Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We have a winner!

Eva, over on Phoenix Muse, won The Young Merlin Trilogy by Jane Yolen.

Stay tuned. More contests coming soon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You have to read through my whining to get to the prize...

Wow! Have I been swamped lately. Haven't had time to turn around twice, let alone post a blog. This is what I've done in the past two weeks:
  • I had a book due on the 25th that I didn't get turned in until yesterday (no, not a book I'm writing or publishing; I do pre-press work—editing & design—for Liahona Preparatory Academy).

  • I'm also the parent rep for Megan's lacrosse team (brand new at her school this year), so I've been organizing a HUGE fundraising campaign because they need everything—uniforms, equipment, etc. (Expect announcements and invitations to participate in these fundraisers to appear here soon).

  • I tend my grandbabies once a week. I absolutely love doing it. And it wears me out.

  • I'm trying to read all the Whitney Award finalists before the awards ceremony in March. I want to see if that committee's taste in fiction is as good as mine. (ha!) I've added the titles of the ones I've read to my Winter Reading List but reviews will have to wait.

  • I had to help my husband find a "new for us" car because his died.

  • By the end of this week, I still have to do a catalog for a client; the 1099s (due by law on the 31st) and the quarterly royalties for my nearly defunct publishing company; and year end reports for my three other businesses.

  • Oh, and I've still got this stupid cold that I caught the day after Christmas. Crazy.

But despite all this, it's time for a prize give-away for the Winter Reading Challenge.

Young Merlin Trilogy by Jane Yolen

When Merlin is just eight years old, his parents abandon him, leaving him to starve to death in the woods. He survives. More than that, he thrives: Over the course of the next four strange years, he discovers and tames his terrifying powers; pretends to be a traveling player, passing among peasants and princes; and fatefully befriends a future king. In the three novels of the Young Merlin Trilogy—Passager, Hobby and Merlin—master storyteller Jane Yolen reimagines the origins of the greatest wizard of all time.


1. Must be signed up for the Winter Reading Challenge 2008. (If you're not, sign up now.)

2. Must leave a comment on THIS POST in the next 24 hours. (Before January 30th, 9:06 A.M.)

3. Must live in the U.S. (Sorry.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Small Town USA

I live in Pleasant Grove. I love Pleasant Grove. When I started my first business back in 1991, I got a P.O. Box in Pleasant Grove, even though it was two towns away, because I wanted to have Pleasant Grove as a return address. I loved the name. I also loved the small, sleepy community that is was then.

When events aligned and required a move to a new home, our one and only requirement was it had to be in Pleasant Grove. PG was bigger by then, and it's even bigger now, which I don't like at all. But back in 1997, the only thing I didn't like about Pleasant Grove was it's itsy bitsy library. That, unfortunately, hasn't changed.

Today I went to our itsy bitsy library looking for the Whitney Award finalists. I found five. That's it. Five. Some of the titles I wanted were checked out, but more than half of the finalists weren't even listed as possibilities.

Sometimes the romance of the small town fades a bit.

Now playing on my iPod: Small Town by John Cougar Mellencamp

Did your Blogger blog crash today?

Do you get this error message when you try to go to your blog?

This blog is currently inaccessible. Blogger engineers are investigating the problem...bX-uxu3fu

If you did, then you probably had a custom template, right? Something with all new code created by someone other than Blogger, right?

I have more blogs than I care to admit to and the ones with highly customized template code that I got from (which is also down, by the way) and are inacessible.

My blogs that are based on Blogger templates but with my own added extra code lines are still fine. Pyzam templates seem to be working. I don't use any of them but some of my friends do.

I talked to a friend, who talked to a friend, who sort of knows html and css and how blogging works behind the scenes and the explanation I got is that Blogger has most likely changed some things to help block malicious code. A side effect is that it is also blocking templates coded by outside sources. Blocking the malicious code is a good thing and who knows, maybe your custom code has some of that in it. Unless html is your native language, you probably wouldn't recognize it.

Blogger may create a fix for that. Or they may not. I'm going to give them a day or two and see what happens. Not that I'm being kind and generous. I just won't have time to do anything about it until Saturday.

Now playing on my iPod: Mama Says by the Shirelles

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When it rains...

Can I just rant? Tried to call some of my real-time friends, but they're busy or gone and sometimes you just have to blow off steam, y'know?

This has just been a lousy week.

