read it first and share her thoughts. She agreed.

The End of Feeling was a great book. I stayed up way too late finishing it.(I can attest to this. I asked her to turn off the light several times and she kept promising she'd just read a little more.) It was a great story about teenagers becoming mature learning about themselves. I liked how the characters became confident and overcame their challenges. I really liked the romance between Benjamin and Charlie and how they helped each other become better people. I'd totally recommend this book.

I'm looking forward to having time to read this myself. Great job, Cindy.