COVER REVEAL - My Own Mr. Darcy




A HUGE THANK YOU TO MY MODELS, AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR MAKING THE IDEA IN MY HEAD BECOME A REALITY.

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

To read some excerpts or enter a giveaway, head over to I'm A Reader. 

What do you think?


Mark Your Calendars!! My Own Mr. Darcy Cover Reveal

You have no idea how much I want to upload a picture of the cover RIGHT NOW!!!

But alas, I can't. Because that would spoil the surprise. And surprises are fun. At least this one will be.

Next Tuesday, June 25, is the day. The cover for My Own Mr. Darcy will be revealed.

I couldn't be happier with this cover. When I wrote the book, I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted it to look like and thanks to the help of some great people, the cover and the picture in my head match.

So stay tuned, but don't hold your breath because four days is too long to hold your breath. Just be sure to check back.

MORE My Own Mr. Darcy news: The release date is set for September 10.Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Birthday Report - A success!

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've wanted to do this for more than a year and got thwarted last year by monster kidney stones. 

Well this year the kidney stones stayed away and after a long day (and part of last evening), we are finished.

Today I turned 49 years old. To commemorate each of those years I've been blessed with, I wanted to do an act of kindness. The greatest thing about today was... well, just about everything.

We decided to get a jump on things last night. 49 is a lot of things to do and I felt good getting a head start. Travis received a gift certificate to Red Lobster for Father's Day and he wanted to use it Monday night, so we took the youngest two kids out to dinner. This is where it began. 

1) We surprised a couple with an appetizer. We later discovered that our waitress and the waiter for the people we surprised were engaged. He had great taste in rings and they obviously had great taste in people because they were an adorable couple and the ring he'd picked out was stunning--a simple, square, pale green diamond. He came over and thanked us for surprising his guests and called his fiance a peach. I thought that was pretty cute.

2) We gave a $5 Cold Stone Card to a young mother and her little boy.

3) We taped exact change on a washer at the laundromat.

4) We taped exact change on a dryer at the laundromat. (I know these are similar, but I have a lot to get done so I allowed myself some duplication.)

5) Left exact change at a carwash.

6) Bought a newspaper for someone.

7) The entrance to beautiful Alpine Loop is just about 1/2 mile from our house. We started the day today by driving up to the toll booth and paying for a car to be able to enter the canyon.

8) We had a carwash certificate for a full-service carwash so we pulled into the parking lot and then when a car pulled in, we hurried in front of them and gave the certificate before leaving. I'm sure at first they were annoyed and thought we'd butted in line. When they didn't have to pay, though, they smiled and waved.
 9) Savannah, Joe and I went into the dollar store and paid for a woman's purchases.

10) We gave a movie gift certificate to a woman who was going into the theater with her three children.

11) We purchased donuts and took them to my brother, Mark's office.
12) We purchased breakfast for a man in a wheelchair who was sitting on the corner by McDonalds. He was in really bad shape and it was quite sad.
 13) We purchased 15 breakfast sandwiches and delivered them to the homeless in Pioneer Park. We ran out and had a hungry man hoping for one so I told him we'd be back shortly.
 14) We came back with 20 hamburgers and chicken sandwiches and handed them out to the homeless in Pioneer Park, including the man we'd missed the first time.
 15) We moved peoples' trash cans in after their trash was picked up.

16) We went to the cemetery and cleaned four graves, cutting away the overgrown grass and leaves.
17) We left flags and patriotic pinwheels on six graves including my brother-in-law's grave.

18)We pulled fallen branches off several other graves.

19) We gave a $5 Cold Stone gift certificate to another mother with her two children.

20) We gave some money to a couple who needed to buy bus tickets.

21) We gave a couple of dollars to a man on the corner asking for help.

We went to my parents' house where we had lunch and saw some family. While there we,

22) Cleaned up after lunch.

23) Loaded the dishwasher.

24) The kids played guitar and sang some of the songs they've been working on for their grandparents.

25) We gave bus tokens my dad had donated to the cause to a man at the bus stop.

26) We dropped off donations at Deseret Industries.

27)We found a boy selling lemonade on the corner and bought from him, leaving him with a nice, big tip.

28) We bought movie tickets for a couple (we didn't go to a movie--there wasn't time)

29)We purchased cold water bottles and delivered 4 of them to a hot, hardworking road crew.

30) We gave a cold water to a homeless man.

31) Called a friend I haven't talked to in a long time.

32) Went to a little petting zoo and fed the animals (this was a kind deed from me to Travis, Savannah and Joe, who were good sports all day and LOVE little petting zoos. They loved this.

33) Taped $2.00 worth of quarters on the little feeder machine so others will be able to feed the animals.

34) We gathered and brought in carts at Costco.

35) Found a woman with a heavily loaded cart and helped her unload it into her car.

36) Found two women (one pregnant) with a little boy and two huge carts. They'd just purchased the food for Youth Conference and with Travis's excellent packing skills we were able to help them fit it all in their car.

