A Modest Proposal: Give-Aways, Model Search, Contests, and a Fashion Show!

My friend Michele Ashman Bell, author of A Modest Proposal, sent me the following announcement:

In conjunction with the release of A Modest Proposal, Allyse's Bridal, in Orem and American Fork, is doing a dress giveaway. The entry form is in the back of the book, A Modest Proposal (or you can email Danyelle for the PDF form). You just need to fill it out and send it in and you will be eligible for a free $500.00 dress.

Also, there will be a modesty fashion show at Southtowne Mall on June 28th at 7:00 pm. Macys Department Store, Regis Hair Salon, Shape Candy and Covenant Communications are sponsoring this event.

Along with the fashion show, we are having a "Real Woman" model search to get models for the contest. Anyone, 13 and older, who wants to enter can go to my web-site, www.micheleashmanbell.com and send to the email provided there the following: name, age, height, address and phone number, current head shot, and a 200 word essay on "How do the clothes I wear reflect my inner beauty?" The deadline for this is June 14th. Winners will model in the fashion show.

There is also a design contest being held for the fashion show. Girls, 13 and older, can submit their designs for any type of outfit i.e., casual, formal, dress, pant, etc... No swimwear please. The winning outfit will be made by Cherella USA and debuted at the fashion show. Sketches need to be mailed and received by June 14th. They can be sent to: Covenant Communications Inc., P.O. Box 416, American Fork, UT 84003.

Ooh la la, ladies! There's lots of fabulous stuff in this promotion. Enjoy!

I'm Walking on Sunshine!

Early this morning, I received in email that has me absolutely walking on sunshine!

Let me back up just a tad. Last March at the LDS Storymakers Writers Conference, I had the opportunity to have a pitch session with Lisa Mangum, Senior Editor at Deseret Book. I talked with her about my Teaching Special Spirits project. She was very interested and asked me lots of fantastic questions. At the end of my fifteen minutes, she expressed interest in pitching the book to her review committee. I crossed my fingers and said lots and lots of prayers.

So here we are, about two months later. Lisa has just emailed me to say that she's pitched the book and that Deseret Book is very interested in more information. I was asked to make a few changes, which I'm totally fine with. Now I'm gathering together my new outline and several chapters for them to review.

Oh-Wowy-Wowy-Wow! To say I'm thrilled and totally excited is an understatement. Today is definitely a Walking on Sunshine Day!

It's Finally Here!

I can't believe it . . . School's finally out! Yippee! Horray! Yahoo!

No more dragging myself out of bed to the tune of my cell phone's nasty alarm.

No more packing PB&J lunches every day.

No more checking checking toothbrushes and breath to be sure the kids really did brush their teeth.

No more fighting with kids to find their shoes before the bus arrives.

No more watching and waiting at the door for the bus to arrive, while waving to my neighbors as they leave for work (while in my PJ's!)

No more searching for lost back packs or library books while the bus waits.

No more PTO meetings.

No more fund-raisers.

No more calls from the school nurse to tell me about the newest bump or bruise.

No more picking kids up when they miss the bus.

Summer is soo wonderful.

Of course, now I have to keep my kids happy and entertained so they don't kill each other before school starts again in the fall. Ahh . . . the wonderful contradictions of life.

Happy Summer Break, everyone!

Read It Again, Sam

My friend, De, recently asked me what books I liked so much that I read them over and over. I've been thinking about it . . . and have come up with a list. Are you ready? Here we go!

If you like Mystery/Comedy, I highly recommend:

The Shandra Covington Mystery Series by Jeffrey S. Savage

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

If you like Action/Suspense, I highly recommend:

The Gem Series by Lynn Gardner (Emeralds and Espionage, etc)

The Women's Murder Club by James Patterson

If you like Romance, I highly recommend:

Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes

Towers of Brierly by Anita Stansfield

By Morning Light by Rachel Ann Nunes

If you like Chick Lit, I highly recommend:

Rules of Engagement by Stephanie Fowers

Meet Your Match by Stephanie Fowers

Beyond Perfection by Julie Caldwell

My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright

If you like Real-to-Life Women's Fiction, I highly recommend:

Anything written by Josi Kilpack (ex. Sheep's Clothing, Unsung Lullaby, Tempest Tossed)

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend:

The Work and The Glory series by Gerald Lund

Nothing to Regret by Tristi Pinkston

House on the Hill by Annette Lyon

If you like fantasy, I highly recommend:

The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

If you like Young Adult fiction, I highly recommend:

Star Struck by Josi Kilpack

Heaven Scent by Rebecca Cornish Talley

The Dawn Rochelle Series by Lurlene McDaniels

If you like Early Elementary fiction, I highly recommend:

The Fudge Series by Judy Blume

If you like the classics, I highly recommend:

Anne of Green Gables series by Maude Montgomery

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So there you have it. I've read each of these at least three times. Some of them way, way more than that! Enjoy and happy reading!

