Monday, December 29, 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

I am grateful that this past year has been a relatively good one.  I have a few new goals for this coming year.  They're kind of general, but rather important.  I want, of course, to get a book written in 2015.  And I want it to be something that teaches something worthwhile about the human experience, and not be something that is just fluffy entertainment with no substance.  I want to be more productive, spend less time on the internet, and also to spend less time worrying about things over which I have no control.  I want to be more forgiving, but at the same time smarter about who I trust.  I want to continue to be supportive of my good friend Rachel Nunes, and keep her in my thoughts and prayers as she goes forward with this difficult plagiarism case that she's still dealing with.  I want to improve myself as a teacher, and most importantly, I want to improve myself as a mom.

I want to follow Shakespeare's advice when he wrote:  "Love all, trust few, do wrong to no one."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Real Meaning of Christmas

At this time of the year, it's so exciting to look forward to presents and treats.  In addition, it's even more important to remember the real reason.  The birth of Jesus Christ. Read more here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rachel Ann Nunes

Not much has happened recently that I am aware of in regards to the plagiarism case that author Rachel Ann Nunes is caught up in, but she still needs help to hold accountable the person who plagiarized her.  Please visit her GoFundMe site  here to read about how she found out she was plagiarized.  And consider donating, too!  The fear of being plagiarized is one of the worst nightmares for a legitimate author, and for her, sadly, the nightmare came true.  Please help her bring the nightmare to an end, bring the plagiarist to justice, and send a clear message to other would-be plagiarists that they can't get away with stealing other people's hard work!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale

I am so excited!  My newest book, Felicity~ A Sparrow's Tale has just been published, and is available on Amazon as an ebook here, or as a hard copy, here

It's a different genre than my other books that have been published this far, and so it was a new yet extremely fun experience to write. 

Felicity is a young sparrow who is a lot like other sparrows except for one thing:  She can read.  Her elderly friend, Augustus, an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker taught her to read when she was just a chick, and while she hasn't seen Augustus in a long time, she still enjoys the books he gave her. 

She often imagines going off on adventures like the heroes and heroines in her books, but adventures are in short supply, especially for someone who's just an ordinary sparrow.

Until the day an unexpected visitor shows up at her tree with an unusual request... 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Alvin E. Salima

It is nearly two o'clock in the morning right now, and I need to get to bed after crying my eyes out for over an hour.  I just found out that one of the best human beings who has ever walked this planet passed away several days ago.  His funeral was today, (actually, yesterday now) and I didn't know about it until just now.  I wish I had been able to go.  His wonderful wife Candace, who is also an author, was also a good friend, and my thoughts and prayers are with her. 
Alvin was one of those people who made the world better by being in it.  When my trainer from my mission, Valerie Akau Meli passed away, I discovered, only then, that she had also known Alvin.  While I had been acquainted with Alvin for years before this, I didn't know about their knowing each other until after Valerie Meli had died.  I contacted Alvin to let him know this, and we messaged back and forth; I had said that I wanted to honor my trainer by leaving a short memorial at the end of my book, he told me it was a great idea, and he'd send me her family's address when my book was finished.  Now, he's mentioned at the end of my book, too.  Ironically, I was just getting it ready for publication today when I learned the news of his passing.   
People like Alvin could see the good and the wonderful in nearly everything.  People like him are wonderful, beautiful souls that make this world a worthwhile place to be.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Foster Parenting

In the midst of my grumbling about plagiarism and dishonest behavior, it's nice to be able to stop for a minute and remember that there are people out there who are still honorable, honest, and sincerely altruistic.  One of those people is a friend and colleague of mine, Ben Pugh.  He and his awesome wife Deb have been foster parents for quite a while, and know a thing or two about caring for, and caring about children who have found themselves in the foster care system.  I want to share their website with you, which you can find here, and which has plenty of helpful tips about foster parenting for anyone who is interested in becoming a foster parent, or simply wants to know more about foster parenting.  Their book, How To Become A Foster Parent by Ben and Deb Pugh is available on their website, and is free to anyone who wants to read it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More on the Plagiarism Case!

Author David Farland posted this on his blog.  The plagiarist appears to be up to her old tricks.  This is, frankly, not surprising.  Someone posted on Rachel Nunes' blog, claiming to be a parent of one of the children whose names were used by the plagiarist, and threatening legal action.

