Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Bachelor and Me

Some of you may know that I am a Bachelor fan. You know, that show on ABC with all the the girls chasing one guy. They are all doing everything they can to catch his attention. I love this show. I love the drama. I love the ridiculousness of it all. I love the small bit of hope in me that believes the final result is a love match that really will last forever.

This weekend, I think I had a small glimpse at what those women on The Bachelor feel when they are trying to get that hunky, possible future husband's attention. I was one of several women (well, there were a few men, too) at a writing conference, trying to get the attention of an agent.

I went to the ANWA 2011 writing conference in Phx, AZ this weekend. I have to admit that it was the first writing conference I've ever been to, so I didn't know what to expect. My nerves have been on high alert all week, though, knowing that I'd be pitching my book to one of the agents there.

The first night of the conference, after all of the classes were over, we had a "meet and greet." Which is kind of like a cocktail party, only instead of cocktails, we had lots and lots of water. And the point is to mingle and meet new people and to network. So I wanted to talk with the agent I was pitching to the next day, hoping to get my nerves out with a casual conversation that had nothing to do with my book.

For those of you who watch The Bachelor, they also have a cocktail party right before he chooses which girls he will keep and which girls get the boot. And the tricky part is that these girls have to get time with the bachelor so that he's thinking of you when he'd deciding who gos and who stays.

 I was a little disappointed in the drama-free cocktail party at this conference--no crying, no fighting, no bitter "you've-missed-out-on-the-best-thing-that-ever-could-have-happened-to-yous" (that I'm aware of)--but there was still that sense of trying to get in with the agent to leave your impression before the real games began.

Since I had that image in my mind the whole night, when I met with the agent the next day for my pitch, I kept thinking about the one-on-one dates on the show. That's where the girls really get to know the bachelor and try to convince him to pick them. So, guess what kept going through my mind when I sat down for my pitch session with the agent? This is our one-on-one date. Is she going to give me a rose or send me home?

I really enjoyed talking with her. It's amazing to me that these agents know just what to ask. And it's just plain fun talking to someone about my book. So, when we left our one-on-one, I felt really excited to keep writing and to keep working on my manuscript. Now I wonder if I'll be thinking of literary agents and writing conference "meet and greets" when I watch The Bachelor tomorrow night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

On My Bookshelf

In my mailbox last week I got these books:

Reviews will be coming in the next couple weeks for these books.

I'm also the kind of person that loves to buy books--even when I know I won't have time to read them for a while. We have a used book store in Tucson that is no where near where I live, so every time I'm on that side of town I like to go in to the used bookstore and see if there are any books in there that are on my tbr list. If they are, and I can get them for a good deal, then I snatch them up while I can. Oh, and I won one of these books on an awesome blog. Here are some of the books on my bookshelf that I am so excited to get to whenever I have the time! (I won't even tell you how many unread books I have on my Kindle....)

Someday I'll tell you all the books that I have to read that I've borrowed from my mom (there are at least four right now).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My love

I met my husband seven years ago at a Valentines Day dance. I saw him across the room, and I thought he was really good looking, and I thought that my good friend knew him--seeing as how they were standing next to each other--so I went and introduced myself to him. Well, my friend did not know him, but Jeremy asked me to dance anyway. I remember how easy it was for me to talk to him, even though we'd only just met minutes before, and when he called me later that week, I was at ASU walking to my car, and I started jumping up and down in front of the education building. I got some strange looks.

One year later, we'd been married for about four months and I was in the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I was so sick. Sick to the point of losing too much weight, with meds hardly helping. So on this Valentines Day, our first one as a married couple, I woke up early to go do my internship at the junior high for three hours, left that to go straight to work at the optometrists office as a tech for six hours, went straight from that to ASU for a night class I had that went until 9pm, then dragged myself to my car--only having eaten two pieces of dry toast the entire day. When I hauled my sorry self up the stairs to our condo later that night, I barely made it inside before falling onto the ground, crying. I couldn't go one more step that day. My husband, instead of continuing with the romantic evening he had prepared for Valentines Day, picked me up and carried me past the dinner he'd made, the roses he bought, and the candles he lit and just held me while I cried and fell asleep. I love that man.

But Valentines Day is sometimes a disaster in our house, for some reason. It's always because of me, not him. Like last year, he got me the most beautiful flower arrangement. And then while he was at work, I started getting a headache. Then sneezing. And my eyes were watering and started swelling up. I finally figured out that I was allergic to the flowers, so when he came home that evening, he noticed that I was kind of a mess and put his amazing flowers in the garage so that I wouldn't be miserable anymore.

