Friday, August 31, 2012

Cambodia, One Year Later


It has been one year since I got on the plane and made the very long trip to Cambodia.

I know it is cliche to say so, but it feels like just yesterday! How is it possible it was a whole year ago?
I bought this drink my first night there. It is still sitting in my kitchen, daring me to open it and try it.

I miss Cambodia!

I miss the wonderful friends I made.
Thankfully, I've lost 30 lbs since this picture was taken!

US, Denmark, and 3 different Australian states represented here!

I miss being anxiously engaged in a good cause.





And you know what I never thought I'd say? I miss being driven around in a tuk-tuk.







And in spite of looking in every grocery store I go into, and coming up empty every time, I really miss Laughing Cow cheese cubes-
And did I mention the impossible to explain things, the things you'll never see in the States-




It is definitely time to start planning my next adventure. Haiti has been calling my name for a while. But I haven't ruled out the rest of the world yet. It will definitely be a "volun-tourism" trip again. I can't imagine doing anything else!



Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Raise Your Glass (or can, as the case may be)


I'm pretty sure I probably read the Mormon Newsroom (official news and PR site of the Mormon church) a little bit more often than your average person. What can I say? My job requires it.

In a piece this week correcting some of the mistakes found in the NBC 30 Rock special on Mormons, was this little gem-

"Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church revelation spelling out health practices (Doctrine and Covenants 89) does not mention the use of caffeine.  The Church’s health guidelines prohibit alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco, and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee. *"

Note the asterisk! it says-
* This posting has been updated since it was orginally published.

What did it originally say? Well, conveniently, I copy and pasted that onto my BFF Jules' Facebook page yesterday. Here it is-

""Finally, another small correction: Despite what was reported, the Church does not prohibit the use of caffeine. The Church’s health guidelines (Doctrine and Covenants 89) prohibits alcoholic drinks, smoking or chewing of tobacco and “hot drinks” — taught by Church leaders to refer specifically to tea and coffee. The restriction does not mention caffeine specifically."

Same thing, just reworded.

For some of you this means nothing. For those of us who love our Diet Coke and Dr Pepper 10, on the rocks, with a straw, at all times of the day, and have been getting judged ever since that first fateful sip at 17, and have been getting dirty looks ever since, THIS IS AWESOME, IN YOUR FACE PROOF!

Okay, that sounded a little more something than I meant for it to. Maybe I'm just hoping people (and you know who you are) will stop with the condescension finally.  And I can drink my Dr Pepper at girls camp without having to hide it like whiskey in a flask!

Thank you. That is all.

So raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways, dirty little freaks...

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"You Heard It Here First" is now available in paperback!



I am so excited, as of 7:45 a.m. today my new book, "You Heard It Here First" is available in paperback! 
For the first week it is available on CreateSpace (the Amazon owned printing company I chose to go through) for $13.99.
It will take at least 5-7 more days before it shows up on Amazon itself, and then longer to show upon Barnes and Noble and other sites. I thought about not announcing any of the book's release until it was for sale digitally and in print everywhere. But, not too surprisingly, I am not patient enough for that! I am so happy that this book is officially done and out there!
In the front of the book, on the dedications page, you will see that I chose to dedicate the book to "Little," the Back Creek Baby Ducks, and the Cave Spring Cuties. If you've been reading this blog for more than the past year, you already know who my darling "Little" is. (Except she's a grown-up, beautiful 15 year old now. I can't get away with calling her 'little' much longer!) The Back Creek Baby Ducks and the Cave Spring Cuties are the young women from the two wards (congregations) I have served with over the past 2 years.
I got the chance over the past few days to tell my baby ducks about the dedication. (And hopefully I'll get the chance to see the Cave Spring girls soon and tell them.) They have all been hearing about this book for a while and were excited to hear I dedicated it to them. (After we clarified it was "for them" and not "about" them!)
Back when I started writing the story I didn't set out with a specific end or goal in sight. I just had an idea for a little scene and wrote it out. It all just took off from there. The story begins with a romance, and before too long I reached the point where in most romance novels either sex would enter the picture, or the girl would change herself to get the man. I couldn't write for days. I didn't want to go there. I didn't want to write a "religious fiction" story, but I also couldn't see myself writing values I didn't believe in.
So I didn't.
I decided to write the main character (Haley) the way I wanted to, and not look back. I knew as I did it that it would mean that chances of getting picked up by a mainstream publisher were next to nil. And I knew that if I left religion out of a book that centers around values, that I would never get picked up by a religious publisher either. The more I thought about it the more I realized I didn't care. I could do this without a publisher. What mattered most to me was that I wrote a character that my young women- my cuties, baby ducks, and Little- could all look up to. 
The book may still be a little grown up for them. I'm not sure that it is 12 year old girl material (which I'm sure my girls will point out to me quickly that they will all be at least 13 in a few weeks). Maybe 15 or 16 would be a more appropriate age to start. But I am glad this book is there for them now, and I can't wait to give them each their own copy soon.

