Saturday, June 26, 2010

Testing Your Knowledge of Tristi Trivia while Touting Twilight ...

Thank you for stopping by to play today's game. If you're new to the contest and want to know more about it, click here for all that information.

First off, what is your prize?

What does this prize have to do with Twilight? Um, well, in both books, there's a girl, and she likes a guy, and there's danger. Those are really the only similarities, but trust me, it's a way cool prize.

And how do you get it?

Your Trivia Question is this:

After seeing the movie Twilight, Tristi commented that Edward looked as if his face had been dunked in __________.

To enter this contest, you must:

· Post the answer to my question in the comments of this post by midnight, June 27th. Hurry - that's tomorrow!

· Send an e-mail including your full name and mailing address with "Trivia" in the subject line to tristipinkston AT This is only to help expedite the shipping of prizes. None of your info will be shared and it will all be trashed as soon as the contest is over.

· Winner will be chosen from those with the correct answer, using

· Winner must live in or have a ship-to address in the U.S. (If you live out of the country, you're welcome to have me send it to someone stateside as a gift from you.)

· Missed the deadline? You can still win the Grand Prize. Leave your answer in the comments section here to earn your points, then go here to sign up for the Grand Prize.

Thanks for playing, and may the force be with you! Wait ... wrong movie ... but you get the message.

(Hint: if you get stuck, you may want to do a search of previous blog posts)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Secret Sisters Cake

I just have to say, I have the coolest critique group ever. One member, Heather Justesen, goes out of her way to make us cakes for special occasions, and the last one she brought was in honor of my release of Secret Sisters. She calls herself a major slacker that she just now sent me the pictures, but I'm glad to get them, whenever they came.Notice how the writing she used for the book title matches the font on the front of the book, and also notice the visiting teachers magnet on the top. Hee hee hee ...See Arlette's sock, and the can of baby formula from the book?And the black Jaguar?It looks good enough to eat! Excuse me for a minute ...Seriously, I feel so blessed to have friends like this. To top it off, Keith Fisher made Dutch oven potatoes, curry chicken, veggies ... it was like my birthday, only not on my birthday. Thanks, guys!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Turning Hearts - Deanne Blackhurst

Some traits run in families, and in the case of the Savage family, the writing gene is alive and well. New novelist Deanne Blackhurst is the sister of celebrated author J. Scott Savage, a.k.a. Jeffrey Savage. With "Turning Hearts," Deanne follows in her brother's footsteps, although her LDS fiction drama is very different from Scott's latest works with the Far World fantasy series.

In "Turning Hearts," we read about a young woman named Amanda who is getting ready to marry Jake, the ideal guy. But when she has a strange dream one night, she realizes that she's not quite ready for marriage and would like to serve a mission first. She talks things over with Jake, and while he's disappointed, he honors her wishes to postpone the marriage until she returns.

Once Amanda is in the mission field, she finds herself facing challenges she hadn't anticipated. She struggles with difficult companions, investigators who are hot one minute and cold the next, and she reaches out to Jake as he grows ever more distant.

In the end, Amanda feels as though she did what she set out to do, but perhaps the heart that was turned most of all was her own.

I found this novel enjoyable and well written, although I did wish there had been more to it. I didn't feel as though I got to know Amanda well enough at the start, and it would have been easier for me to understand her motivations had a little more time been spent on character development in the first chapter. The conclusion seemed like a bit of a stretch to me, rather than the ending of a natural path, and there were quite a few similarities between this novel and the LDS film, "The Errand of Angels." All that said, I did find it an entertaining read, and I do think this new author will do well. She has a firm understanding of the mechanics of writing and I feel we'll be seeing a lot of her in future.

This book was published in 2010 by Covenant Communications and I received a copy for free in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Constant Prayer

I grew up hearing the admonition to seek the Lord in constant prayer, and as a teenager, felt that my efforts at saying morning and bedtime prayers were enough. After all, it’s hard to remember to pray in the morning—surely there were double points in Heaven for that. But then I had an experience that taught me the true meaning of that counsel.

Shortly before my marriage fifteen years ago, I was in a car accident that totaled my vehicle and made regular doctor visits a necessity. Because I didn’t have a car anymore, I started using the public bus system, and while I’m sure there are very nice people who ride the bus, I was uncomfortable on many occasions—like the day when the bus was rerouted because of construction, and the man behind me piped up and said he hoped the bus wouldn’t be late because he had to get home to call his parole officer …

I rode the bus to work, from work to the doctor, then back to work, and then back home for the better part of three months. Thank goodness for unlimited passes. I came to know the bus schedule pretty well, and I also came to know something else: a closer relationship with Heavenly Father.

Because I never knew who was going to be on the bus with me at any given time, I started praying as soon as I boarded the bus and I didn’t stop until I got off. At first, these prayers were focused on my safety, but soon I started talking to Heavenly Father about every aspect of my life, from healing after the accident to the wedding I was planning and everything in between. I came to look forward to those bus rides as a nearly uninterrupted chance to communicate with my Heavenly Father in the middle of a life that was so hectic, I often didn’t have the chance to pray at any other time except bedtime.

