merry month

of Miracles on Tristi Pinkston's blog where you can win a copy of My Gift to You today.


Congratulations to the Goodreads contest winner Jessica Higley!
Thanks to everyone who entered, and a reminder that you still have until December 10 to enter a cookie related idea in The Great Holiday Cookie Contest for a chance to win the Christmas gift basket.

a happy christmas...

One of my stories, A Happy Christmas, a true account about my grandmother, is in the current issue of Latter-day Woman.

my gift to you on andrea pearson books...

Sincere thanks to Andrea Pearson for her post about My Gift to You.
You can read it here.

the ghcc is still open for ideas!

We were inundated with recipe and story entries in The Great Holiday Cookie Contest, but received only one entry in the idea category. We're leaving that category open until December 10--that means you still have a chance to win the Christmas basket packed full of great stuff from our wonderful sponsors. Please click here for more details!

my gift to you on meridian magazine...

My Gift to You review on Meridian here.

gratitude giveaway...

Sincere thanks to everyone who entered Gratitude Giveaways--yes, I'm a day late in announcing the I'm going to announce TWO winners, but first...

You guys crack me up!

I love all the comments left on the giveaway form. Thank you for your thoughts on my blog, my book, and to the lady from New York who wondered if I was really the person in the photo--it's really me and thank you!

With nearly 70 entries, lots of new friends made, and a fun time watching it all unfold, I'm happy to announce the winners are:

Diana Donnelly of Harker Heights Texas


Colleen Turner of Land O Lakes Florida

Ladies, your books will be in the mail on their way to you in the morning.

Thank you, everyone, for your time and interest and entries.

If you'd like another chance to win a copy of My Gift to You you can still enter on Goodreads

gratitude giveaways hop

Gratitude Giveaways Blog Follower Appreciation Hop - a way to say thank you for being a blog follower!

The contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winners!



Win a copy of My Gift to You here on Goodreads!

day dreamer

C.K. Bryant is an award winning author of YA Paranormal, Romance & Fantasy who blogs about life and writing. I enjoy reading her guest interviews and one of my favorite blogs she's done recently is about fingerless mittens! I've long been a fan of fingerless mittens and gloves because my fingers get claustrophobia in the fingered ones. C.K. posted several photos of cute and stylish mittens that have got me longing to go out and buy more. She even made a pair of her own which are beautiful. I wish I had her talent so I could make lots and lots of them!

I'm honored to be a guest on Day Dreamer today and you can read the interview here.

Thank you, C.K.!

this of...

What Are you Thinking on Fire and Ice by Little Red Reads.

got recipes?

Coming soon...

final book trailer...


making friends monday


Let me introduce you to author/editor Tristi Pinkston who has come up with a fun idea: Making Friends Monday.

has been blogging since 2006. On her main blog Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author she covers everything from writing tips and the life of a published author to kid funnies, spiritual thoughts, and embarrassing moments. She also has a weight loss blog, one for writing challenges, another for her fictional characters … she lost count of how many others she has, but you can find the links for them on her sidebar.

Tristi is the author of five published novels and a whole kit ‘n caboodle of unpublished novels. Right now she’s focusing on cozy mysteries, although she has written historical fiction in the past and plans to write more in that genre. She works as a freelance editor and a virtual book tour coordinator. She loves taking long naps, being charmingly annoying, and watching good movies. She’s a Mormon, a homeschooler, a Cubmaster, and most of the time, a headless chicken.

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Tristi. Click here to read the interview and find out more fun facts.



A long, long time ago I decided I was going to get married.

A few days before the wedding I took a drive with my fiance.

I still remember the direction we were driving: north.
I don't remember what we were talking about,
in fact I think there was a lull in the conversation.
I remember looking over at a duck pond.

Then something hit me.

Not a thought.
Not an emotion.

A fist.

The punch came out of nowhere
and connected with my left cheek and nose.
Blood sprayed everywhere.
In horror I looked over at the man I was going to marry.

He laughed.

Almost five years and a divorce later I felt ashamed.
And stupid.
And ugly.

It took me a long time to recover.
In many ways I still am . . . and will be for a long time.
Maybe that's one of the reasons I've
followed Stephanie Nielson's story with interest.
I've long admired her as a blogger and mother,
longed to be part of a family like hers.

But it's her courage I envy.

Physically and emotionally she'll spend the rest of her life recovering
from the plane crash that burned over 80 percent of her body.

But she's not letting that stop her from living.

