Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Taking down the tree

My Christmas tree fell over so I was forced to take it down early. Perhaps it was the premature nature of this task that made it harder than usual this year. So much so that my feeling expressed themselves in verse (as often happens when something moves me).

I hate when Christmas is over,
when the festivities are finally done,
and all you have are memories
of the family, food, and fun.

Now you face the cleanup
and tossing the tree out to the curb.
Blues replace the red and green,
so much they deserve this blurb:

I’ve sent a request to Pfizer
to develop a brand new pill
that will make taking down the tree
give you that “putting it up” thrill.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Infinity Ring

Yesterday I learned of some exciting news from two of my favorite writing friends, Matt Kirby and James Dashner. It is a innovative project put together by Scholastic, and I think it is a sign of what is to come in the publishing world, as least as far as kids' books are concerned. But what impressed me more than anything, was the fact that out of the six hand-picked childrens' authors Scholastic has contracted for this amazing project, half of them are from Utah: James Dashner, Matt Kirby, and Jennifer Nielsen. I think that speaks volumes about the caliber of writers that this area, with its LDS values, generates.  

The following is a clip from the Scholastic press release:
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and the pioneering force behind the groundbreaking and international bestselling The 39 Clues™ book series, expands its innovative multi-platform publishing program with the worldwide launch of Infinity Ring™, an alternate-history time travel series for readers ages 8-12. To be written by a team of six authors, this exciting new adventure combines books, an interactive “Hystorian’s Guide” map feature (named for a centuries-old secret society featured in the books), and a fully-immersive online game experience where readers travel back in time to fix history. Infinity Ring will launch simultaneously in September 2012 in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, with “Book 1: A Mutiny in Time,” written by New York Times bestselling author James Dashner (The Maze Runner), who also outlined the program’s overall story arc. Dashner will be followed by a team of bestselling and acclaimed authors including Carrie Ryan (Book 2; November 2012), Lisa McMann (Book 3; February 2013), Matt de la Peña (Book 4; June 2013), Matthew J. Kirby (Book 5; September 2013), and Jennifer A. Nielsen (Book 6; December 2013). The last book in the Infinity Ring series also will be written by James Dashner (Book 7; March 2014).

Read the complete article that appeared on the front page of the New York Times arts page here.
As a children's writer myself, I can't wait to read this new series.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Snuggie (easy instructions how to make one)

Last night at a Christmas party I chatted with a neighbor and she mentioned how her daughter wanted a Snuggie for Christmas, but out of a specific fabric. She told me how she dug up a two year old post on my blog so she could access the instructions I had created on how to make a Snuggie. I had totally forgotten about that post, but I think it would be a good idea to re-post it for my new readers who might be in need of a Suggie pattern and be unaware that such a post exists on my blog--or anywhere for that matter.

Here is my original entry I posted December 17, 2009:

Last week my daughter got one of those infamous Snuggies as a white elephant gift at a party. When she showed it to me I couldn't believe how easy it would be to make. So I made myself a pattern (more of a recipe. I first wrote the dimensions on a recipe card in case I wanted to make another one), and then made a
Snuggie. It zipped up so fast I made another, and another. I was able to buy polar fleece from Hancock fabric for $3.99/yard. It only took 2 3/4 yard of fabric, so it cost less than $12 to make. By the way, Hancock will continue to have their polar fleece on sale at that price until Christmas. I wrapped myself up in one of them and watched a movie one night. They are really quite comfy, especially made with the heavier, better quality fabric than the official Snuggie my daughter has. I even made an unofficial offical tag like the real snuggies just for fun. But instead of calling it a Snuggie, I've made a tag that reads, "This is not a Snuggie, it's a CUDDLE from Carolyn.

I would love to share my "recipe" with those of you who like to sew and or are looking for a cheap easy gift to give for Christmas. I've upgraded my pattern from a recipe card, but if you can't read this clearly, feel free to email me and I'll send you the pattern via e-mail in a pdf format. Contact me at

Have a Cuddly Christmas

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Soaring Health Care Costs

I'm sure there are numerous ludicrous reasons why health care costs are through the roof, but I've got to share one that takes the cake, so I'm going to step upon my soapbox for this post. (Wow, three cliches and a trip to the thesaurus; I should rewrite that first sentence).

My husband works for United Health Group as a programmer. The week before Thanksgiving a woman pushed a cart through his neighborhood of cubicles, handing out a small printed box to every employee. As my husband opened the box, he expected a bottle of cologne, (the size and shape of the box prompted that guess), or at least some sort of useful item--a gift as a thank you to the employees. When he opened the box he discovered a thick stack of cards. They weren't playing cards, nothing so useful, but about 100 cards printed in vivid color, with statistics and various propaganda like statements as to why United Health Care was so good.

