Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fiddler on the Roof- Performed by Altamont High School

I had a great opportunity recently to watch the fall play for Altamont High School as they performed one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof. 
The main character is Tevye, a poor man who supports his family of seven (he has five daughters) as a dairy man. He lives in the village of Anatevka in 1905, populated with mostly Jewish people, held together by their strong traditions. Tevye loves his family, but faces many troubles as his three oldest daughters insist on marrying for love, the choice of each daughter moving further away from Tevye's long held and cherished traditions. 
Zeitel, Tevye's oldest daughter is lined up to marry Lazar Wolf, a man older than her own father, but she wants to marry Motel, her childhood sweetheart. She is allowed to marry Motel when her father claims to have had a dream about Lazar's dead wife coming back to give them trouble. Hodel, Tevye's second daughter, falls in love with Perchik who has radical ideas, and asks Hodel to dance with him at the wedding of Zeitel and Motel. Chava, Tevye's third daughter loves books, and falls in love with Fyedka, a gentile, which is something Tevye cannot take.
I really like Fiddler on the Roof, the story and the message of it. Tevye goes through a lot as he deals with the choices of his daughters, and grows wiser as he does.  The cast and crew did a really good job, and I could tell they had worked hard on putting it together. I am glad that Altamont performed this play, and I am glad I went to it.

Zombie Prom- Performed by Stansbury High School

Zombie Prom (c) 2017
The drama department at Stansbury High School recently performed an exceptionally well done play entitled Zombie Prom. The cast, backstage crew, techs, and everyone involved in the play did a fantastic job. It ran from November 3rd to the 14th. I went on opening night, November 3rd, and really enjoyed it.

Zombie Prom is a play that doesn't expect its audience to take it seriously. It's campy and silly, on purpose, and as a result, is a hilarious and brilliant mix of teenage angst and radioactive romance.

The plot basically, is this: Boy meets girl. Girl's parents disapprove of boy. Boy loses girl. Boy turns into... a zombie! And the fun is just beginning at that part! Throw in an overly strict principal, a reporter interested in championing "Zombie Rights", and you've got a wonderfully funny story that entertains its audience clear through to the somewhat predictable, but satisfying ending all the same.

The drama department at Stansbury High School should be very proud of themselves! And Stansbury High's Drama isn't done yet this year! They'll be doing Elf Jr. The Musical in December, Peter and the Starcatcher in February, and The Sound of Music in May! Click HERE for more information about these upcoming plays!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

History of Halloween

Halloween is a fun holiday for many people, especially little kids who like to go trick-or-treating (or trunk-or-treating as many people are doing nowadays) and getting candy, dressing up, and basically having a fun time. But not many people know much about the history of Halloween.

Anciently, in Ireland, the Celts celebrated a holiday called Samhain (pronounced Saw-wein) that was the end of their harvest time, and the beginning of winter, the dark time of the year. They had bonfires to celebrate the time, and they had the belief that at Samhain, the veil between the living and the dead grew thin, that the spirits of the departed could come back and walk among the living.

When the Romans invaded Britain, their holidays (Pomona and Lemuria) merged with Samhain, and then when Christianity came to Europe and Britain, Samhain evolved into All Hallow's Day, the day before All Hallow's Day becoming All Hallow's Evening, or All Hallow's Eve, which eventually evolved into Hallowe'en, or just Halloween.

Many traditions evolved, but still kept some form of what they were originally. Bobbing for apples, for example, came from the Roman festival of Pomona, which celebrated the goddess of fruits. Trick-or-treating, despite the saying being less than 80 years old, came from "souling" for "soul cakes" back in the middle ages when young people would go a-souling, begging for soul-cakes, and then praying for the departed relatives of the people who gave them soul cakes, so that they could be rescued from purgatory.

It's interesting to learn where our traditions come from, and what old festivals evolved to make them what they are today. Learn more HERE.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Earth, Teach Me to Remember

I came across this lovely Ute poem, and wanted to share it. I don't know the original author.

Earth, Teach Me to Remember

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep in the rain.

Ute, North American

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kanab Writers' Conference

I was very fortunate today to participate in the Kanab Writers' Conference which is held every year in Kanab. I taught a class entitled Helping Readers Suspend Disbelief, and I really enjoyed it. The attendees were great! They made great comments during class and really helped to contribute. I enjoyed visiting with them, and I hope they learned some useful ideas about helping readers suspend disbelief.

