Monthly Archives: July 2013

I Love LDS Women…Umm, I Mean I Love LDSWBR

Not long after I signed my contract with Cedar Fort, I started the process of figuring out the marketing side of publishing a book. As I have mentioned before, I immediately happened upon the world of book blogs. One of the first blogs I came across was the LDS Women’s Book Review site. If you google LDS book blogs, it is one of the first to appear. So even though it was February, I sent a request to them for a review that wouldn’t take place for almost six months. Mindy Holt, one of three regular reviewers on LDSWBR graciously responded-even though she was on a family vacation in Disneyland-and agreed to help this naive new author. She just needed to know the dates of my blog tour.

At the time, I had no blog tour. I didn’t have anything.

Finally, we got it all straightened out and she was one of the first to agree to be a part of my blog tour on July 31st.

Well, July 31st is here and so is Mindy’s review. But not only does it appear on the LDSWBR, it also appears here on her own personal site minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com.

If you don’t have time to follow either one of the links above, here is a short sampling of her review:

“5 out of 5 stars.  I found this book very moving and enjoyable.  I took my time reading this because I didn’t want it to end. I grew to love Todd, his kids, Emily, Todd’s mother and father, and especially Dr. Schenk.  Ryan does an incredible job of character development and telling a great story.”

So today, I express my extreme gratitude to Mindy Holt for reviewing my book, saying very nice things about it and for taking time out of her Disneyland vacation to take pity on a newbie author who had no idea what he was doing. Thanks, Mindy.

If you missed yesterday’s very complimentary blog tour stop on Shauna Wheelwright’s site, you can find it here.

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Way Too Kind

After a very nice review yesterday from Author T. Lynn Adams, the blog tour continues to day with another unbelievably kind review from Shauna Wheelwright at www.ilovetoreadandreviewbooks.blogspot.com

The review isn’t very long so if you have a moment, click on the link above and go check it out. But if you are in a time crunch, this is the part that humbles me immensely:

I LOVED this story!
I couldn’t stop reading!
It has changed the way I look at people and I now try to understand more of what they are going through!

That is very kind of you to say Shauna. I truly appreciate that generous review.

And finally, if you do visit Shauna’s website today, you will find that my publisher has given her a copy of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER for a promotional giveaway. Take your chances. Who knows, you might win. Or you could just buy the book and be assured you have a copy. Either way.

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It Is Two Weeks From Tomorrow

Be honest. If you are a regular reader of this blog, are you getting tired of me talking about my book? Are you just a little sick of hearing about book blogs, book signings, publishers, why I wrote this, why I wrote that, blah, blah blah? It’s okay if you are. Because if I’m being truthful, I’m getting a little sick of talking about this book myself. But guess what. We are almost done.

THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER comes out two weeks from tomorrow!!! That means, we have just a few items left. They include:

1.  Three full weeks of the blog tour where people hopefully say really nice things about the book and I mention them here (which I will do with today’s entry in just a second) or else hype them with links on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to skip to today’s review which is very complimentary and includes actual excerpts from the book, you can fast forward to Author T. Lynn Adam’s site by clicking here.

2.  The book launch party which has morphed into two book launch parties so I can party with my favorite people in two different places.

The first is scheduled for Saturday, August 17th at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ from 10:00 a.m. until noon. Not only can you pick up a copy of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and have it signed by the author, you can enjoy freebie giveaways including some of the best tasting gourmet cupcakes known to man provided by my friend, Julie Bauman and her company of kitchen assistants (which will likely include my 8-month pregnant wife. Love you, sweetie.)

The second is now scheduled for the following Saturday August 24th, at Deseret Book in Mesa, AZ from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Now wait, you say. There are two Deseret Book stores in Mesa. That is true and we are waiting to hear back on which one we are approved for. We will let you know as soon as we know. But we will also have freebies there for all of my friends and family (and anyone they bring with them) in the Phoenix area including some sort of refreshment. (If I can convince Julie to do two rounds of cupcakes, the people of Mesa are in for a treat.)

