Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ever Heard of a...

Costco Tour? I know, sounds kinda weird.

Per e-mails from my publisher and requests from the Costco buyer, I am officially starting my Costco tour.

In Idaho. Sorry all you other states, I can only effectively tour where I live. Otherwise, I'd be driving or flying all over the place and going broke doing it.

Never fear, you might be able to order it since Costco does work with my publisher. There's also Barnes & Noble, Deseret Book, Seagull Book, independant stores and online places like and

But for those of you who want to know what a stay-at-home mom of five kids, dance teacher, business owner and writer's Costco tour looks like, here you go....

October 2
Friday 12-4
Boise Costco

October 3
Saturday 12-4
Nampa Costco

October 10
Saturday 12-4
Twin Falls Costco

October 16
Friday 5-8
Boise Costco

October 24
Saturday 12-4
Boise Costco

October 30
Friday 5-8
Nampa Costco

November 13
Friday 5-8
Boise Costco

November 14
Saturday 12-4
Nampa Costco

November 27
Friday 10-2
Boise Costco

November 28
Saturday 10-2
Nampa Costco

December 12
Saturday 12-4
Boise Costco

December 19
Saturday 12-4
Nampa Costco

December 22
Tuesday 4-8
Boise Costco

Hmmm, let me guess. Too much information. Yeah, maybe, but if nothing else I can check my blog so I can remember where in the Costco I'm supposed to be. Functional and fun to read, ha ha ha.

It also makes me really easy to find. Just head to Costco pretty much any weekend between now and Christmas. Piece of cake.

Which reminds me... if you haven't signed up to win a free book, check out the post below and get signed up already. Even if you have a book, you could give it away to friends or family or, and I love this idea, donate it to a school. You'd be such a nice person! Think of the karma.

If you do happen to live in Boise, I'm supposed to be at Deseret Book in Meridian this Saturday from 6-8 PM for Lady's Night. They always have free cookies and drawings. It should be fun. I hope to see you there!

Monday, September 28, 2009


The sun has set, and cool air trickles into the valley. It feels like fall. I'm ready for the leaves to turn shades of yellow, red and orange.

Maybe it's time for jeans and tennis shoes and to say goodbye to the flip flops for a while.

I'm ready for life to slow down and take a breath.

I'm ready for the smell of warm cookies on a cold day.

I want a few unread books on my shelf and some mint tea. What could be better?

Things are changing and I'm ready for the change.

Now that the busy summer is officially over, things can slow down again.

This is when writing becomes my hideaway. When the sun sets early in the evening, I escape into another world. Sometimes my stories, sometimes books.

Sometimes through conversations. I love this time of year. I think the cold weather brings people together. Everyone getting a little closer to stay warm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We're Celebrating with a Book Giveaway

Today is the day! Exactly one year ago today, I received my first publishing contract. Can you believe it's only been one year?

To add to the fun, it's my birthday in two weeks. October 6.

So, to celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of my book.

I always share my birthdays. I take my kids to the store on my birthday and let them pick out a toy. It's not uncommon for us to buy a gift for all of our kids when there's a birthday at our house.

We don't always share everyone's birthday, but they never know when we will. It keeps it fun.

I always share mine, though. That's my rule.

So this year, I'm sharing my birthday with you.

Here's how you enter the book giveaway contest. Don't laugh, it's another tradition that I enjoyed for a while.

"Heavy heavy hang over thy poor head,
What do you wish with a bump on your head?"

Every birthday for a lot of years, the birthday person would have to make a wish for everyone who gave them a present. The gift giver would hold the present over the head of the birthday person and say those words. At the end, the giver taps the present on the birthday person's head.

For a while there, my kids thought they were saying, "Heavy heavy hang over diaper head." I still laugh about that.

We haven't played "Heavy heavy" for a while.

If you want a book, you have to play.

