Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Do We Call the New Year?

So is it going to be Two Thousand Ten or Twenty-Ten on New Year's Day? I vote for Twenty-Ten. How about you?

Beat the Winter Blues

Cami Checkettes, author of The Sister Pact, is holding a Beat the Winter Blues Giveaway over on her Cami's Books blog! Check it out for a chance to win one of the following prizes and chase those winter blues away! (An autographed copy of Loyalty's Web is being given away on January 9th. :-) )

January 2nd - 101 Gourmet Cupcakes by Wendy Paul
January 4th - Where the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyffe
January 6th - Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You by Julie Morris
January 8th - Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley
January 9th - Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
January 11th - Altered Plans by Rebecca Talley
January 13th - My Son, John by Kathi Macias
January 15th - Discipline Me Right by Mary Simmons
January 16th - The Sister Pact by Cami Checketts
January 18th - Counting the Cost by Liz Adair
January 20th - Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black
January 22nd - Altered State by Gregg Luke
January 23rd - A Tapestry of Spells by Lynn Kurland
January 25th - Women of Virtue by Jodi Robinson
January 27th - Torn Apart by Diony George
January 29th - All the Stars in Heaven by Michele Holmes
January 30th - Love Your Body by Brooke Parker

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Message Worth Watching

I don't know how to embed a YouTube video into my blog, but check out this video for a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. If you like it, pass it on!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXXwtFWpAI8

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Joyce DiPastena Chronicles 2009

I don't know why anyone outside my family would be remotely interested in reading my annual Christmas letter, but what the heck. I present to you "The Joyce DiPastena Chronicles for 2009", written as a very bad homage to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Read on only if you dare! (Or don't have anything better to do.)


January
I becameth intrigued with the TV show, Dollhouse, which, because I didst like it, the network didst decide to cancel by the end of the year.

February
16th: I enjoyeth the highlight of my year, also known as the Arizona Renaissance Festival.

March
15th: My bishop didst call me to be Relief Society president. I didst sob in his office. Saith yea, cameth home, and sobbeth some more.

April
1st: I most cunningly joineth LDS Storymakers, so that I canst get into their writers conference CHEAP!
21st: Flewest to Salt Lake City, but not before much trauma inflicted upon me by my car! I wilt spare thee the details. Sufficeth to say it was verily a nightmare I was happy to escape in the city of salt and lakes.
22nd-23rd: Playeth with my sister Janet in various and sundry ways
24th-25th: Attendedth the LDS Storymakers Writers Conference with my boon companion, Sara. I didst participate in a panel on self-publishing, even though I am no longer a self-published author. Still, they didst pay me $25 for being on the panel!
26th: A bitterly cold and rainy day. Janet didst drag me to church, walking up the hill in my wee sandals. My wet, chilled feet and I becameth very grumpy. Janet wast also grumpy, because I left her favorite sweater at the LDS Storymakers conference. Thankfully, the hotel didst find her sweater and the car was nicely heated as we droveth back to Provo to retrieve it, so both of us were in merry moods when we returneth to her apartment.
28th: I luncheth with my editor and signeth a contract for my new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart.

May
2nd: Returneth home to Kearny, where I discovereth water running down my driveway from a broken pipe in the yard beside my house.
3rd: Bishop Colby and Brother Guerrero came down most mercifully after Church and repaireth my pipe. I callest down eternal blessings upon their heads!
4th:  When I didst walk outside to retrieve my morning paper, I didst discovered the door to my softener room hadst broken clean off its hinges. No wind last night. The destruction remaineth a mystery. A/C is also broken, just as the Arizona temperatures beginneth to skyrocket. No one canst repair the A/C until Thursday.
7th: My day of birth. A/C repairman comest about 3:30 PM, by which time I have sweltered long enough to feel like a suckling pig being roasted on a spit. The repairman didst achieve a temporary fix, but saith I need to replace the whole unit. Very thankful to be cool at bedtime!
8th: Didst take myself to Mesa to belatedly celebrate my day of birth. Didst see the movie, Star Trek with my merry hearted companion, Suzanne.
15th: New A/C installed. $5000!!!
18th: Goodly Bishop Colby didst repair the door to my softener room, as well as the broken beam over my driveway. May the Lord bless him forever and ever!
29th: Janet fleweth home for her day of birth. Stayeth 10 days. We didst see four movies whilst she was here. (A record for an Arizona visit!) As of December 2009, Star Trek and Up remaineth the best movies of the year!

