Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trials and Disobedient Children

Sometimes the trials that my friends go through are so huge and dramatic that if I wrote a novel about them, people would complain that those sorts of things never happen to real people.  Accidents and tragedies sometimes happen on top of other accidents and tragedies in what seem like cruel tricks of nature.  It always leaves me wondering how anyone can cope with so much stress.

 (Now I get to do something I’ve always wanted to do—change my friend’s name in case this is going to embarrass her.  Instead of using her read name, I’m naming her after the old MoTown song, Bernadette.)

Dealing with a son or daughter who’s making bad choices is one of the hardest trials a parent can have.  My friend, Bernadette, has been struggling with her youngest son for the past several years. Last August, he was in a motorcycle accident that left him in a coma for two months. Because of a priesthood blessing, Bernadette never doubted that he would recover even when the doctors predicted the worst. When he started to come out of the coma, the nurse told Bernadette that he would most likely be a vegetable.  Bernadette didn’t believe her for a second. Slowly,but surely, he is recovering and at the same time, he’s deciding to turn his life around.

During this time, Bernadette has also had multiple other stresses in her life.  One of these was when her grandson received a heart transplant.  People have been telling me how strong Bernadette has been though all these trials, so I wanted to know how she did it.

So what helped her get through the stress?  Last year, she had a thought come to her:  “I can’t fast for 40 days like the Savior, but I can go to the temple for forty days.”  So that’s what she did.  Going to the temple helped her with her trials, and it wasn’t as hard as she’d thought it would be, so she kept going.  By the time the big trials came last summer, she was prepared for them.  During the time her son was in his coma and since then, she’s continued to attend the temple every day it’s open.

Of course, not everyone can attend the temple every day.  I certainly can’t.  But I’ve learned from her example. If we're going to help our kids, we have to keep ourselves strong.  She shared with me some of the insights she’s received about dealing with our children as they make disappointing decisions.  The following quotes and scriptures are from a handout she received from an Oquirrh Mountain temple matron:

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity.  Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold.  Either in this life or the life to come, they will return.  They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving Father’s  [or mother’s] heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain.  Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith.  Hope on trust on, until you see the salvation of God.”

3 John 1:4—there is no greater joy than to hear that my child walks in truth . . .

2 Nephi 10:2—God will be merciful, and our children shall be restored to the true knowledge of their Redeemer

Mormon 9:31—Children should forgive imperfect parents, and become more wise

Mosiah 21:15—God softens hearts

Alma 39:1—Disobedient children need more time and resources

Mosiah 27:14—A parent needs to exercise faith when a child is disobedient

Alma 19:23—Turn a child over to the Lord

Doctrine and Covenants 31:2-8—I will bless your family . . . the day will come when they will believe, know the truth and be one with us

Doctrine and Covenants 128: 12—welding links=sealings, whole, complete, perfect unions

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Positive Attitude and "I Can" Cans

I'm a Wolf Den Leader and get to work with a bunch of wonderful Scout leaders.  The Cub Scout value for last month was positive attitude.  We wanted each boy to feel more positive about himself.  I had heard about an "I Can" game from some other scouters, and one of our leaders came up the idea to make "I Can" Cans for each boy.

Each boy got a sealed can with his name on the top at pack meeting.  At home, he opened his can to discover seven sincere compliments from his scout leaders and some candy inside.

Here's how to make them :

1. Find a can opener that takes the entire lid off a can (including the rim.)  Pampered Chef makes (or used to make) this type of can opener.  Save and wash the cans and lids.

2.  Have each leader write down something s/he admires about each boy.  (We did this through e-mail.)

3.  Print compliments on colored paper, cut them all out, and put them in the cans with some candy.

4. Glue the lids back on the cans with hot glue.

5.  Label the outside of each can, including name labels on each lid.

(Thanks Amy and Chelsey for doing all this!  If I'd done it, they wouldn't have turned out so cute.)

My son loved coming home and opening his can with our can opener.  Being an elementary-age boy, he's not used to people complimenting him.  It was a great feeling for him to read so many positive comments from people he knows.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cravats and Corsets

I promised everyone a picture of my husband and me at the Regency Romance Ball, so here it is.  (Can I just say that it's a little hard to pull off the Regency style if you're not Gwyneth Paltrow or Kira Knightly?  That high waist tends to look a little maternity.)  I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the event.  My guess was that there would be a bunch of Jane Austen fanatics, and it would be something like a Star Trek convention--only with everyone dressed as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy instead of Klingons and Captain Kirk.