After my marriage, my bus rides came to an end. My new husband and I moved, and I got a job close to our apartment and could walk. We also had a car for those longer distances. As a result, my hour-long chats with the Lord also came to an end, and I realized I had lost something very precious in my life.

As I made the effort to focus and add prayer back in on a consistent basis, that sweet relationship returned. I no longer have an hour at a time to spend in prayer, but I can certainly speak to the Lord on several shorter occasions throughout the day, and when I take the time to do this, everything becomes brighter and clearer.

We need the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost now more than ever. I’m constantly amazed—although I really shouldn’t be—at how bombarded we are by media images and music. Movies that ten years ago would have been rated R are now PG-13, and more language is creeping into our G-rated films than ever before. We can’t step outside without hearing foul lyrics from passing cars. We can’t go to the grocery store without seeing seductive pictures on magazines. The images are constant and unrelenting.

Because we live in the world, this is part of our daily experience. But we have been given a gift which will truly be a lifeline to us—prayer. Of course I speak of kneeling and folding our arms, but I especially speak of those prayers we offer in our minds at times when kneeling isn’t a possibility, when we need a quick boost from the Spirit to chase away the unwanted images or the offensive lyrics, or for comfort. I know from my own experience that “informal” prayers are just as heard, and answered, as those we offer on bended knee.

I’m so grateful to know that the Lord hears us regardless of our surroundings. I have prayed in glorious temples and I have prayed on smelly buses—He can and does hear us, and sends us the Holy Ghost in reply. He strengthens us to face what we must. He guides us onto paths of safety. He comforts us when we are afraid, and He speaks to our minds and hearts whenever we turn to Him, no matter where we might be, always and forever, constantly.

Click here to visit yourLDSneighborhood.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Awakening Avery Virtual Blog Tour

Summer's here and what better way to kick it off than with a blog tour for Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis. Awakening Avery
is the perfect poolside read. Or, if you're like me and don't happen to have a pool, it's a good curling-up-in-bed read.

Avery can't cope with the death of her husband and is finally convinced by
her son to return to the family's Anna Maria Island vacation spot. With the
help from some new-found friends, Avery swaps her house with a widower
named Gabriel. As Avery and Gabriel step into each others lives, they begin
a correspondence that leads to spiritual and emotional awakening for each
of them.

We're giving away 3 fabulous prizes. Two readers will win their own copy of Awakening Avery! Yeah. There will be one lucky grand prize winner who will the beautiful necklace below. The contest opens June 2 and will close June 13 at midnight MST.

June 1 Sheila Staley

Why Not? Because I Said So

LDS Women's Book Review

June 2 Alison Palmer

Tangled Words and Dreams

June 3 Kimberly Job
Scribbled Scraps

June 4 Nichole Giles
Star Crossed Book Reviews

June 7 Deanne Blackhurst
The Book of Deanne

June 8 Tristi Pinkston
Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author

June 9 C.S. Bezas
For the Love of the Written Word

June 10 Joan Sowards
Joan Sowards

June 11 Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
The Write Blocks

Entering the contest is easy--all you have to do is blog, tweet, follow, or
comment and then fill out this little form here.

1.Follow our reviewers' blogs.(1 entry for each blog you follow.)

2. Leave a comment on a review. (1 entry for each review you comment on.)

3. Blog about Awakening Avery, the contest, or a review.(3 entries
for each blog post.)

3. Follow us on Twitter. (1 entry for each person you follow.)

Walnut Springs Press @walnutspringspr
Nichole Giles @nicholegiles
LDS Women's Book Review @LDSWBR
Sheila Staley @ssdawn2002
Kimberly Job @kimberlyjob
Joan Sowards @joansowards

4. Tweet about the contest. (2 entries for each tweet.)

5. Post about the contest on Facebook. (2 entries for each Facebook post or status update about the contest.)

6. Become a fan of Walnut Springs Press on Facebook.(1 entry for becoming a fan.)

7. Anything else you can think of that
will spread the word.(3 entries for every social media site you post
on.) If you mention it on GoodReads, Shelfari,Google Buzz, make it your
status on Gmail chat, MSN or Yahoo Messenger let us know. We'll reward your
creativity with entries.

So, now you're wondering, what did Tristi think of this novel?

I appreciated it a lot. It has a literary style to it that I find refreshing - we don't often see literary writing in this market, and I think this book was a good representation of how to write a literary novel that uses words to create pictures and yet isn't so literary that it loses the reader.

I hope you'll play along, visit all the blogs, and basically just knock yourself out to get this necklace. It's gorgeous!!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

In Memory of Joel W. Norton

Joel W. Norton, my father, passed away at his home on Thursday morning after a long battle with a prolonged illness.

My dad was born and raised in southern Utah. He spent time farming and loved the outdoors. He attended college at BYU for one year, then served a mission in San Diego, speaking Spanish. He later tried to teach the language to his daughters, but that didn't go over too well.

After his mission, he entered the ROTC program at Utah State, but decided that wasn't quite for him. He married my mom in 1963, and together they had six children, four of whom they raised to adulthood. They later divorced, and Dad married Barbara. They've been very happy together for the last sixteen years.

