Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Today, I needed to clean my bathroom and so I asked my three-year-old if she'd like to help scrub.
"Absolutely!" she said. Maggie picked up the grout brush and the sponge and got to work "cleaning" the tub.
There, now in ten years, I can show her that cleaning the bathrooms really is her favorite chore!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I just went out to random.org and selected a winner for my book giveaway of Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena. Thanks to everyone who entered!
The lucky winner is...
Congratulations! I'll get you your brand new, shiny copy of this beautiful book in a few days.
If you didn't win, you should still get your hands on a copy of this book, it's a fabulous read. Click here to read my interview with the author and find out how to enter another contest to win.
Now go get your own copy at Amazon.com
or here at Deseret Book or Barnes and Noble and enjoy.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My first romantic suspense novel, Wrong Number, is available on
Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Borders and many other online stores and also at a bookstore near you.
Publisher: Bonneville Books, March 8, 2010
ISBN: 9781599553641Wrong Number
List Price $14.99
My website: www.rachellechristensen.com
For those of you who already know the inside scoop--thanks for reading! I had so much fun putting together the conspiracy in Wrong Number. It took a lot of work, blending in different elements to make it realistic.
*SPOILER ALERT* Do not continue reading if you haven't read Wrong Number
(But even if you're sneaky and haven't read my book, this still won't give away "whodunit"!)
The New Governor of Nebraska is in the GREANE
government programs green
I did quite a bit of research on ethanol production and the corn production in the states that comprise the "Corn Belt".
According to Wikipedia:
The Corn Belt is a region of the Midwestern United States where corn has traditionally been the predominant crop. Geographic definitions of the region vary. Typically it is defined to include Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio — approximately 50% of all corn grown in the U.S. is from these four states. The Corn Belt also includes parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, and Kentucky. The region is characterized by relatively level land and deep, fertile soils, high in organic matter.
You may find it interesting how much of a conflict the issue of ethanol production is for farmers in the Corn Belt. I found many arguments for and against increased ethanol production.
Here are a few sources of information that I found that you might find interesting. These links may expire after some time--if so, I'm sorry, but I've included the text of the article pertinent to the sources.
*Please note that I am not posting this information to shift favor for or against ethanol production. This is purely for your information and to help answer questions about what drove the conspiracy theories in my novel, Wrong Number.
According to the USDA, the growth of biotech variety use in Nebraska since 2000 has been dramatic. For example, biotech corn variety usage has grown from 36 percent in 2000 to 86 percent this year. Biotech soybean variety usage has increased from 72 percent in 2000 to 97 percent this year.
In 2000, the statewide average corn yield was 126 bushel per acre, compared to 160 bushels per acre last year. In 2000, statewide soybean yields were 38 bushels per acre, compared to 50.5 bushels per acre last year.
The USDA survey data further illustrate that biotechnology is providing "solutions for today's farmers in the form of plants that yield more per acre and reduce farmers' production costs while being resistant to disease and insect pests," said Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president of food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
Lauritsen said 282 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 23 countries by 12 million farmers last year.
"We expect this growing trend to continue, especially at a time when the United States and the world are looking for science-based solutions to rising food and fuel prices," Lauritsen said.
She said plant biotechnology has increased corn productivity more than 33.1 percent and soybean productivity has increased 17 percent.
Biotech crops have the potential to increase productivity by another 25 percent worldwide, Lauritsen said.
"The next generation of biotech crops, with resistance to additional diseases and environmental stresses like drought and the ability to better use soil nutrients, will boost productivity even more," Lauritsen said.
According to BIO, ag biotechnology has environmental benefits as biotech crop varieties require less cultivation and fewer pesticide applications. They also save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) air emissions, allowing for improved soil health and water retention.
One Nebraska plant in 1985 has grown to 21 ethanol plants in early 2008 – and more plants are currently under construction and planned. Spread throughout much of the state, these plants have a capacity of more than 1.3 billion gallons. Combined, they consume about 500 million bushels of corn per year. By 2010, the amount of Nebraska corn going into Nebraska-based ethanol plants could reach nearly 700 million bushels.
