Monday, November 30, 2009

A week of Giveaways from Heather Justesen

Fun, fun! We all love prizes right?




Heather Justesen is offering a week of giveaways, so go check out her blog because the prizes are fantastic! And check out her new book too, it's awesome!
See the book trailer and review here on my blog.

My blog makeover

What do you think? Did you notice my new look?

I love my blog makeover!! Woo-hoo! I feel like a whole new me!

I wanted to give a huge shout-out and thank you to Jen over at jenieshell's Design Challenge.
I won this blog makeover from a raffle--thanks Leah!

and Jen did such an excellent job! I went from frumpy, boring, plain... to jump off the page, excited, and cute!

If you would like to learn more about all the cool blogging gadgets I have just jump over to Jen's blog. She has tons of tutorials and if you'd like her to design for you, drop her a line. She is so awesome to work with! Now go notice all of the awesome features on my blog-- notice my signature? Blog button, awesome tabs on the top, scrolling bar on my sidebar, my label cloud, my author website button with my tagline.

I'm so excited. Tell me what you think and happy blogging!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Thanks

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year was the first time that the big event was hosted in my home. My parents came and my older sister and her family. My other two siblings were unable to come--too far and new baby--and we missed them!

It was a great Turkey Day though. Relaxing and lots of time spent chatting and hunting for good Black Friday deals.

I'm very thankful for the good life that I live. I enjoy so many blessings. My husband, Steve, is my rock and he is so amazing.

Just look at this turkey that he cooked!

Yep, I didn't even touch it. He did the whole thing himself and believe me when I tell you he knows how to spice things up! Delicious!

I'm thankful he spices up my life with his smile, humor, and happy attitude. I love you Steve.

I'm thankful for my family. Where would we be without family? I love you guys!

I'm thankful for this beautiful country I live in with the freedoms I enjoy.

I'm thankful for the talents and creativity God has given me and I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review of "The Ball's In Her Court" by Heather Justesen

I love reading and it's especially fun when I know the author. I'm so happy to review Heather Justesen's debut novel, The Ball's in Her Court, a sweet LDS romance story focusing on the story of a woman, adopted as a child and her search for her birth parents as well as her search for love.

Here's the Back Cover Blurb:


She's got a great job, a loving group of family and friends, and basketball skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to leave behind forever.


Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.


This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.

Heather is an excellent writer! She pulled me right into this story and all the heartache and angst Denise faced as she tried to discover the strength of her heart. This is a powerful story I recommend you read. You'll get a look into how someone who has been in the foster care system and been adopted might feel. There's so many different angles that Heather was able to touch on--an intriguing read!

I'd like to thank Heather for giving me an autographed copy of her book. Although I was excited, this did not influence my book review. I will always give my readers an honest review of any book I read.

I'm so thrilled for your writing success, Heather!

The Ball’s In Her Court is available in Deseret Bookstores and at CedarFort.com and Amazon.com. And you can check out Heather Justesen’s blog for more review links along The Ball’s In Her Court’s book blog tour!

You can read the first chapter of The Ball’s In Her Court here.

For a limited time, you can order an autographed copy of The Ball’s In Her Court here.

And you have to watch this short book trailer --a preview of The Ball's In Her Court. It's excellent!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Contact Rachelle

You can contact me via my author email
RachellethewriterATgmail.com

Tweet me at
http://twitter.com/Rachellewrites

or leave a comment on my blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winner of the Twilight Inspired Fragrance Contest

Yahoo! New Moon is on the big screen and we have a winner!

Thanks to all who entered. If you didn't win, go to Custom Scents Online
Pick out your own fragrance and place an order--I think you'll be happy because they all smell so good!


Now for our big winner....

Snarky A. who said
"I would love the Bella scent!"

Congrats! I'll need your mailing address and your choice of fragrance (if it's different than Bella) and your one ounce, dram bottle will be mailed to you!
If I don't hear from the winner by Monday, November 16th 2009, a new winner will be selected.

Have a super spectacular holiday season and enjoy the new movie, New Moon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Tour for "The Ball's In Her Court", by Heather Justesen

Today kicks off the blog tour for The Ball's in Her Court, by debut author Heather Justesen! Read reviews of her book and interviews with Heather from November 9 - December 4, and watch for fun giveaways along the way!