First, Megan's cell phone broke. It's insured, but there's a $75 deductible. Was I asleep when I agreed to that, or what? Luckily, she has a big sister who is a gadget geek. She just got a Blackberry (I am so jealous) and gave Meg her old phone to use for 6 months until she qualifies for a new upgrade.

Second, the vet called. My dog did not have surgery on the 8th as planned. They started prepping him, then discovered more tumors up higher on his leg. They did a biopsy instead. Turns out he's got a [something] lipoma—the kind of tumor that likes to twist its spindly little devil fingers all through the muscles and tendons. It will require radical surgery = $1500. Which we don't have. If successful, he'll be able to walk with a limp but will not have any muscle control of his toes on that paw. If we do nothing, eventually the tumor will cut off the blood supply and his leg will have to be amputated. This is so hard. We're stuck between being a creep to our dog or adding to the already massive business debt I acquired while thinking I could wait out the sales slump. (Obviously, I was wrong.) Anyone know of a rich philanthropist that would love to pay for my dog's surgery?

Third, my DH's car is in the shop. They just called. It's terminal. It would require a complete engine rebuild and other work, and for it's age (old) and mileage (lots), it would not be smart to repair it. You probably know where I'm going with this—if I couldn't afford $1500 for the dog surgery, you know I can't afford a new vehicle. Not that I'd ever buy "new" anyway. We always by used, on principle. But whatever, we're going to have to get a vehicle. Somehow.

So anyway. There's the rant. As my aunt Margie used to say, "Bad luck comes in threes." Hopefully it's over (the bad luck, not the rant because ranting is what I do best, followed very closely by my killer skillz at whining).

I don't know what we're going to do about the dog or the car. But I do know this: whatever happens, the Lord will provide. Somehow. He always does—either by providing healing and resources, or giving comfort and strength during our grief and struggle.

But if it's all the same to Him, I think I'd like to experience the trial of prosperity now, please.

Now playing on my iPod: Bring on the Rain by Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw (you really do have to listen to this song)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This is our future

While exploring a college campus with my soon-to-be-graduated-from-high-school daughter, her friend and her friend's parents, we got lost. Fortunately, we came upon two nice young men who were very willing to help us out—no doubt due to the stunning good looks of Megan and Laney Lou.

"Can you tell us how to get to the Admin building?"

"Admin building? I don't think we have an Admin building. I've been here two years and I've never heard of it."

"No Administration building?"

"Oh, you're looking for the Administration building? Go down this hall and turn left, then..."

Now playing on my iPod: The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Prize Time!

Time for another completely random Winter Reading Challenge Prize!

Chocolate for a Mother's Heart by Kay Allenbaugh. This is a very gently used copy, hardbound.

A rich, soulful celebration of motherhood, one that any woman—mother, daughter, sister, or best friend—will love. Here are more true stories that capture the essence of what it means to be a woman and that honor the unforgettable experience of mothering, from the heartwarming and hilarious to the bittersweet: a mother sending her child off to school, or down the aisle...a mother who knows just what to say and when to say it—or keep it to herself...a stand-in mom who passes for the "real thing" with flying colors...You're sure to recognize yourself—or your own mom—in the pages of this book.


1. Must be signed up for the Winter Reading Challenge 2008. (If you're not, sign up now.)

2. Must leave a comment on THIS POST in the next 24 hours. (Before January 12th, 8:15 A.M.)

3. Must live in the U.S. (Sorry.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where's that website...?

Back before both my computers crashed and I went insane because of it, I had a bookmark to a website that listed the most popular boy and girl names by year. It was a wonderful site. Does anyone know the address for that site?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Prize Winners!

Sandra and Tristi won the copies of The Last Straw as part of the Winter Reading Challenge prize give away. Yea, Sandra and Tristi. I will get those books out to you right away.

If you want to win a book through my totally random prize posting, sign up for the Winter Reading Challenge now and check my blog daily.

My puppy is having surgery today

I've never really thought of myself as an animal person. They're fun for about 5 minutes, and then I'm done and ready to move on. I'm not much of a people person either. Most people think I'm fun for about 5 minutes, then they move on.

However, I am an I-love-my-children person. And they like animals. So over the years we've had rodents, cats, dogs, fish. Currently, we have three cats and a dog leftover from when I went nuts and let my kids get a bunch of pets so they could learn to be responsible.

Ha! My husband feeds them. I get them their yearly shots. My husband bathes them. I tell him when they stink. My husband plays WWF with the dog. I use him to clean my kitchen floor. You get the picture.

