Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winning is a Process

Remember, a person who wins success may have been counted out many times before. He wins because he refuses to give up. 

--Kemmons Wilson

Monday, September 24, 2012

My New Writing Desk!

 I'm so excited today to show off my new writing space! I've been in limbo for some time trying to figure out how to have a writing space with my four young children. For about the last three years, I've been writing on my childhood desk.

I bought the desk for $15 when I was about ten years old. I painted it white and my aunt painted the cute rainbows and smiling suns on the drawers.
Just darling isn't it? Perfect for a professional writer...

I didn't repaint my desk because I kept hoping for a chance to use an office and pass the desk onto my two daughters. This past year we were trying to transform the baby room into an office while the baby was still there.
In March, my grandma passed away. She was a great lady with impeccable taste and she left many nice things behind to share with her family. My brother had been willed a fabulous solid wood desk, but he lives in Maryland and the desk was in Idaho. So he gave the desk to his sister, who happens to be an author writing on her childhood desk.

Have I mentioned how much I love my brother? Yeah, I kinda do and I think you would too, if he gave you this desk!
 When they brought the desk, I was unprepared for the mammoth piece of furniture, so we put it in the baby room hoping to turn it into my office. One problem--my baby is really cute and a terror. After a lot of thought, I told my husband that I wasn't willing to sacrifice his nap time (and my sanity) by putting him in the room with his older brother. I also wasn't willing to sacrifice the fact that he still sleeps in his crib at almost age two and never tries to climb out. And also, who was I kidding? When could I go in a room and close the door and work in peace, HAHAHAHA!!! I love my children and I'm used to working in a central location where I can meet their needs--which are many and often.
But how could I make this large piece of furniture work in my small front room?
 Enter the Interior Designer, Ruthe Clarke of http://interiorsbyruthe.blogspot.com/

Ruthe came to my house and gave me a two-hour consultation which was fabulous. She's great at what she does and recommended that I not put so much furniture in my front room, but when I explained that the need for functionality was my priority, she worked with me to make the room come together.

I still have some work to do redecorating and rearranging pictures, etc. on my walls based on Ruthe's talented observations, but I am so loving my desk! Ruthe has a book on interior design coming soon, so keep an eye on her blog.


Old desk out and new desk in! Now I need to recover my office chair or switch it for something that doesn't look like it was free from my hubby's work!


What do you think of Rachelle's Writing Spot? I think I'm feeling creative and ready to get back to work on book #2 in my new series!



Friday, September 21, 2012

The Power of Women

Today I'm excited to feature a guest post by Tristi Pinkston. She is an incredible woman of talent and I enjoyed her book Women of Strength.


The Power of Women
by Tristi Pinkston
When I was a little girl, I was sick quite a lot. I had a really weak immune system and digestive problems, and it seemed I caught every bug that went around and had stomach aches almost all the time. My parents gave me medicine and brewed up mint tea and did every other thing they could to help me, but there was one thing that made more difference than anything—having my mother close by. There was something about being near her that made me feel better.
My own children have shared the same thing. “Mom, I feel better when you’re next to me,” one child said to me one day while he went through a bout of the stomach flu. Who knows what magic power a mother holds, but they can make the world a better place just by being in it.
I think about Mother Teresa, who never gave birth and yet was mother to so many people. I think about sweet Sister Hinckley and her tender, humorous ways. Julie B. Beck inspired all of us during her time as Relief Society general president, with her no-nonsense approach and gentle touch—I considered her a female Boyd K. Packer or Brigham Young, with the way she cut to the heart of the matter.  Good women bless the world.
It would be simple enough to sit here and say, “Yes, I admire those good women. They really have done a lot.” But what if you knew and understood that you are one of those women? What if you knew that you, too, were that influential, that you could impact those around you with that kind of loving guidance?
You are.
And you can.
Righteous women, no matter where they live or their station in life, are our Heavenly Father’s handmaidens. We can’t all be Relief Society general presidents—thank goodness, and I don’t think we all want to be—but we influence those around us nonetheless. We should never discount how powerful our loaf of bread or our kind note or our comment in Relief Society can be to the heart who receives it. We tend to think of our contributions as being small and insignificant, but they are not. Not by a long shot.
We are told that we should not be weary of well doing. Every act of kindness, every time we stand up for what’s right, every time we bear our testimony or refuse to participate in gossip or turn off the crude television show, every time we live up to our privileges as daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are helping to erode away the influence of wickedness on the earth. It’s an amazing, powerful thing we can do simply by following our own natural impulses to be kind and to give of ourselves.
Let us never feel as though we are unimportant, that our contributions are not of worth. We can do things no one else can, and when the final tally is taken, we will be amazed at just how many lives we have touched for good.


