Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2 Giveaways and a Review

If you're in the mood for a romantic comedy for Halloween, check out the following sites:

The wonderful and kind Anne Bradshaw is giving away one copy of Luck of the Draw on her site, in conjunction with a great review. Thank you, Anne!

Anne Bradshaw's Place

And the awesome Squeaky Clean Reads site is also giving away two copies this week as well.

Squeaky Clean Reads

Thanks, guys!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Introducing . . . Kay'sVille! (It's almost here!)

I just can't say enough good about Sheralyn or her Rhea Jensen series. I love all of her books--especially Kay'sVille. Yes, you read right. Kay'sVille. I felt so honored when Sheralyn offered to let me read the 4th book before it hits the stores. And I have to say that I loved it--probably more than any of the others. And that's saying something.

Just to warn you, Kay'sVille is definitely heavier, but gripping, emotional, and really well written. I loved the peek into Kay and Rhea's pasts, the strong bond of friendships, and the growth of all the characters. I loved how they were human, made mistakes, and conquered fears. I loved it all. Well, except for the fact that I now feel like the most unfashionable person alive. :)

So I figured I'd ask Sheralyn a few questions about Kay'sVille, so everyone can get a sneak-peak about the wonderful tale awaiting them. Keep in mind, though, that I won't allow her to give anything away. The story is for Kay to tell--not Sheralyn. :) (In case you were wondering, I really think Sheralyn might have multiple personality disorder, but shhhh, don't tell her I said that.)

Me: So Sheralyn, things were going so well with Rhea. She's a fabulous story-teller with an exciting life. Why the sudden switch to Kay?

Sheralyn: If you want the rest of the books in the Rhea series to make sense (as to why Rhea does what she does and makes certain choices), you need to understand her relationship with Kay and its significance in Rhea's life.

Kay'sVille is like Kay interrupting her best friend's story to say, "Hi. I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to tell you a few things you should know before reading more about my friend."

Me: Love it. There really is no one more qualified to interrupt a story, is there? And what a great interruption it was! I loved finally getting a glimpse inside Kay's head--to learn more about her and what events transpired in her life to make her who she is. Tell me, did you know all of Kay's history when you began the Rhea Jensen series? Why did you wait until the 4th book to let us learn more about her and her past?

Sheralyn: Oooh! Good questions :) Yes, Kay came to me pretty fully formed. I didn't know all her back story on the first day we "met," but I sensed the deep waters she brought to the game, and her character never wavered. It just waited for me to ask the right questions before filling me in.

As for why I waited for the 4th book to approach the past, it was simply because Rhea was never going to talk about any of what's included in it. Ever. In typical Rhea fashion, she was going to skim and just start the story up again at Book 5. Kay kind of kicked her out of the way for this installment to say, "I could care less what you (readers) think about me, but if Rhea's going to tell you the rest of what happens, then you HAVE to know this. Otherwise, what she does simply won't make sense at some points."

Someone had to step up to fill in the blanks for readers, and that character was Kay--which also happens to be the only character Rhea can't make shut up. Pretty handy.

Me: I don't know about everyone else, but personally, I love Kay. She's definitely rough around the edges, but she a rare breed that actually speaks her mind, doesn't care what people think, and she's fiercely loyal to her friends. And reading Kay'sVille only made me like her more. How did you like writing this book from her perspective?

Sheralyn: Wow. I love Kay. As in love-love-love Kay. She's one of those people who feels every hit life gives her very deeply. She TRIES to put on armor in the form of attitudes, fashion, and snarky banter, but the truth of the matter is that she cares. Even better than that, she works hard to right wrongs. She's a mover and a shaker with no respect for obstacles, or rules with no functional purpose. She lives life out loud, and there's something beautiful about that.

Me: I couldn't agree more! You've mentioned that you could write another 2-3 books in the Rhea Jensen series. If so, (and I hope you do), would you switch back to Rhea's perspective, or does Kay plan on sharing her thoughts with us again?

Sheralyn: Interesting question. At the moment, it's all Rhea's perspective on the future novels. With the information Kay arms you with, you really don't need to hear from her again, because you'll know enough about Kay from this book to pick up what she's putting down through Rhea in future books. Technically, there's not reason for Kay to "interrupt" a story again. That said, I'm not opposed to writing from Kay's perspective. I love her voice!