So if you live in the Phoenix area and are planning on buying THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, but have not pre-ordered it yet, please visit the Deseret Book (whose identity will hopefully be revealed later today) and reserve a copy there to be picked up at the launch party, August 24th. Or else just plan on coming that evening and picking up a copy then.

3. The following week, I embark on a whirlwind book signing tour to the state of Utah. Of course I am going to have to share all about that on this blog and on social media. So plan on that. It will include four currently scheduled book signings (See the Events Page for more details) and possibly an appearance on the radio.

But after that…well, my wife and I will be having a baby four days after I get back from Utah. So there is a good chance I won’t be talking much about anything.

So really, if you can hang with me for about one more month, we’ll be done. I mean, sure, there will be the occassional “Hey, please don’t forget about my book” post on facebook, or some mention of it here in a blog post now and then, but for the most part, the non-stop “Wow, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER is really awesome, don’t you wish you could read it? Oh wait, it isn’t out yet, but please pre-order it” stuff will be over. And I won’t feel like the local Amway guy anymore.

But…that’s still a month away so, for today, we return to the blog tour.

Today’s stop is at the site of Author T. Lynn Adams. Ms. Adams writes adventure novels that mix a healthy dose of reality with just the right amount of fiction.

In her review of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, she does something no other reviewer has done yet. She includes excerpts from the book. She asked if this was okay with me and I readily agreed. So if you have a desire to read her thoughts on my book and get a glimpse into my writing style, take a quick peak over at the site of Author T. Lynn Adams.

If you would rather not take a peak, let me share with you this quote from her review:

“The plot is braided together in so many ways it is impressive. Rapier has done a
great job of bringing together the lives of the main characters. The author’s
ability to also weave words into that glorious fabric is another big part of the
charm of this novel.

“I found this book so engaging—from the writing style, to the plot and
characters, to the way Rapier manages to get the reader laughing and reflecting
tenderly on their own attitudes at the same time. When demands pulled me away
from the book my thoughts reflected on his novel until I could return to its
pages and even after I finished I found myself often thinking about the life
issues handled by the author.”

Thanks T. Lynn. Your words are very kind.

For more blog tour reviews of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, see last Friday’s post which has a recap of the entire blog tour from last week. And stay tuned for four more reviews coming this week as THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER blog tour continues.

Blatant Infomercial now over!

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The Week That Was

A couple of random thoughts:

1. Does anyone else feel just a little bad for the newest edition to the royal family? Saddling a kid with both the name George and the name Louis (pronounced Louie) just seems a tad heavy-handed.

2. Do we need to redefine the scale of Self-Delusion now that we are getting a little insight into the world of Anthony Weiner?

3. Detroit just notched their 176th homicide for the year this week. Yet the Detroit city council found time to pass a resolution supporting the federal investigation into George Zimmerman. Now I have never understood the purpose of a city council of any city weighing in and passing resolutions that have nothing to do with them, but this one? My goodness! Regardless of how one feels about the Zimmerman/Martin case and aftermath, I think most could agree that the Detroit city council has more important things to worry about. Like a bankrupt city…like rampant crime…like 40% of their residents living in poverty. Here is my advice to the Detroit city council. RESIGN!!! And if you can’t bring yourself to do that, SHUT THE H— UP about things that don’t fix problems in your own back yard!!!

4. Obamacare is flawed enough that after four years since its passing, healthcare premiums continue to rise across the board and the government is not ready to implement the key component of the bill. Meanwhile, the government agency tasked with overseeing this whole thing is daily having more information uncovered about their corrupt culture. Oh yeah, this is going to end well for all of us.

5. The Lone Ranger continues to sit like a dead and rotting carcass in theaters across the country. This makes me sad. I didn’t think it was that bad of a movie, but more to the point, we are now guaranteed that we will see nothing but super heroes coming out of Hollywood for the foreseeable future. As someone who enjoys blockbusters that aren’t always linked to comic books (although admittedly, the Christopher Nolan Batman movies are among my favorites) and have a historical feel about them, this summer has delivered a brutal blow.

