Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore PLUS a Giveaway

Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva’s resentment turns to fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral part of the plan.

Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her, breaking Naiva’s heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever. Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become queen. When Akish’s wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and honoring her new belief in the true God—a forbidden belief that could cost her life. 

The first book I read by H.B. Moore was Abinadi, and I have been a huge fan ever since. I especially love that Daughters of Jared was about two sisters and their loyalty to each other despite the very different choices and paths they take. I've always overlooked the story of the daughters of Jared, not really thinking about them and the impact their lives had on a generations of people. But this book reminded me that each of us - no matter what our role is here on Earth - has a unique way of influencing not only our spouses and children, but our friends, neighbors, and future generations. And with the internet, there are so many who read blogs or are followers on Facebook or Twitter - and each of them, whether they are close friends or cyber buddies - learn and grow from each other. I'm grateful that H.B. Moore brings scripture stories to life, with vivid characters and such an in-depth look of what their lives may have been like. I look forward to sharing this book with my 11 year old daughter, who pulled Abinadi off my book shelf a few months ago and absolutely loved it. She's working her way through the series, and I just love her questions and the conversations we've had. I highly recommend Daughters of Jared. It's definitely one to add to your To Read list!

You can find out more about H.B. Moore and her books on her website or blog. You can add Daughter of Jared to your Goodreads list here, or purchase it at Deseret Book, Barnes & Noble or the Amazon link below.

Win an Autographed Copy of Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore

Entering is simple. Follow my blog and leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like to win Daughters of Jared and if you've read any of H.B. Moore's other books. I will choose a winner on Monday, June 4th.

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City.

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find.

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of an elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? This new novel from award-winning author Lisa Mangum explores what happens after hello. 

I originally heard about After Hello when Lisa Mangum attended my November 2011 writers retreat. As writers, we all shared a short blurb about our current work-in-progress. When Lisa first pitched the story, she said, "What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?" I was immediately intrigued. My mind going in all sorts of directions. So many What If's popping up and driving me nuts. How often do we meet someone briefly in our lives who has a big impact on our thoughts, feelings, or choices? Have you ever really thought about it?

I was thrilled when Lisa gave me an ARC of After Hello during the LDStorymakers Writers Conference. I couldn't wait to see how she pulled this novel together - weaving together two lives in just one day. Can I just say Wow! When I think of a one day time limit novel, I usually think suspense/thriller. You have 24 hours to meet our demands or we'll kill the kid. But After Hello is more along the lines of the movie One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney - only in an interesting YA version.

I loved Sam and Sara and watching their tentative friendship develop into a kindred spirits type relationship. They each have a sad, difficult past that they're trying to work through. During this one day together, they eventually trust each other enough to share some of their deepest feelings. Because after all, they won't see each other again, so what could it hurt if they each unload a bit of the weight on their shoulders? Through conversations, adventures, and a quest to fulfill a rich brat's wants - Sam and Sara grow both in friendship, but also in their own personal journey for peace. After Hello is an emotional novel with unexpected twisty turns. My only question is will there be a sequel where we'll get to learn more about Sam & Sara's journey?

After Hello comes out in September 2012. Sadly, I couldn't find any pre-order links to include, but be sure to mark it in your GoodReads "to-read" file!

Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference

Registration for the 2012 Storymakers Midwest Writers Conference is now open!

Date: Saturday, September 15th, 2012
Time: 8 am – 9 pm
Location: Holiday Inn – Olathe (101 W. 151st St., Olathe, KS)  913-829-4000  *Discounted hotel rooms are available for $78/night. Please reference the Storymakers Writers Conference when you call to make a reservation.
Registration Fee: $95, includes all classes, lunch, dinner, and conference materials.

We’re excited to announce our Keynote Speaker

Lisa Mangum

Editor for Deseret Book & Shadow Mountain
And best-selling author of The Hourglass Door series

We’re also delighted to have the following authors as presenters:
Traci Hunter Abramson
Don Carey
Karen Hoover
Heather Justesen
Josi Kilpack
Laurie (L.C.) Lewis
Steve Westover

Pitch your latest story to Lisa Mangum. Appointments are available on a first come first served basis. Meet your favorite authors at the Friday night Authorpalooza. Network with other writers across the Midwest.

Sign up for a day full of awesomeness! Register here:  https://storymakersconference.myshopify.com/

Last Day of School

I can't believe it's here already. It seems like I just sent my munchkins off for their 1st day of school. How did we get to the last day so quickly? I'm amazed by how much my kids have grown this past year.

Isaac finished his 2nd year of middle school. One more year to go and then he'll be in high school. That is So. Not. Right. He did an amazing job in cross country and track. What can I say? My boy loves to run! And it was so fun to see him continue enjoying the cello and perform in concerts. 8th grade has a lot of decisions that need to be made - what program he wants to apply for to study in high school, which high school he'll attend - which will depend a lot on if he chooses to go into a 21st century program or not. Either way, 8th grade will be a pivotal year for him. I hope this summer he continues to learn independence and how to work/compromise with others.

