Friday, January 29, 2010

Wanna Win a Book? Devil's Food Cake Blog Contest

I'm giving away two copies of Devil's Food Cake to a random blogger who advertises the book on their website. You are welcome to link to the book cover on my website or here on my blog. It doesn't have to be a review--unless you have already read it--and it doesn't have to be long.

Here's the rules:

1--Between now and February 8th post an announcement about the release of Devil's Food Cake, book three in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series.

2--Be sure it includes a link to my website, where they can read the first chapter, AND a link to Deseret Books website in case they want to buy the book (   and  )

3--Come back here and leave a comment telling me where it's posted.

4--Cross your fingers!

EXTRA ENTRY: If you HAVE read Devil's Food Cake, leave a review on, goodreads, library thing, shelfari, or an entry for EVERY review posted (just copy and paste the same one if you want) Let me know where you posted them. If you don't want a copy of Devil's Food Cake (since you might already have one), you can choose any of my other titles.

On February 8th I will draw two random names from the list using  and will announce the lucky winners. Thanks for playing, you guys, and for spreading the word. MUCH appreciated.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Devil's Food Cake is Here!

Devil's Food Cake: Book three in the Sadie Hoffmiller series.

Delivered: 6 weeks early
In stores, February 10th, 2010 (Possibly sooner)

Isn't she cute? (never mind the words being backward and all that, it's not that way in the actual book

PS--I am working on the opening night party. Details to follow.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Another Question: Why do I hate holidays? Alisha

Why is it that you are a scrooge about the holidays? (asked with a smile) I'm trying to remember a holiday that you didn't comment about looking forward to being over. :) 

 There is a short answer and a long answer to this question:

Short: I'm not a fun person.


Holidays, for the most part, are a bother for me. I like the family part, I like the days off part, and I like the opportunity to reflect on the focus of that holiday. All that's good and if that was all the holidays were, I would be as Bob Cratchit as the rest of all y'all. However, that seems to comprise about, oh, 5% of any given holiday. The rest of it is crap. 

Crap as in:

Decorations: Cost a lot of money, clutter up my house, take up space to store for the other 11 months of the year, break, don't match each other let alone my regular home decor, and are never quite right. They go out of style, they displace other things I would prefer to look at, and, let's face it, most of them are cheesy. I mean, really, how many black cat candle holders do you need? And would any of us CHOOSE to decorate our living room with fat men and snowflakes full time. No. If we WANTED to decorate our house that way, we would do it year round. So why bother with it for one month? And I don't even mind the basic decorating, like a christmas tree. Christmas trees are awesome. Unless they are real. They they are a nasty mess. But you can't JUST do a Christmas tree. You have to have stockings and froo-froo stuff all over the place. My living room ends up looking like a garage sale, and yet many of the things I put up have some sentimental meaning, so then I feel guilty for making squinty eyes at them all the time.

Money: Some of you don't believe me when I say this, but I am cheap. Yes, I will spend money on things, but I prefer to spend as little as possible on things that matter. Every time I go to pick out a gift for someone else I wonder if this will be important to them, or if it will end up at DI next summer. This holds for any holiday, not just Christmas. I work very hard to get the 'perfect' gift, but in all my years I think I've managed to do that, like, twice. So, I always feel like I'm wasting my money. And then, after the holiday passes, I'm certain that I should have gotten them THIS instead of THAT and if I were just a more in tune I'd have gotten it write the first time. There's also money on food, dishes, postage, all those things that add up quickly and manage to suck the fun out of most holidays for me. I have a budget, and it always gets blown when a holiday comes up, and I have to spend the next month recovering, which is why we have cheap dog food. Sorry Tex.

Pictures: I hate taking pictures. I really do. I love having them, but I hate taking them because in order to take the pictures, you have to step out of the moment. Rather than watch my child blow out candles, I'm taking shots, then going through them to delete the ones that don't work. If there are several people we want recorded, I will inevitably leave someone out. Then there's the added frustration of feeling like I'm making myself the center of attention. Everyone notices the person taking pictures, and either tries to look cute, or tries to avoid them. I would like to just enjoy the moment and not worry about preserving it, or worry about what my hair looks like, or how clean my kitchen is. Every holiday, however, it is requisite that the pictures get taken and since no one else thinks of doing it, I either step out of the moment and feel awkward and do it, or I don't do it and then regret having not captured the moment. It's yet one more source of stress.

Distraction: Probably the biggest reason I dislike all of the above entitles aspects of the holidays is that I do not have the attention span to give these things the time they need, and still get the 'point' of the holiday. Halloween should be a fun time with my kids where we read spooky stories, dress up and eat candy. Instead all the decorations, picture taking, and money take away from that for me to the point where I just want it over with. Same with Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July. They are just too busy and after all the prep and planning are done, I'm burnt out. Again, I still enjoy the family time and I try to let myself remember the point of it all, but more often than not at the end of that day I'm so very glad it's over.

Perfectionism: I like things to be just right, and nothing ever is. For each holiday I tend to build up how I want things to be; the traditions I'd like to start, the closeness I'd like to have, the peace I'd like to feel. But the irony is I'm not very good at being in the moment, I'm usually thinking ahead (or taking pictures) and so I end up regretting how I spent my time, wishing I'd done better. I agree it's dumb and with this amazing insight I have, I should fix it. But I don't know how to do that, so I just keep trying a little at a time.