A few of my Baby Ducks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Broken Heart


My heart is broken today. I am feeling the pain of other people's burdens. One family suffered the death of their baby recently. Another dear family is dealing with a failed adoption placement. Both families are to be admired for their strength and faith. But today my heart aches for both of them. I consider it a blessing to carry so much empathy for others.
When you think you are having a bad Monday, or just a bad day in general, there truly is always someone out there who has suffered more than you. But the good news is that rather than pray for a lighter load for yourself, you can pray to lighten the load of someone else.

Friday, August 24, 2012

You Heard It Here First!



It is finally here!
My new book, You Heard It Here First, is now available on Kindle and Nook! 
(Paperbacks won't be available for a month!)
For a limited time you can buy it for just 99 cents on either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Once the paperbacks are available, the price will go up to a more realistic retail price for a 400 page book! (Probably about $6.99. Believe me, at 99 cents, I am not making a lot of money off this thing!) So buy it now for a steal!!





All I ask is that during this "preview launch" if you see any typos or formatting errors, that you please let me know directly! THANK YOU!!!

Book Description:
From the moment girl-next-door Haley McAdams met America's Favorite News Reporter Camden Morrison, her life hasn't been the same. Suddenly she has everything she ever wanted- love, money, and career success. But can she handle the pressures that come with it?

One day she's a financial blogger, the next, a TV expert on a political scandal. Her on-air epiphanies, and liberated writing style has landed some powerful men in hot water, and there are consequences to pay.

Just as her career takes off, so does her love life. But the memories of her past make it hard to accept the good things around her. Is her rich and famous boyfriend the real reason for her new success? Does he really love her? Or does he have an ulterior motive too?

Haley is a good girl from a loving family with traditional values, but she knows her way around the world of finance and politics. She may be virtuous, but she is not naïve. And if there is one thing she has learned, it is that money is the root of all evil.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Princess Feedback Policy



I've been thinking about my baby sister a lot today. Well, not so much about her, as much as a funny little quirk she had when she was younger. I believe it was when she was playing for her little kiddie basketball team. (Sadly, I could not find a picture of that. I had to go with soccer.) She was about 8 years old. After one game, she laid down the law with us. She did not want us to yell things like, "Hustle! Shoot! Faster! Defense!"
No, not for our little princess. Come to think of it, her first nickname was not "Little Princess." It was "Little Stink," until she kindly let us know that other daddies (she had this conversation with my dad, not me) called their little girls things like, "Little Princess," and "Beautiful." (Being me, I decided not to call her Little Princess. I took my queue from "Lord of the Rings" and "Gollum," and chose to call her "My Precious.")
Our Little Princess, who never lacked a good sense of self confidence, mandated that we only yell supportive cheers at her basketball games, and nothing demanding, directive, or critical. Cheers such as, "Good Job!" "Go Steph!" and "Let's Go, Wildcats!" were permitted. I cannot remember if, "Come On!" was allowed or not. She declared that all other "cheers" were distracting and not helpful.
The reason for the recall of this (family favorite) memory is not hard to figure out. It's not buried too far down in the subconscious this time. My book. It's out there. And that means I get to open myself up to the criticism of the world.
Oh joy.
Granted, I've developed a rather thick skin over the past year since I've been writing professionally more often. Sometimes when I write something slightly edgy I get excited for the crazy responses. But when I write something personal, I dread it.
Putting my book (MY BABY!) out there for the world to see, knowing full well that the politics and quiet message of the book, are not going to go over well with *some* people.
Not to mention, sometimes it is the feedback from the well-meaning people that you really don't want to hear.
Oh how I wish I could invoke the Little Princess Feedback Policy.


