Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tristi's Awesome Book Launch and Giveaway

Tristi Pinkston is celebrating the release of her new novel, Dearly Departed, which comes out in January.  

You can join in the fun all December long by visiting her blog daily for prizes.   The grand prize is a free night's stay at Lions Gate Manor in Lava Hot Springs. (http://www.lionsgatemanor.com)  Check out all the rules at Tristi's blog starting December 1st.  (http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com)

 During the Merry Month of Miracles--A new prize will be offered every twenty-four hours, and with multiple chances to win, you can't go wrong! Prizes include books, jewelry, perfume, movies - and the grand prize is a free night's stay at the Lion Gate Manor in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

"Dearly Departed" is the second book in a wonderful humorous mystery series which started with "Secret SistersSecret Sisters."
If you're looking for a great holiday gift, pick up "Secret Sisters" and read all about the hilarious detective work of Ida Mae Babbitt.
Visit Tristi's blog for rules and more details.
I'm sponsoring her blog December 6th with a chance to win a copy of Wrong Number and a delicious treat! Get ready to win some awesome prizes!

I'm a NaNoWriMo Winner!

What a crazy spectacular month of writing! Talk about pushing your limits!
I wrote my heart out this month and I'm so happy to have crossed the finish line of 50,000 words in 30 days to become a NaNoWriMo winner! This helped me complete the first draft of my novel, Caller ID, which is a spinoff from Wrong Number. I'm really excited about the plotline and the character development in this book and I hope my readers will be pleased. It's going to take a lot of work revising/editing but I'm just so thrilled to have the first draft finished.

I'm ready to enjoy the holidays now and relax with my family. Of course, I have some other writing projects I'll be working on while I let Caller ID simmer before I edit it to death. I hope your holidays are fantastic! I'm looking forward to some neat giveaways coming up for my readers so I hope you'll enjoy the Christmas cheer from my little writing spot.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Almost Finished with NaNo

I'm still alive and typing my heart out to win NaNoWriMo!
Just thought I'd report that I am thrilled about the progress that I've made this month on my newest novel, Caller ID. Each day has been difficult to get the word count I need to stay on track but I'm so happy to see my word count piling up. If you'd like to see a bit more about this challenge, you can read my post here. It has been a trial, typing 100 words here and there throughout the day and then sprinting as fast as I can while my wonderful hubby holds our newborn at night. When I started this challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days with a brand new baby (and 3 other young children) I really didn't know if I'd be able to do it. Now I know that I can do it and will finish by the end of the month. Thanks NaNo for showing me the possibilities within!

I am so close now to finishing this novel and then I'll get back to my regular blog posting. Of course, I'll have tons and tons of revising/editing work to do on the novel, but it's great to have the storyline fleshed out.

This year, 2010, is almost over. How have you done with your goals? It's a great time to go back and reevaluate the list you made at the beginning of the year.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
*whip* crack* Back to work, Rachelle :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Thought November

Exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire.

--Samuel Johnson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop

I'm taking part in a fun blog hop called Gratitude Giveaways. There are over 175 blogs participating--each giving away a book or book-themed prize! You can enter to win at all of the blogs by following the link list at the bottom of this post.
Thank you to Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer Blog  for organizing this blog hop!
The Gratitude Giveaways run fromWednesday, November 17th to Sunday, November 28th

'Tis the season of gratitude and ThanksGiving and I want to thank all of my followers by giving away a special prize package!

You can enter to win right here on my blog. Thank you to all of my wonderful followers! Please spread the word, I'd like to see if I can get 500 followers!

Enter to win a prize package that includes $70.00 worth of merchandise!
One autographed copy of my award-winning novel,
Wrong NumberWrong Number
One delicious Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie MixBetty Crocker Fudge Brownies, Family Size, 18.3-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)--Read my book, Wrong Number, to find out why I'm giving a brownie mix with the book!

A pair of Longaberger Christmas Oven Mitts so you won't burn yourself when you take those brownies out of the oven!
One copy of Principle Centered LeadershipPrinciple-Centered Leadership Teaching People How to Fish by Stephen R. Covey

And for the kids, one copy of The 7 Habits for Happy KidsThe 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey

It's so easy to enter this giveaway!
Here's how to enter:Please leave details in ONE comment of how you entered. I'll put all entries into a spreadsheet and use Random.org to select the winner. Make sure your email address is visible or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't find your email address, I will pick a different winner.
4 ways to enter--Do one or do all. If you've already done some of these things, just say so in your comment.