If that health care company was so good, I would argue that they would use the thousands and thousands of dollars spent on those cards in lowering their costs. Instead they wasted money on a worthless promotion to recipients that were not even in a position of making a choice of what health care they would choose. And the waste of money didn't stop with the cost of the cards. They had to pay the lady with the cart to hand them out, which probably took her all day because the company is so large--and their Salt Lake City office is only one of many across the country.  My husband told me how numerous guys used their cards to build things (they have notches in them to easily facilitate construction of a house of cards), thus wasting numerous man hours. The very next day, my husband was supposed to have received a turkey for Thanksgiving. The company had promised a turkey to all employees the week before. But my husband came home empty handed. He told me the company had changed their mind about the turkey and wasn't giving them out this year.

I think the turkey would have gone a lot further in promoting good will among employees than that set of cards ever could have. And it would have been a heck of a lot cheaper. But that would have been too logical and made too much sense. Those boxes of cards basically summed up what's wrong with health care companies today, (and it's not just United Health Care; most of my kids work for IHC and they tell me it's no different). Health care today isn't about making sense. It's about creating waste.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Variant (Variant, #1)Variant by Robison Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an "Oh, my gosh" book. I couldn't put it down. It's been awhile since I've read one of those and I absolutely loved it (not just the story line, but the fact that I was reading a book that so thoroughly enthralled me).
Benson Fisher has hopped around from foster home to foster home and finally is going, to what he thinks is an elite boarding school, where he hopes to finally have a somewhat normal life. But he soon discovers that the school is absent of all adults and his peers are running the school. But this is only the beginning of his problems--and the intrigue. Wells does a great job of painting the dystopic nature school as well as numerous believable characters that I was immediately drawn to. The pace continued to escalate, sending me twists and turns that kept me turning the page. Even though this is a YA book,  I think it would appeal to readers of all ages who like a totally clean sci-fi or adventure, or just a fun read.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Books for Christmas Giveaway Hope

I'm participating in the give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop, hosted by Inksplasher.

What's a Give Books for Christmas Giveaway Hop? It's a group of bloggers who are giving away books as prizes!

The hop runs from December 1 through the 15th. all books will be shipped on December 16th. We can't guarantee books will arrive in time fro Christmas, but we're going to give it a good try! at the end of this post, you'll see a list of the participating blogs. Just click the links and go check out the contests.

I'm giving away a copy of The Sapphire Flute, by Karen Hoover.
The world of Rasann, the mage trials, magic jewelry, and shape shifting characters are only a few of the things that make The Sapphire Flute a page turner you won't want to put down.
Karen Hoover has created characters that youth will identify with. Kayla and Ember are each on an individual journey of self-discovery that is full of action and unexpected twists and turns. Although the main characters are girls, Hoover includes enough action that boys will enjoy her book as well.

Open to International entries. Must have email.

Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 15, 2011.

To enter to win this book:

  1. Become a follower of my blog (right sidebar)
  2. Leave a comment telling me the title and author of a book you're giving as a Christmas gift this year.
  3. Optional: Tweet or Facebook to spread the word. (Let me know in the comments what you've done. One extra entry per post.)
That's it! The winner will be posted and notified at the end of the hop.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Stars

Stars, specifically those awarded on Goodreads, have been on my mind lately. Recently an author friend  expressed her concern that I didn't like her book because I gave it three stars on Goodreads. I let her know, that coming from me, three stars is a good thing, that I liked her book and I could recommend it to other readers in her genre. I also assured her that I don't hand out 4 and 5 stars very freely. A book has to be something that really sings to my personal taste, knocks my socks off, and leaves me mulling the story over and over in my mind for days afterward, for me to award it 5 stars. And that is rare.

Am I wrong for being so stingy with stars? Maybe, but it's who I am.

I have found that I'm the exception rather than the rule. As I look at others' Goodreads ratings of books, I notice that many readers give 4 and 5 stars to everything they read. While this is nice for their author friends, it is very little help to me when I'm trying to discriminate and determine which books would be a good pick for me. I feel like I'm at an elementary school science fair where they award every project a blue ribbon just for participating. While that's admirable for not wanting to hurt any feelings, where's the reward for the student that went the extra mile in their project.

