Sunday, September 25, 2011

So Tired!

Jeff and I took Lizzy, Jenny, and Hailey to Disneyland on Friday night. We had a fabulous time, and the girls fell asleep on the stroller ride to the car. Jenny made herself at home in the basket below the seat!

Happy Back-to-School Day!

Jeff went to a meeting in Downey and brought back some YUMMY cake! Red velvet and chocolate--mmmm! So we celebrated happy back-to-school day! We liked the red velvet the best.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Adventures in Book Publishing!

I have been getting lots of questions from people interested in writing and publishing books. I love talking to people about their book projects, so I started this blog to connect with writers and anyone else who has a question about book publishing. I have tried just about everything once! I hope you like it--I'll be posting more of the book stuff there and keeping this blog focused more on my family. Go to if you're interested! My first post is below. . . .

Adventures in Book Publishing!

For the past seventeen years, I have participated in every aspect of publishing imaginable. First, I was a writer. Next, an editor. Then I became a typesetter and even tried my hand at cover design. Finally, after a long foray into academia, I settled into my life's work: publishing. I currently teach writing, visual communication, and other English/Communication classes at Arizona State University. I am also the publisher of Sourced Media Books--a new, traditional indie publishing house. In Spring of 2012, I will begin teaching a course on book publishing at Arizona State University.

I am one of those people who learns best from experience. I'm the jump-in-get-your-feet-wet type of person and can tell you I have made every mistake . . . once. I'm also quick to take advice from experienced pros and change course when I see myself going in the wrong direction.

After years of trying practically everything once, I can tell you all about traditional publishing, self-publishing, royalties, fees, agents, social media, and publicists from experience. I'm writing this blog to share what I know--so readers don't have to experience it all the hard way!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Interview with Debbie Osmond

I am going to be a guest writer on, a celebrity relationship website with the mission to promote enduring and healthy relationships. I wanted to write about how Aunt Debbie and Uncle Donny have made it work for 33 years. Aunt Debbie was so gracious and provided me with some excellent feedback on how she and Donny keep their relationship strong. I thought I'd post it here.

Is It Even Possible?

Can Celebrities Actually Have Enduring, Healthy Relationships?

Cheating. Scandal. Divorce. Too often, celebrity relationships end as a result of one of these unfortunate scenarios. Just this summer, George and Elisabetta, J.Lo and Marc, Derek and Minka, and Cameron and Alex called it quits. Even Buzz Aldrin and his wife of 23 years couldn’t make it last.

As celebrity breakups continue to provide headlines for the supermarket tabloids, we are sometimes left wondering, “Does anyone stay together, anymore?”

Fortunately, the answer is “yes.” Celebrities who take “for better or worse” seriously may not make the headlines, but they are out there. Two of those people are my aunt and uncle, Donny and Debbie Osmond.

Donny and Debbie were married in 1978 and have survived the highs and lows of show business together for 33 years. I asked Debbie how she and Donny have made their relationship last when so many have failed. In characteristic humility, she credits God and her family for helping to keep their relationship strong. But she also has a few practical tips.

Keep the Pressure Low. Donny is a perfectionist and rues over a single note gone awry. While he was performing in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway, he was struggling with considerable anxiety. Debbie eased his anxiety by keeping the pressure low. Every afternoon as he left for work, she would say, “Go have an average night, tonight.” She made him feel valued as a person apart from his performance on stage; and as a result, their relationship and his vocals were both stellar.

Keep Your Personal Life Private. Sometimes celebrities (like everyone else) allow work to consume them. As Debbie said, “The business can really take over your life if you allow it to. I enjoy having my family away from Hollywood so Donny can come home to a bit of reality, like enjoying the kids’ school activities, hiking, and just being a father. It helps everyone feel like show business is not our life but just a job.”

Love the High-Tech Communication. When Donny is away, he and Debbie constantly talk via phone or webcam. As Debbie says, “I love Skype! We laugh because we have a virtual dad!” It helps Donny, Debbie, and the kids and grandkids to feel connected when they can see and hear each other every day.

Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe for making a relationship 100% breakup-proof. But there are many celebrities who continue to keep their relationships strong—we just may not hear about them too often. Regardless of whether we are actors or actuaries, keeping the pressure low, guarding our personal lives, and utilizing technology to communicate are great practical tips that we can all benefit from.

Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D. is a faculty associate at Arizona State University, where she teaches Communication and English classes. She is the publisher of Sourced Media Books and co-author of Hope After Divorce and Full Bloom: Cultivating Success. Amy and her husband, Jeff, have five children and look forward to welcoming baby #6 in April 2012.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jake's First Entrepreneurial Endeavor

Jake is a natural businessman. At age six, he was employing the principle of arbitrage quite effectively by making lucrative trades with a three-year-old--and Maia couldn't have been happier about it! At age eight, he was asking me for money instead of gifts for Christmas. At age nine, he started asking questions about the stock market. And last year, he asked for interest when I wanted to borrow some cash.

Last week was his first real entrepreneurial endeavor. He wanted a Nintendo 3DS, but he knew I wouldn't buy it for him. He looked through his drawers and tallied up his assets--an old Nintendo DS he got for Christmas three years ago and a used DSI from Christmas two years ago. So, he did a little research. He got me to take him to Game Stop and found that they would trade in games and the DS systems, but it wasn't quite enough. So, he decided to sell his DSI on Amazon. Five hours later, he was $65 richer. And with the DS and games trade-in credit, he was now able to buy the 3DS! I have to admit that I was impressed with his business acumen.

The only glitch in the system is that he priced his DS so well that he "sold" it two more times before we were able to take it down--so I had to cancel two orders and disappoint two customers. Here's one for the books, Jake: your first sale ever, ready to ship at the post office! I wonder what he'll grow up to be . . .

Disneyland--and a really exceptional man

Sarah, Adam, Noah, and Emma have been visiting us in Southern California this week. We have had so much fun! On Wednesday, we went to Disneyland. It was fun and HOT, as you can see--Lizzy and Jenny are practically melting outside!

While we were waiting in line at the Dumbo ride, I met the most amazing man. We struck up a conversation, and I found out that his wife died and left him with five children. Then he remarried and raised three step-children. Then he became a foster father, and now he was adopting one of his foster children. The little boy's mother was 12 years old when she gave birth to him and now has three other children. The little boy's great-grandmother is only 37 years old! I was so amazed that this man had such compassion and love for children, and it was yet another reminder that there are SO many good people in this world!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maili McBride--cutest girl ever and author with a MILLION reads!

My super cute neighbor and friend, Maili, just reached a MILLION reads of her Young Adult novel, Wait! He's Real? on Wattpad. She's only 18 years old!! Wow! What would it be like to have your book read a MILLION times??? I'm so excited for her!