1. Required entry: Leave a comment telling me one of your favorite books
2. Follow RachelleWrites and/or subscribe to my blog
3. Subscribe to my newsletter- email Rachellethewriter@gmail.com with subscribe in the subject line
4.Become a fan of Rachelle's FB page

My giveaway is open only to addresses of US residents of the 48 contiguous states and runs from 12:01 AM on Wednesday, November 17th to 11:59 PM on Sunday, November 28th.
If you are the winner, you must contact me with your mailing address within 48 hours or I will select a new winner. Please email me at Rachellethewriter@gmail.com

Check out the linky list of all the bloggers participating and giving prizes in this awesome Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

My dad is a veteran of a foreign war. During the draft, he decided to take his future into his own hands and pick where he wanted to go. He enlisted in the US Navy shortly before the Vietnam war ended and served for four years on the USS Forrestal.
USS Forrestal-600px.jpg

Serving in any branch of the military is not for the faint of heart. My dad is a no-nonsense kind of guy and my hero in the sense that I've always known he can do anything he puts his mind to. He has expected the same no-nonsense determination and perseverance from his kids and I'm grateful to have taken on that trait.

When my husband and I toured the naval air carrier, USS Midway, in San Diego I gained another facet of new respect for my dad. Walking down those steep, narrow stairs into the belly of that giant metal monster, I thought about the living conditions, the training exercises, the grueling work that went on in the middle of vast oceans and I actually felt a bit claustrophobic.

I was able to see the bunks stacked closely together and think of too many dirty, stinky feet and sweaty bodies crammed into a giant container floating on the sea. I thought about four years of service to this great country and how proud I am of my father.

I want to thank all of those who serve this beautiful land of liberty, America, by working in their respective branches of the military: The Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Thanks Dad, for being such a great example to me. I love you. HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY! ANCHORS AWEIGH!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November means NaNoWriMo

Okay, most of you know that I am a writer. I'm one of those crazy people that gets a thrill out of writing a descriptive scene with just the right amount of tension. I'm also well-aware of how the word count feature in Microsoft Word works and *YES!* I am a writerly nerd and I track my word count on an Excel spreadsheet.

So you're still wondering about the title of this blog post?
Let me explain...

I belong to some fantastic groups of writers who have a passion akin to mine and for the past three or four years I have observed my writer pals participate in a seemingly impossible quest called NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
The first couple years I heard about NaNo, I just thought there was no way that I could possibly do that. 50,000 words in 30 days???!!! I figured I'd have better luck running a 5K in 15 minutes.

For those of you unfamiliar with Word Count--my first suspense novel, Wrong NumberWrong Number, had over 72,000 words--that's a 198 page book people. So yeah, there are lots of books out there with lots and lots and lots of words!

So when I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I didn't think it was possible. That was before I gained more confidence in my writing abilities. The next year I had a newborn baby and just didn't think I could do it--again the confidence was a bit lacking.

Last year I was on a roll finishing up a literary novel--one whose characters haunted me night and day to finish their stories and I didn't want to stop my writing and revising stage to begin a new 50,000 word novel.

And this year?

Well I have another newborn baby and so when I saw all my buddies signing up for NaNo at first I thought, there's just no way that I can do this because I'll be nursing/caring for my infant roughly 8 hours a day (and in the middle of the night) and what about my other 3 kids?

But then that writing craziness kept bugging me and tempting me with visions of Excel spreadsheets accumulating word counts aggressively. Thoughts of finishing a novel by the end of the month were too much to resist after feeling like I was practically comatose in the last few months of my pregnancy and not having the energy to do anything!

So I enlisted for NaNoWriMo! I told my hubby that I just wanted to try for it, but later I confessed (something he already knew) that I don't do well with trying--I have to DO and so if I was going to sign up for this I was going to work hard to meet my goal and probably be pretty disappointed if I couldn't make it.
Well week one of NaNo is over and I hit 13,010 words and I am on a Word Count high right now!

I have the most amazing husband in the world who has rocked our sweet baby and helped me squeeze in the writing time I needed to make my goal. I am so excited about the progress I've made on my new novel, which is a follow-up to my first book, Wrong Number.

The best part about this NaNoWriMo challenge is that it helped me realize what I'm capable of as a determined writer and it has given me a good dose of motivation to keep up this daunting task of filling pages with words because I love to write. I realize that there is a good possibility that I may not be able to be a winner with 50,000 words in the NaNo challenge, but I'm going to DO my best.

I'm so grateful for wonderful friends that are cheering me on in this challenge and for my awesome family who continually supports me in everything I do. I'm grateful for challenges that show us the possibilities within that we were afraid to see.

I hope that if there is something you've been thinking about doing--maybe you haven't been able to dig up the courage and confidence to give it a shot yet--but I hope you go for it. Reach for the stars!

