Random Sampler & A Winner

Congratulations to Samantha Kemp, the winner of the Pride & Prejudice prize package. Which will you read first? Pride and Prejudice or My Own Mr. Darcy? Never mind. Don't tell me.

I'm frustrated because in my mind, I have these idyllic pictures of what summer should be and this summer isn't cutting it for me. We've been so booked up with things that it hasn't felt very relaxing. Are relaxing summers a myth? Did they ever exist? And school starts back up in three weeks. Please no! Please, PLEASE, NO!
Sad Face

There is a happy event in my summer future, however. We're going to attend the Chipotle Cultivate Festival in Denver just before school starts. That's a festival that brings together music, food and food growers. There will be good music (Good Old War, Blitzen Trapper and Cold War Kids), demonstrations by chefs (Richard Blais, Nate Appleman and Amanda Freitag) and delicious food. Plus, I'll be researching Denver for a new novel. I'm pretty excited!

We've had two different sicknesses make their way through our family this summer. Shouldn't there be a rule that sicknesses have to come during the school year? At least then there's an excuse to miss a couple of days of school, which almost make the sickness worth dealing with. But during the summer? Come on!

(I know it's kinda gross, but I thought it was funny and puking was involved in one of the sicknesses.)

My Kickstarter Project reached it's goal! And I have many of you to thank for that. Honestly, I'm thrilled and so grateful. I have such supportive family, friends and fans. (Ooh, I like that alliteration. It seems like we should be able to come up with a word that includes all those, right? Maybe Franily? or Fanendily?)
Anyway, thank you!

Did I mention school starts back up in three weeks? 

Oh, yeah! I did. 
Enjoy the rest of your summer, People!

What Do You Think? An Informal Poll

Yesterday I attended a family gathering. During the visit, someone said something about a casualty of The World Trade Center being recently identified through DNA. We had a brief discussion about how many will never be identified.

I said, "I wonder how many there were who weren't really in the World Trade Center but took the opportunity to disappear and start a new life?"

Almost everyone thought I was crazy. "None." "It was a sudden event. No one would have time to plan that." "You're just thinking too much like an author."

I said, "What if someone was in a horrible relationship or was abused? What if everyone thought they were at work but they were actually late and when the towers came down, they knew they'd be suspected dead and they could escape their miserable life?"

Several people laughed and the conversation moved on.

Was I thinking too much like an author? Do you think someone would have the presence of mind to use a tragedy like that to make an escape for whatever reason?

What do you think? Do you agree with me that there might be a couple of people who started new lives? Or do you agree with most of my family that it's a crazy thought?

Turn Off the News and Serve

If you've been watching the news lately, you've been bombarded with images and soundbites about racism, racial inequality, racial profiling, and more. The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson have been ranting and raving and stirring the pot, trying to convince everyone that the divisions between the races are significant and we need to have summits, meetings, hearings and more to figure out what to do to solve all our racial problems.

Yesterday I went to the temple. The main purpose of the temple is to serve others and to be spiritually uplifted. It was a busy place yesterday and I had to wait for about 35 minutes. I spent those 35 minutes sitting in a quiet but crowded room. I watched as others who were there to serve came and went. Some chose to be silent and read scriptures while they waited while others had whispered conversations. The room was filled with peace and love and I felt the Savior's love there.

And then I had a startling realization. I was in a room with white women, Asian women, black women, a Middle-eastern woman, a few Polynesians, and several Hispanic women. When my name was finally called, the three women working where I was were from Japan, Australia, and somewhere in the south.

I spent the morning with a group of women as culturally diverse as a United Nations Summit and all that was shared between us were smiles, a love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and a desire to serve His children.

Maybe we should spend less time with people who don't know us telling us how much we hate each other and more time loving and serving together. I really believe it can be as simple as that and that problems come when we try to hash and rehash and legislate our way out of differences.

Let's stop lecturing and legislating and start loving and serving. Isn't that what Jesus taught?

