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Friday, June 11, 2010

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell - Countdown to Summer 2010

10 days until the
first day of summer!

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. In fourth grade her teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream and would probably do well with creative writing. Her love for books and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's prediction come true. Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories. She is married and is the mother of four children, and a grandma of one. Aside from supporting her children in all of their many activities, she loves to travel, do research for her books and eat chocolate.

Learn more about Michele and her books on her website: www.micheleashmanbell.com and her blog: Michele Ashman Bell.

LDSWBR: What activities do you and/or your family participate in every summer? Do you have plans to try something or go somewhere new this year?

MICHELE: We have a tradition in our cul-de-sac to get fireworks (the legal kind) and set them off in our circle. All the neighbors come out and sit on the curb and light fireworks. The little kids run around with sparklers and the big kids (aka Dads) do the fireworks. It's a lot of fun and it's a neat way to spend time together as neighbors and friends.

We usually avoid Disneyland/Disneyworld like the plague during the busy season, but the only time we can go anywhere together as a family is the end of August, so we are going to brave Disneyworld. Even if we're standing in line for hours at least we'll be together, right?

LDSWBR: Do you have a favorite summer food or drink? If so, are you willing to share the recipe?

MICHELE: I look forward to all the great fresh fruit in summer; strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, especially. I also love artichokes. But my favorite are the summer salads.

Here's a recipe for my new favorite:

Strawberry Salad

1 lg bowl spinach ( I love spinach, if you don't use your favorite greens)
1/2 package bacon cooked and crumbled
1 sliced purple onion
1 cup sliced strawberries
15 fried won tons cut into strips (I also use fried flour tortillas)


2 tbs. red wine vinegar
3 tbs. sugar
1/2 cup oil (good quality)
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup strawberry jam ( you can substitute with blackberry or raspberry or boysenberry jam)

Combine all ingredients and whisk in oil in a steady stream. Dress salad just before serving. You can add grilled chicken to make it more of a main meal. You can mix it up by adding your fave nuts (candied) and omit whatever ingredients are not on hand. Also try a little cheese, blue perhaps. The possibilities are endless. Have fun.

LDSWBR: That salad sounds delicious! What books are on your summer reading list?

MICHELE: Gale Seare's new book, Silence of God, is first on my list. I also have President Uchtdorf's book, The Remarkable Soul of a Woman, in my stack.

LDSWBR: Thank you very much, Michele!

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell (Covenant Communications; July 15, 2010) will be available for purchase at Seagull Book, Deseret Book and Amazon.

Our favorite fireworks are called Tasmanian Devils. They start as a fountain then explode, releasing several spinning flower-type fireworks onto the ground. Does your family have a favorite firework? Do you visit a formal fireworks display or do you like to set your own fireworks off at home?

Tweet this today for an entry into the drawing:

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell- Countdown to Summer 2010 Contest- Win a $25 Amazon gift card & books! http://bit.ly/9LC8xs #ldswbr2010

If you read and liked the book by this author, nominate it for a Whitney Award! Visit the LDS Publisher blog for a list of several fiction books published by LDS authors in 2010.

***Countdown to Summer 2010 Contest***

LDSWBR will hold a drawing on June 26, 2010 for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, as well as a variety of books being offered by some of the LDS authors that will be featured on the blog.

Book prizes generously donated by the authors:

  • Abish: Daughter of God by K.C. Grant
  • TRAPPED by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
  • The Road Show by Braden Bell
  • Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis
  • Courting Miss Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden
  • Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell
  • Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell
  • Alma the Younger by Heather (H.B.) Moore
  • Queen in Exile OR The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch (winner's choice)
  • The Silence of God by Gale Sears (book or audio- winner's choice)
  • Dangerous Connections by Julie Coulter Bellon
  • Critique of three chapters (up to 30 pages) from Nichole Giles

How to enter:

  • Post a thoughtful comment on the Countdown to Summer 2010 author posts. Comments can be added on any of the author posts anytime during the contest period (June 1, 2010 through June 21, 2010). Only one comment per person per "Countdown to Summer" author post will be entered into the drawing. Feel free to comment more than once per post if you'd like, but only one comment will be accepted as an entry.
  • Follow us on Twitter: @LDSWBR - then send us a direct message to let us know you want to be entered in the Countdown to Summer 2010 Contest. If you are already a follower you need to send us a direct message telling us you want to be included in the contest.
  • Tweet about that day’s author post using the tweet message included in each author post. Send an email to ldswbr at gmail dot com with the link to your tweet. Only one tweet per day counts so no need to harass your friends :). LDSWBR must be able to see the tweet in order for you to get an entry into the contest.
  • Tweet this message each day (one entry per day). Just copy and paste into your twitter message window to send it: LDSWBR Countdown to Summer 2010 at http://ldswbr.blogspot.com! Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card & some great books! @ldswbr #ldswbr2010
  • Follow LDSWBR on Facebook, then send an email to ldswbr at gmail dot com that you’d like to be entered into the Countdown to Summer 2010 Contest. If you already follow LDSWBR on Facebook, send us an email to let us know you’d like to be included in the contest.
  • Blog about this contest on your blog in a post that includes the link to the LDSWBR blog, then send us the link to your specific blog post.

Here are the rules:

  • LDSWBR reserves the right to decide what determines a "thoughtful" comment.
  • Contest ends at 12:00 Midnight MDT on June 25, 2010. Drawing winners will have until 12:00 Midnight MDT on July 3, 2010 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.

Please join us in counting down to summer with some great reads!


  1. The first of Michele's books I read was Summer in Paris--which I loved. I'm really looking forward to this one!!

  2. I think Michele's books are awesome. I love the first butterfly box book. My favorite kind of firework is the sparklers. The loud sounds of fireworks is not my favorite thing. They are very pretty thought.

  3. I enjoyed the first book in this series (A Modest Proposal) and am looking forward to the second butterfly box book. I may also have to try that recipe-sounds yummy.

  4. When we first moved to our neighborhood we watched the fireworks that our local high school did as a street. We would have a bar-b-q and then set off the small fireworks ourselves. Now they have moved the fireworks to a different school, so we need to start a new tradition.

  5. I love Michelle's book and am excited to try that tasty sounding recipe! We also get together in our circle and do our own fireworks with the neighborhood kids. Later we can see several big park and stadium shows from our own deck. It's nice to avoid all the crowds :)

  6. We like doing our own and watching small town fireworks.
    Our favorite is the tanks and ground bloomers!

  7. We always do some fireworks with my family every year, and we usually go to West Point, or Clearfield's fireworks in Utah. It's so fun to just be with family and have a good time playing games and waiting for the fireworks to begin. My kids love it!

  8. I cannot wait to read hometown girl :) As for the fireworks question... I don't have a particular favorite, but I love to watch them now as opposed to when I was younger :) My family always goes to my aunt and uncle's house where we have a barbeque and then later set off a couple fireworks of our own and then sit in the backyard and watch the Morgan city fireworks

  9. We have picnic & fireworks with my in-laws. I invited everyone out to my house because it's bigger and closer where the rest of them live.
    But, they said,"No, it's traditon." The little kids keep running out to the road. I think we should just need to make our own traditions.(If only I could convience my husband.)
    I really liked the sparklers we had when we were kids.

  10. We go to the fireworks in West Point every year with my family! We also do some at home too! The 4th of July is my favorite, my kids love it too!