Sunday, August 28, 2011

Win a Prize in the Awesome August Blog Hop

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

On my blog, you can win a Scrapbook Prize Pack!

I have a prize pack with a set of glitter cards, chipboard shapes, grade-school rub-ons, a Chatterbox Scrapbook kit, and 5 handmade cards by yours truly that I will give away to one lucky United States (48 contiguous address only) resident.

To enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Fill out the entry form and check a box to give me feedback about what you like on my blog.

3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things.

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night, August 31, 2011 at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Please enter using this handy dandy form:

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Awesome August Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys
25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Thought August

I think today's thought was written just for me...and you! :)

Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Bloodborne by Gregg Luke

I've been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time because I belong to the same author's guild as Gregg Luke and was intrigued when he first mentioned what his new novel would be about. The anticipation paid off as Gregg delivered another chilling suspense story with the incredibly vivid and realistic details he's known for.

In his latest medical thriller, Gregg introduces a plot that is eerily realistic. Here's the back cover blurb of Bloodborne:

One ordinary afternoon, research specialist Dr. Erin Cross steps into a local deli to get some lunch and nearly takes a bullet instead. Thanks to timely intervention from a former Marine, she walks away from the seemingly freak incident. But when she returns to find her lab under security lockdown and her apartment ransacked, she realizes the attack was anything but random. Erin can’t make sense of the threat, given her low profile after a disastrous H1N1 vaccine trial. She doesn’t know that her former colleague has used the virus to develop a potent bio-weapon or that her recent research holds a key to his success. And she doesn’t know that his collaborators want her dead before she blows the whistle.
Fleeing for safety with her research in hand, Erin unravels the threats with help from the timely Marine, former Special Ops agent Sean Flannery. But the closer they come to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious communications are more fitting for an enemy than a friend. And as the crisis comes to a head, Erin can’t be sure who harbors more secrets — the bio-terrorists pursuing her or the one man who can give her protection.

My review:
From the first page, I was drawn into Erin's story through the intricate details and scene setup. Gregg did a masterful job of keeping my brain ticking as he tantalized me with precise facts and medical elements that made the story come to life. My skin practically itched with the realization that Bloodborne's mosquitoes were flying toward an incredible plot that could easily happen.

His characterization of Dr. Erin Cross seemed spot-on. Sean Flannery--the marine special ops guy--was an interesting character and I was intrigued by his history. There were a few places where my suspension of disbelief was stretched a bit thin in Erin and Sean's interactions, but Gregg kept the story moving at such a pace that those are easily forgiven. I was a bit surprised at the number of typos I found, but again I know how hard it is when you're working with several people editing your book (who sometimes introduce their own errors) so I can forgive that too.
I like the way Gregg weaves in realistic medical details without becoming overbearing. In Bloodborne, the reader comes to know the important aspects of the story by experiencing them through the character's actions and emotions. It's refreshing to see such well-rounded characters and smart plot action.
Well done Gregg!

Gregg Luke traveled to mosquito endemic areas for research on this book and has extensively studied parasitology and blood-borne diseases.  He traveled to the Yucatan peninsula during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.
Luke was born and raised in California, served an LDS mission in Wisconsin, then attended several universities where he studied biological sciences before receiving his pharmacy degree at the University of Utah.  He's very much a family man who enjoys a broad spectrum of activities from music to nature with his wife and children.

You can find more about Gregg and his great novels at his website.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Romance Writers of America Utah Conference Coming Up

I love writers conferences! I learn so much and it's fun to make new friends and talk to people who understand what it's like to be a writer. This fall I'll be attending the Utah Romance Writers of America Conference.
It's the Heart of the West Conference held in beautiful Park City October 7-8, 2011. This year's theme is THE ART OF CRAFT.

I attended this conference two years ago and enjoyed learning valuable info from the agents, editors, and authors who presented. I'm thrilled to announce that I will be one of the presenters this year.
I'm teaching a class called, "Creating Page Turners with the Elements of Suspense."
I'll also be participating in a book signing with several other authors.

You can read about all of the great presenters, agents, and editors who will be attending at the Heart of the West Conference Page, click here.

I'm looking forward to learning from the special guest authors
Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich  These ladies are amazing!
So, if you're interested in honing your writing skills, making new friends, pitching to an agent, and enjoying the ambience of Park City, check out this conference.
If you're planning to go, let me know!

