Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: Have a Little Faith

Author: Mitch Albom
True Story

After reading Tuesdays with Morrie, I wondered if Mitch Albom would be able to pull off another book with success. And he did. He takes us on a religious journey in Have a Little Faith, describing the fulfillment of a request to do a eulogy, and the change that a drug-dealing man, Henry, experiences. This true story was every bit as delightful as his other books I've read.

Mr. Albom's rabbi is both thought- and smile-provoking. His beliefs and philosophies on religious tolerance and acceptance really hit home, and I found myself agreeing on multiple points. The story of Henry is eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and heart-warming. This is yet another book I'd recommend to anyone looking for a book they can savor one chapter at a time.

For a really good description of the book (far better than what I have here :-)), go to Mitch Albom's website.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I really needed a place to think out loud, and so I'm going off track to talk about something that doesn't have anything to do with writing. I figure I wrote the rules, so I can break them, right? :-)

I wanted to talk about friendship, and what it means to me, personally.

First off, I'm a very private person. I'm not shy, but I don't talk about my private life and the things that are important to me to hardly anyone. For example, while I was trying to decide whether I'd publish with Valor or one of the other publishers, I didn't tell anyone except my immediate family and a few close friends what was going on. Perhaps I should've included more people - they say there's strength in numbers, right? But I wasn't comfortable doing so.

I've finally come to understand why I'm this way, and I know a lot of you will relate. It's a trust issue. I'm UBER loyal to my family and close friends - I defend them, even when I know they're in the wrong, and I wouldn't dream of backstabbing, gossiping about, or otherwise hurting them. Like most, if not all of you, I've been burned by friendships, and so I take my time getting to know people and making sure I really want to let them in.

My process in becoming friends with someone goes like this:
  1. Meet
  2. Observe from a distance for a while
  3. Approach and talk - comparing personality types, interests, (sensing for a "kindred spirit")
  4. Get used to being around the individual
  5. Hang out a few times - get to know even more
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for as long as necessary until a decision can be reached as to whether the friendship would be good for both parties
    1. If the friendship works, continue to step #7
    2. If the friendship doesn't work (no compatibility) return to step 2, sometimes 3, indefinitely
  7. Spend time one-on-one, do a little opening up - but with nothing too personal
  8. Watch to see how person reacts to my opening up
    1. If s/he reacts well, proceed to step #9
    2. If s/he doesn't react well, return to step 2
  9. Talk about anything and everything - a kindred spirit has been found.
Sometimes the above process takes months. Sometimes it takes minutes - it depends on the other person and how the interaction goes. And I know I'm being overanalytical - that's just who I am. :-) But, it really helps me to see it in writing.

I've found that unless the person I'm spending time with opens up with me at the same pace I open up with them (in as little or as much time as me), I can't relate to them. I have a friend who likes to check up on me - see if I need anything, see how I'm doing, etc. While I really, really appreciate this, we've known each other for almost two years, and our friendship has never grown past stage 5 from above. It can't - even though she wants it to. She never volunteers information on herself, and never fully answers my questions. She is completely selfless, but to a fault, and I've never been able to get her to understand I'd like to get to know her, too. Sigh. But, on the other hand, if I feel like someone is trying to push me through my "making friends" process too quickly, I shut down and back off.

Friendship is about giving and receiving. It's about trusting and spending time together, or doing things for one another - when time and space allow it - and it can't only be about the individual. It has to be a mutual relationship of trust, love, sharing, and respect.

Even with my boyfriends, if I don't feel like they're opening up to me emotionally, I withdraw, and the relationship doesn't progress.

One last thought, then I'll end this post: There's a group of friends in my area who get together frequently to eat out and play games. They're funny, and entertaining, and are always willing to try new things. After spending time with them, however, I always feel alone and discouraged. I finally put my finger on why it's this way: they are only interested in fleeting happiness for Number One. Everyone has problems with this occasionally, but when you get a large group of people together who really aren't interested in what anyone else thinks or feels or even in having good, wholesome fun, you end up with a lot of emptiness. It's impossible to feel satisified with relationships like this, and I wish I'd figured this out a lot earlier in life.

