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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Janet Jensen, Nichole Giles & Cindy Beck - Countdown to Christmas 2009 (Updated)

13 Days until Christmas!

Janet Jensen has published two books, The Book Lover's Cookbook (Wenger & Jensen, Ballantine, 2003) and Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys (Bonneville, 2007). She's currently working on a spin-off of Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys called Gabriel's Daughters, as well as another novel, And Grace Will Lead Us Home, about an illiterate man who is desperate to hide his disability in today's very literate society.

Janet's books can be purchased online at www.amazon.com and www.cedarfort.com.

More about Janet: Janet Kay Jensen is the award-winning author of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys (Bonneville Books, 2007) and co-author of The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them (Wenger & Jensen), Ballantine, 2003. Her work also appears in Healing Ministry Journal, LDS Writing Secrets, Byline, Meridian, Everton’s Family History Magazine, Heart to Heart Newsletter (Intermountain Donor Services) and The Magic of Stories.

She holds
degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from Utah State University and Northwestern University and is an adult literacy tutor. Recently, she had the opportunity to record an interview with her literacy student through National Public Radio’s StoryCorps® program. She has been a guest instructor in a creative writing program for county jail inmates.

Janet has won
numerous awards from the League of Utah Writers, including first place in personal essay, humorous poetry, and short story. Her work has also won several honorable mentions in ByLine. She is a member of Authors Guild, Authors Den, LDStorymakers, League of Utah Writers, Romance Writers of America, Mortar Board, and Utah State University’s Old Main Society. She and her husband Miles are the parents of three grown sons who all attend graduate school. They have one remarkable grandchild.

You can visit Janet on her website: www.janetjensen.com and her blogs: Janet Kay Jensen and Janet's #2 Blog (all about Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys).

LDSWBR: Janet, what holiday traditions do you and your family participate in every year?

JANET: We have a party for extended family on Christmas Eve. After potluck, we love to play Balderdash, the bluffing dictionary game.

Oh--and another Christmas tradition: I try to collect a Christmas ornament whenever I travel. That turns my tree into a history. And I have bout our sons ornaments each year. They reflect the interests or events that happen during the year. When the boys left home, they had a good start on a collection of their own. And even though they're grown up, I still find them a new ornament every Christmas.

LDSWBR: What books are on your Christmas wish list?

JANET: I would love to have a set of the classics (considered to be the 50-100 best works in literature). There are many I haven't read, and if I studied them in high school, I'd need a refresher course! They are the inspiration for many great books that followed them. Contemporary works also refer to the classics, so that would increase my understanding of current literature as well.

However, my husband and I are trying valiantly (with some success) to downsize at our house, and I've actually been giving books away. We still have a lot of books as my husband grew up in a bookstore and my mother was a librarian. I hate to think how many there really are downstairs! Genetically we were predisposed to collect books.

The concept of downsizing was driven home when an older couple who had lived on our street for many years had both passed away, and their children had to deal with all of their possessions. We could not believe the number of vans and trucks that came and went. And the there were the garage sales! We vowed not to do that to our sons. We could do much better, as we're both sentimental about things, but we're trying.

So--to finish a long answer, I think that rather than acquiring a set of the classics, it would be best for me to check them out from the library. I love libraries. Just waling into a library gives me a boost. And it's much, much safer than walking into a bookstore!

LDSWBR: What books have you purchased/will you purchase for your loved ones this Christmas?

JANET: I would like o
ur granddaughter (age 2 1/2) to have a steady diet of Dr. Seuss, Uncle Remus, Mercer Meyer and timeless folktales, so I'll be adding to her collections. Anne Bradshaw's Famous Family Nights is a great gift for everyone.

LDSWBR: Thank you, Janet. Have a very Merry Christmas!


Cindy Beck and Nichole Gile
s are the authors of the recently released Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, a first book for both of them. Cindy and Nichole have each written several short stories and articles. Cindy authors a monthly humor column in the newspaper and has several works in progress, and Nichole is working on a number of novel-length projects (no publication dates yet) and one short-length novella, The Sharp Edge of a Knife, which should be released in late January or early February.

Mormon Mishaps and Mischief ($10) is available for purchase at booksellers near you, as well as online at www.mormonmishaps.com and www.amazon.com.

Visit Cindy and Nichole on their website: www.mormonmishaps.com and their blog: LDS Humor.

LDSWBR: What holiday traditions do you and your family participate in every year? Will you be adding and new traditions this year?

CINDY: Ooo, I love eating Christmas goodies, drinking eggnog and watching the lights on the tree. Half of them blink and the other half don't. But it's never the same half twice in a row, so simple minds are easily occupied.

NICHOLE: We set up a treat table about mid-December and load it up with all the good holiday goodies. Some we make, some we buy, and some others give to us. All the kids in the neighborhood look forward to coming over to share our treats. Also, we love to drive around and look at the lights while we listen to Christmas music. Sadly, the family favorite is our "Elves Gone Wild" CD. Hardly spiritual, but lots of fun.

LDSWBR: What books are on your Christmas wish list?

CINDY: I'd like a leather-bound copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Hmmm, do they make leather bindings anymore? Well, if not, I'll take polyester.

NICHOLE: Um, I'd like a whole lot of books this year so if Santa would please just stuff my stocking with a gift card to Barnes and Noble or Borders, I'd be okay with that. Otherwise, I'll take any and all new young adult fantasy/paranormal releases as well as a few clean romance novels. A girl can never get enough romance, right?

LDSWBR: The three of us agree completely! What books do you plan on purchasing/have you purchased as gifts for loved ones this Christmas? (Unless sharing would ruin the surprise for someone!)

CINDY: Umm, oh ... alas and alack ... if I tell then Santa will be unhappy with me. :)

NICHOLE: Well, I don't know what Santa has planned, but I'm thinking about giving out copies of the Family Record Keeper by Mary Greathouse. Also giving away a few copies of our book Mormon Mishaps and Mischief, because it really does make a great gift.

LDSWBR: Cindy and Nichole, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule during the release of your new book to share with us. Merry Christmas!

What traditional board or card games do you and your family like to play at Christmas time? If you don't usually play games, do you have a street in your neighborhood or city that goes "all out" for Christmas that you and your family like to drive past?

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 & 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
  • Torn Apart (signed copy) by Diony George
Thank you so much!


  1. "Christmas Street" is within an easy drive of where I live. Haven't made it over there yet this year, but I usually like to drive through at least once during the season. Sometimes there are a handful of undecorated house, but most have at least a little something.

  2. No, we don't play board games, but we do drive through the neighborhoods with lots of lights. One fellow has a Charlie Brown Christmas with his whole yard filled!

  3. We have a house that is close by that has in years past gone all out even with music on the radio to go with it.

  4. We open a new game on Christmas Eve.

  5. I love that idea, Taffy! We love games at our house. I think we'll be starting a new tradition next Christmas :).

  6. When I was a kid my parents would always take us on a drive to see the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. I remember always going to one neighborhood because the houses there had so many lights! It is a tradition that I want to continue in my family, but first I need to find a good street around where I live now.