Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! In honor of this beautiful day when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I'd like to share a few of my favorite Christmas songs with you.

I hope you have a lovely day with your family. I hope you get exactly what you want under the tree. I hope if you want a white Christmas, it's white and if you don't, it's not. I hope you're surrounded by loved ones. I hope you're able to eat fantastic food.

But most of all, I hope you're able to take a few minutes to ponder what this day is really about. On a lonely night, in a manger that I'm sure smelled and sounded like animals, a young woman went through agony and gave birth to the greatest man that would ever live, the man who would teach us, love us, and save us.

Let's not forget Him this CHRISTmas.

Enjoy!









Sweet Sixteen Savannah

"Sweet Sixteen" is a cute term that has rarely been more accurate than it is today. Sixteen years ago today, I became the mom to this beautiful, SWEET girl.

To mark this exciting occasion, here are sixteen fun facts about Savannah.

1. Savannah is the least judgmental person I know. She ALWAYS gives people the benefit of the doubt and treats everyone kindly.

2. Savannah has her own style. She prefers shopping at thrift stores so no one else will ever be wearing the same thing she is. I roll my eyes at some of the things she buys, but then she puts it all together and she always looks great.

3. Savannah is creative. Insanely creative. She remakes clothing items, draws, paints, does pottery and ceramics.

4. Savannah is talented. She has the voice of an angel and sounds like no one else, plays guitar, writes music and is learning banjo.

5. She loves sleep. When she was little and the other kids were begging to stay up late, Savannah would go to sleep. If she was tired, she'd go to bed. She's in heaven if she can take an afternoon nap.

6. She's a funny sleeper. If she falls asleep and needs moved to her bed, you can expect to be entertained. She's turned cartwheels, walked up to walls and put her hands and cheek against them as she fell back asleep. She mumbles all kinds of hilarious gibberish. It's actually kinda fun to disturb her sleep.

7. Savannah is un-opinionated to a fault. She's always willing to let others decide what we eat, what we watch, where we go. Sometimes we force her to express a choice, just so she can practice. Agreeable is good but I don't want her to be a doormat for someone.

8. It's no secret, but a big, glaring fact about Savannah is that she doesn't like school. Gutting out the next 2 1/2 years of high school will be for Savannah like getting a doctorate for some people. It isn't that she can't do it. She just loathes the whole process. Some people don't like school, but they go anyway because of the social aspect (friends, a good crush), but not Savannah. She'd gladly forego the social part of school if it meant no school at all.

9. Savannah is mostly little--small hands, small feet, little button nose, petite height. The only big things about her are her eyes, her smile, her hair and her heart.

10. Savannah's very selective about her crying. Rarely does she cry at a sad movie or hurt feelings. But she ALWAYS cries when she shares her testimony or she finds something funny. She laughs until she cries more than anyone I know. The only exception to this is that she cries during the Fleet Foxes music video when the deer dies.

11. Speaking of deer, Savannah loves animals. It used to be dogs. She was obsessed over dogs. Now it's all kinds of animals. She loves goats and lambs and Shetland ponies and pigs and cats. And yes, she still loves dogs. Someday she needs a small farm, preferably near the mountains so she could domesticate a deer.

12. Savannah loves children and elderly people. Her little cousins adore her. The resident's at our assisted living facility love her. She goes there almost every Saturday morning with her guitar and goes from room to room singing to the cute people, who know her by name.

13. Savannah loves good food, but isn't a fan of chocolate or ice cream. If I hadn't given birth to her, this alone would make me wonder if she was really mine.

14. Savannah loves the mountains. She loves to hike or go for drives into the mountains. It would be a challenge for her to live somewhere without them. Two things I hear regularly from her are, "Aren't the mountains glorious?" and "Just look how wonderful the mountains are."

15. Her best friend is her sister, Veronica. Very few things in life make me happier than this fact.

16. Savannah is beautiful. If you look at her, you know that. If you know her, you know it even more, because she's one of those people who is beautiful to look at, but as you get to know her, she just gets more and more beautiful.