I will be reviewing The Ball's In Her Court on November 27, so be sure to check back here on that day.




Follow along with Heather's blog for new review updates each day!


And just a reminder--there's still time to enter my awesome contest sponsored by www.customscentonline.com
You can win your very own Twilight inspired fragrance!!
Click on this link to enter!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Announcing a new book, Mormon Mishaps & Mischief by D.N. Giles and C.L. Beck

I'm so excited to tell you about this new book! It's a fun anthology of all kinds of hilarious anecdotes that will make you smile, giggle, guffaw, and laugh your heart out.

I'm especially thrilled about Mormon Mishaps & Mischief because not only am I contributor of several of the anecdotes, but my best writer buddies, Nichole and Cindy are the lovely authors of this great book.

The book launch is only a few weeks away!
When: Dec. 9, 2009, from 6-9PM
Where: The Orem Barnes and Noble, 330 E 1300 S (University Parkway), Orem, Utah

I'll be there to celebrate along with Nichole, Cindy, and a few other contributors, so pop in and say hello!

They're planning on including readings by contributors, treats, prizes, and of course, plenty of copies of Mormon Mishaps and Mischief for signings. Come join the fun and get an autographed copy ... or two! They make great Christmas gifts!

If you can't make it there, stay tuned to the LDS Humor blog for more signing announcements. You can also preorder your very own copy of Mormon Mishaps & Mischief from Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or Borders. It will officially be available in bookstores around December 8th.

For more info on the book and contributors, visit this post and while you're there check out all the other funny stuff on the great LDS Humor blog.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Whole Wheat Blender Pancakes

I'll admit that I'm a little bit of a self-proclaimed health-nut in training. Over the past three years I've tried several things to help my family be a little more healthy. We have a long ways to go, but I figure every little bit helps.
Eating is the biggest problem. I feel like we put so much junk into our bodies, so many refined sugars, flours, preservatives, chemicals, hormones--it's enough to make me wish I didn't have to eat!

My ideal goal would be to prepare foods as close to their whole state as possible, since that's when they contain the most nutrients. They're still alive at that state. It's very hard to do with most things, but like I said, every little bit helps and I'm not going to stress over it.

So I wanted to share one of our favorite recipes of late. It probably still isn't perfectly healthy, but I think it comes pretty close.
About once a week, I make whole wheat blender pancakes.

Don't cringe just because it says whole wheat! Try them! They are absolutely delicious. I love the nutty texture the whole wheat provides. My kids devour them. In fact, we like to have a breakfast night once a week and when I make these my girls--age 4 and 6--can almost eat as much as my husband and I. We like to eat them with fresh fruit and berries.

They are so quick and easy to make. I'd love to hear your success story if you try them and about any other great healthy recipes you love.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Blender Pancakes

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or can just use milk)
1 cup whole wheat
2 heaping tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda

In blender, mix buttermilk and wheat kernels on high for 3 minutes Add cornmeal, butter, egg, salt, and brown sugar. Blend for 10 seconds. Add baking powder and soda. Pulse 3 times and let mix foam up and get light ( about 3 minutes sitting). Batter will be chunky from the whole wheat kernels.
Cook at once on a hot 375 degree nonstick griddle. Turn once.

This recipe is from my old Set For Life cookbook (I make only a couple changes). The cookbook is full of great recipes and health tips. It's available at Amazon.
Set for Life: Eat More...Weigh Less... Feel Terrific!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Twilight Inspired Fragrance Contest from Custom Scents Online

Contest Closed
Yummy! Are any of you counting down the days to the next Twilight movie--New Moon?

Check out my countdown on my sidebar and then enter this awesome contest to win your own custom fragrance inspired by the Twilight books written by Stephenie Meyer!
Custom Scents Online
This is so much fun. There's a great company that designs all kinds of wonderful perfumes and colognes. Go check out the awesome fragrances--there are tons--at Custom Scents Online

My friend, Karlene, is hosting several contests and lucky me! I get to give away a 1 ounce dram/sampler bottle of the winner's choice of fragrances custom designed and based on the Twilight characters.


I got to try my own special bottle of the new fragrance Bella's New Moon It smells divine!!
There's a lot of yummy fragrance in that little bottle too. I'm going to have fun smelling like Bella!

