Friday, October 30, 2009
I absolutely love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday of the year. I adore getting dressed up - evil witches, fairy princesses, and silly clowns - they are all so much fun! This year, I will once again be haunting the neighborhood as Maleficent, the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty. It's one of the spookiest costumes I've come across and I just adore it.
My kids have all picked out their costumes and are counting down to Saturday when they can finally pull out their Halloween bags and start knocking on the neighbor's doors. I'm sure many of you parents are experiencing something similar.
But before we do let our kids out of the house, I think it's very important to review with them (and ourselves) some Halloween safety. I found an excellent website called Halloween Safety Guide. They have tips for children, adults, parties, costumes, and even pets. Please stop by, read up on safety, then go out and have a fabulous time!
Happy Halloween, everyone!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
From the back of Farworld: Land Keep by J. Scott Savage:
Four mythical Elementals Water, Land, Air, and Fire have the power to save two worlds, Earth and Farworld, from a common enemy: the Dark Circle. In book one, Water Keep, a portal has been opened between the two worlds, allowing Marcus, from Earth, and Kyja, from Farworld, to combine their unique gifts and begin their epic quest to find the Elementals.
In book two, Land Keep, Marcus and Kyja travel with Cascade, a Water Elemental, toward Land Keep, the home of the powerful and wise Land Elementals. However, their journey may end before it even begins. Land Keep is empty, deserted for at least a thousand years, and the rumor is that the creatures who once controlled all land magic are extinct. Marcus and Kyja's only hope seems to lie in finding the Augur Well, a legendary Oracle protected by subtle traps and mind-bending trials. To succeed in their quest, Marcus and Kyja must also avoid the Keepers of the Balance, an order dedicated to redistributing magic to the rich and powerful. And they must travel far underground, where Cascade is unable to follow and where they will be unable to leap to the safety of Earth.
As the Dark Circle closes around them, Marcus and Kyja are faced with the temptation of what they desire most. Sacrifices must be made, and not everyone will survive unscathed.
I had the pleasure of taking Farworld: Land Keep with me on my trip back to Utah this past weekend. It was the perfect way to distract myself from being 37,000 feet high in the air. (Did I ever tell you I'm VERY afraid of heights?)
Anyway, I jumped into the second Farworld book looking for distraction, but quickly found myself intrigued and caught up in the mystery and action surrounding Kyja and Marcus. There were many scenes I caught myself chewing on my lip as I waited to see what Kyja would choose to sacrifice or if Marcus would save or destroy Farworld. I loved getting to know Kyja and Marcus better, to see their relationship develop between each other, but also the other characters. There were definitely some supporting character twists I was not expecting at all. But let me just tell you a teeny bit of on of my favorite parts - someone gets a first kiss . . . just before a very momentous event occurs.
The last chapter left me wanting to dive right into the third book . . . which I'm sincerely hoping J. Scott Savage has a large portion completed, if it isn't already into edits with his publisher! I also want to mention how much I loved the artwork on the cover and in-between sections of the book. It was gorgeous. The artist, Brandon Dorman, did an incredible job bringing the Land Elementals to life.
This is a great book to add to your holiday list for youth and adults alike! You can purchase Farworld: Land Keep through Amazon here.
*FTC Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a free hard-bound book for this review.
Monday, October 26, 2009
While in Utah, I had the opportunity to meet with my Utah critique group. We had a blast!!! This was the first time I had been able to meet with them in person. Normally I edit their stuff online since I'm the only one who lives out of state. We had such a blast, Heather and I didn't get to her house until 1:30 am! Such fun!
After sleeping in on Friday, Heather and I had even more fun out and about town while I photographed her for her upcoming author pictures. I took over 500 pictures and got a huge variety of gorgeous shots. I'm just getting into editing them today, but here are a few samples . . .
Finally, the day Heather had been anticipating for months had arrived! Here are a variety of pictures from her book signing at the Fillmore Public Library.
Giveaway: To enter to win a signed copy of The Ball's in Her Court by Heather Justesen, simply leave a comment on this post by Friday, October 30th at 12 noon (CT). I'll announce the winner Friday afternoon.
Mary Greathouse, Nichole Giles, Heather Justesen, Keith Fisher, Danyelle Ferguson, Tristi Pinkston)
Karen Hoover & I with our awesome Senior Editor at Valor Publishing, Tristi Pinkston.