Really living.

review...The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson

The Stone Traveler
Kathi Oram Peterson
LDS Fiction,YA Fantasy
August 2010

Sixteen-year-old Tag can’t believe he’s in this much trouble. He’s not actually a member of the gang known as the Primes—all he did was spray paint some graffiti that caught their attention. In all honesty, ever since his dad and brother left, Tag just wants to be alone. And it’s certainly not his fault that the Primes nearly beat up his goofy cousin, Ethan. But his mom is furious about these gang-related activities and insists that Tag spend the whole summer at his grandpa’s lakeside cabin, which is not Tag’s idea of a good time. So he does what any self-respecting teenager would do: run away. But he doesn’t get far before he encounters three
strange men carrying an even stranger object—a stone that glows with radiant light as bright as a thousand sparklers.

Tag doesn’t steal the stone—not exactly. He feels like he is supposed to take it. But he doesn’t expect the stone to transport him through space and time to a place he’s never seen before—a place that looks an awful lot like the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. And he definitely doesn’t expect to join Sabirah, the entrancing daughter of Samuel the Lamanite, on a quest to rescue her father and brother from the evil King Jacob. And he absolutely doesn’t expect to be captured by Jacob’s minions and prepared as a sacrifice to the evil idol of the city. But just as Tag faces his death, a terrible storm begins to break, and the ground cracks into jagged pieces. And he’s not sure which event will impact his life more: his captor’s knife coming at his body, the violent tempest sweeping the land . . . or the men who later appear, glowing even more brightly than the traveler’s stone.

My review:

Beneath his tough guy, gang member exterior—dyed black hair with black eyeliner and fingernails to match—Tag Quincy is a modern-day teen battling feelings of guilt and shame. He believes he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and his sense of worthlessness leads him to make choices that impact him in negative ways. Landing in trouble he is exiled to his grandfather’s Idaho cabin for the summer. A strange turn of events ultimately causes him to consider his life in a new light and helps him realize how much he loves his family.

At the first of the book, Tag’s voice doesn’t resonate with me—words and phrases he uses seem unnatural for a sixteen-year-old. However I was drawn into the book by the Kathi’s vivid descriptions and her talent for keeping up a lively stream of action as her characters face daunting trials and obstacles.

Tag becomes acquainted with a girl from another time—Sabirah—who is fighting for what she believes in. He joins her on a mission to piece her family back together. The author weaves historical detail from the Book of Mormon together with page turning adventure in this time travel saga, and also touches on some powerful emotions. As Tag endeavors to help those he comes in contact with, he learns that he is of value. He finds genuine joy in his relationships and discovers the importance of his life. It is here the author really shines. As in her other works, Kathi demonstrates her ability to portray her characters vulnerabilities in a heart-rending manner. In the final chapters of the book I felt Tag’s voice begin to ring true and I was touched by his transformation.

Though targeted for young adults, this book is suitable for all ages. My twelve-year-old also enjoyed it and remarked that it is on her to-read-again list.


Kathi is holding a Stone Traveler contest! Click here for details on how to win fabulous prizes including a Kindle!!!

Click here for my review of Kathi's last book, An Angel on Main Street, and an interview I did with her. Find out if she likes dogs or cats, chocolate or vanilla!


Remember THIS?

It's the contest I blogged about two months ago. When I planned to announce a winner on July 7 and then extended the deadline because my email crashed and I lost comments that never got posted. And I know I'm still missing some--sorry!

Yeah, that contest.

Here's hoping that the wrinkles have finally all been ironed out of my Internet server problems, my email glitches, the graphics card problem that caused my computer to crash, etc., etc., etc.

After sifting through the comments about positive thinking on both blogs, as well as those that managed to arrive unscathed in my email, I've come up with a winner. A thought that touched my heart and made me smile:

And positive thoughts? Man. Don't we all need them? Every day? It's like that thing they tell you in customer service ~ people will complain to a bunch of people if they get rotten service, but hardly tell anyone at all if they have great service. I think we should strive to turn that around ~ tell people what good they do, we all need to know someone appreciates us for some reason.

That wisdom from the winner: Ali Cross.

It seems to be raw human nature to complain, and a sad fact that we often neglect to tell others about the good. If we search for it, it's usually there in abundance. It's a wonderful feeling to be appreciated, and wonderful to pass it on.

Thank you, Ali. I appreciate you and your insightful comments.

If you feel inclined to do so, visit Ali's blog and tell her how much you appreciate her too...

My main computer crashed Friday. The good news is that it happened after my awesome editor put the finishing touches on my novel and sent it off to print.