Happy birthday, Sweet Sixteen Savannah. Our family is better because of you. I love you so much.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway -- Romance Through the Ages

Romance Through the Ages

Coming February 1, 2014
Romance through the Ages brings you SEVEN NOVELS from 7 bestselling authors (including New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestsellers). Join us for a fabulous collection.

*7 Romance Novels, 7 Bestselling Authors, 1 Amazing Price*

99 cent Romance Boxed Set for a limited time only!

Available now for preorder at www.amazon.com/Romance-through-Ages-Book-Boxed-ebook/dp/B00HFD5OEM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1387545632&sr=1-1&keywords=romance+through+the+ages

Running Barefoot by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Amy Harmon!— Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings.

Masquerade by Janette Rallison, who has sold more than 1 million books!— It’s hard for a woman to keep up the masquerade when her boss is as handsome as Slade Jacobson and the job takes her to Hawaii with him. In between handling his whirlwind four-year-old daughter and dealing with a whole cast of Hollywood personalities, Clarissa has to keep a tight hold on her heart.

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson, Amazon Bestseller!—Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Shelter’s Bachelorette, Taycee Emerson is in for the ride of her life. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers—not her—to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Pride and Precipitation by Heather Horrocks, Amazon Bestseller!— Breezy Jones is crazy about the weather, rain or shine, which makes her job as the local television station’s meteorologist perfect. That’s before she meets the attractive new general manager, Noah Drake, who is determined to repackage everything—including Breezy’s down-home delivery.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White, Amazon Bestseller!— Lizzie falls hard for Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy character and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. When she meets two men, Chad—a science teacher, and Matt Dawson—who looks and acts like Mr. Darcy, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

She Owns the Knight by Diane Darcy, Amazon Bestseller!— Why does Gillian Corbett have to travel seven hundred years through time to find a decent guy?… Why can’t Sir Kellen Marshall find a lady who is obedient, submissive… or at least not trying to kill him?

Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore, Amazon Bestseller!— A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life. When Eliza discovers that Jonathan Porter’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.


Happy Birthday, Lori!

See that picture? That's my sister, Lori with her third daughter. Doesn't Lori take a beautiful picture? Let me tell you something about her. She's one of the most photogenic people I know. I've seen her after days (and nights) with sick kids, no sleep, too long without a shower and no makeup. But if someone pulls out a camera, the photograph looks pretty much super-modelish. It's one of the things about Lori that makes me a tad jealous.

There are other, even more important, things to admire about Lori. She falls squarely in the middle of our family of eleven and you know what they say about middle children. She's a peacemaker. She wants everyone to be happy and get along and she's always kind and helpful.

On Thanksgiving, as we went around the circle and said what we were thankful for, her husband described her best when he said (and I'm paraphrasing): With all the stresses I get to deal with in work and church and family, Lori is never one of the causes. Never.

Lori's an amazing wife, a great mother, and a wonderful sister and friend.

Happy birthday, Lori. I'm so grateful for you and I love you!

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Bruce had been home almost a year which means he's celebrating his 22nd birthday.

What??!!??

You might see a young man who's focused and ambitious and smart. You might see a man who's handsome and loves to travel. You might see a man with good taste in music who loves to look at buildings. You might see a man with style and a good smile and varying degrees of facial hair. You might see a traveler who likes to see new things and is willing to try all kinds of unusual foods. You might see a leader, a friend, a teacher.

I see a baby with huge, dark eyes who loves to laugh. I see a little boy leaning over his baby sister's carseat, making her laugh when no one else can. I see a basketball player who wasn't the tallest or quickest on the floor but who had the kind of floor vision coaches dream of. I see a basketball player who considered the game a success if he'd been able to get the ball in everyone's hands and everyone had scored at least once. I see an oldest child who set an amazing example for his younger brother and sisters. I see a man who knows what he believes and speaks up. I see a man who's willing to make sacrifices to reach his goals.

I see my oldest son.

I love you, Bruce and I'm so grateful to be your mom.

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

Today is my second sister, Lisa's birthday.

