New Author Photos: Take a Poll

With the new book, Augustina, I decided to update my author photo.

Our family was getting pictures taken for a family reunion anyway, so I asked the photographer, Kristin Keeley Clove, if she’d take some of me. She did, and I LOVE them.

Now, I can’t decide which I like best. They turned out better than I deserve. (Kristin is seriously amazing. If you’re in Southern Utah, look her up. Her blog is here: http://cdotlove.blogspot.com/)

1081468_10201077243109680_498287429_n

1079411_10201077244429713_1538913060_na

1079328_10201077245989752_1790846903_n

Which of the three do you like best? Help me decide which to use for my main author picture.

Thanks!

A Trip to Park City and a Few Fires!

(photographing)

.

If you’ve noticed that I’ve been absent on the internet the last few days (you probably didn’t) it’s because my hubby and I were with my family in an adult-only weekend in Park City, Utah.

We left the five kids in Michigan and flew to Salt Lake.

.

I love flying into Utah. It’s so beautiful. This is what Utah mountains should look like.

.

I was especially anxious to visit because of the fires in Utah.

One fire in particular had me quite nervous. The Alpine fire was one of those that spread like mad. Within two hours it had climbed the entire mountain. Right behind my parents’ home.

The scary part is the fire came within 500 yards of their house. They were evacuated for two days last week. But due to the amazing firefighting forces in Utah, it never got any closer than that — thankfully. But it was still frightening though.

As they cleared out their necessities (pictures, computers, and other non-replaceables) my dad watched the flames reach 100 feet, if not more. Very scary. Here’s a few pictures. The top three were taken by my brother at my parents’ house.

.

You can see the roof of my parents’ house just behind the trees. The smoke rose close to 20,000 feet. The flames alone were between 100-200 feet high.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

But my parents’ house is fine. In fact, last report I heard, all the houses in Alpine were saved. This is amazing because so much of the mountainside is not. Several ridges are now blackened.

For my husband and I to fly in two days after all this was super crazy timing.

Unfortunately, we were sitting on the wrong side of the plane so I couldn’t see the Alpine mountainside. I snapped this photo of another charred spot in Utah instead.

.

I think this is Eagle Mountain (Correct me if I’m wrong)

.

Though the adult weekend was scheduled for Park City, my hubby and I headed to my parents’ house first.

I had to see.

Yet, as I apprehensively waited to see the full damage from the fire, it started to rain. The day before, this rainstorm wasn’t even in the forecast. I believe it was prayed in. It wasn’t just any rainstorm either. It was a long, hard rain.

Even more amazing was as we got off I-15 in Lehi, we spotted this…

.

A DOUBLE rainbow driving into Alpine!

.

The rainbow is the universal sign of peace, or tranquility, or something. I don’t know. To see not only a rainbow, but a double rainbow, was comforting after all the anxiety I’d felt all week. 

So here’s Alpine as of Thursday. Not the best picture, but it gives you a little idea of the damage. The bottom right corner of the mountain is the only green spot left. Everything else was burned. The black spots aren’t entirely black either, but somewhat red because of the flame retardant they dumped. You can see the white smoke towards the top of the mountain where the fire was still smoldering.

.

There was still smoke rising from the hot spots on top of the mountain when we drove up.  Note: that is grass in the bottom of the picture, not wheat, if that gives you an idea of how dry Utah has been.

.

The mountain behind my parents will never be the same in their lifetime–or mine. Yet, I am extremely grateful everyone was safe and more damage wasn’t done.

Once I saw that they (and their house) were okay, we headed up to Park City for the fun-filled adult weekend.

If you haven’t visited Utah, you should. Seriously. It is one of the most geographically diverse states. Down south is the red rock canyons and Lake Powell. Out west is the barren deserts. Up north is the pine-filled, granite mountains, plus the bizarre and amazing Great Salt Lake.

I love it!

Park City is in Northern Utah, about twenty miles east of Salt Lake City. The base elevation of Park City is 7,000 feet above sea level, but my hubby and I drove up Guardsman’s pass, which is near 10,000 feet.

I am the sixth of seven children, so with my parents, there were fourteen adults up in a beautiful condo. We had so much fun. Tons of food and laughing. (And no kids.)

.

.

Sometimes I forget what it’s like to be an adult. I spend so much time as a mom, it was fun to rejuvenate. Plus, my family is so sarcastic and hilarious, I spent the weekend laughing.