***If you want to win a book, leave a comment with a wish in it. You can wish for anything.

***If you add yourself as a follower, or if you already are one, you get a second entry.

Hmm, I'm seriously considering adding something to the package besides a book. After all, it's my birthday and I love sharing it. Maybe I'll make that part a surprise. I love surprises.

I'm not even going to tell you how old I'll be. If you still think I'm in my twenties, who am I to burst your bubble? Ha ha ha...

The contest will end on Saturday, October 17 2009
11:59 pm EST

Why? My friends the Lateiner Gang are having a contest for Catching Fire. Click here to enter their contest and we wanted you to get a chance at both.

**we use to select the winner**

**Please include your email address so we can contact the winner**

Sunday, September 20, 2009

20 Hours of Driving

I'm back!

Audio Books worked for me. I highly recommend it to anyone forced to stare at an interstate for hours on end.

I'm happy to report that driving was not the highlight of my Utah tour. So many great other things overshadowed the mind-numbing driving time.

Thursday I met some great people at Southern Utah University. Their librarian conference offered opportunities for school visits around the St. George area.

And, maybe, if I'm very very lucky, Kim Hanson from Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. will convince the president of his company to invest in Alvor.

Never heard of them? I hadn't either. Here's how it works. Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. is a company who prebounds books for libraries. They use a buckram cover that defies wear on the corners of the books. Each section of their book is over-sewn and is guaranteed against defective binding.

Basically, they find books that they think will do well in the market, buy 1,000 copies from the publisher, bind them with their super powers and sell them to libraries all over the country.

Sounds cool, huh? I thought so.

Alvor is in Kim's hands now. It's his job to read my book and pitch it to the man in charge. If they decide to take my book, Alvor will have a hardback.

Industrial strength, indestructible hardback. He told me he still has the original Harry Potter bound books still in circulation. They last that long.

And, if this hasn't sounded like a commercial yet, here's their website.

Friday, I sold out of books at Barnes & Noble in Sandy. Next time I think we need more books.

Saturday I spent the afternoon at Costco in Lehi. No one dropped a bottle of wine. Thank goodness. Three different people came up to me and said they already had my book and how was it possible I was right there at their Costco and they didn't know it so I could sign their books.

Lots of people talked to me. I love you, Utah. And lots of people even bought a book.

Still, if you sit still for four hours in Costco, you're brain starts to melt and drip out of your ears. I think. I didn't fully recover until I got back to my brother's house in Taylorsville, or Murray depending on which GPS you ask.

I'm happy to say that it was a worthwhile week. Part of me wishes I had been able to go to the League of Utah Writers Conference yesterday, but I guess you can't win them all. Here's to doing what you can in the hours that you have with the resources you've been given.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ten Things

Now you know what happens when a biology teacher/writer/dance teacher needs a better perspective. I know. My posts have been a little on the science side, but I don't apologize. I love science. I'm not even sure why. Biology is the study of life. What could be better than life?

If you think about it, writing, dancing and biology have a lot in common. They all explore different sides of life. Thoughts, emotions, moods, action, character, change, and truth. I guess now you're starting to understand why I'm so strange. Oh well. It was going to happen sooner or later.

I wanted to make a list of ten things, but I'm liking the Ten Happy Things List even better.

1. Smile (even if you have to fake it for a while)

2. Make Friends (easier said than done, but definitely worth it)

3. Avoid Comparisons (I really need to work on this one)

4. Have Goals (I have too many)

5. Devalue Money ( I'll be chanting this to myself all day)

6. Say Thank You (My five year old boy said this after I cleaned up a half a gallon of grape juice he spilled on the floor. It was the sweetest words I've ever heard.)

7. Take Initiative (no problem)

8. Savor the Everyday ( Even if my other five year old shattered a jar of grape juice on the floor the very next day after I finished cleaning up a half gallon from her twin brother. Savor the glass cut on my thumb. Savor the fact that my kitchen floor is super clean because I had to move the fridge to mop under it. I'm savoring....)