Lisa is a pretty amazing person. She was blessed with a world-class voice. I know you always hear things like that and shows like American Idol and The Voice show families who think their singer is amazing when really, they're just okay or even kinda bad, but not Lisa. She has a gorgeous voice and could have performed on Broadway if that had been her goal. Instead, she sings to her children, sings in church and will eventually (I predict) sing in The Tabernacle Choir.

Lisa is quirky and creative and has decorated her home from second-hand stores and the classified ads and she puts it all together beautifully. She's always rearranging and tweaking things and she really has a good eye for design.

Her greatest accomplishment, however, is seven of the cutest kids you've ever seen. I mean, look at that family.

I'm blessed to be able to call Lisa not only my sister, but also my good friend. She's a beautiful, selfless person. Happy birthday, Lisa. I love you!

Got a Brain? Got Any Character?

First off, let me say that choosing this picture among the twenty-one that were available was difficult. There were a few that could have been posted that wouldn't have assaulted a decent person's senses, but many are absolutely shocking.

And disgusting.

And degrading.

And heart-breaking.

Is this really what we've become?

It used to be that advertisers targeted the 18-34 year old demographic because they were current, open to new things, and often had the most expendable income. But this entire campaign is about being morally bankrupt, living it up, AND NOT HAVING TO PAY FOR IT! Thanks Obamacare!

Are there really so many free-loading, slutty, drunken, lazy, shallow, corrupt people in this demographic that an entire ad campaign has been put together to appeal to them? And keep in mind, this isn't an ad campaign for condoms, or alcohol, or an escort service.

This is for health insurance. Health insurance those of us with jobs are paying for.

Here are a few of the lines I found most appalling:

Don't tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We've got it covered. (By the we, they mean me. And I don't want to pay for their beer.)

Not sure how I ended up here perched on top of this keg. I could totally fall, but that's okay. My budget will stay balanced even if I don't, because I got insurance. (meaning, go ahead and get fall-down drunk. It doesn't matter because some hard-working family will cover my stitches or my broken bones or my brain damage if I fall on my stupid head.)

Let's hope he's as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, so all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. (This is a whole new disgusting. Remember when we would have been outraged if a man had treated a woman like she was nothing more than an object to have a little fun fling with? I guess it's okay for women to treat men like that. This is feminism at its most disgusting.)

I don't even want to get into the politics behind this disgusting campaign and how there are politicians (on both sides) that want to sweeten the pot of freebies to insure they'll get votes just because people don't want to lose all the benefits they're not paying for. If I delved into that mess, we'd be here all day.

I just have to vent for a minute about the fall of our country. When the priority is getting drunk instead of getting a job, we're in trouble. When a romp between the covers of a one-night stand with a stranger is celebrated instead of considered a mistake or a lapse in judgment, we're in trouble. When people know that there is no accountability for their actions because others will pick up all the pieces and put them together again, we're in trouble.

Folks, we're in trouble. Serious trouble.

God help us all.

***and just a little pet-peeve sidenote. The website is called doyougotinsurance.gov. I guess good grammar was too classy for this campaign.

Review - Light in Dark Places

light in dark tour
  A Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.

add to goodreads

MY REVIEW:

I was definitely curious about this book. I watched the events of this case as they unfolded on the news and felt sick. Here was another likely wife-killer like Mark Hacking and Scott Peterson. Only this time, he had custody of his two cute little boys.

It was so interesting to read what was going on behind the news stories. My heart ached for the author, who had lost a sister-in-law and friend, had a brother she cared about that she knew in her heart was a killer and had two nephews who she adored that she had to worry about. I hadn't known that they were planning for the boys to come live with them. What a loss!

This book was interesting, disturbing, heartbreaking. Surprisingly, it was also very hopeful and comforting. With so much evil in the world, it was nice to read about someone who had a clear perspective and courage to be outspoken and to act on her convictions. I was impressed with Jennifer Graves and her husband.
 

Book Review - Just Ella

Just Ella Tour
Just Ella 
  Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen Book Summary: A Proper Romance Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined. I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me. I write clean romance. Why? Because that’s what I love to read, but over the years I’ve discovered it’s quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it’s a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge.