June
8th: Didst discover another broken pipe on the side of the house.
9th: The plumber comest from Globe and fixeth the pipe.
10th – 12th: A most exciting time! Didst proof Illuminations of the Heart to prepare it for going to press!
16th: Illuminations of the Heart, my second medieval romance, wenteth to press today!


July
16th-18th: ANWA Writers Retreat in Pine, Arizona. I didst renew many friendships, gavest a workshop on marketing thy book, and kickstarteth my stalled work-in-progress. So peaceful an atmosphere! Loveth my new laptop computer. Loveth the peace and quiet. Even began to loveth my WIP again. Alas, all ended too soon. ’Twas most sorry to come home again.
21st: Verily, my dread of returning home proved most valid. Upon this day I didst walk into a back room of my house to discover a huge chunk had fallen out of the wall due to water damage from a leaky A/C wall unit.
22nd: A very frightening day. A tire on my car didst blow out on the journey home from Mesa. A kindly truck driver didst replace my tire, and I limpeth to Arnold Motors in Superior, where they didst say my other three tires were on the verge of blowing, too. Didst replace with used tires for temporary use.
30th: I didst preside over my first funeral luncheon as Relief Society President. Camest close to not having enough food for the family. (But didst make up for it at the next funeral by having a truly breathtaking overabundance!)

August
3rd: On this day, Goodly Bishop Colby camest over and fixeth the broken wall in my house. (And caulketh the leaky A/C wall unit!) Bless him, bless him, bless him!
14th: Made a pilgrimage to Mesa to see my book, Illuminations of the Heart, in a bookstore for the first time.

September
20th: Awoke to yet another broken pipe on the side of the house! (Broken pipes, broken beams, broken walls…verily, is my house trying to tell me something?)
21st: Plumber didst come again from Globe to fix my broken pipe. He suggesteth rerouting the piping under the eaves of my driveway and down the side of the house. I respondeth, “Go for it!”
23rd: A most momentous day! I didst trade in my 1996 Dodge Intrepid for a 2010 Toyota Camry. The dealer threw in satellite radio and Bluetooth for free! Loveth both of these new features!
29th: Woketh up to a backed up softener drain, backing up into the kitchen by bedtime. Can you spell D-I-S-C-O-U-R-A-G-E-D about this accursed house?
30th: Plumber foundeth water from broken pipe “bubbling up” through crack in cement in softener room. He didst reroute the pipe. Plumbing fixed…for now.

October/November
Oct 22nd - Nov 28th: Verily, for these six weeks my publisher didst indenture me to book signings at Costco! I didst rotate between four Arizona Costco stores, inscribing my signature into copies of my new medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, laboring four hours a day, three days a week, with naught but bread and water to sustain me. (And sometimes a Wendy’s hamburger, Taco Bell taco, and KFC chicken wing. And a Sprite.) Among my discoveries: those cement floors art hard; some days art better than others; and I canst get the Fox News Channel on my satellite radio. (Madest the drive over and back fly by. Well, almost. Sometimes.)

November
16th: Whatever thou doest, DON’T ask about my skylight! (Bless you, Bishop Colby!)
20th – 30th: Janet flewest home for Thanksgiving. Alas, there wast no time to fix Thanksgiving dinner due to my Costco servitude, so we didst spend Thanksgiving at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, enjoying other people’s excellent cooking and watching the play, Meet Me In St. Louis.