Anyway. Sorry for blabbing everyone's ears off. :-) (Or typing your eyes out. :-))

And now back to doing the illustrations for my book. :-) I'm really, really excited with how they're turning out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My thoughts on the LDStorymaker Conference 2010

I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for the LDStorymaker Conference. I knew that Valor--my publisher--recommended it (strongly) and that friends enjoyed it, but given my previous experience at similar events, I felt apprehensive. Would it be worth the money? Would I fit in? Would I learn anything? Would I leave, wanting to return next year?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding YES! I have never felt more welcome, more loved, and more understood than I did at this conference. Being surrounded by people who share my goals and want to help other people reach theirs was awesome and uplifting. The food, the entertainment, the door prizes (I won Lael Littke's book, Haunted Sister! Can't wait to read it. :-)) the random famous person wandering the halls, and especially, the AMAZING sessions and lectures all added up to one of the best experiences I've had as a writer.

I learned so many things! I think my favorite part of the conference (lectures and sessions aside) was the clip designed to motivate us as authors which Jaime and Crystal put together and showed during the opening ceremonies. Who else thought that was amazing and uplifting?

What did you think about the conference, if you were able to attend? What was your favorite part?

And, to all my new friends: I'm so excited to get to know you better!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Review: Mistborn

First in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

I read an "epic fantasy" once before. It took me four days to read (gasp! Four days?), and since I'm used to reading books in one day, it was a frustrating experience. I did really enjoy the style of writing, the story, politics, characters, religions, and was happy with how it ended, but vowed NEVER to do it again. :-)

Perhaps it was meeting Brandon Sanderson at the LTUE conference that made me want to attempt the reading of an epic fantasy again, but this time I was prepared. I'm both glad I did it, and glad I chose Mistborn.

No description of mine could do this story justice, but I'm going to attempt it anyway. :-) Mistborn is the story of a world completely under the control of an immortal man called the Lord Ruler. He's cruel, and most of his people are slaves. Kelsier - a former slave who escaped - is a Mistborn (an uber magical, cool person) and he helps a street urchin named Vin (girl), learn the ways of Allomancers (other magical people) as he plots to throw off the Lord Ruler. Lots of excitement ensues. :-)

Brandon handles the ups and downs and climaxes perfectly. I was pleased with the character development and the wonderful history we as readers delve into. The thing I'd heard most about this series was how well-developed the magic system is, and I wasn't disappointed. I was left in awe at how quickly Vin learned the ropes, and I cheered her on as she learned both how to be a court woman, and how to perfect her powers. I'm now halfway through the second book in the series, The Well of Ascension, and am really enjoying it so far.

I'd recommend Mistborn to any mature reader. (Little to no language, no sex, some violence. It's an adult's book.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Clip Monday: Syncronized Swimming

Be aware: this is a Mormon talent show. :-) There are kids in the audience, and strange (albeit hilarious) people on the stage. :-) I laugh every time I watch this. :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Movie Clip Monday Index

Here, find all of the clips I've posted for my Movie Clip Mondays.

05-31-2010 Funniest Cat Clips (well, funny. :-))

05-17-2010 Gethsemane (beautiful)

05-10-2010 Panda Sneeze (humorous)

05-03-2010 Surprised Kitty (humorous)

04-26-10 Lion King in Five Seconds (humorous)

04-19-10 Syncronized Swimming (hilarious!)

04-12-10 Andrea Bocelli with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Pretty)

04-05-10 Tim Hawkins- Old Rock Star Songs (humorous)

03-29-10 Rocky in Five Seconds (humorous)

03-22-10 Vienna Teng's Lullaby for a Stormy Night (pretty)

03-15-10 Susan Boyle's First Audition (BGT) (pretty, cool, astonishing :-))

03-08-10 Failblog: News Break Fail (humorous)

03-01-10 Jon Schmidt's Love Story Meets Viva la Vida (pretty)

02-22-10 Sixth Sense in Five Seconds (humorous)

02-15-10 Paul Potts First Audition (BGT) (pretty, cool, etc.)

