DIY, giveaway, giveaways, MyMemories, scrapbooking

MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Software Giveway!

I have stumbled across a new toy that I am so excited about! It is a new digital scrapbooking software called MyMemories. I wasn’t sure I would like it. I mean, would it be difficult to use? Would it take a long time to figure out? Would it produce great scrapbooking pages?

Well, I can answer yes to all of the above! Let me show you a couple of pages I was able to put together.

Cute, huh? These were page templates that laid out the photos for me and then I was able to embellishments, like the ribbon and flowers. I was also able to add text and the scrolling flourish. Not too bad for my first try.

Now, here’s the deal about this scrapbooking software. You can do more with it than just scrapbooking pages. For instance, I was able to use the scrapbooking paper for the background of my blog. I also put together the header for my blog as well.

And…look what I just finished creating, just in time for Christmas! (I made two 5 x 7 cards, because I couldn’t decide which one I like better. I’m thinking the green one is cute.

I’ve had so many ideas popping into my head of things to create. My next project is going to be Christmas gift tags. I could even do them as gifts! I’ll blog about them once I get them done.

Check out all the features of this digital scrapbooking software: (from the site)

Full Feature List

MyMemories Suite 3.0 scrapbooking software provides the design tools that will help you to build entire albums effortlessly using one of the many installed templates, or starting your own pages from scratch. This user-friendly software is great for beginners and design pros alike.

Design Features

  • Drag & drop your own pictures, plus page embellishments, backgrounds, imprints, shapes, and page layouts from one convenient sidebar (Resource Gallery).
  • feature_resources
  • Search through library of graphics quickly with enhanced search function
  • Pick your canvas size for your scrapbook or craft project
  • Align or space elements evenly on a page
  • Have precise control of your page design with Zoom
  • Add background paper as photo object (from backgrounds dialog)
  • Paste in background papers into shapes
  • Edit elements individually or in groups
  • Edit elements in pixels or inches
  • Change colors of imprint graphics and shapes
  • Edit elements directly on the with right-click functions
  • Right click edit
  • Rotate elements on a page
  • Layer elements on a page
  • Zoom-in and out on a page with tools or key commands
  • Create your own favorites library of colors and page elements
  • Preview drop shadows and mat effects before committing
  • Preview photo effects
  • Fill shapes with textures or images
  • Adjust colors using scrapbook palette, colors imported from images (color picker) and other color libraries
  • Build complete calendars automatically with Calendar Tool
  • Apply gradients with color palette
  • Gradient colors

Photo Features

  • Add mats to your pictures one picture or all your pictures at once
  • Apply drop shadows to one picture or all your pictures at once
  • Resize, crop, remove redeye, and apply various effects to pictures without ever leaving the page
  • Rotate photo within a photo box
  • Place photo into a shape

Text & Journaling Features

  • Type journaling directly onto your page
  • Position journaling around circular and angled shapes
  • Find and replace text
  • Memory of latest fonts used
  • Edit options for uppercase, lowercase, and sentence case
  • Word Art Designer feature provides 1-click options to bevel, emboss, add gradients, drop shadows, warp or shape, or paste images into text
  • Preview photo effects
  • Spell Check

General Features

  • Sharing wizards help you output one page (or pages) in multiple print and multimedia formats
  • Export pages as JPG, PNG or PDF files
  • Set defaults for drop shadows and text for your entire album
  • Add different shaped album pages into current album (i.e. Import landscape pages into a square album)
  • Identify any page element that are off the canvas
  • Holding the shift key while dragging an object constrains it to its horizontal or vertical axis
  • Locate Albums (File–>Locate Albums) will ask for a directory and then search for albums
  • Warn if there are missing fonts when doing a hi-res output
  • Export pages to PNG file formats and different quality JPG formats
  • Duplicate or Mirror Pages
  • Delete a single page or multiple pages at one time
  • Layer multiple background papers—perfect for mats, paper strips, frames, and more
  • Combine pages from multiple albums—even pages with different shapes
  • View your page layouts one at a time, or together as double-page spreads
  • Print your pages at home or use built in wizard to make your album into a professionally printed book
  • Simplified 1-screen export processes
  • Add multiple pictures at once to your layout using the FastFill function
  • Burn your creations onto a CD or DVD with better optical device support
  • Search functions for all page elements and Resource Gallery

Here is a short 4 minute video about MyMemories that you can view so actually see how it works.