Here is a copy of the comment:  "This blog post needs to be taken down. My child’s name has popped up on other blogs because of this. Google [Name Withheld] and things are still popping up. 'Redacting' is not enough. I will report you and discredit your investigation. God help you, especially if you are LDS and held to a higher standard."  

Interestingly, when Rachel contacted the parents, they denied having made the comment.  And when investigators tracked the computer's address, they, not surprisingly, traced it back to the plagiarist's own computer.

I have come to the conclusion that this plagiarist lacks a conscience.  She is not guided by a sense of right and wrong, she is guided by a sense of 'What can I get away with?'  Am I judging her?   Sure.  I'm using the brain God gave me to assess that this person's bad behavior is in fact, bad behavior.  It is not my job to determine this person's worth as a human being, but it is my right, in fact, my duty, to see that what she is doing is very wrong, and to understand with the brain I've got, that she will, shown by past behavior, repeat this behavior over and over again, until something outside of herself stops her.  She will not stop herself.  I have the obligation to know that.  As Rachel Nunes' friend, and as a writer who is a potential victim of the plagiarist because I am a writer, I have the right to know it.  Am I judging her?   Sure.  And I judge spades to be spades, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update on the Plagiarism Case

I confess, the story has continued to surprise me from the beginning.  Every time I think I can't be surprised by something regarding this situation, something comes up to prove me wrong.  Every new turn, from first hearing that Rachel was plagiarized, to the twists and turns and contradictory lies the plagiarist told, to discovering that she'd plagiarized Sgt. Chase Weston, to the fact that she used her own 8 year old students' names as sock puppets has continued to shock and surprise me.

Now, according to Donna K. Weaver's latest post here, the school where she taught the students whose names she used as sock puppets, has put the plagiarist on administrative leave .  The plagiarist, as I've said, used these sock puppets to boost her own ratings as well as to harass Rachel Nunes, and leave ad hominem reviews on Rachel's books. 

I hope that justice is done for everyone, and I hope, for the plagiarist's sake, that she learns something from this, and realizes that what she did, plagiarizing Rachel, plagiarizing a war veteran, and stealing her students' names was very wrong, and that stealing intelectual property (and the identities of her students) is not a victimless crime.  I hope she develops a conscience, and makes amends for what she did.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Why Would Someone Plagiarize?

On Donna K. Weaver's blog here, Ms. Weaver made a very interesting comment that I have been wondering about myself. 

What makes someone with a Master's degree who has been an elementary school teacher for decades, do something equivalent to breaking into someone's house, and take something very precious to him or her, and claim it as her own?  Then, adding to that, deny that she's done anything wrong, and cast blame elsewhere?

In her comments, Ms. Weaver said "I wonder if she had any idea when she stole these what the impact would be on the real authors."  That is something that I have wondered and wondered myself. 

I thought about that for a while myself, and while I am no expert, these are my thoughts that I wrote in response to Ms. Weaver's comment:

-I've been wondering that myself. The whole situation from the first time I heard about it from Rachel is horrifyingly fascinating.

First of all, I doubt that [the plagiarist's] the kind of person who would break into someone's house and physically steal things. (Of course, I hesitate to say that. This woman sinks to new lows almost every time I log on.) Yet she seems to have no qualms about taking a person's very real intellectual property and trying to pass it off as her own.

She can't claim that she was ignorant or naïve. She is over forty, and has a Masters. She knew what she was doing.

Personally, I think what was going through her head, was that she wasn't hurting anyone. She thought she would not get caught, and the real authors wouldn't be hurt, because they'd never know. She probably thought the same thing about her young students. They were eight years old; they wouldn't be navigating the internet for many years, and certainly wouldn't be going to amazon and goodreads at least until they were teenagers. She probably thought that "borrowing" their names to boost the popularity of an erotic romance would not hurt them personally. (Again, her thoughts, not mine!) She was successful, for a short time, in stealing from Sgt. Weston. In her mind she probably justified it, because she took a small piece from him, and not the whole book. Then, I think, she got bold, and took pretty much the whole book from Rachel, thinking all the while, that Rachel's audience and her own audience are two completely different groups of people who would never overlap, and thus, she'd never get caught.

But then she did get caught.

She knew she was in trouble then, because if she'd been honestly mistaken, she wouldn't have gone to such effort to duck and dodge and hide, and throw blame this way and that, and shield herself with her army of sock puppets while weaving more and more elaborate lies.

