Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Awesome Catch on the Ball Field

This video makes me want to stand up and shout, "You go, girl!!!" Enjoy!




Thanks to Cindy & Nichole for telling me about this awesome video.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Vinyl Expressions Gift Certificate

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.

This week's Give-Away is $15 Vinyl Expressions Gift Certificate donated by Valerie Ispon!

The winner receives their choice of custom lettering to decorate their home, tile, or plaque. Below are a few examples, but please visit Vinyl Expressions blog for examples of all they offer.


Weekly Question: What group does Valerie blog with? (Hint: Check out the sidebar on Valerie's Writer Blog.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends on Friday, July 31st at 12 noon (CT). Good luck!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grand Entrance!

Want to kick your wedding or reception off with a surprise? Check this video out. I loved it!

Summer Time Give Away: The Winner of Loyalty's Web

I received 33 entries for this week's Summer Time Give Away. Thanks to Random.org for picking the lucky winner. A HUGE thank you to Joyce DiPastena for donating the prize!

And now . . . The winner of an autographed copy of Loyalty's Web is . . .



Jolynn Rood!!!


Jolynn, please email me your mailing address so I can forward it on to Joyce. Congrats!

Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to come back next for a chance to win a gift certificate for some beautiful vinyl lettering to decorate your home.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Call for Stories: Teaching Special Spirits

My co-author and I have been asked to make some revisions to Teaching Special Spirits. We were asked for more stories from teachers, church leaders, and parents to be included in each chapter. Lynn & I are so excited for this opportunity to share more of your stories!

At this time, we are working on gathering stories in the following areas:

- Activity Days
- Scouting (Cub & Boy Scouts)
- Priesthood Advancements
- YM/YW Activities (Mutual)
- YW Personal Progress
- Seminary


These stories can be anonymous, if you prefer. In that case, we will change the names or re-write the story to be more general, such as "One teacher shared with us a story about a little girl in her primary class." All submissions will be edited, then emailed back to you for approval, as well as a contract to sign if your story is chosen for inclusion in TSS.

Stories from teachers and church leaders: We are looking for tips that helped you in your calling in the areas mentioned above; stories of how working with youth with special needs has strengthened your testimony; special moments you shared with a youth with special needs. Stories can be heart-warming or humorous.

Stories from parents: We are looking for stories about your children in each of the areas mentioned above. Specifically stories of how participating in the activity helped your child develop a relationship with Heavenly Father, strengthen his testimony, or love attending church. We would also like stories of how church leaders and teachers from the above activities have made in impact on the parent's testimony through acts of service or display of brotherly love for their child with special needs. Stories can be heart-warming or humorous.

We would love to receive submissions from youth sharing their stories at church activities with their friends with special needs.

Stories can be as short as three or four sentences, but should not exceed one double-spaced page. Submissions are due by August 5th. Please email submissions to Danyelle@FergusonAuthors.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Osage Beach Vacation

Last week, we went on vacation to Osage Beach in the Lake of the Ozarks. We had a fabulous time. Here are a few highlights from our trip.

Hiking in Ha Ha Tonka State Park

My hubby & the kiddos


Checkin' out the bugs

Two studly hikers

When the trail got steep, Anna decided it was easier to "climb like a doggie." She even barked at people passing by.


This castle's ruins was our destination.

Two little chickies sittin' on a wall
(um, actually a window frame, but wall sounds so much better!)
Aha! A dungeon - just what those little rugrats need!


My hubby and the kiddos again

This is another area of the park where there's a beautiful natural bridge you can explore.


My hubby the goofball!

Card night!

And of course, lots of time in the pool!




video video

A very sweet sibling picture.


My family with my dad after he got out of the hospital.
I'm glad he was working so close to where we were!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: An Autographed Copy of Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.

This week's Give-Away is an autographed copy of Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena!

Weekly Question: What is the name of the woman Siri is mistaken for in Joyce's new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart? (Hint: Check out this post on Joyce's blog.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends on Friday, July 24th at 12 noon (CT). Good luck!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Winner of the Scrapper's Paradise Package

I received 75 entries for this week's Summer Time Give Away. Thanks to Random.org for picking the lucky winner. A HUGE thank you to Kim Thompson for donating this incredible prize!



