Thursday, April 30, 2009

I'm on YouTube!

Okay, no I'm not. But my store is.

LDStorymakers made a movie and parts of it were filmed at our store. Fun! Those are our bookshelves, our train set, our puppets.

Eat your heart out Barnes & Noble!

This was filmed, directed and edited by movie maker extrordinaire, Stephanie Fowers (who also did this rockin' video, Big Girls (You are Beautiful). She also sang the song. Heather Moore and Crystal Liechty wrote the lyrics.

The stars of "I Wanna Be a Bestseller" include: Authors James Dashner, Josi Kilpack, Crystal Liechty, Annette Lyon, H.B. Moore, Rachel Ann Nunes, Tristi Pinkston, BJ Rowley, J. Scott Savage, Jaime Theler, and Robison Wells.

It's a hoot. Watch it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Wanna Be a Bestseller!

Provident Book* is on YouTube!

LDStorymakers made a movie and parts of it were filmed at our store. Fun! Those are our bookshelves, our train set, our puppets.

Eat your heart out Barnes & Noble!

*Provident Book was the bookstore I worked at for about 6 months. It closed down. :(

My Coolness Factor Just Skyrocketed!

Before I start with all the photos, let me just say that I am the most un-photogenic person I know. Sorry about that.

But these photos of me with my totally cool peeps at the LDStorymakers Conference are just so cool that I had to post them.

First, I got to meet a couple of bloggers that I love and who love me back. (I hope.)

Kymberly—Oops! I put the question mark in the wrong place.
It's Temporary? Insanity

Dan Wells' book is out in the UK. Will be here in the US soon.
(And no, we're not related.) (My maiden name was Wells.)

Luisa is not only a great blogger, but also a gifted writer.
I know. I've read some of her stories. You can too, HERE.

I also got to take some photos with authors who
I am so pleased and grateful to call friends.
Because they are so talented.
Cindy is a soul-sister. I love her to death.
I first met Lori when she designed Cindy's book cover for Rosehaven.
She is a wonderful woman.

Stephanie writes incredibly twisted suspense.
She was one of my first blog friends. I'm so glad she won a Whitney.
Heather (yes, I know her well enough to call her Heather, instead of H.B.)
has done signings at Provident Book.
AND, she loaned me a library book and trusted me to return it on time.
See? I'm not just a groupie. We're friends.

Just before the Whitney Gala, I was pulled aside
to be part of a podcast for LDSWBR.
The podcast isn't posted yet, but I'll let you know when it is.

Shirley Bahlmann was one of the conference photographers.
She is also a great writer. I've read several of her books and liked them—
especially Walker's Gold.
(And yes, Shirley, I spelled your last name without looking it up. :)

Not sure how the photog (Shirley's son) did this
but he's got skillz.

And speaking of Shirley's sons. . .
Bron has a book coming out soon.

Dean Lorey wrote the Nightmare Academy series.
Also several movies and TV shows. (I actually saw My Boyfriend's Back on TV!)
He was the speaker during Friday night dinner. Hilariously funny.
He was very nice. He even SPOKE to me—
we had a couple of (short) conversations during the evening.

James Dashner signed my copies of his books.
I love his 13th Reality series. It won Best Youth Fiction.
I tried not to fawn.

I bought five of Janette Rallison's books. I "discovered" her at last year's conference.
My Fair Godmother sold out at this conference before I could get one. :(
I attended her class and it was great. She inspired me past a plot snag in my WIP.

The coup of the evening was this photo.
I admit, I don't "know" Brandon Sanderson.
(Uhm, I didn't really know Dean Lorey either,
but all the others I know well enough to approach if I saw them at the mall.)
I own ALL of his books. I like them—especially the Alcatraz series.

Normally, I don't stalk authors, nor do I ask complete strangers for photo ops.
But I couldn't help myself.
Plus, I wanted to impress my SIL.

There were so many others I wanted to get photos with—J. Scott Savage, Jessica Day George, Angela Hallstrom, Sarah Eden, Tanya Parker Mills, Nancy Allen, Tristi Pinkston, Julie Coulter Bellon, Kerry Blair, Candace Salima, and many, many more. But they saw me coming!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Whitney Winners

I just finished up a fabulous weekend at the LDStorymakers Writing Conference. It was great and I'm inspired and committed again. I'll be posting a little about it later.

But the breaking news is...the Whitney winners. Some of my picks won, but not in the category I chose for them. The only one I got right was the Youth category—because I picked all of them.

