Monday, January 31, 2011

Get to know you Monday--Jenny Stanger

Today we are getting to know Jenny Stanger



1. Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

Neither. I must have chocolate chip mint and if there is a brownie you can throw into it then I have died and gone to heaven. Mint and chocolate is deeply satisfying, yet refreshing. I went to school at BYU-Hawaii and after finishing my finals each semester or accomplishing something great I would treat myself to a large mint chocolate chip waffle cone from the Seasider on campus. I remember licking as fast as I could to keep the ice cream from dripping on my
fingers once I went outside the Seasider with my prize. There is nothing like eating a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone in Hawaii.

2. When you have an hour of free time, what do you like to do?

I love to connect with friends or make something delicious to share with my family. I also love to Zumba, play the guitar, read, be outdoors and paint.

3. What is the strangest food you ever ate?

When I was 19 I spent a year in mainland China. During the New Year festival I jumped on a train and traveled to visit several Chinese friends home towns. One dear Chinese friend of mine named Yong Bo had me stop in his home town just before I headed back to Xi'an. He told
me the train was to let me off at his home town around 3 in the morning and it was such a short stop I was to climb out the train window as fast as I could into his families arms. Boy was I was
nervous about missing the stop! Luckily I was able to stay awake and the train stopped long enough so I was able to walk off. I think the word spread quickly that there was a foriegner on the train. All though no one spoke English, Chinese men were ever so helpful and made
sure I got off on the right stop. The following day my friend Peter showed me around his village and their specialty was fried cicada bugs. They are beetles with large pinchers. They fry them up like we do popcorn and then serve them stacked 100 high on a plate. At first I was nervous
the pinchers would get caught in my throat...so I would only eat the back, but then I realized it was safe and we ate them all up. My dear friends spent money on me when they had so little, so I had to eat the beetles with a gracious smile.

4. Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person?

Definitely a night person especially in the Winter. From early morning on I am taking care of 4 little kids and my husband who is a big kid so I look forward to 7:30pm when I can put everyone to bed and have some time to myself. I love to read late into the night and often have to force myself to turn off the light so I can be a happy mom the next day.

5. Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

Take pictures. In fact I need a new hard drive to store all the pictures and videos I have taken. When I see something beautiful I cannot rest until I capture it to keep forever. If I miss it takes me days to get over or months. I'm still sick about a gorgeous rainbow I missed last year after a rain storm near our house. It was the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. I really hate to see myself in pictures or on t.v. I am definitely my worst critic.

6. Are you a collector of anything?

Yes and no. I frequently de-junk my house and take pictures of all my kids special projects and love letters so I don't have to keep stacks of papers around. The one think I am starting to collect is a piece of jewelry from where ever we travel. I have jade bracelets from China, a very beautiful pearl from Hawaii, a large silver and turquoise ring from Can Cun and several crystal bracelets from the Philippines.

7. Do you have any celebrity crushes?

Hmmmm...nope. I'm infatuated with my husband.

8. What color shoes are you wearing?

I'm currently in socks. My biggest pet peeve is to have cold so I'm most often in soft white ankle socks while at home. Tomorrow I will be wearing my new tan leather high-heeled boots that I bought on black Friday. I love them, they make me feel classy and beautiful.

9. What are you favorite smells?

Pine trees, plumeria flowers freshly picked, coconut scented sun tan lotion and a salty sea breeze.

10. What book are you reading now?

I just finished the most romantic love story I have ever read. Shackles of Honor by Marcia Lynn Mcclure. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I felt as if I were experiencing meeting my husband and falling in love with him all over again as I read. Every page was so delicious to read. Marcia Lynn Mcclure has the talent of sucking you into another world and making you feel emotions just as if you were the main character.


WHY I WRITE
I write because I love food and I love to share great recipes. I also believe that having a daily family meal strengthens family relationships. I hope to encourage families everywhere to make it a priority to eat together daily. We like to play a game at dinner called "high, low". We go around the table and each say the best thing that happened to us and the worst thing that day. This game really helps us connect and reflect on the good and bad things that happened that day.

College graduation

Wedding Day


Jenny and her husband, Mark


Dressing up

Doing a TV segment on Fabulous Freezer Meals

Jenny with one of her favorite things, Plumeria

Jenny with her youngest at the beach


At the beach

The Stanger Family

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Free Book Friday Giveaway--Dearly Departed

Today's free book is



Entering is easy, but you must be done by MIDNIGHT MST THURSDAY, February 3th. Winner will be announced February 4th.

