October 17, 2012

Fall Ladies Night--lots of fun!

Stephanie Black and her books
Madison, Lora, Dalene, Susan & Stephanie
Some of our great customers celebrating Ladies Night with us!

We had a great time at our Ladies Night festivities on October 6, 2012.  Whitney Award-winning LDS suspense author Stephanie Black was there to sign her new book Shadowed plus her other titles and to chat about her books and writing.  There were balloons to pop for extra discounts or free stuff plus door prizes.  JoAnn Fitzpatrick was the winner of the RSVP drawing for The Beginning of Better Days.  Then there was the food--yum!  Lora brought Tres Leches cupcakes from the recipe in the book from the same name by Josi Kilpack.  We enjoyed the fun and energy with many ladies of our Beehive Bookstore community.  Thanks for being our friends and supporters!

October 3, 2012

Fall Ladies Night welcomes Stephanie Black

   Fall Ladies Night at Beehive Bookstore

October 6, 2012, 4 to 7 pm

We have lots of fun planned for our Fall Ladies nightWe will have balloons with discounts and coupons for free stuff plus door prizes and a drawing for The Beginning of Better Days for those who RSVP to attend.  Click here to RSVP.  You do not need to RSVP to attend, but you do need to RSVP to be entered into the drawing

Whitney Award-winning author Stephanie Black will be signing her new book, Shadowed.  We asked her some questions about her writing, and her responses are below.  She also has a website with links go previous interviews that has some pretty interesting info, like how playing with Barbies helped her become a suspense writer.  Click here to check out her website and here to go to her blog.

Beehive:  How do you come up with ideas for books?

Stephanie:  My first book grew out of a short story that I wrote for a high school creative writing class (the novel was totally different from that short story, but that story is where the process began). My second book emerged from an idea that had been percolating for a long time, but my other books started with a blank computer screen and brainstorming. I like to sit down at the computer, start a brainstorming file, and type out ideas and questions like "Who is the main character?" "What does she want?" And so on, jotting things down until an idea for a story finally starts to emerge. This is NOT a fast process--it can take me a long time to form that story idea. Once I have enough of an idea in mind, I'll write a very rough outline, and that's enough to get me started on the book. Over the course of working on that first draft, I'll return to my brainstorming file many times to work out what happens next, or to work through problems. I won't know the details of how the novel unfolds until I actually write it. Needless to say, my first drafts are a mess, since I'm finding the story as I write the story. My goal is to get that first draft written, no matter how messy it is. Then I can go back and revise, revise, and revise some more. I actually love revising, working with a manuscript to make it better. 
Beehive:  How do you do such a good job of keeping us guessing whodunit?

Stephanie:  I think the key is to provide plausible red herring characters. The reader needs a choice of suspects to divert attention from the real villain--other characters who could have had a reason for committing the crime. 

It's also a balancing act to reveal enough about the villain so that when the villain is revealed at the end, it's believable to the reader, but to not reveal so much that the reader nails the villain on page twenty.
Beehive:  How do you manage writing around your family commitments?

Stephanie:  When my children were young, their nap time was my golden writing time. No way was I going to clean the house during nap time (unless it was an emergency, like guests were coming over!). When I got the chance, I loved to sprint for the computer and write. Now that my kids are older, my writing time is more flexible. The challenge is both in being disciplined to use my time well, instead of frittering it away, and in putting my writing aside when it's time to focus on something else. I still struggle with both of those things.
Beehive:  Do you think you will continue to focus on suspense or are you interested in exploring other genres?

Stephanie:  My first book was a dystopian science fiction novel (The Believer). I'd enjoy doing some more sci fi, and I have a sci fi novel that I started and would like to get back to, as well as a sequel to The Believer that I'd like to revise.
Beehive:  Are you working on another book yet?

Stephanie:  I'm currently working on a short novel, or novella. This is for a project I'm doing with two other authors, Traci Abramson and Gregg Luke. We're each writing a suspense novella with the common theme of Halloween--other than that common theme, we're each writing whatever story we want. If our publisher likes the project, they stories will be published together. It's fun writing something shorter and more straightforward than my full-length novels!  

April 14, 2012

Ladies Night Report

We enjoyed seeing so many of our regular customers plus new friendly faces at our Ladies Night at Beehive Bookstore event March 31, 2012, during the priesthood session of conference.  There was our usual yummy food and goodies plus samples of Utah Truffles, orange and raspberry sticks, Thrive freeze-dried food, Thrive Simply Peace punch and Hawaiian rolls baked by Lora from the recipe in the culinary mystery Banana Split.  Lots of balloon got popped for the additional prizes and/or discounts beyond the extra 10% off everything.  We had door prizes every half-hour, and Paula Pea was the lucky winner of the drawing from RSVP entries for the Road to Emmaus framed print from Liz Lemon Swindle.  Our one regret is that we were so busy enjoying the fun that we forgot to snap some pictures to share.  We express our appreciation to Sounds of Zion, Cedar Fort Incorporated & Foundation Arts for their help with prizes we gave away to happy customers.  Thanks to all who came and partied with us!

