Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good News Wednesday

Good news: my website is up and running! Somebody please click on it so it will have visitors and The Googles will start to like me again (and let me know if there are any problems). There are still some issues--namely, through efforts to make it work, we managed to create a sort of Star Trekky parallel universe situation, with other websites existing concurrently with the real one. But we'll get that cleaned up at some point and right now, the link above will take you to the right spot (caution: if you get to a that depicts me as someone who returns her library books on time and did not eat a large chocolate chip cookie for breakfast this morning, that's not the right universe). 

Other fun news: I will be doing a Ladies Night booksigning for Shadowed at the Beehive Bookstore in Campbell, California on Saturday, October 6th. I'm so excited! If you're in the area, come see me! (I'll post details later when I get them).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Website and Other Assorted Topics

*My website ( is down at the moment. My old website host stopped hosting, so I got a new host (now I'm starting to sound like a parasite), but I haven't figured out how to upload my site. This is not surprising, because I'm very un-techy--I have to ask my children for help for anything complicated, like using the remote control--but I don't feel too bad that I'm clueless this time around, because my husband was having trouble with it too, and he's a genius. But never fear: tech support will save me. I suppose I'd better get that website up soon, since Shadowed will be released in September, which is coming up fast, and how sad would it be if someone got interested in my new book and wanted to check out my website, and they typed in the URL and all that showed up was a blank, white page (which is what comes up now) and they're like, gee, that was underwhelming.

*Speaking of Shadowed, it's now available for pre-order from Deseret Book. Yay!

*For her birthday, my oldest daughter got a 1500-piece puzzle of Van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace at Night."

It took her and her sister two months to put the puzzle together. Since it was such a complicated puzzle, she figured she wouldn't want to do it again, and I suggested hanging it on the wall, like my mother does with puzzles (she has a bunch of completed puzzles decorating the long hallway in her basement). My daughter liked the idea. Sadly, it turns out I lack both skillz and common sense when it comes to turning a completed puzzle front-side down so you can put packing tape on the back (the method my mother uses). The puzzle is now, um, not as done as it used to be. The question is: do I try to reassemble the broken parts, or do I just go online and buy a Van Gogh poster, which I can get for way cheap?

*I wrote something! After a long dry spell when it came to writing new things, I finally started a story yesterday while my son was at his trumpet lesson. I've been brainstorming this project for a while now and almost have the basic story figured out, but I've been stumped when it comes to figuring out who the villain is and what his/her motive is. So this time, I decided to start writing without knowing the villain and see if ideas develop along the way. I have trouble brainstorming for too long--I love writing stories, not brainstorming stories, and tend to get bored quickly when I'm brainstorming. But I need to get moving on this project, so we'll see what happens. Will I come up with a good villain idea while I'm writing or will I get all the way to the end of the project (it's a novella, so I'm aiming for around 100 pages) and realize there is no villain--in fact, everyone is peacefully fond of each other? Oooh . . . maybe it could have alternate endings! Choose Your Own Villain! If you think the ex-boyfriend did it, turn to page 92. If you think the long-lost grandmother did it, turn to page 102. Could be a fun idea . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Growing Pains

My two older daughters left for BYU this morning. After they drove away and I was crying, my twelve-year-old son said, "It's not that sad! They'll be home for Christmas." I said, "It's a mother thing." He said, "Good thing I'll never be a mother." I'm sure my daughters weren't crying either, unless it was tears of joy at being able to quit their two summer jobs and head back to school. They were very blessed to find great summer jobs this year, but let's face it--even great summer jobs tend to be boring, as well as good motivation to get your rear back to school and get studying.

It's always poignant when a child leaves for college, but last year when my younger daughter started her freshman year, I learned that the mother-pain of saying goodbye to children is cumulative. This is in contrast to the difficulty level in raising children, which I didn't find to be cumulative--i.e., having five children is not five times as hard as having one; each new Wild Thing adds incrementally to the rumpus. But I've found that saying goodbye to two children is twice as hard--or harder--than saying goodbye to one. Not only do you have two children to miss, but it provokes more of a Ticking Clock personal crisis--they're growing up so quickly, it won't be long before they've flown from the nest for good, the family size has now shrunk dramatically, your other children are growing up so fast as well . . .  Last year when my college daughters went back to school after Thanksgiving, I was saddened by the realization that it was only eleven years until all our children were grown. Eleven years used to seem like a long time, but man, it sure didn't anymore. Of course, I was rather off-balance at the time, since they'd left us with a cat, which might explain the mental melodrama. As they went to pull out of the driveway this morning, I said, "You forgot the cat!" but it didn't work; they left her here. Actually, I'm accustomed to the cat now and quite fond of her, even if she is rather contemptuous of us and a suspected demon to boot.

