Friday, December 21, 2007

Tagged Again

I was tagged again. This time by Josi Kilpack and it's 12 Random Things About Christmas.

1. Growing up, we always opened our presents on Christmas Eve. We stayed up late, and then opened them at midnight. The next morning, we just slept in. For me Christmas was always Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day. We had to make a few compromises when Nolan and I got married. Our kids now open Grandma & Grandpa presents on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Day.

2. I've never done the Santa Clause thing with my kids. They've always known it's us who buy the presents. I've never liked the whole pretend Santa brings the presents thing.

3. I hate those huge inflatable things that people put in their front yards, especially the Santa Claus riding on the Harley.

4. My husband and I don't exchange Christmas gifts. We never have. It's such a nice Christmas not to have to worry about what to buy each other. No stress; it's easier to enjoy Christmas that way.

5. When I was little, my dad would always buy a real tree and spray it down with loads of that fake snow. My mom hated that stuff; it would get over all the ornaments. A few years ago, she made him stop doing that. He still gets a real tree every year. We have an artificial tree we use every year. It's so nice.

6. I love nativity sets at Christmas time.

7. I love wrapping presents. It's one of my favorite things.

8. My birthday is on December 19, so it always just got shoved in with Christmas. Often, I would get just one present for both. I don't mind; I guess I'm used to it.

9. I love Christmas caroling.

10. I hate wearing red on Christmas.

11. I miss going to Rockefeller Center in New York City to see the tree like I used to when I lived in New Jersey.


Now, I tag-- Tami Tamra Norton Rebecca Talley

Friday, December 14, 2007

10 Random Things About Me

Annette Lyon tagged me for this meme to say 10 random things about me.

1. I was born in Guatemala and came to the U.S. when I was about three months old.

2. I only spoke Spanish until I went to Kindergarten where I learned English. Now, my English is much better than my Spanish. My sister and I polished our English by watching way too many soap operas when we were little. By the time I was 8, I had a pretty good vocabulary, but they were words like blackmail and affair.

3. Speaking of soap operas, my sister and I were obsessed with Santa Barbara, the soap opera. We would tape it every day. I still have boxes of old VHS tapes in my attic. I am proud to say it's been over 2 years since I've watched any of them. I cried for days when my favorite character, Mary, was killed off of Santa Barbara.

4. Okay, we were really obsessed. We would write down the lines and act out some of the scenes. Our favorites were when there was a lot of yelling, slapping, or throwing drinks at each other.

5. My husband likes Mitt Romney. I like Barack Obama. I don't think we'll have any bumper stickers on our car or lawn signs in our yard.

6. My husband and I met at a BYU dance when my friend and his friend started talking and dancing together. We still keep in contact with both of those friends. They're great friends of ours. Without them, my husband and I would have never met. Our friends only went on one date. No love connection there. They are each happily married to someone else.

7. My husband and I have been married for 13 years.

8. I love making train layouts with my boys. Right now, my favorite is Geo Trax. But I also love the wooden Thomas tracks. In fact, we often have train layouts in our living room for 2-3 days straight.

9. I've never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen the movies. I don't like fantasy. If my kids wanted to watch one of the movies, I'd watch with them, but not on my own. No interest.

10. My husband proposed to me at a Salt Lake Buzz baseball game. They put it on the scoreboard and announced it over the loudspeaker. It was so cool! I wasn't expecting it at all.

I'll tag:

Marsha Ward
Anne Bradshaw

Monday, December 10, 2007

Contest Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in my contest and read my chapters. It was fun! I put all the names of those who participated in a Christmas stocking, and my husband picked out two random winners.

And the winners are...

Elodia and Momof3crazykids

E-mail me at to tell me your choice of prize. You can choose Star Shining Brightly or Reasonable Doubt. Also, include your mailing address in your e-mail.

Thanks again to all those that played. I'm sorry if you didn't win.

Final Contest Question

Here's the fifth and final question for my contest:

Avery transferred to the University of Utah from what other university?

Here are the rules again:

1-Go to my website
2-Read Chapter 1 of Reasonable Doubt which is available when you click on "My Books."
3-Look for the answer.
4-Post the correct answer on the comments. If you do not have a blogger account, you can just write your name under your comment and click on the anonymous button.
5-I will take the first two comments. If yours is the first comment, you just have to give the correct answer. As the second comment, you have to tell me what page you found the answer on. You will be entered into a drawing to win one of my novels.

I will announce the winners when this question is answered. Thanks for playing. Good luck.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Contest Question #4

Here's question #4.

What is Julia's favorite restaurant?
Here are the rules again:
1-You have to go to my website
2-Read Chapter 1 of Reasonable Doubt which is available when you click on "My Books."
3-Look for the answer.
4-Post the correct answer on the comments. If you do not have a blogger account, you can just write your name under your comment and click on the anonymous button.
5-I will take the first two comments. If yours is the first comment, you just have to give the correct answer. As the second comment, you have to tell me what page you found the answer on. You will be entered into a drawing to win one of my novels.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Contest Question #3

Here's question number 3. This time it's from Reasonable Doubt.

What newspaper is Julia reading?

Here are the rules again:

1-You have to go to my website

2-Read Chapter 1 of Reasonable Doubt which is available when you click on "My Books."

3-Look for the answer.

4-Post the correct answer on the comments. If you do not have a blogger account, you can just write your name under your comment and click on the anonymous button.

5-I will take the first two comments. If yours is the first comment, you just have to give the correct answer. As the second comment, you have to tell me what page you found the answer on. You will be entered into a drawing to win one of my novels.