March 25, 2012

Review: Adventurers Wanted: Slathbogs Gold

I had been wanting to read this book for a couple of years as it looked intriguing.  In the meantime two sequels came out, so I finally decided to read it.  The story follows 15-year-old Alex Taylor on as he becomes an adventurer in a magical world after curiosity leads him to inquire about a recruiting sign for adventurers in a shop window on an unusually deserted street.  We meet his fellow adventurers (including the obligatory dwarves & elves) and learn about the adventure (ridding the kingdom of a dragon and claiming his hoard) they are to complete along with the rewards and code of adventuring.  Along the way, Alex discovers much about his companions, the magical world he is visiting and his own abilities and potential.

This book is written for a much younger audience than I had expected, more for elementary school ages.  Although it is definitely several steps up from a beginning chapter book and includes danger, peril and fighting, there is an absence of any intensely scariness on the order of Harry Potter or Fablehaven.  This makes it a perfect read-a-loud story for younger children introducing them to elements of classic magical quest stories, including trolls, codes of honor, oracles and visits to a dwarf kingdom and an elf forest along the way.  I felt the climatic battle with the dragon could have used a little more detail and complexity, but overall I enjoyed the story very much once I got used to the tone of cheerful positivity.  The story was a fast, run read, and I look forward to finally reading the sequels as well.

Click here to read more about Slathbog's Gold, here for Horn of Moran (book 2) and here for Albrek's Tomb (book 3).

March 3, 2012

Christmas Jar Report Christmas 2011

This account comes from the winner of the Beehive Bookstore Christmas Jar in December 2011.  Just after Christmas, she moved out of state so we are glad she finally found a few minutes to tell us about her experience giving away our store's Christmas Jar--the total of which was $133.85 thanks to all of our generous customers who contributed!

The Christmas Jar
A couple of years ago as it was getting close to Christmas I casually asked someone at church if they were all ready for Christmas ~ she replied “We aren’t having much of a Christmas this year”. I could see that her response had caught her off guard. She really didn’t want anyone to know that their family was struggling that year.

Her response haunted me for the next few days as the Spirit whispered to me that I needed to do something for them. Not many years before I had been where they were. The Lord had blessed me with a wonderful job and now I had the ability to help them.

I enlisted a very close friend to help me deliver the presents, gift cards and cash that I’d put together for her family. When I picked her up, her husband said to her ~ “Don’t forget to go by the bank and “make the deposit” on your way.” We dropped by the bank on the way and when she came back to the car she had a $250 dollar deposit to add to the “Christmas Jar.”

At Christmas time a year later my friend's father was critically ill & her son (Chris) came all the way from Maine to California to see his Grandfather, even though money was very tight for him and he was getting married in less than a month.

While Chris was in California I won the “Christmas Jar” at the Beehive Bookstore. I wondered who I should give it to ~ then the Spirit whispered to me “give the jar to Chris and his fiancĂ©, along with a copy of the book “The Christmas Jar.” Tell him the story of our “Christmas Jar” gift the year before. Along with the Jar& book I included a little note, telling him the wonderful experience his mother and I had shared the year before and that I hoped he & his wife could carry on the wonderful tradition of “The Christmas Jar” in their new family.

March 1, 2012

Review: Banana Split by Josi Kilpack

There seems to be a lot of new fiction from LDS publishers now arriving in the store, many of them from familiar and favorite authors about familiar characters.  The store sometimes receives advance copies of books.  Unfortunately, I often time do not have time to read them all, but when we got our advance copy of Banana Split, I decided I needed to just indulge myself and read it right away.

Banana Split is the latest in a series of culinary mysteries by Josi Kilpack featuring Sadie Hofmiller who loves to cook.  Each story can be read alone, but I have really enjoyed reading them in order because I feel the development of the characters has really grown with each book.  In the first couple of books, I really enjoyed the mystery/puzzle to be solved which oft took very surprising twists and turns along with the really fun recipes.  However, I often felt the characters were not very deeply explored and did not feel like I could relate to Sadie.  However, as the series has progressed, Sadie's character has also become more complex with fascinating layers that are weaved into the story and who-dunnit plots making for more satisfying reading.  Pumpkin Roll came out last fall, and I have talked to many who feel it was the best to that point.  I think Banana Split is a continuation of the high level reached in Pumpkin Roll and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Sadie is in Hawaii house-sitting a friend's condo complex while trying to come to terms with the traumas experienced a few months earlier in Boston (the climax of Pumpkin Roll).  Her anxiety and depression have trapped her into a very un-Sadie-like existence where she hardly leaves the condo.  As things seem to go for Sadie, she discovers a body, which trauma causes her finally seek professional help for her emotional issues.  Although she is trying to come out of the hole into which she has fallen, she has no interest in knowing anything more about the victim who is generally believed to have died from a drug overdose.  However, when Charlie, the 11-year-old son of the victim approaches Sadie for answers about his mother, Sadie's reluctant attempts to help him find closure not only helps her begin to emerge from her depression but also helps her find out she is stronger than she thinks she is when she is trying to help someone she has grown to care about.  
I felt that the mystery, subplots, pacing and characterizations all were well-done, meaning I was drawn into the story which kept me thinking, caring and guessing all along the way to a satisfying conclusion.  Oh, and the recipes really looked delicious.  I can't say I've tried them out as when I could be cooking, I'd rather be reading.  To check out Banana Split on our website, click here.