6. When are we going to realize that the only way Miley Cyrus will ever go away is if we stop talking about her?

7. The opinion expressed in #6 also applies to Kim K. and the entire Kardashian nation, Amanda Bynes, Kathy Griffin, and the entire Palin family.

8. As a huge Disney fan, I have to ask a question that is troubling to me. What happens behind closed doors at the Disney teenage star making factory? The need to express unbelievable overt sexuality that many of these “stars” exhibit once they escape the Mouse is a tad troubling. Some examples?  Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Vanessa Hudgens, Christina Aguilera, that kid whose butt we see at the beginning of Pollyanna…the list goes on and on.

Finally, this week marked the beginning of the blog tour for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. It seems like I may have mentioned that once or twice, but in case you missed it, I thought I would mention it again. And the results?

Four different reviews on five different websites, and all of them positive. Some highlights include:

“This is a very emotional book. The writing is excellent.” – RK Grow at www.rkgtheauthor.com

“When I start to feel the same things the character feels, I know the author has
done a good job and Rapier has done a good job here.”
– Heidi Grange at www.ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com and www.geolibrarian.blogspot.com

“I really enjoyed reading this book, despite the culture difference! I would
recommend it, even though I have different religious opinions.”
– Erin at www.belleslibraryshelf.blogspot.com

“It’s just a lovely and real book.” “…look for it, buy it, read it.  You won’t regret it” – Eric Samuelsen, playwright and former president of The Association of Mormon Letters. His blog is at www.mormoniconoclast.com. BUT BE WARNED, HIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

The blog tour will now take a break for the weekend but will return Monday with reviews scheduled each day until Friday.

Finally, the official launch party for the book is scheduled at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ for August 17th, at 10:00 a.m. In speaking with the manager, I discovered that they only intend to order 15 additional copies from the publisher above those that have been pre-ordered by August 2nd. My family and I would love to see as many people there as possible and have the opportunity to celebrate this occassion with all of our friends that can come. We are exploring additional avenues for books, but long story short, if you want to guarantee your own copy for that day, you have a couple of options:

1. Pre-order the book from Bookworms either by visiting the store or by ordering it from them on-line (you can do this by clicking on the link to their store located in the upper right-hand corner of this website.) You need to pre-order by August 2nd.

2. Pre-order the book through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. This does not mesh with the idea of “buying local”, but it would guarantee that a copy arrives at your home before the event. Bookworms has stated that if you have a copy you have purchased from an outside source, you can still bring the book to the store and have it signed that morning.

Regardless, we just want to see as many people as possible there. I want to sign your book if you choose to buy one. And my wife and I want to give you a gourmet style cupcake made by one of the best cupcake makers I’ve ever met. Because if you don’t come and eat them, I’ll have to, and as you can see from the picture on the About The Author page, I dont need to be eating cupcakes.

So remember, Bookworms Bookstore, August 17th, 10:00 a.m. until noon. Pre-order or take your chances and we will try to have a copy available for you. We hope to see you there.

For anyone reading this blog currently living in Utah, there are currently four signings scheduled during my whirlwind book signing tour that will conclude just four days before my wife is scheduled to have a baby. Come see me at any of the following events:

Friday, August 30th, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturday, August 31st, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Barnes and Noble, Sugarhouse, Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday, September 2nd, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturday, September 7th, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Barnes and Noble, St George, Utah

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It All Begins Today

What a day!

This morning I woke up and said goodbye to my daughter who is off to ASU’s cheer camp along with the rest of the Thatcher High spirit line squad. My emotions were truly mixed. I am so proud of her for making the squad and am excited for all of the experiences she is going to have in the coming years.

But at the same time, this summer has been a true reality check. My daughter has been gone as much as she has been home. Between the pioneer trek, EFY in Provo, and now cheer camp, it feels like we have hardly seen her. What makes this doubly difficult is that I know this is now the new norm. It makes me a little sad.

Nevertheless, big day for her and I am excited for her.