9. Give Away (Give away or give up feelings of inadequacy, stress and worry. Give away to others more love, kindness and gratitude)

10. Exercise (This one I like. Don't even say it. I can't help it. I actually like moving around. It doesn't hurt that I have a book holder on my exercise equipment. Exercise = Reading. )

11. Chocolate. (They just forgot to put this one, right?)

So, world, here's the scoop. I'm leaving Boise Wednesday afternoon and driving down to Utah. At approximately 5:30 AM on Thursday, I'll leave my brother's house in Murray and drive 3 1/2 hours to Cedar City for a Librarian's Conference. I still haven't determined if I'm completely crazy to choose to do this, but I doubt I'll figure it out before I leave.

Friday will be very fun. From 2:00-5:00 I'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Sandy, Utah. They're doing a Educational Event for the new school district. Hopefully I'll meet a lot of teachers and librarians.

Saturday from 12-4 I'll be sitting in the Lehi, Utah Costco.

And, if you have any advice about what makes the best car snacks, I'm all ears. I'll be driving six hours a day Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. My brain is melting just thinking about it. I would never survive as a truck driver.

But don't worry. I'll be smiling, making friends with the steering wheel, avoid comparing my little blue truck to the sports cars, have the goal to make it safely to my destinations, devalueing money, saying thank you, taking initiative, savoring the road, giving away hours, and exercising my driving skills. And above all, eating chocolate. I'll be a happy driver.

You can't tell that I'm trying to talk myself into getting excited about this, can you? Ha ha ha...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is it worth it? The story of the Large Blue Butterfly

Meet the Large Blue Butterfly. It's pretty, isn't it. It turns out that it has something to teach us. Well, me anyway. Here's its story....
Because of the rapid decrease in its population, scientists studied the life cylcle of the Large Blue Butterfly in an attempt to re-establish the species in Great Britain.

Since most of you probably aren't into biology like I am, I'm going to give you the condensed version of it. I promise, there's a point.

It all starts out with thyme-(doesn't everything in life revolve around time?) Well, it turns out the butterfly didn't have enough thyme, and on some occasions, too much. Sound familiar?

The female butterfly lays eggs on the thyme flower. When the eggs hatch, the young caterpillars feed on the flower heads of the thyme plant for about three weeks before dropping to the ground. That's when the Maculinea life cycle takes an odd turn.

Are you still with me? Just checking.

This next part is pretty weird. The caterpillar secretes chemicals that mimic those of ant larvae, so when a worker ant comes across the caterpillar, it takes it back to its underground nest where the ant colony cares for the caterpillar as one of its own.

A butterfly raised by ants. I bet you didn't know that.

This lasts for 10 months, after which time the large blue butterfly caterpillar enters the pupal stage. Two to three weeks later, the large blue emerges as an adult butterfly.

And there you have it.

So what's the moral of the story?

Scientist figured out that the thyme had to be just the right length. I'm serious. --
Moral: Make the most of your time. Find what works for you and take your time when you need to.

Raised by ants--
Moral: Where you are right now does not mean that is who you are or where you'll stay. Are you underground with a whole bunch of things bugging you? Maybe it's all part of the process. Maybe you have to live in the dirt for a little while before you can take flight.

11 months- that's a long time to be a caterpillar living with the ants.
Moral: If the caterpillar gave up after the first few months because it knew deep down inside it wasn't really an ant, it wouldn't survive long enough to become a butterfly either. Know who you are and what you're worth. In the meantime, make the most of what you have and where you are in life. It might be the only way you'll ever be able to 'grow your wings'.

My question to you- is it worth it? Is it worth spending 11 months living with ants in a caterpillar's body just so it can someday grow up to be a butterfly? Is it?

All I can say is, I hope so. I'm pretty sure, actually. And even when I'm not that excited about the caterpillar stages of life, I know that someday things are going to look different to me. Chances are, it will be because I stuck it out and didn't give up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's not today, right?