After the booksigning & luncheon, I went back to Utah County in Nichole's awesome red Mustang Convertible. So very cool! That evening, I went out to dinner with reps from my publishing company - Tristi Pinkston and BJ Rowley. Silly me - I forgot both my notebook full of questions from my co-author AND to take a picture of the three of us having dinner at Olive Garden. Sigh. Not to worry though, after an awesome dinner discussing tons of stuff that will happen for my book, we returned to where I stashed my stuff, then continued our conversation with my notebook on hand. It was a very fun, informative, and incredible four hour meeting. Can I just say that I have an AWESOME publisher?
A few things changed at the last minute on Saturday, so after dinner, I went to my friend Robin's house for the night. We attended church together Sunday morning, then she took me to the airport. I was grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Robin and her family. I just love them!
All in all, I had one of the best trips to Utah. I'm so glad I could be with Heather and share her exciting weekend. The icing on the cake was seeing some of my other awesome friends, too. I realized again just how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends in my life. I thought a lot about friendships on my plane ride home. I'm very grateful that our relationships here on Earth are eternal and will continue on forever.
Don't forget to enter the giveaway for Heather's awesome book! You can also check out her awesome book trailer below!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
My girlfriend, Nichole, nominated me for the Over the Top award. She's such a sweetheart. I love her vibrant personality and the wicked sparkle in her eyes. She makes me smile and laugh - and I'm always so excited to see her every year at the LDStorymakers conference. I'm grateful she's part of my life and a great friend.
So, part of the award is to answer the following questions. This is a little Danyelle Q&A for ya.
1. Where is your cell phone? Sitting on my desk beside my elbow as I type.
2. Your hair? Dark Golden Brown - or at least that's what my L'Oreal box says.
3. My mother? Absolutely adored her. She's one of my role models of how to live life and be an incredible mom. She passed away when I was 19.
4. Your father? Works for the railroad. Nope, I'm not kidding, and no, he doesn't ride in the caboose. He's the head of an engine for his company.
5. Favorite food? Chocolate, mexican, thai, chinese, italian, and sonic drinks.
6. Your dream last night? My daughter fell out of bed last night & woke me up from an awesome dream . . . unfortunately, I can't remember it.
7. Favorite drink? Sonic Cherry Vanilla Coke or a Lemon-Berry Slush.
8. Your dream/goal? To be loved and remembered.
9. What room are you in? My office/kitchen.
10. Your hobby? Besides writing? Reading, singing in the kitchen, dancing with my kids, monthly craft club with the girls . . . there's more, but I'll stop there.
11. Your fear? Something happening to my hubby or kids.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Debt-free and enjoying life with my family. Having a few more books out would be nice too.
13. Where were you last night? Home with my awesome family.
14. Something you aren't. A good housekeeper. My poor hubby is a neat freak and I'm a sloppy person. We've both had to make adjustments to meet in the middle. Now we're both just slightly messy.
15. Muffins? Yum! I love chocolate chocolate chip!
16. Wish list item? A week long vacation with my main squeeze - and I'm not talking orange juice.
17. Where did you grow up? Pennsylvania.
18. Last thing you did? Read an email from my publisher.
19. What are you wearing? Jeans, a Bambi shirt, and socks.
20. Your TV? It's downstairs and the kids are watching PBS.
21. Your pet? None, currently. My hubby is allergic. When he proposed, I had to choose between him and my dog. Guess who won? (The dog went to live with my sister)
22. Your friends? I have lots of awesome friends spread throughout the world. What an incredible blessing they are.
23. Your life? Is like a roller-coaster - but who's isn't? It makes everything interesting, and definitely much better.
24. Your mood? Rushed and anxious - getting ready to go out of town.
25. Missing someone? Always.
26. Vehicle? 2000-something Town & Country.
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? There are definitely WAY too many to choose from. Depends on where the best sales are. I love NY&Company, Old Navy, Gap, and Christopher & Banks.
29. Your favorite color? Pink, brown, green, blue . . .
30. When was the last time you laughed? This morning.
31. Last time you cried? Last night.
32. Your best friend? My husband. No contest.
33. One place that I go over and over? School, the grocery store, and Costco.
34. One person who e-mails me regularly? I have to echo Nichole here - my writers groups (Super Edits, Authors Incognito, & Olathe Writers Group).