And now . . . The winner of the Scrapper's Paradise Package is . . .

Ali Cross!!!



Ali, please email me your mailing address so I can forward it on to Kim. Congrats!

Thank you to everyone who entered. Be sure to come back next for a chance to win Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Scrapper's Paradise Package

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook. Leave a comment here to let me know you're a fan.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar). Leave a comment here to let me know you're on the newsletter list.

This week's Give-Away is a Scrapper's Paradise Package donated by Kim Thompson of Scribbled Scraps.


The Scrapper's Paradise Package includes over $100 worth of products from the following companies:
- Provo Craft
- Pebbles, Inc
- Deluxe Designs
- Creative Imaginations
- Queen & Co
- O' Scrap, and more!!!


Weekly Question: What is the title of Kim's book being release by Valor Publishing in March 2010? (Hint: Check out Kim's blog.) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends on Friday, July 17th at 12 noon (CT).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Winner of the Summer Care Package

I'm getting ready to leave for vacation in just a few minutes, so this week's post is going to be short and sweet. :)


A huge thank you to Tristi Pinkston for donating her awesome book! The winner of this awesome Summer Care Package is . . .

Cindi Hoppes!


Cindi, please email me your snail mail address and I'll get your package out in the mail when I return from vacation.

See y'all on Monday. I have another awesome scrapbooking package to give away!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An "English Trifle" Surprise


Yesterday, I received my copy of English Trifle by Josi Kilpack in the mail. I'm so excited to dive right in and start reading. Thank goodness our family is going on vacation starting this weekend and I can do just that!

Last night, after opening the package and showing the pretty cover to my hubby, I started looking for the acknowledgments. I love reading an author's acknowledgments . . . especially when I know my name will be in them. Hee hee! See, I'm one of the few lucky people who have been testing all of those delicious recipes in Josi's books. And let me tell you, they truly are delicious! Yummy, yum!

Anyway, I started at the front of the book since usually that's where the acknowledgments are located. On the first page is a list of praise and blurbe for the first book in the series, Lemon Tart. Very cool, I thought, browsing to see which of my cool author friends got to have their blurbs published.

Whit Larson, from Mormon Mom Cast . . .

Julie Wright, the queen of coolness . . .

Tristi Pinkston, reviewer extroidanaire . . .

H.B. Moore, who is truly in a league of her own that I can't even begin to imagine coming close to her greatness . . .

T. Danyelle Ferguson, from Queen of the Clan . . .

Say what? I had to re-read that again, and again, and yes, one more time - just to make sure that really was my quote, and my name, and my blog address. Holy smokes!!!!! I started jumping up and down, screaming, and even made my hubby temporarily deaf in one ear (poor guy was standing next to me reading the blurbs, too). Wahoo!

This is the second time one of my reviews has been published. The first was in the most recent catalog from Deseret Book, which included my review of James Dashner's 13th Reality series. Both times, it was totally unexpected and if I hadn't been looking, I would have totally missed it!

What total awesome coolness. I'm on another writer's high. Have I mentioned lately how much I love being a writer?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun Stuff & a Book Reviews: The Nightshade Mystery series by Kerry Blair

On Monday, my writer-girlfriend Christine sent my AuthorsIncognito group a link to this post on Mormon Mommy Writers, and told us all how much this video inspired her to write. She also said this video reminded her a lot of me and another of my writer-girlfriends, Nichole & that she could totally picture us up in front of our writers group singing and dancing away to this song. I was so flattered - I mean, hey, the singer in this video is young, hip, and let's not forget thin! :)

Here it is for your viewing enjoyment . . .



I love the energy and passion in this video, because no matter what we do, we have to be passionate about it. I absolutely love being a writer. I love the feeling of words flowing from my head through my fingers and appearing on the page in front of me. I love writing non-fiction that will help others. I love creating a fictional setting filled with down-to-earth-real-life characters my readers fall in love with. I just love the whole craft of writing and creating.