Book Trailer: Forged in the Refiner's Fire

I saw the debut of this trailer at the 2008 LDS Storymakers Writers Conference. It gave me goosebumps. I have the book and it's excellent. Enjoy!

Excellent Author Interview with Michele Ashman Bell

Hi everyone! My friend, Marsha Ward, interviewed author Michele Ashman Bell on her blog. It's a great interview and you can also learn about Michele's new book, Modest Proposal. It looks very good!

Book Review: The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

The Wednesday Letters blurb from Amazon: "Jack and Laurel have been married for 39 years. They've lived a good life and appear to have had the perfect marriage. With his wife cradled in his arms, and before Jack takes his last breath, he scribbles his last "Wednesday Letter." When their adult children arrive to arrange the funeral, they discover boxes and boxes full of love letters that their father wrote to their mother each week on Wednesday. As they begin to open and read the letters, the children uncover the shocking truth about the past. In addition, each one must deal with the present-day challenges. Matthew has a troubled marriage, Samantha is a single mother, and Malcolm is the black sheep of the family who has returned home after a mysterious two-year absence. The Wednesday Letters has a powerful message about forgiveness and quietly beckons for readers to start writing their own "Wednesday Letters."

I have heard tons of hype about this book and was so excited to get it at the book store during my Mommy Weekend Away. I picked the book up Monday and slowly worked my way through it, finishing Tuesday evening. I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed with it. In each chapter, there are multiple point-of-view changes, to the point that I often found myself asking, "Who's thinking or saying that?"

I loved the letters Jack wrote to his wife, Laurel. I often found myself laughing or just enjoying the stories he told his wife through the letters. But the parts of the book that were about their kids I found rather blah - actually, more like blah, blah, blah.

I know I was supposed to be "intrigued" by Malcolm's two year absence, but when I found out he left the country because of a fist fight while trying to save his best friend from being sexually attacked, I thought it was the stupidest motive to leave the country in the world. And because he left the country, saving his best friend who also happens to be the woman he loves, he loses her to the guy who set the whole thing up to get rid of Malcolm. Ultra stupid, not to mention weak, motives.

I couldn't figure out the deal with Matthew and his wife. I mean, if both my parents had suddenly died, I wouldn't care how busy things were at my hubby's work or if we were hoping for a phone call to adopt a baby - he'd better be right there beside me as I dealt with the grief and making all those funeral arrangements. Hasn't the author ever heard of calling the adoption agency, filling them in, and leaving an alternate contact number? Then, right before the funeral, the wife shows up with a picture of the baby boy they are going to adopt and suddenly, all the strife and martial problems they had been dealing with just melt away. It's a good thing I know this book is fiction or I'd go out and adopt a baby to smooth out all my marital difficulties.

Then we have Samantha, the single mother. For being a single mother, there were very few mentions of her daughter or any interaction between them in the book. Having been raised by a single mother, I felt her role as a single mom was very unrealistic. Although I totally related to her older-sister-keeping-everyone-together role. I have an older sister who played that role when my mom died. I was nineteen and my brother was seventeen. She was the glue that held us all together. I saw a lot of my sister in Samantha's sisterly role.