Actually, people weren't quite that obsessed.  There were about 150 people in attendance.  Some of these seemed to be theater people who liked to dress up in costumes.  One woman was even wearing a corset--not a whole one mind you, a half corset.  Some were reenactment types (you know those Civil War people.)  There was also a group of people who get together to perform vintage dances--we spent about an hour and a half learning vintage dances.  I loved that part.  Then there were the women who like Jane Austen and the men they dragged along.  We fell into the last category.

I enjoyed it a lot.  My husband, on the other hand, was pretty happy to get out of there and remove his cravat.  All in all, it was a great way for him to prove his love for me.  (I'm going to have to watch a lot of Star Trek re-runs because of all the points he's earned.)

I also did my first signing on Saturday.  It was fun to meet a bunch of other authors and chat with people.

Don't forget:  This Saturday Feb 18 is my Book Launch Party and Signing at Taylorsville Seagull Book from 11am-1pm ( 5720 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vintage Valentines

My mother-in-law sent us these cute valentines from the seventies.  Happy Valentine's Day.

And here's the information for the last two days of the blog tour.  Monday 2/13:

Laurie L.C. Lewis review

Reading for Sanity review

Marjolein Book Blog review, my guest post on police officers, giveaway

Tuesday 2/14

Dearest Dreams review

Canda Mortensen review and giveaway

WV Stitcher review

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Photo Album for Persuasion

Today I wanted to share some pictures from Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale.  One of the fun things about writing the book was being able to visit some of my favorite places in my imagination.

This is my grandparents' house, which was torn down after they both passed away.  I got to visit it again in my mind because it became Anne's childhood home in Persuasion.

Before I go on with the other pictures, here's a reminder about the blog tour stops for Sunday 2/12:

Sunday 2/12

My Devotional Thoughts review

Blooming with Books review and e-book giveaway

Monday 2/13

Laurie L.C. Lewis review

Reading for Sanity review

Marjolein Book Blog review, my guest post on police officers, giveaway

Tuesday 2/14

Dearest Dreams review

Canda Mortensen review and giveaway

WV Stitcher review

 The next two pictures are from the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  I love the beach, and this is one of my favorite beaches in the world.  Lucky me, I got to include a visit to the Outer Banks in my novel.

Being from the Washington, D.C. area, I hold a special place in my heart for the Jefferson Memorial.  Here's a picture of the memorial with the Potomac river and cherry blossoms in the foreground.  You'll also find the Jefferson Memorial in my book.

And here's the Washington, D.C. temple, where my husband and I were married.

Of course, on the day we were married, there was scaffolding all over the temple--a fitting metaphor for marriage if you ask me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Do you read the acknowledgments at the beginning of books?  My book doesn't have any acknowledgments. I promise I really am thankful for all the people who've helped me along my road to publication.  So if you're part of the of the population who actually reads the acknowledgments at the front of books, keep reading because I did write acknowledgments.  Before we get to them, though, here's what's happening with the blog tour:

Thursday 2/9:

My Book Addictions read my guest post on Surviving vs. Thriving

A Casual Reader's Blog review

Book Lover's Stop read my guest post on writing Romance

Neurotic Writer

Friday 2/10:

Hopeful Happiness review, interview, and giveaway

Practical Frugality review

Saturday 2/11:

Keeping up with LDS Bookstores review

Book Lover's Stop review

WV Stitcher my guest post on cheap dates


Above all, I’m thankful for Jane Austen. If she knows about my book, I hope she’ll forgive me for being a copycat. It was fun to bring her characters and themes into the modern world.

So many people have helped me develop my talents as a writer. Bernis von zur Muehlen, Leslie Norris, Douglas Thayer, Darrell Spencer, and Sally T. Taylor were some of my excellent creative writing teachers. I’m also grateful to Shersta Gatica and Michelle Stoll at Cedar Fort, who’ve helped turn my manuscript into a book; to Rebecca Jensen for designing a beautiful cover; to Laura Jorgenson for marketing help; and to Rachael Nelson for taking a great author photo.

I’m thankful to my friends who’ve cheered me on and helped me with my research about police officers and other topics. I’m also thankful to my family members, particularly my nearly perfect parents, who have supported me in my crazy desire to write.

When I first got the idea for this book, I wondered if it was worth the sacrifice. My husband, Eric said, "Just write for fun. Don’t worry about getting it published." I’m so thankful for his support. He and our daughter Emily were my first editors. I’m also thankful for my sons, who’ve put up with my writing for many years now.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Party Dress

I'll bet you want to see me dressed up like Jane Austen.  No?  Well, anyway, I didn't want to leave you out.  So I'm inviting you to the Persuasion Book Launch Party.  Drop by for some treats, to talk, or to get a book signed.  I'd love to see you. 