When there's no school on Monday, it messes everything up. Yesterday we had another Saturday. Everyone tried to stay up a little later. Some even succeeded.

My eight year old said to me last night, "I don't have school tomorrow, right? Tomorrow's Monday and it's a holiday."

How confusing is that? "Uhm, today is Monday and you DO have school tomorrow." That was me, the responsible mom.

This morning my husband woke up late. That's when he realized that our twelve year old son was still asleep and school started in fifteen minutes. Either he pedaled his bike double time or he got the first tardy of the year on the fifth day of seventh grade. Bummer.

My twins were convinced they didn't have school today. "It's not today, right?" That's what my five year old boy kept asking.

As they waited at the bus stop, they kept looking down the street for the neighbor girl who waits for the bus with them. She never showed up. "Are you sure we have school today?"

The bus did come and everything worked out.

Except the fact that as soon as everyone was gone and my two year old decided to tak a nap, I realized how completely messy the house was.

I think we're experiencing delayed school lag. At some point the weather is going to turn downright cold, the sun will go down sooner and my kids will finally accept that summer is officially over. But looking out at the clear blue sky and the green grass, I'm still thinking "It's not today, right?"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Spending hours at Costco

Hours, not dollars. Who does that?

Yeah, me. I still don't have a Costco card. Can you believe it?

I spent Friday afternoon at Costco in Boise. 12-4 to be exact. Then again today. When my publisher asked me to do a signing at Costco, I thought it was kind of strange. I mean, milk, meat, vegetables and Alvor. It didn't really sound like it went together. Apparently I was way wrong.

It was different watching the river of carts flood down the aisle in front of me all day. Odd seeing carts parked in front of my table and beside it, and behind it. Pretty much everywhere.

And now that I've spent six and a half hours at Costco in one weekend, all I can say is- I'm going back. Totally.

Here's a quick highlight of my two days.

I sold a book to a lady who is in charge of the book collection for an organization who helps abused girls. I had to keep from crying as I signed that book. I could imagine those girls reading my book and I know it would carry them out of this world for a little while and help them realize what miracles they are. That is the kind of book I tried to write.

Kids- YEAH! I got to talk to kids, teens, boys and girls everywhere from 5-17. Awesome. I love selling my book to them. It really makes my day.

I was invited to do a reading for "Celebrity Night" at one of the schools here. Uhm, except that I'm not exactly a celebrity. I guess I better not tell them.

A guy from Illinois bought my book and promised to try to get it into several libraries in that state- that's what he does for a living.

Another mom of the library director somewhere in California bought Alvor for her son so he can get in into California libraries.

I met old friends who didn't know I wrote a book, and some that did. One even stood there for a half hour today telling people that came to my table to buy my book. She must have been pretty convincing- they all bought one. Now I just have to get her to read it. Her daughter read it and loved it.

And, the big finale..... drumroll please....

At exactly 2:30 this afternoon two crazy things happened. Someone dropped a bottle of wine and it literally exploded everywhere. We're talking a 35 foot radius at least.

And, at that same moment, I signed the last of the 108 books that Costco ordered. I ended up going home early today because I ran out of books. I couldn't believe it. All 108.

For the record, that is my record number of books sold in two days. Now you know exactly how small-time of an author I really am, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. I think next time we'll skip the wine. I mean, if you're going to celebrate with bubblies, try rootbeer. Ha ha ha.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Book Journey-

Check out A Book Journey blog.

Sheila was nice enough to post an author interview. She really does her best to make me look good.

It's people like Sheila and Dave Lateiner and others who are gracious enough to read my book and tell the world what they think, that make my future so much brighter.

But there are others. Reviews on, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble (all except the guy who said "fun but not fantastic"- we don't like that one as much)-- there are so many who have taken a stand to help my book rise out of the sludge of millions of books available. Thanks everyone.