Good luck!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Contest Question #2

Thanks to Barbara and Elodia for answering the first question. Lauren's children's names are Danny and Sophie. You two are entered into the drawing. Here's the second question:

What DVD are Danny and Sophie watching in Chapter 1?

Here are the rules again:

1-You have to go to my website
2-Read Chapter 1 of Star Shining Brightly which is available when you click on "My Books" and then scroll all the way to the bottom.
3-Look for the answer. You only have to read until you find the correct answer, but feel free to read the rest of it.
4-Post the correct answer on the comments. If you do not have a blogger account, you can just write your name under your comment and click on the anonymous button.
5-I will take the first two comments. If yours is the first comment, you just have to give the correct answer. As the second comment, you have to tell me what page you found the answer on.

By writing the first 2 comments, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of my novels.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


To celebrate the release of my new book, Reasonable Doubt, I am having a contest where you can win a signed copy. This week, I will be posting several questions about my first book, Star Shining Brightly. All the people who answer correctly in the comments will have a chance to win.

1-You have to go to my website
2-Read Chapter 1 of Star Shining Brightly which is available when you click on "My Books" and then scroll all the way to the bottom.
3-Look for the answer. You only have to read until you find the correct answer, but feel free to read the rest of it.
4-Post the correct answer on the comments. If you do not have a blogger account, you can just write your name under your comment.
5-I will take the first two comments. If yours is the first comment, you just have to give the correct answer. As the second comment, you have to tell me what page you found the answer on.

There will be five questions total and 2 comments for each question. Two winners will then be randomly chosen out of all ten correct answers and each winner will receive a copy of Reasonable Doubt or a copy of Star Shining Brightly, their choice. Good Luck!

Okay, here's the first question:

What are the names of Lauren's children?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Give Away

Anne Bradshaw is doing a contest on her blog . Here's the info:

Win a Compact DVD Player-- still-in-box, RjTECH UNO-02DVD compact slim DVD player. SHIPPING by Priority Mail is FREE in Continental USA.

Closing date--DECEMBER 18th 2007.

Full DVD function
DVD format compatibility: DVD/DVD-R/DVD-RW/VCD/SVCD/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/JPEG
Audio Outputs: 2.1 CH RCA/Coaxial
Video Outputs: Video/S-Video/YCbCr
Multi-TV System NTSC/PAL
Dimensions: 10 x 9 x 1.5 inches ; 4 pounds
Two simple rules:

1) Post information about the contest on your blog with a link back to Anne's.

2) Leave ONE comment back at her post telling her you've completed #1.

Winner will be chosen by random number generator on Tuesday December 18th, and announced the same day.

Spread the word about this nifty give-away.

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Cover!!!

I just received the image of my book's cover. It is so exciting to see the cover; it makes it seem so real. This is a book I started over three years ago, and it seems like it has taken a long time to get to this point.

Here is the information from the back cover:

A beautiful and promising athlete is dead. The only suspect—her fiancĂ©—has been apprehended. And as a defense attorney, it is Julia’s job to prove that Mick is
innocent. But Julia believes he is guilty.

No stranger to the crimes that men commit against women, Julia can easily believe that rich, talented, spoiled Mick did indeed kill Avery. Both were basketball stars at the University of Utah, and both were popular; yet everyone—except Mick’s family and Julia’s boss—believes that Mick is the murderer.

As the evidence against Mick mounts, Julia stumbles across a secret Avery had kept hidden from everyone, even Mick. Julia realizes that perhaps she may have more than just reasonable doubt to support Mick’s case—if she can face her past and reveal her own secret. Meanwhile, Pablo, Julia’s new co-counsel, becomes convinced that Mick did not murder Avery, but can he convince Julia? Guilty or innocent? With Pablo’s help, Julia may be able to overcome her own fears and uncover the truth about Avery at the same time—if the murderer doesn’t find her first.

Come back for some fun contests next week. There will be a chance to win a copy of Reasonable Doubt.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Customer Service

When I lived in NJ, I got used to horrible customer service. Grocery store trips were a nightmare. The checkers usually didn't greet me much less talk to me. They would point to the total on the register and often didn't even tell me the total. There was rarely a 'thank you' or 'have a nice day.' It was all very common and I didn't question it. It's just the Jersey attitude. You get used to it.

When I moved to Texas four years ago, I was pleasantly surprised. People are so nice. Customer service is good, store employees are so friendly and nice. Yesterday, on a grocery trip, I was overwhelmed with friendliness and employees who take their job seriously and who care about customer service. As I approached the store, a young employee greeted me and asked if I needed a cart. He then pulled out a cart for me, pulled out the child seat, untangled the safety belt (In NJ, you were lucky if you found a shopping cart with a safety belt that wasn't broken), and held onto the cart while I put my baby in there. He was so friendly and nice!

All of the grocery stores that I have visited in Texas have shown amazing customer service. When I reached the check-out, the checker totaled my groceries and as I swiped my card, she quickly cleared it because she remembered there was a coupon I could use for one of my items. She didn't have to do that; she just took the extra step to help me. While I was checking out, the same young man who helped me get the shopping cart, came up and asked if my baby wanted a balloon. I said, 'yes, thanks.' He brought over a yellow and orange and asked him which one he wanted. Ruben took the yellow one, so the young man gave it to him and tied the orange one to the shopping cart. After a few minutes, like many babies do, Ruben let go of the balloon and it soared into the air. So, another store employee brought over another yellow balloon for him.