Another reason this is a big day. As a huge fan of golf and specifically of golfer and fellow ASU alum, Phil Mickleson, today is awesome. Phil won the British Open golf tournament yesterday. For those of you who don’t follow golf, this means nothing and you could probably care less. So, in order not to bore anyone more than I already have, I will suffice it to say that this is a  huge accomplishment. And there is no person in golf, or professional sports for that matter, that I know of who is more charitable with his time and with his wealth. Major congratulations, Phil. (I am fully aware he will never see this.)

And lastly, today marks the beginning of my book’s blog tour.

Starting today, and running through August 16th, different book blogs will be highlighting and reviewing THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. So, between now and then, there will be several more posts than usual as I link to the different reviews and mentions of the book.

Today’s first blog is the writing blog of RK Grow. RK is an aspiring author and a major book enthusiast. When she agreed to review THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and feature me on her website, she sent over a list of questions for me to answer that would be featured as an interview.

So, I encourage everyone to click on this link, right HERE, and experience the official beginning of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER’s blog tour.

In other news, a third signing in Utah has been confirmed. I will be signing copies of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER at the Barnes and Noble in St. George on Saturday, September 7th, from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. So if you, or anyone you know lives in the southwestern corner of Utah, send them my way on September 7th.

And as a further reminder, the kick off party for THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER will be held Saturday, August 17th, at Bookworms Bookstore in Thatcher, AZ from 10 a.m. until noon. Gourmet cupcakes will be served and I will be there to sign copies of the book. I recognize that the cupcakes are probably the larger draw. Please take the opportunity to pre-order a copy so that you will be guaranteed to have a copy there that morning. You can pre-order at Bookworms by visiting the store and placing an order or by clicking on the link located in the top right-hand corner of this website.

For other signings or events associated with THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, please visit the Events page of this website.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who read my post last week. It was a very personal post and I was a little nervous about how it would be received. My fears were entirely unfounded. That post received more than four times the normal readership of most of my posts and the feedback has been overwhelmingly encouraging. To each person who expressed their support, I say thank you. I truly appreciate it.

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My Brother Never Needed a Keeper, Just a Brother

The other day, the publishing company I am working with posed an interesting question on facebook. They asked what issues keep people, especially LDS readers, from enjoying LDS fiction. My initial reaction was to respond immediately, but I quickly realized my answer was longer, and possibly a bit more controversial, than a facebook status reply would warrant. So I’ve thought about it for a few days and have decided I would like to take the opportunity provided by this question to address a certain issue.

I’m not going to answer the question directly. I believe anybody who has an issue with LDS fiction has their own reasoning and I would be presumptuous to speak for them. What I can do is share my experience with trying to get THE SQUARE PEGS (now and heretofore forever known as THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER) published.

In a previous post, I detailed why my initial title for the book was THE SQUARE PEGS. I won’t do that again here, but in that post I mentioned that it was my intention to talk about a number of issues that the LDS faithful face within our culture. Despite many changes to the book, that goal remained.

When I finally finished my manuscript to the point that I was ready to submit it, I was worried. I was worried because I feared I had written a book no one would want to publish. It was written from an LDS perspective and talked about things unique to the LDS culture and so I knew it would be difficult to find an audience outside the LDS church. But on the flip side, I was concerned some of my topics might be considered taboo to LDS publishers. Regardless, I knew I had to try and so I sent the manuscript to both Deseret Book and Covenant Communications, the two most well known LDS publishers.

Despite having sent my query to Deseret weeks before I sent it to Covenant, I actually received both responses on the same day. Deseret Book rejected my manuscript with their standard rejection letter sent through the US mail. To be honest, I hadn’t expected much more. But later that day, I received an e-mail from Covenant. This response was much more surprising. It read:

Dear Ryan,

Thank you for submitting The Square Pegs.  Unfortunately, this is not something that fits our publishing needs (Covenant does not publish anything that has to do with homosexuality, and although you handled the topic beautifully, we cannot make an exception).  We think you are a talented writer and we encourage you to submit your other works to Covenant in the future. 

