Thursday, May 26, 2011

Author Interview with Sheralyn Pratt

Ah this girl is SO awesome! Dear friends let me welcome the great Sheralyn Pratt. I first heard about her books from my friend Kristie who told me they were awesome and funny! Sure enough, I read them and was LAUGHING OUT LOUD so many times.

Sheralyn is just as fun in person as her characters are in her books. :) She kindly agreed to answer some of my questions so take a look and get to know this great gal!


• What was the best advice you got before you were published (or on your writing journey) ?

The best advice (which I rarely follow) was to wait two weeks before showing anyone anything you’ve written. Write it, let it marinate while go read other authors you love, come back, and re-read your work. If you still like it, then you can show it to someone else. Sound advice. I should follow it more often.

• If you could be one of your characters for a day who would you be and why?

As much as I love Rhea and as desperately as I need Kay’s tough love when it comes to what I put in my closet, I would have to hang out with a character no one’s met yet. Her name is Nev… and one day you will know why she’s at the top of my list. I’ll give you one reason for why I want to pick her brain, though: she’s been around for 1200 years.

• What’s been a fun perk of being published?

One perk has to be the instant street cred. Can’t lie about that. Also, being published can and does open doors. But one of the top perks has to be that I have one less “If only…” in my life. The flip side is the pressure of the business side of it all. That can be a kill joy if you let it.

• Looking forward to anything in the future? (signing events, new book coming out, conferences attending?)

I plan on this summer being fun—taking trips, doing out-of-state signings (if there’s an area you want me to visit, let me know), and working on three books, two fiction and one awesome nonfiction that I’m going to need help with from everyone within the sound of my voice. I’m making a little web page for it now, so stay tuned on that. I think it will be a hit!

• Any upcoming events I can tell my readers about?

Same as above. Things aren't concrete yet, but this summer is going to be a series of trips all over the country. Cities and dates coming soon, but it’s going to be great and I’ll be excited to meet people I’ve only known through the internet. It’ll be fun and productive—two words I like to combine as often as possible!

• Biggest/hardest change since being published? (in writing or life, etc.)

Probably the lifestyle change of sitting all the time. My body doesn't like it and I feel like I spend half the year with my siatic nerve pinched. The only way for me to fix it is to get out and exercise, and I haven't yet found the balance between my old ways and my new ways. Probably not the answer you were expecting, eh?

• What’s a good book you’ve read this year that you’d recommend to others?

I ALWAYS recommend Save the Cat to writers. Love that book! Research books I’ve been enjoying are the Tao Te Ching and the Apocrypha. In the fiction arena I like Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and Rick Riordan.

People always get to ask Q&A’s when they go to author events. What’s the best question you’ve been asked? (What was your answer?)

I know somebody asked something brilliant once. I remember it stumping me. But like most brilliant things, I have since forgotten the question. Sorry. Some help I am!

• If your load was lightened what is a guilty pleasure you would partake in?

Adrenaline. I’m not sure when exactly I grew up, but man, adulthood can be mundane. I’m up for a few thrills, for sure! Either that, or long-term camping. I’m always up for that, too

• If you had to rewrite a nursery rhyme which one would you choose/why/how would you make it your own/fun to read?

I can honestly say I have never, ever thought about this in my life. But the first one that comes to mind is “There was an old lady who lived in a shoe…” Great. Thanks! Now I’m going to dream about that tonight…

• Have you gotten to travel anywhere fun/different because of your book(s)?

So far I’ve been tame in my travels, but trust me, before long I’ll be hitting places like Thailand, South Africa, Germany, Egypt, Machu Picchu, Ireland, and anywhere else where either nature or man is displaying something that makes me feel absolutely small and insignificant. Can’t wait!



Thanks so much for answering all of my crazy questions Sheralyn! It's been a pleasure having you stop by to say hi!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

You're Gonna Wanna Be There!

I got a chance to read this and let me tell you, it's my kind of book! If you're looking for a new great read, check it out.

POSSESSION

by Elana Johnson




Launch Party

Date:
Wednesday, June 8
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Location:
The King's English
1511 S. 1500 E.


Other events Elana will be at:

~Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 10:00am
Brigham Young University

~Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 2:00pm
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
330 E. 1300 S.
Orem, UT

Or click here (blog) or here (fb) for more information.





