Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review: I'll Know You by Heart by Kimberly Job

After seventeen years of living in an abusive marriage, Stephanie's reality is distorted. She doesn't know if she is worth anything more than what she's received. She used to have dreams of marrying someone wonderful and being treated like a queen, but she's been worn down to the point to where she wonders if this is all she's good for.

But her children are another story. She knows how precious they are, and when her husband, Mark, turns on their oldest son, she finds the strength to pack up and leave. She can do it for her childrens' sake, if not for her own. Taking everything they can fit into a few suitcases, they flee to Stephanie's mother's house, the first step in seeking a new life away from Mark.

Meanwhile, Jared has been living a lie. Everyone thinks his marriage to Cheryl is perfect, but he knows the truth - she's taken up drinking and partying all night, leaving him and their little daughter alone. When she's killed in a drunk driving accident, everyone assumes she was the victim, but no - she was the drunk driver. Although wanting to sheild his daughter, Katie, from the harsh reality of Cheryl's addiction, he knows he can't save her from the pain of growing up without a mother.

When Jared and Stephanie meet, they are each running from their past. But in each other, they find the strength to move forward and create a new reality, one that is based on truth and love, rather than pain and anger.

This incredible new romantic suspense by first-time author Kimberly Job is anything but ordinary. The conflict is bitingly real, showing realistically how an abused woman thinks and feels. The romance is tender, demonstrating the two characters' ability to open their hearts again and become vulnerable, and that their past situations haven't hardened them to the possibility of future happiness.

If you enjoy a story that shows the realities of life, and yet also the ability to rise above it, you'll want to read "I'll Know You by Heart."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Conference Class Supplements

This weekend, I taught a class at the LDStorymakers writers conference about bringing your spouse along on your writing journey and having support from him/her in your goals. I was very pleased to have my husband there with me, and we had a wonderful time teaching together.

In the class, I mentioned some articles that emphasize how important it is that we take the time to hone our talents. Here are the links to those articles:

"Filling the World with Goodness and Truth" by M. Russell Ballard

"The Gospel Vision of the Arts" by Spencer W. Kimball

"The How and Why of Faith-promoting Stories" by Bruce R. McConkie

"Every Good Gift" by Robert D. Hales

"The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord" by Boyd K. Packer

"Creativity" by Neal A. Maxwell

I have rarely been so inspired and wanted to share these incredible articles with you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

*You may remember these articles from last year - I did post them then as well. What can I say - they're great articles and very applicable to nearly every topic. The comments in the trail so far are from last year, as I updated this post.

Book Review: The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley

"The Thorn" by first-time author Daron D. Fraley is a unique look into a theology that is frequently overlooked - as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I've been taught that other worlds have been created that also house persons like ourselves, seeking to find our way back to our Heavenly Father. "The Thorn" takes place on one of these planets, a place known as Gan.

But while this theology was the jumping-off point for the premise, it's only a subtle part of the story and won't be a sticking point for someone who doesn't believe the idea. Rather, the book focuses on the action taking place on this world, which is a land of conflict as three tribes battle it out for the right to rule. The world is very similar to Earth, as it would have to be in order to support human life, and everything that takes place on it could easily have happened on our world. There are no magical devices or mystical occurances, and everything that takes place in a miraculous way is similar to something that happened on our world as documented in the Bible.

The descriptions in this book are its strength. Fraley is an excellent writer of description. He has also woven symbolism throughout - the theme of water occurs many times throughout the book, and in questioning him, he admits this was on purpose, to remind the reader of Christ as "The Living Water." As a sidenote, Fraley's short stories also feature water as a key part of the plot.

Readers who enjoy dramatization of scriptural stories and fiction set in those times will appreciate "The Thorn." You can purchase it here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making Friends Monday

I've been inspired by two blogs, Christine Bryant's regular feature, Friendly Friday, and Sarah Eden's I Need Friends Friday. Mine, however, is different in two ways - first of all, it's not Friday, it's Monday. Can't accuse me of stealing the idea because, hey, it's completely different, right? And secondly, mine probably won't be a regular feature. It should be, but it won't be, because life is unpredictable and who can be regular about anything? So we'll just take what we can get and be glad of it.

My featured friend this go-round is Chilly. I forget exactly how I met Chilly. It was one of those things where you bump into someone, and you just like 'em, and before long, you feel like you always knew them. She just has this fun sense of humor and she always makes me smile.

When I e-mailed Chilly and asked her to share a little about herself, she said:

I've been blogging for about three years. I started it as a way to keep my sister, who was living in Illinois, up-to-date on my life, but now she lives in Utah so I keep my birth families (I'm adopted) who live in Idaho and Michigan up-to-date on how cute my sister's kids are. It was a lot cooler last year when I had my goal to travel at least once a month. Man, I miss those days! Fun, random things: I LOVE theatre, but the best part is going to the stage door after and meeting the performers. My favorites are Linda Eder and Rachel York. I could go see them perform in anything. I also love photography and have been doing a Photo A Day blog for over two years.