Sincerely,

Editorial

To me, this rejection was far more devastating than the one I received from Deseret. In order for Covenant to know I had even touched on the subject of homosexuality, they would have to have read a good portion of the book. To know if I handled it “beautifully” or not, they would have to have read the entire thing. My initial thought (which was later backed up by a friend who is also a published author) was that with all the queries a publisher receives on a day to day basis, they are not going to read through an entire manuscript of a book they already know they are not going to publish. To me, this rejection said my book was good enough for publication were it not for my inclusion of a single topic addressed in one of several sub-plots within the story. I had worried about this before I ever sent it off, but to see my fears confirmed in writing was really hard.

More than anything, I wanted to explain to someone why I had written what I’d written. But how was I supposed to explain my reasoning to Editorial? So with no other choice, I waited with a sense of doom for my response from Cedar Fort Publishing-pretty much my last chance among major LDS publishers.

Obviously, with a little less than a month until THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER is released, it is clear that Cedar Fort accepted my manuscript. To be honest, I was shocked. What made it even more surprising was that there were no requests from them for any major changes to the story. It would go to print pretty much originally as I had written it. To Cedar Fort, I cannot even begin to express my gratitude.

But for six months I have held onto my desire to explain. It is not my wish to condemn, chastise or denigrate Covenant Communication in any way. They have their publishing parameters and I respect that. But I can’t help but wonder if a review and possible change of their policies would not lead to a greater good for their readers. Readers from families like mine who could benefit from the experience of others.

In late 1995, I had just gotten engaged to my wife, Shannon. We were attending Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, AZ and looking forward to a new life together. However, one evening in the midst of wedding planning, I got a call from my mother who was in tears. She asked if I could come home to Duncan-fifty miles away-and said I should bring Shannon as well. When we arrived, she showed me a letter she had just received from my brother, Jerry. In this letter, he announced to our family that he was gay.

To my parents it was devastating. My mother couldn’t talk about it for weeks without crying.

In the months that followed, many things were said and many resolves were made regarding what would and would not be acceptable for my brother when he came to visit. Needless to say, not all of them sat well with him, but we tried to find a peaceful way to move forward.

But as the years went on, my parent’s desperation to “save” my brother increased. Arguments got more and more severe and battle lines became more and more entrenched. Contact between my brother and the rest of our family dwindled. To my recollection, there was a stretch of about eight years where we barely saw each other, and when we did, the air was thick with tension. In hindsight, I can see that we were so concerned about eternity, we were willingly sacrificing the here and now.

It’s funny how everything can change on a dime. For us, that change happened in the spring of 2008, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. When she had been diagnosed before, five years earlier, there was a general sense that everything would be fine. And as far as we knew, it was. However, from the moment she received the second diagnosis, I think we all sensed this time would be different.

Suddenly, being right didn’t matter much anymore. Being together did.

That summer, my entire family spent four days together over the Labor Day weekend and had a blast. We spent Thanksgiving all together for the first time in a decade. Despite living only forty-five minutes away, my little family travelled and spent the night in Duncan on Christmas Eve so that we could all be together on Christmas morning. That Christmas was my mother’s last.

As her condition worsened, it was my brother who was able to take time away from his job and come and spend weeks with her, day after day, trying to meet her needs. When she lost the ability to speak, it was my brother who patiently came and spent hours with her-content to just be in the same room together. In that one year, my family was closer than it had ever been since my entry into adulthood.

So why did it take so long?

One of the greatest regrets of my life is the lost years. We could have been having those experiences together long before. But because of some misplaced idea that welcoming Jerry, and his eventual husband, Kirt, into our homes unequivocally would somehow be construed as “condoning the sin”, we let those years drift away…and now they’re gone.