There is little doubt that the growth of the ethanol industry has significantly changed rural
The devastation---seen with my own eyes, from a farmer
Posted by: zooeyhall on May 25, 2007 6:38 AM
I am a farmer in Nebraska, where I farm 160 acres of corn (a "small" farmer by any standard). I have lived on my farm for 50 years. I wish people could see up close the devastation to the local countryside that this ethanol frenzy has brought---and is going on as we speak. Landowners are ripping-out beautiful windbreaks and tree stands of cottonwoods and elms, these were windbreaks that were planted by the CCC back in the New Deal days, and getting the land ready to grow corn. This past winter, a factory hog farm came in and purchased a neighbor's farm. This farm was a beautiful piece of property with a grand 100 year old home and excellent buildings. They outbid all of the local farmers who wanted to buy it. Within 2 months they had completely stripped everything away--it's all gone. It just broke my 88 year-old dad's heart to see it. Other farmers around me are busy plowing-up grass pastures for corn production, land so hilly and highly erodable I never would have thought it could be used for growing row crops.
This corn-for-fuel thing has everyone in my area plowing-up their alfalfa fields. Alfalfa is an excellent low-input crop. Once it is established it pretty much takes care of itself, doesn't need any fertilizer or herbicides. It produces alot of protein and naturally enriches the soil. It takes a good two years after planting to get a crop from alfalfa, so with the dissappearance of these fields I don't care to think about the long term effect it is going to have on dairy farmers in my area, who need lots of locally grown hay.
I'm just a farmer and not good at writing, but I hope I have given Alternet's readers some idea about what is happening "out here". I wish I could post some pictures I have taken of the devastation.
New-built and proposed ethanol plants are going-up in the cities around me. No matter that they require enormous amounts of water in an area that is experiencing growing water shortages. The Platte River, which is about 10 miles from where I live, is a major gathering place for birds migrating to Canada. It has completely dried up in the summer months the past several years.
Our senators Nelson (D) and Hagel (R) beat the drum for ethanol production with every speech they make. But that is probably because Monsanto and ADM were big contributors to their campaigns.
* * *
So what do you think? You can see that the plot line was definitely realistic and based on events that are important to our economy right now.
I'd love to hear any questions or comments you have regarding my novel, Wrong Number. I'm currently working on a spinoff to this book, involving one of the major characters in a new setting.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I had never seen such a thing. He told me the copper helped with the pain somehow. So I stored that little tidbit of knowledge away for future reference.
Tonight, while we were picking beans Gracie got bit by a wasp on her thumb. She was screaming like a banshee and I ran with her to get a penny. I pressed the penny against the bite and within seconds she stopped screaming. This saved her from added trauma and saved my eardrums as well.
Interestingly enough when I looked this up on the internet, I found plenty of ideas here, but it said that the penny was an old wive's tale.
Well I don't care if this wife is telling a tale--it worked for us! On the 4th of July before I witnessed the penny idea, my little niece got bit by a wasp. She cried off and on for about 45 mintues. We used Benadryl cream, liquid benadryl, and ice and nothing seemed to help. I could actually see a trail of white going up her foot from where the bite was.
I used the penny for Gracie and within a minute she was fine. I witnessed the same thing with my nephew who went on to enjoy his birthday party without a worry about his wasp bite.
I guess some old wive's tales really do work.
I can't believe how well it worked. So add a penny to your first aid kit.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Click here for a news clip about the accident. It says two Utah men, but they were born and raised in Idaho.It's so hard to believe this happened. I went to high school with Jed and Shelley is one of my best friend's little sister--I love their family.I can't stop thinking about Shelley Mingo and her 3 kids without a daddy now. It makes my heart hurt every time I look at my 3 kids and wonder how she'll get through this.
I've been visiting the blog set up for Jed, Jordan, and Ron and praying for the family. Life is so precious! Pray for them When you visit the blog, there is a donate button to donate money for Shelley and her children to help them get through this and get back on their feet.
A trust fund for Jordan and Shelley's kids--age 4, 2, and 3 months has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. To donate please contact any Wells Fargo Bank and reference the Mingo Family Fund.
The thing that keeps going through my mind as I think of this sad accident and look at my children is that those kids won't remember...they won't even understand why their daddy won't be coming home from work today, tomorrow, the next day. I said to Steve and my sister, "how many memories do you have of when you were four years old?"
I'm sure that the family will help these kids to "know" their dad through pictures and memories, but I just feel so sad that so many moments will be lost. It's really strange for me because in July I had a conversation like this with my mom.