Me: I'm definitely looking forward to reading more, and I wish you would write faster! Thanks for answering all the questions with your typical fun and witty Sheralyn style. As for everyone else, I hope you enjoy Kay'sVille as much as I did! Look for it in December and click here to learn more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finished!

After plodding through page after page, word after word, sentence after sentence, I'm finally finished with the first draft of my next book. There is still so much to do, so much to add, but the bones are all in place and I am in a state of profound relief and joy (perhaps even a little disbelief :)).

This one has been more difficult for me to write. It required more research and more thought than my other two. At least it seemed that way. I struggled with both the plot and the characters, deleting scene after scene, adding scene after scene, and deleting more scenes. And I'm sure there's plenty more to do.

Maybe it would be helpful to actually draw up an outline for my next book. But would I actually stick to it? Who knows--I've never tried.

But that worry is for another day. Right now, I just feel like celebrating! If only I knew how to dance. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mice, Mice, Go AWAY!

My husband spotted a mouse in our garage yesterday. Thank goodness it wasn't me because I wouldn't have handled it nearly so cavalierly. Scurrying rodents strike a certain amount of fear and disgust in me, making me do ridiculous things, like squeal and jump up on something. I've never understood that bizarre reaction. It's not like they can hurt me or try to come anywhere near me, and yet they never fail to freak me out.

So I immediately shooed my hubby out the door on a quest for mousetraps. Three hours later, two mice were caught, and I'm praying that's all there are. Because if one has breached the indoor perimeter of my house and I happen to see it, my children will be witness to something they will be able to hold over my head for the rest of my life.

Please, please, please tell me mouse travel only in twos.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm So Pretty . . .

Believe it or not, once upon a time I played the part of Maria in the West Side Story. No, I can't sing (never could). Nor could I act (still can't). So how did I get the part? It was only one scene from the play, and I was in sixth grade. In other words--everyone got parts. There were actually three other Maria's.

They assigned me the scene where Tony serenaded Maria outside her bedroom. The one where he sang her "Tonight." Exciting, fun and romantic, right? Not so. The boy assigned to play opposite me was the last person I wanted to be in a romantic scene with. Not because I thought I was better than him or anything (I was at the bottom of the social chain at the time). It's because he gave me the creeps. The kind of creeps where you hope he never looks your way and avoid eye contact at all costs. Hard to do when you're supposed to be portraying a love-sick girl.

You may think me terrible for having such thoughts, but that same boy later ended up in jail for attempted robbery. He walked into a bank in broad daylight, dressed in all black, and ran out with a sack of cash and a slew of policemen in pursuit. I think he borrowed his brilliant plan from some old western, where a stunt like may have actually worked. At least in the movies.

And I really have no idea why I'm telling you all this, except to explain to you why I still don't sing, still don't act, why I have never robbed a bank, and why I do not like the West Side Story--or any tragedies for that matter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fire and Ice Review

Love Heather and her blog, Fire and Ice. Filled with professional and thoughtful book reviews, beautiful photography, gorgeous and unique jewelry, and fabulous giveaways, it's definitely a blog to follow. Heather is amazing! Thank you for the wonderful review of Luck of the Draw!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

General Conference

I love general conference. Even though my kids can be disruptive, I still manage to come away feeling happier and more motivated to do better. And although every talk has the potential to touch me--and typically does when I am able to listen, there are those that I resort to desperate measures to be able to hear. Whether it be locking myself in my room or bribing the kids, I do what it takes to get them to be quiet long enough for me to hear those words that never fail to impact me.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Wow. Doesn't he just make you feel like you've been hugged? Wrapped in a warm blanket with a tummy full of hot chocolate. I love hearing that man speak. He manages to make me come away feeling not that I should do better or need to do better, but that I want to do better. I love him for that. President Uchtdorf, same thing. There is no one else I know that can compare the rings on a tree and flying an aircraft to the same gospel principle. I am always captivated by his words and his humor.

And of course: President Thomas S. Monson. Back in my childhood days when I used to think general conference was far too long and the speakers boring, there was always one apostle I loved to hear. One apostle that I was excited to see his face on the screen. The stories he tells, the spirit he brings, and the love he conveys always penetrates my heart. I could listen to him for hours and never get bored. He has that unique capability to reach and touch both the old and the young and he will always hold a special place in my heart.

I am grateful for the prophet, for the apostles, and for the church leaders. For people who are willing to stand and lead--to testify of Christ and fight for the good of this world. For people who dedicate the majority of their time to this cause, and do it because of their great capacity to love.