I don't think she really comprehended when she started doing all this, how badly she would hurt people, but I think that it's only because she didn't let herself think about it. If she had sat herself down and forced herself to think about it, I think she would have understood that stealing someone's story (especially a terribly traumatizing true life story) and trying to pass it off as her own would hurt that person if he found out about it. But again, she fooled herself into believing that she'd never be caught.

So far, I haven't seen any remorse from her in any of her comments. All I've seen are vicious attacks, casting blame elsewhere, and firm denials. I can only hope that she can get to a point where [she] realizes that using her little students' names as sock puppets really was an extremely bad thing, that she sees Rachel Nunes and Sgt. Weston as real people who have been deeply hurt by what she's done, not faceless entities on the internet, and fully comprehend the very real damage that she's done.

I do not envy her. For her to make up for what she's done, she needs to face herself. And to fully face herself right now, with all that she's done, would be excruciating.-

Friday, September 12, 2014

Heaven Help Us All... What Lows Will She Stoop To Next?

I was reading on Rachel Nunes' blog here, an open letter from Lilah Weston, the wife of Sgt. Chase Weston from whose personal life story, Terror In A Cloud Of Dust was stolen by the plagiarist whom I have mentioned before.  (I choose not to say her name, because I am so repulsed by her actions that I simply choose not to, and just refer to her as "the plagiarist".  Enough people know her name already, and I needn't say it.)  I was sickened for Mrs. Weston's sake, and her husband's.  His personal experience had been stolen and cheapened.    And from what the plagiarist wrote about what she stole from him, she seemed unrepentant and unbending, unwilling to admit she had stolen, even when the evidence was glaringly obvious.  But what I learned a few minutes later, made me even more... I don't even know the word... repulsed, furious, disgusted... those words pale compared to the feeling I felt when I realized I had not yet learned of the depths the plagiarist is willing to sink to. 
I learned, reading another fellow writer, Donna K. Weaver's blog, that many of the sock puppets the plagiarist used to boost her own reviews and harass Rachel Nunes and bloggers who stood up for her, were the names of her own 8 year old students.  Children.  Children!  Young learners who trusted her, and depended on her!  Their names were stolen and used to say things the plagiarist didn't dare to say with her own name, or pen name.  They are as much victims as Rachel Nunes, or Sgt. Weston.  And they are children!

Plagiarizing a wounded veteran... plagiarizing a reputable author... using young children's names as sock puppets...

As I said on Donna Weaver's blog, what new lows will she stoop to?  Dare I even think?  Heaven help us all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Jaw Dropped... More Calous Plagiarism

Trying to keep abreast of my friend Rachel Nunes' battle against plagiarism, I checked back on Mr. John Doppler's blog, which I referenced below.  I was shocked to find out that the plagiarist had not only stolen from Rachel, but of all people, she had also stolen from a war veteran.  A veteran, of all people!  Glory be!  As I mentioned in the title, my jaw dropped. 

The plagiarist's first "book" was stolen from the real life experiences of Sgt. Chase Weston, who was wounded in combat, in Iraq.  Please visit Mr. Doppler's blog here to read more about it.

My brother served in Iraq, and if any of his personal stories were stolen to line someone's pockets, I would be furious.  But like Mr. Doppler said, it is important to exercise restraint, and remember that justice is in the hands of the court.  Not us.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Thief In The Night: Plagiarism....Don't do it!!!

