Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Winning Mr. Wrong by Marie Higgins

"Will an internet list help Charley win her man?
Whoever said the quest for love wasn't comical never met Charlene Randall. Charley is looking for a man who wants to start a family, a man who will take her to the temple. Problem is, she has never dated a man for longer than three months. When she reads an internet article called "Ten Ways to Win Your Man," she decides to try it on her new coworker, Maxwell Harrington. Max was her crush in high school, but the superstar sports anchorman doesn't even remember her.
Enter ladies' man Damien Giovianni, Charley's handsome neighbor, who agrees to help her win Max over. What follows is a hilarious tale of mishaps and misunderstandings where Charley learns that what she really needs may be right in front of her." from

Marie Higgin's novel, Winning Mr. Wrong, is a fun read. Charley is likeable and her efforts to win the heart of the sports anchorman left me smiling. I found all the characters intersting and the twists in the story kept me guessing about how the book would end. Higgin's writing was engaging and I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good romance.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Why I Write

I wrote the following essay for "Get to Know You Monday" on the Walnut Springs blog. It seemed to capture all the reasons I keep staring at a computer screen trying to make the story in my head make sense on paper. 
"I write because I made up my mind years ago that I would be published someday. Books have always been one of my favourite things. As a child I read all the time. When I was about five years old, I realized that all the books on the library shelves had to be written by someone. I decided then and there that someday I would have my name on the cover of a book and my story would fill the pages inside. 
I write to express myself. As a teenager, writing was a way for me to cope with all the confusing emotions that accompany high school. Most of that writing was poetry filled with teen angst but that poetry phase taught me how to use words wisely to be able to get the most power out of them. 

I write for the thrill of discovering the plot and becoming acquainted with the characters. I am not one of those writers who has endless story ideas fighting to be told, but I have enough and when I sit to start something new, there is always an idea that begs for attention. Once a story idea takes centre stage, I can’t put it away until it is done. 

I write for my children. I want them to see that their mother takes her talents seriously and that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their minds to. I also want to tell stories that they can read and that don’t have to be censored. I want them to see that a good story can be told without challenging the moral standards we have in our home.

There have been days when I try to talk myself out of being a writer. The reasons are varied, but it is an argument I never win. That urge to write is too strong. There is an inner voice that tells me to write, that assures me it is what I am supposed to do. The short answer is that I am compelled to write. It is what I do and I can’t imagine life without a story to tell."

That pretty much sums it up, although after a long discussion about the new book I'm working on, my husband came up with one more reason. He pointed out that I like to be in control of things. That is why, for example, I like to be in charge of events rather than be one of the helpers. As he listened to me make things happen in my stories, he came to the conclusion that I like to write because I can control every aspect of my characters' lives. It's a good theory. I'm not sure how true it is as I often lose the battle when I try to get characters to follow certain paths and instead they lead me on a merry chase through uncharted territory. I think I write because I have to know what the ending is. Discovering the story is where the fun lies. And even though I do love to be in control, nine times out of ten, the story just happens.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards

"Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger's complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS paraody of the classic novel Jane Eyre."

Joan Sowards book Chocolate Roses is a fun, modern re-telling of Jane Eyre. Though the story line mirrors the original in some ways, this new version is lighter in tone. It addresses some serious issues, but Sowards does this with skill and sensitivity. The main character, Jane, is likeble, especially because she isn't written as a perfect, beautiful heroine. She also has a dream job, owning her own chocolate shop. I think she is someone many readers will be able to relate to. I only wish the romance had been built up a little more, but then I'm a romantic at heart. Chocolate Roses will have you searching out a little chocolate to eat while you keep guessing at the ending. I enjoyed this book and hope Joan has more stories up her sleeves.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Snowball Effect

My daughter just had to make my morning and inform me that the forecast was calling for snow on Sunday. It's just one more thing to remind me that summer really seems to be over. I had all sorts of marvellous plans for the two months of summer vacation, but as usual, the time passed and I had to keep chopping projects off my list. I just dream too big and forget how long most things take to do. Even though many of my planned activities didn't happen, other things took their place.

Last spring the shower stall in our downstairs bathroom finally fell apart for good. It has been threatening this for a long time, but when the door fell off this time, we knew it couldn't be fixed. Since we were tearing things apart anyway, I decided it was time to paint and decorate. For those of you who have been in my house, this is not something I normally do. Choosing a paint colour scares me to death. I don't like spending money on home decor when I could spend the same money on food. Most of our house is filled with hand me downs and cast-off furniture that only kind of matches if you squint and use your imagination.

So the kids who share that bathroom gave me their input, and the only colour they could agree on was red. Let me just say that I am not a huge fan of red. I don't wear it and I don't put it in my house. But this is the room they use and we started coming up with a plan. We picked a colour and bought the paint. Then I went to Idaho for a week. When I called home, my husband told me he had finished the first coat. "It looks like dried blood," he said. My daughter got on the phone and reassured me that it really was beautiful. I decided to believe her because the dried blood image was just too disturbing. When I returned home last Saturday I went downstairs to have a look. It is much brighter than I had originally imagined, but my daughter was right. It is quite pretty.

