Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you.
This is a fun hop for all of you rabid readers out there.

I get to select one book that I read during 2011 and give it away to one of you lucky readers!

I'm featuring Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison
I love every thing that I've read by Angela, she is a talented writer!

Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Leesie Hunt has many rules: No kissing. No sex. No dating outside the Mormon faith.

When Michael Walden - a deep-sea diver who lost his parents in a violent hurricane - arrives in town, Leesie sees someone who needs her. They fall for one another, even though his dreams are tied to the depths of the ocean and hers to salvation above.

Will their intense chemistry be too strong to resist?

Leesie and Michael must make the hardest choice of their lives: whether to follow their beliefs or their hearts.

Readers will be swept away by this tale of forbidden romance told in online chats, Leesie's chapbook poems, and Michael's dive log. It's as steamy as
Twilight and just as clean.

 Enter to win Taken By Storm--for US residents in 48 contiguous states only
The Best of 2011 Hop Starts at 12:01 AM EST on Tuesday, December 27th and runs until the end of the year.

Mandatory entry: Follow RachelleWrites Blog

Extra Entries: 
1.Are you a fan of Rachelle's FB Author Page?
2.Follow RachelleWrites on Twitter
3.Subscribe to my Newsletter Mailing List (fill out form in the sidebar to receive monthly news)
4.Subscribe to RachelleWrites Blog

Leave me ONE comment with your email address telling me how you entered--5 possible entries to win.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading this holiday season!

Contest Rules:
Please read my Liability Disclosures and Policy statement before entering giveaways hosted here. Updated 12/8/2011 This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners will be announced December 14, 2011 and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. If potential Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. All entrants agree to release of liability of the sponsor,  RachelleWrites. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the 48 Lower U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 12:00 a.m. EST on 12/27/11 & ends 11:59 p.m. MST on 12/31/11.

You can enter to win prizes at any of the following blogs:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Miracles From You To Shelley Mingo

I'm so excited to report on the results of the fundraiser that so many of you made a huge success. You can read more about it here. Shelley Mingo lost her husband two years ago in a plane crash, and she works out of her home as a hairdresser to support her three young children. 

On Tuesday I went to visit Shelley to surprise her with a check from the fundraiser. I set up a hair appointment with her and then met up with her sister Jenni to go over to the house. We came downstairs to see her busily working to finish up with another client. I waited for a few minutes, chatting with her brother, Ryan, who was there to help with the kids. Shelley said, "Wow, you didn't know you'd be coming to a party here."

My grin just got wider. I couldn't stop smiling and when Shelley motioned for me to sit in the salon chair, I said, "I brought you a little Christmas gift."
Then I handed Shelley a "Christmas Miracle Check" for her family. She said, "What? What is this?" and then she and I started crying. After a few minutes, she was able to read aloud the amount of $1,000.00!!! 
Given with love and prayers by over 50 donors.

I briefly explained to Shelley that The Original Scrapbox had donated a prize so that we could host a fundraising giveaway on my blog. The response and outpouring of love was overwhelming and we were able to raise $1,000 to help her with whatever her family needed this Christmas.
We all had tears in our eyes and a swelling of the Christmas Spirit in our hearts.

I had a great visit with Shelley. I didn't let her do my hair--I told her it was a fake appointment so that she could take a break because she works so hard and does a fantastic job as a hairdresser.

Shelley is a great mom, so patient and loving with her three darling children, ages 6, 5, and 2. I noticed several pictures of Jordan around the house with his children, his family and again felt a keen sense of loss for Shelley and the good men who are no longer here with us. I also have great admiration for her positive attitude. She and Jordan bought their house as a fixer-upper, but he was taken too soon to do everything they planned, and so Shelley has done her best to make her home beautiful and inviting.

I want to thank each of you again for reaching out to her with donations, thoughts, and prayers. Shelley is an amazing example of someone who knows our Savior and is trying her best to raise her children to know Him. I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to share in the glorious feeling of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas with this miracle from you to Shelley.

Merry Christmas!
In loving memory of Jordan, Ron, and Jed Mingo

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

It's almost here! Are you ready for Christmas?

We're almost ready at the Christensen house. Lots of presents to wrap, a few last minute gifts to make and buy, and I still haven't written my Christmas letter. But I am enjoying experiencing the excitement as my kids count down the days until the holiday. It makes the holiday so magical to have little kids around. Like the Kenny Rogers' song says, "Christmas is for kids."
We have a paper chain, and advent calendar, and an advent felt tree to help count down the days, so nobody is losing track of the days around here.

