Monday, March 30, 2009

Summary of April Events

April is chocked (chalked? chucked? chuck? chock? Annette--where is your OED?) full of many great things--Easter, chocolate, spring break, tulips, chocolate. And my calendar is brimming. So, I'm going to lay it all out here and eventually I'll update my web page with it as well. If you're able to make it to any of the events, I'll be thrilled to see you. In fact, I'm going to have a "Blog" treat for anyone that attends an event and says they read about it on my blog :-) ( I realize some of the events are 'closed' to members, but those members are still eligible if they see this blog and there are plenty of other 'public' events that are open to everyone.)

Until April 6--LDSbookcorner is featuring Lemon Tart in their "A chapter a Day" program. What they do is send a chapter a day via e-mail. This allows you to sample a book before you decide whether you want to read the whole thing. This is a great opportunity for me and I'm so dang excited to have had them feature Lemon Tart this week. To sign up, go to enter your email. You will shortly recieve an e-mail that says 'update your profile' which then allows you to choose your preferences. Look for my name (Josi S. Kilpack) and click on it. My name will only be there for a week, but if you sign up you'll recieve all five days of the daily chapters. Anyone can join.

April 4th signings:
I will be doing two signings this Saturday, on in Provo and one in Salt Lake. If you have already bought books you would like for me to sign, just bring them in a purse or a bag so the employees don't think you've picked them up to buy.

12:00-2:00--Deseret Book at University Mall (575 E. University Mall Parkway Orem, UT) I think this is the only signing I've done in Utah County in about six years. Wow. Open to the public.

6:00-8:00--This years Salt Lake location is the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, in the lobby. They always have drawings and food and all kinds of wonderful goodness to make it worth the trip. Open to the public.

April 16: Presenting to the Reader's Challenge group at Adele C. Young Intermediate School in Brigham City. Closed except to members.

April 17: Presenting to Mrs. Hollingworth's english classes at Adele C. Young Intermediate School. Closed except to students (and Mrs. Hollingsworth)

April 18: Presenting at the state conference for the National Teachers Association for Women; Alpha Delta Kappa. The conference is held at the Comfort Inn in Ogden this year. Closed except to members.

April 23: You can see on the side of my blog that Lemon Tart is the featured book for Provident book and Humdinger toys in Pleasant Grove. I will be there for a discussion/signing on April 23 from 6:00-7:00 (661 W State, Ste A Pleasant Grove, UT). I will have all of my Cedar Fort published books there to sell, but you'll need to buy any of my Deseret Book published books at another location before that night. I've talked to other authors that have had the opportunity to be a part of the Provident book club and they said it was an absolute blast. I'm really looking forward to it. Open to the public!

April 24 & 25--I'll be one of the boot camp instructors on both mornings of the LDStorymakers writers' conference 2009 and I'll teaching a workshop on how to build and take advantage of your own writing community. My workshop is at 9:30 on Saturday morning--I'm up against Carolyn Campbell's article writing and Rachel Anne Nunes Plot and Conflict. Ouch. Hopefully I'll get a seat or two filled though. Registration is still open!

April 29--I've been invited to the "Treats and a Good Book" bookclub for a ward in Tremonton. They chose Lemon Tart as their book for April, and have invited me to sit in on the discussion. I love these things! Closed except to members (and freinds they might invite)

April 30 or May 1--I'll be doing a booksiging at the BYU bookstore sometime during women's conference. This is another fabulopus venue and opportunity, so if you haven't caught up to me by then, look for me then. I'll post the details when I know them. Open to the public.

Oh, and Lemon Tart hit #1 on the fiction/literature list on DB last Friday! It's #10 on DB's overall bestseller list and the 3rd fiction title of those top ten. I owe it to you guys! Thanks so much.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yes, We're Related, Why do You Ask?

Jeanie (age 14+)

"Hey Mom, you know that song that goes Every Rose Has it's Thorn, what's it called?"

Lou-Lou (age 13)

"It's a fact, Little Man, kinda like how it's a fact you've got twenty fingers, ya know? Wait . . ."

Little Man (age 10)

"Claudia (the piano teacher) said I did so good on my songs you should buy me a treat."