I didn't get a chance to post this update on my picture book, and two book signings last Saturday. I have lots to post, but little time to do it since I'm so far behind. Here are some highlights:

I visited a lavender farm where I did research for my next novel.
I attended LDSBooksellers and met lots of wonderful people.
I had a birthday lunch with my granddaughter who is turning seven!
I fractured my finger, but it's better now.
I was invited to join a new company as an artist and designer--more info to come.
I got the chance to hear my friend author Haley Hatch Freeman speak on anorexia and self-worth!
I was offered a column with our local newspaper.
Valerie and I had two wonderful signings on Saturday--photos here.

If you've sent me an email, sorry if I haven't responded. Only a fraction of my email is trickling in. I hope to have everything back in working order by next week.



The Butterfly Girls are back in Michele Ashman Bell’s new release Hometown Girl. The second book in the Butterfly Box Series, the much anticipated sequel to A Modest Proposal opens with Lauren, Chloe, Emma, Jocelyn, and Andrea endeavoring to navigate the twists and turns of their individual lives. Though they are each pulled by the varying forces in different directions their determination to support one another through thick and thin is as strong as ever.

In this book we find out more about Jocelyn, her life, and the forces that have shaped her. The book gets off to an unhurried start with a Butterfly Girl Reunion; for readers who haven’t read the first volume the ample back story helps each woman come into focus. As the story builds steam, Jocelyn departs and, despite misgivings, attempts to begin a new life. Michele has penned a cast of affable townspeople in the small community where Jocelyn finds herself after inheriting her grandmother’s house. The characters keep the story moving forward and the town itself comes alive through Michele’s vivid description and attention to detail. With Michele’s knack for intriguing dialogue we follow Jocelyn as she faces a series of difficult decisions.

When a secret she has kept woven into the depths of her soul for fourteen years begins to unravel, Jocelyn turns to the Butterfly Girls. Though they nurture her with support and understanding, she must summon inner courage to steer her life back on course. Handsome Jack Emerson is appealing to her, but he has secrets of his own and doesn’t get too close. Michele tackles some difficult subject material with tact and we see Jocelyn emerge as a strong and capable woman.

All in all I found the Butterfly Girls to be an enjoyable read. I look forward to more installments in this series and to discovering more about Ava’s mysterious death.

From the book:

Jocelyn Rogers’s life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother’s house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life.

However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy — especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty-mile radius.

To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives.

Michele is having a launch party today!

Saturday, July 17th
11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Redwood Seagull Book
(1720 S. Redwood Road, SLC)

Giveaways, gift baskets, Utah Truffles, refreshments, fun, prizes. Don't miss the party!

Read more about Michele and her books on her website or blog.

Read my August 2009 interview with Michele here.

book cover


I just received an email from my editor with the cover of my new novel.


Thanks, Sam. You made my day.

These past few weeks have been a jumble of trying to merge old commitments with new responsibilities.

In the middle of it all my website went down--permanently it seems--and I had to change email servers. Comments for the book contest I ran a few weeks ago got lost in the shuffle. Deleted. I know they were there . . . once . . . I just don't know where they are now.

Humble apologies!

If you see your comment here with the original contest post, you're okay. Entered in the book giveaway. Not lost. Counted among the commenters, etc.

If your comment is not there, you can assume your remarks were unintentionally lost in cyberspace. Poof. Gone. Misplaced without intentional misplacement. Please, if you see fit, feel free to comment again.

I'll try not to lose you . . . again.

For those lost, I'm extending the contest to July 31.

Sincere thanks for your understanding.


I've been wanting to give away a signed copy of the new book I illustrated What Are You Thinking? in preparation for its release in July.

It's been almost two years since Valerie and I first met and started to toss around ideas. In some ways that seems like a long, long time ago. In other ways like it was just yesterday.

Initial response to the book has been wonderful, and we couldn't be more thrilled to finally have it in our hands. Valerie is a talented author whose message is sure to touch many lives. I'm honored to have been given the opportunity to be a part of her vision.

A couple of reviews:

"Fantastic! I love to see these principles taught in a fun way to kids. I will definitely share this book with my children, and strongly recommend that if you want to give your kids a tremendous advantage for reaching their highest potential, you'll do the same." --Garrett B. Gunderson, Entrepreneur and New York Time best selling author of Killing Sacred Cows

"At the earliest age our children need to be introduced to the idea that their thoughts are powerful. They need to be taught how to become more aware of how their thinking affects every aspect of their lives. Our children are not taught how to do this. I applaud this simple but powerful book for introducing this critical concept at the earliest of ages." Gordon S. Bruin, M.A., L.P.C., American Board Certified, President, Innergold Counseling Services, Inc.