To enter, leave us a comment with the answer to the weekly question.
Make sure to include your email address if it isn't found on your blog profile.

The weekly question is
"What is the craziest thing you and your friends have done?"


Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Chapter Wednesday--Dearly Departed

Some of you may already be familiar with Ida Mae, Arlette, and Tansey, but if you haven't you'll in for a treat as you get to know them in Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston.


Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

FIRST CHAPTER
Ida Mae stepped back and surveyed her freezer with satisfaction. It had taken her all morning, but she had replenished her stock of cranberry cookies and whole-wheat bread. She had also frozen twelve single-serving lasagnas, eight bowls of chicken noodle soup, and six sweet and sour chicken dishes. Cooking for one was definitely different from cooking for a household, but when she froze the extra servings, she could go for days without having to actually spend time in the kitchen. She felt like such a rebel.

She glanced at the clock. Tansy would be coming over in about ten minutes, and she was sure to want some fresh, warm bread once she caught a whiff. Ida Mae thought for a moment. She had some freezer jam in the outside unit, just the thing to serve with the bread. But as she descended the steps from her kitchen to the garage, she lost her balance. For a moment she thought she’d be all right, but then she fell to the hard concrete floor in an ungraceful heap.

The words that sprang to her mind at the sudden pain weren’t befitting a former Relief Society president, but she thought them anyway. She figured the Lord would understand. She hadn’t felt such pain in her life, not even in labor. Of course, she’d had her children in the day when women were totally knocked out to give birth. Ida Mae didn’t remember much of anything from those days.

She lay there for a moment, trying to take a deep breath. When she finally managed to raise her head, she could see that her left ankle was twisted at an odd angle, and that she had gouged it on an old piece of metal left lying around from her nephew Ren’s workbench. Great. Just great.
Her phone was at least twenty feet away, and she couldn’t get up. She didn’t know what she was going to do.

“Ida Mae?” Tansy’s cheerful voice rang through the house. “Ida Mae, are you home?”
“I’m out here, Tansy,” Ida Mae called. “In the garage.”

Tansy stepped through the door. “Ida Mae!” She clutched the doorframe, her face pale. “Are you all right? Speak to me!”

“I already did speak to you, remember?” Ida Mae was so relieved at Tansy’s appearance, she was ready to forgive nonsensical babbling, but some things were just self-explanatory.

“How long have you been out here?”

“Just a few minutes.”

“Well, thank goodness for that. Now, let’s see.” Tansy grabbed a coat from the hook by the door and draped it over Ida Mae. “Should we call the ambulance, or do you think you could get in the car?”

Ida Mae thought about it. A trip to the hospital was definitely in order, but she didn’t know if her insurance would cover the ambulance ride. “Let’s try the car,” she said at last.

Tansy placed a call to the hospital to let them know Ida Mae was coming. Thankfully, the hospital had added another wing in the last year, so they should be able to treat her there without having to transport her to Salt Lake City. Ida Mae could hardly bear the thought of a long drive—just going to the hospital there in Omni would be hassle enough.

“Think of it this way,” Tansy said brightly. “You’re already in the garage. Another few feet, and you’ll be at the car.”

Ida Mae pressed her lips together. She supposed that was a blessing, although she did have the overwhelming compulsion to strangle Tansy with her own purse strap. But that was the pain talking.

Tansy opened the back door of Ida Mae’s car. “Let’s have you crawl in here and lie down. Oh, you have a stick shift.”

Ida Mae hadn’t really thought about it, but yes, her car did have a stick shift. “Can you drive with one?”

“Well, I’ve never done it, but I’m willing to give it a try,” Tansy said. “Unless you want to use my car. I could pull it up the driveway, but you’d have a lot farther to crawl.”

Ida Mae weighed her options. Should she crawl a couple of feet and put her life in the hands of a woman who might end up driving her into a tree, or should she crawl twenty or thirty feet to get into a different car with the same woman? The choice was fairly obvious.

Gritting her teeth, she pulled herself onto her knees. The pain shot up her leg and into her hip, taking her breath away. Sweat broke out in beads across her forehead.

“You can do it, Ida Mae,” Tansy encouraged, looking like a sixty-five-year-old cheerleader.

Ida Mae grasped the doorframe and pulled herself up on her good foot, then crumpled down on the car’s back bench. Tansy helped tuck her friend’s feet up on the seat, careful not to bump the injured ankle, then closed the door and hurried around to the driver’s side.

“Okay, now what do I do?” Tansy asked after she climbed into the car.