And Karlene also sent me a card with the new scent--Vampire Venom--it is so awesome! I definitely want more, I might try it in a lotion.

I also want to have my husband try the Jacob scent for men because he's my favorite character in New Moon and that scent sounds delish!


Okay, so you wanna win right? Well, here's the details:

Prizes are only shipped to addresses within the U.S.

Here's how to enter:
No purchase necessary to enter. Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered.
  • You must visit www.customscentonline.com and select the fragrance you would like if you win the contest.Come back to this post and tell me which fragrance you'd like if you win. Leave a link to your blog or website, or your e-mail address, or some way that I can contact you. I will not hunt you down.
For extra entries, you must tell me in your comments each thing that you do:
  • Tweet this contest on Twitter and provide your URL
  • Facebook the contest
  • Join my mailing list--email rachellethewriter AT gmail.com with Subscribe in your subject line.
  • Blog about this contest with a link back to me and leave me a link to your blog post.
  • Become a follower of this blog/ Subscribe to my RSS feed--if you already follow just say so for your entry
  • Grab my button, Rachelle's Writing Spot, for your blog, facebook, etc. and leave me a link so I can check that it's up. My button is right over there on my sidebar.
This contest is open for entries from November 12, 2009 to midnight November 19, 2009. I'll announce the winner and contact them and they will have 3 days to reply to me with their mailing address and choice of fragrance or I will draw a new winner.
Be sure to leave details of all the ways you entered in your comments and a way that I can get hold of you if you win.

Custom Scents Online is also doing a grand prize giveaway for everyone who comments on all the blogs doing giveaways and another for the bloggers involved (that would be me), when you comment, you're giving me and you an extra entry into the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY. Thank you! You can visit Custom Scents Online to see the other bloggers doing giveaways and enter their contests as well.

*All comments on my blog are moderated, so if yours doesn’t show up right away, don’t panic! I check all comments before I post them to my blog.

Good luck and have fun!!
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review-- Am I Not A Man: The Dred Scott Story by Mark Shurtleff


I am thrilled to take part in reviewing a new book by Utah's Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff.
Now I'll admit that when I first saw info about this book, I wondered what it would be like. Would it be one of those celebrity type books with mediocre writing/story skill carried on the wings of a name?

I can tell you it's not one of those books. Mark Shurtleff is an excellent writer. He found a balance between just giving a history report and making history come alive.

I received a free advanced reader copy of the book and set to work reading it. I still had a hard time getting into the book. Sometimes it takes me a while to get a feel for and identify with different writing styles. And be warned that this is a book about history--it's overflowing with historical details on every page. As you read this book, you will come to know Dred Scott from his very origin to his growing years until he becomes a father and a free man.

I had difficulty following the timeline of the story because it jumps around a lot, back and forth from historical happenings when Dred was born to 50 years later, etc. The version of the book available to the public has a timeline so that should make it a tad easier to follow.

Even though I had a hard time getting into the book and at times felt like I was reading a history book instead of a dramatized history book, I still want you to read it. I think you will enjoy it. I think this book is of vital importance because it reminds us of where we have come as a nation and that we cannot stand idly by and allow atrocities to exist in our midst. It isn't slavery today in The United States of America that we have a problem with--it's many more things that are terrible, yet on the rise.

As you read this book, you'll come to know the Blow family and their amazing fortitude when it came to helping their friend and former slave, Dred Scott.

Are you worried about the 534 page count? I have pretty good stamina when it comes to reading. As a junior in high school, I read every single page of my American History book and that sucker was huge. I had a super-amazing teacher, Mr. Cazier who lectured every day with all kinds of amazing facts. I wish I could remember everything I read and heard, even though I've lost some of that info, it left an impression on me: I belong to a great nation of many freedoms and a colorful history that can teach us so much. Don't let the page count frighten you.

Once you immerse yourself in the life of Dred Scott you'll be just like me, rooting for him with every turn of the page, crying at the injustices that men placed upon other men because of the color of their skin, and asking yourself--How did I not know this before?

I learned so much from this book and to me that allows the book to soar pretty high in my personal ranking because I have a love of learning. I'm grateful to Mark Shurtleff for compiling the magnificent amount of history that he put into this book, for making it come to life, and for reaffirming what I already know about humanity--We are all children of God who loves us, despite our race, nationality, ethnicity, religious affiliation--we are all children of God.