Monday, May 16, 2011

Marriage Monday: Where Ya Headed?


Where Ya Headed?

Shannan Blum Hardy, M.S.

"To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there." Kofi Annan

Every successful business has what is known as a ‘business plan’. It’s the road map and structure of the business...where are you getting your financing from, what is your collateral, what is your inventory, what does your balance sheet of profits/losses look like, what are your projections for earnings, what improvements to the business do you plan on making, etc. Additionally, successful businesses are those which create and incorporate a mission statement into their daily business practices. I think we can learn something from these concepts and apply them to our marriages and families.

The part I love about Annan’s quote is “where you want to go and why you want to get there.” Basically, 1) Have your END in mind even while you BEGIN, and 2) Know your motivation. I LOVE this! So...what is your end game with regards to your marriage and then by extension, to your family? Do you know? If you’ve already written out a mission statement or motto for your family, then GREAT...and share it with us and how you use it. If not (like most of us!) try this exercise and see what develops:

Take an hour before bed tonight, grab a pen and a tablet of paper. Make two columns on the sheet of paper. On the left column just jot down words for what you want your marriage to be like, ie... “tender, funny, nurturing, uplifting, committed, spiritual, affectionate” etc. Whatever YOUR goals are. Then, in the right column, right down sentences explaining WHY you want those characteristics. “I want a tender relationship because I feel loved when I’m treated with tenderness,” or “I want humor in my marriage because I can feel like I’m lightening my husband’s load when I make him laugh”. After you complete this list...you’ll have your goals (left side) and your motivation (right side). Now, you can make them into a personal mission statement for your marriage. Or...you can do this exercise together and make it a joint venture...it might be interesting to see what the differences are between your personal ideas for your marriage and what the two of you come up with together.

At any rate...begin writing something...anything to start. Give it some time, come back to it after a few days and see if anything new strikes you. Once you get it written out...post it somewhere visible. Read it often...revise it if necessary...add to or modify it. Use it as a guide and you’ll have a much higher chance of achieving it!!


Thanks to my guest blogger today, Shannan Blum Hardy!


For your viewing pleasure check out some fun cartoons that Shannan found from http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/m/mission_statements_gifts.asp. They're pretty funny but I just couldn't post them without permission so I thought it'd be fun to send you over that way to read a few if you're interested. :)




Shannan Blum Hardy received her Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University in 1992 and worked full-time as a drug and alcohol counselor before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom to her children. She is currently divorced and living with her four children in Chino Hills, California. She has re-entered the workplace as a therapist working with children in the public school system and earning hours towards private licensure. Additionally, she is a co-author with her sister-in-law of "ManagerMom: Managing Your Home for Better Parenting" which you can view at www.managermom.net. She is passionate about parenting, relationships, learning new things, growing and enjoying every moment with delight!



You can find my other Marriage Monday's here.



*Image found with google images.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cook book Winner!

Up for grabs:

Congrats to:

AMBER!


Hooray!
Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Entitlement Trap

I've been a huge fan of the Eyre's and their programs and books for a LONG time (read: since I was 4). I really believe these guys have some incredible wisdom and this new book looks to be one worth reading.

Richard Eyre sent me a couple of summary's of the book and I'm including them both for you. Check it out!

Short version:"Kids' sense of entitlement is the biggest problem today's parents face. Children seem to think they should have whatever they want, and whatever their friends have right now, and without working for it. The reason entitlement is a trap is that it destroys motivation, incentive, creativity and work ethic. It takes away from our children everything we want to give them. We have come to believe that the antidote to entitlement (and the prerequisite to responsibility) is to help children feel "earned ownership" of their spending money, their "stuff", their education and grades, their values and goals, and their decisions and choices. This is a book on how to give them all of that!"

Medium version:

After elaborating and explaining something that we all know--namely that our children feel more entitled and are more spoiled than any other generation of kids in history--this book tells parents what to do about it!

Unknowingly, most parents are contributing to their kids' sense of entitlement by giving them too much and expecting too little of them. "Allowances" are usually part of the problem. Kids queue up like a welfare line each week and demand their money. Since they did nothing to earn the money, they don't perceive ownership of it, or of the things they buy with it. The same applies to the toys and gadgets and clothes that we give them. They gave up nothing for it, so they take no pride in it.