December
Illuminations of the Heart is no longer in Costco, but they are now in Arizona Barnes & Nobles. I have had a short story, “An Epiphany Gift for Robin”, published in a collection of Christmas stories called, Stolen Christmas. Janet miraculously got the Christmas tree up (and decorated!) before she fleweth back to the city of salt and lakes. The plumbing hath been quiet since September. (I do muchly fear that is only temporary, though.) The bird my cat heard chirping on the chimney didst not fall down the chimney into my living room today. Therefore, I close this letter on a heartily cheerful note.

May all your plumbing in 2010 be peaceful. May your favorite TV shows be renewed. May your A/C’s run most smoothly. May your walls stand rightly solid. My your skylights… (Nay, nay, let’s not go there!)

Above all, may you have a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THE VERIEST OF HAPPY NEW YEARS!





Saturday, December 19, 2009

Author Island Chat Contest Winner

Congratulations to Cherie Japp of Florida! Cherie won a copy of my sweet medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart, in an Author Island Chat Contest on December 17th. Thanks to all Author Island members who entered!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Announcing A Permanent Home for TSRA Chats


Just in case no one was aware of it, your favorite Sweetest Romance Authors have their own spot in the Java Junction of Coffee Time Romance Forum. This is where we come to greet the day with readers, share news, slurp coffee (or in my case, hot chocolate!), and just have fun. :)


Beginning January 2010, it'll also be our "home" for monthly chats. These will start on the second Thursday of January, go all day, and we'll hold contests, post excerpts, and shout out any news about latest releases. We encourage everyone who is an ardent fan of sweet romance to join us on these chats.

But don't forget our other chat! In January, we'll also resume our public chats in our 
chat room where we'll invite a special guest, and then hold a scavenger hunt. This has been a real hit with our fans and visitors!

So, get ready for January 2010. Reserve your second Thursdays for the Java Junction, and the fourth Thursdays for our chat room. You don't want to miss a single one!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gold Star Challenge: Win a Copy of Illuminations of the Heart

Jodi Marie Robinson, author of Women of Virtue, is holding a fantastic contest on her blog! All it takes are some good deeds on your part (should be easy this time of year, right?) and a comment left on her blog for a chance to win one of three great books: The Journey, by Jewel Adams; Counting the Cost, by Liz Adair; and, yes, Illuminations of the Heart. 


For details hop on over to Jodi's blog and read about her Gold Star Challenge. If this challenge doesn't get you in the mood for Christmas, nothing will! (The deadline is December 21, so start handing out those gold stars now!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

2010 ANWA Writers Conference - Start Planning Now!


- - - -  IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - - - - 

The 2010 ANWA Writers Conference, Saturday, February 27, 2010.
Open to all writers


The Best Western Dobson Ranch Inn
1666 South Dobson Road
Mesa AZ 85202-5699
480-831-7000 or 1-800-528-1356
www.dobsonranchinn.com

If you are serious about your writing, and ready for the next step,
this is the place to be!

J. Scott Savage, author of the “Farworld” Series is the Keynote speaker.

Other presenters are:

Aprilynne Pike, New York Times best-selling Author of “Wings”
Doug Johnston, Publicist Extraordinaire
Nancy E. Turner, Author of “These is My Words”
Dr. Pamela Goodfellow, Writing Coach, Editor and Owner of Goodfellow Publishing Services
Sara Fujimura, Author and Magazine Writer
Helen Bair, Counselor and Author of “Finding the Healer in Me”
Arizona’s very own illustrious Marsha Ward, author of the “Owen Family” Series and experienced in e-book publications

Book signings at end of conference

For writers travelling a far distance, follow these instructions for hotel reservations at a special ANWA Writer’s Conference discount at “Dobson Ranch Inn”

Phone
Call our Front Desk toll-free - 1-800-528-1356.
Refer to either Group Name: “ANWA” or Group Number: 804341
This will allow our staff to make your reservations for you to receive the ANWA Conference group rate.

Internet (available to book online starting Wednesday, Dec 9)
Go to the hotel website at www.dobsonranchinn.com
At the bottom of the  "Reserve Your Stay" box, click on "Groups"
Enter the password - ANWA-Dec
Complete your reservation

For questions contact, the ANWA 2010 Conference Chair Person, Cindy R. Williams at cindywilliams@q.com or
Conference Registrar, Krista Darrach at kristadarrach@yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What Makes the Perfect Romance?