(note: I've turned off the comments on this post, lest anyone thinks I am fishing for compliments or comments.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

You Heard It Here First



It's official! My book will be ready on Nook and Kindle by Friday! (The paperback copies won't be ready for about a month.) I am looking for anyone with a Nook or a Kindle (or just the apps on your computer or phone- which are free and anyone can get!) to review my book. I have a way of magically giving it to you for free. In exchange, if you like it, I hope you will share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog.

If you are interested, leave me a comment, and let me know how to reach you, and if you have a Kindle or Nook!

THANKS!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Agency

Have you purchased my novella, "The Agency," yet? Just 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

My new book, "You Heard It Here First!" will be out VERY SOON! Hopefully within the week! I can't wait to share it with you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You have reached the end of the internet.


After getting all of my work done today, and wasting countless hours online (some of it may have been research too), I have officially reached the end of the internet. There is nothing left for me to do online.
And yet, I can't turn it off.
I'm waiting for a very important email. And a very important IM. And I can't possibly be expected to carry on my life until I have received them. I can't turn off the internet.
The internet is everything!
It is controlling me. There is no escape. All of my friends are inside of its mysterious labyrinthine webs. All of my work, the news, the rest of the world, it is all locked inside an 11x17" screen I hold in my lap.
And it is sucking me in and holding me hostage day in and day out.
SAVE ME!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I never want to go back to high school

I believe I am about 16 in this picture. With a cousin and my sister.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This would be the best possible way to describe the past few days. Not to mention many of my life's dreams.

And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The plan Thursday had been simple enough. Phone interview, drive to DC, check into hotel, relax, get work done, meet up with friend, have some fun.

Instead what happened involved waiting for calls from the vet regarding my sick dog, traffic jams, and through an odd series of events, sneaking around my old high school. And a few dozen other things. But let's talk about high school.

I went to two high schools. One I loved, the other I did not. I very unexpectedly found myself at the school I did not love on a day where my heart was with my old classmates from the school I did love.

Let me explain. Due to a crazy traffic backup, and trying to meet a friend who was also in the backup, we bailed off the road, met at my high school, and because I have the world's smallest bladder and I had been in a car nearly 5 hours, we snuck into my unhappy high school to find a bathroom. And then we proceeded to take a very strange walk around memory lane.

I struggled to remember where classrooms were, couldn't remember where my locker was located, and I swear to you, I have no memory whatsoever of the library or the auditorium. (Not remembering the auditorium is really disturbing to me, because I was in choir and drama and had to have performed in there a few times. But no, nothing, no memory of that place at all.)

What did come rushing back were the memories of people and experiences. None of them were really very pleasant memories. I remember where I was standing when a "friend" of mine said something really rude about another "friend." The only thing I remembered about an entire hallway was another rude thing a friend said to me about me.

People stood out to me. But how to get from the gym to the cafeteria- no clue.

Today at church the lesson for the young women was on dating. There was a real emphasis on not making stupid choices on boys while so young. I didn't speak up then. My mind was spinning over what I thought was important in high school (including boys) and what is important to me now.

In high school boys, music, and clothes were important. I made choir and all chances to be involved in music a very high priority. I still love singing and being involved in musical performances. I don't regret my emphasis on that back then. But I do regret how much time I wasted trying to fit in with the other girls by trying to dress like them, listen to the right bands, and like the right boys. Those interests definitely got me nowhere.

When I was 16 or 18, I expected my future to be many different things. I loved politics, law, and well, boys. I equally expected to go off to college, do lots of political internships, get married, and still go to law school while raising lots of babies. And somewhere in all of that, I planned to write books, and maybe movies.