"I did buy you a treat," I say.

"You did! What is it?"

"Cough syrup."

"That's aweso---hey, wait a minute!"

KB (age 7)

*We were playing a game where you draw a card that gives you a category and you try to come up with things that fit that category. Since she's only 7, she just helps me. The category was "Words you use in place of swear words."

"Oh, I get it," KB says. "Like . . ." She whispers the word in my ear.

"Um, actually, that's a real swear word, sweetie."

It's just nice now and then to get the validation that, yep, their mine and we're all in good company.

Thanks everyone for sharing in my excitement of the DB list, it was so great to share it with friends and get such fabulous feedback. Also, a couple weeks ago I was interviewed by Wendy at Author Beginnings a fun new blog all about how writer's got started. If you want to know where my life as a writer began, click HERE to check it out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

GOAL! #1 on Deseret Book

Oh I am so glad I am home alone right now. Serious. I would be forever embarrassed if anyone had overheard my maniacal laughter, shouts and unrestrained jubilation.

BUT, my neurotic-celebration is totally warranted because I have accomplished a goal I have hoped for and tried to talk myself out of for almost ten years. Lemon Tart made number one on Deseret Book's General Fiction list AND the Mystery and Suspense list! AND that puts it as #2 on the Overall Fiction list and #12 on Deseret Book's overall best seller list. Take a LOOK at the best seller's list--how many fiction novels to you see up there? Yeah, exactly my point!

Fiction is a hard sell, it really is, and any publisher will tell you that non-fiction sells better than fiction. ESPECIALLY in regard to DBs bestseller list because you a competing with General Authorities! And MY book is on the list. Worldwide Ward Cookbook is also on the list, which also makes me so very happy.

Ya know, in life there are some really icky days you have to suffer through, and honestly it's days like this that help me get through the mud-slog days.

In addition to the #1 spot on DBs list, I also received an honorable mention in Scribbit's March writing contest. You can read my entry by going to her blog--read a couple of the others up there as well, they are great.

Let me end this with a plea that you will forgive my indulgent explosion and pride in my accomplishments--I am a writer which means I will be humbled tomorrow when I wrestle with a scene that just isn't working--BUT thank you, each and every one of you that read my blog, read my books, leave online reviews, recommend my books to my friends, tell me what you liked, help me improve, listen to me rant, and cheer right along with me. I could NOT have achieved this goal without amazing support from everyone in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

It's a good day. AND I'm done writing today. I'm going to go for a celebratory jog and eat half a box of Thin Mints.

ALSO, I did a podcast with LDSwomenbookreviews a few weeks ago, and the podcast is up and ready to be downloaded. Click HERE to find out how you can download it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cookbook Winner

Have I mentioned that I'm taking a Quick books class? And have I mentioned that school really isn't my thing? And have I mentioned that I still have half a dozen Whitney Award finalists to read? And have I mentioned that my husband is out of town this week? And have I mentioned I'm presenting at a writer's conference this weekend? And have I mentioned that I hate all holidays, even if the only thing I have to do is wear green and feel guilty that I'm not making corned beef?

Yeah, that's why this is a short post. BUT I am ever so grateful for everyone that entered and super excited to choose the winner . . . Becky Clayson!

Becky has been in my writing group for the last few years--remember her name cause you're going to see it on a book cover in the next couple years.

Becky, if you'll send me your address offline, I'll forward it to Covenant Communications.

And since I know the rest of you are just heartsick over not winning, you can buy it HERE.

Thanks again for playing.

Oh, and a BIG shout out thank you to everyone that's buying Lemon Tart. It's ranked #2 on Deseret Book's website! Wohooooooooo! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the great support!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Worldwide Ward Cookbook GIVEAWAY

I still bow in reverence to Annette Lyon's amazing contest week, but there must be something in the water cause I'm gunna have one too. but don't forget to check out Annette's blog as well, just cause you win one doesn't disqualify you from winning another one.