35. Favorite place to eat? Anywhere, as long as the food is delish & I'm sharing dessert with my hubby. :)
Now I get to nominate five people for this award. Nichole actually told why she nominated each person, but I'm already on the weepy side so I'm just going to tell you each of the people I nominate are very special to me. They have each been there during very important times in my life, supporting me, laughing with me, and yes, sometimes letting me soak their shirts while I cried. I thank Heavenly Father that they are my friend each and every day.
1. Heather Justesen
2. Laura Marion
3. Amy Marble
4. Robin Thomas
5. Tristi Pinkston
Thursday, October 22, 2009
While I'm out of town, you may want to check out the new information posted for the upcoming LDStorymakers Conference (April 2010). They have some MAJOR authors coming to teach classes - Brandon Sanderson, Jessica Day George, David Wolverton (aka David Farland), Rick Walton, James Dashner, and more!!! This is the BEST writers conference I have ever attended and it most definitely worth putting on your calendar. Be sure to sign up as soon as registration opens. This awesome conference fills up FAST!
Have a fabulous weekend & I'll update you on my trip when I get back!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
From the back of the book:
Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize that her future depends on just one person--herself.
This emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of unexpected twists and turns--especially when it comes to facing your demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future.
I had the opportunity to read The Ball's in Her Court when it was still in it's infancy (manuscript editing mode). Even in the early stages, Denise's story was so vibrant and real that I was caught up and had to go back to re-read the manuscript to put in my editing suggestions. As the story evolved and underwent multiple rounds of editing and re-writing, it became even more real, emotional, and gripping. Heather Justesen's personal experiences with the foster care system and adoption truly shine through and make this an incredible book you won't be able to put down. I am so excited to see it finally ready to hit the book stores, and to have a copy on my bookshelf. I know it won't be long before I have the spine well-worn from reading The Ball's in Her Court over and over again.
You can read the first chapter of The Ball's in Her Court here.
You can purchase an autographed copy here.
Or come to one of Heather Justesen's book signings and meet the author!
Saturday, October 24th
Fillmore Public Library
10 am - 1 pm
(I'm flying in from Kansas to attend this signing!)
Saturday, November 7th
Barnes & Noble Book Store
South Town Center
Saturday, November 14th
Girls Day Out Boutique
West Valley, UT
9 am - 5 pm
Friday, November 20th
Confetti Books & Antiques
Spanish Fork, UT
Saturday, December 5th
Barnes & Noble Book Store
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It's their "Today in the Bloggernacle" daily column & I'm the first one spotlighted for Thursday, October 15th, with the Great News title. I'm still wowed and have so much adrenaline, I want to go run around the block about a hundred times!
An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."
Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.
Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.
Am I Not a Man? is a fantastic book that brings the early history of our nation to life. Mark L. Shurtleff did an incredible job not only creating believable Dred Scott, his family, friends, and foes - but made them so vibrant and real, I often felt like I was right there, experiencing the same trials and triumphs right along with Dred and his family. Early in the book, Dred is cherishing his freedom and reflecting on what an incredible thing it was for a former slave to be set free. But soon, he is faced with a judge who over-turned the jury's ruling and orders Dred and his family to be returned to their former owners. Despair washed over me as Dred realized the consequences this new ruling would bring upon his family.
Shurtleff hops back and forth in time to fully show the life of a slave and the long journey Dred endured as he sought freedom for his family, his daughters, and yes, even himself. This is a heart-wrenching and inspiring story. I think it should be on every high school and college required reading list. I know I would much preferred reading this book during my college government and law classes. I would have certainly connected more with the history of some of our laws and rights by reading more books like Am I Not a Man?
To read the first two chapters of Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story, click here.
To order a copy on Amazon, click here.
To read a review of Am I Not a Man by Nichole Giles, click here.
To read a review of Am I Not a Man by Heather Justesen, click here.
*FTC Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a free soft-bound, unedited advanced reader edition for this review.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Two weeks ago, Valor Publishing offered Lynn Parson & I a contract for Teaching Special Spirits!!! Yes, that means it's finally going to see the light of day (or at least the fluorescent lighting of a book store!).