If I see a book on a friend's list receive 2 or 3 stars, I don't necessarily think it is a bad book. I weigh in the possibility that the book wasn't to their taste, especially when the book might receive 4 or 5 stars from another reader. I appreciate when people are honest with their reviews--that doesn't mean they can be mean and heartless. Most every book will appeal to some people and not to others. When people look at my Goodreads ratings and think I'm harsh, may I remind them of the meanings behind each star:
1 star: didn't like it
2 stars: it was okay
3 stars: liked it
4 stars: really liked it
5 stars: it was amazing.

Don't tell me you've never read a book you didn't like?
And did that necessarily mean the book was bad? No.
Taste isn't reserved only for the tongue.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Review: Bound by Christine Bryant

Bound is a debut YA paranormal romance by an amazing new author, Christine Bryant.    

When Kira’s deadbeat mother abandons her, she looks to her friend Lydia to become her surrogate family. When she discovers that the father that supposedly lived with Lydia in their old trailer home never existed, and her brother lives in a cave in the mountains, Kira’s world really begins to spiral out of control. She really has no choice but to stay with Lydia and her mysterious family—she has nobody else to turn to.
                In time she discovers Lydia and her brother Octavian are royalty from another world, hiding out on earth from their treacherous older sister who seeks to kill Lydia. Kira is swept up in their plight, being sucked into their magical way of life and bound to Lydia by means of an enchanted bracelet. She too gains powers, but they only serve to pull her deeper into Lydia’s and Octavian’s world and their problems.
                The book started out with a burst of intrigue, pulling me in immediately. As Kira learned about Lydia’s world, the pace slacked off, allowing me to set the book down often. But when the characters from Lydia’s world merged with Kira’s world, the intrigue returned and I had a hard time setting the book down. I was glad I had stuck with the story.
                Just a word of warning for those who don’t like to be left dangling at the end of a book, required by the author to wait for the sequel to gain a full resolution, you might not like this book. But if you’re one of those readers who love cliff hanger endings, you will love this book.
                I’m looking forward to the sequel.

For more information on the Dark CARma book tour, of which Bound is a part, check out the tour's website.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday's Words: Feminine Hygiene Kits

This past summer, in a neighboring ward in our stake, the Young Women made feminine hygiene kits to send to Africa. They solicited sisters in the stake who owned sergers to help make the sanitary pads that went in the kits. I volunteered to make a few stacks--they zipped up really fast. When I learned about what these kit were for, I was touched and pulled in by their project. I was also impressed by the need  in Africa for more of these feminine hygiene kits--many more.

As you can imagine, in many rural areas of Africa, the women don't have access to the conveniences of the modern world--like tampons, or even those big bulky Kotex pads I had to wear as a teenager in the 70's. Many women go without any type of protection to absorb their menstrual flow. Because of this they are ostracized, dis-allowed to work or go to school. In the case of some young girls, they are confined to a hut at the edge of town, alone or with other young girls, unattended and vulnerable to the lusts of men from the village who take advantage of them.

These crudely made sanitary belts (see picture) and pads can be the means of helping these African women carry on a somewhat normal life. The pads are made from cut-up cotton diapers, allowing the women to wash them out between use. They are thin so that they can hang them up to dry in the humid climates, but also can use several layers combined, according to their flow.

They aren't pretty, but they are effective and relatively easy to make if you know how to sew. I could e-mail you a set of instructions if you would like to participate in this wonderful cause. I could even send you a sample if that will make it easier. If you don't know what to do with them after you are done, I would be glad  to have you send them to me on my nickle and I will give them to a lady who goes over to Africa on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Word: compassion

Definition: sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help.

I saw this in full force last Thursday, November 10 in the LDS writing community. One of our own--Robison Wells--had fallen into hard times in relation to his health and thus his job. I was so touched by the way everyone came together, getting the word out, buying Rob's new book as part of a "book bomb" started by fellow author Larry Correia. The bomb had the desired effect: Rob's book rose from relative obscurity to become in the top seven for YA sci fi on Amazon--all in one day.

I would like to give everyone a hug who participated in this act of unselfishness. The world needs more of this kind of compassion. And the neatest part of it all is that Robison Wells' new book, Variant, from what I have heard, is one awesome book. It wasn't like it was a chore for anyone to buy. In fact it was already on my list to read before this book bomb even happened. Now I can't wait for NaNoWriMo to end so I can jump into Variant and read.

For those of you who weren't lucky enough to participate in this book bomb, it's not too late for you to purchase a copy for yourself. Let's keep this talented new author at the top of Amazon's list. For more information, check out Robison Wells' website.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Winner of my November Givaway Blog hop

Jennifer, you are my winner
I had a great time participating in the November Giveaway Bloghop. I hope those of you participated did too. the winner of my prize (three awesome books and a giant puppet) is Jennifer. In checking out Jennifer's blog it appears as if she is a librarian in Texas. What a great recipient for books and a puppet.