My Review: This book came highly recommended and I have to say, I'm really glad I read it. Ella is a wonderful heroine--not just a princess, but a girl with dreams and hopes and desires that go far beyond pretty dresses and ruling. Gavin is handsome, good and unselfish. Their friendship/relationship is really lovely.

One of my favorite things about this book is that I really enjoyed it, staying up late to read it and then my daughter, the one who is easily bored by books read it. I checked in on her at about 2 a.m. and her light was on and she tiredly said, "Just let me finish this chapter." That's what she'd said before midnight, too.

Now that's a recommendation.
   
Book Blast/Blog Tour Special
Grab your copy of Just Ella for just $3.99!
3.99   annetteAuthor Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children. I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.  
    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 11/5/13   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Like a Good Deal?

I'm really excited to be participating in this online e-book sale. For three days, My Own Mr. Darcy and books by all these other authors will be reduced. Now's the time to stack up on all the reading you'll want to do while you hibernate this winter.

 

The Bookmarked Bargains sales event is going to be unbelievable! 
Not only can you win a free Kindle you can find free and discounted books
 from some of your favorite authors. Here's a list of who's participating:

Andrea Pearson
Anna del C. Dye
Cami Checketts
Cheri Schmidt
Christine Kersey
Christy Dorrity
Cindy Hogan
Heather Justesen
Ilyan Lavanway
Jaleta Clegg
Jason Morgan
Jordan McCollum
Joyce DiPastena
Julie Bellon
Karey White
Maria Hoagland
Michelle Pennington
Mikey Brooks
Monique Bucheger
Rachael Andersen
Rachel Branton
Rachel Nunes
Rebecca Shelley
Rebecca Talley
Sandra Norton Flynn
Stephanie Fowers
Tamara Heiner
Teyla Branton
 Vickie Hall  

The deals run Wednesday, October 16th through Friday, October 18th. 
Click here to enter the Kindle drawing and find fabulous discounted books. Thanks!

A Junk Drawer Post

Here's the Audible cover.

YESTERDAY I listened to the first fifteen minutes of the in-production audio book of My Own Mr. Darcy. I'm so excited about it. This will be my first audio book. My narrator is Heidi Baker and she's quite talented. Every day or two, I'll be notified that a chapter has been uploaded for my review and I'll get to listen to someone else read my entire book. Fun and scary!

SPEAKING of narrators, wow, was that ever difficult. I'm really happy with my choice, but I had 35 auditions and several more messages from people who wanted to audition. It was fun, but it was also a little awful. These are real people wanting work. And many of them were so talented. In order to sort through the options, it gives you two choices--LIKE and DISLIKE. What? Every time I clicked the dislike, I felt terrible. These were people who had prepared and practiced and offered themselves up and I was supposed to hit dislike? I didn't dislike any of these people. And when we got it narrowed down to the final few, I was having to eliminate people that I LOVED. Maybe I'm being silly, but I found it really hard to reject people like that. I need to write faster and work with all of them.

DISHONESTY is a frustrating thing. My thirteen-year-old son bought a used iphone 4 from a local online ad on Monday. The guy said it was in great condition and had just been refurbished by Apple. Joe was excited and brought it home. He couldn't use it immediately because we had to get a sim card from our phone carrier, so he wasn't able to try it out until the next day. It was then that he discovered that it had several problems--volume buttons that didn't work, a menu button that was unresponsive, a battery life of about five minutes. Joe texted him several times to ask him questions and the man ignored him. I took him to the Apple store and after another monetary investment and nearly two hours of our time, Joe now owns a working phone. My husband texted the man who said something lame about the phone being sold "as is" and that we must have water damaged the phone (hmm, since we hadn't mentioned water damage, that was a little suspicious) and then said, "Don't say I'm dishonest unless you want to say it in person, BIG GUY." What a small man.

Bruce participated in a Chinese competition sponsored by The Confucius Institute. He had to share, in Mandarin, his hopes and dreams. He did awesome and WON!!! Yay!

