My Little Girl's Vintage Wedding

December Twenty-first, my only daughter became Mrs. Andrew Birkinsha. As any mother would, I wanted all her dreams of a beautiful wedding to come true. What we lacked in cash, we more than made up for in resources. I have nine sisters and each of them are full of talents. Oh, and my mom has become an expert at putting on weddings (Did I mention I have nine sisters? That she created spectacular weddings for.)

So coordinating a wedding long distance became a breeze with the support team we have in one another. And Pinterest. We simply had to pin/show my sibs what Alannah wanted and they went to work. One sister (Kim) took a class long ago in cake decorating, so she made a stunning cake. Another (Alysha) made the most beautiful vintage bouquet. Another sister (Mac) went above and beyond to replicate the most gorgeous veil I've ever seen. And not just one, but two, so Alannah could have her pick. Yet another (Heather) created a beautiful guest book. And they all pitched in with getting the gym cleaned out, lit, and ready for a reception, bringing soups and other entrees to feed the guests. And my mom altered the dress, made the flowers, and basically worked her magic to bring order out of what could have been chaos.

I'm truly truly blessed with a wonderful family. All I had to do was show-up. Which come to think of it, is what I did 25 years ago for my own wedding. Hmm. I kind of think I'm the least helpful in my family, yet gain the most benefit. Score! (Shhh, I didn't really say that.)

To be honest, I knew it would turn out beautiful because I trusted my family. My main concern was getting through the ceremony. You see, since my son passed away 3 years ago, I have a difficult time keeping the weeping to a minimum. Seriously, I get going and the waterworks will not stop. And it's not the lovely one lone tear sliding down the cheek Demi Moore style of crying. It's full blown gushing, snotty, red eyes, ugly and gross. I avoid sentimental events like the plague and I'm sure all those who don't want to witness a blubbering spectacle appreciate it even if they don't know what they have missed. I'm not exaggerating. And I sure didn't want to become the center stage mother of the bride weeper.

So believe it or not, the past couple of months I've fasted and prayed about that. Please, please don't let me blubber through the wedding. And you know what. I caught a cold. I was so concerned about not having a coughing fit and keeping my mouth dry and how I could sneak a cough drop while everyone was watching that the tears were kept to a minimum. Not exactly how I would have answered my own prayers, but it worked.

Enough of that, enjoy some pictures...

Alannah Autrey vintage bridal photographs
Alannah Autrey~Vintage Gown
Alannah and I are very close, have always been. I don't know how I got so lucky to have a daughter who shares everything with me. Okay, she didn't share when she snuck out of the house when she was 16 until a few years later, but mostly everything. She's a good kid and an amazing person. She's always known what she's wanted and gone after her dreams. When she told me she had met the right guy, there wasn't any doubt that Andrew had to be someone pretty special because Alannah would never settle for just anybody.

She also knew what she wanted in a wedding dress. Something elegant, vintage, and extremely unique. When I flew out to help her find it, I was seriously having some doubts that such a unicorn of a dress existed. That's where prayer came in again. The second morning of our search, we prayed this time, had a thought to go to a store that we weren't considering because the dresses were way out of budget, walked in and Spencer, our wonderful helper listened to what we wanted, bypassed the typical gowns and pulled this off the rack. I knew it was the right one by the look on Alannah's face. 
Alannah and Andrew's vintage wedding announcement
The Wedding Announcement (Which I actually made~hey, I did contribute something!)
Alannah's table setting for wedding reception
Table Settings

Bridal gown hanger with message
This is a hanger Alannah made in her Young Women's Youth Group years ago. The little plague talks about how they'll remain pure until their wedding day and can will keep this as a reminder to hang their Temple dress upon it. 

Guest book for vintage wedding reception
Guest Book (ended up with a few extra guests written in like Thor and Wonder Woman~My family are all nuts.)