When I took the dog in for his yearly exam and shots, I asked the vet to take a look at a couple of bumps he had—one on his chest, one on his leg. The chest was a fatty tumor. Nothing to worry about. The one on his leg is a fast-growing basal cell tumor. It's already so big they may have to do a skin graft. And it's going to cost us $800.

We don't have $800 but what are we going to do? If we don't get him the surgery, pretty soon he'll be walking around with a cantaloupe attached to his leg and we could end up on Animal Precinct.

Besides, I need that dog to stick around. He is the only thing that keeps my feet warm in the winter time.

Lucky—this morning right before we left for the vet.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Writer's Conferences

My cyber-friend, Marsha Ward, asked if I'd announce a writing conference. I'm happy to help her out.

ANWA Writers Conference
March 1, 2008 in Gilbert, AZ
Presenters include:
Kathryn B. Jenkins, Managing Editor, Covenant Communications, Inc.
Kerry Blair, Heather Madder, Tristi Pinkston, Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis

I don't live in Arizona, so I won't be going, but if I did, I would.

A conference that I will be attending is LDStorymakers, held March 21 & 22nd, in Sandy, UT. They haven't announced their presenters yet, but when I went a few years ago, I was very impressed.

The Last Straw

Prize time!

I have two new copies of the Christmas picture book, The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury, illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen to give away to two lucky winners.

Hoshmakaka, a proud, old camel, is chosen to perform a very special task—he is to carry the wise men's gifts to the new baby king in Bethlehem. At first Hoshmakaka is reluctant. But the adoration of the younger camels causes him to foollishly boast of his strenth, and the next thing he knows he is headed toward Bethlehem.

On the way, Hoshmakaka meets many others who also have gifts for the new king. The proud camel agrees to carry each item, even when it seems that his burden will be too great. Then a small child pleads with him to carry the proverbail last straw. Will this final gift bring the mighty camel to his knees?


1. Must be signed up for the Winter Reading Challenge 2008. (If you're not, sign up now.)

2. Must leave a comment on THIS POST in the next 24 hours. (Before January 8th, 2:45 P.M.)

3. Must live in the U.S. (Sorry.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Totally Unique

Saw this over on 3M_1MoreChapter's blog. Thought it was cool. How do you rate?
LogoThere are
people named Karlene
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?
LogoThere is
person with my first & last name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Books Read in 2008 Index

Click on the title to read the review.

  1. 13th Reality, The: Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner (5)
  2. Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarian by Brandon Sorenson (4)
  3. Beyond the Horizon by Judy C. Olsen (4)
  4. Book of 1,000 Days by Shannon Hale (4)
  5. Deep End, The by Traci Abramson (4)
  6. Desire of Our Hearts by Sariah S. Wilson (4.5)
  7. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (4.5)
  8. Fablehaven 2: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull (4.5)
  9. Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull (4)
  10. FarWorld: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage (4)
  11. Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black (5)
  12. Forged in the Refiner's Fire by Candace E. Salima and Elizabeth A. Cheever (3.75)
  13. Grave Secrets by Marlene Austin (3.5)
  14. Hazardous Duty by Betsy Brannon Green (4)
  15. Heaven Scent by Rebecca Talley (3.75)
  16. Host, The by Stephenie Meyer (5)
  17. How to Take the Ex Out of Ex Boyfriend by Janette Rallison (4)
  18. Hunting Gideon by Jessica Draper (3)
  19. Independence Club, The by Rachel Nunes (3)
  20. Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena (3)
  21. Mistborn 2: Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (3)
  22. On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell (3)
  23. Operative, The by William Boyd Gardner (3)
  24. Professor Winsnicker's Guide to Well-Mannered Sycophants by Obert Skye (3.75)
  25. Red Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (3.75)
  26. Rules of Engagement by Stephanie Fowers (4)
  27. Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston (4)
  28. Sun & Moon, Ice & Snow by Jessica Day George (5)
  29. Sunshine by Robin McKinley (too sexy)
  30. Unsung Lullabye by Josi Kilpack (4)

Sometimes it takes me a bit to get around to writing a review. In the meantime, here's a quick rating system:

0 = HATED. Could not even finish it. (These books I don't bother to put on the list here.)
1 = Didn't like. Cannot recommend to other.
2 = Didn't like—but other people might.
3 = Ambivalent. Liked some things about it; not others. Probably won't read again.
4 = Liked. May read again sometime.
5 = Loved! Own or want to own; will read again and again.