I did have one other issue with the book. Spoiler Warning: If you haven't read the book and are still planning to - don't read this paragraph. It will spoil the ending! So at the end of the book, you find out that the man who raped Laurel, which resulted in her pregnancy with Malcolm, went to prison, then became a pastor. A pastor! First of all, maybe this does happen in other congregations. But I distinctly remember back when I attended my local Methodist church and we were changing pastors, all of the controversy and nit-pickiness of the congregation members. Many pastors applied for our church congregation and there were so many interview questions, including his stand on abortion and his thoughts on several different gospel perspectives. Our pastor had to be spic -n- span clean - his wife and family, too. So there is no way in heck a man with a criminal record, especially one that involved rape, would be ordained and hired to care for a family congregation. He does mention holding services at the local prison, but in the book he spends a lot of time with another pastor, attending that congregation, speaking and caring for the congregation members. In fact, he is one of the pastors for Malcolm's parents. Which is totally unrealistic. I believe in forgiveness, but that doesn't mean I would want the man who raped me to be a leader of my church congregation.

Even though the story was rather blah, I did walk away with a better appreciation for handwritten letters. In fact, I sat down and wrote my sister a brief note before sending her a package and I wrote postcards to each member of my sunbeam class at church. So there was some redeeming value from the book. Was it enough to recommend it to my friends? Probably not.

My rating for this book: Two Stars

Recap of an Awesome Mother's Day Weekend!

First, I apologize for how long this post is going to be (although I don't know why I'm apologizing since it's my blog!) So much has happened and I have so much to share. I thought about breaking it up into a bunch of small posts, but I was afraid some of the posts would get missed. So here goes my long weekend travel log:


My Mother's Day gift this year was a Mom's Weekend Away with my cousin, Erin. On Thursday, she drove up from Tulsa, OK to Kansas City to spend the weekend with me. I was totally excited and definitely ready for some fun girl time.

We kicked off the weekend by attending my church's Literacy Night. That may not sound very exciting when you first hear that, but let me add . . . my good friend and best-selling LDS author, Jeff Savage, flew to Kansas City and was our guest speaker! It was awesome! Since moving from Utah one year and five months ago (yes, I counted), I have missed getting together with all my author and writing group friends. Spending a couple hours with Jeff was very nourishing for my writing spirit.

Setting up for Literacy night was so fun. I brought a huge selection of my books by LDS authors and displayed them. We had a bit of everything: Picture books, board books, elementary chapter books, YA, fantasy, action, adventure, romance, historical fiction, etc. I had so many books, we covered two six-foot tables and the table the podium was standing on. It seriously looked like a Scholastic Book Sale. It was an eye opener for all the attendees who don't follow LDS fiction. They enjoyed going through and checking out the selection and quality of good, clean books.

After Literacy Night - me, Jeff, & my hubby. Look how short we are compared to Jeff!

That night, Erin and I drove to Independence for our one night away (aka - an opportunity to sleep!). I have to tell you, Erin is the queen of finding excellent deals. She found a totally fabulous deal and we ended up staying overnight at the Marriott. I can't even post up here what my share was, cause you'd all freak out, it was so ridiculously cheap. So yeah, Erin rocks. I need to take some budgeting lessons from her. :)


Friday morning, I made a very sad discovery. After months and years of getting up early in the morning to get my kids ready for school, I have lost the ability to sleep in past 7:30 AM. For the girl who loved to sleep in until noon, then lay in bed reading books until at least 3 PM, this is an absolute tragedy. But one I will survive.

After a yummy waffle breakfast, Erin and I went back upstairs and spent an hour chatting, catching up, and laughing. Then we got ready for a day of fun.

Our first stop: Girlfriends!

Girlfriends is a really fun restaurant that only serves lunch and you must have a reservation. The really fun part comes in when we girls get to go into the back room and totally dress up. Oh my, the selection of hats, necklaces, feather boas, gloves, tiaras, bracelets, and shoes was astounding! Erin and I laughed and giggled like little girls playing dress up - which essentially we were minus the little girl part.

The Princess and The Diva!

Ooh La La - Who's That Girl?

Ooh . . . Some Gorgeous Blue-Eyed Royalty!

Not only were we having fun, but we had some very yummy food. We were served a Grilled Chicken Wrap (which was made with a Tomato Basil Wrap, grilled chicken, lettuce, bacon, tomato, cheese, and a zesty ranch sauce - it was totally delish!), Guacamole chips, Strawberries & Bananas, Raspberry Lemonade and our choice of dessert. Erin chose the Chocolate Cup filled with Chocolate Mousse, and I chose Cheesecake. Of course, then we shared. That's the benefit of being cousins - we don't mind sharing a few germs. Here are some more fun pictures from Girlfriends:

The Diva and The Princess enjoying lunch.