Unfortunately, its not only their "stuff" that they feel no ownership in or pride for--it is also their goals, their choices, and even their values. If they don't think of them as "theirs" (often because we have just thrust it all on them) they are unmotivated and without incentive!

To change all that is the goal of this book! Young kids are both flattered and instructed by having real responsibility and by being paid for what they actually do rather than given handouts.
The Entitlement Trap gives parents a detailed blueprint of how to establish a "family economy" wherein kids earn, budget, save, and give money and where they buy their own things and become truly responsible for them. It involves an interest-paying family bank complete with checkbooks and a pegboard or on-line system of keeping track of task accomplishment.

As Stephen Covey says in the forward, "
In the first half of the book, you will learn how to make your kids economically savvy and financially independent. . . . In the second half, you will learn that the family economic model is just the framework and the metaphor for lessons even more important."

The second half goes on to apply the same ownership principles to kids' grades and education, to their choices and goals, and perhaps most importantly to their values. Once our children accept and perceive real ownership of all these things, their motivation and incentive grows exponentially, and our job of teaching them responsibility begins to feel possible!


YOU CAN PRE-ORDER THE ENTITLEMENT TRAP NOW AND GET A 33% DISCOUNT AND A FREE DOWNLOAD FOR YOUR CHILD.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Marriage Monday: I Need Your Help


It was suggested by a few of you that we all collaborate on date ideas (I'm specifically thinking for married couples of any age).

Leave your ideas in the comments below and I'll compile them all in a list, possibly in categories of price ranges or something too. I'll probably throw in some random ones this week too.

Also I know a handful of you have directed me to some fun websites specifically geared to date ideas so if you'd like to leave those too I add those to our page for others to find and use as well.

Thanks you guys!



You can find my other Marriage Monday's here.



*Image found with google images.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's No Sacrifice To Love You*

Happy Mothers Day!



*(I know this isn't the title of the song but I adored this line!!)

This video is from Archangle records. You can view more of their songs here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Author Interview with Annette Lyon

Remember that chocolate cook book I'm giving away this week? You have just a couple of days left to enter. But while we wait to find out the winner let me introduce you to my friend Annette Lyon.

I first met Annette when I signed up to take her two-month-long writing workshop with my pals Susan and Olivia where I learned some of the ins and outs of the writing and publishing world and got all sorts of great tips & tricks to writing and got a lot of encouragement and writing exercise ideas. I've also gotten to see her around at several of the events I've gone to as she's very active in the local author community.

She was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions to share with all of you. Enjoy!






•Q: What was the best advice you got before you were published (or on your writing journey)?
A: Join a critique group. Mine is fantastic, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.

• Q: If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would you be and why?
A: Hard one. I put my characters through the wringer, so I don’t know that I’d want to be in their shoes! If pressed, I’d probably say either Tabitha (Tower of Strength) or Bethany (Spires of Stone). They have a level of strength and spunk that I don’t. Tabitha is more like me as far as personality and temperament goes.

• Q: If you could meet one of your characters for lunch who would it be and what would you talk to them about?
A: Probably Abe (House on the Hill). His story in that book grew a ton from the first draft to the end as I learned more about his past. I have a feeling there’s more I don’t know about. He’s my readers’ favorite hero, hands down. I'm not sure why--maybe because he’s so complex?--but he's one of my favorites too.

• Q: What’s been a fun perk of being published?
A: One big perk I didn’t anticipate is the opportunity to meet new people and attend events that wouldn’t have been open to me before. I’ve had the chance to rub shoulders with some pretty amazing people.

Also, it may sound odd after almost a decade, but I still get a bit of a thrill at seeing books on the shelf at a store with my name on them.

• Q: Looking forward to anything in the future? (signing events, new book coming out, conferences attending?)

A: May 7th I find out if I won a Whitney award for my last novel, Band of Sisters. It’s currently a finalist for Best General Novel. At the LDStorymakers conference prior to the award gala, I’ll be teaching three classes, moderating a panel, and running a publisher-attendee event.
Edited to add: CONGRATS to Annette who won the Whitney award for Best General Novel!!

I’m working on several projects right now, although I have no solid release dates for them. I will likely have a fourth book available on the Kindle in the next couple of months. My first two books (out of print elsewhere) are already there, as is my grammar guide. This next one will be a middle-grade fantasy.