I told her I wanted to cry when I thought about how hard I work to take care of my kids and that if I were gone, they wouldn't even remember. It really hurts to think of that. As we talked, we decided that maybe there is a blessing in our mortal memories being so weak. We wouldn't want our innocent children to be weighed down with crushing grief, overwhelming pain and sadness for a loved one lost. So they forget and are able to continue on in the innocence of their lives. They can still laugh and smile and that is probably the biggest blessing that Shelley will have--her kids will help her through this time.
If you feel like sending a prayer Shelley's way and the rest of the Mingo family, even if you don't know them, I'm sure that every prayer will help.
I love doing book reviews especially because I often get a free book! Read on to find out another reason why I love doing book reviews--this one has to do with a free book for a lucky reader! When I received Joyce DiPastena’s new book in the mail I fell in love with the cover. It is gorgeous—love that castle in the background. Then I looked at how thick the book was, how tall the pile of books I’m supposed to be reviewing and reading, and the date I was supposed to get the book reviewed.
“Oh-oh, how will I ever be able to finish reading this 425 page book in time?” I said to my husband. I even emailed the editor and asked if I could move my review date to a later time. She told me to try my best—probably because she knew what would happen when I started reading it.
When I started reading Illuminations of the Heart, I was completely hooked by chapter two. I thought about locking myself in a room and hiding from my children so I could keep reading, but alas I had to eek out my reading minutes whenever I could to finish this awesome book!
Let me put a disclaimer here that I generally don’t read straight romances—they’re too mushy and unbelievable and often contain heroines of minor intelligence. I do enjoy reading a good romance, but they are hard to find. Illuminations of the Heart is definitely a romance, but it has enough adventure, intrigue, sword-fighting, etc. to keep the pages turning.
Joyce definitely knows how to write a good romance to keep you on the edge of your seat. The reason why I never read much romance is that most of it is trashy and contains explicit and graphic scenes. What a pleasure to read a clean romance—still has lots of great kissing, but I didn’t have to be scared to turn the page because I knew that the book was tastefully written.
I liked the medieval language Joyce used, Nay, I loved it! I felt transported back in time and learned quite a bit about medieval customs and enjoyed the inner look at the workings of the castle and countryside’s of France.
Siri’s character was full of life and a vibrant energy and it was so fun to root for her as she encountered several dangerous situations. Joyce did a wonderful job of keeping me wondering if Siri really would get her man or not.
If the book would’ve been 200 pages longer, I would’ve kept reading—yes it was that good.
Here’s the cover blurb for you.
"Clothilde." He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world is shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem; her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother's will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother's friend Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator's shop - until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guild he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife's shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri's face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Triston's past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the king's sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?
Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman's shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston's soul and make his heart beat for her alone?
Now go get your own copy at Amazon.com
or here at Deseret Book or Barnes and Noble and enjoy.
Would you like to win a free autographed copy of this book or other great prizes? Click here!
I asked Joyce if she would give us a special author interview so we could learn a little more about her. Thanks so much Joyce!
Tell us about yourself:
I live in a small copper mining town in Arizona with my two cats, Ciio (named for the Greek Muse of History) and Glinka-Rimsky-Korsakov (so named because when he was a kitten, he reminded me of a furry Russian hat). I've taught piano lessons for over 20 years, but my ultimate passion has always been history (mostly from ancient to Regency times, but with my heart most firmly planted in the Middle Ages) and writing. I've been writing off and on since junior high school, and wrote my first (unpublished) full length novel during college, while I was majoring in history and taking all the medieval history-oriented classes I could find, including in the English literature department.
Tell us how you came up with the idea for this book?
My idea for Illuminations of the Heart came from a character I'd created for my first published novel, Loyalty's Web. His name was Triston, and his part of the story ended very sadly in that first novel. But he'd captured my imagination, and even more important, my heart, and I longed to find a way to give him a happy ending. Whether he finds such an ending or not, you'll have to read Illuminations of the Heart to find out. ;-)
Rachelle's note: Oh, man, I love Triston's character! He really is a knight in shining armor!
Any hints as to what you're working on next?
I'm currently working on another "spin-off", this one based on a character I created for Illuminations of the Heart. I don't want to give anything away, since I don't want to spoil any "guessing" a reader might enjoy doing as she tries to discern this particular character's motives and actions in Illuminations, so I won't tell you my new hero's name. I will say that I am currently calling it "my troubadour book" and leave it at that.