Sooooooo, you were all coveting my cookbook when I talked about it a couple weeks ago, weren't you? (the Baked Shrimp was DIVINE!) Well, of course you were coveting! If not for the fact that I have one already, I would covet it to. However, I have been given the opportunity to save you from your evil ways by offering one of you salvation through your very own copy. Covenant Communications has offered a free copy of the book to one of my delightful readers (that's you). To enter, however, you have to first read this:

“Confessions of a Chocoholic Cook” is a free cooking event in which community members will be taught simple but tasty chocolate recipes from "Worldwide Ward Cookbook."

The event will be held at the SCERA lobby (745 S. State St., Orem, UT) on Wednesday, March 18 @ 7 p.m.

Some of the recipes that will be taught and demonstrated include Chocolate Pancakes with Grandma's Syrup, Snickers Salad, “My Most Favorite Cake” and Fudge Cookies.

“Confessions of a Chocoholic Cook” is open to the general public, but those who want to attend must RSVP by March 16 by emailing
(I don't know how to make that a hyperlink, sorry)

Seriously, have you ever had Snickers Salad? I have and it's amazing! This will be a totally awesome night and it's FREE!

Now that you're drooling all over your keyboard, or crying because you live a million miles away and can't afford a plane ticket, here's how you can enter the contest for a free copy of The Worldwide Ward Cookbook. I'll draw a winner on Monday the 16th by using

To enter, you have to tell me the most recent chocolate you've eaten. for me, it's the Fudge Pudding cake that my daughter and I made for FHE last night (and I had for breakfast . . . and lunch)--super yummy!

AND if you are planning to attend this event, you get entered twice. I will take you at your word because we all know where liars go :-)

Keep in mind that Deanna is still taking entries for her Worldwide Ward Christmas Cookbook, but there are only a few weeks left. Go HERE for details.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Can Cry if I Want to!

Growing up, us kids had 'friend' birthdays every other year, which meant we had two years to plan and look forward to it and although they were never fancy, it was always a very big deal for us. I was turning 12, it was a 'friend' year and I was so excited.

I had a sleep over and invited 8 girls--seeing as how we had 8 kids in my family at that time I think my parents were pretty generous. It had been hard to choose 8--there was lots of "Will Molly come if I don't invite Shannon?" and "will Heather feel out of place if Kim isn't there?" and "Will Kim get mad if Molly's there?" and "Do I invite Sara?" Sara was a big issue. She thought I was a dork (I'm not saying I wasn't)--everyone knew she thought I was a dork--but she'd recently moved in up the street from me which put her in the 'ward' category although she didn't come very often and I had invited all the other girls in my 'ward' age group--but they were my friends. And Sara really wasn't. But she was 'popular' and friends with some of the other girls there, and I was inviting all the other girls in my ward age group. Do I invite her too, even though she thinks I'm a total lameo dork?

I didn't invite her.

At first.

But about 1/2 an hour into the party, one of the girls called Sara and told her that we were all at the party, then she handed the phone to me so that Sara could wish me a happy birthday. She said she hoped I had a nice party. MAN. So I stammered through how lame my mom was and I could only invite eight people. She was very good (i.e. manipulative) about it and said it sounded like we were having a really good time. I felt horrible. She sounded like she really wanted to come and I loved the idea that she wanted to be at MY party. So, with 8 kids in our family and 8 additional 12 year old girls, I went and begged (i.e. manipulated) my mom to let Sara come. Mom gave in; Sara came; it was all downhill from there.

See, I wasn't the only person at my party that Sara thought was a dork--and the party quickly separated into 'Cool' and 'Dork' groups. Sara thought the games I planned were dumb, which meant the people in her group thought they were too. Sara thought the movie we watched (The Incredible Shrinking Woman) was stupid, which meant her group thought so too. Of course, she never said it like that, she just said things like "Are we seriously doing a pinata?" and "I've seen this like ten times, did you record it off the TV?" THEN, we all go to sleep in the TV room, shoved into every available corner. Someone (probably Sara but I can't remember, which means it could very well have been me) says we should tell scary stories, so we do. And hour later two girls are crying because they are sleeping next to the window and if that guy with the hook decides to break in, they're going to get killed first. No one will trade places with them. Sara and her group start whispering to each other and I know they are saying how dumb my party is. I leave the room, trying not to cry, desperate for solutions to this nightmare. I go in and tell my parents that I don't know what to do. My dad tells me I'm being a jerk and to just get my butt back in there and finish the damn party (he's not so good with emotional drama). Eventually, that's what I do. I go back in the room, turn my back to everyone and clench my eyes closed in hopes I will sleep and everyone else will to.