When you are finished with your pages, you can export them as jpeg or png file. You can create movies, DVD’s, and even add video to your pages. You can make books, calendars, and more. It is very versatile.

If you want to purchase the software, you can use my coupon code STMMMS5007 and get $10 off the software. Normally is sells for $39.95. 

If you still aren’t sure, you can download a trial copy HERE and play with it to see if it is something that you could use.

Here is the awesome thing about MyMemories. They are letting me give away a free copy of of the MyMemories digital scrapbooking software! So here is what you need to do in order to enter the giveaway. I’m using a nifty Rafflecopter widget to help me out. The first question is mandatory, the others are optional for extra entries. The winner will be posted next Monday, November 19.

a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js

*I was given a free copy of the MyMemoriesSuite for review. This review is my honest opinion. I do get a small commission on any software purchased with my code. 

book review, giveaway, giveaways, Krista Phillips, review, romance

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance: Review & Giveaway

Krista Phillip’s debut book, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance is a savory read, flavored with humor and depth!

When Maddie Buckner moves to Sandwich to become a hair stylist, she botches her first haircut and loses her job – and the chance to gain custody of her brother still in foster care. Reuben-the-Jerk, who got her fired, is guilted into giving her a job as his assistant at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium.

Maddie is racing against time, as she struggles to build a stable life and get custody of her brother. His foster parents want to adopt him, and Maddie needs to prove herself as a worthy guardian. The problem is she keeps getting herself into a “pickle” and has to be rescued by Reuben-the-Jerk…who has started to become Reuben-the-Dreamboat. Throw in Reuben’s jealous fiance and you have one big, messy plate of circumstances.

There are several things I loved about this book. I loved Maddie’s new faith and her “realistic” and sometimes funny prayers. There is a realness about Maddie and how she expresses herself and her faith. It’s not contrived. It’s honest and open. I loved Reuben who, even though he grew up in a Christian family, struggles with himself and his feelings. I love that he is real…he really can be a jerk! But oh, the chemistry between these two….it is tangible and heartfelt.

I also loved Reuben’s family who exhibit what it really means to be Jesus in this world. They opened up their homes and their hearts to Maddie when she had no one…and nothing. They gave and they gave, without expecting anything in return. They encouraged and they loved, not pushing Maddie too hard or too fast. They are what I hope to be.

Krista’s debut book is a funny and happy read, but it contains meat to chew on. It shows us realness of life. It shows us how we can struggle in life, yet trust God for His blessing. It shows us that God’s family IS a real family who love unconditionally. It shows us that two people can learn to trust and love in spite of themselves.

Sandwich, With a Side of Romance is an awesome debut novel and I cannot wait for the next one!

You can order your very own Sandwich HERE!

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away a copy of Sandwich, With a Side of Romance!!!

Please leave an email adddress! ( spam free: janedoe (at) gmail (dot) com ) If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on September 16th.

* This book was provided by Abingdon and NetGalley.com for my honest review.

book review, fiction, giveaways, interview, Keli Gwyn, romance

Keli Gwyn, Debut Author: Interview & Giveaway

I’ve been so excited about hosting Keli Gwyn, whose debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, released yesterday, July 1. Keli is one of those people who have God’s fingerprints all over them. She is kind, considerate, giving, and selfless. She is a gifted writer and I know God has big things in store for His servant, Keli.
ABOUT KELI GWYN:  Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, set in the heart of the Gold Country where she lives, will be released in July 2012.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.

MY INTERVIEW WITH KELI:

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?
I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was seven. Forty years passed before I dusted off that long-held dream and began writing my first story. In the interim I worked as a bookkeeper to put myself through college, earned a degree in Mass Communication/Print Journalism, and spent a couple of years as an assistant editor at a small publishing company before marrying and being a stay-at-home mom. The dream never died, though, and after all this time it’s coming true. The lesson I learned is: don’t give up on your dreams.
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
Five years. I began writing in January 2006, and my agent, Rachelle Gardner, sold my story in December 2010.
How many manuscripts have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve completed six historical romances so far, five of them before I sold. My third story, the one that led to my offer of representation and first contract, is near and dear to me for those reasons. However, I have a soft spot for my first story, one hidden in the remote recesses of my hard drive. And I’m excited about the story I’m working on now. Sheesh. What am I saying? I love all my stories. 🙂
You are agented by the coveted uber-agent Rachelle Gardner. How long did you write before you sought representation? Tell us a little about gaining her as your agent.
After I spent a year studying craft, I rewrote that third story. I decided to enter it in some contests to see if I was getting closer to having a marketable story. It did well, garnering me several wins and requests for fulls.
One of those requests was from Rachelle. I sent it to her. The next day I received an email with words that set me bouncing off the walls and shrieking “Oh my gosh!” for a full fifteen minutes: “I’d like to discuss the possibility of representation.” We did, and on the eve of Christmas Eve 2009, I received an amazing gift when she called and I accepted her offer.
How long does it take you to write a book?
In the early days, before I’d discovered the wonderful world of writers online and hadn’t learned about craft, I lost myself in my stories for weeks on end. I’d come up for air after a couple of months with a completed story and a heart filled with joy. These days it takes me longer to write a book than it used to because I’m no longer holed up in my writing cave.
What do you like to do when you are not writing? Are you ever NOT writing?
In addition to writing, I spend time on promotion, connecting with readers on social media sites, responding to email, etc. I’m sure I’m not alone in having to carve out writing time. The important thing is to make it a priority.
I spend time each day working out at Curves or walking. I love strolling past the Victorian houses in our historical Gold Rush-era town or hiking on the trail reading a romance. Yes, I’ve recently learned to read while walking. My husband and I enjoy watching shows from Netflix. Some of them are romances or period pieces, but because I love Gwynly and won’t subject him to a steady diet of them, many are mysteries. They help me learn about plotting.
Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?
Have fun! The pressure to follow every “rule,” final in contests, send out queries, get an agent or a contract, etc. can rob us of the joy of writing. When that happens, writing can cease to be fun and our work can suffer. I know, because I’ve been there. When the Lord led me to let go of my expectations, I started having fun again, my writing took a real leap forward, and things began happening for me.
Now that you are agented and published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?
I’d heard that published authors still receive rejections, and I’ll admit to having found that hard to believe. Well, I’m here to tell you from personal experience that it’s true.
A Bride Opens Shop releases July 1! Tell us a little about the book.
 Widow Elenora Watkins looks forward to meeting her new business partner, Miles Rutledge, who owns a shop in 1870s El Dorado. But Miles is shocked to see a woman step off the stagecoach. His rude behavior forces Elenora to reconsider—so she becomes his competition across the street. Can Miles win her heart while destroying her business?
If you could only share one line from A Bride Opens Shop, which one would you choose and why?
My favorite line is two words long. In order to understand why I like it so much, I’ll give you the set-up. Miles and Elenora have just met. He expected a man to show up and is dealing with his shock—and not doing a very good of it. Elenora is unaware that Miles’s mother didn’t tell her son that his prospective partner is a woman.
Miles and Ellie are talking in the backroom of his shop. He stops pacing, turns, and says, “You’re a woman.” Ellie replies with those two words I love, “You’re observant.” To me, this line shows her personality well. She takes Miles head on, shows her spirit and quick mind, and doesn’t let his rudeness faze her. Ellie definitely has spunk!
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
More inspirational historical romances set in during the Victorian era. I’ve run many ideas by Rachelle, and she liked them all, so I’ll be busy writing for years to come.
Now for a little fun…tell us 3 FUN facts about yourself that you don’t think anyone knows. It doesn’t have to be writing related, but a funny writing quirk would be FABULOUS!
Ooh! This is fun, Sherrinda!
I created voices for our two cat brothers. Dandy got the only low one I can make, but poor Sandy is dismayed that his “voice” sounds girly. What’s worse is that he has a bit of a Bostonian accent. Where that came from, I’ll never know. I’ve never even been to Massachusetts.

I collect hedgehog figurines and stuffed animals. I became enamored with this interesting creature when Gwynly and I lived in Germany. We actually got to rescue a real one once when it wandered into the American military high school where Gwynly taught. That was pretty cool.

When the words aren’t flowing or I’m searching for just the right way to word something, I reach into a little basket of toys I keep beside my writing desk. I’m sure some would wonder what tossing a ball in the air or bouncing a metal slinky from hand to hand has to do with writing. That’s easy. Playing with toys takes me back to my childhood and unlocks my creativity. That’s my answer anyhow, and I’m sticking with it. 🙂

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your lovely blog, Sherrinda.

And now, I have a question for your visitors. Do you have any pets who “talk?”