Thanks everyone for the comments you left and the new followers I have gained.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Giveaway Hop

I love blog hops. And this one is going to be great. Lots of participants and lots of great prizes to be shared. All you have to do to win on my blog is to be a follower and post a comment. That's it! I'm giving away a giant of a prize:

Three books:
1) Alone, Orphaned on the Ocean (A true story about Tere Duperrault Fassbender harrowing experience at sea)
2) Fool Me Twice (A mystery by Stephanie Black)
3) Paranormalcy (Paranormal romance by Kiersten White)

 And a Giant puppet (measures 21 inches tall).

Don't forget to leave an email address if I can't find it easily on your blog, in case you win.
Check out the awesome blogs of others participating in this blog hop:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday's Word: NaNoWriMo

Yes, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year (National Novel Writing Month). I did it two years ago and had a blast. Mostly because of the friendships I made in the process in the online writing community. I was successful, I got my 50K words, but it has taken me two years of editing to have a novel worth publishing. Originally entitled Hitler's Promise, now entitled I Couldn't Serve Hitler, my first NaNoWriMo novel is  in its last leg of rewrites. Hopefully it will be to the liking of Covenant Communications and they will accept my changes and contract it for publication.
If you would like to participate, its not too late, or if you'd just like to learn more go to


If you've never heard of it,
don't feel like a turd.
is not a real word
It's thirty days of writing;
a whole novel in November,
who cares if there's a plot
or characters to remember.
The aim is simply words,
fifty thousand is the goal.
Then you spend the next year
rewriting it in full.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Debut Novel: Nourish & Strengthen, by Maria Hoagland

I am delighted to highlight author, Maria Hoagland on my blog today. Her debut novel, Nourish and Strengthen comes out today. I have asked her to tell my readers a little about her book and where you can obtain a copy for yourselves:

Happy National Diabetes Awareness Month and thank you for having me on your blog, Carolyn! I am excited to talk about the release of my novel, Nourish & Strengthen. Although written specifically for the LDS women's market, I think most people will be able to relate to the main character's struggles of raising a young family, accepting daunting church responsibilities, dealing with a chronic illness, and expecting perfection in self and others. It seems to me that people, especially women, have a tendency to be hard on themselves. And so does the main character of Nourish & Strengthen.

Chloe Taylor is a young mother who accepts a challenging new church calling around the same time she is diagnosed with a chronic illness. Overwhelmed with her problems, she becomes so nearsighted that she overlooks others' struggles and finds herself in jeopardy of losing one of her greatest assets: the support of her friends. As Chloe strives to develop Christ-like love for herself and those around her, she learns that outer appearances are far less important than inner peace and spiritual strength. But is she strong enough to face her most difficult trial yet?

Nourish & Strengthen deals with themes of judging others, perfectionism, and guilt—feelings that tend to hobble those who live with diabetes every day. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and the perfect month to read Nourish & Strengthen.

You can learn more about Maria Hoagland and her novel Nourish & Strengthen at The paperback version is available at and any ebook version at Both Kindle and paperback copies can also be found at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Drive

Drive. I'm not referring to that leisure jaunt in an automobile on a Sunday afternoon, I'm talking about what motivates a person to do something. In this post I want to delve into what drives someone to write. Being an author is a lonely job. There are no office parties, chats around the water cooler or over the cubicle wall. A writer sits alone all day (when they are lucky and don't have family take all their writing time), at their computer, their only interaction with other people comes through online social media. And then there is the pay, or lack thereof, and the rejections, and the possible tossing of a year's worth of work in the cybertrash. So what could possibly motivate a sane person to devote their life to wanting to be an author?

To my author friends out there, what powers the DRIVE that keeps you going when everything around you tells you it's not worth it?

This is what drives me:

Society says
today's youth want to read
books filled with suicide, sex, smut, and greed.

But I don't agree
with the message this sends:
"If you like to read, you must bend to the trends."

That is why I write,
to make books that inspire
to live life on a plain a step higher.

And . . .
to give kids a choice
in the books that they read.
If I lift but one soul, I succeed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Book Trailers

This morning, rather than composing a post for my blog, I got on the subject of book trailers with my daughter. (That's why this post is so late). She shared with me some of the music my son-in-law had written, performed and recorded. I mentioned I should have her husband create some music for a book trailer for my novel Hattie's Promise. "What's a book trailer?" she said. So I commenced to visist some of my writing buddies' blogs and showed her samples of book trailers.