I emailed our revised submission to Valor on September 28th at 10:41 am. That evening at 5:42 pm, I received an incredible phone call from Tristi Pinkston (Valor's Acquisitions Editor) offering us a contract! Seven hours after the submission!
The moment: My friend Kelly and I had just walked out of Hobby Lobby craft store and were crossing the parking lot when my cell phone started to ring. I looked at the display and saw Tristi Pinkston's name. My first thought was, Hmm . . . Tristi doesn't normally call me. I wonder???
So I answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Hi, Danyelle," Tristi said.
"Hey Tristi," I replied back. Then I cut right to the chase. "So, what's up? You don't usually call me on my cell."
"Well, I was just wondering if you were busy in June - you know, for some book signings and things."
"Really? Are you serious? Really?" Then I couldn't speak. I started sobbing like a baby. Right in the middle of the Hobby Lobby parking lot. Kelly caught onto what was happening really quick, and pulled me into a hug. I still don't know if her poor coat has dried off from all those tears. When I could talk again, Kelly led me around to her car and shoved me into the passenger seat, while I continued plying Tristi with question after question about what happens next.
It was truly an incredible moment. One of those Wow experiences you never forget.
Lynn's Call: Next, Tristi called my co-author Lynn, who was at a protest rally in front of her city hall. I'm absolutely totally serious people. She was holding signs and everything. Her phone started to ring and she saw a Utah area code. She knew it wasn't my cell phone. But she does have kids who go to BYU, so she answered. And was absolutely floored to hear Tristi on the other end of the line, introducing herself and telling Lynn how much she looked forward to working with her on Teaching Special Spirits. Of course, Tristi was also wondering about all the noise in the background. Lynn explained she was at a protest rally, but not to worry because they were out there protesting a group who wanted their city hall to stop having prayer before their meetings. They both laughed and soon ended the call. When Lynn hung up, she started jumping up and down, telling her hubby and friends about her new contract. Another incredible moment, this time etched in Lynn's life.
Within a few hours, BJ Rowley had our contracts in our inboxes. Lynn and I spent an hour on the phone, reading through it, laughing (ok - giggling like teenagers getting ready for their first prom), and ready to celebrate.
I signed the first set of contracts, mailed them to Lynn . . . who signed the contracts and mailed them to Valor . . . who signed the contracts and they are now back in the mail to us. Yippee! Life is happy, wonderful, and exciting! Teaching Special Spirits will be out on June 15th, 2010.
And two weeks later, I still get all teary-eyed and just think, "Wow. This is so unreal."
But it is real. That's the really incredible part.
Come check out my author website. www.DanyelleFerguson.com
Monday, October 12, 2009
(Rob is on the far left bottom row,
MJ is four in from the left on the bottom row,
Isaac is in the center of the second row with the camo hat,
John and I are the two on the right end on the last row)
Our family has been preparing for the Jared Coones Run since August. First, we became members of the Black Bob Blazers - our elementary school running club. John and I were parent assistant coaches. It was such a blast! I'm so not a runner. In fact, I'm of the opinion that exercise is a necessary evil and only participate if it's with a friend and there's at least a modicum of fun. Well, let me tell you, running with about thirty Kindergarten through 3rd graders, it's TOTALLY fun! I had the honor of being the caboose during practices. I had my two year old in a stroller and ran behind all the other kids. If some of the kids needed to walk, then I *gratefully* walked with them. =)
Aside from the running club, our family also participates with the Black Bob Presidential Service Committee. The week of the run, we volunteered our time to help get the packets ready for the runners. One day, we put the safety pins in groups of four. We dumped a bunch of pins in the middle of the table, then our five-year-old counted them into groups of four and the rest of us pinned them together. Except for our two-year-old who just played and looked cute. Then another day that week, we met with the Jared Coones committee to put the packets together. I was impressed how much we were able to accomplish in such a small period of time. Serving truly makes a difference!
Finally, race day arrived. It was a very chilly 31 degrees, warming up to about 36 degrees by the end of the race. It was most definitely a day I'd rather be sitting inside with a nice hot mug of cocoa, rather than getting up at 6 am to get everyone ready to walk to the school by 7 am. Did I mention the race is held at our elementary school each year? Our neighborhoods were packed with cars from runners who traveled much further distances than the 1/2 mile from our house to the school.