I just found and LOVE this quote! Of course, the fact that it's by a medieval poet in no way prejudiced me in its favor.

"Through their kisses and caresses they experienced a joy and wonder the equal of which has never been known or heard of. But I shall be silent...; for the rarest and most delectable pleasures are those which are hinted at, but never told." ~~ Chr├ętien de Troyes

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Great Contest in Progress on LDSWBR Blog!

What, you may ask, does LDSWBR stand for? "LDS Women's Book Review". And right now they have an awesome "Count Down to Christmas Contest" going on over on their blog! Every day between December 1st and Christmas Eve, the blog hostesses (Shanda, Sheila, and Hillary) are posting a holiday interview with an author (sometimes two!), followed by a question for you to answer. (I'll try to remember to let you know when my interview pops up on their site.)

The questions aren't scary, I promise. Simple things like, "What holiday traditions do you have in your family?" Leave your answer in a comment on each day's blog (or any day's blog) and be entered to win one of the following very cool prizes:

A $25 e-gift certificate to Deseret Book, or one of the following books:

Loyalty's Web, by Joyce DiPastena
Hidden Branch, by GG Vandagriff
Altared Plans, by Rebecca Talley
A Modest Proposal, by Michele Ashman Bell
Her Good Name, by Josi Kilpack
MISSING, by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
Famous Family Nights, by Anne Bradshaw
Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, edited by Angela Eschler
Family Home Evening Adventures, by Rebecca Irvine
Counting the Cost, by Liz Adair
Shudder, by Jennie Hansen
Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, by D. N. Giles and C. L. Beck
Dawn's Early Light, by L.C. Lewis

Drawings for all the above prizes will take place on Christmas Day. So hop on over to LDS Women's Book Review and start leaving your comments NOW! (And keep checking out their site every day from now till Christmas Eve, so you don't miss a single chance to enter!)



Monday, December 7, 2009

Winners of my "Celebrate the Season" Contest!


Congratulations to Melanie Hahn and Joy Isely! Melanie and Joy have each won a hardcover copy of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season. I know they'll enjoy this touching, humorous, and all round delightful little book of short Christmas stories. (Including, of course, my own humble contribution, "An Epiphany Gift for Robin". :-) )

Thank you to everyone who entered! If you weren't one of the winners and would like to order copies for Christmas (have I mentioned that they make incredibly fantastic Christmas gifts???), you can find copies at the following links:

Createspace
Amazon
Smashwords (for e-book copies)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart at Barnes & Noble




Hunting for a copy of Illuminations of the Heart for Christmas (or Christmas gifts) this year? All is not lost! While no longer available at Costco, copies are in stock at the following Arizona Barnes & Noble locations. (Don't live in Arizona? Go to your nearest Barnes & Noble and ask them to order a copy. It's in their system! And if they're sold out at these locations, ask them to order more!)

Barnes & Noble
San Tan Village
2150 E Williams Field Rd
Gilbert, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Crossroads Towne Center
3870 S Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Dana Park Village Square
1758 South Val Vista Dr
Mesa, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Tempe Marketplace
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe AZ

Barnes & Noble
Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center III
4847 East Ray Road
Ahwatukee, AZ

B. Dalton Booksellers/Bookstar
Pavillions
8919 E Indian Bend Rd
Scottsdale, AZ

Banres & Noble
Chandler Fashion Mall
3111 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Kierland Commons
7030 E Geenway Parkway
Scottsdale, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Scottsdale Fiesta Shopping Center
10500 N 90th Street (Pima & Shea)
Scottsdale, AZ

B. Dalton Booksellers/Bookstar
Town & Country SC
2073 E. Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Desert Ridge Marketplace
21001 N Tatum Blvd
Phoenix, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Metro Center
10235 N Metro Parkway East
Phoenix, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Happy Valley Towne Center
2501 West Happy Valley Road
Phoenix, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Arrowhead
7685 W Bell Rd
Peoria, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Palm Valley Pavillions
1446 N. Litchfield Rd
Goodyear, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Surprise Marketplace
112719 W Bell Rd
Surprise, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Foothills Mall
7325 N LaCholla Blvd
Tucson, AZ

Barnes & Noble
5130 E Broadway
Tucson, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Prescott Gateway Mall
3250-302 Gateway Blvd
Prescott, AZ

Barnes & Noble
Flagstaff
701 S Milton Rd
Flagstaff, AZ

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bye-Bye Costco: Thanks for the Memories!