The ride down was long, as was the ride back, and because of the trip, I couldn't stay in Kanab for very long. I did get to eat lunch with the other conference attendees, and enjoyed listening to the keynote speaker who gave some great advice about the legal side of writing. (Contracts, protecting intellectual property, etc.)

Next year, the conference will be held again in October, on (I believe) the 12th and 13th. It's a bit of a drive for most people, unless you're lucky enough to actually live in Kanab, but it's a great experience! Check out the Kanab Writers' Conference page on Facebook, HERE!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Dracula

Dracula (c) 1897 by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a story that has stood the test of time for good reason. The antagonist Dracula, is terrifyingly real, the protagonists heroically brave (especially Quincey Morris, my favorite) and the story is one that people find themselves able to relate to. Not because we're all going to have to face down with a real live (ahem, real un-dead) vampire at some point, but that we can all relate to the feeling of uncertainty and concern in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds that the heroes face, yet still face it with determination. As Van Helsing said, "Devils, or no devils, or all the devils at once, it matters not; we fight him all the same." The spirit that the heroes, namely Van Helsing, Mina Harker, Jonathan Harker, John Seward, Arthur Holmewood, and Quincey Morris all possess is something mightily encouraging to a reader of the book. It helps me personally, realize that I too can face fearful situations with courage. And it reminds me of another encouraging quote by Neil Gaiman: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

Movie Review-Inside Out

Inside Out (c) 2015
Inside Out, a movie from Disney Pixar, directed by Pete Docter, is a fun kids' movie, though it's great for the whole family, about what goes on inside our heads, namely the head of an 11 year old girl named Riley, mostly as she (with her emotions in tow) goes about adjusting to a move. All her emotions (anthropomorphized, of course) are endearing in their own ways. Joy is my favorite, but Fear, Disgust, Anger, and of course, Sadness, are all great, too.

At the beginning of the story, Joy likes being in control, and doesn't understand Sadness's place in Riley's life. But as she and Sadness find themselves on an unexpected adventure, and Joy gets to know Sadness better, she begins to realize that their girl Riley can learn from both Sad experiences as well as happy ones.

How she goes doing that, made a brilliant story, and I highly recommend Inside Out for everyone!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A More Perfect Union: America Becomes A Nation

A More Perfect Union: American Becomes a Nation (c) 1989
A More Perfect Union directed by Peter N. Johnson and written by Tim Slover is a movie that I have found I enjoy very much, for its educational and historical value. It was also directed, written, and acted very well.

It was filmed in 1989, and depicts the struggles that James Madison, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and the other founding fathers went through in order to create the Constitution.

Learning about the Constitution in school, I never considered the debates and struggles that the creators of the Constitution went through in order to bring it into existence. I've always been reasonably familiar with the Constitution, and considered its rules, excepting the ones on slavery, to make sense. The legislature, in particular, with the number of representatives a state has in the House of Representatives as being proportional to a state's population, and the number of senators in the Senate as always being two, always made logical sense to me. So I was surprised that in the movie there was so much debate and extreme emotion involved in coming to this conclusion.

I found myself admiring James Madison for his dedication to helping America come to a stronger federal government, and at times, I found myself shaking my head at how stubborn he could be. I came to a deeper appreciation of why he is called the Father of the Constitution from watching this movie.

This is a good movie for history teachers to show to their students to help them come to a deeper appreciation of what the founding fathers did to bring about the Constitution.

I recommend the movie to people who enjoy learning about America's history, and who enjoy learning in general.

Read more about the movie HERE, or HERE.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Voyager 1977

Voyager's Trajectory
On September 5, 1977 NASA launched a rocket into space. Aboard that rocket, was the Voyager spacecraft, whose mission was to explore the solar system, and beyond. The Voyager had a couple of jobs. One, again, explore the solar system more thoroughly than before (you can only see so much from the surface of the earth) and, possibly, to contact alien life out there. For that second purpose, a record, known as the Golden Record was included on Voyager. On the Golden Record were put songs from Earth from many different cultures, greetings in many different languages, sounds from nature, etc.

