Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Winners! Also, Reunited

by Stephanie Black

I'm back after slacking off last week. I was at a family reunion, and no way was I going to pick up my computer and hammer out a blog when I could be yakking with my family and eating chocolate-covered cinnamon bears--er, I mean I’m terribly sorry to be delinquent. A big thank you to everyone who volunteered to review my new book, Cold as Ice. I’ll be giving away twelve copies of the book, so I wrote all the names down and put the slips of paper into a bowl. My lovely and accomplished niece Katie drew twelve names from the bowl. Here they are:

Alison Palmer
Rachel Earl
GG Vandagriff
Danyelle Ferguson
Mormon Surrogate
Jordan McCollum
Valerie Ipson
Kathi Peterson
Tristi Pinkston

Winners, please send your snail mail address to and I will send you a copy of Cold as Ice. Thanks again to everyone who volunteered to review it. And I’m excited to report that my book is now available for preorder from Deseret Book.

The family reunion was a blast. My husband’s family and my family have reunions on alternate years, which works out very well, and this year was my family reunion. We went to the BYU family camp at Aspen Grove. This is the third time we’ve been there, and we always have a great time. They have activities for even the youngest kids, which allows the parents of young children some free time so they can relax and enjoy other activities, instead of spending the whole week chasing toddlers and digging dirt and rocks out of babies’ mouths. And you’ve gotta love a place that cooks your food and does the dishes. Ahh, food cooked by someone else.

My family loves to sit around and talk—everything from casual conversations to murder mystery games to gospel lessons taught by my father—so we put our camp chairs in a big circle and spent a lot of time hanging out and talking and snacking (you wouldn’t believe how much candy we had there. Did you by chance visit your local Costco recently and find the candy shelves empty? Our fault). My mother brought a bazillion glow necklaces and would hand them out in the evenings. My five-year-old had some pretty impressive ninja moves using her glow necklace.

Speaking of ninjas, my children followed up on the success of 2008’s talent show movie, “Stephen and the Ninjas,” by creating a new movie for this year’s family talent show. This year’s film was called “Detective Beach,” and starred budding actor Jared as zany Detective McNorton, who gets put on leave by the chief (“You’re a loose cannon, McNorton. I want your badge and your surfboard on my desk immediately.”) but who still manages to catch the criminal who’d robbed a bank, using a shark as a weapon. The robber nearly escaped at the end, but fortunately for the pursuing detective, the miscreant wasn’t “very good with stairs.” Other family talents included musical numbers, artwork, and small, specially-designed flags for each family made out of duct tape. My niece Rebecca is a duct tape expert.

We also had a blast at the Aspen Follies, where the families at Aspen Grove compete for the best scores in a bunch of crazy activities involving water, a big parachute, rubber chickens, and so on. When you get to each station, the BYU student running the station will ask if your family has a cheer. This year, our cheer was our clan war cry—“Garg’n uair dhuisgear!” and the translation—“Fierce when roused!” This involved a certain amount of difficulty with pronunciation—that’s the problem with Scottish ancestry—but the effect was still quite fearsome. My sister figured that “fierce when roused” is a good war cry for us. We don’t want to get out of our chairs and put down the bag of peanut M&M’s, but if you push us hard enough, watch out.

Anyway, it was a great week. My son Jared enjoyed it so much that he cried when it was over. It’s always sad to have a reunion end. As my mother says, you get used to being apart, but when you’re together again, you remember how fun it is and it’s sad to leave. We don’t live near family—my parents live twelve hours away, as do both my husband’s and my nearest siblings. My husband’s parents live all the way across the country. And my parents are about to get a lot farther away—this fall, they’re leaving on a mission to Portugal. That means we’ll have both sets of grandparents serving missions—my husband’s parents are currently serving in Kentucky—which is pretty awesome. Thank heavens for the modern technologies that allow us to remain in regular contact despite distance. And now we can start looking forward to the next reunion!


At 7/28/2010 2:52 PM, Anonymous Emily M. said...

Blast! I didn't win.

But congratulations to the lucky ones! :-)

At 7/28/2010 3:28 PM, Blogger Mormon Surrogate said...

Oh my gosh, is that my name I see? Wahoo! How exciting! Thank you!


At 7/28/2010 3:37 PM, Blogger Mormon Surrogate said...

P.S. Sounds like an awesome reunion and good luck with your book!

At 7/28/2010 3:42 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

So, I have to ask. Did you write the screenplay for Detective Beach, or did they come up with that on their own? Also, will this be playing at any film festivals soon? Put my name in the drawing for tickets to that show!

At 7/28/2010 3:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Jon, I didn't have anything to do with Detective Beach. My daughter Amy wrote and video-edited it.

At 7/28/2010 10:48 PM, Anonymous Jordan McCollum said...

Woot! I'm a winner!

Detective Beach sounds awesome! Like Psych, only made by (one or two) people I know.

Nice war cry, there. Our clan motto is (Latin) In ardua tendit which means, apparently, something along the lines of "he attempts hard things." (No comment on his success.)

At 7/29/2010 10:18 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

We've gone to Aspen Grove a couple of times. We need to go again!

At 7/29/2010 12:45 PM, Blogger LeishaMaw said...

I love how the bank robber used a shark. I would love to see that on th big screen. :)


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