Some were simple, others involved actors and were much more complex, but all captured my attention better than any written blurb ever could. It cemented for me the need to produce a book trailer for my soon to be released book. That fact that I am self-publishing only increases the importance. When my daughter then said, "Matt could so do that," refering to the production of a book trailer, I became very excited. He is a communications major and has all the equipment, skills and talent to produce a quality trailer. I can see the promotion of my first novel fall into place. But I'm even more excited for my son-in-law. If he can produce a quality trailer for my book, and the word gets around that he is available to do the same for others, perhaps this can not only be a way for him to add to his portfolio, but to bring in a few extra dollars to the "poor, starving college kids" that live in my basement apartment.

For those of you who are like my daughter, and have never seen a book trailer before, I have tried to include a YouTube clip of the book trailer for a group of my writer friends who are releasing their books together on November 11. They have launched a book tour, entitling it the Dark C.A.R.M.A. tour, CARMA coming from the first letter of all the participating authors, (clever, huh?). Unfortunately, I'm to technologically inept and I couldn't do it. Visit my friend, Christine Bryants blog to view it, also if you want to learn more about  their blog tour.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Word: Goodbye

My father with my grandson (his great-grandson)

My father passed away peacefully this past Sunday evening. He'd only been in the hospital a for a few days when it became evident that he would not ever leave the same way he came in. Before his visit to the hospital, my dad had been living on his own, driving his car around the town of Payson to get out of the house for awhile, or riding his Jazzi two blocks down the street to the Senior citizen center for lunch and some socialization. Up until a half year ago, he still held his church calling as the ward finace clerk. He'd had that job for over 40 years and took pride that his mind was still sharp and he could do a good job for the Lord. He'll never know what an impression this left on me. I've known many other members of my faith, who at much younger ages than 85, have taken the attitude, "I've served in the church long enough.  I'm old and I deserve a break." I don't believe our obligation to God works that way. My dad obviously didn't either. What a great example he was.
He was also a great dad. I loved him dearly, and I'll miss him.

As I say good bye to Dad,
my exemplar, strength, and friend,
I know death is but a gateway,
in no way it's the end.
Though tears shed with the memories
of camping trips and skis,
biking down the canyon,
and others just like these,
I'm at peace with my dad's passing,
he's in a joyous place,
with my brother, mom and God,
and they're saving me a space.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday is the New Wednesday, or Is Time Speeding Up?

I kind of goofed yesterday. I meant to preset my blog post to publish Wednesday morning (this morning), but instead I pressed PUBLISH. I didn't know how to reverse it, so you got Wednesday's word on Tuesday. Oh well, it's not the end of the world I figured. I'm just hurrying your week along. 

For some people that could be a good thing--speeding up a dragging week. But for people like me, I don't need life to move along any faster. I swear the earth is spinning around on its axis much faster than it did when I was a kid. The term "endless summer" truely fit back then. This past summer, however, it seemed to zip by at the speed of light. I went up to the local farmer's market stand Monday to buy some corn on the cob. They told me they had just sold out that morning and there would be no more corn. The season was over. I had to hold back an emotional "NO," summer just started yesterday, didn't it? Or so it seemed to me.

Is it only me that feels time is moving by faster than it used to?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Calm (and Covenant Communications)

For years I have been envisioning how it would happen, and how I would feel when I finally got my first non-rejection letter from a publisher. Like you can imagine, words like excited, elated, thrilled, dancing on the ceiling, etc., were part of that vision.

Well, it finally happened to me the other day, not the dancing on the ceiling, but a non-rejection letter. I received an e-mail from Covenant Communications that they really liked my novel and they wanted to consider it further, (here’s where the dancing on the ceiling should have come in), but they would like me to consider changing the voice from YA to Adult for marketing purposes.

I can really see their point, and so I’m more than willing to attempt the rewrite.

Then why am I so unmoved by this milestone in my writing career? I feel like a mountain lake on a lazy summer day: calm.

Am I subconsciously shielding myself from possibility they will reject my rewrite? Have I become so conditioned to rejections that I fail to believe their e-mail was real? Or has the magnitude of that notification  just not sunk in yet? In any case, I am quite baffled at my emotions.

Then again I get to thinking. The times when I have felt calm about something has usually been when the matter at hand ends up being a good thing. Like my husband. Before I met him, it seemed I got twitter pated by every guy that I dated. But when I met him there was none of those butterfly-like feelings flittering around inside me. Instead a calm feeling permeated my emotions and everything about him just seemed to fit.