Some of that happened, most of it didn't. I did the internships and still love politics.

I wonder how different life would be if 16 year old me had listened to the grown ups a little bit more about what was important and what wasn't important?


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dance of Joy and Honor

It occurs to me I am behind on my happy dance postings. This one is a little bit different from my usual happy dances, but it cracks me up.

Stupid is as stupid does


Yesterday I got emails from a service I haven't used in years. It was always an informal, non-professional service, but the emails I got yesterday (and I would imagine a few of my friends may have received) proved that a little too much!

The following was sent out with a link, and with all of the email addresses showing!! This service has never before sent out any sort of email to their subscribers before!

Email #1-
We recently moved this site to a new server and your password was reset to: (INSERT VISIBLE PASSWORD)   Please use this the next time you log in and then promptly change your password back to how you had it or whatever you'd like. Sorry for any inconvenience and let me know if you have any questions.

A few minutes later, this was received-

Email #2- also sent out to a large list with all of the addresses showing!
Thanks, (PERSON'S NAME)!  Hey, can we review this list? These are not all folks I'd want to keep on our list for emails like this, and when you do send them out, you might consider sending out as BCC's, so everyone doesn't see the list of private emails. 

(PERSON'S NAME) is no longer a writer, and the (FAMOUS PERSON) are musicians who shouldn't need access to our site. (PERSON'S NAME) was a previous writer.  (PERSON'S NAME) is no longer with us.  This may seem a strange email to many of these people.  Let's clean up that list perhaps. Thanks so much for your efforts in moving things along.

Can we change the password one more time and then send it only to the management team and I'll forward to my team?
 
 
And yes the (PERSON'S NAME) also all had easily identifiable email addresses showing as well. 
 
Stupidity. It's what's for breakfast. 

Also, this is why you should always keep track of your passwords and change them regularly.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quickie

My friend Teri Le did a  movie review and is hosting a giveaway for the film, "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" on her blog. That movie looks so dang cute! I need to go see it.
Which reminds me, I saw "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones last week. (And Steve Carell.) I need to take 5 minutes to write a review of that sometime. Great film, but people need to be warned before they see it! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What? Your Weekend Doesn't Start on a Thursday?





Another weekend is approaching and that means another trip to this place. Why aren't there frequent driver points?
There's a lot going on this weekend. A lot of interesting possibilities. And I like that they are all positive and happy.
Here's to safe driving, good gas mileage, happy nights, good training, and career growth. And to my back (which hasn't fully recovered from tubing last weekend) holding up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just a few more days...




Any day now I will be self-publishing my first novel.
True, I have published a novel once before that I co-wrote. (Now available on Amazon Kindles for $10.19.)
And I wrote a novella I self-published as well (also available on Kindle for just 99 cents).
But this one is different. This is a book I wrote all by myself. All 400+ pages of it.  Yes, I hired help with the review, editing, design, and proofing. But this is my baby, my work.
There are just a few little details hanging out there that have to get tied up before the book is published. But I'm THISCLOSE to getting it finished.
It is scary. It is exciting. This is a little part of me out there for the world to judge, buy, critique, love, or hate. I can't pretend someone else wrote it, or an editor or publisher forced me to change something. This is all me.
I'm getting nervous!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summer Loving



The past few days have been filled with very high highs, and nearly unexplainable lows. And right in the middle was a very fun time.
The highs included unexpected blessings coming from nowhere and landing in my lap. Job interviews, potential leads, and other opportunities I hadn't sought out came to me. I'm very grateful.
The lows include cancer, death, illness, and sadness, of an almost unfathomable depth.
And it all danced around a fun trip to the river with friends for tubing and boating.  The picture above is my favorite of the weekend because it shows exactly what it was like- lots of laughter, high speed boating, singing (karaoke), and even a little on the boat dancing to my iTunes. And there was lots of good food too.
I leave the weekend with an aching heart, a full heart, and absolutely no voice at all.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Funny Because It's True


Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money?