We met up with the rest of the Blazers, stretched, and warmed up (as much as we could in the frosty weather!).
My hubby, me, Isaac, Rob, & Anna
(MJ ran to use the bathroom one last time!)
MJ & Alina before the race
At 8 am, we sang the national anthem, had a prayer, then the runners were off! I ran with a group of run/walkers - which included my five-year-old, my two-year-old in a stroller, and three eight-year-old girls (one of whom was my daughter). We started out running and mostly ran for the first mile. Then we got into hilly territory. We walked the uphills and ran the downhills for the last two miles. Just before we rounded the last corner, I told the kids it was time for the very last stretch of the race and that just around that corner they'd see the balloon arch and finish line. I reminded them to run their best all the way until they crossed through the line. Once we rounded the corner, the three girls took off and ran together the last couple blocks and across the finish line - earning an awesome time of 50 minutes!
My five-year-old and I also started our slow run for the finish line. My little guy was definitely running out of steam though . . . until he saw Dad & Isaac on the sidelines, cheering us on. Then he dug in and burst into an awesome run, all the way through the finish line. I was so proud of him! We finished in 52 minutes! It was a 30 minute improvement for me from last year.
We had such a great time running the 5K together as a family. We've decided to look for more runs we can do together. Although at this point in the season, it will probably be spring before there are more runs. But if anyone knows of other activities that would be fun to do together as a family, I'd love to hear your suggestions!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
We each lead such different and unique lives.
Some of us are mothers overwhelmed by raising children with special needs. Some are sleep deprived from walking the floors with colicky babies. Others are single moms desperately trying to balance work and family, while dealing with the stress of trying to put food on the table and paying medical bills.
Or perhaps you're a husband caught between the downfalls of the economic recession, worrying about possibly losing your job . . . or stressing because it's been months with no job leads in sight.
A few of us are writers, putting words on paper and bringing characters to life, but wondering if anyone else will ever have the opportunity to discover and connect with our stories, our message.
Perhaps you're recovering from an addiction--drinking, drugs, gambling, or pornography. The list of addictions today goes on and on. The road to recovery is long, complicated, and filled with many temptations.
Some of us are survivors of abuse still dealing with after-effects of fear, poor self-esteem, and anxiety; trying to pull ourselves out of the nightmare our lives once were and plant ourselves back onto a solid foundation.
Each one of us experiences the refiner's fire. We each have different struggles and trials. But we also have moments of incredible joy, happiness, and gratitude. Life is full of low valleys that humble us as we dig in, scramble, and continue climbing . . . climbing . . . and climbing until we finally reach the glorious mountain peak and find satisfaction and contentment.
And it's not just one climb. Instead life is a series of climbs - sometimes one right after another, and other times it seems like we're acrobats trying to find our way through multiple paths at once.
But here's the key - keep your dream in front of you. Keep moving. When everything seems hopeless, count all the incredible blessings you DO have, then dig in and keep climbing. And you will find that you are stronger than you imagined.
Have faith, my friends. I want to see you all on the mountain peak next to me.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Isn't she awesome? I'm so proud of her!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
After weeks of revisions and re-writing, my co-author and I turned in our revised Teaching Special Spirits manuscript Monday morning. Now we're just waiting for the final verdict from our publisher. Keep your fingers crossed everyone! Hopefully very soon I'll have some news to share.
Now that I'm not tied to my desk forcing my bleeding fingers to keep typing away, I've taken a few deep breaths and looked around my house. Three weeks is a long time for Mom to be on hiatus. I'm still reeling from everything needs caught up on! House work never ends . . . but it most certainly gets worse very, very quickly. So that's what I've been doing this week, cleaning, catching up on kids' homework and projects, co-ordinating the family calendar, and putting life back into order. I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs, too. It seems like forever since I had time to really go out and enjoy all my friends' blogs.
As for my writing, well - I don't get to take too much of a break in that area either. Right now I'm trying to transition my head from non-fiction mode, back to fiction mode so I can continue working on Rebound. I've been reviewing my outline and notes. I'm so very excited to get back to Rachel and Graydon's story. I'm hoping to have it finished and ready to send out for editing in January. Yeah!
That's about it on my end. I sincerely hope you're all doing well and enjoying fall. And if you have a blog, be on the look out for my visit! Happy Thursday everyone!