Calm is a good feeling. I’ll take it as a good sign.

Now, I’ve got to get to work.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: Fall by Jennifer Hurst

     Fall unfolds in the delightful setting of the coral canyons of southern Utah. Add to it JD, a main character determined to restore an old school building, despite being a female contractor in a male dominated career, the premise of Fall immediately caught my interest.
     Though I was pulled in and introduced quickly to a mysterious anomaly within the old school, I felt the author substituted a soap opera-like romance in the place of solving the mystery. When  JD's whirlwind romantic interest comes into the light as a jerk (and a fallen angel) who was using her, the sappy romance made more sense to me. I was relieved when she falls for the jerk's brother, Nathan, a good angel.
     Fall is filled with mystery and vivid details of demons who lurk in the background of everyday life, camouflaged to their potential, unsuspecting victims. The reader learns angels are just as invisible, but are contstantly struggling to keep victims like JD safe.
     The book will appeal to readers of paranormal romance and/or fans of fantastical characters like demons and angels.
     If you are interested in purchasing the e-book, go to or to visit the author's blog go to 

In conjunction with this blog tour, Jennifer is holding a contest. It will involve any of the blogs that Jennifer visits or where her book is featured and will close on December 31st, 2011. The entrants have to answer three questions about the book they’ve read (bought, borrowed, or stolen - shame on you) and post a link to Jennifer's website on their Twitter, Facebook, or blog (need link for verification).

Then the names will be entered in a random name picker generator ( and announced on Jennifer's website ( on January 31st, 2012. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a night’s stay at the actual bed and breakfast where the story takes place.

Other prizes include an autographed copy of FALL, and she will randomly select 3 contestants’ names to use in the sequel to FALL. Plus, they will receive a free copy of that book when it is published.

Each blog that Jennifer Hurst visits will have a different set of questions people can answer, and they may enter as many times as they want - but they can enter once per blog site that they visit. So the more sites you visit, the more you can enter your name, thus increasing your chances of winning the gift certificate, a copy of the book FALL, and your name in the sequel.

Get the book, read the book, and then read over the questions below. Once you have your answers, e-mail them to Jennifer.

Your privacy is respected and your email address will NOT be used for anything but the contest. Once the contest is over - your email address will be deleted from the database.

Here are the questions for you to answer:
What did Matthew do to JD on the arch that made her scared and mad?
Which Holiday did JD celebrate with the Parkers?
What color was the jacket that the truck driver loaned to JD?

If you would like to visit the other sites, go here for the master list of all participating sites:

Best of luck, and thanks for participating!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Charity

For many people, the word charity evokes an image of donating clothes to a second hand shop, food to the food bank, money to the homeless, or something in a similar vein. For years, that was my image. But with age came maturity and greater understanding. I now realize its true meaning, that being the pure love of Christ.

This was again reinforced as I attended the world-wide Relief Society broadcast last Saturday evening. I was moved by Sister Beck's plea for all women to show more charity. In a day and age when more and more women are encouraged by media and more to satisfy their own needs above all else, these inspired leaders of the Relief Society are encouraging women to have more charity.

Let me think for a minute, which one of these pursuits will make this struggling society a better place? Duh!

As I contemplated the peaceful, energizing power of charity, I thought about its impact within literature. Why is it that we as readers gravitate to characters who exhibit aspects of charity and fall in love with them? Would we have the same pull toward a character who was busy taking care of their own needs? No.

Christ taught us to be charitable, not because he simply wanted to make up a list of rules for us to follow, but because charity is a principle of eternal truth, and as such, comes with inherent heavenly blessings. So when we read about a character or a scene that rings of truth, I feel that such passages communicate to a person's soul. That's why I feel incorporating truths of the gospel within a story will touch a reader and makes them hungry for more.

What is your experience with reading and/or writing such interwoven truths?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bloghop winner for September

What a fun bloghop. Not only did I enter to win tons of awesome prizes, I now have over 100 followers of my own blog. I am so excited. Now to announce the winner of my Halloween prizes, and the winner is:


Congratulations Cindy. Leave me you mailing address and I'll ship these items right out to you. (I'll contact her by e-mail in case she doesn't see this post). Cindy, I happen to know, has just self-published a YA thriller entitled Watched, which I have read and really enjoyed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Join me for a blog hop

Welcome to the September Blog Hop! Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites, and entering our contests! There are no limits - you can enter the contest on every blog. With over 40 blogs participating, that's over 40 prizes you could win. Just click on the links below to move on to the next blog.