But this experience has changed my thinking completely. I am not going to pretend that I understand the relationship between God and homosexuality. I don’t. I have come to a personal understanding in my life that is mine and mine alone, but is it doctrinal? I don’t know. I don’t particularly care. What I do know is that I have a relationship with my brother that is better than it has ever been. I love him and his family so very much. When I travel to Utah to attend book signings at the end of August and the beginning of September, I will spend five days with Jerry, Kirt, and their newest addition, my adorable nephew, Oscar. They are my family. And as to the question of whether I should continue to try and “save” my brother? I don’t really figure that’s any of my concern. I’ve got myself to worry about, so I figure I’ll let God worry about Jerry. He knows him better than I do, anyway.

And that is why I chose to include this issue in my book.

If there is a chance that somebody will read my book who is dealing with this issue in their family, I want them to know they aren’t alone. And I want them to know you don’t have to write off a family member or a friend you love dearly in order to stay in good standing in the LDS church. I think that is a powerful message that LDS fiction could play a big part in sending if it chose to do so.

But at the same time, I feel it is important to let people know this topic is addressed in my book. I firmly believe what I have written is in keeping, not only with the guidelines of the Church, but with the guidelines of my Savior. However, I recognize not everyone may agree. So be warned. If you feel that any discussion of homosexuality is just not appropriate in a work of LDS fiction, THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER may not be the book for you.

But since I want to finish this post on a positive note, I have some final thoughts. I want to once again express my appreciation to Cedar Fort Publishing. They didn’t have to go out on a limb for this book. I hope they don’t feel that they did. But either way, I appreciate their support. I also want to express my appreciation for all the help my brother has provided me with this project. He has done more to help me than I could ever have imagined. I love him and I am extremely grateful to him.

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Keeping It Brief

It has been brought to my attention that I tend to have very long blog postings. Apparently, compared to most other bloggers out there, my diatribes and keen cultural observations are practically novels unto themselves. Well, in the spirit of trying to be all things to all people so that I can shamelessly try and sell them my book, I am going to try an experiment today. I will attempt to share my thoughts on a number of subjects in a mere one or two sentences. I fully expect to fail miserably. So here goes:

1.  The Lone Ranger was way better than reviewers are suggesting. Not like Wild, Wild West-which some reviewers are comparing it to-which was exactly as bad as most reviewers suggested.

2.  Less than one million people watch MSNBC. No expressed opinion by me necessary.

3.  If NBC wants to save itself as a network, they should do whatever it takes to hire Graham Norton away from the BBC in England to replace Jay Leno. Need proof? Click here.

4.  My 14-year-old daughter’s current favorite TV shows are: Merlin (on Netflix from the BBC), Robin Hood (on Netflix from the BBC), and Dr. Who (on Netflix from the BBC).

5. Apart from Person of Interest on CBS, Sherlock (on Netflix from the BBC) is the best television program I have seen since Lost.

6.  In light of the clearly superior entertainment offerings coming out of the UK, I’m trying to remember why it is I live in Arizona. Oh wait…just remembered those multiple days in July on my mission when I would step from a car and be able to see my breath because of the freezing rain and ridiculous temperatures. Never Mind!!! (The last bit is an exclamation not a sentence. And anything in parentheses doesn’t count as a sentence either.)

7. It may be construed that #s 3 through 6 could be combined into the same thought, thereby breaking my two sentence maximum. I choose not to think that way.

8.  If anyone would like to know what America would look like if we were ever reduced from a 1st world nation to a 3rd world nation, visit any small town alongside Interstate 10 in Arizona. On second thought, you might as well include Tucson in there as well.

9.  BONUS JEOPARDY ANSWER: Kim Kardashian having a baby and the number of times toe jam is removed in America on a daily basis. QUESTION: What are two things that should cause the American population an equal amount of concern?

10.  When I am flipping through my slate of basic cable channels and I run across the naked cottage cheese butt of a normally shaped human being, I am officially calling it. Reality TV should be snuffed out immediately, even if it means losing Duck Dynasty.

11.  Congrats to Andy Murray, first British man to win Wimbledon since 1934. Condolences to Andy Murray for looking so much like Camilla Parker Bowles. (A little humour for my British friends.)