I saw this today-

And naturally it made me think of this-
And then obviously I couldn't help but think of this-

And while getting happily sucked in to the internet looking for just the right Calvin strip, I discovered this-
That would be Calvin and Susie fanfic. Yes, it exists.
And that's when I decided to get off the internet and go do something else with my life.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My Book Needs a Title!


One of the pictures being used in the book cover.

God willing and the creek don't rise, my book really, finally, truly might go to print in the next day or two.
There is just one thing missing.
It needs a title.
I've gone through about 5 different ideas. And this morning I had yet another idea. I need some input. Here's the "back jacket" description, and at the bottom are some possible title ideas. Remember, this is the first book in a three book series, so I am trying to tie the titles together with a theme.

From the moment girl-next-door Haley McAdams met America's Favorite News Reporter Camden Morrison, her life hasn't been the same. Suddenly she has everything she ever wanted- love, money, and career success. But can she handle the pressures that come with it?
One day she's a financial blogger, the next, a TV expert on a political scandal. Her on-air epiphanies, and liberated writing style has landed some powerful men in hot water, and there are consequences to pay.
Just as her career takes off, so does her love life. But the memories of her past make it hard to accept the good things around her. Is her rich and famous boyfriend the real reason for her new success? Does he really love her? Or does he have an ulterior motive too?
Haley is a good girl from a loving family with traditional values, but she knows her way around the world of finance and politics. She may be virtuous, but she is not naïve. And if there is one thing she has learned, it is that money is the root of all evil. 

Title Choices
1.  You Heard It Here First (Book 2: He Said What, Book 3: He Said/She Said)
2. Love, Money, and Politics (Book 2: Love, Money, and Pirates, Book 3: Love, Money, and Parenting)
3. That's What She Said  (Book 2: He Said What, Book 3: He Said/She Said)
4. Miss McAdams (Book 2: Mr. Morrison, Book 3: Mrs. Hyde)
 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Tarzan's Playground is Calling Me


Friends, I have discovered Go Ape, and now it is all I can think about. I must do it. And I must do it soon.
Also, I really want to turn my backyard into a GoApe playground. Have you seen my backyard? I think it is perfect for it.
(My backyard on a very rainy day.)
Lots and lots and lots of trees. Talk about Tarzan's playground.
Who wants to come help me put in a zipline?

Giveaway winner





And the "Big in Japan" book giveaway goes to Kim Anderson!
Kim, contact me please!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Olympics Spoiled!


Let it be known, at this house we LOVE the Olympics! We love gymnastics, swimming, diving, synchronized diving, track and field, and we like (but not love) beach volleyball, rowing, and all of the other sports.

I have avoided all spoilers like the plague today. We're watching on DVR, so we're behind the "live" NBC feed. It is killing me tonight to have to avoid Facebook, Twitter, and all news sites. I'm even avoiding my Yahoo email, because yesterday the news headlines (that I can't help but see when I log into Yahoo) spoiled some gold medals for me.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to avoid all internet spoilers?! I'm pretty sure the only answer at this point is to just turn off the internet, since I can't go to any of the sites I frequent.  And I don't know if I can really be expected to show that much self-control!

(Hey, don't forget to enter the "Big in Japan" book giveaway!")

By the way, have you seen this awesome commercial during the Olympics yet?


Does the voice and song sound a little familiar to you? If so, that's because it is the one and only amazing Mindy Gledhill singing a song she composed!

And Now We Do the Dance of Joy!!

It has been brought to my attention that I have not been keeping up with a time-honored blog tradition- the happy dance.
In years gone by when certain things had happened in my life (getting a job, dates with certain guys, etc.) had occurred, I posted happy dances. Sometimes I have been coy about why I posted them, sometimes I have not.
Today I am coy.
It has also been brought to my attention that I'm a few happy dances short, considering how happy I am. So today you get a double-header happy dance!!

The Perfect Strangers' Dance of Joy is pretty much one of the best things ever.
But I do love this one as well-



My Spidey sense tells me there will be a few more happy dances in the near future as well. I hope Spidey is right. 


And don't forget to enter the "Big in Japan" book giveaway!

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