Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Thought June

Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else's.
--Billy Wilder

How many times have we allowed someone else to second-guess what we feel inside to be right?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

I've been excited to read this book because I've been watching and reading about Elana's struggle and subsequent triumph to get published and boy, did she ever triumph! Possession was just released by Simon & Schuster. Elana is inspiring and her writing is fresh and quirky. The main character Vi, has a sassy attitude that kept me smiling throughout the book as she took on whatever came her way.

Here's the description for this book:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.


My thoughts:
This book has heavy leanings to Science Fiction with its amazing mind-reading and mind-control as well as hundreds of mind-blowing inventions. It was interesting to see the way Elana connected each aspect of this mind-controlled society with the free-run of some of its citizens.

I love the cover of Possession and the tag line: Control or be controlled.

I had a bit of a hard time following the arc of Vi's emotions. I mean, yes, she is a teenager and that should excuse pretty much any emotion, but at times it was hard to feel the authenticity when she went from sobbing to kicking butt in five seconds flat. The amount of crying Vi does, even considering her range of loss and trials, seems incongruous with the tough, smart fight she's giving to anyone standing in her way.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about Vi's world. Elana did a great job of keeping the questions popping in my mind and I was eagerly turning pages to find the answers.


Elana is a fantastic blogger. You can find her website here with a list of several other places she blogs.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book, but it did not (never does) influence my opinion or review.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Winner in the First Round of Watched Celebration

Giveaways are so much fun! Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway in celebration of the release of new YA book, Watched, by Cindy Hogan.

Watched: Murder was Just the Beginning
I enjoyed meeting new people and reading all of your comments! Thank you so much and remember that Cindy will be announcing the Grand Prize winner of a $25 Amazon gift card on June 28th on Cindy's blog.

Thanks to Random.org, the winner of my sweet little Scrapbooking Prize pack is....


Congrats Betsy! Email me at Rachellethewriter@gmail.com with your address and I'll get that sent off to you.

Thanks again everyone. Stay tuned for more fun summer giveaways coming soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Thought June

Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you.
--Annie Dillard

I need to memorize this one! Sometimes my day is so hectic that I feel like the only time I sit down is to rock and nurse a baby and there isn't time to sit down again in between because I'm driving down that To-Do list. I've been trying to give myself permission to breathe, relax more, read a few more pages of that book that is so interesting. I might not be able to spend the afternoon, but I can at least spend a few minutes.

Is there something you've been denying yourself of because you feel too busy or too guilty to stop and spend time for yourself?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Come Celebrate The Release Of Watched With Us!

To celebrate Cindy Hogan's new book I'm giving away 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.

    Drawing held on June 25th. Enter to win. Deadline is Friday June 24th at midnight. It's easy to enter:
Follow Me- RachelleWrites Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment saying something about my blog--Rachelle sent me. (If you do both you get 1 entry into Rachelle's contest and one into the Grand Prize contest see below-You Must do both to enter either)
Additional Entries:
Subscribe to my blog via email (see sidebar Feedburner)
Like my Author Page click here
Please leave me ONE comment telling me how you entered and make sure your email is listed so I can contact you if you win. Winner must email me their address within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected.
 
My giveaway is in conjunction with several others and you could win lots of awesome prizes
                          and learn about             
        Watched,
        the hottest new teen novel,
       while making new friends.
Each of the following blogs is offering a different awesome prize!
(That's 14 prizes!)
And the grand prize is a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon.