Isn't this lamp so cute?

I loved this purse! Just wait until you see the wallet . . .

Aren't the panties hilarious?

I saw this dress and it reminded me of one of my sister's prom dresses from the 80's.

Our next stop: LDS Church History Sites

This was my first time visiting the LDS Church Independence Visitor's Center. There were lots of neat displays and tours, including a kids play area and a pretty cool log house & printing shop. We watched the the movie Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration. This was the third time seeing the movie, but Erin's first. Poor Erin. I neglected to tell her before the movie started that I'd need a box of tissues. I love how this movie brings to life the prophet Joseph and his wife, Emma; what their every-day life was like, the hardships they endured together, and prophet's death. It's incredibly moving.

After the visitor's center, we went to the Independence Temple Lot and visited with one of the Church of Christ apostles. It was neat to see the original temple stones that were found during an excavation. Then we went across the street to the RLDS Temple(recently renamed as Community of Christ)

We took a guided tour of the temple. It was very interesting. I enjoyed all the pretty sculptures and art work.

Then we visited the Peace Park, which is across from the Peace Center. We stopped here because there's a gorgeous statue I wanted to see up close. Here are several pictures of it:

As you can see, the statue is of a woman arching her back as she releases a dove.

I love the lines and elegance of the statue. It reminds me of a ballet dancer.

A close up. Isn't it gorgeous?

A silhouette from behind in color.

The same picture as above, but in black and white.

Our next stop: Eden Bookstore

We stopped by Eden Bookstore where we each found a few books we wanted to read. I also found a fun game called The Celestial Companions Game. Erin and I had a blast reading the questions and answering them (what we thought our hubbies would say & what we thought about our hubbies) as we headed back to Olathe. It was such fun! A sample question from the game (this one is for the men to answer):

Of the following hymn titles, which best describes how your wife views your relationship:

A) What Glorious Scenes Mine Eyes Behold
B) Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love
C) Does the Journey Seem Long?
D) Master the Tempest is Raging

Finally, we arrived back at my house. My hubby had dinner ready and waiting for us. Isn't he awesome? After dinner, some of my other girlfriends came over for a game party while my awesome hubby took care of the kiddos and got them into bed. Then he joined the rest of the females for some game fun.


Saturday started off quite early. Erin and I went to to cheer for MJ at her soccer game. Can I just say my daughter is a great soccer player? No balls got past her when she was goalie - and she scored a goal during the game, too. She has no fear and just loves to play! Here are some pictures from the game:

MJ the Goalie

I'm ready - Bring it on!

Unlike me, MJ has no fear of balls flying at her. She just gets right out there and is all over the ball. Sometimes I have to cover my eyes, cause I'm afraid she's going to get kicked in the head!

MJ on the run!

Go Bluebirds!

Alright, girls!

MJ took this picture of Coach Steve (the silly one) and Coach Justo (hiding from the camera).

A bunch of silly girls getting ready for their team picture.

After the soccer game, we all came back to my house. John took Isaac to track, while Erin and I got showers. As soon as John got back, off we went for another Girl's Day Out. Since Erin planned our activities while we were in Independence, she left Saturday up to me.

Our first stop: Mimi's Cafe for soup, salad, and muffins. Yum!

I love Mimi's French Onion soup. I also tried out the Bleu Cheese & Walnut salad - it was incredible!

Our next stop: Oak Park Mall (Are you surprised? Probably not.)

We browsed and shopped for spring clothes. Amazingly enough, I stayed within my budget. Now that's probably a first for me in regards to clothes shopping!

Our final stops: Borders and The Cheesecake Factory

Books and cheesecake - what a great way to end the day! Erin and I both had gift cards to Borders, so we stopped there first. Ironically, we both went in to buy the same book and didn't realize it until we were checking out! What book was it?

The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright

Then we hopped across the street to The Cheesecake Factory for some yummy desserts to go.

Back at my house, we ate dinner with my family, got the kids to bed, then watched a chick flick and ate our cheesecake. It was a great way to end our girls weekend.


Sunday morning, Erin got up super early (5 AM) and left to head back home so she could go to church and spend the day with her family. What a woman!

