Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shooting My Hubby . . . Photography Fun

Every once in a blue moon, I actually convince my hubby to let me take him out for a "photography" date night. Getting him to agree usually take a lot of coercion. Although if I mention "Cold Stone Ice Cream" as a reward, he gives in much faster.

This past weekend though, he actually asked me for a photo shoot. Now that was odd. But - we had lots and lots of fun! Here are some of my faves . . .






















So, which one is your fave?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review from a Father's Perspective & a Contest Winner

Today, Don Carey--father of a daughter with a chromosome disorder--reviewed (dis)Abilities and the Gospel. He offered a frank and honest review. Here's a small blurb:

"As the father of a girl with a chromosome disorder, I am acutely aware of the special needs these children have. While my daughter has had some fantastic teachers and church leaders, most people–especially in a volunteer church environment–simply lack the knowledge and skills that could really help them connect with and teach her. To be honest, as a parent I often felt I shared that lack of knowledge and skills, and didn’t really know how to help the teachers help my child . . . Today I showed (dis)Abilities and the Gospel to several of her future leaders, and they were all very excited about the book and the information it contains. I am grateful that I can share the wonderful information in this book with them." Read the full review here.

 This is the last scheduled review for June. Don't forget to go to the June book review sites and leave a comment to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. You can find the list of reviewers on my website.
The June winner will be announced on Thursday.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the blog tour for Watched by Cindy Hogan. The winner for my blog prize is . . .

Lisa!

Please send me an email with your book preference and snail mail address by Wednesday. Thank you!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Is There a God Connection to Kids with Disabilities?

This past week, I have been scheduling workshops with various parent support groups, early intervention centers, and schools. Two of the groups I contacted - The Autism Council of Utah & Utah Parent Center - recently had a summit about Autism and Faith. Utah State University filmed the speakers - which are available on You Tube. Cheryl Smith, from the Autism Council of Utah - asked the question: "Is there a God connection with autism?" Her answer was beautifully illustrated through a story about her son.



I absolutely love how Cheryl talked about her son, his faith, and his own unique connection with Heavenly Father. No matter who we are or what are abilities are, we each are beloved sons and daughters of God. We each demonstrate our relationships with Him differently and that's just fine. He knows us. He knows our needs. He knows our inner thoughts. He knows our desire to be close to Him. To serve Him.

My husband and I have been given answers to prayers that were unexpected - certainly not what we had hoped for. But as we have followed through with promptings and answers, we found that the path we were led down was actually the best one for our son. So his needs at school, in the community, and personal growth could be met. Actually, not just met, but which exceeded all of my personal expectations for my son. God truly does know my son with autism.

So is there a God connection to kids with disabilities? Yes, I believe so.

What are your thoughts?


This week's reviews of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel:

Rebecca Talley, a mother of a son with Down syndrome, reviewed the book on Thursday. She said:

"As a former Primary President, Primary teacher, YW leader, and as a mother of ten active, energetic children I think this book is a must-read for anyone working with, teaching, or raising children. Yes, it's intended use is to help those who work with kids with special needs, but as I read and reread it, I was struck by how much of it is applicable to children without special needs . . . I LOVE the practicality of this book. It isn't some long discourse on special needs but is truly a useful guide with ideas people can implement immediately . . . As a mother of a child with Down syndrome it's my great hope that the world will be a better place for him, that people will be more educated about special needs, and that he will have opportunities to learn and grow and become the man he can be--this book helps push my hope forward." Read the full review here. 

About.com's Special Needs columnist, Terri Mauro, picked up Christine Bryant's review and posted it in her column this week. You can read it here. 

Thank you everyone for your support! Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Come Celebrate The Release Of "Watched" With US

And you could win lots of awesome prizes
and learn about

Watched by Cindy M. Hogan,

the hottest new teen novel,
while making new friends.


Each of the following blogs is offering a different awesome prize!
(That's 14 prizes!)
And the grand prize is a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon.


1. Rachelle Writes
2. A Writer's Reality
3. Day Dreamer
4. The Queen of the Clan
5. Jordan McCollum
6. The Crazy Daze of Motherhood
7. I am a Pistachio
8. Chasing Dreams
9. Ramblings of a Random Writer
10. Matthew Tandy-The Working Writer
11 Weaving a Tale or Two
12 Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
13.My Yellow Sandbox
14. Watched

Quick, Fast Entry
There's only 4 days to enter -Tues., June 21st-Friday, June 24th

Pick a blog, any blog to get started, then simply do this:

Follow The Queen of the Clan and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Danyelle's blog.