If I wasn't passionate about writing, I would have set down my pen a long time a go after my first, second, or third rejection. It's passion and determination that keeps me moving, that keeps any of us moving towards developing our talents and succeeding.

My favorite lyrics in this song are:

When life puts you to the test,
There's nothing better than your best,
Show them what you've got,
You've got a lot
,
Show 'em what you've got!
Get up, Get up!
Get up, up, up!

Get ready or not here I come!


I hope you're inspired to start your day with passion and energy!

Another thing I noticed while out on the Mormon Mommy Writers blog, is their subtitle. I don't know why it's never jumped out at me before, but today it did. Their subtitle is really their mission statement: Changing the World One Book At a Time.

Today, I am reviewing a series of books by an author who I feel fits that mission statement perfectly. Kerry Blair is not only a fabulous writer, but a woman who is truly passionate about writing and helping others succeed in their writing dreams as well. I love it when we attend the same conferences. Her smile just lights up her face and her hugs make you feel like a long lost friend. I'm excited to tell you about her Nightshade Mystery series.

The first book of the series is Mummy's the Word. Blurb from Kerry's website:

When Samantha Shade is offered the opportunity to run Nightshade Investigation, her uncle's private detective agency, she literally jumps at the chance. It has always been her dream to work at the famously quirky firm. But when a wealthy, eccentric client hires Nightshade to protect a priceless artifact, and the relic is almost immediately stolen from right under Samantha's nose-her dream turns into a terrible nightmare.

With a long list of suspects, and a short supply of experience, Samantha must accept the help of an antagonistic and reluctant policeman and the eclectic staff at Nightshade to solve the case and keep her uncle's beloved firm from disaster.


I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this mystery series. I love Samantha, the main character. She gets into the most hilarious scrapes, but is quick-thinking enough to eventually get herself out. Her brother Arjay is so unique - he's allergic to sunlight. Seriously, I kid you not. I love his personality. The romantic in me fell in love with Officer Thom Casey, literature lover turned police officer. Sigh. Another character who brings quite a lot of humor to the series is Samantha's cousin, Chaiya. Let's just say Chaiya has a word problem and truly needs to invest in both a dictionary and a thesaurus. All in all, this series has a five-star cast of characters. And let me tell you, the plot is five-star, too! The book kept me guessing. I thought I had it all figured out, but then would realize that my guess couldn't possibly be right . . . and I would be lead down another path of guessing. If you love detective novels, you'll definitely enjoy Mummy's the Word!


The second book in the series is Ghost of a Chance. Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

Samantha Shade has been hired to find out if there is something more than rats and feral cats haunting the crumbling San Rafael Mission, home of Father Rodriguez's impoverished flock. But soon, the donut-addicted rookie private investigator is sidetracked by a series of murders occurring within the parish--and by the bookish, yet attractive, police detective leading the investigation.

Several young men are found murdered in the same manner--and each is discovered with a marigold between his lips. The clues all seem to lead to someone at the San Rafael Mission. Who could be responsible? Soon Samantha comes all too close to the answer as she is led through the crypts below San Rafael's cemetery on a journey that could only end on the Day of the Dead.

If you're a fan of spooky mysteries, Ghost of a Chance is right up your alley. Cause let me tell you, it scared the pants off of me! I seriously had to put it down three nights in a row because I was too afraid to read any further. Of course, it would have helped if I hadn't been reading in bed. One night, I even woke up my hubby so he could snuggle close to me and scare away the shadows. Okay, I admit it . . . I'm a bit of a scaredy cat. All those tingles shooting up my spine make my feet go cold! Brrr! Even though I was scared witless for Samantha, I still found lots of good humor and some very intriguing romantic tension between her and Thom--something had to keep me reading all that scary stuff, and Thom & Samatha's budding romance was just the ticket!

I'm glad to have The Nightshade Mysteries on my bookshelf. I can't wait for the third book to come out to see what happens with Samantha and her supporting cast next!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We're Going to Committee!