If you'd like to get to know someone fun and off-the-wall (but off-the-wall in a very respectful, nice sort of way) go meet Chilly. You'll be glad you did, but beware the snapping of the rubber bands ...

Other friends to go meet:

Noelle at Because Nice Matters

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Soliloquy: Getting Reconnected

I've been hitting the marketing so hard lately that I haven't taken the time to just blog about thoughts and feelings. I'm sure that's why Heavenly Father gave us the Sabbath, blessed it and set it apart, asking us to focus on nourishing our spirits and to step away from work and our earthly stresses. We can get so caught up in the rat race of work, housework, homework, bills, and grocery shopping that we forget to stop and think about the beauty around us every day, how blessed we are, and to take moments here and there to appreciate our families.

Admittedly, some days that's easier than others. I was just interrupted in the middle of writing that last sentence by one son putting a toy in another sibling's mouth, and I had to deliver the, "Some jokes are funny, and some jokes are dangerous. Yes, it's fun to tease, but you need to think through the consequences of your teasing" speech for about the twelfth time today. We've also been down the, "No, it's not funny when you accidentally fart in a sibling's face" road, along with hearing/delivering the "Keep your fingers out of your nose" speech, the "You are going to sit still in sacrament meeting" speech, and the "Keep your seat belt buckled or I'll pull over and we won't drive one more foot, and we'll all sit here and bake to death" speech.

That was a sidenote which aptly illustrates the fact that you can't always predict what you'll run into in the course of a day. Some days, you'll be able to tackle your jobs peacefully. Other days, you'll be begging for two seconds of peace and quiet so you can pray or read your scriptures, only to be denied that by overflowing toilets and sick children and work emergencies ... the list goes on.

But we each have a string that ties us to our Heavenly Father, and it's up to us to make sure it's connected every day. Sometimes the threads get a little frayed and we need to repent in order to replace them. Sometimes we just get busy (which is far too often my problem) and we forget to check on that string and it falls into disrepair. I can always tell when I'm getting a little too far adrift - my temper is quicker to turn angry, I don't feel as if I have direction, I struggle to find joy. But on days when I really take that time to connect, I have inner peace. It doesn't seem to matter what happens on those days - I can handle it.

How blessed we are to have a way to find calm in the middle of the storm. How I wish I'd remember it more often instead of trying to weather out the storm by myself and ending up with a face full of salt water.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wanna Win a Book?

Head on over to Michele Ashman Bell's Blog, read a fun interview with me, and enter to win a copy of Secret Sisters!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More Awesome Quotes from the Blog Tour

Thanks again to all my awesome reviewers who are helping to spread the word far and wide about Secret Sisters. Here are some fun quotes from recent reviews:

"This cast of characters will have you laughing out loud in the middle of the day, perhaps while you’re in the grocery store or driving your car, when out of the blue a great line pops into your head. One such as, “Sister Babbitt, why is the Relief Society here?” Yes, that really happened. And people stared. I appeared to be nuts. Don’t worry, I’m used to it." - Nichole Giles (read full review here)

"As the Relief Society President for her LDS ward, Ida and her team learn that some of the sheep in their fold may be going without. But getting to the bottom of the misfortunes of the Dunn family proves difficult. With the help of her nephew, Ren, and her Relief Society Sisters, Ida Mae embarks on a mission of the impossible variety. What ensues is a hilarious adventure of mystery wrappers, kitty-cat panic buttons, and some blue-haired ladies who put the red-hat society to shame!" - L.T. Elliot (read full review here)

"The premise is a little ridiculous - but ridiculous in a refreshing and fun way. See, ridiculous isn't always a bad thing - so next time my husband tells me my shoes look "ridiculous" I can just smile and say thanks :)" - Tonya Christensen (read full review here)

"Pinkston has created a vivid assortment of over-the-top, multi-dimensional characters, while carefully adding enough depth to endear them to the reader. The plot is pure whimsy with an unexpected twist at the end that will keep you scratching your head until the final page-turn. Pinkston has done a fine job of hitting the comedy and drama buttons while tugging on the heartstrings as well." - L.C. Lewis (read full review here)

"While Secret Sisters does include a mystery, it is not the focus of the story. The zany antics of Ida Mae and her cohorts will keep you laughing throughout the entire book. Tristi also includes some real life lessons throughout the book. I finished the story feeling uplifted and happier, and I think you will too. It's a quick, entertaining read, and I highly recommend it. It's definitely going on my shelf of books to keep and read again and again." - Kimberly Job (read full review here)

"Tristi's books are always a treat and I'm guaranteed a good read. This is the first fiction/mystery of Tristi's that I've read. She's an accomplished writer of historical fiction and those will continue to be among my favorite books. I'm not usually a fan of mysteries, but this light and amusing story provided me with an enjoyable few hours." - Karen Clark (read full review here)

"I have to admit that even though I've served in a few Relief Society presidencies, I've never taken my job quite this seriously. We could all learn a thing or two. Putting aside all the illegal acts Ida Mae and her presidency participated in, they really did know how to serve and watch out for the women in their stewardship. I feel a new motivation to personally maximize my own calling." - Kimberly Coates (read full review here)

Thanks so much, everyone, and stay tuned as the blog tour continues through the end of the month.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Winner, A Winner, We Have a Winner!