When the kids were young, it seemed like life would be that way forever. Even the thought of having them all in school during the day was remote--it would be ages before they were all that old. Ages and eons! But nobody told me that time accelerates. No, seriously, it does. You're in baby mode, toddler mode, preschool mode; time is making its leisurely way through your life. Then elementary school, and junior high, and high school and . . . BAM. As soon as one kid graduates, that's it--life starts shooting forward like you're on the downward slope of a rollercoaster.

I absolutely love having older kids; it's a tremendous joy watching them grow and mature and develop into adults. But as a mother, I can't help but be sad when they drive away and wish I could keep them with me a little longer--even as I'm happy for them, extremely grateful for the opportunities they'll have at school, and definitely wouldn't have it any other way.

So now, it's time to go get ready to take my older son to school registration. He's turning sixteen soon . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


We had two family reunions this summer--three if you count the pre-reunion mini-reunion before the official reunion. My sister's family couldn't make it to the scheduled reunion, due to a new church assignment--her husband had been called as mission president, and they needed to report two weeks before the reunion date. So those of us who could make it early met at my parents' house in Utah (my parents had just returned the previous month from their mission to Portugal) to have the opportunity to see my sister's family. Southern Utah in the summer is super hot, so the visit was very laid back--mainly  we sat around, talked, swam, and ate--visits to Cafe Rio and Iceberg are always important events. We love food.

Mmm, food. Let's talk about food. Tonight for dinner I made Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup, which turned out to be quite tasty. I'm happy about that, as it's nice to have another soup to add to the soup repertoire. Other noteworthy foods of late: my husband made a strawberry pie on Sunday. And on Saturday, we went to the Nestle Cafe where you could design your own ice cream cookie sandwich. Oh the joy! I didn't know this place existed, but now I'm not likely to ever forget. You chose your cookies, you chose your ice cream, and they put it all together for you in sandwich form. I had a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie and an oatmeal scotchie with double-fudge brownie ice cream in the middle. It was sooo tasty, and I wish I had one right now, and did I mention I've been trying to get back on track for losing weight and by "trying" I mean, "trying except when there are Costco muffins in the house or when my son brings out the smoked salmon and cream cheese after I already made myself a sandwich, because, come on, that smoked salmon is really good."

Hey, at least I'm exercising, right? I even tried my new Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD today. So far, I haven't melted down, but give me time.

Side note: I am eating a piece of Dove dark chocolate.

Anyway . . . summer was busy. Besides, the reunion, it was crunch time for my September release, Shadowed, with edits and proofing. My publisher has posted the first chapter; you can read it here.

Once all the reunions and book stuff were finished, it was time for girls camp (good timing, right?). A couple of days before I left for camp, my daughters showed me the Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots. Loved it. In the movie, the hero's mantra is "All is well"--a phrase that came from his town watchman who would cry out "Alll izzz well" as he patrolled the town, reassuring the residents--though it turned out the watchman couldn't see well at night and didn't have a clue what was going on; he'd just call out "all is well" anyway. I kept thinking of that phrase at girls camp--all is well, all is well. And it was--problems cropped up here and there, but nothing that wasn't manageable, and all truly was well. When I was called as Stake Camp Director three years ago, I'd never been so terrified by a calling in my life, but I've discovered that there are a multitude of blessings associated with the calling.

Now that things have quieted down, I'm working on dejunking the house, a little at a time. Today I cleaned under the stove burners, which was a horrible mess. Problem is, you can't see most of my work, since it's, you know, under the stove top. I should take a picture and put the picture on the fridge, except to get the real effect, you'd need "before" and "after" pictures, and the "before" picture would be too embarrassing. Maybe I should take a "before" picture of my garage and either submit it to a reality show in hopes they'd adopt me as a project or I could enlarge it and call it art representing Angst and Confusion. I would title it "Junk Avalanche with Black Widow Spiders."

Hey . . . maybe that could be the title of that Halloween novella I'm supposed to be working on . . .