Enter all 14 contests and you get an extra 5 entries into the Grand Prize Giveaway. (19 entries)

That's not all! Get 6 extra entries by buying Watched here (print book) or here (e-book) and sending her a copy of your confirmation cindymhogan at yahoo dot com. Easy peasy. Wow! That's 25 entries!

Enter one. Enter two or how ever many you like, but...

If you enter all the blogs' contests you get a bonus 5 entries into the Grand Prize Drawing.

That gives you a total of 19 entries to win the

Grand Prize- A $25 gift card to Amazon.

And don't forget to get your copy of Watched for a bonus 6 entries.

(25 total)

Remember- you only have 4 days to enter.
(Tues, June 21st-Friday, June 24th at midnight)
and you must comment on both blogs for entry into each contest.

Individual blogs will award prizes on June 25th

QOTC Winner will have the opportunity to choose one of the following books:

Rebound by Heather Justesen
 Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards

Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes

 

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel - autographed by Danyelle Ferguson

The Grand Prize will be awarded on June 28th on Cindy's blog.

Check back to see if you won! You have 2 days to claim your prize.

A big thanks to my awesome friends for joining in on the fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Off to Dallas, Texas!

On Saturday, Lynn and I are celebrating the release of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel, our in my co-author's stomping grounds - TEXAS!!!

The last time I was in Texas, I almost got run over by a cowboy in a great big huge truck. Here's hoping me and my little Ford Focus return to sweet ol' Kansas City unscathed!

Please come join Lynn and I at one of our two signings:


Saturday, June 18th from 11 am - 2 pm
Moon's Book Store
1482 Preston Forest Square
Dallas, TX 75230

Saturday, June 18th from 4 pm - 7 pm
Barnes & Noble
Sundance Square
401 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102

And just for a little added incentive, we'll have chocolate and possibly even (dare I say it, lest my personal trainer is reading this blog post . . . ) Yes. Cookies may make an appearance. Yummy cookies (ooh, I wonder if we can serve Oreos and milk? I feel a craving coming on!)

I hope you've been following the (dis)Abilities and the Gospel reviews - and leaving comments for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.  =)  This week I had some truly wonderful reviews - and some surprise news too!

On Tuesday, June 14th - Ashlee over at Topsy Turvy Cakes gave a wonderful and very honest review. Ashlee is an incredible cake designer (seriously, go check out her site!). Here's a bit she had to say about DAG:
"I’ve never done a book review on my site, so I know it’s not something any of you guys would expect from me. BUT when I was approached about this book I couldn’t say no. You all know my oldest three, my husband and most likely my youngest and soon to be youngest have Aspergers. This means a lot of things to me. I can’t sum up all of aspergers easily. It’s too big and so different for each person and I hate to generalize it . . .

My favorite chapter is how to write and create a profile of your child(ren) to give to teachers and church leaders. I’ve tried to explain to teachers and leaders in the past about my kids but I haven’t been able to get it right. I feel like I haven’t touched on the right points and missed important information and also made somethings that aren’t a big deal sound worse, even scaring off the teachers. This chapter brought up some amazing and simple points, and I’m sure I can be more concise and prepare teachers and leaders better from now on. I’m SO excited to get started, especially because we just got new leadership and teachers for all the kids at church! Perfect timing for me!"

Ashlee had so much more to share about her perspective on Asperger's and the book. You can read the full review here. 

So, like I said, Ashlee is an incredible cake designer. She has thousands of people who watch her blog. And, lucky me, an online magazine spotlighted her review. Thank you, PulpLit!

I, of course, tweeted about the review . . . and another online magazine, Resources for Asperger's Disorder, also picked up and spotlighted Ashlee's review. Thank you!

Then to round out the day (yes, this all happened in one day!), I received a Tweet from my co-author that Rev. Dr. Jon M. Walton, the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New York City, mentioned our book during his sermon about individuals with special needs.

Also, Tristi Pinkston interviewed me on her blog and asked me more questions about Autism and my advice to parents whose children have been newly diagnosed. You can read the interview here.

Friday, June 17th (today), Heather Justesen will post her review about DAG. I'll be hopping over there Friday night after I arrive in Dallas. Can't wait to read her review!

How is that for an awesome round of links?

In non-book related news (cause I know y'all want to know more than just what's happening in that part of my life) . . . 

On the Spiritual Front: My munchkins attended Vacation Bible School at Legacy Church this week. It was such a complete blast! Thank you to Legacy Church and all their parents, church leaders and volunteers who put so much time into the program. My kids came home singing new songs, telling me about new friends, and - best of all - a renewed enthusiasm to talk about Bible stories. I love it!

