Monday, November 30, 2009

Rebecca Talley and Altared Plans

Being a writer and wannabe author, I know and am friends with several authors. I had the opportunity to interview Rebecca Talley to get to know the woman behind the computer a little better (for my review of her book, check my earlier blogs). Here is what she had to say...

What is your book’s name?

Altared Plans

Is your book fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction--it's an LDS romance.

What is the setting of your book?

It's set at BYU.

Who are your main characters?

Caitlyn Moore, a young bride-to-be who doesn't quite get to the "to-be" part, has to put her life back together.

Travis Dixon, a charming cowboy and RM, who's more than willing to help Caitlyn get over her humiliating experience at the temple.

In what ways do you think you are like them?

Caitlyn's planned her big wedding and when it doesn't happen, she's devastated. She doesn't know what to do with her life. She feels like her life is over. I'm a total planner and when things don't go as planned, I freak out. I want to plan everything, but I've learned, just as Caitlyn does, you can't plan everything, and sometimes, the best things in life aren't planned at all.

Altared Plans is loosely based on my courtship with my husband.

After you wrote the book, how long did it take you to get it published?

I submitted it to Cedar Fort and a month later is was accepted for publication. It then took 6 months until publication and another month before it was on store shelves.

Have you been published before?

My first book, Grasshopper Pie, was published in 2003 by WindRiver. It's a children's picture book with illustrations by my daughter. My first novel, Heaven Scent, was published by Cedar Fort in 2008.

How did the publisher let you know your book was being considered for publication?

The publisher contacted me though email.

What did you do when you found out your book was being published?

I cried. It was such an emotional release. I was so thrilled to think my story would be out in the world for other people to read.

Please share a brief description of your book.

Caitlyn Moore has planned to marry her high school sweetheart, but he has different plans. When he abandons her at the altar, she vows she'll never love again. Of course, going to BYU doesn't make that easy, especially when she's called to be the "mom" of the family home evening group and the "dad" is a handsome, funny, charming cowboy set on breaking her vow.

Where can we purchase a copy of your book?

It's available at Seagull Book, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LDS bookstores.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks for the Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I love being with friends and family and celebrating with lots of good food—and with no gift expectations. I always feel nostalgic at Thanksgiving time. Until my parents passed away several years ago, we celebrated every year with my parents and siblings.

Mom used to put all the tables in her living room. It made a long procession from one end of the room to the back door. We always ate on her best china which made for a large and lengthy clean up afterwards. After it got to be too much for Mom, we started celebrating Thanksgiving at my house. I minimized cleanup by using paper plates.

So what am I thankful for—other than my husband and kids—which, of course are all on the top of my list?

I think grandkids count separately from the above-mentioned family. AND, grandkids really are as great as everyone says. It’s so fun being there when they learn to crawl and to walk, and when they learn to say their first words. With that, I must admit that I’m grateful for digital cameras—that’s how one son keeps me in touch with his son’s growth, milestones, and happy moments.

I have some pretty great writer friends who help and encourage me in my writing goals, and I’m very thankful for them. Without their support, I’d probably never have finished my first novel let alone my fourth. Unfortunately I’m not published yet, but these friends give me encouragement in that as well.

Some of the things that I’m thankful for that might not make it on everyone’s list—I’m thankful for flowers, hummingbirds, grass—I’m thankful for a variety of common and uncommon birds that share my backyard, and I’m thankful for our family dog. Even though she has grey hair/fur, she still thinks she’s one of the kids.

I’m especially thankful for memories—no explanation—we all have our own, and some memories are just too special to share.

I’m thankful for my job—yes, kindergarten teacher’s aide is the ultimate employment.

This year we’re having Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter’s house with lots of family and several friends as well. I hope you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I will.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cars, Trucks, and Things That Go.

My husband belongs to the Vehicle-of-the-Month club. I’m not sure why, he doesn’t get any payback. In my opinion, people who belong to this exclusive club should get frequent buyer discounts. He doesn’t.

He’s had eight cars this past year—oh, the year’s not over yet either. First he had a driftwood-colored truck. That didn’t get good enough gas mileage, so he traded it for a full-sized red diesel truck. Then the price of diesel went way up.

The diesel truck was sold, then, for a Nissan truck. But it wasn’t a good fit. Next was a full-sized Chevy truck. It was only a single cab.

There was a really great price on a SUV, so he traded for that—it had a leaky door, and it was gone the day after he took it to the car wash and got a bath at the same time.

A custom van with a bench that alternately served as a bed was his next choice. It was a retro feeling driving that around—either that or a futuristic, winter visitor-type of feeling. I never got to take it camping.