The Golden Record aboard The Voyager
The Voyager performed the first part of its job magnificently, and sent back to Earth breathtaking pictures of the outer planets that we could never have seen from earth; the moons of Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn, for example. But will the Golden Record be found by alien life, particularly alien life intelligent to figure out how to play it, and realize that we were here? Honestly, probably not. But that's really not the important thing. We put Voyager out there, and the Golden Record is on it, and the chance is there that it will be found by someone smart. And that's what matters. As the creators of Voyager believe, "Dare Mighty Things." 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

LDS General Conference and Elder Robert D. Hales

This past Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30th and Oct. 1st the LDS church had its semi-annual General Conference. I watched it on my TV and with friends, and really enjoyed it. The talks were, as always, inspiring, uplifting, and helpful. One sad thing, however, was that on Sunday, between the morning and afternoon sessions, Elder Robert D. Hales passed away. He was 85. An article in The Salt Lake Tribune entitled "Mormon apostle Robert D. Hales dies between conference sessions after a life dedicated to the faith he loved" by Peggy Fletcher Stack and David Noyce, said of him:  

"When Robert D. Hales was a young teenager living on Long Island, his father took him to the Sacred Grove in upstate New York, the same forested sanctuary where Mormon founder Joseph Smith — at about the same age — had reported seeing heavenly messengers more than a century earlier.
'There we prayed together,' Hales said in a biography posted on the LDS Church’s website, 'and dedicated our lives.'
That lifetime of dedication to the faith he loved — including various leadership posts in his local Mormon congregations, more than 40 years as an LDS general authority and 23 years as an apostle — ended at 12:15 p.m. Sunday, when Hales died at age 85."

Read the full article HERE.
I deeply appreciate the examples of people like Robert D Hales and others who live their lives the best way they can. It reminds me that even in times of difficulty, I have the power to choose to do my best to do what is right.
***
Stack, Peggy F. and David Noyce. "Mormon apostle Robert D. Hales dies between conference sessions after a life dedicated to the faith he loved." Salt Lake Tribune. 2 October 2017. Web. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

My newest book, Felicity and the Scary Bear

Felicity and the Scary Bear (c) 2017
I am very glad that I have the chance to announce that my fourth Felicity book, and seventh book altogether, has been recently published.

In Felicity and the Scary Bear, Felicity and Cairn are determined not to let anything scare them on Halloween. But then they meet someone in the woods that they weren't expecting to see, and find themselves on yet another unexpected, and rather scary adventure!

Read more about Felicity and the Scary Bear here!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Harriet Tubman

One of my heroes from history was a lady who was only five feet tall, suffered from narcolepsy because of an accident in her youth, and was born a slave.

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman, despite all her supposed weaknesses, escaped slavery and then returned again and again to the south to lead others to freedom.

One inspiring quote from her, among many, was "Twasn't me, 'twas the Lord! I always told Him, 'I trust to you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,' an' He always did."

Read more about her, HERE


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Mother Teresa: Do It Anyway

Do It Anyway

 People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

***

The above poem, attributed to Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity was probably based on an original composition by Kent Keith. You can find both poems here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Life: A poem by Mother Theresa

"Life"

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it. 
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.



Friday, August 25, 2017

Racing the Sun by Paul Pitts

In Racing the Sun by Paul Pitts, 12 year old Brandon Rogers finds himself making adjustments in his life when his ailing grandfather moves off the Navajo reservation, and into the lower bunk of Brandon's room. Before now, Brandon hasn't had the chance to learn much about the culture and ways of his ancestors, having grown up on the Wasatch front, but now with his very traditional grandfather teaching him the language and culture of his people, something he hasn't had a chance to learn about very much before now, (including the tradition to wake before dawn and go running) he's learning more than he ever thought he would about the ways of his people, and learning to be proud of who he is and
Racing the Sun (c) 1988 by Paul Pitts
where he came from. Most especially, he's learning that his grandfather loves him, and that he loves his grandfather back.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse!

As almost everyone knows (unless you live under a rock, maybe) that we have just experienced a solar eclipse. Here in Utah, it wasn't a total eclipse, but it was pretty near! As my children described the time when the moon covered 90 percent of the sun, it didn't get very dark, but it was "like looking through sunglasses" at the world. Below, is a picture of the sun with the moon blocking most of it. Taken of course, through an approved sun viewing lens.