I want to take a little while and talk about plagiarism and the serious consequences of it. Not just to the plagiarists, (though those consequences are very severe) but to the authors of the original works as well.
The reason why I want to address blatant plagiarism, the act of stealing someone else's work, words, ideas, plot etc. and trying to make people believe they're yours, is because a friend of mine, Rachel Ann Nunes, is currently going through a nightmare of emotional stress and legal expenses because one of her works was plagiarized. The other person took a book that my friend wrote back in the late nineties, changed the point of view from third person to first, changed a few other things, added some steamy sex scenes, and then tried to pass the work off as her own. Other than those minor changes, the whole plot and story and most of the wording were Rachel's. By the time it was discovered, it was actually up for sale in the U.K. However, several bloggers who had been sent the plagiarizing book recognized similarities between it and the real story and contacted the actual author. When Rachel contacted the plagiarist, hoping that everything was just a misunderstanding and wanted to just clear things up, the plagiarist offered a series of increasingly mind-boggling lies and threats in a futile attempt to intimidate my friend and deflect blame elsewhere. When those didn't work, she turned to several sock puppets (up to 20 of them) to leave harsh, ad hominem reviews on Rachel's published works, and to discredit and bash the bloggers who had stepped in to help Rachel uncover the plagiarism.
It didn't work.
Despite having a pen name, which she tried to hide behind, and many sock puppets, she was traced and her real name found out.
The plagiarist is now being held accountable for her dishonesty. She may, if convicted, face a fine of up to 150,000 U.S.D. She also will have to face other consequences as a result of her treatment of Rachel and the bloggers, her attempts to discredit them, hurt their professional and personal reputations, her choice to lie rather than come clean about her behavior, and other dishonest things she did (for one, using her sock puppets to dishonestly inflate her own ratings).
This doesn't take away the fact that Rachel and the bloggers who stood up for her, have suffered from this woman's false accusations to say nothing of the original act of plagiarism. Still, holding her accountable will hopefully stop her and other would-be plagiarists from victimizing other people in the future.
And make no mistake. Plagiarism is not a victimless crime.
John Doppler said: "To an author, there are few crimes more heinous than plagiarism. Every author knows the agony of the untold story, the grueling birth of a novel, the joy of finally bringing that creation into the world and holding it up for all to see.
Having that joy stolen from you is an unspeakable cruelty." (Doppler, 2014)
Rachel has said that discovering this plagiarism was like having someone break into her house and steal something very precious to her. I can only imagine how violated a victim of plagiarism would feel. And I certainly don't want to know the feeling first hand.
John Doppler also said: "(Name Withheld) proudly portrays herself as an indie author… but indie authors are a supportive community. They don't prey on their fellow authors. They don't cannibalize their family.
They don't steal each other's work." (Doppler 2014).
I like to think that most people out there are honest, ethical people who would not dream of doing what this plagiarist did. Unfortunately, it only takes one dishonest person to ruin things for everyone else.
I don't want what happened to Rachel happen to any ethical, hard working author.
Again, my personal belief is that most people are ethical and honest. But in regards to plagiarism, here is some advice that everyone can benefit from:
Don't do it.
You can read more about this situation here , here , or the link below.
Doppler, John. Prose and Cons: A Plagiarist Faces the Judge. The John Doppler Effect, 2 September 2014. Web. 6 September 2014.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

United! Box Set eBook

I am pleased to announce that Teyla Branton (One of Rachel Ann Nunes' pen names) Andrea Pearson, Stephanie Fowers, Frank Morin, Debra Efert, and Kathleen Marks are each selling one of their books together as a boxed set.  All of them are in the fantasy genre, (one of my favorites) and they all sound really exciting!  You can read all about these books here!  They've been donated by their authors to help support Rachel Nunes in her case against a plagiarist who stole her book, Love to the Highest Bidder, also called Bid for Love, changed a few words, added steamy sex scenes, and then tried to pass it off as her own work.  I was floored when I found out that this person was an educated professional who should have known better.  It makes me scared for my own work, and for the work of other reputable authors.  I hope that after this, would be plagiarists will see that honest authors are united and support each other, and I hope that these folks think twice before stealing someone else's stories.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Valerie Akau Meli

I learned not too long ago, that my my trainer on my LDS mission to Sapporo, Japan, passed away.  Valerie Anne Pohaiamepumehanaakealoha Akau Meli was only 45.  I was saddened to hear the news.  She was a wonderful person, and a hard working missionary.  She taught me a lot, about how to work hard, and to care about people.  From all that I saw on her facebook and her husband's, she had continued being a wonderful, selfless person after the time I was blessed to know her.  She has a beautiful family, and I pray for God's comfort to be with them.  I had often imagined meeting up with her again at some point, and I'm sad now that that won't happen.  At least in this life.
Kami yo, mata au ma-de.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I know I've talked about The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien before, but with a new school year just starting, and the third Hobbit movie coming out in a few months, I thought I'd review the book again.  I had a great discussion with my students today about the book, and they seem to enjoy it so far.

The Hobbit follows the tale of Mr. Bilbo Baggins who starts out as a rather reluctant adventurer, who is compelled to go with Gandalf and thirteen dwarves in a manner that would probably bring on a lawsuit if it happened today.  But Bilbo is a good natured guy, and he goes along with it.  Mostly because he really doesn't have much of a choice.  He's not too happy about it initially, and he never really gets very comfortable, mostly because of all the life threatening things that happen to him.  But he does get braver and more confident as the story goes along.