Best General Fiction

Best Historical:

Best Speculative:

Best Youth Fiction:

Best Mystery/Suspense:

Best Romance

Best Novel by a New Author

Best Novel of the Year

Friday, April 24, 2009

Josi Kilpack Visited Provident Book

Josi S. Kilpack, author of Lemon Tart, book one in a new culinary mystery series, visited Provident Book. This is her 9th published book and number 10, English Trifle, is due out in August. Josi started as an author with Cedar Fort, but is now with Deseret Book and doing very well. Lemon Tart has been #1 on their bestseller list for weeks now!

It was great having Josi visit and tell us how she got the idea for Lemon Tart. Turns out, it was sparked by a writing contest. It sat on the back burner for awhile, as she finished up other books, but I'm so glad she returned to it because it's one of my favs. A great summer book, with mystery and intrigue, and a fun busy-body of a neighbor as the main character.

Sandra, Rebecca, Josi, Heather

We had a good turn out—even though a lot of our usual book club members weren't able to make it. Some people came a long way to meet Josi—Heather came all the way from Fillmore and Rebecca came all the way from Colorado, just to visit our store! (Okay, not really. They were coming for the LDStorymakers Conference this weekend, but they did make the effort to come by the store for the book club. Thanks, ladies! And you're welcome to stop in any time.)

My Whitney Picks

The LDStorymakers Conference and the Whitney Gala are this weekend and I'm so excited to be going. My writing has sort of stalled out—once again. I'm starting to think I'll never write a complete book. Perhaps I'm a better editor/polisher, than I am a creator. Whatever. Anyway. I know this weekend will be totally inspiring and I'll come home determined to be a writer again.

Like last year, I read all the Whitney nominees. Unlike last year, it was a lot harder to choose winners. There were only a few books that I felt didn't quite deserve the nomination they received, but most of them were very, very good. In most of the categories, it was pretty easy for me to narrow it down to two books but then I was stumped because I could justify either one as a winner. In the Youth category, I wanted them all to win—in a five way tie!

However, after much, much deliberation, here are my picks, with short commentary:

Best General Fiction:
My two favs were Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom and The Reckoning by Tanya Parker Mills. The Reckoning was a very solid book with a great story. Bound on Earth had a wonderful writing style, examining a family structure and the way their challenges bound them together. Although, in my opinion, it is more a collection of short stories, rather than a novel, I still went with Bound on Earth as the Best General Fiction.

Best Historical: I liked all five of the nominees. They each had a few little weaknesses I'd change, but then, I'm an editor and I was born to pick things apart. This category winner was a tough call. I loved Isabelle Webb's cleverness; I loved the strength of testimony and love shared between Abinadi and his wife; I loved Charlie Mae's spunk; I loved Marie's courage. But the one that really caught me up was the story of Jesus' "adopted" brother in Master by Toni Sorenson.

Best Speculative Fiction:
Hands down,
The Host by Stephanie Meyer. While I'm only a moderate fan of the Twilight series, I am a raving fan of The Host. I absolutely loved this book. It's on my list of all-time favorites. I loved the slow building romance, the story of two species colliding, and the examination of the human race through the eyes of its conquerors. Please tell me there will be a sequel.

Best Youth Fiction: Of all the categories, this was the hardest to judge and I'd really be fine if any one of the five nominees won. I loved every. single. one.
The 13th Reality by James Dashner was fabulous. I loved how Tick has good friends and a stable family. Alcatraz vs. The Scrivner’s Bones by Brandon Sanderson was a fabulous story. The chapter beginnings were hilariously funny. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague (Book 3) by Brandon Mull had such good (but highly entertaining) lessons about good vs evil and the consequences of our choices. Far World: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage has a handicapped main character, which alone is a huge plus. And the theme of the magic being inside was just great. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George was written in such a beautiful voice. All of these books had wonderful, interesting characters, solid and unpredictable plotting, great pacing, great dialog, great. . . everything! How to choose? How to choose?

Okay, I choose either The 13th Reality or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow . Or Alcatraz vs. The Scrivner’s Bones. No, wait. I choose Far World: Water Keep. No, Fablehaven. No. . .aarrgh! I give up.

Best Mystery/Suspense:
Another hard category. I liked all of them. I had to get nit-picky about these. First, I ruled out
Above and Beyond by Betsy Brannon Green because I didn't think this sequel quite lived up to the first volume. I also ruled out Royal Target by Traci Hunter Abramson because I think it's first a romance, and second a mystery, and was mis-categorized. I really liked the basic idea behind Do No Harm by Gregg Luke but I felt it needed a little tighter edit. That left Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black and Freefall by Traci Hunter Abramson—both of which I absolutely loved. But I chose Freefall because I'm saving Fool Me Twice for—oops! spoiler.