My sister and I made chocolates on Saturday and it was so fun. I missed our "annual" chocolate fest last year because I had a newborn and my sister was in Texas. My husband is so excited about the boxful of candy sitting in my garage--especially the caramel, chocolate-dipped pretzels!
Here's a list of the candy we made--and I have to note that this list is paltry compared to other years. Now that I have 4 kids and a new book coming out, plus two more in revisions, this is all we had time for...

Tempting Toffee Crisps
Butter Caramels Dipped in dark chocolate & salted
Dipped Peanut Butter Balls
Molasses Crinkle cookies dipped in white chocolate

Which recipe should I post on my blog?

What are you doing to celebrate the holidays?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reading in the Future

Today I'm happy to feature a guest interview on my blog. David Farland is the award winning New York Times Best-selling author of dozens of books. He's an incredible writer, speaker, and teacher and today he's sharing insight on the future of reading. I hope you enjoy his thoughts and there is a special giveaway involved with this interview--read on!

David Farland loved books as a child, particularly fantasy and science fiction.  By the time he was sixteen he was secretly writing his first novel, banging away at a typewriter, studying writing texts that he bought used at a nearby college.  While studying to be a writer and editor at Brigham Young University, he created his own curriculum, which was later adapted by over two hundred other schools.  Meanwhile, he began winning international writing contests, which led to a multi-book contract.  Those first books won awards and launched him on the bestseller lists.

In 1989, taking his first job out of college, he was hired for IBM to help develop electronic books in the future—ones that run on computers and combine music, sound-effects, art, film, and other mediums.  It’s an interest that has stayed with him, and Dave had ideas that go beyond anything that is currently available.

Imagine that you put on your “reading glasses.”  The glasses are dark, fitted with lasers and high-quality stereo earbuds, so that as you put them on, your entire field of vision is captured.  A laser inside the glasses flashes a novel title on the interior surface of your eye—on a field of view so wide, it’s like watching a movie. 

Of course, the book you see is Dave’s book (why not, it's his fantasy). The letters start small, off in the distance and they quickly draw closer to you, but they don't stop, they wash right over you and just when it seems they're all around you, they explode in a burst of light, Nightingale, by David Farland.”

You can hardly imagine what life was like before 3D.  As soon as you read the last word, a laser with a computer link that tracks your eye movement cues the background music, and images begin to flash in your eye—a holographic video-clip of the character of Bron, as an infant, being abandoned outside the door of a cheap hotel in the Utah desert.  The camera pans up to the face of his mother, Sommer, bitter and broken, with tears in her eyes.  We flash to the prologue, where Sommer runs through a forest at night, her breathing deep, while dogs snarl and bark as they give pursuit.  Fireflies rise up around her.

Words to the novel appear on screen, as background music continues, and you begin to read.  As Sommer twists her foot and falls, the lasers pace your reading and insert a sound-effect—the thud of a body falling, the hiss of breath knocked from Sommer’s throat.  The dogs bay more excitedly.  A man’s heavy footsteps can be heard tromping through the brush behind the reader, and a startled mewling cry escapes Sommer’s throat. . . .

Welcome to the future of reading, where text, images, sounds and music forge a collage.  That’s the vision that led Dave to become a co-founder of East India Press.

The technology to do this already exists. The use of heads-up displays in fighter jets was pioneered in the 1960s, and that technology has now gone public.  Though readers now are using the iPad2 and the Kindle Fire, Dave is looking forward to the devices we’ll have five years from now, or ten years.

How can reading technology be better than with current books?

“We don’t want to replace reading,” Dave says.  “We don’t want to make movies.  Reading often engages the audience’s imagination in ways that movies fail to.  We want to keep it that way.  We want the reader to be a partner with us in bringing a tale to life.  At the same time, we hope to ‘enhance,’ the story, help readers become more fully involved with it, yet keep budgets reasonable.  With film clips, animations, illustrations, background music, and sound effects, we can create something that fuses a lot of storytelling tools.”

Creating e-books has become cheap and easy.  This year, it is estimated that three million people will be putting their own e-books up for sale.   That’s a staggering number.  If you spend eight hours a day just examining those titles, and spend only ten minutes studying each e-book put up this year, you wouldn’t be able to glance at even 1/1000th of all the books that will be published—much less read one!