At least one good thing came out of the drive to the hospital. Ida Mae was so intent on keeping Tansy from stripping the gears, bouncing like a bunny through the intersection, and going over the guardrail that the focus was taken off the pain in her foot. They came to a screeching halt at the emergency room doors ten life-threatening minutes later, and Ida Mae said a silent prayer of thanks.

“That was fun!” Tansy said, turning around in the seat to look at Ida Mae. “Now, you sit tight.
I’m going to get one of those cute orderlies to bring a wheelchair out here.”

Ida Mae had never before stopped to contemplate the physical appearance of the orderlies at the hospital, but when one did come out with a wheelchair, she had to admit he looked pretty good. Like an angel of mercy, swooping down to deliver her from Tansy’s grasp.

****


“I fully understand your reasons for putting a cast on my ankle,” Ida Mae said, trying to sound calm. “Under the circumstances, that’s the best course of action. But what are you planning to do with that thing?” She pointed at the hypodermic needle in the nurse’s hand.

“Mrs. Babbitt, you scratched your leg on a piece of metal. Your chart indicates that it’s been quite a long time since your last tetanus shot. We’re just trying to keep you healthy.”

“I’m healthiest when I’m not impaled with needles.”

“It’s all right.” Tansy patted Ida Mae’s shoulder. “You can hold my hand.”

“But did you see the size of that thing? It must be six feet long.”

“Oh, the drama,” Arlette retorted. She’d come down to the hospital the minute Tansy called her from the emergency room, but Ida Mae couldn’t see that her presence was helping. So far, all Arlette had done was stand in the corner and make acerbic comments about everything.
“Mrs. Babbitt,” the nurse went on, “tetanus is a very painful condition. Believe me, you don’t want to get it. The shot, on the other hand, will only sting for a minute. You’ll be a little stiff for a day or two, and then it’s all over.” The nurse held up the needle again, giving what she probably thought was a comforting smile, but which was, in actuality, more like the grin of the Joker from the Batman television series.

“Can you numb me first?” Ida Mae asked after a long pause.

“I have a very effective numbing agent, but it’s administered by shot also,” the nurse replied.

“You’d have to give me a shot to get me ready to get a shot? Where is the logic in that?”

“This is a hospital,” Arlette said, taking a step forward. “I’m sure there’s something you could use topically.” Ida Mae was glad to hear her friend finally say something useful. “If nothing else, you could slap some ice on there. That would numb her up.”

Now Ida Mae wished her friend had kept her mouth shut.

“I’ll see what I can do,” the nurse said, laying the needle on the tray and leaving the room.

As soon as she was out of range, Ida Mae turned to Tansy, the one most likely to be sympathetic. “Tansy, you know I’m not a wimp. I never whine and I rarely complain.”

Arlette made a snorting noise, but Ida Mae wasn’t talking to Arlette, so she ignored her and went on. “But I hate needles. I really, really hate them. Can’t we sneak out of here while the nurse is gone?”

“Ida Mae, your cast was put on just minutes ago. I don’t think we can leave quite yet. Besides, you should get that shot.”

So much for Tansy’s sympathy. Ida Mae thought it sounded remarkably like she’d bought into the conspiracy.

“I’ll buy you a balloon,” Arlette said. “I saw a pretty one down in the gift shop.”

“Is it purple?”

“Yes, it’s purple. And it has pansies on it. Which is rather ironic, considering that you’re acting just like a great big pansy right now.”

Ida Mae knew tetanus wasn’t pleasant. She imagined the treatment for it would be much less than pleasant. If getting a shot could forestall all that suffering . . . she sighed. It would have to be done.

“Will you buy me a teddy bear to go with the balloon?”

“I most certainly will not!” Arlette crossed her arms over her chest. “That gift shop has a five hundred percent markup. I will not pay twenty dollars for a teddy bear that would cost nowhere near that much at Walmart.”

“But Walmart teddy bears don’t match the balloons.”


“I’ll buy you the teddy bear, Ida Mae,” Tansy said. “Now, will you be a good girl and get your shot?”

“I suppose,” Ida Mae said just as the nurse walked back into the room. “But go get it right now so I have something to squeeze.”


******

Eden was late for her job at the Salt Lake Sentinel. She walked calmly out of the funeral home but broke into a trot after she reached the parking lot and glanced at her watch. She hadn’t meant to leave so late, but she got caught up in the service and lost track of time.

She pulled into a fast-food restaurant and changed clothes in the bathroom, shoving her dress and heels into her duffel bag. She grabbed a sandwich and was on her way again, but got caught in a traffic snarl on I-215.