I was so impressed with my experience there. What great, friendly employees. I love the customer service here and actually don't mind going grocery shopping anymore.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm Writing!

I've been in a writing mood lately. I haven't felt like reading--the two books I'm reading now have been untouched for over a week. And, I checked a movie out from the library a week ago and returned it today without watching it. I've just been writing. I'm not very good at keeping track of how many words I've written in the past few days, but I just know it's going well.

The last two days, I've worked. I'm a substitute teacher and I get a lot done during the 50 minutes during which the class is at PE/Music. I bring a spiral notebook and write the whole time. In just a little while, I'm going to go type what I've written the last few days. I'm working on the sequel to my soon-to-be released novel, Reasonable Doubt. The sequel is One on One, and I'm at 65,000 words, and that is without what I'm going to type tonight.

I'm also excited that my friend, Amanda, has agreed to read it and help me edit it. She really enjoys editing and always has good suggestions/comments. So, I'm looking forward to her comments. I have given her the green light to shred it apart. I always feel better when I get some negative comments or ideas for improvement because I know there is always something that could be written better. It feels good to be able to fix stuff.

Okay, off I go to type up my handwritten notebook pages!

Monday, October 29, 2007

George is an Idiot!

I love the show, Grey's Anatomy, but so far this season has been disappointing. I hate the George/Izzy/Callie storyline. It's awful. First of all, there is no chemistry whatsoever between Izzy & George. It's so forced and contrived. George was such a nice, likeable character. Right now, I don't like him at all. He's an idiot. I hate that he cheated on Callie. What a jerk!

So, now he wants to be with Izzy, but they're not sleeping together right now out of respect for Callie's feelings. Please! I loved that Christina scoffed at that on last Thursday's episode. What kind of respect does he have for Callie's feelings? None!

Izzy & George are a gross couple. I hate it! I also hate that they ruined such a nice friendship by sleeping together. They really had a nice friendship and I liked it, now I really don't like either of them at all. It's painful to watch them together.

But, I still love Grey's Anatomy. I'll keep watching, but I'll roll my eyes every time they show Izzy & George together.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Squirels to Be Evicted

Sorry to rant about animals again. I repeat, I have nothing against animals, really. But, there is a squirrel living in my attic, along with her four babies. My husband and father-in-law went up there to check recently when we heard a scratching/thumping noise in the corner of my sons' bedroom.

They saw the four babies, but couldn't reach them to take them out. The mother wasn't there, probably gathering food for them. I don't mind the squirrels so much, especially when our first suspicion was opossums. We're trying to decide what to do about them. I think we're probably going to leave them alone and hope once the babies have grown a little more, they will just leave with their mother. Unless, anyone else has a better idea.

My son did ask me this morning when we're going to get rid of the noise in his room. We haven't explained what the noise is. The noise does freak him out a little. He doesn't like to be in there by himself. I don't blame him. I hope those babies grow up soon. I don't want to evict the poor babies, but something has to be done.


I do like dogs, really. My favorite kind is the ones on leashes. I really have nothing against dogs. They are very cute, but they scare me to pieces. I'm violently scared of stray dogs. I love to go on walks or take my kids on bike rides around the neighborhood. Too many times, however, we've seen stray dogs who want to follow us. Most of them are harmless, but I'm so scared of having a strange dog within a foot of me or my kids. I don't mind dogs when they're with their owners. I'll even get a little near them, but when they're on their own, you don't know what to expect.

There are many stray dogs that run around in our neighborhood, and this has severely curtailed out usually walks/bike rides. It doesn't seem fair that I can't feel safe walking around my neighborhood. The other day, I turned around and walked walked a few extra blocks just because I spotted a dog a few houses down. I like dogs, really. They're very cute. I'll probably never have one as a pet, but I don't mind them as long as they're with their owner or on a leash.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The First Tee

Today, I took my eight-year old son to his first golf lesson. There is a great program here in San Antonio, and other places, too I'm sure. It's called The First Tee. It offers free golf lessons to all children ages 5-18. They not only teach them how to play golf, but also teach them nine core values- honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.

He had fun learning the basics of golf and looks forward to more. My other two boys had fun hanging out. The golf course is right next to the San Antonio Zoo and there is a miniature train that passes by every 15 minutes or so.

This is a national program, and there are other chapters around the country. Did I mention the golf lessons were free? Next week they're giving the students tickets to a golf tournament. Check to see if there are any chapters in your area.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It Feels Good!

I think I have it back. I've had major writer's block for a few years now. Prior to the 2004 election and my baby's birth, I was on a roll. Writing 2-3 hours every night. But, then came my obsession with watching ongoing coverage of the election and Rubens' 2005 birth and I just couldn't write anymore.

Luckily, I had written several novels worth prior to the onset of writer's block. For the past few years, I have basically been editing/revising and forcing myself to finish what I started long before. But, it wasn't with the love as years before. Well, yesterday was a beautiful day. I had dialogue & scenes going through my head all day. It was all I could think about. I couldn't wait to get home and write. I have missed that feeling. I got a lot written and it feels good! I hope the feeling sticks around.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Editing Woes

I'm having a hard time editing my sequel to Reasonable Doubt. I've let myself be distracted by too many things. Stephenie Meyer's books, the return of Grey's Anatomy, blogging, almost anything to keep from editing. I'll do just about anything to keep from setting foot in the office. But, now it's time to really start editing.