What fun things do you have planned for this fall?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday Thought August

There is a difference between being convinced and being stubborn. I'm not certain what the difference is, but I do know that if you butt your head against a stone wall long enough, at some point you realize the wall is stone and that your head is flesh and blood.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On Tour with Stephanie Humphreys and Double Deceit

 Today I'm reviewing the latest novel by Stephanie Humphreys, Double Deceit.

Back Cover Blurb:

Someone is watching . . .
As a young widow, all Elaina Bryant wants is a fresh start. Determined to put ten painful years behind her, she returns to her hometown and moves in with her sister, Natalie. Elaina soon accepts a job working at a small bookstore owned by the handsome Ryan Hill and his mother. Despite her reluctance to become romantically involved with anyone, she is drawn to Ryan and finds herself falling in love.
But someone isn’t happy with Elaina’s new life and is watching her every move. Her tormenter seems determined to destroy her sanity and her future, but Elaina can’t convince anyone the threat is real. Natalie is preoccupied with her own blossoming romance, and their friend Peter, a police officer, seems to believe the threat has been manufactured in Elaina’s own mind as a result of her guilt and grief.
Now Elaina’s plans for a new start are crashing down around her. She knows she will have to find the answers before she can overcome the past and enjoy love and happiness again. But how can she protect those she loves when she doesn’t know whom to trust?

I have to start off by saying the cover of Double Deceit is great and it made me curious to know what would happen. Stephanie did a good job of planting seeds of doubt and questions that kept me guessing about each of the characters and their motivations. The emotional turmoil Elaina is going through is described in great detail so that I felt real sympathy for her and anger at her creepy husband, Spencer.

At some points, the story dragged a bit as I read about Elaina going through mundane tasks. I realize this is a tricky area of writing, you want life to appear normal for the character and still keep it exciting and realistic. For writers, I would suggest summarizing some of the day to day activities and don't feel like you have to narrate every single moment of the day.

The twist was well-executed and Stephanie did a great job of foreshadowing. I guessed part of the reveal so it was fun for me to be in the know and see when the rest of the characters would figure it out and what would happen.
Double Deceit is Stephanie's second novel and I look forward to seeing what this author has up her sleeve next!
Stephanie is running a contest on her blog in conjunction with this blog tour. Visit

to enter and then stop at each of these blogs to read more about Double Deceit.
August 15 - Maria Hoagland
August 16 - Heather Gardner
August 17 - Rachelle Christensen
August 18 - Jane Still
August 19 - Deborah Davis
August 22 - Renae Mackley
August 23 -  Cindy Hogan
August 24 - Matthew Tandy
August 25 - Taffy Lovell
August 26 - Kathy Habel
August 29 - Don Carey
August 30 - Teri Rodeman
August 31 - Cathy Witbeck
Sept. 1 - Shelly Seele
Sept. 2 - Tristi Pinkston

Disclaimer: I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes, but this does not affect the review which are always my own opinion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Visit with the Amazing Tristi Pinkston, Author of Bless Your Heart

Today I'm delighted to have a visitor on my blog. Tristi Pinkston is a fabulous author of several books and now she's ventured into the realm of cookbooks. She's put together a collection of low-sodium recipes called Bless Your Heart. Tristi has agreed to tell us a little bit about herself and her new cookbooks.

Tristi, you’ve just written a low-sodium cookbook.  I don’t have blood pressure problems—otherwise, I’d buy it.

This cookbook isn’t just for people who already have blood pressure problems—it’s to help people prevent blood pressure problems.  It’s so much easier to prevent than to fix, and so much of the time, when it comes to our bodies, we don’t know there’s an issue until it’s pretty severe.  If you take care of your heart now, you can avoid a lot of difficulty with it later.

Great point! My husband and I try to do that very thing because some members in our family have high blood pressure.

But how does salt affect the heart?

Salt does a couple of things.  First, it causes the arteries to harden and become brittle.  Then it increases your blood pressure.  Imagine turning on a garden hose at full power—an old, cracking hose.  What happens?  It can’t contain the water flow, and it leaks or bursts. If your arteries are too brittle, they can’t properly conduct the blood.

But we don't have to give up salt entirely do we?

You don’t need to give it up entirely—and in fact, you shouldn’t.  You need a certain amount of sodium in your system or it won’t function properly.  You should try to get at least 400 mg. per day, but ideally, you wouldn’t eat more than 1000 mg.  All the recipes in my book have the sodium content listed so you can plan your day and know how much you’re getting.  And if you really need to eat a couple of potato chips, you can—just not the whole bag.