Eventually, we do sleep. I don't remember what happened in the morning except that after everyone leaves I go to my room and cry for an hour, certain that this social flop will ruin my life.

It didn't--in fact I don't remember any kind of follow-up other than I decided I never wanted to have another birthday party again. And I didn't. In later years I would go to a movie with friends, or we'd go to someone else's house, but I never had another invitation, cake, friends-to-my house party. It wasn't worth the risk. Sara and I eventually became sorta friends, though she was always way cooler and I was always way dorkier.

I told this story to Lou-lou last week as she was stressing about who to invite to her party, who not to invite, what to do at the party, what would be fun. I told her not to get her hopes up too high, that after you turned 10 girls were different, parties were different, and that having a schedule probably wasn't a really great idea. She's a very fun, creative, and high energy girl and felt sure that we could come up with stuff that would make her party amazing. We came up with some really fun ideas and I was hopeful.

And then the girls showed up.

They all knew each other except one, who is a year younger than Lou-lou but a good friend. Lou-lou tried hard to make sure this girl had a good time, which meant her other friends kind of grouped together. No one was mean, but every girl there had a cell phone, and through each part of the party they were texting or calling someone. At 8:30, Lou-lou came to me complaining about the phones. I went to collect them, saying I would keep them in the kitchen (like when you take all the drunk people's keys). They all insisted their mother would be calling them and so they had to keep their phones with them (can you say rehearsed?). They didn't want to watch the movie, they didn't like the cake, they kept texting. At 10:30 Lou-lou came to me saying she wished she hadn't had a sleep over and they were making her crazy cause they didn't seem to want to do anything she had planned. I did not tell her she was a jerk and she should get back to her damn party, I said "I'm sorry, is there anything I can do to help?" There wasn't because the girls still insisted their mothers were going to call them. At 11:00 I said goodnight. At 2:00 Lou-lou told everyone they needed to go to bed. They said they wanted to watch the movie now.

At 8:00 the first one had to leave for a dance practice--they all woke up. I made breakfast, they ate, another one left, they played a game that one girl said was dumb, they went outside and collected eggs (I think they actually liked that part) they wandered the yard and jumped on the trampoline. At 11:00 the last one went home and Lou-lou came in to tell me she was done with parties--I was right, it didn't work after you turned ten.

I hate to say I told her so, but, well, I told her so.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tower of Strength Contest

Annette Lyon, my good friend, has released book 4 in her temple series--though they aren't sequels--Tower of Strength and she has worked her already-tiny-fanny off to come up with one of the most amazing contests I've ever seen. I like to think I'd support her anyway, but I really want to win stuff too :0) Sooooo, head over to her blog for details--or don't; then I won't have as much competition.

I've never embedded a movie before, so let's hope this works! Don't miss Tower of Strength--I bought my copy last week :-)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Do I have to do EVERYTHING?

So, Lou-lou (12 year old daughter) is having girl drama. Really lame girl drama (is there non-lame girl drama?) It involves her 'former' best friend and a boy they both liked--guess which one of them got him? Not Lou-lou. (which her mother is very grateful for, but which Lou-lou feels is likely the end of the world)

It's been two weeks and on Tuesday morning Lou-lou had a melt down. She missed the bus and we sat on the couch and talked about what it was that caused her to fall apart. It was obviously not the regular stuff--I knew some new level had been reached. I was right (of course I was right) and after some tears and some "I'll love you no matter what"s she finally admitted that last week she had called the former best freind a name--not to her face, but she'd said it to a freind and then the girl found out (of course she found out). Now Lou-lou feels horrible and the former freind was very hurt.

So I asked Lou-lou, "What did you call her?"

Lou-lou folds into herself and shakes her head as new tears fall. "I can't tell you."