Thanks to Tristi Pinkston and her editing challenge. I really need to be challenged. It starts on October 15 and will go for two weeks. This is a way to keep me accountable. Sometimes, I really need something to get me motivated. I hope to accomplish a lot in those two weeks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Dashner Dude

One of my new favorite blogs is The Dashner Dude, James Dashner's new blog. I have to admit that I haven't read any of this books. They're for middle readers/young adults, mostly boys. With three boys, I'm sure his books will make their way into our house one day soon.

His Jimmy Fincher series is published by Cedar Fort. His new book, The 13th Reality, Book 1:The Journal of Curious Letters, is being published by Shadow Mountain, an imprint of Deseret Book and will be out in stores March 2008.

His new blog is very humorous and details his journey to being published. He is very honest in telling his experiences, fears, and eventual triumphs. I always enjoy reading other authors' experiences. Check out his blog. James is always nice to respond to readers' comments. His new blog has quickly become one of my favorites. He has a really cool website too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Well, I finally read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I've read so many blogs about her books. I don't usually read fantasy of any kind, let alone anything to do with vampires, but this was a terrific book. Meyer writes beautifully. Edward's character is so unique, unlike anything I've read before. The story really draws you in. I just picked up New Moon from the library tonight.

Needless to say, I have not done any writing all week. I wanted to participate in Tristi Pinkston's Book In A Month, but figured I wouldn't get any writing done with such a delicious book to devour. Hopefully when the next BIAM comes up, I won't have anything good to read and I can actually do some writing.

Browsing through her website, I found a link to Meyer's work in progress. Midnight Sun
is the same story, told from Edward's point of view. I read the first chapter, which is the first chapter of Twilight, but from Edward's viewpoint. So good. I loved reading what was going through his mind when he met Bella. Anyway, I'm hooked now. Have to go. I have 25 mintues before I have to pick up the kids from school. I can get a few chapters of NewMoon in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day

First day of school today, and I'm up and running. After I dropped off the two oldest, I mowed the lawn in the front and back. It's only my 3rd time in my whole life to mow the lawn; that's usually my husband's job. He spent over four hours helping a new family in our ward move in on Saturday, so that day was out. And then it was Sunday, so it desperately needed it today. It felt good. There's something about mowing the lawn that makes me feel good. And my 2 year old was so good, sat in his stroller having breakfast & watching Thomas the Tank on the portable DVD player. Then, we played outside for a while until it got too hot. By 10:00 it's too hot for me.

Then, we went to the thrift store, and I bought 3 pairs of pants for my son who is so hard to buy for because he has a tiny waist, but is so tall. Three pairs of pants and a Kate Spade bag for a total of $11. Not bad! I'm still trying to figure out if the Kate Spade is a fake; it's quite likely, but I don't care. It's a really cute bag. Then, grocery shopping and back home. My baby ate lunch and is down for a nap. I even mopped my kitchen floor! It's so beautiful. By tonight, I'm sure it will be all gross again. So far, it's a good first day of school. I'll see how my Kindergartener and Second Grade fared. In a few minutes, I'm off to face the huge pick up lines at school. No fun, especially the first day.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Six Flags

We're not a theme-park kind of family, but my husband's work sponsored a family outing at Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park. We all got in for free and they even paid for parking ($12! How can you charge $12 for parking? It's not like it's New York City or anything!) We had a catered lunch and were given a free-refillable drink bottle that usually costs $12. We refilled that thing so many times for free. It was great. So, of course we went. The food was great- bar-b-que brisket and grilled chicken and hot dogs for the kids. It was a Saturday, so the park was full. We stood in line for over 20 minutes just to get in. And, did I mention it was over 90 degrees. Very hot!

We had a lot of fun. However, some of the rides were down and we stood in line for over 50 minutes on a few rides. The Gully washer was a lot of fun. My 5 year old's favorite was the train. The whole day, he kept asking. "where's the train?" They have a water park too which I think we all enjoyed the most as we were able to cool down a bit. We had anticipated renting a locker so I brought a handful of quarters which we didn't use. Lockers were $13 and took credit cards, not coins. I don't think I had $13 worth of quarters anyway.

The water rides were packed as well. We stood in line for over 30 minutes for the Texas Tumble which was quite a thrill. The bad part of it was listening to my 5 year old complain the whole time that he didn't want to ride it. It did look a little scary. He even double checked to see if he was to short to ride it. Unfortunately for him, he was tall enough. Quite a disappointment to him. He screamed the whole way down, but the rest of us really enjoyed it. So despite, the heat and long lines, we really did have a fun time. It's the first time my kids have been to a theme park. It's not our thing; it's just to expensive and I can't usually justify the expense. But, you can't beat a free outing. All we spent was the $13 for the locker and $4 for cotton candy that my 5 year old really wanted. It was the least I could do for making him wait in a long line for a scary ride he didn't want to do. Also, it's the first time he's ever had cotton candy. I really do deprive my kids, don't I? Five years old and has never had cotton candy. What kind of mom am I?

So, theme parks are okay, I guess. It was a lot of fun, but not if you have to pay for it. I don't think we'll ever make it to Disney or anything like that. My poor kids! It just seems like too much trouble and money. Maybe we'll try Sea World next. We've lived in San Antonio for over 4 years and have never gone. Man, I do deprive my kids.