•Q: Any upcoming events I can tell my readers about?
A: June will be the 3rd annual Teen Writers Conference, which has been a ball to be part of. I’ll be teaching there as well—and I have teens of my own to bring along, so it’s a mom-kid day!

• Q: Biggest/hardest change since being published? (in writing or life, etc)
A: One of the hardest things is the realization that getting a book contract is not even almost the end of the road. It’s the beginning of an entirely new journey, and if you don’t work just as hard (or even harder—the clock is now ticking with releases and readers waiting), you’ll fall behind and lose what you worked so hard for.

• Q: What’s a good book you’ve read this year that you’d recommend to others?
A: The Book Thief, by Markus Zuzak, was so great. (And it was the first book I bought for my shiny new Kindle!) Beautiful writing, great story, fascinating technique.

I also got to read Variant, by Robison Wells, which is a great YA. It was a pre-press version, so everyone else has to wait until this fall. (A perk to being in a great critique group!)

• Q: If your load was lightened, what is a guilty pleasure you would partake in?
A: Nap. Hire a housekeeper and/or cook. Travel. Get pedicures.

• Q: If you had to rewrite a nursery rhyme which one would you choose/why/how would you make it your own/fun to read?
A: “Old Mother Hubbard” might be fun to novelize. WHY was her cupboard bare? She must have known food had been there—she wouldn’t have checked otherwise. So what happened to it?

Oh gosh those were some great answers! Thanks so much Annette for letting me ask you some questions. Be sure to stop by Annette's blog and if you haven't yet enter to win her cookbook here on my blog!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Thirty before Thirty Bucket List


30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30 (April 3 2012):

1. Travel
2. Take a girls trip.
3. Take a cooking class.
4. Finish writing my novel (I won NaNoWriMo last year but didnt finish the story).
5. Sew 3 projects.
6. Pay off auto loan.
7. Update family blog. (new posts at least twice a month & catch up from last Nov!)
8. Video tape the family/kids more often. (My goal is at least 2 a month.)
9. Compile family videos into dvd home movie (at least one per kid for now).
10. Learn how to play the guitar that I've owned for three years now.
11. Read 30 at least 30 books.
12. Write a letter every month to someone whom I admire.
13. Make a quilt.
14. Redecorate Master Bedroom
15. Write in my journal (at least twice a month).
16. Read a Jane Austen novel.
17. Begin learning Spanish.
18. Travel somewhere in Utah I’ve never been to before. (Zions, Lake Powell, Bear Lake)
19. Make and complete two months of exercise regime.
20. Plan and implement fun summer activities for the kids/family.
21. Get an updated family photo taken.
22. Organize (& dejunk) two rooms in my house. (Or 1 room and my master closet.)
23. Plan a fun friend bbq party.
24. Practice my ASL skills with my children.
25. Plan a fun trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary in January.
26. Try at least 12 new recipes (attempt at least 1 new recipe a month).
27. Hand write a heartfelt thank you note once a week.
28. Update the family's 72 hour kits & practice again emergency plans.
29. Print some of my photography and hang them in the house.
30. Celebrate turning 30 in style!

I wanted to post it the last day in April but still had alot of holes in my list. I think my main problem was that I have to feasibly know I can to do it within the next year which means those bigger "to-do before I die" bucket list items dont really apply to this sorta list. But I did it. The list is done.

A big thank you to those of you who helped me earlier with your great ideas!


What do you think? Have you done a list before? What would you put yours?


[edited to add completions below]




30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30 (April 3 2012):