Vintage wedding bouquet
The Bouquet
Alannah and Andrew kissing and showing engagement ring
The Ring

Wedding snow boots
The boots

Bride and groom table setting
Table Setting
Draper Utah Temple
The Place~Draper Utah Temple
secret message wedding cake
The Cake
Kim wrote secret messages into the scrollwork on the bottom layer, such as Happy Birthday to my sister JJ, and other "love messages between Alannah and Andrew."
Alannah and Andrew outside temple
The Groom ~ Andrew Carl Birkinsha
(pronounced Bir-kin-shay)
Couldn't ask for a sweeter son-in-law

Birkinsha family
The Birkinsha Family.
Was nervous meeting them, but they turned out to be lovely, down-to-earth, funny, kind, chill, intelligent people. I'm so happy Alannah has some great in-laws.

Alannah and Andrew outside Draper Temple doors

Thanks for sharing in our Joy and hope to see all our Texan friends and family for the reception in January! 

The Offering

offeringThe Offering by Kimberly Derting

True love—and world war—is at stake in the conclusion to The Pledge trilogy, a dark and romantic blend of dystopia and fantasy.

Charlie, otherwise known as Queen Charlaina of Ludania, has become comfortable as a leader and a ruler. She’s done admirable work to restore Ludania’s broken communications systems with other Queendoms, and she’s mastered the art of ignoring Sabara, the evil former queen whose Essence is alive within Charlie. Or so she thinks.

When the negotiation of a peace agreement with the Queendom of Astonia goes awry, Charlie receives a brutal message that threatens Ludania, and it seems her only option is to sacrifice herself in exchange for Ludanian freedom.

But things aren’t always as they seem. Charlie is walking into a trap—one set by Sabara, who is determined to reclaim the Queendoms at any cost.

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Praise for The Offering

"This was a truly epic ending to the series." --Crystal Perkins, Goodreads Review

"The final book in Kimberly Derting’s Pledge trilogy is a thrilling conclusion. I was immediately swept up into it and powered right through. It was pretty much what I wanted with a few surprises along the way." --Krys at Bibliopunkk Reads

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Pledge Trilogy


kimberly dertingAuthor Kimberly Derting

Kimberly Derting is the author of the BODY FINDER series, THE PLEDGE trilogy, and THE TAKING (coming April 2014 from HarperTeen). She lives in the Seattle area, with her husband and three children, who often find the outrageous things they say either in the pages of her books or posted on Twitter or Facebook for the entire world to see.


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Offering Tour Tour Schedule

BookBlast $50 Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/18/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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A Highland Sorcery Christmas book cover
First, a very happy 11-12-13 to you. I imagine there will be lots of weddings today to get this date!!!

With Christmas and Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to have a tie-in holiday tale to my Highland Sorcery novels and this made the perfect segue, giving each couple from the first four books a chance to come back to the same time period and reunite and celebrate just being alive.

The only problem? I don't write fluffy holiday features. Be warned: A Highland Sorcery Christmas isn't your normal holiday fare.

It takes place in two time periods, where the twenty-something son of Toren and Charity (from book one) is now the leader of humanity's survivors. Alexander is so close to weakening the monsters who have replaced humans at the top of the food chain. But when he gets near one of the beasts to test his formula, the monster takes a bite out of him and mentally downloads everything Alexander knows.

Now it’s up to his family to fight for his life in the past and the future if they are to save him and spare the world.

Not exactly your usual holiday get together. There be monsters this season.


