Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Take on the Bully

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I LOVE this quote! Half the battle is taking the initiative, that first step toward our goals and dreams.

What do you think? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway and Review of Ginnie West Adventures series by Monique Bucheger

Sometimes it's hard to find great contemporary middle-grade fiction, so I was excited to get the Ginnie West Adventure Series by Monique Bucheger. I organized a blog tour for Monique and you can see more about the stops here.
I think there is a need for contemporary middle-grade fiction that embraces realistic and desired good behavior, instead of the easy laughs of so many of the potty humor books I see out there. That's why I wanted to read this book with my girls. 
The Secret Sisters Club starts out with a bang in a friendly horse race between friends, Ginnie and Tillie. Ginnie's strong personality and courageous attitude were endearing and my girls loved the Scottish accent of Mrs. MacGregor, the ornery neighbor. The character interactions are done so realistically that you feel as if you know Ginnie and understand her insecurities.
This book deals with real issues that open up great discussion lines with our kids. If you're looking for a good read for tweens, check out The Secret Sisters Club. You'll be pleased to know that Book #2 and #3 are out and available as well.

Read more about this book and Monique, and make sure you enter to win a full autographed set of the books and a $25 Amazon gift card!
THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A Ginnie West Adventure (BOOK 1)


Twelve-year-old BFF’s Ginnie and Tillie, want to be sisters. Ginnie's widowed dad plus Tillie's divorced mom could equal a lifetime of round-the-clock girl talk and slumber parties. Too bad Dad vowed to never marry again. Ginnie and Tillie form a secret club and come up with the perfect mission to change his mind: ‘Operation Secret Sisters’.

Before long, Tillie seems happier about gaining a dad than a sister. Ginnie suspects that Tillie has turned ‘Operation Secret Sisters’ into a scam called ‘Operation Steal My Dad.’  Things get more complicated when Ginnie stumbles across her real mom’s hidden journals. Ginnie can finally get to know the mother she doesn’t remember and Dad doesn’t talk about.

When Dad discovers she has the journals, he takes them away. Ginnie needs to figure out what the big mystery is before her relationship with her father and her best friend are ruined forever.

If you like farms, friends, horses, and secrets, you’ll love: Trouble Blows West: A Ginnie West Adventure.  So saddle up and be ready to ride with Ginnie as she explores the true meaning of friendship.
Debbie Shakespeare Smith, middle-grade author of The House of Chicken

Would you like an autographed, personalized copy? Visit Monique's page here to order:

Social networking links: 
Purchase link:
  The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure

Author bio:

Monique Bucheger was born in Landstuhl, Germany to active duty Air Force parents. After watching her creative writing teacher's astronaut son lift off in the Space Shuttle Endeavor, she recalled a promise to her teacher to write the books only she could write. In January of 2011, her first book made it through the first 3 tiers of Amazon's National BreakThrough Novel Award Contest to the top 5%. In November of 2012 Mrs. Bucheger was offered a 3 book contract for her Ginnie West series. Book one: THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB: A Ginnie West Adventure was published March 8, 2012. Her second book: TROUBLE BLOWS WEST: A Ginnie West Adventure was published April 14, 2012. 
Mrs. Bucheger has championed the cause of children as a foster parent to over 120 children and her books embrace and empower people on all sides of the child abuse issue.

      a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 28, 2013

Review of Create a Powerful Life Plan! 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life by Connie Sokol

Another fantastic read by Connie Sokol! I love Connie's voice--she motivates, inspires, and drives you to be better with encouraging anecdotes, marvelous tips, and she is constantly turning on those "lightbulb moments" in my head! If you're looking for ways to enjoy your life more and improve, this is the book for you.

Ready to jumpstart your life, but not sure how?

Years ago I was fat, unfulfilled, and unfocused. Then I got serious about making changes, writing an achievable life vision and goals. Starting with weight, I lost twenty-five pounds and gained great energy. This motivated me to organize my home and time, rediscover the joy in parenting, and speak professionally part-time to share with others what I had learned.

That was my ideal life change, what’s yours?

Create a Powerful Life Plan: 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life! will help you achieve life changes in three stress-free steps. You’ll learn how to create a clear vision of your ideal life. Then, how to set and achieve simple, enjoyable goals to make that vision a reality. And finally, what to do when you become stuck, fearful, or frustrated.

You’ll also read the real-life experiences of five women who put their Life Plan into action. And receive online support through podcasts, video segments, blog posts and more at

Now is the best time to become the person you want to be, and live the life you yearn to live. No gimmicks, no hoopla, just solid, time-tested principles and practices that will help you achieve your dreams and goals, and enjoy the process.

