Monday, May 30, 2011

Lilacs in Bloom for Memorial Day

I've enjoyed smelling the lilacs near my home the past week. I love lilacs for more reasons than their scent, strong in the morning and muted after spring rains. I love lilacs because they remind me of Memorial Day.
My parents have a lilac hedge and each year on Memorial Day we would clip a bunch of lilacs, drive to the cemetary and place them on my grandparent's graves. My dad's parents were both gone by the time I was nine, so this tradition has gone on for a long time.
My dad always cleaned off their graves and we spent a few minutes reminiscing. As the years passed, we visited more graves and my parents gave us the opportunity to remember our loved ones.
I hope that you feel the peace of good memories today.
I'm going to cut some lilacs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review Tips from Tristi Pinkston

I'm still compiling my list of books To-Read and since I will be reviewing many of them on my blog, I wanted you to see some tips from an expert reviewer, Tristi Pinkston.http://tristipinkston.blogspot.com/

I really like Tristi's method of reviewing because I value her opinions on books and because she's an awesome person too!
Visit her blog post on Writing Great Book Reviews and read what she has to say. I especially like this part:

"After I've written the synopsis, I will make a criticism sandwich.  That is to say, I share something I liked about the book, something I felt could have been stronger, and then I close with another thing I liked.  I rarely just praise without mentioning something I would have improved - I am a critical reader, and so I spot things." (Tristi Pinkston)

I get review requests often and it's so hard for me to offer constructive criticism because, let's face it--swallowing criticism, no matter how constructive, is hard to do. At the same time, if I'm offering criticism it's because I truly feel the writer will get better and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they can do in the future with their writing chops. Even if I dislike a book, I can always find something in it that was done well and I also realize that some people may LOVE the same book I hate.

You can read several of the reviews I've done in the past if you click on the sidebar link that says, Rachelle's Book Club.
So, go read Tristi's blog if you haven't already and be prepared for more great book reviews in the future.
If you would like me to review your book, please email me at  and if your book sounds like something I'd enjoy reading, I'll see if I can fit you in Rachelle's Book Club.

Tell me!
What do you like to see in a book review?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday Thought Process

Don't rush the future. There is a process that seeds must go through in order to become all they are destined to become, and you must go through this same process to become the person you are meant to be and do the work you are meant to do. You may want things to happen NOW but more than likely if you got what you wanted NOW you wouldn't be ready for it. The purpose process prepares you, strengthens you, shapes you and grows you to be successful, not in your time, but in the right time. 
--Jon Gordon, Author of The SeedThe Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and WorkThe Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work 
Link to Jon's blog http://www.jongordon.com/blog/

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Raining! It's Pouring!

Anyone else sick of the rain? In my neck of the woods, we are swimming. We had one beautiful day in about the last three weeks and that was Saturday. I worked outside all day with my husband and kids. The garden is planted--do you think my tomatoes need life preservers?

I am really excited about my garden though. We increased our garden size (for the 3rd year in a row) by adding two square-foot gardening boxes. I was able to plant all of my peppers--Bell, Jalapeno, Anaheim, and Gypsy in one box with room to spare.
It's raining so hard as I type this I can hear the thrum of the raindrops on the pavement outside.
How about you?
Is the weather nice enough for gardening in your area? What are you hoping to do when the weather cheers up?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tidbits from an Awesome Writing Conference

I recently attended my 6th LDStorymakers conference--it was the 8th annual conference--and I was again blown away by the sheer amount of knowledge and opportunities available.
National agents Becca Stumpf, Sara Crowe, and Sara Megibow were all in attendance as well as Marcia Markland, Senior editor at Thomas Dunne books.
Here's a link to more about the special guests at the conference http://ldstorymakers.com/2011-special-guests/

A few highlights:
I won a seat at the VIP table with Becca, Sara, Marcia, and Larry Brooks for the Friday night dinner. It was so fun to talk with them in a more casual setting.

Dave Wolverton/Farland is one of my favorite teachers. He has so much knowledge, I wish I could just plug into his brain and download it!
Larry Brooks taught a great class on Story Structure and I bought his book Story Engineering which I'm currently reading and excited about his breakdown of this concept.
I attended Elana Johnson's "How to Write a Killer Query class" and she knows her stuff!
I also attended Sara Crowe's class on Query pitches and she gave some awesome advice and examples.

I met a ton of new writing pals and reconnected with some of my favorite buddies.

I felt like I was running the entire time (and sometimes I really was sprinting through those halls) to go back and forth to my room to take care of my baby. Here's me with a picture of my baby--does he look hungry to you?

My wonderful mom came and stayed with me to take care of my baby--I love you Mom!

She made it possible for me to participate in this conference and I'm so grateful.
I wish I had some pics from the conference for you, but those will have to come later.
Next up, I think I'll post part of my to-read list. It's really long, but fun.

What are you reading lately? Tell me and I'll probably have to add a few more titles to my list.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Listening

I have a 2 year old (and an 8, 5, and 7 month old) and this stage can be very trying. My two-year old has the occasional temper tantrum, but he's really starting to get quite mischievous. Time-outs are something he knows quite a bit about.
But there are many moments that are worthy of the video camera because he's so dang cute!