12.  I am so grateful that I quasi-defended President Obama several months ago on this blog. Had I not, I would be extremely worried to look in my mailbox for the IRS audit notice that would undoubtedly be in there. (Sorry, I know the joke is obvious and a little lame, but I haven’t commented on this IRS thing at all and the jokes have been growing stale the longer I let them sit.)

Okay, so there it is. For the most part I succeeded at my goal. The only downside is I feel like I didn’t really say…anything. But such is life.

In other news, the marketing of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER moves ever onward. In addition to the launch party being held at Bookworms Bookstore on Saturday, August 17 from 10:00 a.m. until noon, I have now also scheduled a book signing for my Utah acquaintances at The King’s English bookstore in Salt Lake City on Friday, August 30th, from 7:00 p.m. until somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 depending on how lonely I actually get at my little signing table. More information on this will be coming soon as well as on other signings that are currently in the works.

Also, arrangements for the blog tour continue as we currently have 20 sites that are preparing to review the book. This could be really great…or it could be a bloodbath. We will have to wait and see.

For those who didn’t notice, you can now pre-order THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER from Bookworms Bookstore on-line directly from this page. Just click on their logo up in the right-hand corner of this blog and it will take you to their site. If you pre-order it from them, your copy will be waiting for you on the morning of the 17th when I will be there to sign it for you and provide you with an amazing cupcake I did not make myself.

Lastly, On Saturday, August 17th, I will be appearing on The Voice of the Valley, the live radio program that airs Saturday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on KATO in Safford. I will be discussing THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER and trying to gin up attendance for my launch party later that morning. If you live in the Gila Valley, feel free to tune in and see just how big of an idiot I make of myself.

Once again, thank you everyone who reads this blog and is supportive of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER. I can’t begin to express how truly grateful I am. And since you are now feeling so much love, please feel free to share it with others and encourage them to visit this site or simply buy the book when it comes out. Then I’ll appreciate you even more.

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Fire ‘Em All!!! (And What To Take From A So-So Review)

As of this moment, I am demanding the immediate and irrevocable firings of the following people:

-The snot-nosed teenager who yelled out at me from across the street in Manchester, England, when I was on my mission some twenty years ago, and called me a “Norman” in a derogatory way. I don’t know where he is today, but whether he is a white-collar phenom of business or a street sweeper, I demand he be dismissed immediately.

– My good friend, David Shaw (who is African-American). During some of our friendly banter back in college, he referred to me as a cracker. I was not offended in any way, but with the aid of time and the understanding that comes with maturity, I now understand how wrong that was and feel he should be made to pay with the one thing that will guarantee he learns his lesson. His livelihood. (Sorry, Dave. It’s nothing personal.)

– My father. The problem is, he’s retired, so instead of firing him, I demand that his retirement payments be immediately terminated. His transgression? When I was thirteen, mysummer-vacation days were filled with jobs given to me by my father. More than once I did a less than adequate job and I recall on one occassion he was so frustrated with me, he called me lazy. I was understandably outraged. Due to my standing as a teenager at the time, I feel that his remark was overly stereotypical and hurtful to my fragile psyche. I demand retribution. (Actually, as I think about this one, if his retirement payments stop coming, he may turn to me for financial help. On second thought, let’s put a hold on this one and I’ll get back with you later.)

– Trey Parker and Matt Stone. These creators of Southpark recently penned a Broadway musical entitled THE BOOK OF MORMON, and it has the “F” word in it. I mean seriously. I have read The Book of Mormon and at no time does that word appear in it in any form. Well…okay, maybe if they spoke back then like we do today, there’s a good chance Amalikiah would have used that word…and maybe that Gadianton Robber dude who refuses to exchange prisoners. He doesn’t seem like he would have a problem using foul language. Alright, and possibly Shiz. I mean his name is almost a swear word by itself. But all that is beside the point. No swearing appears in The Book of Mormon and so the play written by these two individuals is a gross misrepresentation of the work they have titled their play after. I demand they not only be fired from any job they currently have, but they should be deported immediately. I mean, I think they’re just a couple of ice-backs from Canada anyway. (Yes, I did just make a veiled reference to a slur assigned during my youth to illegal immigrants from a country south of the United States.)