If you know the story of The Hobbit, you know how it ends.  But I still won't give anything away.  It's a great book, and I haven't gotten tired of reading it yet!  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Plagiarism = NOT OKAY

I was shocked and frustrated for a wonderful friend, Rachel Ann Nunes when I learned that her book, A Bid For Love was plagiarized.  At first, she tried to give the accused person the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that the lady was not guilty.  But when the plagiarist refused to send the ARC, and then told inconsistent stories to her and others about the work in question, Rachel began to grow suspicious.  A blogger did the right thing and sent Rachel an ARC of the particular work for her review.  Sadly, it was true that she'd been plagiarized.  You can read about Rachel's nightmare rollercoaster ride over the last few days here.  It's pretty sad, and the plagiarist is brazen to the point of it almost being funny if it wasn't such a terrible situation.  Ethical writers and bloggers need to stand together and support each other.  No honest writer wants her or his work plagiarized!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Far World: Air Keep

Far World Air Keep by J. Scott Savage continues the adventures of Kyja, who grew up on Far World, and Marcus, who grew up on Earth. 

This time, they are tasked with finding the Air Elementals, which is no easy task.  They have to deal with all sorts of dangers, and all sorts of annoyances.  From sadistic riddle games to racing snails, to an Exsalusentia. (You'll have to read the book to find out what that is!)  The end contains a twist that the reader doesn't see coming, and it left me eager for the next book!

I'm glad that I read this book.  One thing that I like about it, is that even though it's fiction, it teaches me something that is very very true.  It shows me characters who are real to me; who work really hard to do what's right despite personal difficulty and loss.  It's a good lesson to have in a world like ours.

Anyway, it's a great book, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My New Hero

My newest hero is Cassidy Stay.  I needn't say why.  What happened is too difficult for me to write about here.  I pray for her and for her relatives that they will be able to move forward and support one another, and that she will do great things in her life.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Author Julie Wright and her defense of Genre Fiction

A friend of mine, Julie Wright, the author of The Hazardous Universe series and several other books, recently posted an excellent defense of genre fiction on her blog. 

Far too often, people think of genres like fantasy and science fiction to be 'easy' or 'safe' and not touch well on reality, or on the human condition.  However, as Jules noted, this is very far from the truth.

Here is a link to her blog, and her excellent counter to this type of thinking:  here.

In response to her defense of genre fiction, I wrote this comment:

Hey, Jules! I love how you said what you did about genre fiction. Good fiction, any kind in my opinion, is something that speaks to the soul. It shows that we can slay our own dragons. It connects with what makes us human.
For me, anything that is only fluff, or wish fulfillment, breaks its own rules, or doesn’t require its characters to truly work for what they get, is completely useless to me, because such stories do not help me learn anything about how to be a better human being.
Genre fiction authors like Rowling, Tolkien, Lewis, and um, you, ;) however, don’t create fluff. What such authors write isn’t ‘safe’ entertainment. It has substance. Deep substance. It serves a vital purpose in the lives of people who read it, (whether readers are conscious of this or not) in that it can teach us things about how to be better human beings. It makes us more humane, more tolerant, more brave. It makes us realize that we need to work for what we get. It can stretch our minds and help us think in ways we didn’t before.
Tolkien and Lewis in particular, wrote stories that are, at their core, true stories. Not because they actually happened, but because despite being peopled with hobbits, elves, dragons etc., they convey basic human truths. They teach me that I can do more than I thought I could. They teach me that worthwhile things are worth fighting for, and sacrificing for. They help me to be kinder and yet also braver. If Bilbo can face a terrifying dragon, or if Frodo and Sam can get an evil ring all the way to Mount Doom, well, just maybe, I can face the dragons and the mountains in my life, too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou

I had the privilege of hearing Maya Angelou speak during my last year of college when I was taking a few classes at Weber State University.  I honestly do not remember what she spoke about, but I remember how I felt about what she said.  I remember what a gracious lady she was, how wise she was, and how she seemed to speak to me personally, though I was in a room of hundreds.    I was impressed with her command of words, and the way her words made me feel.  Even though much of what she spoke about I had not experienced myself, I felt that I could relate to what she was saying.  I felt that she understood humanity.  She had seen much in her life, terrible things and great things, and still she had faith in people, understood them, and believed in them.

She worked hard to overcome so many things; racism, sexism, etc.  Rather than letting her troubles get her down, she became strong.

Oprah Winfrey said of Dr. Angelou, "...The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. 'When you learn, teach.  When you get, give,' is one of my best lessons from her.
"But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it's how she lived her life..."