Readers are being deluged, often with books that aren’t any good.  Most of those books, unfortunately, wouldn’t have made it past an editor.  The author just wasn’t ready.  Sure, there will be a few diamonds among all of that coal, but no editor will have time to sort through it.

Dave has had his share of sorting through manuscripts.  For nearly a decade he was the first judge for one of the world’s largest writing contests.  He tells a funny story:  “Once an editor of a major publisher asked me to help pick a book to give the ‘big publicity push to’ for the next year.  I read through thirty books and selected a book that the marketers thought was ‘too-long’ for its intended audience.  I pointed out that the book was also written several grade levels too high for its intended audience. But it was a great book, so I urged them to push it despite the book’s apparent problems.  It was called Harry Potter.”

Even though authors can publish their own works, Dave contends, “we’re going to need editors in the future who understand how to green-light a novel, who can recognize what will please an audience.  But once a work is selected, the editor will take the role of a producer—assembling a creative team of composers, musicians, illustrators, animators, directors, sound-effects engineers, and so on.”

Distributing enhanced books won’t be expensive.  After all, it will be done electronically.  There are no copies to print, ship, or store.  But creating them will be expensive and time-consuming.  

Still, it will be a lot less expensive than making a movie.  To create a really great movie with a lot of special effects can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and it will only give the viewer an hour or two of entertainment.  But by meshing technologies, East India Press can create a similar experience with novels, spending perhaps only a hundred thousand or two—and it will give a reading experience that might last for twenty or thirty hours or more!

Dave says of this technology, “Novels have a unique ability to let us achieve deep penetration into the minds and emotions of a character, much more so than with a film.  I’m excited about the possibilities.  In fact, I am so excited that I’m going indie with this next novel. I didn't have to by any means. I'm an award-winning New York Times bestseller. Instead, I decided to start my own publishing company for enhanced novels.  I see potential. Nightingale is the first young adult novel I’ve written, outside of a little work with Star Wars and the Mummy.  I knew it could be a hit, but I wanted to do something . . . unique with it. I've trained dozens of other #1 international bestsellers, people like Brandon Sanderson and Stephenie Meyer, and I've learned to spot “good,” whether it's someone else's work or my own. Nightingale has it.”

Now that it’s done, Dave believes, this is a first step toward creating a more-engaging form of novel, the kind that kids who are reluctant readers might devour.  He’s looking forward to see what we can do in ten or twenty years. But Nightingale is a step toward that future.

Nightingale tells the story of a young man, abandoned at birth, rejected from foster home after foster home.  People see that he’s brilliant and talented, but also “strange.”  He’s the ultimate loner until he meets Olivia, a marvelously gifted teacher, who recognizes that Bron is something special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creature not quite human.

“I was excited to see how it would be received,” Dave says.  “I was even more excited when the first reviewer said, ‘I devoured the novel.  It was absolutely incredible! . . . I struggled to explain just how much I enjoyed it in my review. . . . After reading Nightingale, I don't think I will even be able to go back to reading regular e-books again.  Like it says in my review, reading the enhanced Nightingale felt like an ‘experience.’ It didn't feel quite like a book or a movie. It initiated all of my senses.  . . . enhanced e-books are actually a real deal.’”

That's what he’d hoped people would see in it. The future of books is beginning now.

Best of all, East India Press has created a new web simulation technology that mimics how the book appears on the iPad, so you can see and hear it for yourself for free at

 BOOK GIVEAWAY--Free Web Edition of Nightingale--David's NEW Enhanced Novel! Enter December 15-19th, 2011.

To enter the drawing go to and watch the trailer. This is very important because the book trailer is made up of art, animation and music that is actually all taken from the enhanced novel and it sets the mood for the book, just like this art and music is used at the beginning of chapters to set the mood for the chapters. 

While there, you can experiment with the web edition and read some sample chapters if you want to.
Then email and tell David Farland your opinion of the trailer. Be sure to put "Drawing 2" in the subject line. David wants to gather input on what we all think of his trailer, so he's dying to hear what you have to say. 

That's it. The winner will be chosen December 20th and will receive the web edition of the Nightingale enhanced novel. No iPad 2 or Kindle Fire is needed for this, you can read the whole book and see the art animations and listen to the music right from your own computer. 