I, on the other hand, got up to say goodbye, then hopped right back into bed. A couple hours later, our family got up and went to church. The younger primary kids sang Mother's Day songs. Rob and MJ were quite cute. After church, our family spent the day playing board games and watching Food Network shows I had recorded on our DVR. We munched on popcorn and relaxed together. It was a really, really nice day. And a super-awesome weekend. A great big thank you to my cousin for driving all the way to KC for our weekend away. And a HUGE, HUGE thank you to my hubby for being so awesome and taking over the house and working from home so I could get a little break and recharge my Mommy Batteries.

And this, my friends, is the end of my very, very long recap of an awesome Mother's Day weekend!

Happy, Happy Mother's Day!

The next several days are going to be very busy for me. So I wanted to be sure to tell everyone Happy Mother's Day!

I also want to send a huge Happy Mother's Day out to all my friends who don't have kids, but who have been a part of my kids lives and who have helped me to be a better mom, too. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

And here's a fun cartoon for all of you who have messy kids . . .

KC Metro Track & Field Tournament

Lovely Spring Flowers

Last October, I decided to try to redeem my black thumb. I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of bulbs when they went on clearance. I also purchased new soil, mulch, and chicken wire to keep the cute, but pesky squirrels from eating my bulbs.

I have been wonderfully surprised at all the gorgeous blooms that have been popping up in our front flower beds. The first ones up were the daffodils, followed by the early tulips and hyacinths.

Even Anna liked the flowers!

Now my flower beds have popped up with some gorgeous white flowers tinted with pink and yellow. Of course, I can't remember what any of the correct names for these plants are - but believe me, they are pretty, pretty, pretty. There were actually some other really pretty tulips that bloomed with these flowers, but they didn't survive our last set of thunder storms. BTW - I had a bit of fun editing some of the pics.

I planted bulbs that are supposed to be popping up in late spring and early summer. If everything goes right, I'll post up pictures of those as well. My kids have been totally enjoying the garden, pointing out all the plants as they start to push through the soil, grow and bloom. It's been a lot of fun. I'm so excited to finally have a garden and flowers that are thriving, rather than dying!

Are You Ready to Take a Nap?

My fourteen month old is so totally cute when it's nap time.

I just ask her, "Are you ready to take a nap?" Then she'll go find her binkie, walk down the hall, and stand in front of her crib. I get to snuggle with her for about a minute, until she reaches out towards her bed and I lay her down. Then she turns over onto her tummy, sticks her tushy in the air, and goes to sleep.

It's just the sweetest, cutest thing. Ahh . . . I hope it lasts for many more months to come.

The Death of Another Computer

Another computer has bit the dust at our house.

I don't know what happened. All I know is the monitor, keyboard, and USB no longer work. My three-year-old keeps telling me it's because the wires are all unplugged and that's why it isn't working. Isn't he observant?

So, yes, my hubby has pulled the computer out and started testing it. Of course, then he had to leave for work, so the silly thing is still sitting out, waiting for the testing to be completed and the results to be turned in.

Will we need a new video card? Perhaps a new monitor? I certainly hope it won't be that we need a whole new computer. Yikes!

It's moments like this when I feel just like Garfield; he's my hero.

Season of Sacrifice Contest Results!

I'd like to send out a big thank you to everyone who participated in the contest. We had a great turn-out! Thanks to my three-year-old who drew the winner's name. And a huge thank you to Tristi Pinkston for donating the prize: an autographed copy of her novel, Season of Sacrifice, and a sampling of her Scentiments products.

First, the answers to the contest questions:

1. What is the name of the book Tristi wrote when she was five-years-old?
Answer: Sue the Dog

2. What made Tristi happiest about moving to Orem?
Answer: Getting Orem City Library cards

3. What are the ingredients in Tristi's Scentiments Lip Balm?
Answer: Almond Oil, Beeswax, Tocopherol, flavoring

And the winner is . . .

Erin Knowles

Congrats to Erin! Please be sure to email me with your snail mail address.

Have a fantastic day everyone!

Blog Tour Stop: Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston

I love history. But I can’t stand reading a history book. You know, like the ones we all got in high school or college. They were so boring and dry. You learn the facts, but you don’t really know what the people were like or how they felt.

When I was in college, I discovered The Work and The Glory series . . . and fell 100% in love with historical novels. I love a good story based on real historical facts and learning about the people who played a role during that time.