The stormy wedge of dirty sky rocked sideways. Tight between Ethan and Dez, Alexander’s shoulders rubbed along their stomachs. His legs bounced, knees bent over their arms as they carried him over the rough terrain.
“It won’t stop. I need another pressure package. Now.” That was Bekah. The hard tension against his stomach released, but just as suddenly came again with more sharpness as a fresh gauze package was shoved against his wound. Somehow Bekah had tucked herself behind Dez and was keeping up with their pace so she could keep pressure on the bleeding gash.
Alexander shuddered, the sweat on his cheek mixed with the dampness along Bekah’s arm, reaching over his torso. The Sift had taken a chunk out of him.  
“You’re going to be okay.” Her voice rasped near his head. “We’re getting you to help. Just a little ways more. You keep on breathing, you hear me?”
Breathe. Right. That was important, wasn’t it? Everything narrowed down to pulling oxygen into his struggling lungs, but it hurt. 
An iceberg had somehow wedged inside his chest, blocking the air passages and with any attempt to expand his lungs, the icy shards bit into his flesh from the inside out.
The graying world tilted, his head lolling back, falling between the canyons of Ethan’s and Dez’s shoulders as they carried him uphill.
“Richards, run ahead for Lenore.” That was Bekah barking orders again, though she didn’t seem to be talking to him this time. Out of all his aunts, she was the bossiest.
The dusky sky disappeared, replaced by a smudge of gray cement ceiling of the parking garage his Holdout forces used out in the field. His forces. Alexander grinned at that even as metallic tasting blood trickled between his lips. Dez and Ethan had been among the first to believe he had a way to fight the overpowering Sifts, well, after he’d proved himself by saving Ethan’s neck with a shot of sorcerer’s flame. Some days it was good to be the last sorcerer on earth. He should have used it on the Sift today. He just hadn’t seen it before it dropped on him.
“What’s happened?” He heard Lenore a moment before her worried face moved above his. Her voice tightened. “Put him over here.”
Alexander felt himself being swung up into the bed of an abandoned pickup. His head swung with the movement too. Hissing, he curled in around his stomach, but was immediately pulled flat by several hands.
The saturated pressure package was yanked from his side and the pain of it made him blind, his scream caught in stolen heaving breaths.
“What happened?” Lenore’s knees jabbed into his hip where she knelt in the truck bed. Her pixie features strained. “Is this a bite?”
Nausea filled Alexander’s throat. Serrated teeth clamped into him, tearing a chunk of flesh away in a flash of scorching shock and pain. He struggled to get up, get away from all the bodies pressed around him, all the hands holding him down, locked on his arms and shoulders and legs, held fast and vulnerable for the monster to get him.
“Sift got to him.” The slim hands pressing onto his shoulders flexed. “We couldn’t…it was so fast.”
Lenore’s head snapped up, dragging the strands of her hair along his saturated shirt. The ends of her pale hair lifted, tipped in shiny wet red. “But you killed it. Right? You killed it.”
The vibration of collected fear flowed between the group of fighters surrounding him. Being crunched on by a monster carried its own particular horror, one you wouldn’t think could be topped, but when a Sift sank its teeth in you, the nasty beast captured your memories.
“Tell me you didn’t let it get away.”
“It escaped through a hole it tore out of the air,” Dez snarled it fast and hard, the staccato bark of a fired rifle. “Col jumped in after it.”
Lenore jerked back. The press of her knees lifted, preparing to flee. Alexander floated after her, trying to follow all the movement, keep his focus.
The weight on Alexander’s shoulders lifted as Bekah reached across him and latched onto Lenore’s wrists, keeping her in place.
“There’s nothing you can do for Col. He’s out of our reach. But Alexander needs you now.”
The women stared at each other, faces close above Alexander, swaying in and out of his waning focus. It was hard to latch onto anything. He just wanted to get away.
“Can you heal him?” Bekah gritted out and Lenore recoiled like someone waking from a nightmare.
       “I don’t…” She flinched again. “Yes. I won’t let him die.” Lips set, Lenore’s hands moved over the cavity that was his wound and Alexander bucked. All the hands holding him pressed down harder.

                                                     nook                  kindle                 itunes

Also out now and on sale through the month of November, the first 4 Highland Sorcery novels all together for the price of one. See where the adventure begins...

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The Romance Studio is celebrating the spooky season with their annual Spookapalooza! Giving away an Amazon gift ecard (electronic gift card only, value $100 minimum) to one lucky reader as well as lots of other prizes from the TRS prize vault and participating authors! I'll be over there having fun and donating some of my books! 

Authors will be posting about their books and other related topics 24/7 Oct 25 through the 31st on Halloween. My favorite holiday! 

Happy Halloween Y'all!!!

LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

Joining in this hop to bring to light some of the talented LDS writers out there. If you like any of their work, nominate them for a Whitney Award.

For this hop, I'll be giving away a copy of Latter-Day Daughters: Hannah's Treasure by Launi K. Anderson.

All I ask is that you either follow this blog or sign up for my newsletter. Or both. Just sayin...  And then leave a comment with an email address where I can contact you.