What do you see for the future of reading?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winners of WorkTop & Book Bundle--Fundraiser for Shelley

I'm ready to announce the winners from my stop on the blog hop for I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. It took me a while to get through all the entries!

This has been an incredible experience. I am so grateful for all of the loving and generous hearts out there who donated to the Shelley Mingo Fund. If you'd like to read more about her, click on this link.
I'm thrilled about the results of this fundraiser! I will be posting pictures and more info after we surprise Shelley with the money.

The winner of prize #1 WorkTop from The Original Scrapbox worth $150 selected by is...

Jenni S.

Congrats Jenni! 
I contacted Jenni and she is so excited to start scrapping with her new WorkTop!

 The winner of prize #2, an autographed book bundle (Click here to see list of books) and a $10 Wal-Mart Gift Card is...

Ro G.

Congrats Ro! 
I contacted Ro and soon she'll be reading some great books!

Thank you again to everyone who entered and donated. I have truly felt the Christmas spirit as I have witnessed each of you willingly give and share with Shelley.

Christmas Books to Read

My pile of books to read seems to multiply by the hour! I wanted to share a few of the books on my list that I'm just starting.

Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she's certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected--- a young and handsome English lord.

If you're looking for a sweet Christmas romance, this book fits the bill. I'm only a couple chapters in, but I like the characters and the premise. Carla Kelly is a talented writer with quite a list of books to her name.


The Wise Man Returns by Kenny Kemp

Many years after the sign of the star, Melchior, one of the three wise men, returns to Judea to receive counsel from the King of the Jews. Unexpectedly finding him in the countryside teaching rather than ruling on the throne, Melchior searches for answers and finds healing in the process. A historical fiction that address contemporary concerns, this book is a balm for the wounded soul.

I've read some of Kenny Kemp's works and his writing pulls you into the stories with a unique voice and style. This promises to be a great holiday read.

I've also enjoyed reading tons of children's Christmas books with my kids. Here are a few of our favorites

What are you reading this Christmas?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giveaway Hop Fundraiser for Shelley Mingo--Win a $150 WorkTop, Gift Card & Book Bundle

As part of the blog hop for I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, you can Enter to Win a WorkTop from The Original Scrapbox worth $150 and a Wal-Mart gift card book bundle AND help the Shelley Mingo family this Christmas!For U.S. residents of the lower 48 states only.

A little over two years ago in August 2009, Jordan Mingo, his brother Jed, and father Ron were killed in a plane crash.

Jordan left behind his wife Shelley and three children, ages 4, 2, and 3 months. Jordan Mingo was only 27 when he died. The Mingo family lost every male family member in one day.

This story has touched me on so many levels. I went to high school with Jed and I’ve known Shelley since elementary school. When Jordan died, he and Shelley’s kids were almost exactly the same age as three of my kids. Taking care of toddlers and babies is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Can you imagine how much more difficult it would be to do alone?
I want to help Shelley. She is an amazing person who is doing all she can to help provide for her family. She works full time out of her home as a hairdresser, which is great but not enough for some of the large expenses that come up when you’re raising a family and taking care of a home.

We’ve all felt the pinch of these severe economic times. I’m certain many of you are just like me, struggling to pay off medical and dental bills and meet the rising cost of living. So it hurts to want to help someone like Shelley, but feel like your contribution might be inadequate. That’s why I’m hosting this giveaway with an incredible sponsor, The Original Scrapbox Company.

What if we all gave $5.00? What can $5.00 do—such a small amount? That barely buys a bag of chips and a carton of ice cream, but if we multiply that by 100, 200, 300, then suddenly your $5.00 makes a HUGE difference in Shelley’s life.

Enter to win this fabulous WorkTop & Help Shelley at the same time! Giveaway ends December 13, 2011, 11:59pm MST.

#1 Prize: The Original ScrapBox WorkTop fits onto any table and converts it into a craft and work station. The plexi-glass top allows you to see all your items and the draws are multi-directional. The plexi-glass does not gather finger prints like most glass top furniture.
The Work Top comes in black or white and is sold for $150.00 & FREE shipping in the continental USA.  This is a Limited Edition product and therefore is not listed on the company website. 

Dimensions:  25" x 36 1/2" x 3 1/2".

