WIP RUN Updates and First Reviews

I just wanted to take a minute to mention the progress of my first novel RUN. It went to press just before Thanksgiving and I was told that copies of the book arrived at the publisher last week. Hopefully I will see my first published novel in paperback soon! It is now up for sale online only at Deseret Book. If you want it for Christmas, that is your best option, though you'd probably need to order it soon. I'm not sure when it will be available in stores, but if you see it, I'd love if you'd pass on the information. As much as I'd love to spend all my spare time in DB, I don't think that's going to happen. ;)

I sent out reader copies of the book as well and the first reviews have been popping up on the usual sites. If you are interested, check them out at Amazon, Goodreads, or Deseret Book. A couple reviews have also appeared on blogs, which you can check out as well.

Stand and Shine Magazine

Rachelle's Writing Spot

I will be doing a launch party and maybe a signing sometime in January, so keep an eye out for that and some giveaways. Finally, we added a little bit to the front cover of RUN so here is the new version.

When Supermom joins Dad on his latest project, sixteen-year-old Morgan is left with her aunt. Instead of dating the cute boy from her high school track team, Morgan will spend the summer in a small town near Kanab, Utah, five hours from home and all of her friends. Her plan is to keep a sane distance between herself and her aunt’s six boys. What Morgan doesn't expect is being attracted to the neighbor kid who hangs out with her cousins. How can she like two guys at the same time?
Just when her life couldn't get more messed up, Morgan stumbles across an abandoned house and learns she lived there when she was small. The house and its secrets haunt her—it turns out she’s been dreaming about the place for years. All she wants is to hold onto what she loves. But as the summer passes, she wonders if she’s going to lose everything. 

I hope you are having a great Christmas season!

The Gift of Nothing

I visited my mom on Sunday. Every December she pulls out her Christmas book library. It's several boxes big. No matter what your mood, she's got the Christmas book for you. She lines them up in baskets and puts them out for people to read.

And there it was, seemingly waiting for me.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell.

I was a teenager when I first read it. I can't remember where I was or how I ended up with it, but I remember reading it that first time and crying. Though I hadn't seen it in nearly ten or more years, it felt like a bit of me.

I freed it from the other books and showed my mom. Even just holding it brought back an wave of emotion. "Do you remember this book?" I asked her, certain it had to be somehow as etched on her mind as my own. She did. She remembered me reading it that first time. It must have been hiding all these years and in hind sight I'm pretty sure it ended up there by Divine Aid. I didn't get a chance to reread it as the kids needed attention, but when Mom offered to let me have it, I didn't protest. I felt a little guilty taking it, but only because I wanted it. Which is selfish. I felt selfish over this book.

I hoped to read it to my son before bed, but he announced that he'd already read it, without any emotional reaction aside from mild bewilderment that I got so excited about it, and, no, he wasn't interested in reading it again with me. The Gift of Nothing was placed somewhat regretfully in my own stack of Christmas stories and forgotten by the time my husband and I got halfway though The Desolation of Smaug and went to bed.

Yesterday, I contacted a friend who has cancer. Since finding out about her cancer I've been emotional. I've wanted to visit her, but holidays and sickness made it impossible until this week. Last night I poured over the planned visit and wondered if there was something I could bring my friend that would ease her suffering. What do you give someone who might be dying?

My little one brought me the book at some point and I ended up on the couch with my kids reading The Gift of Nothing. If you haven't read this book, a sweet little cat wants to give his friend a gift but doesn't know what to give someone who has everything. He decides to give "nothing" and the book is about his search for nothing and what happens when his friend opens a big box of nothing. I was crying by the time I reached the last page. For the first time all evening, I felt peace.

Sometimes our best gifts are nothing. Sometimes they are silent, empty spaces that don't need to be filled. Or fixed. Or changed at all.

My son didn't understand. I pulled him under my arm and we sat on the couch and talked about nothing. Then we shared a little bit of nothing, just for ten seconds or so, the prefect amount of nothing for a seven-year-old.