Maybe next year, my husband's work will treat us all again. That would be fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Marsha Ward tagged me with this:

Four Jobs I've Had:
Program Coordinator for Centro de la Familia de Utah's foster care program
Office Manager for Chiropractor
Substitute Teacher
BYU Catering

Four Places I've Lived:
Salt Lake City, UT
North Plainfield, NJ
Victoria, TX
New Orleans, LA

Four Favorite TV Shows:
Grey's Anatomy
Santa Barbara (soap opera)

Four Favorite Foods:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
shrimp scampi
baked ziti
Krispy Kremes

Four Websites I Frequent:
San Antonio Public Library Website
LDS Publisher

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
Reading in bed
At the movies (watching something non animated and not chasing a two year old down the aisle.)

Four Movies I Love:
Pride & Prejudice
Anne of Green Gables
Malcolm X
The Cutting Edge

Four Bloggers I Tag Next:

Katie Parker
Elodia Strain
Crystal Liechty
Robyn Heirtzler

Monday, August 6, 2007

Summer Reading Update

Here is my update on my summer reading:

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen- finished

2. Until Proven Guilty by Betsy Brannon Green- another 70 pages to go

3. Silas Marner by George Eliot

4. Parenting the Asperger Child by Alan Sohn and Cathy Grayson- halfway through

5. Nothing To Regret by Tristi Pinkston- finished

6. My Monterrey (unpublished manuscript by Claudia Armann, my sister)- read 90 pages so far

7. Perfect Timing by Michele Ashman Bell- I love her books, but couldn't get into this one. Perhaps in a few months, replaced with Gabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts- finished

8. The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell -finished

9. Perfect Targets by Rebekah Heinrichs

10. My People by Gordon Laws

11. It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton

12. Norah's Ark by Siri Mitchell- decided not to read another Mitchell book, replaced with River's End by Nora Roberts- finished

13. Frienships the Aspie Way by Wendy Lawson- I read a little, but found it wasn't what I was looking for. This book deals with friendships as an adult with Asperger's. I was looking for a book about helping my son who has Asperger's with friendships. I'm not going to finish it. I'm replacing it with Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella.

5 books completed, 8 to go. Don't think I'll finish, but I'll keep going.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Tea Party

My son has Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of high-functioning autism. It is very different than what you would typically think of. He's completely verbal, has a very high IQ, but has difficulty with social interactions with peers and social skills. A lot of people say Bill Gates has Asperger's. My son is seven years old and is a complete delight, but we do have certain challenges with him.

There is an agency here in San Antonio that I have been working with for several months. It is called Any Baby Can and their motto is reaching families facing Autism. Well, today they sponsored a tea party for moms with kids who have autism or Asperger's. It was such a delight. I didn't have any tea, but there were yummy sandwiches, deserts, pasta salad. We were all given fancy hats, a gift bag with lotion, door prizes. It was nice to meet other moms who are going through the same thing and talk about our challenges. It was great just to take a time out from everything.

They also had child care and fed the kids Wendy's. Any Baby Can has an amazing playroom with tons of toys, great books, an outdoor playground. They had a bunch of volunteers come in. I think there were more volunteers than kids at one point. It was a lovely group of moms who do charity work with their daughters and they were so pleasant, eager to help, and wanting to get to know the kids. My kids loved it, and so did I. Any Baby Can is a wonderful organization for families who are dealing with autism. They have several programs for parents and a lot of resources available. I'm already looking forward to next year's tea party.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Cubicle Next Door

The Cubicle Next Door is by Siri Mitchell and might be considered Christian Chick-Lit. This is a book that I've been looking forward to reading for a while, but was quite disappointed. It seemed like it would be such a fun book to read, but it was very slow and hard to get into. I thought about not finishing it several times, but I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't really. I did manage to finish it.

It had such a cute premise. Jackie, the main character is very likeable. She does not want to date or have a relationship at all. Joe begins to share the cubicle next to hers and she finds him annoying, but at the same time charming. She blogs about him and how she doesn't like him, but at the same time likes him. They start going everywhere together, even looking for a good church to go to. They go out to lunch, he shows up at her house, where she works on weekends. She's rude to him, but he keeps coming back.

It was very slow. Over a page on how to wax cross country skis. A few of Mitchell's writing techniques were annoying. She did not use the terms "he said" or "she said." Instead, there would be lengths of dialog, and I didn't know who was talking, so I had to go back in the page to find out. Also, sometimes she wouldn't use a subject in her sentences. For instance, she did this a lot: "He tried them on. Stood up. Walked a few paces." Once in a while, it was okay, but after a while, it got annoying.

So, I stuck it out until the end. The ending was good, but I don't know if it was quite worth it. It was very clean, so that was a good point. It would have been a good story if it was about 100 pages shorter. There were too many day-to-day details explained too fully. I had another one of Mitchell's books on my summer reading list, but I think I will skip it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I just finished reading Austenland by Shannon Hale. It is one of those neglect-your-kids and read all day kind of books. I hardly ever read during the day, my kids just won't let me. So, I usually read at night once they're in bed. But, with this book, I let them watch extra TV so I could finish.

Jane, the main character, is like so many of us, some more admitting than others. We all have a small, meaningless crush on Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Well, Colin Firth to be exact. For Jane, it was more of an obsession. Her relationships don't measure up to her expectations. None of her boyfriends can be Mr. Darcy, so she lives a bit in a fantasy land.

A rich aunt leaves her an inheritance -- a vacation to England to live in Austenland, a resort that mirrors Jane Austen times. She wears period clothes and mingles with other guests and actors. They go on long walks, play cards, call on each other. By going along with the vacation, she hopes to rid herself once and for all of the Mr. Darcy obsession so she can go on to live in the real world.