                  Quick, Fast Entry

Pick a blog, any blog to get started
(just click on the underlined name)
Better hurry! There's only 4 days to enter -Tues., June 21st-Friday, June 24th
 **(Need more details? More complete entry details at the bottom of the page)

1.   Follow Rachelle Writes and leave a comment.   Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Rachelle's blog. (If you do both you get 1 entry into Rachelle's contest and one into the Grand Prize contest-You Must do both to enter either)

2.   Follow A Writer's Reality and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Melissa's blog.

3.   Follow Day Dreamer and leave a comment.
Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Christine's blog.

4.  Follow The Queen of the Clan and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Danyelle's blog.

5.   Follow Jordan McCollum and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Jordan's blog.

6.  Follow The Crazy Daze of Motherhood and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Jane's blog.

7.  Follow I am a Pistachio and leave a comment.
Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Rebecca's blog.

8.   Follow Chasing Dreams and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Tamara's blog.

9.   Follow Ramblings of a Random Writer and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Betsy's blog.

10. Follow Matthew Tandy-The Working Writera nd leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Matthew's blog.

11 Follow Weaving a Tale or Two and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Donna's blog.

12. Follow Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Tristi's blog.

13. Follow My Yellow Sandbox and leave a comment. Then follow  Cindy M Hogan and leave a comment about Abby's blog.

14. Follow Watched and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M Hogan and leave a comment about that blog.

13. Enter all 14 contests and you get an extra 5 entries into the Grand Prize Giveaway. (19 entries)

14. That's not all! Get 6 extra entries by buying Watched here (print book) or here (e-book) and sending Cindy a copy of your confirmation cindymhogan at yahoo dot com. Easy peasy.   Wow! That's 25 entries!
           

Have fun and good luck!

**More Details on how to enter
  • Click on the blog name
  • Follow that blog
  • Leave a comment that you were there 
  • Jump over to Cindy's blog
  • Leave a comment about what you liked about the other blog. 
Congrats! You've entered that blog's contest and earned one entry into the Grand Prize Drawing!

Enter one. Enter two or how ever many you like, but...

If you enter all the blogs' contests you get a bonus 5 entries into the Grand Prize Drawing.
That gives you a total of 19 entries to win the
Grand Prize- A $25 gift card to Amazon.

And don't forget to get your copy of Watched for a bonus 6 entries.
(25 total)

Remember- you only have 4 days to enter.
(Tues, June 21st-Friday- June 24th at midnight)  
and you must comment on both blogs for entry into each contest.

Individual blogs will award prizes on June 25th
The Grand Prize will be awarded on June 28th on Cindy's blog.

Check back to see if you won! You have 2 days to claim your prize.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Books

I'm so excited to tell you about my books! See my left sidebar to see what people are saying about Wrong Number, a 2010 Whitney Award Finalist.
Here's the info about my first Suspense novel:

Wrong Number
Publisher: Bonneville Books, March 8, 2010
ISBN: 9781599553641
List Price $14.99
Available at your bookstore and
Borders

Amazon.com
and on the Kindle 

Barnes & Noble


“I think you have the wrong number.”

When Aubree Stewart answers her cell phone on the way to work one day, she isn’t prepared for her life to change. Someone dialed a wrong number, a simple mistake. But the call changes everything when Aubree overhears information about the murder of a government official. Now she must run for her life as the caller tries to eliminate her.
Aubree is placed in the witness protection program, but when the FBI’s protection fails, she heads out on her own. She soon realizes she’ll never stop running until she can solve the mystery behind the wrong number. Unable to trust anyone but herself, she’s cautious about accepting the help of a Park Ranger named Wyatt Erickson. As she struggles to keep herself hidden from the enemy, she finds it harder to protect her heart.
Teeming with government plots, a dash of romance, and plenty of intrigue, Rachelle J. Christensen’s Wrong Number will have your heart pounding the next time the phone rings!


*And here's some info on my first LDS nonfiction book:

Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter-day Saints
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. May 8, 2010
ISBN:9781599552484

List Price: $9.99
Available at a bookstore near you and



Amazon.com 

Barnes & Noble

Borders
 

After my second miscarriage and struggle with infertility, I searched for answers to my questions in the gospel. It was hard to understand why I couldn’t have a baby when I wanted one so desperately and it was terrible to cope with the loss of my babies from miscarriage.
I felt alone and couldn’t find anything to answer all my questions and offer comfort.
This is why I wrote Lost Children: Coping with Miscarriage for Latter-day Saints. I wanted to lighten the load of those who are suffering from miscarriage and provide tools for those who would like to comfort someone in need.
Women of the church desperately need this book to help them in one of the most difficult situations they will face on this earth as they try to obey the commandment of the Lord to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Everyone affected by these problems knows others who suffer similarly. This book would be a wonderful gift for those desiring to give comfort, as well as a self-help book to aid the grieving person.
My blog, www.copingwithmiscarriage.blogspot.com offers more information and a forum for those suffering from loss.