At this moment, MJ is getting ready for her final walk through the halls of her elementary school. Each year, the students, teachers and parents line all the halls and have a clap down (lots of applause and cheers) as the 5th graders walk through all the different grades, then finally through the lobby and out the doors - never to return again as an elementary student. Last night, MJ was talking to me about how much she's going to miss her school, teachers, and friends. It's such a tender transition. There's so much good stuff ahead for my daughter. She's an incredibly smart, sweet girl with such a wide bright happy future waiting for her to step into. I can't wait to see what choices and paths she chooses to pursue.

Rob, holy moly, I can't believe my baby boy just finished 2nd grade! He's going to be a big 3rd grader next year. Wow! He had an awesome year participating in Student Council, running club, and being accepted into the Quest program. He's another one of my little smartie pants kids. I absolutely love Rob's sense of humor and tender heart for others. I hope he doesn't lose those wonderful qualities as he continues to grow older. I'm excited to see what he'll choose to do in 3rd grade. Will he continue playing the piano? Decide to try out a sport? I'm sure whatever he does, it will be with a happy, cheerful smile on his face - because that's just the kind of kid Rob is. He's awesome!

My Anna Banana graduated from preschool. We still don't know what will happen with Kindergarten for her. I've asked for a transfer to another school because our school K teacher is very harsh and makes the kids cry. I've watched her for 3 years now and just know she's not the teacher for my daughter. So I've requested a transfer for Kindergarten. I was told they wouldn't give me an answer until the week before school begins. If the transfer doesn't come through, then I plan to home school her and enroll her for specials at our elementary school. At least that way she'll still go to the school for an hour each day and will get to know some of the other kids in Kindergarten - but she won't interact with the Kindergarten teacher. Just the specials teachers. My only worry is that Anna is such a social bug. She loves, loves, loves going to school. So I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the transfer will come through - because I really think that would be the best option for Anna. She's learned so much this last year as a peer model in a school district classroom and has already passed off a lot of her Kindergarten curriculum. So I'm not worried about her educationally, just socially. She loves to be with other kids. Either way, we'll figure everything out. I'm excited that she's grown so much and is so ready to jump into her next year of school.

Overall, it's been a great school year. There were lots of bumps in the road, lots of learning moments, and lots of awesome let's celebrate moments too. My kids amaze me - some days they drive me nuts, but most of the time, they're just pretty darn great. I'm excited to see how this summer goes (especially since being sick has screwed up a lot of my plans). I just want to get well - fast! - so I can enjoy as much of the summer as I can with my munchkins.

What's your school year review like? Have any fun plans for this summer?

Love and a Jar of Pickles

Saturday, I had a follow up appointment with my doctor. I just couldn't kick this ear/throat/chest infection thing. Well, I got an update, but not one I expected. I some pretty severe pneumonia going on. Bad enough, that she wanted me to be admitted. I talked her into some mega antibiotic shots, a breathing treatment (that didn't help, which was concerning), and a trial home run. She agreed so long as I stayed locked in my room away from everyone else so I don't get any other germs. Then she shot me up with some holy-moses-that-hurts shots in each hip and told me that if I start to get short of breath that I need to go to the hospital. So now I'm stocked up on a ton more mega antibiotic meds and some great loopy meds too. I had one severe coughing fit this morning. I panicked and it got worse, but John was able to help me calm down. If it happens again though, the hospital will be our next stop. So prayers would be very much appreciated for both me and my family.

My appetite for the last two weeks has been dismal. I've only been able to eat small amounts of wet or juicy things - jello, pudding, applesauce, chicken broth, canned fruits. And even those have been in small amounts. I've tried to eat other things - dry Cheerios, a granola bar, and something else I can't remember, but nothing tastes right. It's all gritty and textury and not agreeing with me. And I'm just not hungry, although I know I need more than Gatorade to stay healthy. When everyone was outside today, I broke out of lock-down to go scrounge the kitchen for something to munch on. I opened the fridge door to look through my jello stash and discovered a jar of my favorite bread and butter pickles - not in the chips like I usually buy them for my sandwiches, but in spears so I can actually eat the pickles. I asked my hubby if I could have them. He said, "I hope so. I got them for you because you've only been eating wet munchie stuff. I thought you'd like those for a change in flavor."

Oh man. I absolutely love my husband. He shows me thinks about me and loves me through hundreds of different little things every single day. He is the most amazing, honorable man and I thank God for him every single day. He's just damn incredible and he's all mine.