Rachelle: I can't wait for this because I'm pretty sure I know exactly which character you're talking about. I bet you're having fun writing it.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Keep writing and never give up. It took me over twenty years to publish my fist novel. No matter how discouraged you get (and believe me, I shed many tears of discouragement during those 20 years!) be infinitely patient with the process. And write what you love. Write the story you're passionate about, whether you think it'll find a home or not, because when it does find a home, your readers will feel your passion for your story and characters and that's what will make them love your work.
Rachelle: This is the best advice any writer could receive--to write what you love!
Any other fun tidbits?
Hmm, I love chocolate chip cookies without the nuts. But I also love brownies WITH nuts (also in my ice cream), so it's not a "nut aversion". I like to suck on the chocolate chips in my cookies until they melt in my mouth, and it's' very disconcerting to realize that one has been sucking on a nut instead that obviously never melts. Oh, did you mean tidbits about writing? Sorry! "Tidbits" and "food" just kind of go together in my mind. :-)
Rachelle: Ha, ha! Thanks Joyce. That was a great interview.
Want to learn more about Joyce and her incredible books?
Joyce's blog: http://jdp-news.blogspot.com/
Walnut Springs Press: Http://walnutspringspress.blogspot.com
I'm thrilled to tell you that I also get to give away a copy of Illuminations of the Heart. Scroll down or click here to find out how to enter my book giveaway.
If you'd like to read my review and a great author interview with Joyce DiPastena, click here.
There's also another contest going on for yet a few more chances to win this wonderful medieval romance. Click here to find out how to enter.
How to enter:
For one entry:
Leave a comment on this post
Leave a relevant comment on another post on my blog.
Become a follower of this blog and let me know in a comment.
Subscribe to my RSS feed and let me know in a comment.
For two entries:
Announce this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter and let me know that you've done so in a comment.
Contest ends August 21, 2009 at 11:59pm. Be sure to check back and see if you won! Anonymous comments are not eligible, you must leave your name. If you win, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address by August 24th or another winner will be selected.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I'm excited to tell you about the upcoming blog tour for a new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, which I'll be participating in.
The blog tour will run from Monday, August 10th through Friday, September 18th (excepting the weekends and Labor
There will be daily reviews and the occasional author interview with Joyce DiPastena during the blog tour.
My review will take place on August 13th and if you leave a comment on my review, you'll be entered in a drawing for a special autographed copy of the book or one of three $10.00 online gift certificates toward the purchase of your very own copy of Illuminations of the Heart. I am including the list of reviewers because you can comment on more than
one review and be entered multiple times to receive the free book or gift certificates. So there will be 4 prizes!!
Check back here on August 13th as I'll also be doing a giveaway for a free copy of Joyce's new book!
Mormon Hermit Mom's
Rachelle's Writing Spot
Cami's Books and Fit Mommas
Of Writerly Things
Of Good Report
Boojoos and Aprilcots
Musings from an LDS Writing Mom
Queen of the Clan
Dreams of Quill and Ink
Tangeled Words and Dreams
Random-ish by Nichole and LDSwritersBlogck
SeriouslyŠ and latterdayauthors
Lu Ann's Book Review
Reading for Sanity
September 14 LDS Women's Book Review
September 16 Romance Old School
Blog the Day Away
Walnut Springs Press
Monday, August 3, 2009
© Rachelle J. Christensen
In a “Parent’s Guide to Teaching Adolescents,” President David O. McKay explained the spiritual potential of youth:
“We hear a good deal of talk about our young people these days. Some say that they are indifferent, that they are losing their interest in the Church. I do not agree with this accusation. My experience with the young leads me to believe that there was never a time when youth more sincerely sought the truth, when they were more responsive to assignments made in the Church, when they were more observant of the ideals for which this Church stands.”
Our youth are magnificent, but we need to tap into their potential, ensuring that they will grow to love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some or all of these tips may help your teen to live up to President McKay’s statement.
1. Leave all electronics at home or in the car. Do not bring cell phones, ipods, mini-gaming systems, etc. to church. If there is a need for a call to be placed it should be done outside of the church where it will not disrupt or distract others. The Sunday meeting block is only three hours; there is no need for texting during this time. You may need to have your teen turn in items to you to be sure this rule is enforced.
2. Ask your teen if they would be willing to help you choose appropriate music to set the mood for the Sabbath. Encourage them to get ready for church early to eliminate the anxiety often felt in the hurry to get to church on time. Encourage them to give ideas to make feeling the Spirit more accessible in your home.