Best Romance:
This is the category that I usually like least but I was even pleased with the selections here. They are what they are, and if you're looking for a good romance, I think you'll like all of them. If Royal Target had been in this category, it might have been a harder choice for me, but as it was, Seeking Persephone by Sarah Eden was the clear winner for me. It reminded me some of Jane Austen's work. It was charming and not completely predicatable. Loved it.

Best Novel by a New Author:
Although I think Traitor by Sandra Grey will probably win, I'm choosing The Reckoning by Tanya Parker Mills. It was a great story that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It wasn't perfect, there were some issues with timing and the ages of the characters that I felt were off. But over all, I was impressed with Mills' handling of the realism, the strength of her characters, and the story line.

Best Novel of the Year:
This was a very hard category. All of the books were so good. For me, it came down to Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. I loved them both. Fool Me Twice had a wonderful twisty-turny plot line that kept me totally engrossed in the story, the characters were great. I just couldn't put it down. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow had such a beautiful voice. It's my favorite retelling of this particular fairy tale, and one of my favorite retellings of a fairy tale, period. However, in the end, I went with Fool Me Twice because it just plain takes a genius to come up with something that twisted and warped.

And that's it for me. We'll see how close my predictions were on Saturday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stomp! Stomp! Scream!

One of those days . . . again.

7:00 a.m. — Wake up to a very sick DH. He's a rock though. He went to work anyway. Feel bad for him. Wish I could make his day better.

8:00 a.m. — Leave for the dentist. Discover cat puke on the front porch. Second day in a row.

8:05 a.m. — As I drive out of the neighborhood, a fire truck, ambulance and police car go screaming by and turn onto my street. I know they're not going to my house, but someone I know is in trouble. Now I'll worry.

9:00 a.m. — Dentist. I don't really need to go into the details, do I? Although I feel the need to vent about the fact that I'm there so he can fix a tooth that he fixed last month . . .

10:00 a.m. — Leaving the dentist. I hurt. My daughter calls to tell me someone we know passed away. Now I'm sad on top of the tooth pain.

10:15 a.m. — Stop by the grocery store to get goodies for tonight's Provident Ladies Book Club meeting. (Please come!) We'll be munching lemon cookies and lemon poppy seed muffins as we discuss the book, Lemon Tart, with author Josie Kilpack. (Please, please come!)

10:30 a.m. — Remembered that I forgot to have the bag stuffers and poster printed for next month's Provident Ladies Book Club, featuring the very talented Annette Lyon and her newest book, Spires of Stone. Bummer.

11:00 a.m. — Call the store to tell them I moved a bunch of stuff around yesterday. No one answers. A miscommunication about the schedule. . .Guess who gets to cover the shift?

11:40 a.m. — See the RS Prez on my way out of the neighborhood and pull over to see what was up this morning. A gas leak. No one hurt. But another ambulance just passed by. Don't know who that's for. Also found out a dear, dear neighbor has cancer and beginning Alzheimers. Can we just stop today NOW?

11:45 a.m. — Rush down to the store to open it and work the shift that nobody claimed, plus my own. So much for resting up for this weekend's writing conference. Hair is flat. Make-up is hit and miss (mostly miss). And my tooth hurts. In fact, my whole jaw hurts.

12:05 p.m. — Called the dentist. He said it's normal and to wait for all the anesthetic to wear off. I don't believe him. It doesn't feel normal. Also, it looks really funny—not ha-ha funny, but weird. My tooth looks/feels longer (is this what they mean by being long in the tooth?) and it has odd white tips on it. He was supposed to be replacing a filling, not rebuilding the tooth.

1:00 p.m. — Mostly ready for the Book Club tonight, only I'm freaking out because I'm afraid no one will come. (Please, please, please come!) See, a lot of our bookclub members are also Storyteller Committee members and they all think they've got more important stuff to do tonight.

1:15 p.m. — My tooth/teeth really hurt now. Not just the one that was worked on, but where the extra long top tooth hits the one below it. Do I have time to go to the dentist to fix it? No. I work until 8:00 p.m. tonight. (Please, please, please, please come to the book club!) Then I'm going to the writer's conference. And if I have to miss even one second of that writing conference or if I don't enjoy it because my tooth/teeth hurt too much, I think I may decide to change dentists.

1:30 p.m. — DH just called. He went home from work and is going to bed. Poor baby.