The need for courageous, faithful women has never been greater than it is today. As we draw nearer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we are faced with temptations on every side. But we can prevail as we gain true strength from living the gospel.

In 
Women of Strength, Tristi Pinkston shares inspiring stories, as well as insightful quotes from Church leaders, to demonstrate the power and influence of righteous women. This book invites women everywhere to deepen their relationship with the Savior, rely on the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and learn what it really means to be strong.


"If you are a woman who has wondered if you matter, if you are a woman who is concerned about the world, if you are a woman who has ever felt lost, afraid, or defeated . . . you need Women of Strength by Tristi Pinkston. When you read this book, you will discover your true worth, learn just how valuable you are, and find ways to turn the tide of evil flooding our world today." --C.S. Bezas, author and motivational speaker

"Every Latter-day Saint woman can be reinvigorated, inspired, and uplifted by reading this book. It is a compendium of wise counsel intended just for us and especially for our times. You may even wish to keep it around to reread whenever you need spiritual nourishment and an added awareness of your own power." --Susan Aylworth, author

Click here to read reviews and the first chapter:  http://womenofstrengthbook.blogspot.com
Click here to learn more about the author: http://www.tristipinkston.com
Click here to purchase:
Amazon:
 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Blast for Freedom Road by T.M. Souders

I haven't read this novel yet, but it's on my to-read list. I was intrigued by the story and especially the musical aspect as it's fun for me to read about a character that loves music.


Fun stuff for those interested in winning a $50 Amazon Gift card!


 

Freedom Road by T.M. Souders

Book Summary:

Since the tender age of eight, music served as Samantha Becker’s source of solace against her father’s tyranny and her mother’s alcoholism. Now at eighteen, her only dream is to study classical guitar at Juilliard. But when her father’s careless actions lead to an “accident,” which threatens her ability to play the guitar, Sam becomes despondent. Losing all confidence in her future, Sam hides behind the emotional barriers that have protected her for years.

Just when Sam has given up, two unexpected people enter her life, giving her the confidence she needs, and forcing her to evaluate all she’s ever known. Battling her father’s plans for her future, band mates using her for personal gain, and a permanent injury, the odds are stacked against her. With auditions approaching and time running out, Sam must relearn to play the guitar, or be destined to give up her dreams forever.



About the Author:

T.M. Souders was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and grew up in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2004, from Youngstown State University, with a degree in Psychology and minor in Women’s Studies. She is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel,Waiting on Hope, as well as the novelette Dashing Through The Snow and the newly released young adult/crossover novel, Freedom Road. In her spare time when she is not writing she is an active volunteer for The World Literary Cafe, a site dedicated to authors and readers. She currently lives in rural Ohio with her husband and children.


Links:
Website: http://www.tmsouders.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmsouders

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5044358.T_M_Souders
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TM-Souders-Author/181198815275423


Book Blast Giveaway:
$50 Amazon Gift Code
Ends 9/27/12
Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

When I received this book in the mail, I stared at the cover for several minutes trying to wrap my brain around the truth behind this fictionalized account of Sang Ly's life.



My nine-year-old daughter saw the cover of the book and I explained to her that it was a large dump where people put all of their garbage and that those shacks were houses where people lived. It was very hard for her to comprehend what I was telling her.
Why would they live in the dump?
Why can't they just come and live here (in the U.S.)?
It was a priceless opportunity for her to see how blessed we truly are.