Okay, but how does it taste?  Really and honestly, and not just because you’d like me to buy the book?

Honestly and truly, these are awesome recipes.  I’ve sent them out to friends to try on their families, and their families haven’t even known they were eating low sodium.  And keep in mind—I like food, and I wouldn’t put something in the book that didn’t pass my own muster.  I’ve served these recipes to guests and business associates, and they all raved.  You won’t feel like you’re settling at all.

How many recipes are in the book?

There are over eighty.

But no desserts, right?

There are several desserts.  Cookies, brownies, cake … all kinds of delicious things.

Will going low sodium help with weight loss?
No, not all by itself.  You will see a reduction in water weight, but in order to really lose weight, you need to watch your calorie intake and exercise. 

Where can we buy your book?

You can purchase this wonderful cookbook on Amazon. Click the link below.

Bless Your Heart: Low-sodium Recipes for a Heart-healthy Lifestyle

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Book for Kids: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Every night my husband and I read to our kids. He reads to the boys and I read to the girls. We just finished reading Mrs. Piggle-WiggleMrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's MagicMrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald
We love laughing over the silly names like Mrs. Moohead and Mrs. Grassfeather and I loved how Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle helped so many mothers when their darling children had behavior problems.
These books are old, as in 1950s old, but the humor and depictions still ring true. My girls especially loved the last chapter of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic where the kids hunt for pirate treasure. The other great point about these books is that they would be super-easy to utilize in libraries and classrooms. Because of the format, you can easily read a chapter from anywhere in the book to give a taste of what fun reading is. If you haven't met Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and you have kids in your life, I'd encourage you to check out these books and get to know her!

Monday, August 8, 2011

C3PO Is Back

 I had a crazy weekend. On Saturday, I turned my neck and heard a pop and a couple hours later I could no longer turn my head to the left.

I ended up making an emergency appointment with the chiropractor and missing the book signing I was scheduled to do with Danyelle Ferguson and Elodia Strain. I was in so much pain and it hurt to move!
Here is the culprit, a darling 23 pound, 9 month old boy.

Austin is such a cutie, so my neck will forgive him, but I am a little behind on things. Austin is in the human vacuum cleaner stage, so he's about to put a handful of gravel in his mouth right here.

I tote this tyke around so much lately that my back has suffered tremendously and my neck decided to give out. Have you ever tried to pick up a 23 pound baby without moving your neck? Yeah, not so much fun.
Anyway, I'm still recuperating but I hope that you all had a better weekend than me!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday Thought August

There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.

As a suspense writer, I love this quote! Think of the scariest movie you've seen or book you've read--wasn't it the events leading up to the main event that had you biting your nails?
A great writing tip is to extend the anticipation just enough to get the reader's heart racing, build up the suspense, and then deliver the shocking twist. It's the part where your character is tip-toeing down the hallway, trying to avoid creaks, as they look for the murderer that are most frightening/suspenseful.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Featuring 101 Gourmet Cake Bites by Wendy Paul

Have you heard of the wonderful Wendy Paul? If so, you're probably salivating right about now for one of her gourmet cupcakes or cookies. Wendy is the successful author of the delicious cookbooks, 101 Gourmet Cupcakes101 Gourmet Cupcakes in 10 Minutes and 101 Gourmet Cookies101 Gourmet Cookies for Everyone.
Her latest cookbook features a popular treat taking birthday parties and gatherings by storm,
101 Gourmet Cake Bites101 Gourmet Cake Bites.

I love Wendy's personal tips and suggestions for her recipes. I love cookbooks, but they must have lots of color pictures and I'm happy to report that 101 Gourmet Cake Bites is loaded with beautiful photography that will have you running to the cake mix aisle!
There are so many fun things you can do with these recipes. You can create cake pops--delicious bites of cakes dipped in icing, decorated, and then attached to a wooden stick. Cake bites make an elegant and delectable addition to weddings, baby showers, and other fun occasions.
My kids loved the cake pops and I'm looking forward to making Chocolate Cinnamon Zucchini cake bites this summer! I also want to try the recipe for Orange Roll, Chocolate Peanut Butter cup, Key Lime Pie....guess it's a good thing I have my own copy of this masterpiece!
If you're looking for some fun ways to round out your summer or planning ahead for parties and other events, pick up a copy of 101 Gourmet Cake Bites. Your mouth will thank you! 

We're celebrating the release of this brand new cook book during August. The calendar of tour stops can be found here:

You can find out more about Wendy and her fabulous baking ideas here


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