  • I'm also giving away an autographed book bundle and a $10 Wal-Mart Gift Card!
#2 Prize: Win 6 autographed books & Gift Card:
 Free Men & Dreamers by L.C. Lewis
Wrong Number by Rachelle J. Christensen
The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan

    Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis

 Volume One of True Miracles with Genealogy by Anne Bradshaw
And The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard "Two Souls Are Better Than One" by Karen E. Hoover
Enter to win the $150 WorkTop or the Gift Card Book Bundle

Mandatory Entry:
1. Follow RachelleWrites Blog and/or Rachelle’s FB author page
Extra Entry
2. Donate to Shelley Mingo’s Paypal Fund via the button on the top right of my blog. For every $5 you get 5 entries toward the WorkTop, so if you donate $25, you’ll get 25 entries!

3. Please leave a comment on this blog post and tell me which prize would be your first choice if you win #1 or #2. If you’d like, you can include a Merry Christmas wish or thought for Shelley and at the end of the giveaway, I will surprise her with your greetings and a check for 100% of the donations made.
If you'd like to show your thanks to The Original Scrapbox for donating the WorkTop for Shelley's fundraiser, you can visit their webpage here or Like their Facebook page and leave a comment here. 
Please fill out this handy entry form and your info will remain confidential.

Contest Rules:
Please read my Liability Disclosures and Policy statement before entering giveaways hosted here. Updated 12/8/2011 This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners will be announced December 14, 2011 and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. If potential Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. All entrants agree to release of liability of the sponsor, The Original Scrapbox & RachelleWrites. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This giveaway is sponsored by The Original Scrapbox. Open to legal residents of the 48 Lower U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 12:00 a.m. EST on 12/09/11 & ends 11:59 p.m. MST on 12/13/11.

Liability Disclosures and Policy

This policy is valid from 08 December 2011 forward
This statement is primarily directed at my readers and giveaway entrants but information contained herein may be useful for companies/PR reps as well.

 This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me, “RachelleWrites,” for the purpose of reviewing books and products and posting giveaways. For questions about this blog, please contact me via email:
This blog does not currently accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. However, I will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations in exchange for writing an honest review.

 The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements. Currently only a small percentage of my reviews are compensated and the compensation is the use of the product which I am reviewing. (For example I am provided a free book from a publisher in return for reading and reviewing said book.) Most of my reviews are independent and receive no trial offer/product or compensation whatsoever. I review because I think my experience might be useful to someone else in their decision to use or not use a product.

 I am compensated in the form of a trial of product to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though I may receive compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

What works for one person may not work for another and vice versa, and while the writer may have had a good/bad experience with a product, someone else may have the opposite result. Purchase and/or use any of my reviewed/mentioned products at your own discretion. Responsibility for your use of any item and any consequences from use belongs solely to you.

The following relates to Giveaways specifically:
Giveaway winnings fall into one of two categories.
1) A giveaway I have paid for out of my own pocket and will be shipping to the winner myself. Entrants agree that if you are the winner you receive and use the product at your own risk. Entrants agree that I will not be held accountable for anything that happens to it, that it's used for, or that happens in correlation with or as a result of using the product. I agree to ship it in an envelope/box appropriate for the object(s) and that I will mail it as soon as I am able after the winner is confirmed. The entrant agrees that if they win that I am not responsible for the prize after it is turned over to the Post Office. If the P.O. damages it or loses it, I cannot be held liable.Even if my packaging is faulty, the winner agrees that I packaged it in good faith and I will not be held liable.
2) A giveaway that is sponsored by a company or individual other than myself. In this case, the winner will likely be put in touch with the company for the purpose of claiming their prize. In some cases I may be a mediator and winner will not have contact with the company, in that case if there is a problem the winner will be put in touch with the company to work it out. Anything that happens after winning a sponsored giveaway is between the winner and the company and falls under the company's own policies. I would never knowingly accept sponsorship from a company that is dishonest or has bad customer service, but in the rare case that the company does not follow through on their end of the deal, doesn't send the winner's prize, or any other mishap, miscommunication, rudeness, accident, natural disaster, act of God, etc. happens, I'm not to be held liable. The WINNER must work it out with the company.
In the very rare case that a giveaway is sponsored, BUT the sponsor has turned the prize over to ME to mail on to the winner, this may fall under the rules and liabilities of either or both of the above two categories, depending on the situation.

Entrants agree to abide by the requirements, guidelines, and/or rules posted here and in each giveaway. If the rules are not followed or qualifications are not met, you agree that I have the right to delete unqualified comments/entries at my discretion.

This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.

To get your own policy, go to


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