The next total solar eclipse that will occur in the United States will be the 8th of April in 2024. Just seven years from now! But there will be an annular eclipse on the 14th of October in 2023. Annular eclipses are not total solar eclipses, because during them, the sun forms a ring of fire around the moon, and isn't completely blocked. They happen because the orbit of the moon is elliptical, rather than perfectly circular, and during the eclipse, the moon is at a further point away from the earth than it is during a total solar eclipse, making the visible ring of fire possible. The cool thing about that eclipse, is that it will happen over Utah! Something for me and other Utahns to look forward to!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Book by Author Mikey Brooks!

Author Mikey Brooks
One of my favorite Middle Grade authors, Mikey Brooks, just had a new book come out! 

Mikey Brooks is the author of a whole bunch of excellent children's and middle grade books, including The DreamKeeper series, which includes The DreamKeeper, The DreamMakers, and The DreamStone
The DreamKeeper
(c) 2013

He is also the author of Bean's Dragons, The Museum Adventures, The Stone of Valhalla, and many others!
Museum Adventures: The 
Maya Mystery (c)2016 

The Museum Adventures begins with The Maya Mystery, where protagonists Katie and Nick are wisked back in time to the Mayan civilization, and have to go through all sorts of troubles and dangers in an attempt to get back home. The second book in The Museum Adventures, and his newest one, is called A Night in Nottingham! Read more about it on Mikey's Blog


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Eagle Mountain Writing Workshop

The Eagle Mountain Writing Workshop is coming September 9 at Frontier Middle School in Eagle Mountain at 9:00 a.m. I am really excited! I've enjoyed attending and teaching there in the past, and I look forward to the Writing Workshop on the 9th. It's got some great classes, and when I went last year, I learned a lot and had fun! If you'd like to learn more, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley
One of my favorite poems ever, is Invictus by William Ernest Henley. It is a poem that can inspire courage in someone who, like Nelson Mandela, is faced with great difficulty.

Nelson Mandela was born in South Africa during apartheid, the unjust separation of white people and black people, and he was imprisoned for standing up for what he believed. Despite that, he did not give up, and in fact went on to become the President of South Africa. The first black president in fact. And the poem Invictus was one of the things that inspired him never to give up.
Nelson Mandela

It is a lovely poem, and if you have not heard Invictus read by Morgan Freeman, I highly recommend it.

Invictus
by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
looms but the horror of the shade.
And yet the menace of the years finds
and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman


What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks before.  Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

After Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance, a series of frightening incidents ensnare her in a maze of intrigue. Anna is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.


But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. When her life is threatened, Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—
You can find Searching for Irene on Goodreads as well as Amazon and other online bookstores.


 MarleneBateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for MurderA Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of AngelsBrigham’s Boys, Heroes of FaithGaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 

Exerpt: Searching for Irene


The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia.

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train.

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe.

Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?”

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door.

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.

Here is a little bit about Marlene's book, For Sale by Owner:
For Sale by Owner;  Stressed by a difficult year, McKenzie Forsberg quits her high-powered job to move back to her hometown. Desperate and determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie seeks to buy the home she grew up in. The only problem is that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, also wants the house. As a battle of wits ensue, sparks of attraction grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past that changes everything. Will the power of love be enough to allow Jared and Kenzie to find their happily ever after?



Sunday, July 2, 2017

Case File 13 Series by J. Scott Savage

The Case File 13 series by J. Scott Savage is a four book middle grade series about a group of three friends, Nick, Angelo, and Carter who find themselves battling an evil Zombie King, a Dr. Frankenstein wannabe, evil twins, and ancient MesoAmerican curses in the four books, Zombie KidMaking the TeamEvil Twins, and Curse of the Mummy's Uncle. My favorite of the series was the first one, Zombie Kid, where Nick turns into... well, from the title you can probably guess, but I won't tell you anyway! There were a few slight errors, typos, etc. but not enough to hurt my enjoyment of the stories. I thoroughly enjoyed them, and heartily recommend them! J. Scott Savage is one of my favorite authors of all time, and the Case File 13 books made me like his writing even more!
Zombie Kid (c) 2013, Making The Team (c) 2015, Evil Twins, (c) 2016, and Curse of the Mummy's Uncle (2016)


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kiss Me In The Moonlight by Lindzee Armstrong

Author Lindzee Armstrong
Kissing her way through Europe wasn’t in the job description... When Paige’s secret agent boyfriend dumps her in an email, chaperoning hormonal teenagers through Europe seems like the perfect way to cope. She doesn't bargain on working with her ex, who’s investigating his partner’s suspicious death. As sparks fly and the investigation heats up, one kiss in the moonlight changes everything.