Along the way, she finds love. I really enjoyed the pretend scenes where they talked about matters and acted as you would in Jane Austen times. The characters were colorful and interesting. You find yourself relating to Jane.

Best of all, it was a very clean book. No foul language at all. I did not know at the time that I started reading the book, but Shannon Hale is LDS. She is a YA author, and this is her first adult novel. I highly recommend this book. It is such a fun read.

Okay, I promise, my next post will not be about Jane Austen. I've just been in such a Jane Austen mood lately.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Persuasion by Jane Austen


And, who doesn't? She's my favorite author and has been for a long time. I first read this book about 7 years ago and of course fell in love with it. I re-read it for a book club next week. I very rarely read books a second time. I think this is only my 3rd time.

It is a beautifully-written book, like all her others. In Persuasion, Anne Elliot is persuaded by a family friend to not pursue a relationship with Captain Wentworth because of his inferior place in society. Many years later, she is reacquainted with him and her love for him has not diminished. She is unsure of how he feels about her. He is now a prestigious and admired captain; his station in life completely changed from before.

They find each other in the same social circles, but his pride and her uncertainty of his feelings prevents them from reuniting. At some point, it is believed that each of them is attached to another.

The novel has its funny assortment of characters just like all of Austen's works. And, Austen saves the wonderful union of Anne and Captain Wentworth for the last pages, as in her other books. But, that makes it sweet as you finally read the happy ending. I actually cried as I read the touching letter he writes to Anne at the end.

Nothing to Regret

Tristi Pinkston's Nothing to Regret was an insightful historical novel. I don't usually go for historical fiction, but I wanted to give this one a try. And, it was very well-researched and truly educational. Ken, a Japanese-American and his family are placed in relocation center in Utah during WWII. It follows Ken as he goes to Japan as an American spy. There are several unexpected twists as the years progress.

I really enjoyed this book and learned about a little known and tragic fact about our American history. I was also impressed with Ken and his family as they are forgiving despite being treated horribly by this government.

I suggest reading this touching, fast-paced novel.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer Reading Thing Update

I have been reading a lot this last week, but I don't think I'll finish all 13 books. However, I have found myself wanting to read a lot more. There is just something about accountability that gets me motivated. Knowing I would have to blog about my progress made me want to read! So, I have finished Nothing to Regret by Tristi Pinkston. I really enjoyed this book. I don't often pick up historical fiction, but this one was very good. I read it quickly, wanting to know what would happen and was surprised about certain plot twists. It was not a predictable book, you really didn't know what would happen next. I also learned about a little-talked about aspect of WWII.

I'm now halfway through Persuasion by Jane Austen. This is the 2nd time I've read this book and am really enjoying it again. My book club is reading this book, so I have until the 14th to finish. That is when our club meets. I just really love Jane Austen. I think I'll watch the movie again after I finish reading it. What a great movie!

I also have about 90 pages left of Until Proven Guilty by Betsy Brannon Green. This is also my second time reading this book. It was the second LDS novel I ever read and it is what hooked me and also inspired me to write. I don't often re-read books, in fact almost never, but I picked two good ones to re-read.

I hope to finish these two books up by next week, and then I'm ready to start Perfect Timing by Michele Ashman Bell and The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell. By the way, I'm not getting any writing done!

The Ink Ladies

Exciting News. I am participating in a new blog with six other LDS writers-- The Ink Ladies. I will be posting once a week. Come on over and read the fun posts. The other contributors are Tamra Norton, Elodia Strain, Katie Parker, Marsha Ward, Crystal Liechty, and Robyn Heirtzler. I will probably not post on this blog very often, maybe once in a while, but you can read my blog once a week, along with the other Ink Ladies.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer Reading Thing 2007

Karlene at inksplasher has posted this Summer Reading Thing. Here is my list of 13 books to read this summer. (very ambitious list, by the way)

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen

2. Until Proven Guilty by Betsy Brannon Green

3. Silas Marner by George Eliot

4. Parenting the Asperger Child by Alan Sohn and Cathy Grayson

5. Nothing To Regret by Tristi Pinkston

6. My Monterrey (unpublished manuscript by Claudia Armann, my sister)

7. Perfect Timing by Michele Ashman Bell

8. The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell

9. Perfect Targets by Rebekah Heinrichs

10. My People by Gordon Laws

11. It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton

12. Norah's Ark by Siri Mitchell

13. Frienships the Aspie Way by Wendy Lawson

Getting to know you

Here is a fun list I found on another blog.

What time is it?11:50 PM
What’s your full name? Marcia Corina Argueta Mickelson
What are you afraid of? Something bad happening to my family
What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen in a theater? Night at the Museum
Place of birth: Guatemala
Favorite food: chocolate
What’s your natural hair color? Black
Ever been to Alaska?No.
Ever been toilet papering?No
Love someone so much it made you cry?Yes.
Been in a car accident? Yes, minor
Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons
Favorite day of the week: Friday.
Favorite restaurant: Olive Garden
Favorite flower: tulip
Favorite sport to watch: It used to be baseball in the late 80's/early 90's, then it was basketball in the mid 90's, but now I don't have time to have a favorite sport. Sorry, honey.
Favorite drink: Coke
Favorite ice cream: Mint chocolate chip
Disney or Warner Brothers? Disney
Ever been on a ship? Just a small whale watching boat in Santa Barbara, if that counts
What color is your bedroom carpet?Beige.
How many times did you fail your drivers’ test?None
What is your bedtime? 11:30 or midnight
What time did you finish this? 11:58 pm