All that said, I do enjoy the actual holiday itself. I like to give gifts (and getting gifts doesn't suck either), I love seeing the kids light up with all the fun holiday stuff, I like fireworks (kinda), and New Year's kisses. I love the food and playing games. Those things are awesome and I do realize that without all the other crap, I wouldn't get those moments. So, for that reason, I guess it's all worth it, but the annoyances are still there, taunting me every few months. 

Won't I be a fun Grandma?

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It's all about food and hanging out with friends and family. Not much wrangling and decoration expectations. I wish they were all like that.

And, to be just a little more obnoxious, one of my favoritest things about Christmas are the cards. Both giving and receiving them. It makes no sense since they are a lot of work and quite a fair amount of money, but I love em and Lee and I fight about how long I can keep them up on the wall. So far I've got him convinced that taking them down before Valentine's Day is a sin.

So, Alisha, aren't you glad you asked? I bet you can't wait to spend a holiday with me now, can you :-)


Sunday, January 03, 2010

NY Resolutions get a Bad Rap

It seems there is something for everyone on the spectrum of resolutions; some of us take it seriously, some of us don't want anything else to feel guilty about and ignore them completely.

As for me, I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I have written out resolutions in the past; I've broken them and been hard on myself. Sometimes I just think them, and forget them eventually. As we entered 2010 and I wondered whether to do them or not, I had a thought, why NOT set goals?

I mean, yes, there's the chance you won't fulfill it, but isn't working toward something, even if it's only for a little while, and even if you don't fufill it perfectly, isn't the 'journey' toward being better or accomplishing something worth it? Isn't the mere WANTING of something better a good thing?

I think it is.

So, here are some of my resolutions from LAST year, and how I did on them:

1--Lose 10 pounds: I did lose ten pounds, but I didn't keep it off once November rolled around. I'm officially six pounds lighter today than I was this time last year.

How do I feel about that?

AWESOME. I'm six pounds lighter, AND I learned a lot about myself, about food, and about how to feel good. I might not have accomplished my goal, but the journey was worth it and I feel primed to truly accomplish it in 2010. I fit in my jeans, and that's awesome.

2--Run a half marathon: Not only did I not run a half marathon, I didn't get even close. I ran one 5K in 2009. Not long after that I started having trouble with my IT band on my left leg. I eventually got a brace, but it was uncomfortable and being in pain takes a lot of the fun out of running for me thus I didn't train as well as I wanted to and I didn't even attempt another 5K, let alone a longer race.

How do I feel about that?

Okay. I mean, I did run, and I even kept running after my knee started hurting. I had some great mountain runs with my husband, which were times I truly cherished. I got out of my house, pushed myself, and while I didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish I still accomplished something and I'm stronger because of it. I also ran my personal longest distance 6 1/2 miles, which was awesome!

3--Establish a new relationship with a certain family member: I'm not really at peace with where this 'relationship' is, but as the year progressed and certain drama came up, I was able to pull myself out of it better than I ever have before. I came to realize there is no quick fix to this situation, it's one I've dealt with a long time and will continue to deal with a long time in the future.

How do I feel about that?

Optimistic. I have room for improvement on my part, lots of room, but I did make some important 'discoveries' in regard to this this year and I believe I can continue to improve things little by little if I continue to ask the Lord for help, continue to evaluate myself and my actions, and continue to WANT something better than what I have right now. I'm very glad I set this goal and gained the insights I gained.

4--Read more books. I had hoped to read a book a week. For some people, that isn't very many. There was a time when this was a paltry amount of reading for me, but over the last the five years life has become such that reading has gone by the wayside. In 2008 I think I read less than 20 books, which is almost embarassing. I did do better in 2009, and I think I read closer to 35 or 40 books.

How do I feel about that?

Really good. I would like to read at least 50 books a year; it keeps me up to date on the market and also helps me with my own writing. I also think that it's a good 'break' for me, and I give myself very few of those. I'm glad I set this goal because otherwise I wouldn't have pursued reading the way I did.

And now we are 2010--and here are my goals:

1--Lose 5 pounds (this will be easier than it was last time because I did it before and know how to do it again, now that the holidays are over I can get back some of the control I've given up. Hopefully I'll be able to maintain it through he year this time. We'll see.)

2--Run a 10K (this will be tricky, but not impossible. I need to sign up for a race so that I'm forced to train for it or risk losing the money)

3--Love better (I beleive that Love is the key to both forgiveness and acceptance of other people. It's hard for me to give sometimes, but I've learned a thing or two this year about myself and want to be more giving of the love I feel, but sometimes hesitate to share)

4--Read 50 books. (that's not even a book a week. Reading the Whitney finalists alone will get me halfway there. Thank goodness for the online library option where I can hold books from home)

5--Cook dinner. (Making changes to my eating took a lot of fun out of cooking and I've gotten to where I make an actual meal only once or twice a week. I find that pathetic and am determined to do better this year. I've pulled out a couple recipe books and marked recipes that I'm interested in. I've invested in $20 worth of cool spices I had to order online. I'm shooting toward at least one new recipe a week and at least 4 actual meals a week.)

6--Write at least 1 hour a day, 6 days a week. (So far, I'm 100% on this one :-) and have written 4,000 words in the new year. I love timers, so timing helps a lot. I'm worried for how it will work when the kids are back in school and I'm back at work, but if I can keep to it, I'll avoid the stress of deadlines from last year. I will reward myself for every 15 days I write 1 hour; a hair color, pedicure, massage--things like that.)

So, it's your New Year too--how did 09 go and what are you planning for 2010?