My hubby and I had some time before and after the others came and went, so we explored Park City’s cute little Main Street, drove up in the mountains, and even spent some time at Olympic Park.

.

Guardsman Pass — 10,000 ft. above sea level

.

The only way you’ll see me on a pair of skis. Yes, I wrote SADIE, but I like skiing as much as she does.

.

Now I’m back to the green farmland of Michigan, which is beautiful in its own way. I’m back to dishes, laundry, and fighting with my adorable children. I’m also back to writing, blogging, and twitter. :)

It was an all-too-short weekend, but well worth it!

Have a great one!

My Office Today: The Joys of Writing

(writing)

.

One of the joys of writing, especially with a laptop, is my office is wherever I say it is, and my hours are whatever I say they are (or my kids need them to be).

Today it is a sunny 74° in Michigan, with little to no humidity. It is paradise.

I’ve done the dishes, started the laundry, carpooled, parented, and fed everyone who needs feeding. Now I’m kicking up my feet, heading to my office (the deck), and delving into a good book. My own. :)

.

My Home Office

.

Man, I love writing.

Have a great day!

Book Review: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

(reading)



How’s your April going? Mine has been fantastic! Lots of time with the kiddos. Lots of vegging. And even some yard work (though not nearly enough). Every year I seem to forget how beautiful spring is in Michigan. It’s breathtaking. There are flowering trees and bushes everywhere. Dogwoods. Weeping peaches. And the green is soooo green, especially after a rain storm like this weekend. Wow.
.

.
In my newest novel, the main character, Carrie Ashworth, would be going nuts right now. (Hopefully you’ll get to meet her soon. She loves all that kind of stuff.) Here are a few pictures from my yard which don’t even BEGIN to do spring in Michigan justice. 
>

Anyway, I haven’t blogged much in April, but I wanted to drop a note to let you know what I’ve been reading. With all the sitting at orthodontists offices and waiting in carpool lines, I’ve had a lot of reading time, which I love.

The one I read over the weekend is my favorite so far this year. It’s called Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. This is the first novel by Donaldson and it’s only been out a month or so, so it’s new. Here’s the synopsis:

Even has a spring-ish cover. :)

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

To me, this was like reading a slightly-faster paced Jane Austen novel. Since Jane Austen is my favorite author, this book was perfect! I LOVED it. I’ve read some other regency novels that lose the feel, innocence, or authenticity of Austen, but this one nailed it. It was a very fun, very easy read. I loved the love interest–which is a must. I loved the plot twists. And although I’m not a twirler by nature, this book tempted me to do a little twirling. :) So if you love Jane Austen, you gotta read this one.

Have a great, beautiful, fun day!!!

What about you? Have you done any reading lately? Anything that makes you want to twirl? 

Happy Day!

My book is here at last! And it’s so beautiful! An author doesn’t have a lot to do with the cover, but I really do love what Deseret Book has done with it. It’s stunning—at least to me.
.
It’s so crazy/surreal to be holding a book with my name on it and my words in it. It’s been a very long, but exciting process. Deseret Book really has done a beautiful job with it and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Cory Maxwell and Jana Erickson specifically since they are the primary reason I’m holding this book in my hands today. I also really appreciate my editor, Leslie Stitt putting up with my obsessive/compulsive protectiveness of my characters. She really was very patient with me.
/
Happy Day!
/
This picture does not do my exuberance justice. My husband may need to leave the house for a few days until I calm down.
.
I suppose I should explain why I’m sitting at a piano with my book. First off, I love music. I really, really, really love music. I’ve been playing the piano longer than I can remember. I grew up in a musical family and married a musical man. I teach piano. I play piano. I write piano music. I love it.

I wish I owned the beautiful, baby, black grand piano I’m sitting at, but we are ‘baby-grand sitting’ it for some friends of ours who moved to China for a few years. While I still have and love the upright I inherited from my grandmother, there’s nothing in the world like playing on a grand piano. (Thanks again, Kathryn. You’re the best!)

.

But that’s not why I’m sitting at a piano in this picture–or at least, not directly. I wrote some of my love of music into Sadie. In fact, there is a beautiful, baby, black grand piano that is the focal point of one of my favorite scenes. I’ve thought about posting a playlist of songs that are mentioned in the book or that I wrote to. Maybe I will in the future.
.
But for now I’m anxious for everyone else to meet SadieAs soon as I get a release date I’ll post it here. It should be sometime around Thanksgiving. But it will definitely be in the next Deseret Book Christmas catalog.
.
Happy Day!