On the Happy Front: We had lots of play dates this week. The kids were, of course, very happy to see their friends. Trips to the pool, running through the sprinklers, popcorn and movies . . . fun all around!

On the Sad Front: My hubby has been attacked by allergies! The poor guy has hardly been able to do anything more than whisper for the past three days. This evening he started to be able to talk a little. We're hoping his voice returns before Sunday, or else our church nursery will be quite interesting. My hubby will be gesturing and making indecipherable sounds just like the two year olds!

On the Shh! It's a Surprise Front: Ooh, ooh, ooh! There's something I want to tell you. Really, really, really want to tell you . . . but you'll have to wait until the details are all figured out and I'm given the go-ahead to announce this neat, very cool thing . . . Stay tuned!

Have a fabulous Father's Day weekend everyone!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kid Summer Reading Programs & The Forgotten Locket Giveaway Winner

It's sizzling outside . . . at least here in Kansas City it is! As the thermometer rises, our schedule changes. Outside time becomes limited to early morning until noon or early evening until bedtime. But what can you do during those three or four hours when the sun is scorching hot?

READ!

Daily reading is essential to help kids maintain the skills they developed during the previous school year. What's that you say? Your kids absolutely, totally hates to read?

That's where some awesome rewards programs come in handy. Let's start with the FREE rewards first.

  • Check out your local library for fun reading programs, book clubs, story time, story telling classes, and free books. And no, I don't mean the ones you can borrow. Many public libraries have programs that if you read a certain number of minutes each day, then you can earn a free book of your child's choice - for keeps!
  • Want some free moolah? Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program is rewarding kids ages 14 and under with $5 if they read a minimum of 600 minutes between June 1st & July 31st. Just print out their calendar, fill out the form, and start keeping track. Reading logs can be turned in between July 25th and August 7th to earn rewards. In each store, the top reader (most minutes read) for each age range will win a $20 HPB gift card. If you have a hesitant reader, remind them that HPB also has games, music, videos, and more for them to put their free moolah towards!
  • I *heart* BN's Summer Reading theme: Imagination Destination. Because really, books take readers to new places and worlds . . . it's an adventure for your imagination. Love it! BN's summer reading program is for kids in grades 1 through 6. The challenge: Read 8 books & write a few sentences about why & who you would recommend the book to. The reward: 1 free book in their grade category reward list.  BONUS REWARD: Each completed journal turned in equals an entry to win a Nook Color. Coolness.
  • Border's Double Dog Dares your kids to read 10 books! Ooh, I'll up that to a triple dog dare!!! You have kids ages 12 or under, they can participate in this fun program. You simply print out the form, fill it out with the books they read, then turn it in for a free book. 
    • NOTE: YOU CAN USE YOUR 8 BN SUMMER READING BOOKS TOWARDS YOUR 10 BORDERS BOOKS. Ooh yeah. It's good to teach your munchkins the art of multi-tasking!
  • Now, if free books or moolah isn't enough to entice your kids to crack open a book. How about free game time? Chuck E. Cheese has a totally fun Reading Rewards program. For every 2 weeks that they read every day, then your child will receive 10 free tokens. This promo does not have an age limit. And hey, this could be a great way to teach your kids to save. If they saved all their tokens for the summer, then they could have a HUGE awesomely fun time to top off their summer fun. But hey, if their like most kids, the combination of those shiny golden gems, the flashing lights, and winning dings will cause wonder-lust to set in. Then there will be no stopping them until the tokens are all gone.
If none of these programs works for your kids, then create one of your own! My oldest son will work for just about anything if the reward includes a $10 Lego toy. Maybe your kids hot button is Thomas trains, coloring books, or McD's $1 sundaes. Figure out what will make your reluctant reader drool, then dangle it out there like a carrot. Just remember to make the effort equal to the goal. My son would become frustrated working for the $10 Lego after about 2 books. So maybe I'll start with 2, then stretch the next goal to 3 books and up the reward to a Lego toy and a sundae.

But the cool thing is he's reading. READING!  (Happy, happy dances!!!)


Now, let's talk about reading materials.

Be sure the books your child reads are appropriate for his reading level. Age doesn't always indicate level. My 1st grader (who is a read-a-holic) reads on a 4th grade level. But the book plots he really enjoys are on a mid-2nd grade level. Now, my oldest son (who has autism) is the opposite. He's on more of a 1st to 2nd grade reading level and he doesn't enjoy reading. But he enjoys either 1) books with pictures - like Garfield & Calvin and Hobbes comic books or anime books, or 2) for mom or a sibling to read to him - in this case, the book needs to be funny.

