Monday, July 28, 2014

Books As Gifts With Kelly Polark!

Today I have a guest post by picture book/middle grade author, Kelly Polark! Her latest picture book, WORDS ON BIRDS, was released this summer!


It's beautiful summertime! Time for graduation parties, birthday parties, or just time to relax and read.

Books are always a great gift idea, and if you can pair it with something else cute - even better.

Check out these fabulous gift ideas that include books, wonderful books!


COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! by Lori Degman with either a Melissa and Doug farm puzzle and/or a cute farm stuffed animal!

ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION (ABC picture book of rock) by Kelly Polark with a Lego Rock Band game, a Hello Kitty KISS Edition, or a toy instrument! A band tee or onesie would be cool, too!

CHU'S DAY & CHU'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL by Neil Gaiman with Chu the stuffed panda,  some school accessories, and/or a cute box of tissues!


ORIGAMI YODA gift set by Tom Angleberger with what else but Star Wars Legos or toys!

ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK by Kelly Polark with an ITunes gift card!

WISH YOU WEREN'T by Sherrie Petersen with this astronomy ball!


DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and this Dauntless tee!

The DRAGONFLY series by Leigh T. Moore with some cool shades!

SHIVER trilogy boxed set by Maggie Stiefvater with a cute wolf tee!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Flooded With Gratitude

It may be hard to believe, but I'm at a loss for words that are big enough to express my gratitude. 

On July 7th, the tornado sirens were going off, rain was pounding our home and we were in the basement watching it all out the windows. (Naturally, my brilliant hubby was on the other side of the state.) The rain water made a beautiful waterfall coming over our egress wall. (I even video taped it on my phone.) We noticed the water rising in the bottom of the egress. It rose quickly, almost to the window sill. The TV went off the air, the sirens went off again, and I tried to move the weather radio to the bathroom with the pets. My beautiful daughter was in a panic because she thought her toilet was wasn't. The egress had emptied...into my house.

We (including my niece who is here for the summer) dashed around picking up anything on the floor, putting the furniture up on blocks, carrying as much as we could upstairs. I texted my brilliant husband on the other side of the state asking how to turn off the gas on the fireplace. He called a friend to come see what was going on. I texted a friend with a strong, college bound, football playing, son to see if he could come help. Within minutes friends began showing up at our house. They didn't bother to knock, they just came in and started helping get everything out of the basements. (Thank goodness for Rubbermaid tubs!) 

Within hours, the carpet and padding was removed, fans and dehumidifiers were busy drying the rest of the floors, pizza was ordered and wine was being poured.

The outpouring from our friends overwhelmed me. The next day people (even one who also had a flooded basement) called to check in on me.

We moved here almost six years ago. I didn't (really) open up to building true friendships until about a year and a half ago. I don't know how I will ever be able to show these amazing people how grateful I am for their friendship. 

The lesson I've learned from this is more than I have amazing friends. When you truly allow yourself to open up and build friendships, it allows you to not only to be the person they turn to, but they can be the people you can turn to when you are pushed past your limits. It feels pretty amazing to have so many people I can turn to.

Do you have a group of friends you can turn to? If not (yet), are you ready to open your heart and start building those kind of relationships?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

And The Winner of a Hardback copy of Burnout is...

The winner is Tracey Cox! (chosen by

A month or so ago I was invited to do a post on the Utah Children's Writer Blog, after I commented on one of their posts about the writing process.  If you have a chance you can hop over to the Utah Children's Writer Blog and see how I prepared to write my historical fiction MG novel. Be prepared for lots of photos and minimal words. (Yes, I had my first professional photos made. Although, my hair is a bit lighter now thanks to the magic of the sun and the best hair salon around.)

Thanks to everyone who got on twitter and spread the positive with me on Thursday. It's amazing how often someone else's Tweet hits close to home....and how much posting your own positive words can impact your own day...

Keep being positive!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Veuillez m'aider tendance! And a Burnout Giveaway

Veuillez m'aider tendance! 
(Please help me trend!)

I'm not someone who asks for favors or help often, but I'm going to ask you guys to help me with something this week. When I was hosting #sweetheartpbcontest, #midgrademadness, and #yahugs I had the opportunity to help a lot of writers doing I two things I love to do: connecting people and editing. Seeing my hashtags was really cool. It made me think, about trending and the value of trending.

Other than writing and my family, having a positive impact on the people who I "touch" really matters to me. Several years ago I "hosted" a #bepositive Tweet event and lots of people joined in, including Literary Agent Terrie Wolf. She and some of her followers expanded on my idea and created #bepositivehour.  Every week day from 3:00-4:00 PM in whatever time zone you live in you tweet something positive using #bepositivehour. Some of the tweets are so good I would have RT (retweeted) them more than once if it was allowed. Writing positive things is empowering and sending them out to the Universe could potentially change someone's day from a negative to a positive.