On my blog, you can win …

A ghost puppet and a signed copy of Jennifer A. Nielsen's awesome new middle grade book, Elliot and the Goblin Wars. A perfect combination for the upcoming Halloween season.

Would you like to win this prize? You just need to do two things.

1. Become a follower of this blog.

2. Leave me a comment in the trail and tell me why you'd like to win this prize.

That's it! You are now entered. The contest ends on Saturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it's visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you're the lucky winner.

Now go visit my other friends ...

September Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

2. Joyce DiPastena

3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

4. Mandi Slack

5. Michael D. Young

6. Six Mixed Reviews

7. Pam Williams

8. Laurie Lewis

9. Kristy Tate

10. Marilyn Yarbrough

11. Stacy Coles

12. Kristie Ballard

13. Lynn Parsons

14. Pushing Past the Pounds

15. Sheila Staley

16. cindy Hogan
17. Jamie Thompson

18. Jaclyn Weist

19. Cathy Witbeck

20. Secret Sisters Mysteries

21. Tamera Westhoff

22. Tina Scott

23. Lynnea Mortensen

24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan

25. Jeanette A. Fratto

26. Bonnie Harris

27. Melissa Lemon

28. Mary Ann Dennis

29. Stephanie Black

30. Jane Still

31. Janice

32. Laura Bastian
33. Tamara Bordon

34. Betsy Love

35. Maria Hoagland

36. Amber Robertson

37. Debbie Davis


39. Christy Monson

40. Carolyn Frank

41. Rebecca Birkin

42. Melissa Cunningham

43. Emily L. Moir

44. Ronda Hinrichsen

45. Lisa Asanuma

46. Joan Sowards

47. Jordan McCollum

48. Diane Stringam Tolley

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Fall

Fall: a verb, a noun, a season; all three have been on my mind this week.
First, the verb--to come down because detached, pushed, dropped, etc.
That describes my writing as of late, including posts on my blog. (A big, "I'm sorry" to my followers. I promise to do better). Life has consumed me in other ways and thus has detached me from the passion that had kept me going. Discouragement crept in and pushed my confidence into a corner and I have dropped my proverbial pen.

Second, the noun--a yielding to temptation; wrongdoing; moral lapse.
The country, my country--the one I love and revere, is teetering, threatening to fall. It is yielding to the temptation of spending beyond its means. Economically they are doing everything wrong, and the moral lapse of the people blind themselves to the disaster that lay ahead. It is disheartening and only adds to my discouragement in the writing arena--if and when I ever get published, will people even be able to afford to buy food, let alone a superfluous book?

Third, the season--that season of the year in which many trees loose their leaves; autumn.
I've always loved the fall; the cold induced transformation of green leaves into vibrant, warm shades of reds and golds; the shedding of leaves in preparation for the brutal weather ahead; the brisk breeze that blows away the scorching heat of summer. With the heat of summer behind and the cold of winter ahead, fall wraps me in her beautiful, mild arms and whispers in my ears of the grandeur of life on this wonderful place called earth. Fall renews me. With my garden soon to be tilled under, and the weather holding me prisoner indoors, I will have more time to pick up that proverbial pen. And I know that the more I write, the less I'll be discouraged. And the less I am discouraged, the better my writing will be. And the better my writing gets, the more chance I'll have to rise above the falling dollar and create a story that will survive the falling publishing industry. I love fall!

Shades of red and orange
paint the falling leaves
as the final heat of summer
fizzles out and leaves.
Though fall is a fickle season,
with death mingled with vibrant gold,
Its one of preparation,
encouraging me to weather the cold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Hug

I've always been the strong one; the one giving out the hugs and consolations, rarely receiving them--because I didn't need them. I thought. Last week, when I got sick, the tables turned for me. After finally leaving the hospital in Soda Springs and preparing to crawl back into the car and venture three more hours to home, I remember this overwhelming need for a hug. I petitioned my husband. As his arms wrapped around me an amazing sense of balm flowed into my body, comforting and infusing it with a sense of strength to go on. I remember thinking, is this why those around me are always asking for hugs?
It was almost worth getting sick so that I might experience the power of other side of the hug. No longer will I flippantly pass out hugs, discounting their importance. Hugs hold something real. And more of them are needed in this ever-more-difficult world we live in.