Friday, June 17, 2011

WRITING FROM YOUR INNER TRUTH

Today I'm thrilled to welcome the talented writer, Angela Morrison. She has written a guest post on a fabulous topic that I'm excited to share with you. Read on:


Jane Yolen tells writers that if their stories lack "that bit of inner truth" their fiction will be like "rags on a stick masquerading as a living thing ("Touch Magic," in Literature of Childhood, p. 24). When I tried to take Yolen's advice, making Leesie, a faithful LDS farm girl the heroine of TAKEN BY STORM, I found myself making huge errors that wrecked my story. I didn't want rags on a stick, but I didn't want to be accused of proselytizing or didacticism, either. When I tried to write about my inner truth for a broad audience that didn't necessarily share those beliefs,

I struggled so much that I devoted my MFA critical thesis to researching how other authors created award-winning fiction from their inner truths. 
 

I found loads and loads of great material, but I boiled it down to looking at Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terebithia, Jacob have I Loved), who spent her formative childhood years as a missionary's daughter in China, is married to a Presbyterian minister, and has advanced degrees in divinity. She won the Newberry twice and so many other awards I lose track. And I love her novels. If you haven't read Of Nightingales that Weep, put it on your TBR right away. Her first publications were for Sunday School curriculum. Her example and advice proved invaluable. 

She made the issue of didacticism easy to understand. Katherine explains that story has always been an effective way to teach religious doctrine. Parables--modern and ancient--are masterful tools. But, stories designed to teach a certain principle will have little to say outside a writer's faith community. If you want to write to a broader audience, you need to approach your work differently. She says that if we start with the ANSWERS, we're writing propaganda. Paterson doesn't condemn propaganda--it has its place--but if you want to write fiction, you must begin what QUESTIONS. (See "The Spiritual Reading Life of Children," US Catholic, April 2001 and Terebithia,com, "Questions" 2.)

ANSWERS equal propaganda. QUESTIONS yield fiction. 

I learned to eradicate from my brain statements like, 

"I'm writing this book for . .  . ," 
"My novel will show . . . ," 
"The message I want this book to impart is . . . " or 
"The theme of my books is . . . "  

Sam Goldwyn quipped messages are for telegrams--and we could add, Sunday School lessons. This was a big challenge because I've spent my life devoted to and blessed by the ANSWERS my inner truth is built on. 

I learned to replace ANSWERS with QUESTIONS. 

"What if?" 
"What would happen next?" 
"How would he feel if that happened?" 
"Then what would she do?" 

Using story questions revolutionized how I write. They freed me to give Leesie flaws and allow her to make lots of mistakes. They helped me dig deep into her emotional world and follow her and Michael rather than dictate to them. They helped me balance how much religious detail and experience I needed to include to effectively illustrate Leesie's story. They led me to writing as authentically and honestly as I could about truths that are precious, even sacred, to me. 

Katherine Paterson taught me not to settle for creating effective propaganda. She inspired me to reach for fiction that functions as art. I want to leave you with one of my favorite Paterson quotes: 

"Are you afraid that deep down inside you are really shallow? That when you take that dark voyage deep within yourself, you will find no treasure to share? Trust me. There is. Don’t let your fear stop you. . . .  Like a child, pour out what is inside you, not listening to anything but the stream of life within you." (“The Journey Inward,” The Writer,  August 1995.)

See why I love her so much? Your inner truth--whatever form or shape it takes--is not rags on a stick. It's a rich treasure that will invest your stories with power to move and touch people in ways propaganda can't come close to.

For a more in depth post on inner truth, please visit "From Faith to Fiction," on my liv2writ blog on my website.