My man and a jar of pickles. If I didn't have pneumonia, I'd give him a wet sloppy kiss. But he has to stay healthy to take care of the kids for the next four weeks while I battle this out. So, I'll hold back.

Take care, my friends. Be healthy, be strong, and go do something active today to make up for my bump that's stuck in a bed.

A Thank You to Poison Control and My Hubby

Thursday was progress. I got some work done, and during my early evening nap, I had the most incredible experience. I dreamed a song about how awesome and incredible my daughter MJ is. I was so excited, I had one of my kids bring me a piece of paper and a pen, and I worked for the next twenty minutes, slowly transcribing and remembering the song. It was beautiful. I asked my husband to come up so I could show him something. He replied that he'd be there in a few minutes.

By this time, the kids were getting ready for bed, so I decided to take my medications really quick. I took my antibiotics, still thinking about the song. I measured out 15 ml for my antihistamine and drank it really fast - then froze.

Oh. No. That one wasn't my antihistamine. It was my prescription cough meds with strong pain meds mixed in. And I just tripled the dose.

I walked down the hall, where I could see my hubby reading on the couch. "John, you need to come up here and call poison control." That's the fastest I've seen him move in the past week.

I'm glad it was my hubby on the phone, and that he didn't tell me everything they said. But apparently he was pretty freaked out. Check to make sure she's still breathing every 30 minutes for the first four hours - that's one he didn't tell me.If she stops breathing, call 911.  He did tell me I'd probably get tired - which was definitely true, but at the same time, my brain was on a super loopy doopy roller ride. I had a super sensitive startle reflex - even just seeing my hubby's head on the pillow next to mine freaked me out. Because that's all I saw of it - a head on a pillow. Everything was disassociated. There was apparently a lot that happened that I don't remember - singing while asleep, I kept waking up John to tell him stories about whatever weird dream I had. One of them was: Our house was on this little island and our netbook and library were on a side little island. But then, the side island sunk and we lost all our books. It was sad. The End.

I told that one to him multiple times throughout the night.

John said that part that freaked him out the most was how absolutely different I was acting. Nothing was "normal" when I woke up at one point and said, "My face tingles. My nose tingles and my fingers too. I don't like tingles." I continued rubbing and scratching my face, trying to make the tingles go away. I remember Poison Control calling to check on me a few times - cause every time the phone rang, it scared the crap out of me.

It was a rough night for my hubby. Not that it was any fun for me, but I don't remember most of it. Today, yes, my face still tingles a bit and I can definitely feel an over-medicated drag. I've slept through the majority of the day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

And no more letting the sick people get their own meds for themselves - no matter how much better they think they're feeling. Thanks for being on call poison control.

A Note from My Bed . . . .

It's been a week my friends. One that has certainly felt more like a month journeying between the hottest land in Africa to the most frozen part of Antartica. Chills, shakes, fevers, sweat. So disgusting. A head that wants to burst, a cough that won't stop and a horrible ear/throat/chest infection.

Today is the first day I could actually sit up and look at my netbook without wanting to be sick all over it. But I'll count that as progress. It's better than where I was. Now, back to sleep for me. I hope y'all are doing much better. Please share some happy stuff on on in your life to make me feel better.

It's So Cherry Super Spring Giveaway!

I'm excited to share with you a totally fun new store called It's So Cherry! They have the cutest accessories. And lucky you, I've been asked to participate in their giveaway for Mother's Day.

It's So Cherry Super Spring Kickoff

The trees and flowers are blooming, the sun is out (well, sometimes) and we here at It's So Cherry are all about celebrating, so we're giving away gift bags to four lucky winners, and a pair of barefoot sandals to 20 more. That’s right, you have TWENTY-FOUR chances to win.

To enter, register at www.itssocherry.com, and follow one (or more) of the participating blogs, then fill out the form below.

Contest Rules:

- Must be 16 and over
- One prize per household
- Must be registered @www.itssocherry.com
- Only valid for those living within the continental US, or with a United States mailing address

Each grand prize goodie bag will contain (1) Flower necklace set (with earrings), (1) crochet head wrap (color may vary), (1) scarf (color and style may vary), (1) package nail wraps, and (1) black wrap bracelet.  We will also give away 20 pairs of barefoot sandals to 20 winners.  

Barefoot Sandals - Aren't they awesome?

To enter, simply register for an account with It's So Cherry (www.itssocherry.com) and sign up for their email list.  Entries will be accepted starting Monday, May 7th, until midnight, mountain standard time, on Friday, May 18th.  

Prizes will be shipped within 10 business days after contest winners have been announced.   Winners will be selected using random.org, and contacted using the email provided for registration on the It's So Cherry website.  

Names of the goodie bag winners will be posted to participating blog sites as well as the blog for It's So Cherry, www.itssocherry.blogspot.com. Upon notification, winners will have 7 days to respond, after which another winner will be chosen.