“Drat,” she muttered, looking for a gap in traffic so she could take the upcoming exit. She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel as the long string of cars inched forward, the other drivers looking as irritated as she was. Finally she saw an opening and took it, gunning her engine and zipping across, praying no one would hit her. They didn’t, but they certainly did honk.

“Sorry,” she called out, taking the exit. She wove through the side roads and pulled into her parking spot twenty minutes late. Maybe if she sneaked in, no one would notice.

That didn’t work. Halfway across the lobby, she heard someone call her name.

“Eden! Wait up.”

She turned, not wanting to face her boss. She got her wish—it was Kevin, the cute crime reporter who occupied the cubicle next to hers. She glanced around but didn’t see Mr. Cooper anywhere.
“He’s at lunch,” Kevin said, correctly interpreting her look of worry. “So, I hear you took the morning off to go to a funeral. Are you okay?”

Eden tilted her head to the side. It wasn’t her funeral—of course she was okay. Then she realized what he meant. “I’m fine, Kevin. It wasn’t for anyone I knew.”

“What?” He followed her down the hall toward their cubicles. “You went to a funeral, but you don’t know the person who died?”

“Yeah, I know it sounds a little crazy. But haven’t you ever gotten so wrapped up in a story you had to find out more, even though the article was already published?”

“I think we all do.”

“Well, it’s no different for me. Information comes across my desk, I try to condense someone’s whole life into one short obituary, and I can only hope I did it right. Sometimes I like to see how close I came.”

“You mean you make a habit of this funeral-going thing?”

Eden shrugged. “Only once or twice a month, and I generally just attend the ones held on my days off. Today was an exception.”

Kevin shook his head. “I knew you were quirky, but I didn’t know you were a funeral crasher.”

They reached her desk and she bent to tuck her purse under the cabinet.

“So, have you ever been proven wrong about a person?”

Eden looked up at him. “Sure, of course. You know how it is—the bereaved turns in their copy, I clean it up, and it goes to press with all sorts of glowing praise heaped on the deceased. Then at the funeral, I overhear that the louse cheated at cards and stole candy from babies. But you’re supposed to print what they send, you know?”

“But how does that make you feel, when all the world—well, all the subscribers—see this marvelous write-up but it’s not true?”

“Can you imagine an obituary that was really accurate?” Eden held her hands up in front of her, pretending to read a newspaper. “He was killed in a motorcycle accident that he wouldn’t have been in if he hadn’t been stinkin’ drunk and out seeing his girlfriend on the sly. Police say if he’d been smart enough to wear his helmet, he probably wouldn’t have died, although his wife says, ‘Good riddance to him and his smelly socks.’” She lowered her arms. “It would make fascinating reading, but is that really what the family needs?”

“No, I guess not.” Kevin folded his arms and leaned against the dividing wall between her cubicle and his. “Can I come with you sometime?”

Eden looked at him in surprise. “You want to crash a funeral with me?”

“Sure, why not? It sounds like fun.”

She mulled it over. She’d already divulged far more about herself than she’d intended, but there was something about Kevin that just made her want to talk. That could be dangerous.

“I guess,” she said. “I’ll let you know the next time I go.”

“How do you pick them? Do you just flip through the stack, close your eyes, and jab your finger?”
Eden really didn’t want to tell him, but she found herself doing it anyway. “I go to the ones that make me cry.”

“Come again?”

Dang it, if those brown eyes made him look any more like a puppy . . . “While I’m writing up the obituaries, some of them make me cry. Those are the ones that make me curious.”

Kevin shook his head again, and she wondered what kind of sarcastic comment he was getting ready to make. She could take him down in the sarcasm department any day—it was her specialty.

“You’re something else, Eden,” was all he said before disappearing into his own cubicle.

A moment later she heard the sound of rapid typing. At least one of them was getting back to work. His last words had caught her off guard, and Eden had to pull her brain around to the task at hand. She hoped Mr. Cooper wouldn’t figure out how late she’d been.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Get to Know You Monday--Tristi Pinkston


Yes, it's been a while since we've done our Get to Know You Monday, but it's a new year and with that comes a new resolution to start again.

So without further ado meet Tristi Pinkston,


author of Dearly Departed

1. Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

I really believe that vanilla ice cream is only good for a foundation for your hot fudge, caramel, and butterscotch syrup. To eat it plain … no. It’s got to be chocolate all the way.