If the books chosen are the right reading level, then your kids won't become frustrated by words they can't figure out. This is essential so they don't get burned out before summer is even halfway over.

The real reward of reading is the conversations you and your child with have. I love it when my kids tell me about things they thought were interesting, ask me questions about something they just learned about, or can hardly talk because they're laughing so hard about what a character just did. Reading is just plain awesome.

If you have other reading tips or incentive ideas, please share them in the comment section.

And now, a little summer reading love for one of my readers. Thank you to everyone who commented and left questions for Lisa. The winner of an autographed copy of The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum is . . .

Tamera Westhoff

Tamera, please email me your snail mail address. Congrats!

Happy summer reading, everyone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

So Much Awesomeness to Share!

Oh my! If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know this week has been busy, busy, busy! Are you ready for a bunch of fun news and links? Well, let's get started then! 

QOTC Giveaways

Don't forget to enter to win the finale of The Hourglass Door series: The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum. The giveaway ends Sunday night.

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel Blog Tour Giveaways: Don't forget to comment during on the blog tour reviewers posts for a chance to win some $25 Amazon gift cards.The blog tour schedule is posted here.


This week's (dis)Abilities and the Gospel book reviews

June 6th: Book Reviewer Sheila Staley from LDS Women's Book Review said,

"I was Primary President for four years. During those years I had the opportunity to work with many children, many of those with special need . .  There wasn’t a lot of information available to help me and my counselors to know how to help these children at the time. So when I read the book, (dis) Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ, I knew that this book was inspired. As I read the book, I was so excited to see how Danyelle and Lynn have provided so much information for those working with people that have special needs. The wonderful thing about this book is that even though it is written for people in the LDS church, the ideas will work for anyone of any religion." Read the full review here. 


June 7th: Author & Book Review Tristi Pinkston said,

"With autism rates skyrocketing and other forms of cognitive disorders also increasing, this book is needed like never before. I applaud Lynn and Danyelle for their excellent work in this field and cannot tell you enough what a valuable resource you will find in this book."  Read the full review here. 

 June 9th: Special Needs Mom & Blogger Tamera Westhoff said,

"I completely LOVE this book!  I think there should be at least one in every stake and ward building to have as a reference!  It's perfect for parents, teachers, leaders equally!  It even helps for not only those with (dis)abilities but those that are "typical."  Fantastic!  I like the short chapters with tons of information and the way the coauthors work together to talk in their forte." Read the full review here. 


Media Interviews

I was spotlighted about being autism and parenting over on Families.com. You can read the three part series here:

Win a Copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel

There are two giveaways occurring right now. Hop on over and enter to win!

Book Giveaways blog: This giveaway ends on June 12th!

Summer Time Treasure Hunt  Note: My book's date is June 17th. But you need to enter in advance. The 17th is when the winner will be chosen.


This week has been exciting and fun! I'm looking forward to the upcoming weeks. And hey, all my Texas friends, I'll be signing in Dallas and Fort Worth on June 18th. Check out my website for locations and times.

Have a wonderful, fabulous weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum and a Giveaway!

First of all, let me start of by announcing the winner of last week's giveaway. I know y'all have had your fingers crossed, just hoping that your name would get picked as the winner of Bumpy Landings by Donald J. Carey. A big thank you to everyone who entered. So, let the drum roll begin . . .

The winner, curtsey of Random.org is . . . is . . . . is . . .

CANDA!

Chickie, send me an email with your mailing address. Thank you!


The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum

And now it's time for another spotlight on an absolutely fabulous book. The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum is the finale of The Hourglass Door series. If you haven't met Abby and Dante yet then oh my heck, you need to get the first book and dive in! The Hourglass Door is one of my all-time favorite series. Seriously. Not convinced? Check out the book trailer:



As I already said, The Forgotton Locket is the finale - the last book. I was lucky enough to score an advanced copy from the awesome Lisa Mangum at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference. During our book signing together (where she was signing the first two books of the series - The Hourglass Door and The Golden Spiral), Lisa leaned over to me and whispered, "I have a little something for you, Danyelle." Then she slipped a hard cover copy of The Forgotten Locket into my lap. I just about had a heart attack, I was so stinkin' excited!

And man, oh man. It's awesomeness! There's so MUCH I want to tell you about the book . . . except that if I do, then it will be major spoilers for everyone waiting to purchase their copies when it hits the shelves (which should be any day now. So go check your local book store!). I will tell you that the whole cast and crew is in The Forgotten Locket. Abby travels back in time to when Dante was originally imprisoned. Secrets are revealed, really bad things happen, the tension gets kicked up several notches, and . . . you'll have to read it to find out how it ends.