Monday, June 11, 2007

I might have overreacted

Last night, around 11:00 I was on the computer when I heard a knock on the door. At 11:00 that's a little scary, especially given the fact that my husband was not home. We're so cheap, we don't have cable or a security system. My husband is a huge baseball fan and you can't watch much baseball without cable. So, once in a while, he'll go to my parents' house 5 minutes away after the kids have gone to sleep to watch a few hours of baseball. They don't mind; they have 2 TV's. And, I don't mind because that means I get to use the computer with Internet. If he was here, he'd be checking the baseball scores, and I would have to do something else like edit my manuscript on the non-Internet $4 thrift store computer. (but that is something that I'm avoiding right now, editing that is.) I'd much rather be on the Internet computer reading my favorite blogs- Writers In Heels, Six LDS Writers and a Frog and LDS publisher.

Anyway, I'm digressing. The knock on the door really scared me. Of course, I didn't answer it. Instead I went to the window and peeked out. There was a strange (and by strange, I mean someone I don't know) man talking on a cell phone and a white van parked in my driveway. I could hear him say only a few things-- approximate location of where he was and that he was running out of gas. I thought maybe he knocked on my door to use the phone since he was running out of gas. No, duh! He had a cell phone. So, why is he knocking on my door? I was a little freaked out, by the way. So, I called my parents' house and non-chalantly asked my dad to get my husband. I couldn't tell my dad because he would think I should never ever be left alone in the house again. Once my husband got on the phone, I told him what was going on. He thought I should call the police and he would be home right away.

I dialed 911, and felt a little foolish. After all, he was not posing immediate harm. But, why was he outside my house? What did he want? So, I called 911. I think that's the only time I've ever had to do that. Anyway, by the time the police and my husband came home, the man had left. The police think he may have had the wrong house. My poor husband feels incredibly guilty for not being home. And, I'm left thinking: Did I overreact? Did I really have to call 911? I think it's better to be safe than sorry, but I've also watched too many Lifetime movies, so I tend to panic about things. For that reason, it's probably a good thing I don't have cable anymore.

I do feel a little bad about not telling my parents, but why make them worry? (I guess it's good they don't really read my blog) But, now my dad thinks I called over there to tell my husband to come home because he was staying out too late, which I so wasn't. The poor guy never goes anywhere at night, unless you count home teaching, elders quorum presidency meetings, or to watch an occasional baseball game at my parents' house. So, now that leaves me thinking, should we get cable or a security system? Probably, neither one for now.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Icing on the Cake

I just finished reading The Icing on the Cake by Elodia Strain, and I just loved it! It is what you would consider chick lit. It is a hilarious, fresh story. Annabelle is funny and lovable. It starts as she goes out of her way to buy a particular cake for a company party to impress her boss who then gives her a big assignment she'd been hoping for. She meets handsome Isaac who always seems to catch her at her worst moments. He is assigned as the photographer for her writing assignment.

The big assignment is to interview a snobby chef at an exclusive restaurant. She fails miserably twice, one time almost catching the kitchen on fire. This is just one of the many scrapes Annabelle finds herself in. There are also some troublemakers that have it out for Annabelle. Despite all that seems to go wrong, she stays positive.

The writing is great with rich details that bring the story to life. Did I mention it was funny? Very funny. I laughed out loud many times. It is definitely one of those stay-up-until 2:00 in the morning until you finish reading kind of books. This is a wonderful novel for first-time author Elodia Strain. I can't wait to see more of her books.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Where have the voices inside my head gone?

I've been dealing with a bit of writer's block for a few years now. It all started with the 2004 election. I can't believe it's already the next presidential election. Anyway, I was hooked on CNN for several months, following every comment and detail about the election. So, instead of writing at night like I had been doing, I was watching TV. Then, I became pregnant with my son, so instead of writing at night, I was falling asleep on the couch. Well, then he was born so of course, there goes writing. Well, now there's no election (although it feels like there is) It wouldn't matter anyway because we don't have cable. We only have antenna now, so I can't watch CNN. And, I'm not pregnant, so I should be writing, but I'm not.

Basically, there are no more excuses, but I still am struggling with writing. I haven't written anything new for quite some time. I have been editing a lot lately. Prior to my writer's block which begun in 2004, I had these incredible voices in my head making me want to write more than anything. They weren't actual voices, by the way. Just wonderful ideas and dialogue going through my head throughout the entire day. I would collect them in my mind as the day passed and as soon as the kids had gone to bed, I would sit at the computer for hours typing away. There wasn't enough time in the day to write. I was overflowing. Well, now the voices are gone, the ideas are gone. There is no dialogue. Thankfully, I had written so much during that year of the voices. So, now I have been left with a lot to edit.

I still struggle to get to the computer. I can't blame it on the election or a pregnancy or a baby. I am trying to get to the computer at least 45 minutes every night to edit. I'm on page 27 of my sequel- One On One. If I can edit a few pages a night, then I should finish in a few months. At the very least, before the election. Who knows we might have cable by then.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Manuscript was Accepted

I'm very happy to announce that Cedar Fort has accepted the Reasonable Doubt manuscript. I just received word yesterday. It was a lot sooner than I had expected so I'm even more thrilled about that. The print date has not been set yet, but it should be at the end of the year or early next year.