– Finally, myself. I suppose if I am going to be righteously indignant about others, I should expect no less punishment for myself. I admit that during my high school years, I used the term “fag”. I was not speaking to someone who was homosexual (at least not that I know of) but I directed the term toward a close friend in a non-flattering way. I don’t use the word now and have for some time understood how its use can be hurtful. But that is beside the point. I used it and so without hesitation I should be prevented from providing for my family due to a lack of insensitivity over 25 years ago.

Now, if you are a reasonable person, your thoughts about my demands would have to be, “HOW FREAKING MORONIC ARE YOU?!?!?!”

And yet this is exactly what we are witnessing on a national stage with regard to Paula Deen. WHY????

To be up front, I’ve never watched Paula Deen’s show. I’ve never eaten at one of her restaurants and I’ve never purchased one of her various and sundry items on sale at a number of retail chains. Or at least they were on sale at one time. In short, I don’t give a rat’s rear-end about Paula Deen. But I am horrified at what is happening to her on a personal level. If we are to the point where someone can lose everything they have worked for because they admit under oath to using a racial slur some THIRTY YEARS AGO, we as a nation are screwed. So, as a final thought on this matter, I will conclude with this.

If you are so offended by what she said, again, THIRTY YEARS AGO, then you have no life. I suggest you get one and shut the h— up. If you are a corporation that is so scared crapless by the PC culture we live in that you are willing to cut ties with a harmless granny that admitted to using a racial slur, again, THIRTY YEARS AGO, then grow a backbone. I mean, I understand what Target went through when it was discovered that they had contributed to a couple of traditional marriage causes. I’m sure it was stressful. But good gosh you men and women of the corporate boards of American, even Al Sharpton is saying this ridiculous. AL SHARPTON, people, hair and all.

I mean, the truly sad thing here is that I have yet to see one word attributed to anyone who thinks what is happening to Paula Deen is right. And yet, business partners are abandoning her faster than rats off a sinking ship. I think that is the ultimate condemnation of our culture right there. We are so tightly bound by an out-of-control PC nazism (yes, I did just pull out the nazi card) that even when everyone on earth can see how silly this is, it still seems there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

*****

On a different note, reviews of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER continue to roll in. Today, my publicist alerted me to this review posted on a blog I was unaware of. The reader is from back east and clearly not Mormon, nor interested in the Mormon culture. If you look strictly at the star rating, it would appear that I didn’t do very well. But as I read the full review, I was pleasantly surprised.

When I wrote this book, I knew I was writing to a specifically Mormon audience. I believe other people of faith would probably relate easily to most of the book’s themes, but by and large, this is an LDS book for an LDS audience.

But what is heartening about this review is that the reviewer states the reason for her lower rating is mainly due to the LDS content. Other than that, she enjoyed the characters and the plot. To me, that is some of the highest praise I can ask for. If someone who is completely removed from the target audience of the book liked it enough to finish it-and say nice things about it-I’m thrilled.

So, we keep moving on, getting closer to the actual release day. As far as other reviews go, I now have nine people who have weighed in on my book on Goodreads. (Two from India of all places.) Currently, the overall average rating for the book 4.00. I’m trying not to read too much into that, but…I’m failing miserably. When a truly nasty review comes in, my wife will probably have to talk me in off of a ledge. Thankfully, the tallest building in town is only four stories tall and no one is allowed past the lobby.

For those of you who haven’t already pre-ordered your copy of THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER, there is no time like the present. You can do so by clicking on the links to Amazon or Barnes & Noble at the top of this page. You can also pre-order it through any bookstore selling LDS books in your neighborhood. That includes Deseret Book, Seagull or The LDS Cottage in Mesa or Tucson. For those in the Gila Valley, Bookworms Bookstore is taking orders now and will have your copy ready for the book’s launch party being held August 17th from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. They can be reached Tuesday – Saturday at 928-428-7626. Thanks to everyone who has already ordered the book and please don’t hesitate to talk it up to your friends and family if you feel so inclined.

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