Escape to thrillingly romantic locations with our Destined for Love series! These clean romances by award-winning and best-selling authors are sure to make your heart pound and toes tingle.

Explore a new destination with every wildly sweet tale!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Author H.B. Moore

Author Heather B. Moore
One of my favorite authors of historical fiction is author Heather B. Moore; she also writes as H. B. Moore. She is the author of the Omar Zagouri thrillers, the Out of Jerusalem series, and Condemn Me Not. I love her writing, and always look forward to a new book!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Author Marsha Ward

Author Marsha Ward
Marsha Ward is a wonderful author, having written such works as Spinster's Folly, Gone for a Soldier, and The Zion Trail as well as several others!  She is the founder of ANWA, and has supported her fellow authors, including me, in multiple ways. Overall, she is a fantastic author, and a great friend.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Author Tamara Hart Heiner

Author Tamara Hart Heiner
Tamara Hart Heiner is both a talented author, and a great person! She's the author of Lay Me Down, and Reaching Kylee, as well at The Goddess of Fate series, Inevitable and Entranced. I've enjoyed reading her works, because she's got such a way with words that she can put you right there in the middle of everything, and she creates characters that are real to me; they're flawed, yet they give an honest effort, so that I care about them, and want to see them succeed.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Author Jewel Adams

Author Jewel Adams
A lovely friend of mine, Jewel Adams, wrote a wonderful endorsement for The Shores of Bountiful back in 2013 when it was first published. She has supported me personally and professionally for as long as I've known her. She is a great author as well, and has written many novels including Mercedes' Mountain and Gladiator's Day of Grace.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Shores of Bountiful




I am very excited to announce that The Shores of Bountiful has been republished! Right now, for a limited time, it is only 99¢ on Amazon kindle. (Regular price is $2.99.)

It was first published back in 2013, but last year, it was accepted by Trifecta Books for publication. Near the end of editing, Trifecta Books ceased doing business, but the inestimable Tristi Pinkston was wonderful enough to finish editing it for me, anyway. Just because she's awesome that way. I decided that a new cover would be nice too, so I got to work on that.

The Shores of Bountiful is a historical romance that is based on a period of time in the Book of Mormon that takes place during Helaman cpts. 1 and 2, a particularly volatile time.

Elizabeth and Joshua, friends since childhood, are the main participants. 

When the story begins, Elizabeth is engaged to Pacumeni, the young chief judge of Zarahemla. Joshua, who became Pacumeni's best friend when they were training in the military together, is a guard in the palace and is charged with looking after Elizabeth's safety in the time leading up to her wedding to Pacumeni. His feelings for Elizabeth, which he has never admitted, are deeper than Elizabeth knows. But out of respect for her and for Pacumeni, Joshua is determined that she never know how he feels about her.
Front and Back Covers of The Shores of Bountiful
But tragic circumstances are about to unfold that Joshua never foresaw, and which change everything.

Check out The Shores of Bountiful on Amazon HERE to read more about it!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Into Books! at The Viridian

I participated in Spring Into Books yesterday, an event that The Viridian library in West Jordan hosts every year. It was really fun! I got to sit not to far away from Mikey Brooks, one of my favorite authors of fiction for young people. And I got to meet some great readers, too! I hope the folks who bought my books enjoy reading them!

I thought the event was great, and I look forward to Local Authors and You, which they host in the fall. I really like The Viridian Library and the author events they host!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Summerlost by Ally Condie (c)2016
Summerlost by Ally Condie is the winner for Best Middle Grade, and best Youth Novel in the 2016 Whitney Awards. I was lucky enough to read it in order to vote in the categories, and I really enjoyed it. It takes place in Cedar City, during the Shakespeare Festival, but those names are never given. If you've ever lived in Cedar City (as I have) and gone to the Festival (as I have) you would know.

The main character, Cedar, and her mom and brother have just moved here, and have recently suffered the lost of their dad and special needs brother. Cedar makes a new friend, and has all sorts of adventures thoughout the story, learning as she goes, making mistakes, fixing them, and strengthening relationships.