Oh boy. I know a lot of dirty words and bad names and they all start rushing through my head. "You can tell me," I assure her. "I promise I won't get mad, but I need to know what the name was so that I know what kind of fall-out to expect." (No, she doesn't know what fall-out means, but I like to use phrases like that so that the kids remember I'm smarter than they are)

She shakes her head. "I can't say it," she says. "I'm not even sure what it means."

Wow. Now I'm really worried. "Was it a swear word?"

She shakes her head and I'm perpelexed. After a moment, however, I realize that there are far worse words she could have used than a simple swear word (which is ironic, but true). And my stomach falls a little bit as I imagine what word she could have picked up somewhere and then recycled for this event.

"Well," I say all calm and collected. "I'm sure I know what it means, so tell me what you said and we'll go from there. You're not going to shock me with it."

She peers over her knees. "You know what it means," she said. "You've said it before."

Yikes. As I said, I know a lot of bad-mean-dirty words, but I don't make a habit of saying many of them--unless I'm talking about dental insurance or computer ink and I'm careful not to bring up those topics in front of my children. She does not continue. "When did I say it?" I ask, certain I'd remember when I used this horrible word.

"When The Bad Girl's Club came on TV."

I'm compltely confused. I have no idea what the Bad Girl's club is. "Well, you're gunna have to tell me what it was cause I'm stumped. What did you call her?"


Oh, is that all? I mean, not that it's a good word--certainly not for a very non-slutty 12 year old girl--but it could have been so much worse. So I told her what it meant, which made her cry even harder, and then I told the story of the girl who has to let all the feathers go and then is told to pick them all up. I think she got it. She stayed home for an hour to get herself together and then I took her to school where she met with her councilor about what to do from here.

On the way out of the parking lot I glared at the building disappearing in my rear view mirror. My daughter is in the 7th grade, she's been in public schools most of her life and yet she learned the word slut from me?

If that's not evidence of the failure of a decent public education, I don't know what is.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Lemon Tart: Time out for Women book March 2009!

To say having a book chosen as a Time Out For Women book club selection is a big deal, is an understatement. Not only are there only a couple dozen books chosen every year, but there are very few fiction titles chosen. Sooooo, when I found out Lemon Tart was chosen, well, let's just say I'd have been embarrassed if anyone had been watching me. Luckily, I was alone and my dignity remained in tact as far as anyone else was concerned, but I felt a little like this:If you haven't heard of Time Out For Women, it's a program designed by Deseret Book that brings women together with recommended books and a traveling women's conference. I attended my first TOFW event in Ogden in January, and it was awesome--very inspiring. I have had other books considered for the bookclub, but not ultimately chosen, so in many ways I feel like I've been working toward this for a few years.

So, here's what's in it for you. If you haven't yet bought Lemon Tart, you can buy it through the TOFW website for 25% off. You can also read my author intereview and read up on the other TOFW book this month "Tell it like it is" by Sheri Dew (yeah, I share the page with HER!) So, anyhow, check it out HERE and tell a freind of two; maybe suggest it for your ward's bookclub next month, since you can get it at a discount during March.

Did I mention this is pretty exciting?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Slumdog Millunair

Disclaimer: I know I spelled Millionaire wrong (aren't you proud of me for knowing? Usually my spelling mistakes are based on complete ignorance)

I had heard a little bit about this movie over the last few weeks; we didn't watch the Academy awards so I didn't know that it received like eight Oscar's. If I'd known, I probably wouldn't have gone to it--I have a certain level of distrust in regard to the Academy Awards; it's one of my many conspiracy theories and lingers right up there with dental insurance and the price of computer ink.

Anyway, I didn't know about the Academy Awards, like I said, but I'd heard a radio person I respect say good things and then my good friend Carole Thayne said she liked it. Well, Carole is one of those people that I just trust implicitly. It's probably a good thing she's never tried to convince me that dental insurance isn't pure extortion, because I would probably believe that and it would throw all my conspiratorial thoughts into a spiral. However, the reason I trust her is because she is 100% honest, and about 90% of the time I 100% agree with her. The other 10% never gets in our way, which is a relief. So I heard about Slumdog on the radio and Carole liked it--that's like a six star review in my book.