Well, my Costco run has come to an end. As of November 28, I finished my book signings for copies of my medieval romance, Illuminations of the Heart. It was, indeed, quite the interesting adventure!

I learned that standing four hours a day, three to four days a week on a cement floor can do quite the number on your feet and back.

I learned that there really are people out there who will snap up a romance as soon as they hear the words “clean romance” attached to it.

I learned that (especially in Gilbert and Chandler) people who saw the words “Deseret Book” on my bookmarks immediately interpreted that as meaning my romance was “safe”. Well, mostly. Only one woman read the words “Deseret Book” aloud and threw the bookmark back on the table and stomped off. Guess there’s no accounting for prejudice. But bottom line is, I sold many more copies because of those words, and (as far as I know) only lost one potential sale because of them.

I learned that wherever people were shopping on Black Friday, it wasn’t in the Gilbert Costco! The day before Thanksgiving, I sold 19 books in my first two hours! The day after Thanksgiving, I only sold 2 books in the same two hours. Honestly, it was like a ghost town in the Gilbert Costco that day! I barely managed to squeeze out 12 books for the day (I managed 28 at the Chandler Costco the day before Thanksgiving), and that was only with the help of dear Anna Arnett, who came to visit me during my last 10 minutes and convinced three people to buy copies before I closed up shop shortly after 5 PM.

I learned that I have the best sister in the world. She flew all the way down from Salt Lake City to spend Thanksgiving with me, and ended up spending 16 hours of her vacation inside of Costco stores! Being a very wise and intrepid sister, she didn’t just mope around or even sit reading in a chair, as I’d suggested. No! She worked out an exercise route walking around the store while I peddled my books! And she bought us a lovely platter of baklava. Now, you can’t ask for a better sister than that! J

I learned many more things I’ve already listed in former posts, so I’m not going to repeat them here. (Go and read my former posts!)

I don’t know how many copies I sold overall, but I kept a tally of the books I signed (presuming once they were autographed, the buyers wouldn’t quite dare stick them back on the shelf) and in total, I signed 342 copies of Illuminations of the Heart over 16 days of signings. Is that a good number or not? I really don’t know. My publisher insists they are pleased, reminding me that not all readers are in the market for a medieval, or even historical, romance. (As I discovered for myself. Some of the comments made when I tried to hand out bookmarks: “I don’t read romances.” “I don’t read historical romances.” “I only read mysteries/suspense novels”. “I only read non-fiction.” “I just bought a Kindle and don’t read anything but e-books now.” “Do you have it in Spanish?” “Do you have it on CD? I only listen to books in the car.” “I don’t read. Period!” )

Regardless, I’ve decided to be happy with the number I signed. That was 342 copies of Illuminations of the Heart that most people in Costco would likely never have wandered into a Deseret Book to find, or ever heard about to go looking for it online. I’ve expanded my readership by at least 342 people, and with luck, at least some of those people will like my book and tell their friends and maybe more people will buy copies. (Though obviously not at Costco!)

So there you have it. My adventure comes to an end, and now I can concentrate on other important things like helping with the 1st grade Christmas program (I’m playing the piano for them), participating in my Church Christmas party, and maybe…maybe…clearing off my dining room table so my sister can bake me a turkey when she comes back for Christmas!

Thank you to all you lovely people who came out to support me during my signings. I love you all! And thanks to all of you who have followed my posts about my experiences. I hope you have found a grain of usefulness in at least some of them, in case you ever find yourself signing books in Costco. (And to all my wonderful author friends, I hope someday you do!)