1. Travel
2. Take a girls trip.
3. Take a cooking class.
4. Finish writing my novel (I won NaNoWriMo last year but didnt finish the story).
5. Sew 3 projects.
6. Pay off auto loan.
7. Update family blog. (new posts at least twice a month & catch up from last Nov!)
8. Video tape the family/kids more often. (My goal is at least 2 a month.)
9. Compile family videos into dvd home movie (at least one per kid for now).
10. Learn how to play the guitar that I've owned for three years now.
11. Read at least 30 books.
12. Write a letter every month to someone whom I admire.
13. Make a quilt.
14. Redecorate Master Bedroom
15. Write in my journal (at least twice a month).
16. Read a Jane Austen novel.
17. Begin learning Spanish.
18. Travel somewhere in Utah I’ve never been to before. (Hopefully Zions, Lake Powell, Bear Lake)
19. Make and complete two months of exercise regime.
20. Plan and implement fun summer activities for the kids/family.
21. Get an updated family photo taken.
22. Organize (& dejunk) two rooms in my house. (Or 1 room and my master closet.)
23. Plan a fun friend bbq party.
24. Practice my ASL skills with my children.
25. Plan a fun trip for our 10 year wedding anniversary in January.
26. Try at least 12 new recipes (attempt at least 1 new recipe a month).
27. Hand write a heartfelt thank you note twice a month.
28. Update the family's 72 hour kits & practice again emergency plans.
29. Print some of my photography and hang them in the house.
30. Celebrate turning 30 in style!

I wanted to post it the last day in April but still had alot of holes in my list. I think my main problem was that I have to feasibly know I can to do it within the next year which means those bigger "to-do before I die" bucket list items dont really apply to this sorta list. But I did it. The list is done.

A big thank you to those of you who helped me earlier with your great ideas!

Original post found here http://bit.ly/l5kFnR



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Giveaway: Chocolate Never Faileth (cookbook)

Happy Mothers Day!


So dear, wonderful, awesome readers, I'd like to give you all some gifts! Literally that just isn't feasible but I'm going to do my best!

Up for grabs today is:

Chocolate Never Faileth
by Annette Lyon


With over 125 great recipes.
And guess what, it's even SIGNED! Great right?!

Excerpt from the publisher: "Brimming with a delectable assortment ranging from simple treats to show-stopping desserts, the dainty to decadent selections include cakes, cookies, pastries, sauces, candies, ice creams, puddings, brownies, and beverages — along with some unexpected chocolate delights.

Mixed, melted, molded, drizzled, piped, curled, or grated, you’re sure to find the right tantalizing recipe to fill every chocolate lover’s dreams."

To enter: Tell me your favorite dessert.

Additional entries:
(I will be using random.org to pick the winner so it is in your best interest to leave a separate comment for each entry.)

+ Check out Annette's blog and tell me you did (or tell me something awesome you saw/read).
+ Become a fan of Annette's facebook page.
+ Tweet about this contest. (You can copy/paste this: I just entered to win Chocolate Never Faileth by @AnnetteLyon from @Cranberryfries http://bit.ly/kDzfLq .) ONE ENTRY PER DAY you tweet this!
+ Share this contest on your facebook page.
+ Be a follower of this blog.



Contest ends: May 9th 2011.







Monday, May 2, 2011

Marriage Monday: Q&A on Intimacy

Guest blogging today is Julie de Azevedo Hanks, MSW, LCSW with a little Q & A from her website.

I just don't think about sex!

Q: After 10 years of marriage my husband complains that I don’t desire him physically. He feels hurt that I don’t initiate lovemaking and that I’m rarely “in the mood”. I love my husband, find him attractive, but sex rarely crosses my mind. Should I have sex even when I’m not in the mood?

A: The short answer is -- sometimes. Most people assume that sexual desire comes before sexual behavior, and that’s generally the case for men. However, the opposite is true for many women--engaging in sexual activity can awaken sexual desire. Be emotionally open to more frequent sexual encounters with your hubby even if you don’t feel the desire initially.

For many women, sex is a choice to let go -- to let go of inhibitions, of worrying about everyone else, of household or work tasks, and to focus on yourself and your partner. Choose to think about your sweetheart in a romantic and passionate way throughout the day to help prepare emotionally and mentally for intimacy.

Make clear and specific requests to your husband about what he can do to help awaken your sexual desire. Maybe you’d like him to flirt more, talk more, plan more date nights, or initiate non-sexual touch. Also, ask yourself if other potential barriers to sexual intimacy need to be addressed. Relationship stresses, depression, past abuse, health problems, or medication side effects are just a few of the many things that can impact sexual desire and arousal. Consult with your physician or therapist if sexual issues continue.

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist specializing in relationship counseling and women’s emotional health. In addition to owning Wasatch Family Therapy, she is a wife and mother of 4. For more relationship resources visit www.wasatchfamilytherapy.com or www.juliehanks.com.


A BIG thanks for guest blogging today Julie!


You can find my other Marriage Monday's here.



*Image found with google images.