Are you doing NaNo? I'd love to hear about it! You can add me to your buddylist here.

You can see my progress on the cool little calendar gadget on my left sidebar.

And now back to the typing frenzy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thanksgiving- More Than Just Turkey and Football

Today I'm happy to feature a guest post by my husband, Steve. It's hard to believe that November is already here and we're planning for the holidays. I love the thoughts that Steve shares here. Hope you enjoy them too!
By Steven Christensen

It’s that time of year again when our extended families congregate on the 4th Thursday of November to celebrate a large feast and relax—Thanksgiving.  The term Thanksgiving conjures up visions of juicy, golden turkeys cooking in the oven with the aroma permeating the house and beckoning all those to the table within smelling distance.  Thanksgiving is that time of year when the leaves turn from green to yellow and orange to red and then pile up on the sidewalks while passersby crunch them under their shoes on a gentle stroll in the cool, crisp air.  

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of year and it’s fun to eat great food and relax, but often we neglect the true meaning of this holiday.  The very name itself contains the word “Thanks” in it, and also the often missed other half “Giving.”  No doubt, there will be many families on this Thanksgiving Day that will go around the table prior to eating and share what they are thankful for, but maybe this isn’t enough.  We need to show gratitude and thankfulness not only by our words, but also through our actions.  

This is where the “Giving” part comes in.  We need to show our true gratitude by giving to our neighbors, communities, and our country.  Participating in activities of service often helps to remind us of those things we are thankful for—little things that we might take for granted in our daily lives.

A special Family Home Evening on the topic of gratitude and giving might help motivate your family to look for ways to serve during this holiday. Ask your family to create a list of the things that they are thankful for, then ask them to think about the community around them. Are there people who do not have some of the things that we are thankful for on this list? How could we serve them?

Remember, even a small act of service can impact someone’s life. A card or a note can brighten someone’s day. The idea is to help your family think about Thanks and Giving to celebrate this holiday. How can you enhance your holiday traditions this year to include more service to others?

Perhaps you can add to your table discussion this year. When given the opportunity to tell what you are thankful for, take a moment to share ideas of how you plan on giving during this holiday season. Your family could create a new tradition to celebrate how truly grateful you are to be a part of your family, community, and country. 

For example, this year my family will hold a special Family Home Evening where we will talk about gratitude and the importance of giving. My children are young, but they still have the opportunity to serve. I’ll involve my family in planning a special service activity to show our Thanks and Giving for the holiday. My kids enjoy taking treats to one of our neighbors who happens to be a widow. We’ll talk about the importance of sharing our love with those around us. They also enjoy raking leaves and so we’ll help out some of our elderly neighbors. These small acts will be a starting point to help our family get on the “service wavelength” during November.

I’ll encourage my children to look for more opportunities to serve and then plan to tell about some special service they did during our Thanksgiving meal. We’ll add to our tradition of sharing gratitude as we go around the table. I hope that this new tradition of service will impact our family for years to come.

Here are a few suggestions to get your family involved in the spirit of Thanksgiving this year.

Take some time this November around Thanksgiving to help a neighbor on some yard cleanup, snow removal, bring them a meal, make them a treat, or just stop by to visit and tell them how thankful you are to have them as a neighbor.  

Give to your community by volunteering at your local city office, donating food to the local food bank, serve food at the local shelter, volunteer at your schools, or get involved in your city’s programs and activities and show your support.  

Give to your country by voting for your government officials, flying the American flag, sending our troops letters or packages to show them your support, and by living the laws of the land and being a good citizen.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving this year.  Have fun being with your family, eating that beautifully cooked turkey, and watching the Dallas Cowboys after eating your feast.  Just remember during this season to take the time to not only share your gratitude, but to also give.  Through our giving we will show even more gratitude to those around us.  Remember that “…when you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God”. (Mosiah 2:17)

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Thought November

Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

--George Bernard Shaw

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I love books that inspire me! While reading The Last Lecture, I just kept thinking how amazing Randy Pausch's story is. Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and this book is how he decided to make the most of the life he had left. The legacy he left behind for his family, for everyone, in The Last Lecture is truly fantastic.
The Last Lecture
The whole book is quotable, but I'm going to share just one piece that I absolutely loved from page 36-37:

After playing little league football and getting chewed on by the coach, "...one of the assistant coaches came over to reassure me. " Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn't he?" he said.
I could barely muster a "yeah."
"That's a good thing," the assistant told me. "When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you."
Randy went on to say: "... your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better."
Pick up a copy of The Last Lecture to read more inspirational stories and get motivated to take life by the reins and do what is most important. It's a short book--a quick read--that I'm sure you'll love. If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you thought.


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