It snowed this morning. My house is cold. I don't want to turn the heat on yet. Fall has NOT been long enough.

Savannah wrote a song for her sister, Veronica, about her mission to Seattle. It's a lovely song. The last line of the song is, "But all the little raindrops are watering her dreams." Oh my! Is that not the cutest thing ever? That line makes me happy every time I hear it.

Yesterday and today were "clean-the-double-oven" day. It's long overdue. They can't be cleaned at the same time and so it had to be spread over two days. That's four nasty racks that had to be scrubbed with steel wool. I've always thought Playtex gloves were ridiculous, but with both of my hands hurting from all the little steel wool cuts, I'm re-thinking my opinion. Somehow I need to make sure that nothing spills over in the oven so this doesn't have to be done very often. It's hard on my hands and makes my eyes hurt. Hopefully I won't have to do this again for at least a year. I'd prefer two.

The fall colors (before the snow covered them) have been beautiful. They seem especially vibrant this year. They make me wish I could paint.

This weekend is General Conference, which means it's one of my two favorite weekends of the year. I LOVE GENERAL CONFERENCE. I haven't decided whether to take on an organizing project while I watch or color pictures. I know which one would be more valuable, but I also know which one would be more fun. It's a hard choice.

If you're in the Orem, Utah area tomorrow evening, you should come to Barnes and Noble. Tomorrow night is Romance-a-palooza and I've been invited. I'll be signing copies of My Own Mr. Darcy and For What It's Worth. I'd love to see you!

A Fantasy Christmas by A Few of My Friends

What do Witches, Elves, and Greek Gods (Oh My) have in common? They are part of the romantic Christmas anthology, A Fantasy Christmas, written by Cindy C Bennett, Stephanie Fowers, and Sherry Gammon. This exciting collection of fantasy stories will be available on November 1st. Click the link to our blog for a sneak peek at a couple of the individual covers and watch for blog tour info!   http://afantasychristmasthenovel.blogspot.com/


Halfling by Cindy C Bennett
Banished from the South Pole, Kara tries to carve out a new life among the elves of the North. It’s not easy with a secret to protect—a secret she's cursed with by the unusual circumstances of her heritage: half-elf, half-fairy. In the North, she’s assigned to work with Seb on a special project. He's the most gorgeous elf she’s ever seen - and the orneriest. 

As if being banished wasn’t punishment enough. 

Seb introduces her to Trystin, a fairy from the nearby fairy forest. Trystin discerns her secret right away and promises to teach her how to use the powers given to her by the very thing she’s fighting to keep hidden.

Aphrodite by Stephanie Fower

Nothing is simple for Aphrodite’s daughter, especially love. 

Scorned by society in regency England, Affry longs for romance. Upon encountering a dashing nobleman at her aunty's Christmas' ball, Affry gets caught in a lovely intrigue with disastrous results. Worse, she wins the interest of the gods. Now the furies of the underworld and Hades himself are after her. 

When all is fair in war,  Affry must use love as her weapon—but only for the one who’s

Loving Marigold by Sherry Gammon
Young Marigold Yarrow has a secret. She’s also in love with Jack Mahoney. In the middle of her ninth grade year, Jack's family up and moves to Port Fare, New York, leaving the small town of Sugar Maple, West Virginia - and Marigold - far behind.

Nine years later Jack and Marigold meet again. They join forces to weed out the shady Abbott boys. The unscrupulous brothers are illegally selling moonshine near her home on Sugar Maple Ridge. And they'll do anything to get Marigold to leave the ridge. Anything.

But this time it could be magic that tears Jack and Marigold apart.



Kickstarter--Some Questions Answered

Last week, I revealed the covers for The Ripple Effect Romance Series that I'm excited to be a part of. I'm writing Book 4, Lost and Found. My main character will first appear in the book before mine (Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson) and the main character from the book after mine (Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver) will play an important part in my book. I've never done something like this before. None of us have. You could call it a bit of an experiment.