Another project that distracted me from other things is the office. We have one room that serves as an office for my husband and me and also as a guest bedroom. There is a built in bunk bed, several bookshelves and two tables we use as desks. A few weeks ago, my uncle offered me a desk he wanted to get rid of. It is one of the monstrous old teacher's desks that has to be forty years old. It is solid wood and in great shape. I'd been dreaming of a desk with drawers to replace the table, but the problem was the colour. The blond wood just didn't inspire me. So I decided to clean it up and paint it white. A set of new drawer pulls and the desk looks like new. Of course, I couldn't put my shiny new desk in my sad beige office, so another painting project was born. Now everything needs to come out of the office so we can finish that project.

We work on these when we can, but Sunday my mother called to tell us she will be coming for two weeks in October. I guess that will be the added motivation to finish these chores that keep snowballing and get the house put back together. Sadly, I didn't take any before pictures, but I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished rooms.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Free Book Friday

For a chance to win Finding Rose, head on over to the Walnut Springs Press blog. Each week they highlight one of their authors. On Monday they interviewed me, on Wednesday they posted the first chapter of Finding Rose, and today they are holding a contest to give away one copy of the book. Good luck!

Monday, 6 September 2010

2010 Whitney Award Eligible Book List

*This is just reposted from earlier in the year. There are so many books on the list and it's great to see it grow every year.

"We would love to get some more official nominees for the Whitney awards so as to overwhelm our judges with books to read--if you have an eligible book, or love someone who does, feel free to drum up some votes! If you've read some great books by LDS authors, don't be stingy--tell us about it!"
                   -Josi Kilpack-