I loved this book! Amazing storyline, characters that I feel I know, heart-wrenching anguish as well as joy in simple things--these are all feelings I experienced while reading The Rent Collector. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. Sang Ly's story is an incredible gift that will open your eyes and help you see just how much one person can change the world. It was so neat to witness Sang Ly learning to read and how that changed everything for her and her family. Being able to peek into a part of the world so foreign to my imagination is something that I feel has enriched my life and broadened my perspective yet a little more.

Here's a blurb for the book:
Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the ill-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one womans journey to save her son and another womans chance at redemption. It demonstrates that even in a dump in Cambodia--perhaps especially in a dump in Cambodia--everyone deserves a second chance.

Learn more about the book and see videos at http://www.therentcollectorbook.com/about.htm

Friday, September 14, 2012

Introducing Mashed Potatoes and Crafts

I'm so excited to introduce you to my brand new website!
MASHED POTATOES AND CRAFTS
http://www.mashedpotatoesandcrafts.com/

I've been working on this for several months and finally am ready to launch! My awesome and talented friend, Dominique designed the header for me and I absolutely love it! Check out what this creative gal can do http://bydominique.com/

The Mashed Potatoes and Crafts team is looking for guest bloggers. If you have a super crafty idea with great pics, upcycling projects, stamping, cards, scrapbooking, recipes, gardening, sewing, anything, contact us at mashedpotatoesandcrafts@gmail.com with your proposal. We will provide links and features on our other social networks.

Please come and visit the Mashed Potatoes and Crafts gals and Follow us at http://www.mashedpotatoesandcrafts.com/
Come and like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MashedPotatoesAndCrafts

Follow us on Twitter @MashedCrafts

On Pinterest @MashedCrafts http://pinterest.com/mashedcrafts/

We're looking forward to seeing you there! Let's start sMashing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Contest to Celebrate Book 8 Tres Leches by Josi Kilpack


In conjunction with the release of Tres Leches Cupcakes the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for free books. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog before September 16th, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified September 17th 2012.
For additional ways to enter, go to www.josiskilpack.com


Backliner:

For Sadie Hoffmiller, going undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seems like the perfect way to stay safe and busy while a threat against her life remains unresolved. Sadie’s days are spent digging up artifacts in the middle of nowhere while also digging up information on her fellow “dirt geeks.” With the help of her baking prowess—no one can resist those amazing dulce de leche bars—and Pete’s cousin, Caro, who takes to the detective work wholeheartedly, Sadie is finding herself again.
But the bright Southwestern sunshine only serves to illuminate the danger that lurks in the shadows. When recent burials are found on an ancient site, Sadie finds herself in the middle of an unexpected—and unwanted—investigation. The more she digs for the truth, the more secrets she uncovers—secrets that people would kill to keep hidden.
Before Sadie knows it, she’s arrested for starting a bar fight (which was totally not her fault), her new friend is missing, and she’s worn out her welcome in Santa Fe in more ways than one. A trip to the annual hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque is supposed to give her a break, but before long, she learns that when you’re dealing with the black market antiquity trade, you’re not really safe anywhere you go.

How the contest works:

  • Three books are up for grabs to start the contest.
  • For every 50 entries (not including existing newsletter recipients) another book will be added to the pot.
  • No limit on number of entries.
  • No limit on how many books can be won by any one person.
  • The winner can choose any book in the Sadie Hoffmiller series, including Tres Leches Cupcakes.
  • Winners will be drawn via Random.org on September 17th.
  • Books will be signed and shipped anywhere in the US and Canada.

How to enter (multiple entries encouraged!):

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Clean Reads Giveaway Hop & Author Interview with Julie Ford

Welcome to the . . .


I'm giving away a copy  of Count Down to Love.

Count Down to Love by Julie Ford was an excellent read. I read this spin off the popular reality show, The Bachelor in just a couple days.
Julie's protagonist--Kelly Grace has a no-nonsense attitude that made for some fun interactions and her wounded heart had me rooting for her to find Mr. Right.