Saturday Feb 18--Book Launch Party and Signing at Taylorsville Seagull Book 11-1 ( 5720 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville)

I'm also signing this Saturday Feb 11 in Salt Lake City at the Redwood Seagull Book from 12-2 pm (1720 South Redwood Road, Salt Lake City.)

And don't forget about the blog tour!  Today you get two chances to win a copy of Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale.

Monday 2/6--

Fire and Ice review and giveaway

Tuesday 2/7--

Tristi Pinkston review

Getting Your Read On review

Thoughts with Chris review

I Am a Reader Not A Writer interview and giveaway

Wednesday 2/8:

LDS Women's Book Review review

The Character Connection interview

Victorian Vanity review

The ball gown I made sort of looks like this, but not as good.

On Saturday night (2/11), my husband and I are attending the Jane Austen Society's Regency Romance Ball.  If you come to the ball or the launch, don't look too closely at my ball gown, okay?  I made it myself and the buttonholes are pretty much the worst I've ever seen.  I probably should have used velcro.  And, another thing--why don't patterns have vanity sizing?  Get with the program, Simplicity.  And, "Simplicity?"  hmmm.  Not so much.

My husband is threatening to come in a wet shirt ala Mr. Darcy. 

I'm still thinking about refreshments for the book launch.  Got any ideas for treats that would work well in a bookstore?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Interview with Misty Moncur

Today (2/4/12), Misty Moncur and I are trading places.  I'm doing a guest post on Misty's blog, and she's here answering my questions.  I'm really excited because yesterday, we heard that Misty is a Whitney Award finalist for 2011.

Before the interview, just a reminder:

Why Not? Because I Said So.  is doing a review and giveaway.
Hardcover Feedback is interviewing me and doing an e-book giveaway

Tomorrow (2/5/12) check out:

Inga Silberg for a review, my guest post on attitude and a giveaway

Book Lover's Paradise

So, let's start the interview.  Misty Moncur is the author of Daughter of Helaman, a book about a girl who wanted to be a part of Helaman's stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon.  Her book has gotten great reviews.

I'll bet you learned a ton about the women of the Book of Mormon while writing Daughter of Helaman and the other books in your series.  What's one thing you learned?
I love to look at the examples of women in the Book of Mormon.  There are so relatively few that you know they must be important, and you know they were included for a reason.  You’ve got first Sariah, and then the daughters of Ishmael, some of whom followed Nephi and some of whom were willing to stay with Laman and Lemuel.  You’ve got the dancing daughters of the Lamanites who apparently fell in love with their captors.  You’ve got the wife of Lamoni, who was converted by a vision.  You’ve got the Lamanite queen who married Amalakiah after he killed her husband.  You’ve got the mothers of the stripling warriors who left their homes and carried their babies to Zarahemla.  They were refugees before they were those strong Ammonite mothers we so often think of.  You’ve got Abish, secretly faithful among non-believers.  You’ve got Isabel, who tempted Corianton, the son of the prophet, who was raised well and on a mission.
I think when you take all these examples together, you get a more accurate idea of what the women of the Book of Mormon were like: us.  They were just like us.  Some were faithful, some were not.  Some were doing good, others were not.  We are still that way today, and I think even within ourselves we have pieces of each type of woman, and every one of us is at a different place in her progression.  They loved, they fought, and they feared. They prayed, they danced, and they fed and clothed their families.  They were given in marriage.  God wanted them to be happy in the same way he wants us to be happy.  It’s in there.  You just have to be looking for it.
You're a full-time mom and work full-time.  How do you find the time to write?
I fit writing in because I love it and I’m not happy without it. 
I steal snatches of time whenever I can, but what has worked best for me is utilizing my breaks at work.  I have a five minute break every hour, so I take out my trusty pen and paper and just write like a man woman.  I know I only have just a few minutes to get my thoughts down.  I know I don’t have time for perfection, so I don’t waste time staring into space, overthinking things, or trying to get it just right.  By the time I get it typed up, it’s already a second draft.