So, are you ready to create your powerful Life Plan?

"I love your book!! I read it once last week and now I'm reading it again and marking it. I can see it making a difference in my life. I'm realizing that I don't have to do it all at once." Jodi Anderson

"Before I started this [book], I wanted to break down my goals into weekly accomplishments in a goal setting program. I can't believe it, this is exactly what I have been looking for!" Brea Mefford

"I love this program. It really helps me to be accountable, and more importantly, to see progress. I increased my weekly income by better than half. I paid off two credit cards and my overdraft. My husband was able to pay off his car, and I have completely revamped my business goals and direction. Thank you!" Andrea Johnson

Social Media Links:

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven, a sought after local and national presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly TV contributor on KSL’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for KSL's "Motherhood Matters." She is a former columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine, and TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications. Mrs. Sokol is the author of several books including the award-nominated Caribbean Crossroads, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color Series, as well as the creator of talk CDs, podcasts and the "8-week Challenge." Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. For more, visit

Blog Tour Schedule for Create A Powerful Life Plan! 3 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Life by Connie Sokol

January 2013--
1/22/2013   1/24/2013

Enter the Giveaway!
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

5 Things from Heather Moore

Heather Moore is one of my favorite authors because her writing is exceptional and engaging and also because she is a great person too! Heather is a writing machine and has just released another incredible novel, Heart of the Ocean. 
 Tell me you're not intrigued by this cover?!

 I asked Heather to take part in my Thursday Thoughts segment and here's what she has to say:

Five things I’ve learned as an Author:

1.       It’s okay to drop a project that’s not working for one reason or another.
2.       “Write what you know” would mean that I’d just write about kids & sewing. “Write what you love to read and research” is more sound advice.
3.       Respect every author’s craft—I don’t always love a book, but I’ve learned through some hit and misses, to respect the time and talent that goes into writing a manuscript.
4.       Whether I like it or not, marketing and promoting the final product is an essential part of writing a great book.
5.       Other authors have become treasured friends and it doesn’t do any good to compare “sales” or “successes”—we are all on our own journeys.

Check out the blog tour here

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review of Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore

Heather Moore's latest novel is, Heart of the Ocean. I received a review copy from Heather and am thrilled to share news about this book with you today.

Here's the blurb:

A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.

While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.

After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust. 

 My Thoughts:
 I loved the setting of the 1840s mixed with the Puritan town of Maybrook. Eliza's character is genuine, strong, yet careful. I enjoyed the mystery and Heather kept me guessing throughout with the whisperings of ghosts, murders, forbidden romance, and unrequited love. This story has everything you need for a satisfying evening curled up on the couch.

Come back tomorrow and learn 5 things from Heather Moore on my Thursday Thought portion of the blog!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Did You Conquer the World in 2012?

I always want to conquer the world, instead I have to be satisfied with just living in it and finding joy in each day.
--Rachelle J. Christensen

Yep, I just posted a quote by moi because I *needs* to see it and remind myself as I jump into the new year 2013. And since it's my birthday today, I thought it was a good day to post something about me.
My jump into this new year was interrupted by a lot of sickness and tiredness which forced me to look at myself and my family and ask--What is the most important thing?
I also read a great book while I was sick called, For What It's Worth by Karey White   While reading that book, I started doing the same exercise that her character, Abby asked. Is it worth it? What is this worth? And because of that question, I got out the shears and started trimming! I'm cutting back on things that don't matter, cutting out things that don't make me happy, and creating more time for my family and my biggest passion--WRITING.

I encourage you to also ask that question today and the next time you have an opportunity to add ONE more thing to your life. How much is this worth to me?

For my quest to find joy in each day and to savor my young children and all of their glorious -isms, I will be asking that a lot. Here's hoping that I can find the right answer.
 How about you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway from the Author of Finished Being Fat

Today I'm happy to welcome author, Betsy Schow. She's going to tell us a little bit about her new book, Finished Being Fat. I'm currently reading this and I encourage you to check it out. Betsy's narration is laugh-out-loud fun while pulling those emotional heart-strings at the same time. She has a knack for getting real with life and shares some great tips for everyone, no matter your size.

*And make sure you enter the giveaway for your very own copy of this fantastic book!