One of my favorite historical novelists is Tristi Pinkston. I devoured her first two novels, Nothing to Regret and Strength to Endure. I knew very little about the World War II era. The characters in both of these novels brought the setting and story to life, to the point that I felt like I was right there with them.

When Tristi told me about her newest novel, Season of Sacrifice, my first thought was, “Wow, she has this theme going with the titles of her books.” On a side note: I wonder if she got to pick out each book’s title? My very next thought was, “I wonder how she’s going to handle the whole pioneer and polygamy thing?”

Polygamy? Did I just say that? Yep, I did. Keep reading, my friend.

Season of Sacrifice is the story of Tristi’s ancestors, Benjamin Perkins, Mary Ann Williams, and Sarah Williams. The story begins in Trebeoth, Wales, where you learn about Ben and his love love for Miss Mary Ann Williams as he courts her, proposes, then leaves for America. The story of being a pioneer on the trail comes to life as we follow Ben during his voyage to America and his journey to Zion. Eventually, he saves enough money to send for the rest of his family and Mary Ann. After their happy reunion, life goes pretty well for the happy couple.

At this point, the story changes to Sarah’s perspective. We learn of her family’s hardships and Sarah’s strength as she helps care for her younger siblings. Eventually, Sarah’s family makes the journey to Utah, where they are once again together with Mary Ann and Ben. Soon after their arrival, Mary Ann and Ben are asked to relocate to the San Juan valley. The only complication is that Mary Ann is expecting another child and will need help on the trail, so she asks her sister Sarah to accompany them. Sarah is thrilled and excited about the adventure.

And what an adventure it is! The journey is filled with complication after complication, which are met with faith, prayer, and a determination to fulfill their assignment of settling the San Juan valley. After arriving and settling, Ben approaches Sarah to ask her to become his second wife.

Up to this point, I had found myself devouring the chapters, flipping back and forth between the chapter notes at the end of the book to see which parts were fact from journals and which were fictionalized. I was astounded by how closely the story followed the main characters’ journals and life history. But I got to this part and was afraid to move on.

Polygamy has always been a touchy subject for me. As a convert, it’s one of the things I get teased about the most from other friends and family. This is usually done in a nice way, but occasionally I run into someone who just doesn’t believe me when I say I’m an only wife and polygamy doesn’t exist in the LDS Church anymore. Because that person believes he knows the “real truth” about my church and I’m just a na├»ve innocent who had the blanket pulled over my head. Apparently, he doesn’t know me well enough if he really thinks that . . . but I digress. Polygamy is kind of a touchy subject for me.

I was very impressed with the way Tristi’s writing pulled out the emotions of not only Ben, Mary Ann, and Sarah—but also their parents and siblings. Ben didn't say, “I think you should be my second wife,” and Sarah just agreed. No. There was so much turmoil and soul searching involved. Tristi’s portrayal made me rethink how difficult this decision was for everyone. And honestly, as I read, I felt like Sarah’s family’s reactions were much like how my family would react if I would have been in her place. I found it fascinating and very well written.

But that’s all I can say, cause I can’t give away the ending—Tristi would hop the next plane to Kansas City and give me a good talking to!

Overall, I found this to be another incredible book by Tristi Pinkston. If you enjoy historical novels, this is one you shouldn't pass up. You can purchase Season of Sacrifice by clicking here.

Be sure to check out the next post for my interview with Tristi and a gift give-away!

Interview with Author Tristi Pinkston . . . and a Contest!

Let me tell you a bit about the history between Tristi Pinkston and me.

I met Tristi at my very first LDS Storymakers Conference four years ago. Actually, I met her husband first. I remember standing in line for the one and only upstairs bathroom and Tristi's hubby, Matt, was rocking their baby—No,not in the bathroom! Silly people. Out in the common waiting area. Sheesh. Anyway, he caught my attention because I had a little one about the same age at home with a babysitter. We ended up chatting quite a while and eventually, Tristi wandered by to check on them. Matt introduced us.

There I was—the intimidated wanna-be—next to a bonafide published and popular LDS author. Tristi immediately put me at ease by talking about her family, asking about my writing, and making me laugh. And there you have it. A friendship, that over time and many, many more conversations and get togethers, has become near and dear to my heart. I could tell you lots and lots of funny stories about Tristi, her family, and my family. The thing you really should know though, is that she is one of the most sincere and delightful people I've ever met. I've been super impressed with her relationship with her family, her love and dedication to writing, and how she keeps everything together while still having a great time.