Thanks so much, Rachelle, for hosting me today and letting me chatter about this. It's one of my favorite subjects! 

All my love,

Angela
Thank you, Angela! This was excellent and you did such a great job with Michael and Leesie in your books.
You can find more about Angela's books and my reviews on this link and her website here http://web.me.com/angelamorrison/Angela_Morrison/Welcome.html

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Thought June

Almost anything is easier to get into than to get out of.
--Agnes Allen

Isn't that the truth? Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, but I've learned that honesty is the best to solution to these kinds of problems because people are more understanding than we give them credit for.
This thought can be interpreted many ways. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review of Cayman Summer by Angela Morrison

Today I'm reviewing a book that is the third in a series of novels by Angela Morrison. *There is an incredible contest for this blog tour that you all can enter. Visit this link http://caymansummer.blogspot.com/2011/06/ml-forever-contest-and-blog-tour.html to see all the totally rockin' prizes and books available to win!

 Cayman Summer: (Taken by Storm Book #3)Cayman Summer: (Taken by Storm Book #3)
Angela is a talented writer and a very brave one too--she wrote this book and posted it draft by draft on her blog for the world to see.  Then when it was complete she published it in ebook and paperback. I had to find ou the rest of Leesie's story and so I grabbed Cayman Summer the first chance I got and devoured it.

Angela delivered another breathtaking story. Her books are unique because they are written from the perspective of Leesie and Michael through Leesie's incredible free-verse poetry and Michael, the scuba diver's, dive log/journal. I love the way she lets the reader inside these character's heads in a way that, for me made me feel like they were living, breathing people that I might run into on the street.

Cayman Summer is a romance, but it is so much more than a romance. It is about life-defining choices and what happens when you stick to your personal code of honor. Leesie is a strait-laced Mormon girl who never thought she could fall in love with a guy who didn't believe in God, let alone want to make-out with him. Through this saga, we see Leesie struggling with her feelings for Michael and learning how life doesn't fit in a cookie cutter mold. 
I love the twist Angela creates in Cayman Summer--Leesie was always the strong, perfect one and she shows us what happens when things go wrong. I'm not going to spoil it, so you'll just have to read the books yourself. I recommend starting with Taken by Storm because I'm pretty sure you'll be hooked just like I was.

You can see my review of the first two books in the series, Taken By StormTaken by StormTaken by Storm and Unbroken ConnectionUnbroken ConnectionUnbroken Connection, if you click on this link.

You can also visit Angela's website to learn more about her and her writing here, http://web.me.com/angelamorrison/Angela_Morrison/Welcome.html

Don't forget to enter the contest on the Cayman Summer blog!
Have you heard about these books? I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Writing Contest: Parables for Today

Parables For Today 2011 Writing Awards
My publisher, Cedar Fort is hosting a writing contest and I wanted to tell you all about it as anyone can enter.

$500 Cash Grand Prize, Free Books, and Publication!
 
The top five award winners will receive cash, prizes, and publication, but any entry may be included in the anthology (to be published in early 2012).

This year's judges include best-selling authors David Farland, Philip Gulley, Marilyn Brown, and Kenny Kemp.

Entries need not be religious in nature. A parable is really just a narrative that teaches a universal truth. What matters is that it express timeless values and be aimed at today's readers.

For an author, publication is crucial, and having your work included in the Parables for Today anthology is one of the best ways to kick-start your career!

