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Saturday, December 5, 2009

G.G. Vandagriff & Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen - Countdown to Christmas 2009

20 Days until Christmas!

Today, LDSWBR presents two talented mystery-suspense authors, G.G. Vandagriff & Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen. Both of these lovely ladies have generously donated one of their books for our drawing. Enjoy, and don't forget to comment!


G.G. Vandagriff is the author of eight books. Her most recent published works include: The Last Waltz and Hidden Branch. G.G. is currently working on two books: Embracing Abundance (Summer 2010) and The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood: Vol. 1- Escapade in Tuscany (Fall 2010).

G.G.'s books can be purchased online at www.deseretbook.com, www.seagullbook.com and www.barnesandnoble.com, or in stores at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, and Barnes & Nobles's Utah locations. You can also purchase her books through the links on G.G.'s website: ggvandagriff.com.

Read more about G.G. on her blog: Writer in the Cranberry Tower.

LDSWBR: G.G., what favorite holiday traditions do you participate in every year? Will you be starting any new traditions?

G.G.: Because of the abundance of sugar goodies, I like to give away baskets of fresh California oranges to my neighbors, visiting teachers, etc. This year I will be giving copies of The Last Waltz, to the ladies I visit teach. As far as traditions go, we are in the middle of a transition. I have one daughter married with one child. She spends Christmas Eve with her in-laws. We have tried various strategies to replace our activities when the kids were young. This year, my two sons (24, 32) will be helping David and me to put together a challenging puzzle of Mary and Jesus by the artist Raphael that I bought in Florence. We will feast on breads, cheese, and cold cuts.

Christmas Day is primarily about Jack (my grandson). My youngest son (Greg, 24) is stuck being the Christmas Elf until Jack can read the tags on the gifts. He passes out one gift at a time and everyone watches as its opened. We always have a honey-baked ham for dinner. Since my son-in-law joined the family, he makes Rotkohl (German red cabbage casserole). Everthing else is "on demand" and is usually made by my daughter, a gourmet cook. However, this year she is pregnant and may not feel like cooking!

LDSWBR: What books are on your Christmas wish list?

G.G.: The Joseph Smith Papers, Vol. 2, and the new Reflections of Christ. Deseret Book already gave me another book I wanted- Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament. It is positively awesome!

LDSWBR: What books do you plan on purchasing/have you purchased as gifts for loved ones this Christmas? (Don't ruin any surprises!)

G.G.: My husband's book, I Need Thee Every Hour: The Atonement in Everyday Life (Covenant), is supposedly going to be coming out in December. It is about using the atonement as a tool in daily life. We will be giving that book to everyone on our list. (Author: David P. Vand

LDSWBR: We'll keep an eye out for your husband's new book. Thanks for sharing with us, G.G.!

Listen to our podcast with G.G. Vandagriff on www.ldswomensbookreview.com.


Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen released her first novel, MISSING, in October 2009. MISSING can be purchased online at www.amazon.com, as well as Deseret Book, and Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Ronda, visit her website: www.rondahinrichsen.com and her two blogs: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen & The Write Blocks.

LDSWBR: Ronda, what favorite holiday traditions do you and your family participate in each year, and will you be adding any new traditions this year?

RONDA: Our family traditions seem to change as our children grow up, but two traditions I absolutely can't do without are to listen to my favorite Christmas music, especially Handel's Messiah, and to watch the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." One of my favorite traditions from years past, though, was the name drawing and exchange of "gag" gifts; i.e., silly things that made everyone laugh. The best gag gift I ever gave, in my opinion, was a coffee mug shaped like a toilet. I included a package of toilet paper in the gift. That gift got passed on over the years. My father even kept the mug in his office at work for a time.

LDSWBR: That's a great story! Tell us, what books are on your Christmas wish list?

RONDA: Any book by an LDS author would be great. I love to get them, read them, and study how their authors created each scene, emotion, and reader reaction. I also really want an inexpensive copy of "Little Women." I only had the Reader's Digest condensed version when I was a kid, but I read it more than a dozen times. I think it's about time I read the entire thing.

LDSWBR: What books do you plan on purchasing/have you purchased as gifts this Christmas? (Don't spoil any surprises, though!)

RONDA: I have a daughter and other family members who love to read, so I've definitely purchased books as Christmas gifts. But I'd rather not reveal the titles here. Curious eyes always have a way of finding out what I'd rather keep hidden. :)

LDSWBR: Yes, they do. Thanks, Ronda!

How have you adapted your Christmas traditions as your family has grown (or grown up)? Post your answers in the comments section below.

Don't forget to nominate your favorite 2009 books by LDS authors for Whitney Awards by December 31! Can't remember what you read? Visit the LDS Publisher blog for a list of books published by LDS authors in 2009.

***Countdown to Christmas Contest***

LDSWBR will hold a drawing on Christmas Day for a $25 eGift Card from Deseret Book, as well as a variety of books being offered by some of the LDS authors that will be featured on the blog. Simply post a thoughtful comment on the Countdown to Christmas author posts to enter. Here are the rules:

  • LDSWBR reserves the right to decide what determines a "thoughtful" comment.
  • Only one comment per person per "Countdown to Christmas" author post will be entered into the drawing. This allows the potential for 24 entries per person at the end of the contest. Feel free to comment more than once per post if you'd like, but only one comment will be accepted as an entry.
  • Contest ends at 12:00 Midnight MST on December 24, 2009. Drawing winners will have until 12:00 Midnight MST on December 31, 2009 to claim their prize. After that time, another name will be drawn to receive the prize.
  • Book prizes can only be shipped within the contiguous United States.
Books that have been generously donated by the author for drawing prizes:
  • Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
  • Hidden Branch by G.G. Vandagriff
  • Altared Plans by Rebecca Talley
  • A Modest Proposal by Michele Ashman Bell (includes a bonus copy of Michele's Christmas booklet, A Candle in the Window)
  • Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack
  • MISSING by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
  • Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw
  • Love Letters of Joseph and Emma (autographed copy) 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 & C.L. Beck
  • Dawn's Early Light by Laurie (L.C.) Lewis
  • The Fairy Thorn (brand new release!) by Dorothy Keddington
Thank you so much!


  1. Two great authors--it is so interesting to see what books authors want to read or what they give as gifts.

  2. It's very interesting reading about other people's family Christmas traditions. For a while now, my immediate family has had our fancier meal on Christmas Eve and a simpler one on Christmas Day featuring salads, etc. More time for Christmas Day fun and less stress.

  3. My family does a fondue dinner on Christmas Eve. We have cut up steak and fondue it, shrimp, baked potatoes, a yummy jello my mom makes, and pie. We do the nativity as a family, with the kids playing different parts. It's sometimes hectic, since our kids range from 1-5, but that's okay! Then we open pajamas and play games until it's time to put the kids to bed.:)

  4. I got to read "The Last Waltz" and really enjoyed it!
    I LOVE 'It's a Wonderful Life'. It's a tradition to watch.

  5. I just won Missing and am looking forward to reading it The Last Waltz sounds good too!
    We did make a traditional Christmas Eve dinner for many years. And we made special cookies that our mothers used to make. One tradition that is still with us even though the kids are gone from home is a train under the tree!