Thursday, September 24, 2009

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes

Today I’m dedicating my blog to one of my favorite romance authors, Rachel Ann Nunes. She has not disappointed me with her newest novel, Saving Madeline. It’s a story about a hard-working, dedicated defense attorney, Caitlin McLoughlin, with daily challenges in her professional and personal life. Her new client, Parker Hathaway, is charged with kidnapping his four-year-old daughter, Madeline. He claims he did it to protect her from her mother’s carefully concealed drug use. Can Caitlin find the proof she is looking for before it’s too late, or will her client go to prison?

This was a fast-paced story and drew me in immediately. I highly recommend it to everyone, but suggest that you don’t start reading it late at night. If you do, you may not get any sleep because you’ll have to keep turning the pages to see the next surprising plot twist. It’s a story with plenty of suspense, and romance.

I was touched when I realized Rachel received inspiration for this novel after reading newspaper headlines concerning an infant’s death after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. Weeks earlier, her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse. Authorities found the child, and placed her back with the mother and sent the father to jail. I’m so glad that this and other true-life experiences inspired Rachel to write such a compelling book. She did an outstanding job telling this story concerning difficult choices.

I had a short email interview with Rachel.

C. LaRene: Which book was the hardest for you to write?

Rachel: Of all my novels, the hardest to write was A Heartbeat Away, which tell the story of a kidnapping. I wrote it right after several girls in Utah were actually taken from their bedrooms during the night, and though that didn't happen in my book, as I researched for the novel, my eyes were really opened to the terrible things people do and how many missing child cases are unsolved. I ended up enduring five months of sleepless nights as I wrote the book because I worried constantly about my own children, especially my young daughters. I had to keep making sure they were sleeping peacefully in their beds and double check all the doors and windows. I eventually alarmed the entire house, though that was after the novel was out. I started sleeping again once I'd turned in the book.

C. LaRene: How do you determine your writing goals?

Rachel: I've always hit about 2,000 words a day because that's what I can write in two or three hours, which in the past has really been all the time I've had at the computer. Now that my children are all in school, that might go up, but I've been rewriting instead of drafting and that's a different thing altogether, so I'm not sure where I'll end up with drafting goals. Basically, I stay as long as I can at the computer without neglecting my family or other important duties. It's a fine line to walk sometimes. You must set priorities.

Saving Madeline, is published by Shadow Mountain Publishers, and is scheduled for a mid-September release. It will be available on, at Deseret Bookstores, and at the stores listed in the following link:

If you comment on this review, your name will automatically be entered to win a personalized copy of this novel. The winner will be chosen after the last review is posted tomorrow, and the winner can be found at on Sept. 26.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Winner Is

This past weekend I attended the LUW Writers Conference at the Homestaed. I can tell you about some of the things I learned, but nothing takes the place of actually being there. Conferences like this and mingling with others in the same field give writers the incentive to keep trying.

On Friday evening, following the banquet, Richard Paul Evans, spoke to evryone there. He spoke about how powerful books are. They give us the power to look beyond. Every "major" change started with a book. Books change history. He encouraged us each to be true to our self, and write what matters to us. He also told us to take chances, and remember that failure is part of the process. All of us must pay the price.

On Saturday, I had a table set aside so I could sell my book, Martha's Freedom Train. If you bought one, I entered your name in a drawing for a gift bag. This afternoon I used a rnadom select devise to choose the winner. The winner is RONDA HENRICHSEN. I appreciate those people who supported me in this. Thanks and congratulations to Ronda.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Jump

Last week I blogged about my friend, Jill Vanderwood, and her Leap for Literacy, on Saturday, September 12. Yes, I was there. She didn’t just skydive from 12,500 feet – it was 13,000 feet. Below are some of the pictures I took of her before and after the jump, and some pictures from the video while she was in the air.

before boarding plane

On the plane

Flying through the air

At the end
This was a fun day and it's hard to believe I could watch something so spetacular. My husband bought me my birthday present early - a pair of binoculars - and watching it like that was unbelievable. Never had I seen people flying through the air before. Without the binoculars it would have just been little specks. They made the entire thing come alive for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Leap for Literacy

I'm very excited to spread the word--My friend Jill Vanderwood's book, What's It Like, Living Green has just won the National Teen Development Award--In the Pre-teen Nonfiction Category. This is in addition to the National Indie Excellence Award, earlier this year. This book is available through It's a great book and I learned a lot about living green. I posted a blog about it earlier this year.