If you had to go back in time to fight a Lamanite, what would be your weapon of choice?
Something modern like pepper spray.
Just kidding.  What an awesome question!  I’ve never thought about it.  My main character, Keturah, chooses a sword, probably because that is what I would initially choose. 
Giving it a little more thought, I would want something I had a lot of control over, but I would prefer something that didn’t require me to be right in my opponent’s face (or him in mine).  I guess I’d choose arrow, sling, or catapulting fireballs.  But if we’re talking hand to hand combat, maybe I would go with something like a javelin—longer than a sword but still capable of placing deliberate blows and providing a measure of defense.
What quote or thought keeps you going?
I always like that poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that says

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

It’s something I read when I was a young girl, and I don’t have a huge interest in Longfellow or anything, but this rhyme has popped into my head at some of the toughest times.
What do you do for fun (other than write)?
These questions get harder and harder.  For fun?  Is read an option?
Honestly, it is more about who I am with than what I am doing.  I love to hang out with my husband, get together with my friends, or sit around and chew the fat with my family. 
 What kind of research did you have to do for your series?
I did a lot of research on topics like skinning deer and tanning hides; vegetation specific to certain regions and what plants can be used for medicines; a broad range of ancient civilizations and what is known of their cultures and social structure; cooking and eating rattlesnake; both ancient and modern weapons and fighting techniques.  I’m currently reading about nautical terms, trade routes, currents, and how lift makes it possible to sail into the wind. 
I might spend days researching something and then only use a little of the info once in a whole book, but I want the details to be as true as possible even though the complete setting they make is utterly (and by necessity) fiction.  I try to read several sources before I choose what fits the setting and mood I have already created, which is a conglomeration of things from around the world. 
And of course, I couldn’t write a novel based on a Book of Mormon story without researching within the Book of Mormon itself.  I studied the chapters and verses that detail Book of Mormon geography to the point that I could close my eyes and envision myself in Nephite lands as easily as I can envision myself in the Salt Lake valley.  I didn’t want to have to be constantly checking details while I was writing (that can be so distracting and time-consuming). 
As an author, I have to make up so much of the setting and storyline, but I do try to make sure none of my details directly contradict what is actually in the Book of Mormon.  So in this genre, the story could be true, though we know it isn’t.
I also studied the accounts of the Anti-Nephi Lehies, their conversion and travels, and the Stripling Warriors.  And then I took precedents from other chapters of the Book of Mormon to illustrate what could have happened—for instance, Moroni arming the women and children who were prisoners in the city of Gid.  Might they have armed women?  Based on that scripture (Alma 55:17), sure.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Character names have always been really difficult for me, but writing this series was very different.  I found that most of the characters were easy to name, and I actually enjoyed picking out and settling on each one.
As with the flora and fauna, the names are from languages all over the world.  Kenai is from up Alaska way.  Kanina means rabbit in Icelandic.  Darius is Greek.  I chose names I liked in order to create a deliberate style in my books.  I really like the not so common but not too strange bible names. 
What's your favorite indulgence?
Chocolate.  And I like to eat it alone.
 Which of your characters do you like best and why?
In Daughter of Helaman, I really like Zeke.  He is kind of the underdog and kind of sweet.  Sure he’s possessive and tries to be controlling, but I think he is just a product of his culture.  He was raised with an expectation that Keturah is not fulfilling. 
I think that is why my favorite character is Eliza, who appears in book five of the series.  I fashioned her to function perfectly within the culture and be the perfect counterpart for a man like Zeke.  I like her because she is faithful, not only accepts but loves her role as a daughter of God, and takes deliberate steps towards her goals.  She seeks and follows the guidance of the Spirit.  She’s understanding, patient, and sticks up for herself.  Lots of things I am not.
What's your favorite book or books?
I like romances.  I can’t help it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rolling with the Blog Tour

 This is the cinnamon roll recipe Anne makes in Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale

Anne's Super Quick Cinnamon Rolls

Mix and let rest for fifteen minutes:
3 1/2    C         warm water
3/4       C         white sugar
            4          T          yeast

While you are waiting, complete the following:
Preheat oven to 425°.  Grease all pans (Anne uses cookie sheets or 9" x 13" pans, but you can use any pans you have.)  Melt one cube of margarine or butter.  Soak raisins in water for about five minutes.  Make cinnamon sugar mixture (2 T to 1 C sugar).

To yeast mixture, add:

        1 T salt
        3 eggs
        1 C oil

Gradually add:
     10 C flour

Mix well.  Roll dough into an oblong shape on a floured surface.  Spread with melted margarine or butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and top with raisins, if desired.  Shape into rolls by rolling from the long side and cutting in one-inch wide pieces.  Place in greased pans with sides of rolls just touching.  Let rise about 15 minutes.  Bake at 425° for 10 - 15 minutes.  Rolls should be lightly brown on top and the bottoms should be just starting to brown.


In a small pan, place:

1/2  square       margarine or butter
1/3  C              milk
Heat until hot but not burning.

Remove from heat and add:
1/2  t                vanilla
1    lb.  powdered sugar