Our Founding Fathers knew this truth and wanted this nation to be a free nation for ALL. I hope that you will have an opportunity to read this book and refresh your memory on the great building blocks this country was established.

I highly recommend purchasing your own copy of Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story"
You can purchase this amazing book on Amazon
and it's also available on the Kindle

This book was published by Valor publishing and I received a free copy which in no way influenced my opinion of the book. I will always give an honest review of the books I read on this blog, categorized under Rachelle's Book Club. If you take a look at any of the other reviews I've posted on my sidebar, you'll see that this is definitely the truth. I share my opinion on the books I read and am happy to hear yours as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reflections on Reading

I was on the Reflections committee for my daughter’s elementary school this year and as such was in charge of picking out all of the prizes. Reflections is sponsored by the national PTA--students all over The United States can participate.We had limited funds, of course and used book fair money—basically free money the school had earned—to help buy a lot of the prizes.


This means that many of the prizes were books. In fact, every single student who won received a book and something else for their prize. The PTA president thought this was a wonderful idea because we were helping to get books back into the student’s hands. I loved the idea because I love the Reflections program. It inspires creativity in children. Creativity and reading go hand in hand for me, but I love books. I understand books. I write books. When I open the pages of a book, my creative mind starts spinning with images, thoughts, and ideas and I become engrossed in the world created for me through the written word.


I have heard some terrible things lately. Words that make my heart ache for our children.

“My child hates to read.”

“If Sally were to receive a book for a prize, she would think that was so stupid.”


What I would like to ask is how much responsibility do we as parents have to influence the attitude our children have about reading?


You can probably guess my answer to this question—I think we have a huge responsibility. No, we can’t force our children to love to read, but we can help them recognize the magic of the written word.

I understand that many children and adults do not like to read, but I would argue that every child enjoys being read to.

This is the key.

If you want to help your child find a love of reading, you need to read to them. No—reading to them once or twice a week is not enough. You need to read to your child every day.

“But I don’t have enough time.”


For children 8 and under, many picture books and beginning readers only take three minutes or less to read. Do you have three minutes?

For older children, ten minutes can usually get you through two chapters of a book.


It is advised and preferable to read to your children for 15 minutes each day. If that seems overwhelming, then start small. Even reading one book to your child each day can make a difference.


And back to the attitude about reading. When your child says, “I hate to read.” Don’t ever allow that statement to be taken at face value. Find out why.

I have heard countless stories of avid readers who never found their reading nook until they were in junior high or even in college because they were reading the type/genre of book that didn’t interest them before. Perhaps you can help your child search in different genres to find what they like.


Here is some food for thought. When you tell other people, “My child hates to read.” What in fact are you saying about your child? Does your child overhear you make such statements? Do they know you think this about them? It’s very likely that they do and if this is the case then you are encouraging them to hate reading by reinforcing this negative statement.


Don’t allow your child to make general statements about hating to read. Encourage them to qualify or specify their statement. Perhaps they hate to read fantasy or romance or vice-versa. That’s fine. That’s an opinion. But you cannot hate to read and survive in this world.


Reading is how we learn. Reading is how we excel in school. Reading is how we find jobs.

But wait, you might say, we can learn so much from watching television and listening to lectures.


Even the news and news programs use headlines, ticker strips, and attention grabbing phrases because words emphasize. Words teach.


And it is proven fact that people who are good readers have higher comprehension levels which means that they can listen to the same lecture or television program and gain more from it than a non-reader because they have trained their brain to be efficient in gleaning knowledge.


Ask any teacher at any level—how do their students learn? They must know how to read and read well.

I’m not writing this because I intend to lambast every parent who tells me their child hates to read. I’m writing this because I hope that perhaps someone out there might catch themselves the next time they open their mouths to utter something negative about their child and understand their role in shaping the way their child sees the world.


I hope that someone who reads this will take a few minutes tonight before they put their kids to bed and read them a book.

I hope that someone who hears their child say they hate to read will take the time to find out something about reading that they do enjoy, because once you find some part of reading a child enjoys, they will no longer be able to say they hate to read.

I have more information on this topic that I’d like to share, so I’ll continue this in another post and add the link at that time.

Happy reading!

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