A little sidenote here: One of the women looked familiar, so I asked her if she was a Fields. She said yes and we discovered that I had recognized her from Facebook and she is the wife of a guy I knew on my mission.

37) Invited a friend to lunch (to be carried out another day)

38) Purchased a tie and dropped it off to a young man in our ward who is about to leave on his mission.

39) Loaded groceries into the car of an elderly woman at the grocery store.

40) Taped the exact change onto a vending machine at the mall.

41) Taped the exact change to the vacuum at the car wash.

42) Let a mother with three small children go in front of us in the checkout line.

43) Wrote a thank you note

44) Wrote a letter to my missionary

45) Bought hamburgers for a homeless couple outside Wendy's

46) Paid for the woman's dinner behind us when we got burritos on our way home.

And that was it.

Wait, weren't we supposed to do 49? Yes, we were. And we tried. And if you count each of the people we took food to and each of the people we gave water to as individuals instead of just as one event, we'd be way over the top. I feel good calling it a success.

I want to share a few things with you about this day.

First, it was amazing. EVERYONE was so grateful and kind. When I told people it was my birthday and we wanted to share the fun, they were enthusiastic in their birthday wishes. I felt an outpouring of love for the people we were serving. My kids thought handing out food to the homeless was the best part of the day and left there feeling very grateful for our blessings.

Second, I'm a very blessed lady. I have a family who energetically spent the entire day looking for opportunities to serve and carrying them out. There wasn't a single complaint. They were happy and cheerful the entire time. My good husband took the day off work only to work hard fulfilling my birthday wish. I'm so grateful.

Third, I was surprised at the number of homeless or needy people in Salt Lake. They were everywhere. The 35 sandwiches we delivered were depleted so fast. There were so many lonely people, it was heartbreaking. Others had banded together and were looking out for each other. A few asked for a sandwich for their friend who was "right over there." We gave them the extra sandwich each time, thinking maybe they were just really hungry, but not begrudging it. And then we'd look back and they'd be handing it to their friend who really had been just over there. We saw people who were clearly in bad health. They were hungry. They had almost nothing. One woman had been beaten so badly the whole side of her face was a swollen angry bruise and you couldn't see her eye. It was awful. But then we handed each of them a sandwich and they smiled and offered appreciation and asked that God bless us for our kindness. It was very humbling.

Fourth, serving makes us feel good. This isn't news to any of you, but I have to tell you, we came home exhausted, hot, and with tired feet. But we came home feeling happy about the day.

Fifth is the conclusion we came to as we drove home. Today was a big day. We did a lot. For 12 hours we did nothing but look for things to do for others and carry them out. But nothing we did today couldn't be done in small doses on other days. It wouldn't be a hard thing to go buy a couple of breakfast sandwiches and take them to someone who's hungry. By itself, it's an easy thing to pull someone's garbage can off the street. A few cold water bottles to people working out in the heat isn't a great sacrifice or a hardship. Twenty minutes at the cemetery can easily clean off the headstone of someone's loved one. A phone call to a friend is easy. A thank you note to someone who's done something kind for you only takes a few minutes. I can do better at all these things on a regular basis.

And finally... Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all those who joined me in this day of thinking of others. I'm honored. Truly I am. I have friends and family who cared for sick relatives and friends who cared for relatives who were taking care of sick relatives. Some fed missionaries, took treats to neighbors, made pies to take to firemen. Some paid for people's meals in line, bought groceries for someone in need and helped others pack boxes for a move. Some babysat for neighbors, took friends' children to the park and took in dinner. Some did it themselves and some enlisted the help of their children. There may be others who report what they did in the comments.

For all these kind things, thank you. I'm so touched and grateful for all the wonderful things that were done today. I'm also thankful for all the kind emails, messages on facebook and twitter, cards and phone calls to wish me a happy birthday.

This really has been the best birthday I can remember. Thanks for being a part of it.

My Birthday -- Give Me Presents!


Tuesday is my birthday. I'm turning 49 years old. YIKES! I don't feel that old. In fact, if I had to say how old I feel, with the exception of an occasional wild hair and a couple of crunchy knees, I'd say I feel more like mid-thirties.

This means I'm nearly to the big Five-O. It means I'm likely well beyond the half-way point of my life. It means the wrinkles I see in the mirror aren't just a figment of my imagination.

Last year I came across this blog posting from a woman who was celebrating her 38th birthday by doing 38 random acts of kindness. I loved the idea and decided that's how I'd celebrate my 48th birthday. Then my birthday fell during a month-long case of kidney stones that had me wondering if I wouldn't prefer to celebrate my birthday dead. I didn't do 48 acts of kindness But I did survive.

So here I am just a few days away from 49 and so far the kidney stones seem to be leaving me alone this year. So I'm going to do it.

Seriously though, why couldn't I have discovered this idea twenty years ago? It would have made for a much more relaxed day. I'm enlisting my family to help me and we're going to do our best to manage

49

acts of kindness in one day. I'll report back next Wednesday. (I doubt I'll have time to report on Tuesday. 49 is a lot of years to commemorate in one day!)

AND NOW HERE'S WHERE I BEG FOR BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!