Book Blurb:

Abandoned at the altar, Kelly Grace Pickens finds herself left holding not only the bouquet but also the exorbitant bill for an A-list wedding. Homeless, a once promising singing career floundering, and her life bearing an uncanny resemblance to one of her country music ballads, she reluctantly accepts a last minute offer to appear on a reality TV show akin to the bachelor. Pitted against silicon-enhanced supermodels in four-inch heels, Kelly feels confident that she will be among the first would-be fianc├ęs to be excused. Only, when the mysterious bachelor from New York City, Dillon Black, invites her to stay, Kelly finds herself thrust into the vortex of a game she doesn’t have the first idea how to play. Nursing her hopelessly broken heart while avoiding the foils of her fellow contestants, Kelly is oblivious to Dillon’s affections as she wades through hurt and betrayal to discover, in the end, that she has landed firmly on both feet.
Leaving behind Nashville’s Music Row for the majestic Grand Teton mountains, Count Down To Lovetakes readers on a journey from duplicity to sincerity as Kelly discovers that being true to oneself  is the first step in finding happiness and everlasting love.

I'm excited to share an interview with Julie Ford, author of Count Down to Love
Me: What is your favorite date of all time?
Julie: April 23rd because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket. Just kidding. Okay, so the first thing I thought of when I read this question was a quote from the movie Miss Congeniality. 
Seriously though, my favorite date of all time lasted for a week and was my fifteen-year anniversary date with my husband. We went on a cruise to Alaska and the entire week was perfect. We sat under blankets on the chilly deck watching Alaska drift by while reading and drinking hot chocolate and tea. We snuggled under a fluffy down comforter at night and let the ship rock us to sleep. We hiked and kayaked to glaciers and walked through the most beautiful, mysterious rain forests I’ve ever seen. The trip was the most magical, romantic week of my life.

If you could go on an exotic date with a budget to match your book's TV program, what would it be?
Hard question. There are just too many places I would love to go. If I had to stay in the US, as was the case with my characters in Count Down to Love, I would choose to go on a hot air balloon ride like Kelly and Dillon. Or, back to Alaska of course. Internationally, I’ve always dreamed of seeing London or just about anywhere in Great Britain.

What do you love about writing? Not love?

I love it when the plot and/or words just seem to flow effortlessly as if being sent from a special place I have yet to discover. It truly feels like my own little miracle.
I don’t love the publishing aspect of writing. I know that sounds strange, I mean if I don’t get published then what’s the point in writing, right? But I just don’t enjoy the business end of writing. I don’t like stressing over sales and bad reviews or the way publishers/agents want to niche me—that in order to make money, and a name for myself, I have to stick to one genre. I simply love to write and I want to create as many different types of stories as my brain can come up with. But in doing so, it’s likely that I wouldn’t ever become a well-known author. And after much soul searching, I’ve decided I’m okay with that.

Tell us what you're working on next.
My next novel is titled The Cadaver Ball and will be coming out sometime in 2013. It’s a women’s fiction/mystery about a woman from Southern California who meets the man of her dreams when she attends Vanderbilt Medical School’s, Cadaver Ball, with her college roommate. A year later she is married and living in Nashville with two step sons and has a sneaky suspicion that something doesn’t feel right regarding her husband’s first wife’s death. Being the curious person that she is, she just can’t help but go poking into the past, which lands her right in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. The story is sort of a modern twist on the Rebecca and Jane Eyre novels.

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in English Literature from San Diego State University. In addition, she earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She has worked in teaching, childbirth education and family therapy. Besides writing, she spends many hours working along side her husband at their UPS Store franchise, but hopes to re-enter the Social Work field someday.
She is the author of three women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married (March 2011) and No Holly for Christmas (November 2011), published by Whiskey Creek Press. The third, Count Down to Love(July 2011), published by Bonneville Books.
Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one very feisty fish.
Find Julie:

There are 2 different giveaways on this post--Check them out!

Grand Prize Giveaway:
As part of the tour, Julie is generously offering a grand prize giveaway of a hard copy of Count Down to Love, a CD of the band Due West, and a copy of the single, “Who I Am”, which Julie and Due West wrote and recorded specifically for the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post or any of the other stops on the tour. (Visit the tour page for the full tour schedule.) The more stops you comment on, the more entries you have into the contest!


Purchase Links:
And now you want to know how you can win your very own copy, right? Just enter in the rafflecopter form below. Thanks for playing!

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