Have you ever met someone and thought - “Wow. I wish I could be like that . . .” That's Tristi to me. The difference is Tristi isn't someone I just look at and wish I could be like. Nope, Tristi encourages me to be the best I can be—not only in writing, but in everything I do. And like a good friend, she helps me along the way.

Now that I've been all sentimental, let's move on to my interview with her about her new book, Season of Sacrifice.

QOTC: During your research, what was the most surprising thing you learned?

Tristi: I already knew most of the story before I began the research, as the story had been passed down verbally in my family. However, when I got to the research stage, I was surprised to discover that when Sarah and her parents came from Wales and rode the train to Utah, they were on the first train to use the Transcontinental railroad. There was a big write-up in all the major newspapers about it, and they got to be in on the whole thing.

QOTC: A little birdie told me you discovered that relatives of a close friend of yours also traveled with your ancestors to the San Juan valley. Could you tell us more about that?

Tristi: Actually, several people I know are descended from the Hole in the Rock pioneers. My sister's best friend is related to the Sevy's, my former Relief Society president is related to Silas Smith, and a writer friend of mine turned out to be a cousin, coming through Ben and Sarah's only son. It seems I'm running into descendents all over the place—it's so cool.

QOTC: How did researching and writing this book effect your relationship with your ancestors?

Tristi: I have so much admiration and respect for them. They were people of absolute faith, who were determined to do the Lord's will at any cost. I can't even explain how honored I feel to have their blood in my veins.

QOTC:Can you give your fans some hints about what you are working on for your next book?

Tristi: Relief Society meets Miss Marple and the Godfather, and they all eat cookies.

QOTC: Ooh! That sounds very intriguing—I can't wait to hear more!

I'd like to thank Tristi for letting me be a part of her Season of Sacrifice Blog Tour. I wish her lots of luck, lots of book sales, and lots and lots of time to write to bring us more fantastic stories!

And now, for the contest!

The winner of this contest will receive an autographed copy of Season of Sacrifice and a variety of Scentiments products chosen by Tristi Pinkston. This would make a fantastic “Pamper Me” Mother's Day gift. How much better can it get—wonderful bath salts for that hot bath you've been yearning for and a good book to read while you soak.

Here are the rules:

1.You must correctly answer all three contest questions. Answers can be found on Tristi's website. (Just in case the link didn't work, you can find Trist's website at http://www.TristiPinkston.com)

2.All answers need to be emailed to me at: danyelle@familyclan.org by Monday, May 5th at 8 am Central Time. My one year old will draw the winner's name from a hat. The winner's name will be posted by noon on May 5th. The winner will have 24 hours to reply with email and snail mail addresses, which I will forward on to Tristi who will ship out the prize. Hopefully the winner will receive the box close to Mother's Day.

And the contest questions are:

1.What is the name of the book Tristi wrote when she was five-years-old?

2.What made Tristi happiest about moving to Orem?

3.What are the ingredients in Tristi's Scentiments Lip Balm?

Happy hunting and good luck!

Ultimate Chick Flick Winner!

I had a great time watching the four Chick Flick finalist movies. The best part was actually watching them with my hubby! Speaking of my hubby, he is totally chick flicked out. I probably won't be able to get him to watch another chick flick with me for at least a year or more. But it was quite fun while the fest lasted.

After watching each movie, my hubby wrote pages and pages of notes about what he liked or didn't like, what made it a good chick flick, etc. I actually enjoyed reading his notes and thoughts about each movie.

As a quick review the four finalists were:

Ever After

Miss Potter

Somewhere in Time

While You Were Sleeping

After a few days filled with much debating, he has finally narrowed it down to the one movie he thinks was the best chick flick of the lot.

And the winner of the Ultimate Chick Flick contest is . . .

Miss Potter!

We had two different people who nominated Miss Potter. So both names went into a hat and my one year old chose the winner.

Congratulations to . . .

Robin T.!

She will be receiving a $15 Megaplex Theatres gift card. We hope you enjoy your night out!

I'd like to thank everyone who participated by nominating and voting for movies. I'd especially like to thank my hubby for his willingness and good humor as the Ultimate Chick Flick Judge.