I am now editing the sequel, One On One, and hope to have it ready to submit in about 5 months. I don't know why it takes me so long, it is already finished. I don't have a lot of time to write in the summer because my kids stay up a little later than during the school year, and I cannot write unless they are in bed. During the school year, they're usually in bed by 8:30, but during the summer we let them stay up about an hour later, so sometimes I don't sit down to write until 9:30, and by that time, I'm exhausted. I would probably get more writing done if I didn't have to catch a little Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel every night. Shame on me. Now that summer is here and American Idol and Grey's Anatomy are done for a few months, I should have more time at night.

There are some major edits to do and then I have a few people read it to give me comments. My sister is my greatest editor and gives me some great feedback. I hope to know more about my manuscript in a few months!

Friday, May 25, 2007

McNay Art Museum

My church calling is Activity Day Leader which means that I am in charge of planning activities for 8-11 year old girls in order for them to achieve a Faith in God award. Some of the goals are in the areas of serving others and developing talents, along with other focal areas. I wanted to talk a little about an activity that we had recently to fulfill a developing talents goal. We took a group of 11 girls to the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX.

I was pleasantly surprised at what a wonderful collection they had. Among some of the artists that we viewed were Picasso, Gaugin, Cezanne, Matisse, Manet, Renoir, and even one of Monet's water lilies painting. It was fantastic. I have been to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which are phenomenal museums, but I wasn't expecting such works of art in San Antonio. So, that was a great surprise. It really is a great museum.

It was so fun to be able to go with the girls. They enjoyed it and were very good at answering some of the docent's questions. The girls were so well-behaved and seemed to enjoy it. It was a wonderful treat for me because I have lived in San Antonio for 4 years and have been wanting to go there, but with three little boys, when would I go?

What a fantastic calling I have that I get to take fun girls to an art museum. I love Activity Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

By Morning Light

I have just finished reading Rachel Ann Nunes' By Morning Light. I really enjoyed this novel. It is the final of the Huntington Family series. It is about Kerrianne whose husband died 4 years prior and it deals with her hesitancy at wanting to move on. She thinks that if she dates other men, it is somehow being unfaithful to her dead husband. She meets Ryan Oakman who is a widower. She can relate to him since they have both lost a spouse and are now single parents. At first, she resists him. What unfolds is a beautiful love story between two people that find they can love again. I also enjoyed seeing bits of other members of the Huntington family. Other books that I enjoyed were No Longer Strangers and Winter Fire and the characters from those novels made cameos in this one. If you're up for a sweet love story, check this one out.

I'm finished!

I have finally finished editing Reasonable Doubt. I can't believe it so long. I officially finished it on New Year's Eve, and only sent it off this past Monday. But, it's off and out of my hands. I hope to hear back in 3 months or so if the publisher has accepted it. I'm grateful to my sister who edited it very well and made great suggestions. Also, a friend at my husband's work, Ann, read through it and caught a lot of mistakes. She also suggested I changed the beginning and now I'm very happy with the first chapter. So, now the wait begins to see if it is accepted.

I have also completed the sequel which I called One On One. I actually finished the sequel prior to finishing the originial. For some reason, I really struggled with finishing Reasonable Doubt. Now the editing process begins for the sequel. I'm looking forward to it because I have some ideas for changes. But, I think I will take a little break and catch up on some movies I've wanted to rent. I haven't watched a movie in months. I've been so wrapped up in finishing the novel. I also taped two presidential debates- the Republicans and Democrats from a few weeks ago and have been wanting to watch those. So, I will do that before I start editing again. I hope it doesn't take me 5 months this time!

Monday, April 9, 2007

On Second Thought

I just finished reading On Second Thought by Robison Wells. It was the laugh out loud story of Walt Stewart. After his fiancee leaves him for his roommate, Walt takes a job in New Mexico. There he meets a funny assortment of people, as well as Clara Campbell who he falls for immediately. There is a very funny scene in which he follows her in his car. It was insightful to read from the man's point of view as sets out to woo Clara. We don't often get this perspective. He is also drawn to the strange occurrences at a local observatory. Along with the comedy and romance, there is also a mystery to solve. It takes quite a few unexpected turns.

There were so many funny situations that Walt found himself in. I literally laughed out loud at several points, garnering funny looks from my husband. I really enjoyed Wells' humorous style of writing. He has quite a way with humor. I have also enjoyed reading his posts on Six LDS Writers and Frog blog- It is one of my favorite blogs that I check several times a week. I look forward to reading more of Wells' novels.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I finished Reasonable Doubt on New Year's Eve and am now editing it. I have a few people who are reading it and are helping me to polish it. My sister is my best editor. She is meticulous and almost always right about her suggestions. I have also been working on my next novel, The Writing Room. I have written quite a bit a my creative writing group. I meet with three other women twice a month and it has been a great motivator in getting me to write. I hope to have Reasonable Doubt submitted to my publisher by next month.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

I'm not a blogger. I don't even write in my journal, but I'm giving this a try. Let's see how it works. On New Year's Eve, I finished writing my novel, ReasonableDoubt. I am currently editing it, along with some great help from others. I have been working on it for two years now, and it has been almost finished for the last year and a half, but I've had little motivation to work on it. I did, however, finish the sequel to it several months ago. Sometime between the last presidential election in which I was glued to the television and my last pregnancy, I have not written very much. I really don't have an excuse now, so I'm getting back into it.

Star Shining Brightly has been well received, and I have heard great comments from people who have read it. I'm hoping sales pick up this year. Well, that's it for my first blog entry ever. I hope I can keep it up. No elections or pregnancies currently to keep me otherwise occupied.