When we revealed the covers, we also mentioned a Kickstarter that we're running for the next month or so. We've all had questions come up about Kickstarter. There have been some who have misunderstood what Kickstarter is and I know of one person who was actually annoyed that we'd be "begging for money" before the books are even written.

I'd like to explain a few things to answer the questions and hopefully clear up any misunderstandings.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Kickstarter:

Kickstarter is an American-based private for-profit company founded in 2009 that provides tools to raise funds for creative projects via crowd funding through its website.
Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors, such as filmsmusicstage showscomicsjournalismvideo games, and food-related projects. People cannot invest in Kickstarter projects to make money. They can only back projects in exchange for a tangible reward or one-of-a-kind experience, like a personal note of thanks, custom T-shirts, dinner with an author, or initial production run of a new product.
There are thirteen categories that are included (with many more subcategories). They are: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film and Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and Theater.

I first became acquainted with Kickstarter last spring. Midas Whale, a group I loved on The Voice, who I followed on Facebook, launched a Kickstarter project to fund an album they'll release this fall. They were trying to raise $30,000 to finance the project. They ended up getting $36,442. I became a backer. My reward is a that I'll get one of the first CDs when it's released. I also get updates that tell me where they are in the process, show first recordings of songs they're including, and other things that make me feel like I'm part of the whole process. It's been fun for me and to them, it's like getting advance sales that help them pay for the project up front, instead of having to finance it and then hope they earn enough to pay back the debt.

I first had the idea to use Kickstarter myself shortly after I backed Midas Whale. I had decided to go the self-publishing route for My Own Mr. Darcy and there were some up-front expenses that were going to be difficult. I needed to establish my own LLC, I needed to design a cover, and I needed to be able to buy inventory and swag for my launch. So I used Kickstarter.
I figured out what I'd need to provide the rewards and pay for the expenses I was hoping to cover and set my goal at $750.00. I ended up getting $918.00. I was thrilled to reach my goal, but even more than that, I was happy to be able to finance the book without having to go into debt, AND (and here's the big thing) I didn't have to feel like a beggar. The people who pledged money did it because they wanted to and they were getting something for it. We were all able to feel good about it.

I'm a HUGE fan of Kickstarter. I've backed a few projects now. I'm eagerly awaiting some cookies that look phenomenal. (Look at those. I know you're jealous.) I have a book loaded on my Kindle from a man I've never met, but I thought the book looked interesting so I backed his project so he could pay for professional editing and cover design.
I think the creators of Kickstarter are geniuses. Seriously! What a brilliant idea to help creative people create! If you spend a couple of hours on Kickstarter, you'll see people hoping to finance publishing ideas, developing new cheeses, paying for new ovens for their bakery, making music, funding dance pieces, making movies that Hollywood might not be so interested in, developing new board games and video games, creating new software, funding the manufacturing of a really cool wallet they've designed, launching their own dressmaker shoppe. I find the site inspiring and exciting.
So when someone (like me) tells you about a Kickstarter project they've launched, we're not begging. We're just asking you to take a look at our project and see if it excites you. We don't want you to give us something for nothing. We don't even want you to give unless you want one of the rewards or you believe in and are excited about the project. There's no pressure or obligation. 
It's supposed to be a WIN/WIN.

Now, with all that said, check out the Kickstarter for our new series of books. If you're excited about a clean romance series that's written by six different authors and/or you think the rewards sound good, please feel free to pledge. 
If it doesn't, maybe there's someone making some brownies that look exciting. That's okay. I'll probably be backing the brownies, too.

Cover Reveal! Ripple Effect Romance Series

I AM SO EXCITED TO BE PART OF THIS NEW PROJECT!



The Ripple Effect Romance Novella Series 
Enjoy this exciting new series of clean novellas by six critically-acclaimed authors.

"Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love."

Book 1: Home Matters by Julie N. Ford
Book 2: Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin
Book 3: Righting A Wrong by Rachael Anderson
Book 4: Lost and Found by Karey White
Book 5: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver
Book 6: Immersed in Love by Jennifer Griffith



Home Matters by Julie N. Ford

According to her mother, Olivia Pembroke was born to be a star. But how is she supposed to be famous when she can't even get a decent acting gig? Her lucky break comes when she lands an audition for a wildly popular home improvement show. Even though she has no design training and has never even held a power tool, she refuses to let that stop her. She's confident that her destiny is finally within reach.