What I'm asking you to do is please join me on Thursday, June 26th from 3:00-4:00 PM in your time zone to help me trend #bepositivehour. You'll have fun I promise! Plus have a chance to win a hardback copy of BURNOUT by Kristi Helvig.

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Author bio: 
Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.

You can find out more about Kristi on her website/blog and follow her on Twitter.

How to win  a hardback copy of BURNOUT...

Commit (in the comments) to joining me on Thursday, June 26th from 3:00-4:00 PM (in your time zone) for #bepositivehour. I'll use to choose the lucky winner on Friday. I will be checking the person chooses did tweet. (I have a #bepositivehour list on my Tweetdeck.)

I hope everyone joins me on Thursday and that we can make #bepositivehour trend...


Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Best Thing I've Ever Done/Created

It all started here, well a couple months earlier than this picture, but this is one of my favorite photos.

Waiting ten years after you get married to get pregnant has its benefits and a few drawbacks. You're more mature. You've finished your education and hopefully paid off your student loans. You have a career, so you'll be able to provide well for your child/children, but the unexpected can happen. It's much harder to get pregnant when you are twenty-right than when you were in your early twenties. It took us two years of surgeries and drugs to finally get pregnant. So when our precious little girl finally arrived we were filled with joy and commitment to give her the best life we possibly could.

When she was old enough she did gymnastics, then ballet, tap, and jazz. She even gave soccer and volleyball a whirl, but she found her passion when she entered the 9th grade. Theater.

Just seeing this photo again takes my breath away.

 In this scene Erik Mueterthies has been institutionalized for mental health issues caused by an abusive mother and Katherine is his social worker. I swear no one in the auditorium made a single sound in this powerful scene. The Boys Next Door was an amazing play. My daughter will be pursuing a BFA in acting. My husband and I are so excited for her.

I may have gotten a bit carried away with our launching her into the real world/college party.

The best compliment of the day (for me) was when one of her friends said our house looked like a Pinterest Page.

I may have gotten a little carried away, as I'm not showing you all the don't have the I'm just trying to hit the highlights.

The next weekend was full of smiles and tears and family fun, as 15 family members traveled from 10-18 hours to see her graduate.

After everyone went home we hit the airways...and went to New York City for the first time.

This was the view from our room. That's the Hudson River in the distance. The front of our hotel was on Times Square.

We went to three shows...this trip was all about letting our daughter sample NYC. I'm pretty sure she had a wonderful time.

We walked between 5 and 8 miles a day. It was wonderful: the sounds, the smells, the people, the sights and the lights!

One day we did take a bus tour. I would recommend doing that to anyone going to NY. It was outstanding!

 Freedom Tower

The World Trade Center Memorial

The Bull of Wall Street

Any Law and Order fans out there?

A couple things really surprised me...

I did not expect there to be so many trees.

There were all kinds of vendors lining the street: food, souvenirs, purses, sunglasses, artwork and many more.

I fell in love with Central Park. The contrast between the old and the new was just amazing.

Times Square was full of people no matter what time of day or night it was and I never felt unsafe.

There were street performers everywhere: everything from people dressed up in Statue of Liberty costumes, to artists and musicians.  We even saw a couple guys making giant bubbles.

This trip was mostly about celebrating our daughter, but we managed to throw in one thing especially for me...

I could continue to go on and on, but I'll stop and reflect for a moment...

Our daughter is the best thing in my life (don't tell my hubby). I'm going to miss her tremendously when she goes off to college, but I know with her talent, passion and drive that one day we'll be back in New York watching her on Broadway.

Thanks for stopping by and indulging my proud mommy post.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Holiday Hope and 2014 Goal

I hope your Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa  and New Year were smashing!

Surely, they were filled with delicious treats,

that were made with love and great care.

Perhaps some surprises came your way this year.

Peaches got the "big" present at our house this year. 
She is very pleased with it.

Macy enjoyed many presents, especially the cat toys.

Me being me, I wanted something wild and crazy for Christmas this year.

My brilliant husband and my darling daughter answered my Christmas wish.

I took my first try at snowshoeing today. It was great fun!

I did fall down once when I was trying to turn around.

Last year I logged 344.85 miles (plus 733 minutes of other exercise) and most of them were outside. With these awesome snowshoes I'll be able to start the new year working some new muscles.


A new year has begun and lots of people are making resolutions. For me, resolutions are easily broken, so I make goals.  I'm not going to state the obvious ones (write more, read more, exercise more, eat less etc...) because we all want to do those. 

 In 2014 I will:
- be happy.
- treat myself the way I treat my friends.
not let other people's behavior affect my life. 
- voice my opinion and not feel bad about having one.
- live my life in a way that makes me happy and fulfilled.
- associate with people who make me happy.

What WILL you do in 2014?