02-08-10 Beauty and the Beast in 5 Seconds (humorous)

Book Review: The Princess Diaries

Author: Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries is the story of a fourteen year old named Mia Thermopolis, who is an average girl with every day problems. Problems to which almost anyone could relate (guys excluded, of course. :-)). She finds out she's a princess and everything falls apart. It's great. :-)

This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. If only I'd heard of it as a young teenager! The characters were well rounded, Mia is a great MC, and the dilemmas are true to girls. Plus, the book was clean. I like clean books. :-)

Listening to: Ray Stevens (does anyone know who he is? :-))

Monday, April 12, 2010

Movie Clip Monday: Andrea Bocelli with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

This is AMAZING. He's such a great singer. And I love his name. :-)

Gives me tingles every time I watch it. :-)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: Secret Sisters

Author: Tristi Pinkston
Tristi's website is here.

Ida Mae Babbitt is the Relief Society President of her ward. When she and the other members of the presidency find out that a family in the ward is struggling financially, they take their concerns nearly to the extreme to make sure the family is okay. Ida Mae's nephew constructs a few "bugs" to help them in the process, and some of the most entertaining things occur while the sisters "magnify" their callings.

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."

Learn more about this book by going to Valor's site, here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Okay, breathe, Andrea, breathe!

I'm so incredibly excited I don't know what to do with myself. This cover is absolutely perfect.

The amazing Cash Case took a couple of my ideas (the Key's design, the wolves, and the forest) and put his incredible genius into making a cover of which I can be proud. He didn't even know I'm obsessed with astronomy! Thank you a billion, Cash!

(Click on it and zoom in - you've got to see how amazing it looks up close.)

I'm in love. :-) I can't wait until you all can see how the rest of the cover (back, etc) looks. It's awesome!

Oh, and my book is now on pre-order with a 10% discount here. Yay!

Thank you everyone for your support!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spread-the-Word Contest Results

The results of my book contest are in!

It was so much fun to tally up the entries of each participant - I was amazed at how many people helped out! Thank you so much to those of you who did so. Remember that if you didn't win, I'm going to be doing more book giveaways in the future. :-)

There are four winners: two first placers, one second, and one third. One of the first place winners was chosen by the amount of time/effort/entries put in, and the other was chosen randomly. My dad ran a script on Linux which randomly pulled the names "out of a hat." You can never go wrong with Linux. :-)

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for! The winners of this month's Spread-the-Word Book Contest and Giveaway are. . .

First Place (Winner who did the most work): Sarah Elizabeth

First Place (Randomly Chosen): Elizabeth Fansler

Second Place: Kim Stilson Lee

Third Place: Tyler Ficiur

Congratulations to Sarah, Elizabeth, Kim, and Tyler! If the four of you would please contact me as soon as possible, that would be great. :-) The first place winners will be given the first choice in prizes, the second place winner will go next, followed by the third place winner. Go here (to the old post about the contest) to see what the prizes are. Oh, and there wasn't a last name attached to Sarah Elizabeth's entry, but the first part of the email address it came from is eliza_beth. Winners, please contact me as soon as you can! (Send me an email: ap AT andreapearsonbooks DOT com - replace the AT with @ and the DOT with .)

Again, thank you to everyone who participated, and keep checking back for more contests! :-)

To pre-order my book, go to Valor's site, here.

Movie Clip Monday: Tim Hawkins- Old Rock Star Songs

This is hilarious! Tim Hawkins gives us what famous singers will be performing when they're old.  :-) Which ones do you know? I can only name the last half of them. :-)

*sigh* I LOVE music. :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Review: Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand

Anthem is the story of a man who breaks free from a civilization where the people aren't even taught the word "I." They refer to themselves as "we," and every aspect of their lives is controlled - down to their forced retirement when they are declared "useless" at the age of forty.

I'm still reeling from my first "Ayn Rand" experience. If all of her books are half as good as this (which I'm sure they are - the popular Atlas Shrugged being an example), I'll be one satisfied reader. This book really is a "thinking" book, one which I'll need to read over and over again to fully absorb the importance of its message: The individual verses the group. The source of our inspiration, the reason behind everything we do.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:
"My home will be the capitol of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake."

"They have nothing to fight me with, save the brute forces of their numbers. I have my mind."

"I wonder, for it is hard for me to conceive how men who knew the word "I" could give it up and not know what they had lost."

 "I understood that centuries of chains and lashes will not kill the spirit of man, nor the sense of truth within him."

Wow. This is amazing and thought-provoking stuff! Ayn Rand is my newest favorite author. Can't wait to get to her other stuff!