Enter your parable today!
Enter your parable today! 
Details:
  • Entry window: May 1 -  October 1, 2011 
  • Entry fee: $25 for the first entry, $15 for additional entries
  • Manuscript length: 300-3000 words
  • Electronic submission and entry fee payment NOW AVAILABLE
  • More info at www.parablesfortoday.com 


Links to more information:
Enter your parable HERE
Visit us on facebook  Find us on Facebook 
Sponsored by
 
My husband and I love parables and we're both planning on entering. How about you?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Thought June

Each planet, each plant, each butterfly, each moth, each beetle, becomes doubly real to you when you know its name. Lucky indeed are those who from their earliest childhood have heard all these things named.
--John Cowper Powys

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Supporting Friends Fighting Cancer

Today I'm posting a letter from one of my author friends, Cheri Chesley. She has come up with a wonderful and easy way to help her friend fight cancer. Read on:

"My friend, Rebecca White, is 35 years old and has breast cancer. She got her diagnosis May 11th. She had a mastectomy May 13th. Three days later, she went back to the doctor to have the bandages removed. She confessed, almost in a whisper, that she just wasn't ready to see under the bandages.

Rebecca is an amazing, strong person. She's so skilled in all those craft-type things that leave me with glue on my fingers and glitter in my hair. She has a happy marriage and three great kids age 10 and under. Rebecca could be me. She could be your sister, your friend, your mother. She could be you. You can meet her and get to know her on her blog, http://allaboutthewhites.blogspot.com/

In general terms, we know cancer can strike anyone at any time. It's not an old person's disease anymore. It strikes children, mothers; in short, anyone. Soon Rebecca will start her chemotherapy. We're all optimistic for a positive outcome, but cancer surgeries and treatments do not come cheaply. Since she won't let me shave my head, I've decided to show my support for Rebecca in other ways.

This is more than taking her meals and taking her kids to and from church; I've done that. Anyone can do that, and they do. We have a supportive ward out here. But I wanted to take it a step further.

I'm donating all my book sales income through August 31st to help Rebecca and her family pay their medical expenses. This is something they need, and in order to make it the most effective I need all the help I can get. And this is why I'm appealing to everyone I can. My book sales don't just mean the royalties from selling print copies of The Peasant Queen (which, incidentally, is on LDS Living's Summer Reading List), but also all income from my two e-books--The Wild Queen and my short story, Ghost Bride. 

It's so easy. All you have to do is purchase depending on your interests and ability to help. The Wild Queen and Ghost Bride can be found at http://www.smashwords.com/, which not only offers the e-books for every e-reader including simply your home computer, but also offers the highest revenues.

Printed copies of The Peasant QueenThe Peasant Queen can be found, or ordered, at your local bookstores. You can also find it online at Amazon: 

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Peasant-Queen/Cheri-Chesley/e/9781599554167/?itm=2&USRI=the+peasant+queen+by+cheri+chesley

And Borders:
Amazon and Barnes and Noble also offer each book for the Kindle or Nook, respectively.

Thank you in advance for your help, and happy reading!"


You can visit this link to see Cheri's blog post on this topic and get more info on how to spread the word and help a friend in need.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Isms

Have you ever laughed at something silly your kids said? Have you ever thought, I'll never forget that!
I have and quite a few years ago, I started doing something to make sure I wouldn't forget the hilarious things my kids have said. I wanted to tell you in case you'd like to start recording your own Isms.

I created Isms for each of my kids. Any time my kids would say something absolutely unforgettable, cute, or funny, I would jot it down in my planner. I created a folder on my computer for each kid. I used their name with a hyphen and -isms. So I have a folder called Gracie-isms for my little girl. In the folder are several word documents with a date and title.

Here's an example:

Window teeth
August 2009

Gracie lost her 2 front teeth and when she was talking to Grandma on the phone, she said, “Grandma, when I close my teeth, I have a window.”  

Isn't that priceless? And I had forgot all about that until I opened her folder. I laugh and smile at all the wonderful Gracie-isms that marked special moments where I was grateful to be there with my little girl, listening in to her world. 


This idea doesn't have to be just for kids. You could jot down a nice thing someone said to you today, the title of a song that brought tears to your eyes, the taste of that delicious homemade ice cream. 


I hope this idea might help you to record and remember those moments. I'll end this post with another Gracie-ism that made me smile.



iPods
July 11, 2008

We definitely live in a world of technology. Today my kids were eating peas out of the garden and my five-year-old said, "You have to open the iPod to get the peas out."

What do you do to remember those unforgettable moments?

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