In celebration, I'm giving away a copy of the book. All you need to do is comment on this post and tell me:

1. Why you'd like like to have a copy--either for yourself or a child in your life.


2. Why you believe positive thoughts are so important.

The deadline is two weeks from today: midnight (mountain) Wednesday, July 7. U.S. residents only.


Haley is my hero...



One of the best things about being on the road is making new friends. I loved meeting these girls from Oregon. Their enthusiasm was contagious, their smiles unforgettable. Sometimes those you spend the shortest amount of time with stay in your heart the longest.

I hope you met your fundraising goals, Outlaws. If you play ball as well as you tackled the Hawg, there's no stopping you this season.


Every Monday morning I wake up with the same misconception: I think I can conquer the world. Well, at least my world. Today was no exception.

Write two chapters--each--for two different novels. No problem

Finish pictures for current photo shoot. Sure.

Catch up on almost a week's worth of laundry. Bring it on.

Clean not just a few rooms--clean the entire house top to bottom. Piece of cake.

Catch up on correspondence and answer phone calls. Heck, yeah.

Run a zillion errands. Why not?

Rearrange blog per feedback from a person who made blog suggestions. Check.

Like all the other Mondays in my life, today my enthusiasm ran wild and free--until mid-afternoon. That's when I rediscovered that rushing, and hurrying, and cramming things into one day (things that really should take a week to complete) never, never works.

The chapters never left my fingers.

The photo shoot is only half-done.

So is the wash.

The house is only one-third of the way clean.

Correspondence and phone calls. No and no.

Blog? Well, the header I tried to put on, took an hour to take off. Suffice it to say it was large. Obnoxiously large. I couldn't figure out why, but the new photo of me contained in the header was about six inches tall. On a blog that's billboard size. It revealed wrinkles and nose hairs I didn't even know I had.

On the verge of tears--lots of tears--I nearly pulled the plug on the whole blog. Seconds before meltdown, I finally got things fixed. That is to say, the blog is back to its original state. Which is much better than having a blog where my giant nose hairs frighten innocent people.

All in all, I have to give myself some credit. I did make marginal progress.

Enough that next Monday I'll wake up and try to conquer my world all over again.


Top Storymakers 2010 Favorites:

~Great writers (the published, the almost published, and the just starting out) who are also great people.

~Bootcamp. You were all awesome. Really. Thank you for your comments and suggestions.

~Old friends.

~New faces. I love it when people come up and introduce themselves.

~Smiles and hugs.

~Learning more about the craft.

~Authors whose eyes light up when they talk about their book/s. Their passion is contagious. I love hearing the stories behind the stories.

~Books. And more books.

~Enthusiasm and encouragement.

~Late night sushi. And pizza. And Cafe Rio.

~Don't wait until the last few minutes to try and get pictures.

~Make sure the camera is on the right setting before handing it over to someone else and asking them to take a shot.

~Sleep at least one, if not two full nights before the conference.

~Try to become more adept at matching name tags and faces.

~Muster the courage to talk to people you'd really like to talk to; overcome social shyness.

~Invite more people to late night sushi. I crave more time to talk to other writers about life and writing.



Author Tristi Pinkston serves up a winner!

Ida Mae Babbitt is a cookie baking widow with an oven full of good intentions. When trouble seems to be simmering in the lives of a family in her charge, she determines she will rise to the occasion and speed to their rescue. Empty refrigerator? Starving children? Not on Ida Mae’s watch. With the assistance of her techie nephew, Ren, she assumes the role of an elderly Nancy Drew, ready to aid and assist in the name of service and goodwill.

This cozy mystery is laugh out loud funny, a delightful character driven romp that kept me turning pages—I never knew what to expect next. Though Ida Mae and her sidekicks, Arlette and Tansie, are members of an LDS Relief Society, religion is only a backdrop to the story. There’s no preaching or proselyting in this little mirth packed volume. The unusual glimpse—espionage and intrigue–into the women’s organization is pure satire.

Tristi blends wry humor and razor sharp writing to create lovable characters who make you giggle and touch your heart. I appreciated the introspection Ida Mae navigates when she realizes she was quick to judge a young girl in her community. The later part of the book is sprinkled with light romance that while predictable doesn’t bog the story down. The ending winds up with the bad guys held at knitting needle point a bit too conveniently, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Secret Sisters is the first in a series worth looking forward to. You’ll find a sneak preview of book two, Ida Mae Rides Again, tucked in the back. I hope that during her next set of adventures the spirited matron of benevolence will share one of her cookie recipes.

Three cheers for Ida Mae!

Secret Sisters on Amazon

More about Tristi on her website, and on her blog.

My May 2009 interview with Tristi here.

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