MY Own Mr. Darcy - NEWS

I'm very excited to share a few updates about My Own Mr. Darcy.

First! The My Own Mr. Darcy Kickstarter project has reached 90% funding. That means that with just $72 more dollars in backing, I'll have the funding for the book launch inventory and prizes. I'm so excited and so grateful for your support.

Second! The Pride and Prejudice Giveaway has 3 days left. That means you can still enter to win a great P&P prize package. Enter to win and help get the Kickstarter funded all at the same time.

Third! The King's English has posted the My Own Mr. Darcy reading and signing event on their website. It's going to be great. In the book, Matt Dawson (Mr. Darcy) takes Lizzie to a restaurant called The Herbgarden in Seattle. The 9th and final course is "an assortment of small treats." That's what we're going to have at the party! You don't want to miss it. They're going to be delicious!

And LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST! My Own Mr. Darcy is available to purchase on Amazon!

My Own Mr. Darcy Kickstarter Giveaway!

As many of you know, I've got a My Own Mr. Darcy project running on Kickstarter. I'm a little more than halfway there (thanks in part to some of you!) and as we head into the last two weeks or so, I'm hoping to generate a little more action there so I can make my goal and have it funded.

So welcome to the My Own Mr. Darcy Kickstarter. Since My Own Mr. Darcy was inspired by my love of Pride and Prejudice (and Mr. Darcy, in particular), I decided Pride and Prejudice swag would be the perfect giveaway.

This prize package includes:

A new DVD of Pride and Prejudice. Keep it. Watch it. Read My Own Mr. Darcy and then watch it again. (When you rewind the meadow scene over and over, think of me.)

A Pride and Prejudice refrigerator magnet. The title page of a 1st edition (200 years ago)
A new, leatherbound edition of Pride and Prejudice.

AND a signed paperback copy of My Own Mr. Darcy.

Help me spread the word about this Kickstarter for more and more chances to win this prize package.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pride and Prejudice - The Fabulous & the Ridiculous

I'll be posting a BIG giveaway in connection with my Kickstarter later this week. In my efforts to put together a prize package that will have everyone clamoring to be the grand-prize winner, I came across some interesting Pride and Prejudice finds.
There are the posters.

I think this is really pretty. Great shot of the Bennet women. 
There's this poster that has the text from the entire book. And they say it's readable. So if you want to stand by the wall for your next reading of the classic book, this is for you.
This one is for all of you who prefer Colin Firth.

I'll just take this one.

There have been so many editions of Pride and Prejudice it boggles my mind. This is a beautiful leather edition I'd love to own. And here are a few I thought were funny.

The Peacock Edition.
The Japanese flower edition.
The wrapped in a floral blanket edition.
The large print edition that has Darcy looking more like Mr. Collins.
Someone was probably so proud of this cover design. Look at that lace in the foreground? If only we had a profile of her looking at herself from the corner, ala Olin Mills, 1983.
The high school art project edition.
The Costco cheap porcelain doll edition.
Isn't this lovely? 
The birdcage edition (because Elizabeth was such a bird lover (Remember when the birds tied a lovely blue sash to Elizabeth's ball gown? Oh yeah, that was Cinderella.)
Did you know Lizzie Bennet was a Marvel Hero? Yep. Here's the proof. The Marvel graphic novel of Pride and Prejudice. Love the sound of these articles. I'm just glad to know that Bingley brought the bling to Britain.
And my favorite... The terrifying puppet edition. This is enough to cause nightmares.

It's never too early to familiarize your daughters with Pride and Prejudice. Or maybe you'd like to play paper dolls with your book club. These look cute, but I'd have preferred a manlier Mr. Darcy. He has a figure I wish was mine in this photo.
There's all kinds of Pride and Prejudice charms.
These are perfectly attractive people but I'm not sure in what universe someone thought it looked like Darcy and Elizabeth. They look more like a Justin and Jessica to me.
I have no words. And there are two of them.