Nichole Giles has announced the winners of her contest, and Damsel in DisDress, you are one lucky duck!!

Send me an e-mail at tristipinkston AT gmail.com with your contact information so you can collect your prize!

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Great Stuff from the Book Tour

I'm really having so much fun reading what everyone thinks about Secret Sisters. It's such a fun, off-the-wall, not-to-be-taken-seriously book, and I hope it makes people smile.

Here are some choice snippets from this week's reviews:

"When you read Secret Sisters, you’ll find yourself wishing it won’t end." - Keith Fisher (read full review here)

"LDS author Tristi Pinkston creates a light and funny mystery with characters you'll soon come to love." - Cheryl Malandrinos (read full review here)

"If you are looking for a delightful read filled with wonderful characters and a cute little mystery, that all the while celebrates the amazing work done by individuals as we look out for each other, then Secret Sisters is just the title. Secret Sisters will make you want to do more and be more." - Amy Orton (read full review here)

"Are you looking for a cozy mystery, something a bit wacky, fun, and entertaining? Look no further than Secret Sisters." - Heather Justesen (read full review here)

"I laughed out loud several times while reading this entertaining, light-hearted book. Picture senior citizens trying to solve crimes evidenced solely by a Wendy's wrapper, and a husband bringing money home to his wife. My absolute favorite part was the climax, where Tristi paints pictures of hilarity as Ida Mae and her counselors rush to 'save the day.'" - Andrea Pearson (read full review here)

"With quirky characters and a completely implausible premise, it's a perfect escape book and one you won't want to put down. It's also a terrific, if unorthodox look into the inner workings of an LDS Relief Society! I'm anxious for the next book in the series." - Holly Barnes (read full review here)

"Tristi not only writes one heck of a mystery, but her characters are laugh out loud in PUBLIC hilarious. I have more than once had strange looks directed my way as I was laughing so hard my face was planted in the book and I was doubled over laughing." - Karen Hoover (read full review here)

"The characters in the book are believable: good people with human failings who are trying to become better." - Framed and Booked (read full review here)

"This book is such a change from so many books written today. It's clean, wholesome and fun. The story was light and an easy afternoon read." - Lynne Pistilli (read full review here)

"Spying! At first she is shocked. But, slowly she warms up to the idea, but only for the sake of the children. Ren provides the equipment and soon the whole presidency in involved in the risky undertaking, and what they discover they are hardly prepared for. Yet, they are now in too deep to step away.

"And the reader is hooked, especially if the reader is or ever has been a Relief Society President, a part of a Relief Society Presidency, or has known a Relief Society President."
- JoAnn Arnold (read full review here)

Head on over to these great blogs and show them some love for hosting me, and stay tuned as I bring you more updates as this totally fun tour continues through the end of the month!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Blog Tour Snippets

Here are a few fun snippets from the blog tour -

Alison Palmer said:

"If you’re a fan of Ms. Marple, or cozy mysteries in general, you’ll enjoy Secret Sisters- the tale of a Relief Society President gone rogue in order to figure out how to help members of her ward.

"How did I like it? Well, first off I have to say that Ida Mae is my idol. I could never be like her, but she’s just about the most awesome lady I “know”. She is the ultimate Relief Society President with a heart of gold and someone I’d be honored to know. The world definitely needs more Ida Maes."

Read the rest of the review here.

Rachel Ann Nunes said:

"I just can't say enough good things about the novel Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston. I was asked to review it by the publisher, and fortunately the novel arrived in the mail on a day when I was not feeling well. It saved my life! I just LOVE these old ladies and the hilarious situations they put themselves in. The fact that they are a Mormon Relief Society Presidency greatly added to the humor. A fast, fun read for all ages."

And I was interviewed by Kathi Oram Peterson. Check it out here.

The best part of a blog tour? There's something fun to look forward to every day.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's Time for a Secret Sisters Book Tour!

Hey, faithful blog readers! It's time for my virtual book tour!

Every day for the entire month of April, Secret Sisters will be featured on someone's blog, somewhere in cyberspace. You can keep track of all the reviews on my sidebar, and I'll also be sharing my favorite snippets of each review.

Today's review is found at Lynne's Little Corner of the World. Lynne was one of the first friends I ever made when I ventured into Blogland, and she's an awesome lady. She had this to say about Secret Sisters:

This book is such a change from so many books written today. It's clean, wholesome and fun. The story was light and an easy afternoon read. I'm sure Tristi had a good time writing this book.

You can read the whole review here.

Be sure to join me back here tomorrow for another Awesome Book Review Snippet!
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