Monday, May 28, 2012

Space, the Hubble Telescope, and Eternity

Today a friend sent me an amazing video of images taken by the Hubble Telescope. The scientists deliberately pointed the telescope at a part of the sky that was completely black, hoping it wasn't a waste of time and money to do so, but curious nonetheless to discover what—if anything—might be there. The results were profound. 

I have seen images like this before, and they never fail to affect me. In fact, in an early scene of my novel Reality Check, the main character Lucy describes her own reaction to Hubble images and how they impacted her views about eternity and the idea of "forever." (Page 84 if you're curious . . .) 

The image you see posted here is titled "Close-Up of Galaxies from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image" and is from that "empty black space." Not so empty, after all. 

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."         Psalm 8:3–5

Makes you think.

I've also included the link to the video, describing what the Hubble team found and what it means. Enjoy!

Image courtesy NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Perfect Prom Payday

My daughter H was on the hunt for the perfect prom dress. And she found it. It fit her perfectly; the color—a purple iridescent taffeta—was perfectly unique.

The dress was perfect, she said. It was also strapless.

Before you think mean ol' Mom put her foot down with a big N-O as a result, you have to understand my H. She's a modest kid. A strapless dress was never an option in her mind. No, the big question she had for me was how willing I would be to try to find the matching fabric needed to make the dress pass her dad's and my (and her) standards.

Seriously, iridescent purple taffeta is not a big sale item at JoAnn's Fabrics these days. I was worried. But we bought the dress. Because it was perfect.

Without going into a lot of boring details, but with some organza in both purple and pink, we got a close match. H was thrilled. I was still unsure. I asked my uber-costumer friend Paula for her opinion. She gave me the thumbs up. Well, if Paula thought it was okay, I guessed I was okay, too. Yours Truly spent a few nights hand sewing slippery fabric onto the perfect prom dress—and that's pretty tricky to do when you've got your fingers crossed the entire time.

In the end, it turned out okay. I was relieved. H was happy, and she looked beautiful on the day of the prom.

So you can imagine how we felt when she told us what happened at the restaurant before the dance. The place was full of prom-goers, teens looking their best and ready to have a great evening. While H was eating dinner with her date and their group, a mother with a 4-yr old girl came up to her and whispered that her daughter liked H's dress the best of all the prom dresses there.

Well, that was cool! H was flattered. (It is kinda hard to top iridescent purple taffeta, I suppose . . .)

But then later, before leaving the restaurant, H and the girls in her prom group headed to the ladies' room. Once again they encountered the mom and little girl. The woman, fighting tears, told them that her daughter had said that when she grows up she wants to wear a modest pretty dress like those girls. The mom thanked H and her friends for choosing to wear beautiful, modest prom dresses, and for setting a good example for her daughter.

What a perfect payday for some wonderful teens who were making good choices and were examples for good as a result, and for the moms who helped those girls look and feel elegant and special, despite what's frequently available to them on the store racks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

LDS Authors Giveaway Hop (RESULTS)

A big hooray and congratulations to Shaina Jachim and Filia Oktarina, who will each be receiving and autographed copy of my novel Reality Check!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Giveaway Hop! Considering this blog was #72 out of #76, I was overjoyed by the terrific response I received. Happy reading!!

Come and hop along with me at the LDS Authors Giveaway, hosted by The Book Bug and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer (ironically, I nearly named this blog I Am A Writer, Not A Blogger).

Blog hopping is much easier than regular hopping. All you have to do is sit in front of a computer. It doesn't burn as many calories as regular hopping, though. What the heck. Grab some chocolate, too.  

Check out as many of the blogs listed below as you like. 

My giveaway:
All you have to do, for a chance to win an autographed copy of my debut novel Reality Check, is:
1) sign up to follow this blog on Google Friend Connect or by email, and
2) fill out the form below so I can contact you if you win. (I will not share any email information with an outside source, but to be Internet safe (because I'm a mom) only enter if you are 13 years old or older, please. 

To read what Reality Check is about, check out this blog post, titled (difficult as this will be to believe) Reality Check.

For an additional chance to win, repeat the process at my other blog: Lyrics Without the Chord Changes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reality Check

I'm giving myself a reality check. First I pinch myself . . . yep, I'm awake. I'm not dreaming. Holy cow, it's really happening?? Yeah, baby!

My debut novel Reality Check will be hitting the store shelves in June. I'm not sure of all the locations, but you can pick one up at any Seagull Book and Deseret Book store for starters. Below is the blurb on the back cover:

Αfter college graduation, Lucy Kendrick heads home with big plans for work, travel, and relishing her freedom—which means no romantic entanglements. But her two best friends have other ideas. Lucy is seriously steamed when she realizes they’ve signed her up to be a contestant on the reality dating show Soulmates, but she decides not to renege and soon finds herself in Los Angeles—a small-town Mormon girl vying for the love of millionaire bachelor Ethan Glass. 

At first this cute, smart, fun young woman who would rather pray than party bewilders Ethan, as does the fact that his interest and admiration grow with every encounter. But a conniving associate producer is determined to stir up some made-for-TV drama and plants hidden cameras that inadvertently catch a truly honest but unsensational moment. And since reality television is anything but real, when the show finally airs, the story is not even close to what actually happened and Lucy has been recast as someone she unquestionably is not. Will the duplicities that have created this humiliation ever come to light? And will the truth emerge too late for the would-be soulmates?

Fun times! And especially written for all you Bachelor and Bachelorette fans out there (and even all of you who aren't) who may wonder, "What would happen if . . . ?"