I Wanted to Punch Him!

Yesterday I drove the kids out to meet my husband and in-laws at a house they were looking at. It was a crazy huge house that had been over-the top elegant in it's prime. It had pool, sport court, and a yard that would require a full-time gardener.

It had fallen into foreclosure and was in need of some work. It had some missing light fixtures and unfinished remodeling. Weeds were overtaking the cobblestones of the circular drive and the porch had a little pile of bird poo. We looked up at the giant archway and found a nest with three, baby birds peeking over the edge of the nest. It was adorable.

As we prepared to leave, the realtor, an oaf of a man, took a 2 x 4 and headed for the birds.

"There are birds in there."
"Oh, don't hurt the birds."
"They're just babies."

These were what came out of our mouths as we watched him wield the 2 x 4 and jab at the little nest up in the corner.

"Oh no," the kids said, as three little birds fell to the stone porch. One tried to flit away. One was hopping around on one leg and one was squirming on it's back. It was heartbreaking.

"I didn't know there were babies," the ogre said in response to my kids' sympathetic sounds. Like crap he didn't. We'd told him. Savannah moved forward to try to rescue the bird on it's back. "Don't touch it or it's mother will abandon it," he said like he cared, as he prodded and tried to right it with his board.

We got in the car to leave. My husband, seeing how upset the kids were, came to the door and apologized for what we'd just seen.

We left and the kids said a prayer for the birds and then Savannah cried all the way home.

No one lives there. It needs work. The birds were the least of their worries. Hose of the porch until the birds are grown if you're so worried.

Some people!

Happy Birthday, Kevin Bacon

***Note from me*** A couple of years ago, I wrote about my own 5 Degrees From Kevin Bacon.  Little did I know that two years later, that article would lead to a request from a celebrity blogger to do a guest post about Kevin Bacon on my blog. Spencer Blohm contacted me to see if he could do an article celebrating Kevin Bacon's birthday. Welcome, Spencer and Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Believe it or not, Kevin Bacon turned 54 years old on July 8th. An even more impressive anniversary for Bacon is still coming up, however, as July 28th will mark his 35th year in the movie industry.

Bacon’s very first role was Omega Theta Pi house member Chip Diller in National Lampoon’s Animal House, which premiered in 1978. Bacon probably thought having the opportunity to work alongside comedy legend John Belushi, and the voice of Jonny Quest, Tim Matheson, would be his big break, but it wasn’t the kick start he was hoping for.

After his debut started to seem like a one hit wonder, Bacon returned to auditioning for small roles, including several appearances on long running soap operas Search for Tomorrow and Guiding Light. Finally after two years of nothing but pint-sized, forgettable roles Bacon landed a substantial casting in one of the most iconic slasher films of all time, Friday the 13th. His role as Ned Rubenstein’s best friend Jack Burrel sparked a chain reaction of leading roles, as Bacon was quickly cast as Timothy Fenwick Jr. in Diner and Ren McCormack in Footloose. The early 1980s were the jumping off point Bacon needed.

Bacon’s three-and-a-half decade long career has produced some memorable roles in award-winning films like JFK, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, and Mystic River, but somehow over the years Bacon has joined Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, and Robert Downey Jr. in the unlucky club of critically praised actors to never win an Oscar. Unlike the other seemingly cursed actors mentioned above, Bacon has never even been nominated for an Oscar!

It seems as if Bacon is one of those actors that just never quite hit his stride when it came to playing the leading man, and in recent years Bacon has continued to played a large number of successful supporting roles, including David Lindhagen in Crazy, Stupid, Love and villain Sebastian Shaw in Marvel’s X-Men: First Class. Bacon is once again playing a comic book villain, Bobby Hayes, in the supernatural comic book adaptation of R.I.P.D. set to be released on July 19th. 