After many years of being fat and miserable, with a few years of being average and less miserable mixed in, I finally had a lightbulb moment. The reason I was unhappy, was not just the extra 75 pounds of pudge I was carrying. It was the weight of all the things unfinished that hung around my neck. I was always having grand ideas. I'd get excited about this diet, or that workout routine. Or starting a new hobby or project. Problem was, within a few weeks the excitement would fade and that little voice would kick in. You know the one I'm talking about.
"You're no good at this. You'll never keep the weight off. Why are you even bothering?"
And every time I quit, my wall of failures would get a little higher -- making success that much harder to see. The straw that broke the camel's back, was actually the 10 pounds added in a month that broke the scale one morning. Drastic measures had to be taken, I couldn't keep doing this myself.
What started out as yet another attempt to get rid of the weight around my middle, snowballed into a year of changing my life, my marriage  and the way I raise my kids. Without meaning to I went on an accidental adventure, learning things that fixed the holes in my life, not just the holes in my eating habits. Now I know how to give myself credit for what I do, I can finish what I start, and I've reached impossible dreams. And once you've done the impossible, anything can happen.

Whether your goal is losing weight, running a marathon, cleaning out the basement, or all of the above, this book will teach you how to achieve more than you ever thought possible without sacrificing your sanity or sense of humor.
Buy the book wherever books are sold, or online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Visit me at

Excerpt from Finished being Fat

Daily routine: Wake up, feed kids, entertain kids, keep kids from killing
each other, put kids to bed, put kids back to bed thirty minutes
later, and then collapse into my own bed and fade into unconsciousness.
My life was a lot like running on a treadmill, a whole lot of effort
to get absolutely nowhere. Not that I had much experience with treadmills,
mind you, but you get my drift. One morning, I woke up depressed
and berated myself for all the things that I wasn’t. Wasn’t skinny, wasn’t
accomplished, wasn’t happy. In a fit of masochism, I decided it would be
a good time to take on my mortal enemy, the digital scale.
The scale and I have always had a hate/more hate relationship. I’ve
tried sweet talking it, I’ve tried yelling at it, and I’ve even tried approaching
it with cautious optimism. Power of positive thinking and all. Recently,
I had given it the silent treatment, refusing to acknowledge its existence.
But apparently I felt the need to punish myself, because there I was again,
at seven in the morning, before the children were awake, naked and ohso-
carefully avoiding the adjacent mirror (because let’s be honest, who wants to see themselves naked first thing in the morning?) and ever so
lightly (because it might make a difference) stepping on the scale. While
I waited for the scale to stop blinking 0.00 and pronounce judgment, I
began to pray.
“Please, God. Just let it be the same as last month. I’m not asking for
it be lower, just . . . please, let it be the same.” God was apparently out of
miracles. The scale read 216.4 pounds—ten pounds more than the last
month. I looked around just to be sure my fourteen-month-old hadn’t
sneaked up behind me, adding her sixteen pounds to the total. Nope, I
was alone. So I hopped off and tried again, just in case. Maybe the scale
had changed its mind, had a technical error, or something. But no, the
evil scale seemed to take joy in my misery and now said 216.6. Ahhhh! I
had gained a fifth of a pound in less than a minute.
Scenes from my future played out in my mind. I would gain a pound
every hour. Within a week, none of my clothes would fit. By the end of
the month, I would have to order everything from an online specialty
store, Blobbos. In a year, my husband would need to physically roll me
out of the bed and onto a Jazzy scooter because I had gotten so big that my
legs wouldn’t support my girth. I was going to be like that woman from
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. When I died, they would have to cut a hole
in my house just to get me out. Then I’d have to be buried in a packing
crate because surely no one would make a coffin large enough to fit me.
I backpedaled off the scale so fast that I tripped. That’s when I heard
the thud of my life hitting rock bottom. It was so loud it even woke my
husband, Jarom. Well, it was either that or the crash from the scale reverberating
off the travertine. I imagine he ran into the bathroom, expecting
to find that I had slipped in the shower. He probably did not expect to see
his naked, overweight wife sprawled on the floor, trying to beat the scale
into submission.
“Betsy, what the heck are you doing?”
“I’m fat!” I wailed
My husband, always a man of few words, wisely said nothing and
offered me a hand up. For a few minutes, we stood there, him patting my
back and me sobbing onto his shoulder. After I had quieted down some,
Jarom grabbed a pack of tissues and herded me back into the bedroom.
He sat me down on the bed and wiped the tears and snot off my face, then
did the same for his shoulder.
“Now start over and tell me what’s wrong.”

For more information about me, the book, or to get a free personalized daily calorie budget - visit me at

Finished being Fat is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deseret Book and Seagull Books. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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