Please find the enclosed information sheet for Jill's Leap for Literacy, which will be held on Saturday, September 12. You can help a child or adult to read by making a donation for literacy, to the Literacy Action Center, or the Reading Tub.

I'm going to be there lending my suffort to my friend Jill and to the Literacy program, as Jill makes a leap, 12,500 feet above Ogden this coming Saturday at 10 am. Jill hopes to make a difference for the next generation. You can learn more about Jill, her books, and her projects to make a difference on her author website.

Friday, September 4, 2009

July 6, 2006 – the day we were going to head home to Utah. We had missed some of our vacation because of car problems, so we decided to go back to the places we were going to visit before we went to Colorado. This time we took one other granddaughter with us.

Our destination for the day was Nebraska, and it wasn’t far. I was anxious to stop at Courthouse and Jail Rocks in the North Platt Valley. They are supposed to be two of the most famous landmarks of westward migration.

Next, we drove to Chimney Rock. I‘m fascinated by this famous rock and did mention it in my book, Martha’s Freedom Train. This was my first time to see it, except in pictures. I wanted to get closer, but the barbwire fence kept me away. The other direction, across the dirt trail from where we parked, was an old graveyard that begged me to wander around, looking for familiar names. I didn’t see anything that drew my interest. Then we went to the visitor’s center. I’m glad my husband waited until all us had settled in the car before telling us a snake had crossed our path after we had all gone into the cemetery. I wasn’t surprised because this is desolate territory.

We headed back towards Colorado through Wyoming because I wanted to go to the Fort Laramie. Frontier Trading Post, but I’m not sure why, because as everyone told me, there isn’t much there now. It was disappointing to find it closed, but I still took pictures.

I’m glad we decided to explore a little. We drove out to the river and found an old Platt River Bridge. The girls loved it, and I was glad for a good look at the river that had been a trial for all the saints to cross on their westward trek.

That was the last of our adventures for this trip. We arrived back in Colorado a little late for dinner, but in time to see everyone before bed. The next morning we headed home. We didn’t really do anything along the way. I think we were tired and ready to be home.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Special Days

I haven’t told you about one of the exciting things on our trip. I encouraged my granddaughters to bring their recommend for the Temple, so they could do baptisms for the dead, while I attended an endowment session.

The first day of our vacation, we drove to Rexburg and attended the Temple. For those who haven’t seen the beautiful building I do have to show you my best picture.

After trekking through Yellowstone, we went to Montana and of course, had to see the Billings’ Montana Temple. Both of these temples were a special part of our trip, and helped make the day brighter for all of us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh, No!

On all vacations there always has to be a day when everything goes wrong. Ours was no exception. Early the next morning we headed towards South Dakota. We made it as far as Spearfish. After eating lunch, the car started to make an awful noise. Thinking back, I think I heard that sound a little earlier in the trip, but it didn’t last so I thought nothing of it. By the time we reached Rapid City, the noise was extremely loud. We stopped at a service station with a garage and they informed us that the noise was the clutch on the air conditioner.

Great – miles from home and we had a broken car. The last thing I wanted to do was stay in a motel while someone fixed the car. I knew it would take forever. That wasn’t going to happen if I could do anything about it. I called our son in Colorado and told him about our predicament. He said we should drive straight there and he’d call the Honda dealer and schedule an appointment for the next day. It wasn’t exactly what we had planned for that day, but I knew it was a good thing because the 4th of July weekend was fast approaching.

We stopped at Mount Rushmore long enough for everyone to snap some quick pictures and then we were on our way. We saw Crazy Horse in the distance and with windows slightly rolled, we headed out for Windsor, Colorado. It was a long drive, and we only stopped for gas and food.
After leaving Cheyenne, it started to rain. By the time we were near Fort Collins, we could hardly see the road. Finally, about 10:30 pm we arrived at our destination.

We didn’t get our car back for a couple of days, but with their two vehicles, we were able to have a good visit. One day we went to the mountains and had a delicious picnic on a beautiful green lawn, and a long hike up a hot mountain, but the wildflowers were gorgeous. We spent time at the lake near our son’s home watching a movie one evening, and wading in the lake part of a day. This was certainly much better than being stuck in a motel room far from anything fun to do. The evening of the 4th of July, we watched fireworks from a park just down the street. I enjoyed our visit with his family a whole lot more than staying in a motel room for days.