Win a Copy!

I love easy giveaways. So here's the deal. To win your own AUTOGRAPHED copy of The Forgotten Locket, then keep reading on reading through the interview with Lisa Mangum. Then leave a comment and tell us something you would like to ask Lisa about The Hourglass Door series. You have until Sunday night to comment. I will announce the winner Monday morning.



Interview with author Lisa Mangum

1. What was your favorite Abby moment?

Oh, this is tricky. Without giving anything away, there is a moment when Abby is in the dungeon and Zo has just done something bad and Domenico asks Abby where she’s going and she says, “Hunting.” I thought it was a great moment for Abby to showcase her courage and her determination. And of course, all the times she gets to kiss Dante made me a little weak in the knees as well.

2. If The Hourglass Door was made into a movie, which celebrity would you choose to play Dante?

I think Ben Barnes (from Prince Caspian) is pretty adorable and would make a good Dante. 
Oh yes! Ben's definitely Dante material!


3. Which book of the series is your favorite? Why?

While I love all three of them, I do have a special place in my heart for Hourglass Door. I think it’s because Hourglass was my first book and I remember being so excited to work on it every day. (Not that I wasn’t excited to work on the other two, of course.) I loved being able to introduce Abby and Dante to each other and have them experience those first moments of falling in love. I loved getting to know Zo and Valerie. And I loved uncovering the surprising twists to a story I thought I knew.

4. I know this is the end of the series.  =(  The romantic girly girl in me wants to know how you imagine Abby and Dante's future wedding?

The romantic girly-girl in me has thought about this too.  =) I picture their wedding happening a few years down the road, after Abby and Dante have a few college classes under their belt. Dante would take Abby to dinner and a play, where he would surprise her with a ring and officially propose. They’d get married in the summertime, under a tall tree on a grassy hill covered with wildflowers. Everyone would be there: all of Abby’s family, Jason and Natalie, Valerie, Leo. Abby’s dress would bear an uncanny resemblance to Caterina’s wedding dress, though with some extra pearls and the perfect neckline to showcase a very special locket that Abby still wears every day. Dante would write a special poem for Abby as part of his vows, and they would kiss just as the sun starts to set.

5. Can you give us any hints about what you're working on next?
 
Up next is a book with the working title of Just June. It’s a contemporary YA novel about two sisters and how the decision of one sister changed the life of the other. (And, of course, there is a love interest as well . . .
)

Thank you, Lisa! Congrats on your new book, The Forgotten Locket!

And now, my peeps, be sure to leave a question for Lisa in the comments. Can't wait to get started? Here are the links to purchase the series:

To purchase the series from Amazon, click on the links below.








Friday, June 3, 2011

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel Blog Tour Kick Off!

Thursday was the kick off for my blog tour. And what an incredible and heart-felt review it was! Christine Bryant said, 

"When I first heard about (dis)Abilities and the Gospel, I was overjoyed. FINALLY, someone GOT IT! Finally, someone took the time to put the needs of these children (and adults) down on paper in a way that anyone can understand and learn. Then I got my hands on the book and read it. There are NO WORDS to describe how thrilled I was to find, not only helpful suggestions on how to better handle teaching the gospel to my son, but to also have information at my fingertips that helped me understand how he "ticks" and why he does the things he does." 

You can read Christine's full review on her blog. While you're there, be sure to enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card & free 20 minute consultation with me. You can ask about parenting, church survival, adapting lessons - or even about writing and publishing.

Also, don't forget about the Bumpy Landings giveaway which ends Saturday night; and the Summer Treasure Hunt where a winner will be drawn each day. One of the prizes is a copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel.
 
Have a fabulous weekend my friends!
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Some Bumpy Landings Love Giveaway

Back in January, I reviewed Bumpy Landings by Don Carey. Totally fun, awesome book. Excellent summer reading for sure!

So lucky me, Mr. Carey emailed and asked if I'd be interested in hosting a giveaway for my readers.

Oh yes, my friends. Lucky, lucky, lucky you! So stretch those muscles and get ready to enter, cause trust me, you wanna get in on this book! Hawaii, love, airplanes . . . Oh yeah. Bring it on!

How to enter:

Ready? Cause this is gonna be really, really hard . . .

Follow my blog and leave a comment.

Gasp! That's it?

Yes, my friends. That's the whole enchilada. (Of course, it would be great if you told all your friends and family about this awesome book giveaway, too.) So get moving! You have until Saturday night (June 4th) to enter the contest. I'll announce the winner on Monday. Enjoy!
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.