A ¾ ton silver Chevy truck was always thirsty. It didn’t get more than 11 miles-per-gallon. He bought a Chevy Aveo next. It got great gas mileage, but of course it was small. My husband likes full-sized man trucks, so, within the month he traded the little Chevy for a quad-cab Dodge Dakota. He’s had it four days now—he informs me that his goal is to keep it for three years. We’ll see.

This hobby is more expensive than a stamp collection for sure, but I’m just grateful that he doesn’t belong to the Wife-of-the-Month club!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Proud Mom

On the 7th, I had the honor of going to my oldest daughter’s college graduation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business. Along the way, she’s gotten married and had two children.

I love all of my children, and they are all pretty great, yet this daughter has always exceeded my expectations. Even though she is my fourth child, she is our family’s trailblazer—our mover and shaker. She sets goals and gets things done—and she is my first child to earn a college degree.

On the eve of her graduation she was making and canning applesauce, and she sewed her daughters black satin graduation gowns with little graduation caps to wear after the ceremony. Then, she had friends and family to her house and served us roast turkey.
Currently I have three sons enrolled in college—but my daughter is our first graduate.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Recovering Charles, by Jason F. Wright

Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright is the poignant, thoughtful and heartwarming tale of Luke Millward and his journey of discovery in finding his estranged father, Charles after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Of course you must know that poignant and heartwarming is code for: it could make you sad, and if you’re prone to cry—you probably will. Yet, although the story has a sad premise—an estranged son going to New Orleans to try and find/recover his father’s body—it ends with hope, as all good novels should (in my opinion).

Chapter one begins with the media blitz surrounding the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Luke Millward, an award winning photographer is glued to his television—it’s an unhealthy obsession with disaster and he knows it, but he just can’t help but become involved via the tube.

Luke has a long-time friend/girlfriend named Jordan—she wishes their relationship was much more serious, he does too, except he can’t force himself to feel something he doesn’t. Whenever he needs someone to celebrate with, a shoulder to cry on, or the voice of reason—Jordan is always there.

It’s no surprise then, when Luke gets a call from someone who says he’s a friend of Charles Millward—Luke’s dad, that Jordan encourages him to respond. Charles been missing since before the hurricane hit—his friends and fiancĂ© would like Luke to come to New Orleans to help them locate Charles.

This starts Luke’s road to self discovery and healing—he learns who his father really is, he learns about the unconquerable spirit of the hurricane victims—and he learns that he can feel love.

Charles, always a visionary man and an exceptional musician last had contact with his son over two years ago when he called, still drunk and begging for money. When Luke meets Jez—his father’s fiancĂ©, her brother Jerome, and a beauty named Bela in New Orleans, Luke begins to heal from his less than idyllic childhood.

When he discovers that his father has dried up, helps run a nightclub, and started an organization that brings music to underprivileged students in the area, Luke realizes that he is hoping to find his father alive.

Wright does a good job of portraying the conditions in the area after their infamous disaster without being too gruesome or bogged down in heavy detail. We are shown enough to get the point without becoming depressed.

I must admit that I am not fond of heartwarming tales and I’ve learned the code-words well enough to avoid poignant movies as well. However, Recovering Charles is a well-written book and I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys heartwarming/poignant tales.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life and Trials

A couple of things have happened lately that have had me contemplating mortality and how easily things can change in our lives. The first was the discovery that my brother has tonsillar cancer. It came as quite a shock. Especially since I had thoroughly convinced myself that cancer was not something that would happen in our family.

After all, we have plenty of other “physical” weaknesses to pass on from generation to generation without needing to deal with the prospect of cancer. Our family’s gene pool is full of Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease and the ‘addictive’ gene (meaning that: if we digest something that is even slightly addicting—we’ll likely become addicted.)

My brother never smoked or drank that I know of, and has always tried to take care of himself by eating right and exercising. According to one of my sisters, his main drawback was that fact that he was a farmer for a good portion of his adult life and used DDT—apparently a cancer-causing chemical.

Another recent event was discovering that my cousin’s husband was in an accident recently. He was driving his motorcycle down the highway and someone ran into him. He was in intensive care for quite a while, but is now home convalescing. Both of these men have a long recovery period awaiting them—and here I’ve been whining about having the discomfort of a cold this past week.

So, what is the point of this posting? I might ask the same question myself (refer to #1 on family gene-pool list). J.K. (that means 'just kidding' for those without teen-aged daughters). My point is, that we need to appreciate each day and take full advantage of it because we have no promise of tomorrow. Today we're healthy, happy, and the sun is shining. Tomorrow might be something all together different. So, let's all remember to smile and appreciate that sun while it's shining on us.