Be sure to follow the rest of the blogs on the hop for a chance to win more prizes and discover new authors.

Making of a Book Cover: Highland Sorcery Christmas

I really enjoy playing around with Photoshop. I'm not an artist by any means and I seriously just know enough to cause myself trouble, but I think I have a half-way decent eye at finding the stock photos that will work. I mostly go for the model's expression on whether they capture the feeling I hope my book evokes.

This Christmas book is a first for me as it has no cover model. I wanted something that said "Christmas" with just a glance, but also "monsters" because for the life of me I cannot write a fluffy happy everything's harmonious and joyful story to save my life. I wanted a book where all the main characters from the first four Highland Sorcery novels got together to celebrate just being family all in one place...and as it happens, one time too, since they have all been traveling back and forth through time.

Well, I got them all together. *Clearing throat and ducking*. But it wasn't easy and they had one heck of a fight on their hands to get there. It basically goes: Toren and Charity's son is in danger (in two time lines), they kill the monsters, so yeah, let's have Christmas now.

Best freakin plot ever, right? Brings all sorts of Holiday cheer. In case you're wondering, that squishy sound is my eyes rolling.

Back to the cover:

I started out searching for something Christmasy: Loved this picture because the ornaments have a kind of Scottish pattern on them. (Note: I play around with the pictures and make mock-ups before buying them so this still has a watermark. My favorite place to purchase stock photos is

Then I went searching for the perfect monster breaking into their happy little Christmas. The monsters actually come through rifts in time so this one breaking through the wall seemed perfect.
 I also found this broken ornament that symbolized a disrupted Christmas nicely. Well, I think so at any rate.
Next I layered the three photos on top of each other to see if they would work together. Using the eraser tool, I erased the bits I didn't want like the glob of red ornaments and the gray wall the monster was coming out of. I also used the clone tool to blacken over the top of the monsters snout and teeth so I would just have a clawed hand, since my monsters' faces don't look like that at all.

With a little placement, here's the mock-up I came up with at first. (Again, notice the watermarks since I haven't purchased all the pictures yet since I may not use them. That's what I like about Dreamstime. They allow you to play around with their images first.)

As much as I like how this turned out, it also seems a little busy, especially when you take into consideration that it will mostly be viewed as a much smaller thumbnail on most of the distributor sites.
So I played around some more, got rid of the Scottish ornaments (glad I didn't buy it yet--maybe next Christmas?) and moved and angled the monster's hand a little bit. Then I went back to Dreamstime and purchased the two pictures so I can legally and honestly use them, and started over again, darkened the font color, and here's the final version.

It will be officially released on November 2nd, because when else would a Christmas with monsters be released except on Dia de los Muerte I ask you?

But it is also listed for preordering at Smashwords and hopefully soon at Barnes and Noble as well for the whopping price of $1.99. 

Also out now is the boxed set of the first four books in the Highland Sorcery novels. Four books for the price of two. 


A Short Live, A Huge Impact

Chase should be celebrating his 18th Birthday today, finishing his Senior year of High School, driving, kissing girls, thinking about college and his future.

Yet he left us 3 years ago, 24 days before his 15th Birthday. 3 years. It feels like 3 months.

I can't describe what it's like to have a terminally ill child. You've either been there and know the experience, or you haven't. There's no in-between. It's 24/7 of keeping up with treatments and medication, and driving to specialists, checking port feeds in the middle of the night, and worrying about what could go wrong whenever you step out of the house on your own for a few hours.

But there's also a closeness that's reached from spending so much time together with deep conversations that otherwise wouldn't come up. Some conversations about what's after life that no one should ever have to have with their child.  

For the record, I do believe in an after life. I believe in God, and I believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. For me, that stuff isn't made up or just something nice to believe in that brings me comfort.

I imagine Chase in the spirit world, finally able to do the things his body wouldn't allow him, happy, at peace, not hurting, and having a wonderful time with his brother and uncles. Who needs a driver's license when you can soar at lightspeed?

So Happy Birthday Chase. Enjoy this day and know that even though we miss you so hard it hurts, your life is being Celebrated.

Love you.


What Magical Wielder are you?

Just for fun...