When her affections are torn between her heartthrob co-host and the irritating, yet somehow endearing lead contractor, does she continue to reach for the stars? Or does she design a new happily ever after? One that leads not to the fading lights of fame and fortune, but to a love that will burn forever.



Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin

Drew Westfall wants nothing more than to forget what he had to do in the name of "smart" business. Cutting off all ties with his parents—including handing over the entire contents of his trust fund to a charity—he takes off for Bridger, Colorado where his best friend has an extra room for him. It doesn't take long for him to realize that his business degree won’t do him much good in a town as small as Bridger, but he's broke and has nowhere else to go.

Eden Torresi has every reason to wallow. Not only did she lose her mother, but she had to drop out of nursing school and is in a relationship with a guy unwilling to commit. But Eden isn't the wallowing type. Instead, she chooses to spend most of her time taking care of the seniors at Silver Linings Nursing home. When she learns that her boyfriend's new roommate is down on his luck, her caring nature makes her want to reach out to him and offer what help she can. But the more time they spend together, the more complicated things get, especially when the seniors of Silver Linings decide to play matchmaker.



Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson

Seven years ago, Cambri Blaine fled her small hometown of Bridger, Colorado after her senior year ended in a fiasco. Only Jace Sutton knew the real reason why—that she was a spineless coward. Now, seven years later, her father's been in an accident and needs help, and Cambr has no choice but to return home. So with trepidation, she takes a leave of absence from the landscape architecture firm where she works and boards a plane, hoping against hope that Jace is no longer around and that the past can stay where it belongs—in the past.

If only life worked that way.

Jace never expected to see Cambri again. After she’d led him on, bruised his heart, and left town without a backward glance, he was forced to pick up the pieces and try not to hate her for it. Eventually, he put it behind him and moved on, creating a life for himself in his beloved hometown. But now that Cambri is back and looking more beautiful and sophisticated than ever, some of those old feelings resurface, and Jake instinctively knows, for the sake of his heart, that he needs to avoid her at all costs.

If only it were that easy.


Lost and Found by Karey White

Lydia was supposed to have an adventurous and exciting summer. Instead she's done nothing more than read and eat takeout. Now it's time to go home, and what does she have to show for it? A big fat nothing. Unless, of course, her trip to the airport somehow turns into something more than just a flight home.

Blake feels like he's been sent on a wild goose chase. While work is piling up back in Denver, he's on the other side of the country, hunting for some mysterious box that his grandfather left him. Well, no more. Nothing inside that box could possibly be more important than the opportunity to make it as the youngest partner at his firm. So he's going home, and that's that. But that's before he discovers his flight has been cancelled.

When these two strangers meet at the airport, they make a split-second decision to search for the box together. Maybe with both of them on the hunt, Lydia can have her adventure and Blake can find the box. And maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll even find some romance.



Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver

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.


Immersed in Love by Jennifer Griffith

Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.

But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.

Until… Erik.

Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.



Giveaway Details
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 10/31/13

Bloggers who put up a spotlight post about these books on their blog can enter to win an additional $25 gift card or paypal cash.  See details in the Rafflecopter.

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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My Own Mr. Darcy Launch Party



Once again, The King's English was the host of my book launch. This time it was for My Own Mr. Darcy. It was a great success!
Right off the bat, it was pretty exciting for me as my Aunt Lola and Uncle Merle surprised me, coming all the way from Washington just for the launch. Wow! 
The food was fabulous. Holly Frasche catered and she was amazing--cake bites in several varieties, candies, fudge, caramels. All DELICIOUS!

 So many people came. The room was full--standing room only and even overflowing into the next room.

Which made me very, very nervous.+

I read the first scene from Chapter 4. I'd been dreading the reading bigtime. What if no one laughed when I read the lines I thought were funny? What if the whole thing fell flat and what if my facial expressions made me really ugly?