My dad was a very important part of my life. After my parents' divorce, he and I were able to establish a relationship like we hadn't before.

When I got married, my dad gave Matt and me some wonderful advice about developing true charity for our spouse and to keep that compassion and concern for each other at the forefront of our marriage.

He was a devoted grandfather, a caring father, and he will be sorely missed.

I love you, Dad.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Association of Mormon Letters Reviews Secret Sisters

Reviewed by Laura Compton for the Association for Mormon Letters

Just in time for summer comes Tristi Pinkston's comedic mystery, *Secret Sisters.* It's a light-hearted adventure with a Relief Society president-turned spy in small-town Utah in a package small enough to take on any warm-weather vacation.

Any woman who’s worried about visiting teaching assignments or shared a "Good News Moment" or prepared a meal or a plate of cookies for a fellow sister and her family will be able to relate to at least some of the characters in the book. And anyone who's wanted to relieve the burdens of an overwhelmed bishop will get a chuckle out of Ida Mae Babbitt and her Relief Society counselors as they "sustain" their local leader.

Ida Mae and counselors Arlette and Tansy are "women of a certain age" who are tasked with watching over the Omni 2nd Ward sisters. When visiting teaching reports come in that a young family in the ward is short on cash and the cupboards are bare, the Relief Society presidency kicks into gear to find out what’s wrong and solve the problem.

With the stealth of practiced caregivers, they converge on Nick and Mary Dunn’s home with uplifting words, warm food and a "call your visiting teachers" magnet that has a hidden camera inside. After all, how else would they be sure Nick really was on his way home from work with groceries for the little kids?

Later that evening, while sitting in the car surveilling the Dunns' home via laptop and refrigerator magnet, the ladies discover all might not be well for the little family. While Nick did bring back groceries, there seemed to be some problems, and the presidency decides they need to learn more in order to help out best. So Ida Mae's nephew, the one who built the hidden-camera magnet, goes to work creating a listening device as well and he and the counselors concoct another scheme to get into the Dunns' home yet again:


"I will take responsibility for placing the camera," Ida Mae said, shaking her finger at him, "but you didn’t place that bug under the auspices of the Relief Society. I will not protect you if that comes to light." She said this firmly, knowing full well she’d bail him out if she had to.

"We need to tell the bishop about this," Arlette proclaimed, and Ida Mae nodded. Things had gone way too far. They needed to pull out while they could. But Tansy spoke up.

"But we can't! I was over to see Sister Sylvester just last night. She's still on bed rest, and her sister has come to live and take care of things. The poor bishop's blood pressure has only gone down two points, and the medication they put him on isn't helping. Please, let's not, Ida Mae. Please."

Ida Mae rolled her eyes at the ceiling. It was one thing to take care of a few problems without the bishop's knowledge, but it was quite another to listen to someone else's private conversations.


Throughout the adventures, we get clues that Ida Mae has her own demons to fight as she struggles to overcome her own tendencies to judge others unfairly, and as she provides sage advice to young overwhelmed mothers, to widows, to parents of wayward children, and to her own nephew.

At one point, Ida Mae tells one of her young Relief Society mothers, "You know what, Heidi, I don't think that any woman on earth measures up to this 'perfect Mormon woman' image we've all got in our heads. I don't even know what started that nasty rumor in the first place. I don't think we’re supposed to be perfect about everything all the time – I just think we're supposed to be the very best we can be."

And the Secret Sisters try to be the best mystery solvers Omni's ever had. There are a few times when their antics are a bit over-the-top: The DMV fiasco and the knitting-needles-and-frying-pan incident come quickly to mind, and perhaps their detective skills need some honing. But these incidents – and others like them – put the "comedy" part into the "comedic mystery" genre.

Pinkston uses some character clich├ęs common to Mormon fiction – bad guys who smoke, young men turning into missionary-types at the request of a cute girl – but they're not distracting. And the final wrap-up includes both rewards and punishments, something that is often missing in novels about amateur sleuths.

It will be fun to see what new adventures Ida Mae and her crew stumble upon in future novels, and it will be interesting to see how they work together to overcome each other's weaknesses. But whether they truly stumble into another problem or whether they become anxiously engaged in searching for problems to solve is a mystery for another day.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Super Awesome Wonderful and Exciting Twilight Eclipse Contest

I do love me a good contest, and Karlene over at Inksplasher is holding a doozy. It's impossible to describe everything this contest is. It has Edward. (sort of) It has Jacob. (sort of) It has Bella. (sort of.) What it really, really has is a megaton of chances to win awesome prizes, including one donated by myself. And if that's not cool, well, I just don't know what is.

Let's get the party started ...

First off, go here and get signed up.

You can learn all about the cool prizes and where to go to play the game by reading this.

And whatever you do, get yourself back here bright and early on June 26th to answer a trivia question that can only be answered by reading my blog. I know ... I'm completely evil. But I love my blog readers and I want to reward them for their bloggy faithfulness. Now, this is not to say that a new blog reader couldn't just as easily win the prize ...

Let's kick the puppy off with a bang. Follow those links, learn all about the contestness of the contest, and we'll see you back here on June 26th!
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