Yesterday, I emailed my editor to ask for an update on Teaching Special Spirits. This morning, I received her reply.

You know that feeling you get when you're waiting for something, but you're not sure what will be inside? I sucked in a great big breath, and clicked to open the email.

And almost fainted.

Apparently my email was timed quite well, because all the reader evaluations are back and Teaching Special Spirits is going to be discussed at Wednesday's committee meeting. My wonderful editor said she'd email me back by Thursday with their decision.

I'm so excited and anxious, I feel like I'm walking on pins and needles. I calm down, only to randomly burst into laughter or squealy giggles. Yep, I did say squealy.

I'm happy Lynn and I have finally reached this point. She and I talked on the phone about our hopes for this book. We know it's truly needed for families, church leaders, and individuals with special needs. It's been an incredible experience writing it. There were many bumps through the four year journey that's brought us to this point. There have also been many blessings and inspiration from Heavenly Father. I'm sure tomorrow, Lynn & I will be checking our email in 30 minute intervals . . . and calling each other throughout the day.

And of course, we hope that late Wednesday or Thursday finds us doing a very happy, giggly dance!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Time Give Away: Summer Care Package

Each Monday, a new give-away will be announced. You have until Friday at noon (CT) to enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by using the generator at Random.org and announced Friday afternoon. The winner has one week to claim the prize by emailing me his/her address at queenoftheclan@gmail.com. If the prize isn't claimed within that time, a new winner will be drawn. Prizes will only be shipped within the United States.


How to Enter:

Receive 2 Entries - Email me the answer to the weekly question. Answers can be found on the prize donor's website/blog and must be emailed to me at queenoftheclan@gmail.com.

Receive 1 Entry for each of the following:

- Add my QOTC button (on my sidebar) to your blog or website & leave a comment here with a link to your blog.

- Become a QOTC follower. Leave a comment to let me know if you are new or if you are already a follower.

- Mention this week's give away on your blog (linked back to my blog) or Facebook (Search for Queen of the Clan and add me as your friend.) and leave a comment here with a link.

- Become a Fan of Queen of the Clan on Facebook.

- Join the Queen of the Clan Newsletter (see directions on my sidebar).

This week's Give-Away is a Summer Care Package for Kids, Teens, and Mom donated by Tristi Pinkston and Queen of the Clan.

The Summer Care Package includes a copy of
-Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston
- Kindermusik "Get Up & Move!" CD, includes 17 fun songs such as Gonna Shake Out My Hands, Elephant Stomp, Please and Thank You Dance, and more!
- Summer Fever '07 CD, featuring songs from Due West, Hillary Weeks, Jenny Phillips, and more!

Weekly Question: Tristi recently went on a road trip to which Utah town to speak about her great-great grandfather, who inspired her book Season of Sacrifice? (Hint: Check out Tristi's Blog post on July 3rd) Please remember to email your answer. Do not leave it in the comment section or it will be deleted.

This contest ends on Friday, July 10th at 12 noon (CT). Good luck!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Spirit of America


Today is not just a date on the calendar - the 4th of July. It's not just a day for BBQ's, family fun, and fireworks.

It's our Independence Day, and I absolutely LOVE it!

And no, I don't love it because of all the reasons I stated above - although I totally enjoy having BBQ's with my friends, playing with my kids, and seeing the fireworks - but there's so much more to this day for me.

After living for a year in France as an exchange student, I learned at an early age that even though we think of other countries as modern and just like ours, they truly are not. I lived in France the year Jacques Chirac was elected president. I arrived in August 1995, just three months after his term as president began. During the whole entire year I was in France, almost every imaginable group went on strike or protest to get the new president's attention and lobby for funds. The Post Office, teachers, students, sanitation workers, bakers, colleges, transportation companies . . . the list goes on and on. They all each held their strikes and protests at different times. Even the train lines held specials for people to purchase tickets at a discounted price so they could attend the different protests around the counntry.