Hugs are real,
they help you feel
the balm of love and hope.
Hugs are free,
at least should be,
so give more, don't be a dope.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Sick

I find it ironic that not more than a few weeks ago I blogged about how good I felt, how I have been eating better, and losing weight, etc. Well, that "feeling good" came crashing to a halt last Sunday. My family and I were at our cabin in Wyoming. Sunday afternoon I started to feel nauseated. On the drive home I became so sick they took me to the emergency room in Soda Springs. I was given some "snot in a cloud"  (a GI cocktail). It momentarily took away the pain and made my way home. Monday brought another trip to the ER; Tuesday a trip to a GI clinic for a upper GI scope, and today I'm scheduled for an ultrasound of my gut. I feel like a candidate for Mystery Diagnosis. Meanwhile, everyday I grow weaker and weaker.

I am ill,
I've lost my will
to write or make a rhyme.
In a week
come take a peek
There'll be more here next time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Winner of bloghop prize

Thanks for all of you who hopped over to my blog and entered the bloghop contest. The winner on by blog goes to Krystal Larson. Congrats, Krystal. As soon as I recieve your address I'll ship your puppets right out. For anyone else who may be interested in purchasing those same puppets, or others, please visit my on-line puppet store PUPPETORIUM.COM at

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Time

I feel bad. I haven't had time to hop to everyone's site participating in the Awesome August blog hop and it ends today. But I would like to thank everyone who took the time to visit mine. TIME!!! Out of everything on this earth, that is the thing that I covet more than anything. I see my aging mother-in-law who wastes away in front of the TV or her picture puzzles with too much time on her hands. I wish I could borrow some from her. (So much so, that it has inspired my next novel, which unfortunately is at least a year away before I can start, because--you guessed it--I don't have time for it right now). I feel like I am making efficient use of my time--I rarely, rarely watch TV and I always bring a book with me anywhere or time I have to wait in line or something like that--but I still want more. Perhaps it's because I want to accomplish too many things. Is that bad?  Should a person cut back on their dreams simply because there is apparently not enough time to acheive them?

is a treasured thing;
there is never enough
to accomplish my dream,
and do all my stuff.
to fix and to find
and share with another.
But it's part of the grind
of being a mother.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome August Bloghop

Thanks for hoping over to my blog. With the end of summer and onset of autumn just around the corner, I'm hoping this bloghop will jumpstart my sleepy blog and wake it up for the exciting fall that lies ahead. As part of this bloghop, I'm giving away a  . . . you guessed it. Big surprise--a set of puppets. A girl and boy Petite Performer puppet with a set of public helper props. They are great for mini performances by little hands, or just for hours of creative play.

All you have to do to win is to become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already), and leave a comment on my blog. If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

Happy bloghopping

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday's Word: Health

With my husband's new job came a new health care company.  My husband told me that if I were to lose 10 pounds it would be worth $600 (savings on our insurance for good health, including an acceptable BMI). So the past few weeks I've been working hard and shed the pounds. But more important than the $600 I gained, is the way I feel. I feel great. I can't wait to go walking in the morning, rather than having to drag myself out there.

I basically know how to eat and exercise, etc., to maintain my health. I think we all do. But it is  so easy to slip off track, succumb to the dark side (refined foods and sedentary lifestyle). My weakness is potato chips. What's yours?

Good health is more valuable than rubies and gold,
yet it can not be be purchased,
nor can it be sold.
It must be created all by one's self,
and once its obtained
it can't be placed on a shelf.
It must be worked at until one's dying day.
And if one's vigilant
that milestone may be pushed far, far away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Word: School

With my youngest daughter starting high school next week, it brings back memories of my high school days. I loved high school, but I know many of my classmates hated it. I think it boils down to the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Novel concept, huh.
One of my favorite memories of high school was being on the newspaper staff. My senior year I had my own column: Carolyn's Corner. It gave me a chance to rant about things I found unfair and insipid, etc. I rememer it was fun to write. What was your favorite memory from high school?

                                                  (my school: Payson High)

as a rule
could be kind of cruel,
especially to those
who chose
to play the class fool.
But to those who worked hard,
went the extra yard
with assignment on time
and work that was fine,
they found school was fun,
and was sad when they were done.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Author Event you don't want to miss

Hey, all, one of my good writing friends is hosting an awesome event to celebrate the release of her new book, Dearly Departed, a fun murder mystery. If you live in Utah and can manage to make it to Orem tomorrow, you should be in for a great time. Here are the details:
When: Saturday, August 13th, 12 – 4 pm

Where: Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

Prizes, games, Dutch oven cobbler (first come, first served)

Authors Tristi Pinkston, Nichole Giles, Heather Justesen,

Cindy Hogan, and J. Lloyd Morgan