This is a great novel for young people, and for adults, too, teaching us how to build what we have, holding onto memories while gently letting go of what we can't keep.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

LDStorymakers Writers' Conference and Whitney Awards Gala


I joined LDStorymakers in 2005 not long after my first book was published. I met Tamra Norton at a booksigning where she was just leaving, and I was just arriving. We bought each others' books, and she told me about a great group of supportive writers called LDStorymakers and asked if I was interested in joining. Of course I was, and the story went from there. I've been to every Storymakers' conference since then, and to every Whitney Awards Gala ever since that was begun in 2007.

The Conference was awesome this year. I got to volunteer a little bit which was crazy fun (although I did make a few mistakes, [I am so sorry, Renee' and Crystal) I got to get reacquainted with old friends, and I met a new friend, Emily Bleeker a Whitney Award Finalist (more than once) who is awesome! The Whitney Awards for books published in 2016 was a fantastic event. I've enjoyed it every year it's been in existence, and this year marks the 10th anniversary. I have gone to every single one, and each year they manage to make it even more fantastic than before!

The categories and the finalists in them this year, were:

Middle Grade:

*Ghostsitter, by Shelly Brown
Mysteries of Cove: Gears of Revolution by J. Scott Savage
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff
Summerlost by Ally Condie
The Wrong Side of Magic by Janette Rallison

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General Young Adult Fiction:

*Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
P.S. I like You by Kasie West
The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
*The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
The Truth About Fragile Things by Regina Siroir

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Speculative Young Adult Fiction:

Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard
Bluescreen by Dan Wells
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Death Thieves by Julie Wright
The Girl Who Heard Demons by Janette Rallison

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General Fiction:

The Dragons of Alsace Farm by Laurie Lewis
The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
The {Re}Model Marriage by Maria Hoagland
The Soldier's Bride by Rachelle J. Christensen
When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker

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Historical Fiction:

Born to Treason by E.B. Wheeler
Deliverance by H.B. Moore
Exodus by H.B. Moore
From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
A Place for Miss Snow by Jennifer Moore

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Mystery/Suspense:

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt
Revenge in a Cold River by Anne Perry
Slave Queen by H.B. Moore
Walk of Infamy by Sheralyn Pratt

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Contemporary Romance:

A Date with Danger by Kari Iroz
How I Met Your Brother by Janette Rallison
Love at First Note by Jenny Proctor
Love's Shadows by Nichole Van
Southern Charmed by Melanie Jacobson

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Historical Romance:

The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson
Lady Helen Finds Her Song by Jennifer Moore
My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen
The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden
Willowkeep by Julie Daines

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Speculative:

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Extreme Makeover by Dan Wells
The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings
Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells

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*Indicates a Debut Novel

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Winners of each of the categories were:

Middle Grade: Summerlost by Ally Condie

General Young Adult Fiction: The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Speculative Young Adult Fiction: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

General Fiction: The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

Historical Fiction: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Mystery/Suspense: Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt

Contemporary Romance: Love at First Note by Jenny Proctor

Historical Romance: My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen

Speculative: The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

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The Best Debut Novel was: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Best Novel for Youth was Summerlost by Ally Condie

The Best Novel for Adults was From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Ishkabiddle!

I am a fan of J. Scott Savage's books, including his Farworld books. In Farworld, there is a creature called an Ishkabiddle. It is a small, furry, rolly-polly creature about the size of a cantelope, but not quite so round. They have little feelers on their heads, but otherwise seem to be more or less mammals. They are absolutely adorable little creatures, and so when I met an ishkabiddle today at my daughter's soccer game (It looked somewhat like a small dog) I was absolutely delighted. The Ishkabiddle's person friend was kind enough to let me take a picture of said ishkabiddle as proof that I'd actually met one. So here it is! Isn't it cute?
Ishkabiddle with person friend!

Friday, April 21, 2017

North Star Academy

I had another great school visit today, when I went to North Star Academy for a school visit. North Star Academy does this awesome thing when they have professionals come and talk to their older kids about different careers, and I thought it was a really good idea. Before I gave my presentation to the younger grades, I got to meet a couple of very smart, very polite, and very curious young ladies from the older grades during lunch and talk to them about what it takes to become an author. It was fun and casual, and we ate lunch together in the library while I told them about some of my experiences in becoming an author. It was so fun!
After my visit with them, I got the chance to give my presentation to the younger grades. It was great, and their participation was fantastic! 
I absolutely enjoyed my visit to North Star Academy, and I hope they learned something about writing their own stories!