This is just getting depressing.

Now playing on my iPod: The Dentist by Steve Martin

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Can See the Blue Sky!

I've been soooo busy lately, what with wedding planning (new date set at June 25th), changes at the store (see details below), and griping about the cold weather. But it's nice out today and I'm in a good mood, so I decided to post about a few fun and exciting events going on this week.

Josi S. Kilpack
Author of Lemon Tart, is coming this Thursday for our Provident Ladies Book Club. We're meeting at 6:00 p.m., instead of the usual 7:00 p.m. Hope to see you there. Lots of fun. Cookies. Door prizes. Club discount cards.

Toy Clearance
We're clearing out the toy section of the store. All toys are 15% off through the end of the month. These are not your average toys. They are really high quality toys from Melissa and Doug, WishPets, Science Kits and more. Come in soon for the best selection.

Book Swap
Starting April 27th! I'm so excited about this. For only $1, you can swap your gently-used books for any of our gently-used books. Of course, to get this started, we need a stash of books. I've brought in about 200, but we'd like double that. So...because you're MY FRIEND, here's a special offer. Bring your gently-used books to the store or to me by this Friday, April 24th, and get half-price swap credits.

For example, if you bring in 10 or 20 or 100 books, I'll give you credits for those at only 50¢ per swap in the future. (Of course, I'd hope that you'd use your credits slowly so that our supply isn't instantaneously depleted.)

We plan to have a full selection of genre fiction, including LDS books, plus limited non-fiction. Books need to be gently used. There are a few restrictions on titles that I can accept—mostly dependent on whether or not we already have enough copies of the book. If you have used books you'd like to trade in now for half-price trades in the future (or you know someone who'd be interested), contact me ASAP. (You must contact me, rather than ask someone at the store because the other sales clerks have not yet been trained on the details.)

Act fast because this offer is only good through this Friday.

Boutique-Style Consignment
We are inviting individuals with boutique style items to put their products in our store. We work on a consignment basis. Your products would go into the store through Rosehaven Publishing & Distribution as the representative vendor. If you or someone you know has a home-based business selling boutique style items, please contact me for details.

If you don't have books you want to trade or boutique items you'd like to sell, but you would like to know when the book swap and/or boutique portion of the store is ready to go, you can sign up for our Provident Book newsletter. (Second item in the left-hand sidebar.)

Now playing on my iPod: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Break?

I hate all of my friends who went to sunny southern climes this week.

(And you know who you are!)

I'm trying my very hardest to think of one single positive thing to say about this—y'know, kind of like one of Stacy's Life Savers that captures the humor of the moment—and the only thing I can think of is, it could be worse…I could be snowed in and pregnant!

Now playing on my iPod: Baby, It's Cold Outside by Doris Day and Bing Crosby

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Life is Tough by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

Being the perfect mother that I am, when one of my dear children would come to me, crushed by life's blows, I'd impart these loving words of wisdom to them, "Life sucks and then you die."

I think they got the message because they generally face life head-on and rarely whine or complain to me.

However, if I had it to do over again, I think instead I'd try Stacy's approach to life's lessons. She uses a healthy dose of humor, a sprinkling of laughter and a generous dollop of wit as she shares with us some of life's lessons and how to deal with them.

I loved Stacy's book. I read it late one night when Megan was out with that boy she hangs with and DH was at work. The book is a quick read and it had me laughing out loud in several places, wishing I had someone close by with which to share the humor. I very much liked Stacy's first book, The Santa Letters, but I think I liked this one even better.

One part that I particularly loved came from Life Lesson #23, "Life is like a roller coaster. You can scream every time you hit a bump or throw your hands up in the air and enjoy the ride." That's a big one for me. I tend to get a little overwhelmed and stressed out over life's little ups and downs. I need to regularly be reminded that life happens, and I can choose to be miserable or I can choose to enjoy the ride.

Another of my favorites is when Stacy compares marriage (and it works equally well when applied to children, siblings, parents and other relationships) with the family dog. "It's a pain in the neck and always in the way, but you love it anyway and treat it with respect."

Stacy has a blog where she posts a daily life saver. A life saver is a little "gem of wisdom" that helps us get through the day or deal with a particular challenge. Like her book, the life savers are very funny but leave you a little wiser.

One of Stacy's first life savers was: "Fat people are harder to kidnap." I could appreciate Stacy's story about that, having dealt with my own weight issues for years.