When people laughed at the first funny line, I breathed a sigh of relief. All was okay! I wasn't going to die of embarrassment.

But I did make some pretty awful expressions. I tasked my sweet husband with the job of taking enough photos while I was talking that I'd have something I could post without humiliating my family. It wasn't an easy job. This one is as good as it got, but if I was making a blooper reel, you'd see some doozies! Wow some of them were awful. And it wasn't his fault.
Much better when he doesn't zoom in too close. I actually look really beautiful if you're far enough away.

Two years ago, at my book launch for Gifted, Bruce was in the Missionary Training Center and missed it.

Last year, at my launch for For What It's Worth, Bruce was in Taiwan and missed it. 

This year, he was here. YAY! It was so nice to have him here.

But alas, Veronica is in Seattle and couldn't be here. Someday I hope to have a launch with all my children present.
I was so excited to have my parents here for this launch. I really was. So it's ridiculous that this is the only picture of them. That's my dad in the striped shirt and my mom is in the green blouse. They're not even standing together. In typical Dad form, by the time we got around to taking pictures with most of the family, Dad was gone to the car. Bummer.

Not only did we fail photographically as far as my parents were concerned, I didn't get a single picture with my kind husband, who handles most of the dirty work so I can just look like an author.
Luckily, we got this one of him with Savannah, my patient cover model.

When my little schpeel was over, I moved to the Mystery Room to sign and the line formed.

The lady in pink came from California!
And then the signing began. 

 Cute Kate came with her parents.
My sister, Lori, brought her sweet kids.

Author and friend, Cindy Bennett.

Edonna, a good friend for many, many years, came from Arizona.
These are the sweet people who made long trips to be here.

 
My sister, Leslie, brought her son and her friend, Lisa.

  My son, Joe, found ways to entertain himself. 
  
 The parents of my cover photographer and the male model came.

 My mother-in-law (right) was able to come. This was the first time she's been able to come. She brought Aunt Carol (from Idaho).
 Savannah enjoying a cute little corner of the bookstore.


 Sharon, a good friend from Bountiful.

It was really such a wonderful evening. The King's English is such a charming place and they're so helpful and gracious! A special thanks to Jennifer who helped plan the event.

I'm still amazed at the turnout and the support. There were people who came from five different states--Washington, Arizona, Idaho, California and Utah! 

I'm including the notes for my remarks here:

As I've tried to prepare a few things to say, my thoughts keep coming back to Gratitude.

I have so many things I’m thankful for.

I'm thankful for ideas. I love creativity and am grateful to be surrounded by it. Not all ideas are good ones, but somewhere in the dozens of ideas that marinate in my mind all the time, there will be one that rises to the surface and demands that I pay attention.

I'm thankful for daughters, sisters, parents and friends who brainstorm with me, are my first readers and who push me. (It was because of a brainstorming session with my daughters that this book came about.)

I'm grateful for a community of writers who are writing books that are clean and uplifting. The kind you can share with your mom or grandma & your teenage daughters.

I'm grateful for a family that encourages me and helps me make time to write, who's willing to eat sandwiches if I'm on a roll and who pitch in with housework and laundry. I'm glad my parents are here and that Bruce is here (he missed my first two launches because he was on a mission.) I wish Veronica could be here, but I'm glad she’s where she is.

I'm thankful for Jina Jay, who came up with the perfect cast for Pride and Prejudice, a cast that was inspired.

I'm thankful for Matthew MacFadyen who created what is (in my opinion) the ultimate Mr. Darcy.

I'm grateful for Joe Wright, the director who knew that 45 seconds of one shot of a man walking across a meadow, with no dialogue and no switched camera angles, just beautiful music and Mr. Darcy walking toward Elizabeth, would be enough to make women all over the world swoon. It's possibly the best use of 45 seconds of film ever made.

I'm thankful for The King’s English, who has hosted two of my three book launches. They’re amazing and this little store is a treasure.

And of course, I'm thankful for all of you. I'm humbled and so grateful for your support.