Dr. Maya Angelou was a great human being.  Even though I did not know her personally, I miss her. 

And I hope I can be even a little bit like her.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew by Ursula Vernon

Nurk by Ursula Vernon is a fun story suitable for children which I may have reviewed on here before, but re-read recently, and enjoyed this time just as much as I did when I read it several years ago. 

Nurk, the title character, is a somewhat less brave grandson of the great heroine, Surka.  He has a picture of his brave grandmother in the front hallway of his little house, and he admires her, and her inspiring journal, but clearly doesn't feel like he can be quite as brave as his grandmother.  But he is drawn, somewhat reluctantly, and quite by accident, into an adventure where he finds himself faced with the choice of being brave to save an unjustly imprisoned dragonfly prince, or turning around and going home.

And the choice Nurk makes?  Well, I won't give that away.  But suffice it to say, I highly recommend this book.  It was a fun read!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Atticus Finch

Today, I want to talk about one of the most heroic fictional characters I am aware of:  Atticus Finch.

If you are familiar with the book, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, in my opinion one of the greatest books ever written, you will be familiar with Atticus Finch.  He is a lawyer in the small fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama.  He is the widowed father of the narrator, Jean Louise (Scout) Finch, and her brother, Jeremy (Jem) Finch.  While the story is told from Scout's little girl perspective, Atticus seems to be the main protagonist of the story.  Scout has many adventures through the story, including meeting Dill, a boy who becomes a good friend to her and Jem, and trying to get Arthur (Boo) Radley, the neighborhood recluse, to come out of his house.  The main conflict of the story starts, and Atticus shows his noble-hearted nature, when he takes on the case of Tom Robinson, a young African American man falsely accused of raping a white girl. 

While it becomes clear to the reader that Tom Robinson couldn't have possibly committed the crime, the town cannot shake itself of its prejudice against people who are African Americans, and treats Atticus badly simply for being willing to defend his client.  Through Scout's eyes the reader sees what a great man Atticus is, and the character it takes him to stand up for what is right, even though he has to stand against years of prejudice to do it.

I love To Kill a Mockingbird, for the wonderful story it tells, the positive message it teaches me, and for the example of Atticus Finch.  Even though he is fictional, I believe that such people like him exist, and I am glad for the hope that he offers humanity.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Write Here In Ephraim!

The fabulous Shirley Bahlmann is helping to host a Central Utah writer's conference in Ephraim, Utah on March 29th. 

The Write Here in Ephraim writer's conference will be on the beautiful Snow College Campus, and will go from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  I have the good fortune of teaching one of the classes, and my class will be entitled, How To Suspend Reader Disbelief.  I'm looking forward to the conference!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Far World: Land Keep by J. Scott Savage

I am reviewing yet again, another Far World book that I'm sure I've reviewed before on this blog.  I guess I just love the Far World series so much, that I can't stay away from them!

Far World Land Keep continues the story of Kyja and Marcus, two kids who are charged with the task of getting all four elements, Water, Land, Air and Fire, to cooperate in order to save their worlds, Earth and Far World.  In this second book of the series, Kyja and Marcus are trying to find Land Keep so that they can get the cooperation of the Land Elementals.  They already have the help of Cascade, one of the Water Elementals, or what help he can give.

Mr. Savage doesn't fail to deliver an adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  From Marcus turning into... a dog, of all things, to Kyja jumping into a bubbling pool of steaming muck to save her friend in their attempts to find the Land Elementals.

Are they successful in finding Land Keep and the Elementals?  I'll leave you to find that out.  I will say though, that I love this book, and highly recommend it!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Far World: Water Keep by J. Scott Savage

I know I've reviewed this before, but I love this book so much, I want to review it again.  Water Keep by J. Scott Savage is a great book.  It follows Marcus, a boy who needs a wheelchair to get around, and Kyja, a girl who can't perform magic, as they go on an adventure to gain the help of all four Elementals (Water, Earth, Air, and Fire) n an attempt to create a 'drift' between Earth and Far World using good magic.  They need the cooperation of all four to do it, and the problem is that Marcus and Kyja can't truly go home unless they do.  (Marcus was born on FarWorld, but he grew up on Earth, and Kyja was born on Earth and grew up in Far World.)  This first book focuses on their efforts to gain the help and cooperation of the Water Elementals.  How they go about doing that, is exciting and fast paced.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy adventure.