But the movie is rated R. Now, I am not a rating worshiper. In fact I think PG 13 is the most ambiguous and misleading rating ever invented. Case in point: two weeks ago my husband was going to take our almost-13-year-old to Taken. I looked up the review and here's one of the 'sexual' scenes relayed "A man walks through an area where curtains are strung up creating rooms where young women lie in cots (most are unconscious from drugs) and men have sex with them" Yeah, turns out it was about girls being kidnapped and sold as sex slaves. We decided that wasn't the kind of movie we wanted to see, let alone take our child to. For really good detailed movie reivews check out they are not opinion reviews, they are based on specific scenes and have a rating system I have found quite reliable.

I'm getting distracted. So, back to Slumdog--it is rated R. But since movie ratings are another of my conspiracies, AND I trust Carole's opinions, AND I am not afraid to walk out of movies, AND my husband had been out of town all week and I was stircrazy to have the 5 minute drive all to myself with him--we decided to go.

Through the whole movie I waited for THE SCENE--you know, the horrible, gratuitous, totally inappropriate scene that necessitated the R rating. I waited for that scene, but it never came. Weird huh? Instead of these gratuituous, hyper-violetnt, sexual or inappropriate scenes, we watched a beautiful, stunning, wonderful movie about an exceptional young man who rises above everything. The leading themes of this movie, for me, were love, faith, redemption and how all these things are more powerful than circumstances. Lee and I discussed at length on the way home why in the world this was rated R. The only thing we could come up with was that it is very real--at times in a very raw I-don't-want-to-believe-these-kind-of-things-really-happen. But they do happen--every day they happen and the movie didn't seem to take advantage of showing the details to the degree they likely could have gotten away with. I came home with a renewed desire to keep goodness alive in the world so that people seeking it can find something to hold onto. I'm not sure how I'm going to do that, but it was something I was reminded up very strongly by this film.

So, here is the premis without giving up the story. Jamal Melik (might be wrong about the last name) and his brother, Salim, grow up in the slumps of Mumbai (check spelling). They are poor and are eventually orphaned which leads them to an orphanage where Salim is 'picked' to be a 'dog', meaning he is a kind of assistant to the leader of the orphanage who is a horrible, despicable man. Eventually they escape and grow up on the streets of Bombay by way of numerous cons, thefts, and other street-life-induced ways of supporting themselves. At a certain point they part ways. Salim makes his life through crime, Jamal is driven to recconect with a girl they met as children. We see the scenes of his life intersperced by Jamal's current situation which is that he is a contestant on the India version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire (pronounced Millunair when said in English with an Indian accent). Each question he's asked is cleverly tied to an experience of Jamal's life, but the better he does, the higher the stakes become.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

As for what to warn you about--there are raw parts of this film, specifically:
*The F word is said once
*There are rather brutal interrigation practices employed--not grapic
*There is a scene that shows the bare bum of a little boy who was the victim of a mean prank (which he totally deserved, IMO)
*There is a scene where two teenage boys walk through the red light district and find a girl who is being prepared to be sold as a virgin--not graphic
*There is a scene where a girl basically agrees to be raped in order to save a boy's life--not graphic, terribly heartbreaking.
*There is a scene where a little boy is made blind by adults--THIS was the most horrible scene of the movie. It's not horribly graphic, but it makes it hard to breathe to realize this could happen to a child.
*There is a shoot out scene, where two men are killed--intense but not graphic
*There is a shooting scene where one horrible man is killed--not grapic
*There is a scene where a young woman is cut on the face--scary and intense but not graphic
*There is a scene where a boy is going to the bathroom in a decrepit outhouse with a hole in the floor. Two boys talk about 'pooping' and then the one boy has to get out of the outhouse through the 'pit'. This was very gross, but was relayed in a more funny way than just disgusting.

That's all I can think of right now. As a final note, this isn't a movie I want my kids (ages 14 and 12) to see right now, but when they are older I think it would actually be a good film for them to see--in order to realize just how protected we are in this country. But I want them to be more mature so that they can fully understand that the lives relayed in this film are REAL. Millions of people live this way.

Anyhoo, there is my not-so-short review. I don't think I gave away too much--but if you've seen the movie and you think I did, please tell me so I can adjust the review. For a more detailed review go HERE