Monday, March 30, 2009

I feel good!


Here's how good I feel:

  • Monday (today), I worked out with my Wii Fit—first time in months. I also read my scriptures, wrote in my journal, and did a few dishes before I started my work day.

Why do I feel so good?
  • I'm weaning off a drug I've been taking for almost a year now. The first day after I dropped to half a dose, I felt better.
  • I'm building up on a new drug that I have done really well on in the past. (The reason I switched off it was it has one particular side effect I was trying to overcome. But after four years of experimenting with other drugs, I've decided I can live with the side effect.)

And even though it's SNOWING outside right now, I still feel like dancing!

Now playing on my iPod: I Feel Good by James Brown

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rachel Nunes Visited Provident Book!

Our Provident Ladies Book Club keeps getting better and better!

Our guest for March was Rachel Nunes, a best-selling LDS author with thirty published titles to her name, and more on the way! Her book, Fields of Home, has been nominated as a 2008 Whitney Finalist for General Fiction and The Independence Club was a Whitney Finalist in 2007. Her picture book, Daughter of a King, has sold over 70,000 copies and is still in print—which is amazing in this market!

Taffy, Tristi, Rachel Nunes, and [sorry, I forgot your name]

For our book discussion, we chose Eyes of a Stranger. Rachel said she didn't intend to write a suspense novel, but that's how it turned out. This book follows the story of Bret Winn, who is Liana's brother in Flying Home. It also introduces the character Autumn Rain, who will be featured in Rachel next book.

Rachel talked about her writing process—boy, does she write fast! Then she goes through the book again for fixes, then sends it out to readers. All in all, her books go through about 10 revisions from first draft to final copy.

We had a great time asking her questions about writing and her upcoming books. Rachel was an absolute delight and brought special bookmarks for each of us, to help us to remember to go after our dreams.

We had quite a few people show up, but some of them had already left by the time I remembered to break out the camera. However, the young woman pictured below gets the award for being "#1 Fan" because she came all the way from Murray just to meet Rachel.

Rachel also brought copies of her book, A Greater Love, and gave them to everyone who purchased one of her books from the store. Those of you who missed the book club, aren't you sorry you didn't come? If that doesn't convince you that you really missed out, this should:

Because I forgot to bring the cookies last month, we made up for it with these extra special Easter cookies from Kneaders. Yum-o! (Now you're really kicking yourself, aren't you?)

Oh, and we had our first male book clubber attend. He drove Rachel's #1 fan down for the event.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bad Blogger

Yes, I've been a bad blogger lately. What with crash-reading nearly 30 novels, having IV Iron treatments, and another life event that I'm not allowed to blog about yet but is so exciting I can hardly stand it, I haven't made it here to post.

This week I'm participating in a BIAW (Book in a Week) challenge at No, I really don't expect to write an entire book in a week, but the point of the challenge is to write fast and furious and get as much of it down on paper as possible. No editing, no rewriting—this is purely first draft stuff.

This BIAW is coming along very well. Monday I wrote longhand while at the doctor and did some plotting and characterization. Tuesday I did more characterization and wrote 951 words; yesterday 1,031 words. Woot!

I'm so proud of myself, I may have to make one of those sidebar braggers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tower of Strength by Annette Lyon

It was 1877 when Tabitha Hall Chadwick left Manti as a young bride. Now, nearly seven years later, she returns as a widow with her young son to make a new beginning. Tabitha's strained relationship with her mother–in–law adds more difficulty to her life as a single working mother. Yet with a stroke of courage, Tabitha makes two purchases that become her passions: the local newspaper and a traumatized horse. As she struggles to meet the challenges of her new roles, Tabitha welcomes the friendship of Samuel, a recently widowed British immigrant. Working together to train the abused horse, the two discover a second chance at love. But when Samuel is critically injured during the construction of the Manti Temple, Tabitha faces the pain of old wounds and the risk of new ones. Weaving themes of loss and renewal, this poignant tale explores a vital choice each of us must make: to seek safety in isolation or to embrace the painful yet beautiful complexities of life and love.

So everyone knows I’m not a big romance fan. (Sorry, Julie.) Neither am I a huge historical fiction fan. It’s not that I hate those genres—at least, I don’t hate historicals—it’s just that there are other genres that I like so much more.

So why am I reviewing another historical romance by Annette Lyon?

Because it was that good.

What I don’t like about traditional romances is the implausibility of the relationship between the helpless female and the irresistible rogue—yuk, gag, puke. Even though Tabitha fell apart when her young husband died in an explosion, she was not and is not helpless. She struggled to get an education and to provide for herself and her child. The woman that returns to Manti is strong and courageous, willing to stick to her convictions and do what is right, even though it may put her livelihood and her reputation in danger.

As for historicals, many of them remind me of high school—dull and boring, with the story line as an excuse to shove the history lesson down out throats. Yawn. But this is not a problem in this book. The history is the backdrop to the story, not the main point. We get enough to make it realistic and believable but it’s not a rehearsal of dates and facts.

I could appreciate Tabitha’s struggle when she began to have feelings for Samuel. On the one hand, this could develop into a deep and abiding love for a good man. On the other hand, it would open her heart up to pain again. I also enjoyed watching Samuel grow and change from a man who hated working with animals, to someone who allowed himself to be taught by and learn from a woman. These were two people with admirable qualities and great strength of character. It was easy to see how they would be attracted to each other.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance and a well-written story. You can read the first two chapters here.

(I love the background music for this book trailer.)

P.S. Annette came to one of my Urban Botanic Make & Take parties and created a fragrance for Tabitha.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tide's Loads of Hope Program

BlogHer is supporting the Tide's Loads of Hope program. They sent me an e-mail about it and I thought it was a great idea. Just passing it along in case you're interested.

Link to t-shirts

From Tide's Loads of Hope Website: Tide Loads of Hope helps in the aftermath of a natural disaster by providing clean clothes and a sense of comfort to families in need. Partnering with Feeding America, we travel to disaster affected neighborhoods with the Tide Loads of Hope truck or vans, our free mobile laundry service.

Tide Loads of Hope truck:
  • 32 high-effiency washers and dryers stationed on the truck
  • Can do 300 wash and dry cycles a day -equal to one year's worth of laundry for a single family
  • Will wash about 9,000 loads of laundry over a four-week period
  • Leveraged during massive disasters where electricity is unavailable in the region
Tide Loads of Hope vans:
  • In partnership with a local laundromat, the Tide Loads of Hope vans provide free laundry service at the same load rate as the trucks
  • Leveraged during disasters where neighboring communities still have a source of electricity

To date, Tide Loads of Hope has washed more than 35,000 loads of laundry for over 20,000 families. Most importantly, the Tide Loads of Hope program means we're equipped to take action whenever and wherever there is a need in our country.

Tide Loads of Hope Vintage Tees:

Tide Loads of Hope can also be supported through the purchase of a Tide Vintage Tee. All profits go to support families affected by disaster.

Where it all started

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the need for clean clothing became critical, and Tide found a way to help. So in November 2005, the Tide Loads of Hope truck headed to Camp Hope in the Metairie, LA area and cleaned over 10,000 loads of laundry. The spirit of this first venture informs and inspires everything Tide Loads of Hope program does.

P.S. Neither BlogHer nor I make money from this program.