Oh Keli….I have loved having you here! Thank you for your wonderful answers, giving others a glimpse into YOU! May God bless you on this exciting journey!

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You can find Keli at any of the following links. She’d love to hear from you!

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You can purchase Keli’s book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California at any of the following retailers.
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Back cover copy
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California

Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.

Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

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GIVEAWAY!

If you would like a chance to get your hands on Keli’s debut book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, leave a comment with the answer to Keli’s question at the end of her interview. Leave your spam-free email address….janedoe(at)gmail(dot)com….so that you can be contacted if you are the winner. I will draw for the winner using random.org and announce it next Monday, July 9. Only U.S. citizens, please. 

giveaways, Sherrinda, weight loss

Friday Mash Up

My mind is fractured today, with no clear train of thought. May has always been a busy month, and this one is no exception, it would seem. Between graduations, end of school, work projects, new faces at work, church gatherings, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, etc…, I have trouble staying focused.

So here’s some things going on with me…not that you are really all that interested, but I just want to organize my thoughts.

Renovations: We were told our offices at work will be renovated to add more office space. Some of the work will be done 10 feet away from me. And you know what? All I could think about was the dust! After 7 weeks of daily dust from our bathroom remodel, I’m not too excited about this renovation. But, of course, it will be so nice when it’s done right. (keeps repeating to herself)

Vacation: I’ve been giddy about this since I put in for it at work yesterday. I am taking 3 days vacation in 1-1/2 weeks! And I am going to a river house with a writer friend from church to WRITE! For 3 days straight! This is a first for me. Usually I feel guilty about taking any time away from my family, but I decided that it was okay. It would be good for me. And probably for my family too!

Weight Watchers: Well, I weighed in last night and to my utter surprise, I lost one pound! I’m not sure how I accomplished that, since I ate out a lot an devoured tons of food, but I am very pleased. That brings my total to  24.6. Yes, it is slow going these days, but thankfully, it is going in the right direction.

Giveaway: I am giving away a copy of Wildflower after Winter by Katie Ganshert. You can go HERE and comment to enter, as well as read my own Wildflower story. Katie is also hosting a blog hop today featuring many women who have their own Wildflower after Winter stories. Go HERE to find the links for all those participating.

And I guess that’s it for me. I’m glad it’s Friday, aren’t you?

book review, giveaways

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell – Review & Giveaway

My Thoughts:

Set during America’s Revolutionary War, The Messenger by Siri Mitchell tells the story of Hannah Sunderland, a young Quaker woman who struggles between duty toward her parents and religion, and her desire to help her  brother imprisoned as a war soldier. She becomes embroiled in a spy mission with Jeremiah Jones, a wounded soldier and now Colonial spy.

Siri Mitchell tells this story in first person, which is not my favorite, but the way she switched the point of view between Hannah and Jeremiah at every chapter break made it easy to get deep into their character. I thought it a brilliant way to see inside their struggles, hopes, desires, and fears.

I particularly loved the spiritual journey of both Hannah and Jeremiah. Through her brother’s imprisonment, she has to confront her religion’s strictures and measure them against what Jesus taught. Jeremiah has his own journey of healing that he must walk and it was beautiful to follow his path and see the healing that Hannah brings him.

So far this is my favorite book of Siri’s and I’m sure any reader of historical fiction will absolutely love it too!

Back Cover Copy:

Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith…until her twin brother joined the Colonial cause and ended up in jail. She longs to bring some measure of comfort to him in the squalid prison, but her faith forbids it. The Friends believe that they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. She is not allowed to visit him, even if she were able to secure a pass.

Jeremiah Jones, a Colonial spy, needs access to the jail to help rescue men important to the cause. Upon meeting Hannah, a plan begins to develop. Who would suspect a pious Quaker visiting a loved one?

But Jeremiah is unprepared for Hannah, for her determination to do right, to not lie. How can one be a spy and not lie? Hannah, in turn, is surprised by Jeremiah…for the way he forces her to confront her own beliefs, for the sensitivity and concern that he shows her despite the wounds he still carries.


I’m giving away a copy of The Messenger by Siri Mitchell, so if you would like to be considered for the random drawing, please leave your email address in the comment section. If you do not leave an email address, you will not be eligible. Drawing will be held Sunday, April 29. I’m sorry, but only US citizens are eligible. 

This book was provided by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.