And so many have never met me. I mean, I would love to meet them- but they did this without any chance of gaining something. It is out of the pure goodness of their hearts.

To all of you who have told someone to read Alvor, I owe any success I might enjoy to you. My career is in your hands. Thanks for being so completely awesome.

How it feels to be a writer...

Someone in my writer's group sent this to me today. I totally loved it. If you can't read the captions-

Gentlemen, I have just completed my new novel.

It is so good, I am not even going to send it to you.

Why don't you just come and get it.

Ha ha ha... If you've ever written a novel, you know exactly how this feels. Wouldn't it be great to just skip the whole submission/ rejection process. Yes, it's a submission/rejection process. You can't get anywhere unless you can take the big REJECTION letters.

You want more?
Well, another day has gone by and you still haven't come to pick up my novel for publication.
Just for that, I am going to offer it to another publisher.
Nyahh! Nyahh! Nyahh!

Has the thought ever crossed your mind? How dare the agent or house of your dreams not see what an incredibly talented writer you are simply by reading a query letter?

I guess that's how every writer feels. I'm working through some things, including writing query letters and I'll tell you- I can't really make myself believe that anyone would pick up a whole manuscript based on a letter. Any letter.

Unless you had an amazing resume, I'm really doubting there is anything I could say in a letter that would leave an agent swooning. And yet, because of the way things are set up, that's exactly what I have to do.
I've read books about what makes a good query letter, but here's what I really believe. Unless you can send in some actual work with your query letter, you either have to prove that you are a good investment based on experience, or you've just wasted a stamp. Probably two stamps, the good old SASE. It's that simple.

If you're lucky enough to get to mail a synopsis, you might be okay. Really, it's going to take at least a few pages of the actual manuscript or there's not a chance in the world you'll land an agent.
And for big publishing houses, still working on that one. All I know is that it's steep competition. Wish I had some marvelous advice- then I'd give it to myself. In the meantime, I'm stepping into the dark again and hoping for something better than a SASE in the mailbox.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The result is in...

I've been waiting anxiously for this review, not sure if it would be something I wanted the whole world to read.

I sent a copy of Alvor to Sheila at Book Journey to review a while back. I have a lot of respect for this gal and am amazed at all the time she puts into her book reviews. Today is the day. I didn't even realize until five minutes ago.

Okay, I had to get my kids off to the school bus before I could get on the internet- but here it is. I was so nervous to read what she had to say.

All I can say is- holy cow. I know. My vocabulary should be somewhat more developed than that, but I couldn't believe what she said. I'm serious.

If you don't believe me, read this. I promise these are her words- a person I've never met in my life.......

As I opened the pages to this book I was thrilled to start reading and get a sense of Narnia…. and then a sense of Twilight, then Never Ending Story, Harry Potter, and dare I even say a small sense of Zelda? Yet as I kept reading, and while each of those things about the book just made me more excited to read it – I closed the book last night knowing that while the book gave me a feel for some favorites I have known… Alvor is in a class all of its own. Unique in its own right.

This book was everything I had hoped it would be. I loved the vivid descriptions of all that their world held. And I loved that when I read the final words… and I closed the book, I had a feeling that it was not over. And whatever that means, if Laura Bingham left it open for us the readers to come to our own conclusions of what happens next or if this is a hint of another book to come… I do not know.

I for one…. hope it is the later.

It made me want to cry. I mean, it's exactly how I wish the world could see Alvor. And to those who wonder what will ever happen next- Book 2 is coming- I just don't know when it will be in book form. That's a whole 'nother story.

Now if I could just figure out a way for everyone to find Alvor, read it and of course, fall in love with it.... yeah, I know. It's kind of impossible. Instead, I have fun getting lost in my story as I write it and hope that someday my dreams will come true. I still work hard trying to get it out there to the world- but I'm only one person. It's going to take more than me.