This year, I thought would be different story. I'm not pregnant. We know that flowers are not the best idea. But then, I got this stupid flu bug/cold. And that wouldn't even be so bad, if I hadn't taken the NyQuil. The NyQuil that apparently gives me aggressive dreams. So Valentines Day night, we go to bed, and I have these dreams that people are after me, trying to poison me. I'm spitting out the poison that these bad guys in my dream are forcing me to take, and I wake up with a soaking wet pillow, still spitting. My husband says that I was also hitting him in my sleep, a few landing on his face. (good thing that I am so not strong) That has never happened before. Nothing says happy Valentines Day like that, right?

That is why my Valentines Day post is so late. I'm finally starting to feel better, but I just have to say Happy Valentines Day to everyone out there--to everyone who's been in love and hopes to be in love. Love is just amazing, isn't it?

And Happy Valentines Day to my husband, who is the best husband I could ever ask for. I love you.

My husband and I this past summer in
Washington DC on a rainy day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Upside of Down

I am so excited today to share my interview with Rebecca Talley, author of The Upside of Down. This book deals with something that is very close to my heart. Some of you may know that I have a son with Down syndrome--which has completely changed my life. It has helped make me the person I am today, and I am so blessed to have my wonderful son in my life. I am so pleased to see a book that handles motherhood, and especially motherhood in light of having a child with Down syndrome, in a realistic and positive manner.

Kaylee: Hi, Rebecca! I'm excited to get to know you a little better. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Rebecca: I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. I attended, and graduated from, BYU where I met my husband. He was the FHE “dad” and I was the FHE “mom.” We have been happily married for over 25 years and are the parents of 10 wonderfully creative and multi-talented children. We live in rural CO on a small ranch with a dog, cats, a spoiled horse, and a herd of goats. It took me a bit to adjust to the rural lifestyle after growing up in southern CA, but I love living in the country.

Kaylee: When did you start writing?

Rebecca: I started making books when I was a kid and I loved to write in high school, but I put writing aside when I got married and started having babies. I decided to get serious about it again in the mid-90s when the internet suddenly opened up a whole new world for me. I met other writers, took classes online, and read all I could about writing. I’ve been writing ever since.

Kaylee: What do you like to do besides writing?

Rebecca: Eat chocolate, ice cream, peanut M&Ms. I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean, but I only get to do that once a year or so. I also love to dance to disco music. I’ve recently started doing Zumba, a kind of Latin dancing/exercise program—lots of hip shaking. I love to go on dates with my husband and I love to play with my kids. I’ve also started making jewelry and flower barrettes with my kids.

Kaylee: You newest novel, The Upside of Down, was released in January. What was the inspiration for this novel?

Rebecca: While I was watching the new version of Cheaper by the Dozen, I thought it would be fun to write a similar story set in an LDS household. Since I have a large family, I drew from many of my own experiences to create my characters and establish the storyline. I had lots of fun writing it, especially as I relived some of the funny things that have happened in our family.

Kaylee: What do you hope people take away from The Upside of Down?

Rebecca: I hope people realize that no matter who we are, none of us is spiritually invincible. We all need to rely on the Lord, in good times and in bad. No matter how desperate a situation may seem, the Lord can lighten our load if we’ll turn to Him. The atonement is for all of us. And, even in the midst of trials, we can have peace.

I also hope people will learn something from my book about Down syndrome and realize that underneath it all, we’re all children of God and we all deserve love and respect, no matter our chromosome count.

Kaylee: Where can we purchase The Upside of Down?

Rebecca: Amazon carries it and it should arrive in LDS Bookstores soon.

You can learn more about Rebecca at and

Kaylee: Thanks for meeting with me! I have really enjoyed getting to know you over the past year and look forward to reading more from you.

Rebecca: Thank you so much for the interview.

More about The Upside of Down
Back cover blurb:
“Hmmm,” the doctor muttered.

Natalie wrinkled her forehead, almost afraid to ask, and said, “What does that mean?”

“You do know you’re pregnant, right?”

Her breath caught in her throat. “Excuse me?”

“You’re pregnant.”

Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. “I’m what?”

Natalie Drake certainly has her hands full raising a large family, dealing with her difficult mother, and maintaining a relationship with her rebellious teenager. Just when things seem to be going smoothly, she finds out another unexpected surprise—she’s going to have a baby. Faced with so many challenges, Natalie must learn to trust in a plan that isn’t what she imagined and discover that every situation has an upside.

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