I still remember arriving at school one morning to discover that all the students had gathered and were heading to the train station to attend a protest at the college in La Rochelle. Another day, I arrived at school and there were no teachers to lead the classes because they all went to a rally in Bordeaux. Most of the year I was there, the post office was on strike. Yes, they would start up again here and there, but I'd say at least 60% of the time I was there, the mail wasn't moving. My family sent my Christmas package at the beginning of October, but I didn't receive it until the beginning of May - just as I was packing things up to send home!

Aside from political differences, I discovered their education system was totally different. Children start attending school at the age of three and must start learning english, reading, and math. From there, school becomes more and more demanding. I attended classes with 14 & 15 year olds. During that year of high school, they had to decide what area of education they wanted to pursue (languages, literature, mathamatics, sciences, or arts), then stick with it for the remainder of their high school education. But it didn't end with high school. If they were selected to attend college, they also had to study in that same line of education during their college years as well. So at the age of fourteen, my friends were stressed out, trying to determine what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. One of the students in our class felt so much pressure and stress, he committed suicide. While it was completely shocking for me, it wasn't unusual for each school to see a few suicides a year because of the pressure of making choices.

Going to college is quite different in France as well. High school students between the ages of 18-21 (yes, I said 21), take a final exam called Le Baccalauréat (or Le Bac). At the end of their senior year, each student takes a Le Bac exam specifically designed for their course of study. If they pass, they may then attend college. If they don't, they can either leave high school and never attend college, or they can take their senior year over again (the complete year) and retake the Bac at the end of that year. Students have until they turn 21 years old to continue repeating their senior year and try to pass Le Bac. For the students who do pass Le Bac, there's a whole formula that dictates where they get to attend college. The criteria are based on 1) their age when they passed Le Bac, 2) how many times they took the exam, and 3) their score. Obviously, students who passed with excellent grades the first time get to attend the university with the best program. There are only a few select colleges in France. Like the U.S., they each have their strong programs and mediocre programs. It's very easy to know how someone scored on their Bac just by asking them what they studied and where they attended college.

Now, let's say one of these students is burned out from school by the time the pass Le Bac and just want to take a semester break from school . . . In France, this isn't possible. You either go to college right away, or you don't go at all. One of the reasons for this is the mandatory military service. Each French male must serve in the military for two years. If a student chooses to attend college, then his service is pushed back until after graduation. Many students who don't pass Le Bac, choose to make the military their full-time career.

As a 17/18 year old in a foreign country surrounded by all this drama and stress my friends were dealing with, I became extremely grateful for my homeland, my country. And I have never forgotten it. I may not agree with our current president, but I have the opportunity to let my voice be heard without disrupting the whole country. I may not know what I want my major to be in college, but I have the opportunity to change my mind as many times as I want and attend classes at any age. I have great respect for our military forces and for my family who serves here and abroad, but I'm glad military service isn't mandatory in the U.S. It's a choice.

And that's basically what I love about the United States of America. As citizens, we have a choice. We can live, learn, work, play, and raise our families how we choose. We have a unique freedom here that isn't found anywhere else in the world. We should cherish this gift not only on Independence Day, but each and every day of our lives.

This morning, I read an article about youth in Utah serving their neighbors. It reminded me of the spirit of America and part of what makes our great country so amazing. Here's a link to the article: http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/57547/Extreme-Makeover-hits-Payson-streets.html

I hope each of you enjoys this wonderful holiday. Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Time Give Aways: Winner of the EZ View Desktop

I received 148 entries for this week's Summer Time Give Away. Thanks to Random.org for picking the lucky winners who will each receive an EZ View Desktop. A HUGE thank you to The Original Scrapbox Company for donating this incredible prize!



And now . . . The winner of the EZ View Desktop is . . .

Julia Guinter Chandler!!!


Julia, please email me your mailing address, phone number, and EZ View Desk color preference (black or vanilla).

Thank you to everyone who entered. I really enjoyed your comments and enthusiasm for craft organization. Be sure to come back for next week's Summer Time Give Away - A Kids, Teens, & Mom Care Package donated by yours truly!
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.