This age is a great reminder for me about the things that are most important.
My little boy is an amazing talker. He spoke much earlier than both of my girls, but that's probably because his older sisters never stop talking. LOL.
Speaking early and clearly enough that it was easy for us to understand, helped eliminate a lot of the frustrations he might have otherwise experienced because we could meet his needs as he vocalized them.

At his young age, he's already learned something.
People don't listen.
When he talks, he will repeat whatever he is saying over and over again until he's satisfied that you really are listening. You can't just say, "Uh-huh" or "Yeah." Usually, you have to repeat back to him what he's saying. In Psych talk from my counseling classes, this is affirming what the other person is saying.

Like right now, I'm typing this and he has said, "Mom, it's gonna rain on my car." three times in a row. There. I just  said, "It's gonna rain on your car?" and he said, "Yeah."
Now he's off to another topic and rolling on his little brother.

My two-year old wants what we all want--someone to listen and understand him.
Kids are smart. They learn early that grown-ups are busy and if they want us to listen, they can't give up when things get hectic. My five-year old employs the same tactics of her younger brother so she can't be ignored. My eight-year old has started giving up when I don't hear her the first three times.

It's hard to carry on a conversation when three other people are talking, screaming, crying at the same time. But what does this mean about our adult conversations? Do we really listen?
There are so many distractions and I'm not just talking about kids.

Do you think you are a good listener? If so, what helps you really listen?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thursday Thought May

I find that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the spirit in which we face them, that constitutes our comfort.


--Elizabeth T. King

Book Review: The Third by Abel Keogh

Holy Toledo! This book is a dystopian novel that will have you hugging your kids and looking over your shoulder. Man, I'm glad I live in the good old U.S.A.

Here's a little blurb about The Third:

In this stark and haunting look at the not-so-distant future, an environmentally minded society elects to limit the number of children couples can have, enforcing dire consequences for lawbreakers. But when his wife gets pregnant with a forbidden third child, Ransom Lawe is forced to choose between the government who's trying to save the world from ecological disaster and the family he loves dearly.

Abel Keogh had me hooked by the first few pages when he describes in harrowing detail how the main character, Ransom Lawe, rescues a baby from an evil Census Bureau Sentinel. Abel's description and vivid emotional detail kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next.

I love books with a theme that at first glance seems like something that couldn't happen, but upon closer examination show that some parts of our world are mere steps away from scary fiction.

Abel is a talented writer and you won't want to miss reading THE THIRD. It's available in bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. so there's no reason not to run out and pick up a copy.
You can find out more about Abel on his website http://abelkeogh.com/ and even get a sneak peek at the first chapter.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes, but this did not affect my review. I'll always tell you what I think.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Check Out My New Poster Page

My publisher has created a poster page for my book, Wrong Number, and I'm excited to share it with you.

Wrong NumberYou can visit the site at http://wrongnumberbook.com/
Read an updated bio about yours truly
Watch my book trailer
Or just be dazzled by the awesomeness of this cool website.
I recommend all of the above!

So go visit and then let me know what you think? What else would you like to see about me and my writing? I'm hoping to do some remodeling on my personal website soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting Ready for the Best Writers Conference Ever

I'm leaving for the LDStorymakers conference in Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend. Check out their website LDStorymakers.com for info on all the awesome people that will be involved with this conference.

I'll be teaching a class on blog promotion and book tours and I'm excited about the opportunity. I've been getting ready all day and putting my stuff out in the garage for my hubby to pack up for me in his car when he gets home. My 2 year old son decided to help me with my bookmarks in the outside pocket of my suitcase. Isn't he sweet?!!

Luckily my bookmarks have a nice glossy finish, so a trip under the car tire in the garage didn't hurt them.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me

I've been a reading maniac the past couple months, trying to read through as many Whitney Award Finalists as possible before voting ended. This is a review of the last book I read before the voting period was over: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill MeWolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristin Chandler. This book was excellent!
I will admit that the cover did little to impress me and the title even less. I was confused, wondering if it was some kind of werewolf book--it was not.

The voice of KJ, the main character in this book, was intriguing, realistic, awe-inspiring, and even a little sarcastic. Chandler did an incredible job of weaving in the real life story of the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park and the dangers they pose to local ranchers. But it was also a realistic look at life as a teenage girl trying to discover herself and a new boyfriend in the process.

There were so many great moments in the book from funny to a shiver-cringe. I read this book on my Kindle and have to say I am loving that little device when I am rocking my baby and only have one hand to read.
So, if you're looking for a great general fiction book for young adults, I suggest you check out Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me. Chandler definitely surprised me with her tight storyline and excellent narrative skills.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Chicken Farmer is Sad Today

Today one of our chickens died. This is a part of farming that I can never get used to. I love animals from the simple to the great. Growing up on a farm, you see a lot of what we refer to as "The Circle of Life" but that's one part that never gets easier for me. So I wanted to post this little good-bye to our little Barred Rock Hen, "Oreo", named by my kids. They were really sad too. Here's a picture of her last summer when she was just about 10 weeks old.

I'll be okay and I'll keep working hard to be a good chicken farmer. The flip side of this part of farming is it gave me an opportunity to talk about life and death with my kids in a way that they can grasp. It doesn't really make things much easier right at this moment, but it does give them an understanding that animals and people die and that it's okay to feel sad about it and ask Heavenly Father for help and comfort. So that's the lesson I'm taking from this sad event. Thanks for letting me post my feelings today.

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