A personal life saver that I've used for years comes from a Star Trek TMG episode, when event after event goes awry, the normally stuffy Capt. Picard laughs and says, "Sometimes... you just have to bow to the absurd." On those days when so many things go wrong that I find myself looking up at the sky and yelling, "Are you kidding me?!" that little life saver reminds me to laugh and go on.

The life saver for today is "All power corrupts but we need the electricity." I can't wait to see what Stacy writes about that one.

You can read up on Stacy's life savers HERE.

Her book is available for purchase through, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Deseret Book or Seagull.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ladies Night was a Blast!

We had seven great authors come for a meet and mingle at our Ladies Night.

Front Row, Left to Right:
Janet Burningham, author of Monday Nights in Nauvoo and Monday Nights in Zarahemla.

Tristi Pinkston, author of Nothing to Regret, Strength to Endure, Season of Sacrifice and the soon to be released, Agent in Old Lace. (Tristi will be our guest at the book club in June. More info later.)

Kristen Landon, author of Life in the Pit.

Back Row, Left to Right:
Michele Ashman Bell, author of 21 books, including A Modest Proposal and Perfect Timing.

Terri Ferran, author of Finding Faith and Having Hope.

Julie Bellon, author of Through Love's Trials, On the Edge, Time Will Tell and All's Fair.

Stacey Gooch Anderson, author of The Santa Letters and Life's Tough.

Here are a few candid shots from the event:

The winner of one of our door prizes (donated by Granite Publishing,
Millennial Press, and our store) gives author Kristen Landon a hug.

Author Terri Ferran surrounded by adoring fans.

A few more fans and book lovers milling about.

Friday, April 03, 2009

When is a Road Trip not really a Road Trip?

In approximately 60 days, it will be the anniversary of my First Annual Summer Road Trip. That trip was so much fun—making the trip, spending time with Megan and being completely spontaneous. It was just as fun coming up with the various contests and prizes. I had sooooo hoped to take another Road Trip this summer, but due to you-know-who's plans for this fall, no road trip for me.

There's also this complication of having a job where people expect me to show up to work on a regular basis.

So I've been pouting and sulking. Because I'm sort of a baby like that.

But then I had an idea. Just because I can't do a road trip doesn't mean I can't have fun this summer, right? I'm creative and clever. I can come up with something fun to do on my blog, with prizes and games and contests galore. Right? RIGHT??

uunnh. Maybe not.

Here's what I've come up with so far: ____

That's right. A big fat nothing. Ideas?

The as yet undetermined first prize for the 2nd Annual Summer Road Trip (That Won't Quite Involve a Road Trip) will go to whomever gives me a good idea.

Now playing on my iPod: Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts (ahh, the memories. . .)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Big Fat Life-Changing Event

I finally have permission to blog about that life event I mentioned last week. (No, Rebecca, I'm not pregnant. I can't believe you'd try to jinx me like that!) I was going to blog about this yesterday, but I figured no one would believe me.

So here it is, the BIG news:

Megan is getting married!

Meet Kendall Duclos. He’s in our stake. He recently returned from a Chinese-speaking mission in Australia. While we had never met him or his family, we have a lot of friends in common and they all say he’s wonderful and his family is wonderful.

Of course, we could tell that within minutes of meeting him ourselves. He is a sweetheart and so kind to Megan. He fits in our family very well.

They’ve set a date of September 19th. They’re waiting until fall because Kendall may be going to Texas this summer for a job. We’re hoping he gets one closer to home.

McKenna took their engagement photos. You can see a little video of it HERE.

So now I can hear some of my more obnoxious...uhm... ornery...uhm... fun readers asking, "Karlene, that's Megan's big life event, not yours. What? Do you live vicariously through all your children?"

And the answer is: Yes, I do. Doesn't everyone?

Besides, Megan is my last baby bird to leave the nest. My three other children have already flown. When Megan leaves, it will be just me, DH, the dog, three cats, and a few miscellaneous vermin that come to visit in the winter time.

So yes, it is a BIG life event for me!

Now playing on my iPod: Going to the Chapel by The Shirelles

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My Favorite April Fool's Joke!

Baby Burrito.

We called him Pilaf back then, because he was the size of a grain of rice when my daughter called to tell me she was pregnant. It was 10 minutes after we hung up that I realized it was April 1st. For half a second, I thought maybe it was a joke but then I realized she wouldn't joke about something like that. It was definitely a surprise then, but now I can't imagine life without that little cutie pie.

So what's your favorite April Fool's joke? What's the best prank someone pulled on you, or that you pulled on someone else?

Now playing on my iPod: Come to Me by Celine Dion