I can't quite vocalize the sadness I've felt thinking about my friend, her cancer and how much I wanted her to say "I have cancer, but things are looking better, the treatment is working." I wanted that because I can't see my life without her, not since day one almost fifteen years ago. Sometimes I find bits of her words and views, her loves and stories inside myself, permanent parts of the person that is me, little things still working on me, changing me, making me into a better someone, telling me to dream big. I want to hold on to her. Because I am selfish like that, too.

Last night, I remembered another gift, equally as empty as nothing might seem at first glance. It was the reason the first Christmas gift was given. The reason a Creator of Worlds descended to Earth as a humble baby. That gift didn't come until many years later, but it came. Quietly, with a dawning morning, a rolling stone, and an empty tomb.

Emptiness. A gift of nothing.

When I go to my friend's house, I won't bring anything. I don't have something that can fix what she's going through. I can't change her pain or make anything right. All I have is my time and the reflection of a Savior's gift in my empty hands.

But what a gift nothing can be!

I hope you find a lot of nothing this season. I hope you enjoy it with someone. And when all of the craziness dies down and is past; when you see empty boxes and an empty tree skirt; I hope you see one last gift lingering there. In all the emptiness you encounter, in all the nothing you share, I hope you always find your Savior is there.

Reading Corner: Hailey's Comments by Kristy Tate

I picked up Hailey's Comments as an e-book because I loved Kristy's other book "Stealing Mercy." She did a great job with this one, too. It's a clean read, which I love. Though it is definitely a Romance, it doesn't read like your typical "girl meets boy and falls in love" story. I find it refreshing that it keeps that aspect from compelely taking over, alowing Emma a chance to grow and change. One thing I love about Kristy is her ability to write deep characters. Yes, this is about a girl and a boy, but the characters are real and well developed and the setting on a insulated island is like a character in itself. To add to the charm, there are great secondary characters and you've got to love Emma's huge ugly dog. I also enjoyed the addition of a mystery and a bit of suspense. Everything comes together in a great finish that was totally satisfying. This is one I'll read again.

No one knows that sassy but shy Emma Clements is the voice of her grandmother’s advice column, Hailey’s Comments, until handsome Ryan Everett discovers the truth. To avoid his teasing questions and his you-can’t-fool-me remarks, Emma and her ugly dog Wyeth flee to sparsely populated Lister Island in the Puget Sound, where Emma intends to devote the summer to her painting and art.

On Lister Island, Emma encounters a pistol packing priest, a pair of greedy organic food farmers, an octogenarian jail keeper and Ryan Everett. Soon, Emma is much more concerned about her heart than her art. After a series of disturbing coincidences, Emma suspects that the life of Helen Dunsmuir, Lister Island’s recently deceased grande dame, is tied to her own. As she unravels the secrets of Helen’s life—and untimely death—Emma learns that problems are rarely solved with a quip or platitude, and that it’s better to love than to comment.

My Life: Getting Ready for Christmas

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Break. I broke out Christmas decorations on Saturday and even had a enough energy to put all the decorations on this year. Of course, now our tree is starting to look like it's going to tip over with all the stuff weighing it down. My son was really excited when I pulled out the giant fluffy Christmas dog. Unfortunately, this is the first year when he has competition for it. We are having some of our first disagreements over who gets to smash their face in it and use it like a pillow. The baby carrying a dog the same size as her around is hilarious.

I got my son to pose for a photo in front of the tree.
Yes, that is the baby's feet and the Grinch over on the right. She wouldn't hold still. She wanted to roll around with the dog and kept stealing it from my son. The Grinch just isn't as cool. Finally we resorted to selfies with her in my lap in front of the tree. 

I hope you are all getting into the Christmas Spirit! If not, check out this video from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of my Savior, I am surrounded by my beautiful family. I'm so grateful for the first Gift of Christmas.