I'm really excited to add my own book to the list. I've been wanting to do this for so long. I know this isn't the only list available, but I like to keep my own. Hopefully someone else benefits from this too.
  1. Abramson, Traci Hunter - Backlash
  2. Abramson, Traci Hunter - Crossfire
  3. Adams, T. Lynn - Tombs of Terror
  4. Anderson, Donald - Hanging by the Thread
  5. Anderson, Nancy and Carroll Hofeling Morris - Leaning Into the Curves
  6. Anderson, Rachael Renee -Luck of the Draw
  7. Ashley, Amanda - Everlasting Desire
  8. Ashley, Amanda - Everlasting Kiss
  9. Autry, Clover - Chase the Wind
  10. Averett, Stacy - The Bridge
  11. Bateman, Marlene - Light on Fire Island
  12. Beck, Glenn - The Overton Window
  13. Bell, Braden - The Road Show
  14. Bell, Michelle Ashman - Hometown Girl: The Butterfly Box #2
  15. Bell, Michele Ashman - Summer in Paris
  16. Bellon, Julie Coulter - Dangerous Connections
  17. Berry, Julie - Secondhand Charm
  18. Bice, Prudence - The Widower's Wife 
  19. Black, Stephanie - Cold as Ice
  20. Blackhurst, Deanne - Turning Hearts
  21. Borrowman, Jerry - Life and Death at Hoover Dam
  22. Buck, Alicia - Flecks of Gold
  23. Bunderson, M. R. - The Mark
  24. Chadwick, Linda - The Conterfeit Convert
  25. Christensen, Rachelle J. - Wrong Number
  26. Clarke, Linda Weaver - Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans
  27. Clarke, Linda Weaver - Mayan Intrigue
  28. Cole, Frank L. - Hashbrown Winters and the Mashimoto Madness
  29. Cole, Frank L. - Hashbrown Winters and the Phantom of Pordunce
  30. Condie, Allyson Braithwaite - Being Sixteen
  31. Corpany, Susan Law - Lucky Change
  32. Correia, Larry - Monster Hunter Vendetta
  33. Culmone, Claudia - Harbor's End
  34. Dashner, James - The Blade of Shattered Hope: The 13th Reality #3
  35. Dashner, James - The Scorch Trials
  36. Daybell, Chad - The Keys of the Kingdom: Standing in Holy Places #4
  37. Dayley, Susan - Redemption
  38. Eden, Sarah M. - Courting Miss Lancaster
  39. Evans, Richard Paul - Promise Me
  40. Evens, Richard Paul - The Walk
  41. Gallacher, Marcie and Kerri Robinson - Abide with Me: The Banner is Unfurled #4
  42. Gashler, Stephan - The Bent Sword
  43. George, Jessica Day - Princess of Glass
  44. Giles, D.N. - The Sharp Edge of a Knife
  45. Grant, K.C. - Abish: Daughter of God
  46. Green, Betsy Brannon - Murder by Design
  47. Grey, Sandra - Trespass
  48. Gunderson, Phyllis - The Jaguar Prophecies
  49. Fechner, Maggie - Growing Up Gracie
  50. Feehan, Christine - Water Bound
  51. Feehan, Christine - Wild Fire 
  52. Fitzpatrick, Becca -  Crescendo
  53. Fraley, Daron D. - The Thorn: The Chronicles of Gan Book 1
  54. Guymon, Shannon - The Broken Road
  55. Harrison, Mettie Ivie - The Princess and the Snowbird
  56. Hatch, Donna - The Guise of a Gentleman
  57. Hatch, Donna - Queen in Exile
  58. Hawkes, Jaclyn M. - Journey of Honor 
  59. Heimerdinger, Chris - Sorcerers and Seers
  60. Heiner, Tamara Hart - Perilous
  61. Hickman, Tracy - Song of the Dragon
  62. Higgins, Marie - Winning Mr. Wrong
  63. Hoover, Karen E. - The Sapphire Flute
  64. Housley, Bill - Into the Dark: Escape of the Nomad
  65. Humphreys, Stephanie - Finding Rose
  66. Jackson, Trudi - Souls of Valor
  67. Job, Kimberly - I'll Know You by Heart
  68. Justesen, Heather - Rebound
  69. Kent, Steven L. - The Clone Empire
  70. Kilpack, Josi S. - Devil's Food Cake
  71. Kilpack, Josi S. - Key Lime Pie
  72. Klinger, Erin - Between the Lines
  73. Kurland, Lynn - A Tapestry of Spells
  74. Kurland, Lynn - One Enchanted Evening
  75. Landon, Kristen - The Limit
  76. Laurens, Jennifer - Absolution
  77. Lewid, L.C. - Oh, Say Can You See? (Free Men and Dreamers #4)
  78. Lewis, Laurie C. - Awakening Avery
  79. Lightender, J.A. - Forbidden Portals: The Quicksilver Project
  80. Lyon, Annette - Band of Sisters
  81. Lyon, Jack - The Abraham Enigma
  82. Mangum, Lisa - The Golden Spiral
  83. Matthews, Jean Holbrook - Escape to Zion 
  84. McPheters, Mike - Cartels and Combinations
  85. Monson, Marianne - The Water is Wide
  86. Moore, H.B. - Alma the Younger
  87. Mull, Brandon - Fablehaven 5: Keys to the Demon Prison
  88. Nawyn, Lori - My Gift to You
  89. Neff, Kristoffer - No Place to Hide
  90. Newell, Neil K. with William J. Hamblin - The Book of Malchus
  91. Novak, Brenda - Body Heat 
  92. Novak, Brenda - Killer Heat
  93. Novak, Brenda - White Heat
  94. Nunes, Rachel Ann - Imprints
  95. Owens, Dixie - Becoming Kate
  96. Owen, James A. - The Dragon's Apprentice
  97. Perry, Anne - The Sheen on the Silk
  98. Pike, Aprilynne - Spells
  99. Pinkston, Tristi - Secret Sisters
  100. Poulson, Clair M. - Deadline 
  101. Roulstone, Tom - Reluctant Soldier, Reluctant Saint
  102. Pratt, Sheralyn - City of Angels
  103. Rallison - My Double Life
  104. Sanderson, Brandon - The Way of Kings 
  105. Sanderson, Brandon and Robert Jordan - The Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #13)
  106. Savage, Jeffrey S. - A Time to Die
  107. Savage, Jeffrey S. - The Fourth Nephite
  108. Sears, Gale - The Silence of God 
  109. Skye, Obert - Choke
  110. Sowards, Joan - Chocolate Roses
  111. Stansfield, Anita - A Far, Far Better Place: Dickens Inn #2
  112. Stansfield, Anita - A Loving Heart: Dickens Inn #3
  113. Stansfield, Anita - Every Graceful Fancy
  114. Stansfield, Anita - Tranquil Light: Dickens Inn #4
  115. Stringham, Jean - The Hoarders
  116. Thackeray, Christine - Lipstick Wars 
  117. Thayne, RaeAnne - A Cold Creek Baby
  118. Thayne, RaeAnne - A Cold Creek Secret
  119. Thompson, Michelle - Taming the Wind
  120. Udall, Brady - The Lonely Polygamist 
  121. Warburton, Carol Thayne - A Question of Trust
  122. Warburton, Carol Thayne - False Pretenses
  123. Warburton, Carol Thayne - The Legend of Shannonderry
  124. Watkins, Elizabeth W. - The Bishop's Bride: The Honeymoon's Over
  125. Weis, Margaret and Tracy Hickman - Secret of the Dragon: Dragonships of Vindras #2
  126. Wells, Dan - Mr. Monster
  127. West, David J. - Heroes of the Fallen
  128. Westover, Steve - Defensive Tactics
  129. Weyland, Jack - Cameron Meets Madison Again
  130. Weyland, Jack - It All Started with Autumn Jones
  131. White, Kiersten - Paranormalcy
  132. Wilhite, Becca - My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions
  133. Williams, Carol Lynch - Glimpse
  134. Wright, Jason F. - The Cross Gardener
  135. Wright, Jason F. - The Seventeen Second Miracle
  136. Wright, Julie - Cross My Heart
  137. Young, Michael D. - The Canticle Kingdom
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