All this past and more recent success still raises the question: how can a man that has had a career prolific enough to warrant him a widely-known trivia game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, have gone completely unrecognized by the Academy? While it’s definitely rather unfortunate that Bacon has been so underrated and almost forgotten in Hollywood, it seems as if Bacon has come to terms with it himself. He’s commented on lack of Oscar statues in several interviews over the past few years and even poked fun at himself in a recent Logitech Revue advertisement where Bacon plays an obsessed Kevin Bacon fan. So, if Kevin Bacon can laugh it off, then maybe so can his fans!

Author Bio: Spencer Blohm is a television, movie and entertainment blogger for DirectTV who enjoys writing about everything from the latest releases to the classics of cinema’s silent era, and everything in between. He lives in Chicago with his with his cat and a massive collection of DVDs.

Want to Join Me On Kickstarter?

Some of you probably don't know what Kickstarter is. I didn't until a friend clued me in. Then Midas Whale, the group I enjoyed on The Voice launched a Kickstarter to fund the creation of a CD. I became a backer and then spent quite awhile learning the details of what it is and how it works.

Then I decided to use it. 

After interest from a few traditional publishers and an offer from one, I decided to take a chance and publish My Own Mr. Darcy on my own. This meant I was giving up the benefits of a traditional publisher (professional cover designers, editors, typesetters, etc) in exchange for more control and a higher percentage of royalties. It's been scary but exciting.

Since deciding to go this route, I've enlisted the help of my own marketing/publicity person, I designed the cover, and I'm typesetting and formatting my book for print and e-book (with the help of kind people who have done this before). I also had to create my own small publishing house (Orange Door Press). These things have cost money that had to be paid before I receive a dime for my book. And then there's acquiring inventory.

I'm THRILLED to be holding my book launch at The King's English again. They hosted such a great party for For What It's Worth and I'm excited to have been invited back. Because I'm self-publishing, they'll be ordering books from me and I'll be providing the inventory for the launch.

All this brings me to the point of this post. I've launched a Kickstarter project to help me pay for the expenses of bringing My Own Mr. Darcy to you.

The great thing about Kickstarter is that you're not giving money for nothing. There are some fun reward packages that you'll get if you donate to my Kickstarter.

Please take a look and see if there's something that interests you. If you prefer to wait and buy a book when it comes out in September, that's fine, but if you wouldn't mind putting this on your facebook or twitter pages, I'd be so grateful.

You can find my project HERE.

Oh Boys!

Last week my 13 year-old went to basketball camp. I arrived at the end of camp to pick him up and was flabbergasted at the condition of his room. Gatorade bottles, garbage, snack bags and candy wrappers were all over. Chips and Cheetos were all over the floor and even in the beds.

Joe had stayed in the dorm with a friend and two other friends had stayed close by. There were a couple of evenings when they had a little down time and decided to hang out together in the room. Judging by the condition of the room, I think they thought they were rock stars and it was their job, or right, to thrash the place.

Sadly for me, I got to play the role of maid when I came to help them check out. It was disgusting and I teased them about what little pigs they were.

Then on the way home, they were telling me about the week and they laughed about what one of their friends had done. They'd had an evening devotional/check-in that Joe and his roommate attended while the other two boys, who weren't staying in the same building, stayed in their room. One of them needed to go to the bathroom, but since they didn't have a room key, they were afraid they'd end up locked out of the room if they left before Joe and his roommate returned.

So they did what any trucker-in-training would do. He peed into a Gatorade bottle and then threw the bottle in the trash. (Hey, at least that bottle made it to the trash. I should be glad, right? One less bottle for us to pick up and throw away on the last day of camp.)


He didn't put the lid on so the bottle filled the bottom of the garbage.

And then I came in and helped the boys clean up.
And then while I stripped the beds they picked up all the trash and loaded their duffle bags.
And then while they vacuumed I dumped their garbage into the larger can outside the door.
And then I got "Gatorade" all over my hand and forearm as it spilled out of the bottom of the garbage.