I'm not asking for an ice cream maker or flowers or even marzipan.

If you want to give me a present, would you do one or two random acts of kindness on my behalf? and then will you come by and leave a comment and tell me what you did? Only a few people in the world know me, but wouldn't it be cool if June 18 turned out to be an extra happy day for lots of people and not just me? 

Some of you won't see this until after my birthday is over, and that's okay. I'll accept random acts of kindness for as long as people are willing to give! I'd be okay celebrating my birthday all year long.

Thanks! and I just for the record... I really like you guys and am grateful you occasionally stop by.


Review - A Way Back to You by Emily Gray Clawson

What would you do if you were given a second chance? Annabelle, whom nearly everyone calls Anne, has been stuck in the past for two years. Numbed by grief over her husband's unexpected death and overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising their three young children alone, Anne agrees to let a friend take the kids for the weekend while she tries to get some much-needed rest at her parent's home. But when Anne wakes up the next morning, she is suddenly sixteen again. And it just happens to be the worst day she spent as a teenager. High school the second time around brings unforeseen changes and frustrations, but remembering that her future husband, Mitch, has just returned from a mission and is living on the other side of town gives Anne hope. Getting Mitch's attention (for the second time) is more complicated than she could have imagined, but Anne discovers she is stronger than she believed possible—and there just might be a future for her after all.

My Review

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I was one of the few people who didn't like The Time Traveller's Wife, after all. I was pleasantly surprised, however. A Way Back to You was entertaining, emotional, and unpredictable. It kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I had to know what was going to happen.

Ann is a sympathetic woman, even heartbreaking. The death of her husband has left her reeling and she's having a hard time anchoring herself in her own life. Her time-travel experience was so good. The story didn't get mired down or confusing. Living life as a 16 year old with a 38 year old's experiences and perspective were humorous and profound. It made me wish I could go back and live my teenage years over with the life perspective I have now. Wouldn't we see things so differently?

I don't want to spoil the book for you so I won't go into details. I will say that with just a couple of little over-reaches during the time as a teenager, I thought this was a great book and would whole-heartedly recommend it. Be sure to add it to your books to read this summer. I think you'll be glad you did.

A Beautiful Ache


 


Today I turned my beautiful daughter over to the Lord. I fully expect Him to take good care of her. I'm counting on Him to comfort her tonight when she cries, to soothe her heart when she's lonely. I know He is going to use her sweetness to bless others, her testimony to teach others and her loving heart to change others.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

But tonight I'm not just missing the lovely daughter I left in a crowd of cheering and happy missionaries...

I'm also missing the skinny baby who looked so breakable her dad was afraid to hold her.

I'm missing the little girl who made her dad and me work super hard for her smiles, but would laugh the second Bruce said, "Boo." Every single time.

I'm thinking about the responsible six-year-old who cleaned house, took care of her little sister and nursed me when I was on bedrest with Joe.

I miss the good student who never put off an assignment.

I miss the baker who could always be persuaded to make cookies.

I miss the girl who always pitched in to help without being asked and NEVER let me work while she sat.

I miss the repentant little girl who would cry in her bed because she'd lost her temper hours earlier and felt so bad about it. 

I miss the perfectionist who held her books carefully so she wouldn't crack the spine.

I miss the girl who hasn't missed a day of reading her scriptures in more than six years.

I'm missing Savannah's best friend. 

I'm missing the bear hugs, the smiles, and the silly dances. 

The thought of her crying tonight in her bed levels me but the thought of the lives she's going to touch and the woman she's becoming picks me back up.

I love you, Veronica. God bless you!

Research & Food

Pok Pok on Division Street in Portland

Last weekend we took the chance to take the only family trip that includes the entire family in the four years that take in Bruce and Veronica's mission. We had to take the kids out of school for a few days (which didn't get a single complaint).

We traveled to the beautiful northwest and stayed with cousins. We saw a few relatives and ate a lot of great food.

That's the beauty of being a writer when you travel. If you've read my books, you know I include details about food and restaurants. That's because food anchors the story into the senses. At least it does in mine. I love it wheen a book tells me where they ate and what they ate. I think we learn something about the characters.

Anyway, we ate our way through Portland and Seattle. We ate the best chicken and sticky rice at Pok Pok (a restaurant that will be featured in My Own Mr. Darcy). We had Voodoo Donuts (the Memphis Mafia fritter was a hit) and had the best ice cream you can imagine at Salt and Straw. Imagine a flavor like pear and bleu cheese ice cream. Now imagine heaven. They're the same.

In Seattle we ate a family feast at Maggiano's in honor of Veronica's birthday. We had to put her birthday dinner off a few weeks because of wisdom teeth. We definitely made up for it. Then we had mini donuts at Daily Dozen, fresh peaches, Salmon pie and marzipan rolls at Piroshky Piroshky and almond delights at Three Girls Bakery, all at Pikes Place Market. And I can't forget fish and chips at Ivars (a restaurant on the wharf featured in For What It's Worth.

Now I've got to find another great city with outstanding food so I can research for my next book. Any suggestions?