2. When you have an hour of free time, what do you like to do?

I love to read (that’s probably not a huge surprise) but I also like watching good movies, scrapbooking, and taking naps. Of course, writing is right up there on my list, but I tend to think of my free time as being spent away from the computer.

3. What is the strangest food you ever ate?

When I was a teenager, I had the chance to go to Russia. While there, I was served a plate of raw fish. I decided to eat a piece, just so I could brag to all my friends and thereby win some admiration. Well, all I won was expressions of disgust and disbelief. My little plan didn’t work.

4. Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person?

I have heard of this thing you call “morning.” I have heard stories of a bright ball in the sky coming up over the mountains and how it is very beautiful. This is a mystery to me. Um, yes, I am very much a night person. My brain just doesn’t kick in before around ten a.m.

5. Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

If ever a person has been uncomfortable having their picture taken, it would be me. Especially formal pictures. I’m just not good at posing. I always worry that I’m smiling too much or too little or that my eyes aren’t open enough … I would so much rather be on the other side of the camera.

6. Are you a collector of anything?

Not anymore. I used to collect stuffed animals, and I had some nice porcelain dolls, but after I got married and started my family, my priorities took a really sudden shift and I found that I didn’t enjoy certain things like I used to. I donated the animals to the shelter for women and children, and sold the dolls in a yard sale. Now I collect creative, intelligent, and stubborn children.

7. Do you have any celebrity crushes?

Well, since you asked … I have a major crush on Pierce Brosnan. I fell in love with him when I was ten years old and he was Remington Steele. Over twenty years later, he still makes my heart pitty-pat. What can I say … I had really good taste as a ten-year-old.

8. What color shoes are you wearing?

I hope my chiropractor isn’t reading this … I am currently barefoot. I’m supposed to be wearing supportive insoles all the time except for when I’m in bed, but I have a really hard time doing that. My little footsies prefer to be free.

9. What are you favorite smells?

The three best smells in the world, according to Tristi, are freshly baked bread, cinnamon, and baby washed in Baby Magic.

10. What book are you reading now?

No Stone Unturned by Jeanette Fratto. It’s a literary mystery, and it’s really interesting.


WHY I WRITE

I write because it's the only way I've found to keep the little voices in my head quiet. I also don't feel content unless I've done it. It's like an internal driving force that pushes me forward, and unless I give in to it, it doesn't give me any peace. That almost sounds like I'm addicted or possessed, doesn't it? I promise, I'm not. But it's fulfilling for me. It certainly makes me a happier person when I do it.




Wedding Day





LDS Storymakers 2005

Tristi's excitement over receiving Dearly Departed

Tristi presenting at a conference

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Busy Weekend

Our authors (if the weather cooperates) will be out in force this weekend for signings.

Friday:
Marie Higgins will be at the Ogden Costco from 1-6 pm.

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Carole Thayne Warburton will be at the Bountiful Costco from 1-5 pm.

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Tristi Pinkston will be at Pioneer Book from 6-8 pm.

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Saturday
Carole Thayne Warburton at the Ogden Costco from 1-5 pm.

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Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen at the Sandy Barnes & Noble from 1-4 pm.

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Tristi Pinkston at The Book Table from 11 am-1 pm.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Blog Tour for the Star Prophecy



The adventure begins with the blog tour for
The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards


We will be giving away THREE copies of The Star Prophecy. One GRANDPRIZE winner will win this beautiful tile.



It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why you're excited to read The Star Prophecy. Remember to include your email address.
2. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an additional entry.


Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on January 28.


*****
You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned.

Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch's dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of his long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously - the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and the prophet Nephi.

Five years before, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that "five years more cometh" and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream - to see the face of the Messiah.

The Star Prophacy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and his friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ child.


January 10
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

January 11
Totally Tina

January 12
Peggy Urry

January 13
Tangled Words and Dreams

January 14
Kaylee Baldwin

January 17
Of Writerly Things

January 18
Writers Mirror

January 19
Bonnie Gets a Say

January 20
The Blessing of Family Life

January 21
Anna del C. Dye's Blog
Renee S. Clark

Thursday, January 6, 2011

LDS Publisher Best Book Cover 2010


Just in case you haven't seen the tweets or the facebook posts, we're kind of excited because we've had three titles that have been nominated for Best Book Cover by LDS Publisher. We're up against some fabulous covers, so if you think one of these covers should win Reader's Favorite go and vote before voting ends at midnight TONIGHT (January 6th).

Queen in Exile in YA Speculative Fiction


Finding Rose in Historical Romance



Sun Tunnels and Secrets in General Fiction