My Father's Kingdom by James W. George

I read an extremely well-written and well-researched book recently about life in the Massachusetts Bay colony some years after the historical dinner that drew both natives and European immigrants together. At least for a little while. My Father's Kingdom: A Novel of Puritan New England by James W. George looks from the perspective of several different people involved in the difficulties of the time, from the perspective of natives, to the perspective of white settlers. I personally thought the author did a good job looking at what motivated different people to act the way they did.
My Father's Kingdom (c)2017 James W. George



Here is my review which I put on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Goodreads: 
This story was a brilliantly written historical novel. The story of Massachusetts Bay and the conflicts between the European immigrants and the Wampanoag people and others has always been a sad part of American history. I think the author did a fantastic job bringing historical figures and fictional characters to life, interacting with each other, giving personality and humanity to what would otherwise be just a dry history lesson. These were real people, and their conflicts were real and often devastating. I hope that I will have the chance to read further books in this series. This book was very well written and researched, and I highly recommend it! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cleveland Elementary School

Cleveland Elementary School
Today, I went down to Cleveland Elementary in Emery County, and had a great visit with the students and faculty. I enjoyed it a lot, and I hope they did, too! The students had some great things to say about both reading and writing.  And many have even written stories already, with others who have some great ideas for future stories! I hope the assembly helped them think of even more ideas, and that they'll write lots of fantastic stories.

It was really fun to eat lunch with several of the kids and talk with them. The Cleveland Elementary Mustangs are some pretty great young people!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bean's Dragons by Mikey Brooks

Bean's Dragons (2014) by Mikey Brooks
Children's stories always help to cheer me up when I'm feeling down. And this sweet book, Bean's Dragons by Mikey Brooks is no exception! It's a quick little read, meant to be read by a child, or a parent and child together. Bean is a little girl with a houseful of dragons that are completely invisible to her parents, and the dragons create messes for which poor Bean gets blamed! She has big and small dragons her parents can't see, (but she and the baby can) and they have all sorts of personalities, likes, and dislikes, but the one thing they have in common, is they like to create messes. How is Bean going to get out of this fix? If you'd like to find out, you should read the book yourself and see! 

Candace E. Salima's Life Celebration




Yesterday, I had the great privilege of going to Candace E. Salima's funeral today. Or more appropriately, her Life CelebrationThe speakers gave wonderful tributes, each focusing on an aspect of her life, Nathan Osmond, Sean Reyes, and Linda Scanlan all gave beautiful tributes to her, and to her husband. As Attorney General Reyes mentioned, it's hard to speak of Candace and Alvin separately. Because they were always involved in things together. 
The musical numbers were wonderful and uplifting. The whole room was just filled with a wonderful feeling that words can't describe. 

Her sister, Heather Sluyter Hunt and Niece Stormy Hunt gave a beautiful life sketch. I am so glad I went. I am sad that Candace is gone, but knowing that she is back with Alvin gives me a bittersweet feeling of comfort. She is where she wants to be, and she is happy. So I'm okay.



Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Great and the Grand

The Great and the Grand (c)2015, Benjamin Fox
Today, while at my local library, I read a short, delightful book called The Great and the Grand by Benjamin Fox, illustrated by Elizabeth Robbins. It is copyrighted 2015, and is published by Familius.

In this short, beautifully illustrated children's book, a little baby is getting ready to meet Great Grandpa for the first time. It compares and contrasts great grandchild with great grandpa in wonderful ways as they go through the day, the baby and mom getting closer to Great Grandpa on a train, until finally they meet.

The book uses simple language and wonderful pictures to tell the story, and the effect is very moving. I strongly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys children's books, especially ones that celebrate the relationships between grandparents (in this case, great grandparents) and little children.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Candace E. Salima

Alvin and Candace E. Salima
A wonderful lady, Candace Salima passed away this morning at 10:48. She had been suffering for a long time, and finally succumbed to Progressive Bulbar Palsy. I'm so glad I was able to visit her on Thursday for a short time, and am grateful to my school's principal, Mr. Ben Pugh who let me take part of the day off to hurry to Orem to see her. I'm so grateful for the little note she was still able to write to me. She is with her husband Alvin again, whom she lost back in 2014, and missed so much. They are back together again. I am so grateful for my understanding that this life is just one part of our eternal journey.
Please consider donating to help funeral expenses HERE.