3. Many teenagers may roll their eyes if you sing, “Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday,” but the message rings true no matter what your age. Check with your teen to see if their Sunday clothing needs laundering and teach them how to iron their clothes, polish their shoes and belts, and mend clothing.
Do you have a schedule for multiple teens during the week with allotted bathroom times? If so, be sure to keep this schedule going for Sunday. You can avoid being late if everyone continues to get ready for the day early, even if church begins in the afternoon.
Preparing for meetings, lessons, talks etc. on Saturday is important because it helps to reduce ‘last-minute’ nerves and ensures the tasks will be completed.
4. Ask your teenagers what they learned in their Sunday school class or Young Men/Women. To overcome the famous, “I don’t know” answer which usually comes from a question like this, instead ask, “What was your favorite part?” You can ask them, “What are three things you learned today?” Or “What was your three most favorite things about your class?” This helps them concentrate on the positive aspects of their church programs and encourages more conversation on these topics.
5. Be aware of your teen’s activities and meetings. Encourage your teen to be responsible and inform you of announcements, but also be proactive so they don’t miss out on important events. If possible, obtain a copy of the calendar of scheduled events. Encourage your teen to fill in activities on the family calendar. If your teen is reluctant to attend certain activities, talk to them, listen, and find out where these feelings stem from. What can you do to overcome these feelings? If there are valid concerns, you may find it necessary to meet with your teen’s leader to discuss solutions. Also, encourage your teen to come up with suggestions for activities they might enjoy—youth leaders usually welcome ideas to help them plan appropriately for their classes.
6. Discuss how your teen can help those with special needs in your ward. Ask them to be aware of those children no matter what age they may be. Something as small as saying “Hello, how are you doing?” may be significant to a member with special needs.
7. Sunday is a day for families. It is not appropriate for your teen to hang out with friends on the Sabbath. Unless they are attending a fireside or other church-sanctioned gathering, their place should be with the family. There is so little time in our busy days to spend together. Make the Sabbath day special as it is intended to be and plan activities as a family which are appropriate to this sacred day.
8. Holding regular Family Home Evening is important for your teens especially if you encourage them to take part in planning, giving lessons, etc. These small tasks can teach them how to prepare for youth talks, lessons, and other activities.
Reading scriptures together is important for the obvious reasons of gaining a testimony and reinforcing gospel principles in the home, but have you considered some of the other reasons this is important? When you read together as a family it provides your teen an opportunity to become familiar with reading the scriptures. If they are comfortable reading aloud at home, it is more likely they will be comfortable participating in church in answering questions and reading aloud.
9. If your teen complains about their calling in church, listen first and then ask them if they would like ideas on how to improve their experience. Sometimes your child may just be venting and appreciate a listening ear and other times they may have significant challenges with their responsibilities. In all cases, if you can subtly steer them in a positive direction you may impact their attitude toward future callings.
Has your teen been set apart for their calling? If not, set up a time to do so—all members should be set apart for every calling. Can they remember any parts of that blessing? Help them to focus on the most important aspects of their position. At times, teens may become bogged down by all the planning meetings and find it hard to see the forest for the trees. Help them to see the significance of their efforts.
10. Talk to your teenagers about Christ’s commandment to love one another. Do they believe this commandment applies to everyone in their church group? As much as we would like to ignore it, peer pressure still occurs in church youth groups. Often, certain persons are singled out because they are different—they may be shunned, picked on, or fought with openly. Talk to your teenager about what Christ would have them do in these situations. Reinforce the importance of their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Are they standing as a witness of Christ, even in difficult circumstances when peer pressure is strongest?
When friends of other faiths visit, remember that those they interact with will help to make a solid impression of the church, be it good or bad. Discuss how important it is to live up to the standards of the gospel and be a good example of Christ-like love to all who visit our church.
Always be open with your teenagers and encourage them to talk to you about situations that may be occurring in your ward. There may be a need for parental intervention or help from the bishopric in resolving some situations.
*Remember that your teen is still a teenager. At times they may act like an adult, but there are many more steps until they graduate from “teendom.” The youth programs of the church are inspired and tailored to help your teen during this unpredictable time of their life. Work with them, not against, to make attending church more enjoyable and help them gain a strong love of the gospel which will carry into adulthood.