Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Heart Hurts

I learned that a woman I love passed away today from breast cancer. She was such a good person and treated me with so much kindness. I loved to be around her and her vibrant spirit. Her daughter and I served together in YW and then in Primary. She was our in-service leader for Primary and I always enjoyed her lessons. She loved to laugh and whenever she entered the room it brightened just from her presence. I will miss her.

I get the whole mortality thing, that we all have a time to live and a time to die, but that doesn't make it any easier when someone you love leaves mortality. I still miss my father, mother, grandparents, sister-in-law, and friends that have passed away. I guess it's meant to be that way. Maybe it's how we feel in the pre-existence when others are born into mortality.

Death is as much a part of the plan as birth. Mortality is a probationary, temporary time of testing to see if we'll choose to follow the Savior. How we live in mortality determines how we'll live in eternity. I have a testimony of this and of the plan. I have no doubt that my friend is in a better place and she no longer suffers from her physical afflictions.

But today my heart hurts.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ANWA Writers Conference

All local writers are invited to this year's ANWA Writer's Conference. It’s one of the best in the west, with some very big names in the business.  The cost is about a third of most other writer's conferences.

The 2010 ANWA Writer’s Conference
“Start Write Now”
Saturday, February 27, 2010
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Dobson Ranch Inn,
1666 South Dobson Road
Mesa, Arizona 85202-5699

Open to all writers on this or any other planet

 Register at

Discounted Hotel reservations available on the above registration site or by calling Dobson Ranch Inn directly at 480-831-7000 or 1-800-528-1356 http://www.dobsonranchinn.com/

Keynote Speaker
 J. Scott Savage
Author of the "Farworld" Series

Aprilynne Pike
New York Times best-selling Author of “Wings”

Doug Johnston
Publicist Extraordinaire
Nancy E. Turner
Author of “These is My Words”

Dr. Pamela Goodfellow
Writing Coach, Editor
and Owner of Goodfellow Publishing Services

Sara Fujimura
Author and Magazine Writer

Helen Bair
Counselor and Author of
“Finding the Healer in Me”

Marsha Ward
Author of the “Owen Family” Series

Book signings at end of conference

Early Registration 
General Public:  $75 before February 7, 2010
ANWA Members $60
After Feb. 7 add $5

Cost includes Catered Lunch

For questions contact, the ANWA 2010 Conference Chair Person, Cindy R. Williams at http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=4949291231266460220 or Conference Registrar, Krista Darrach at kristadarrach@yahoo.com.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wiiiiiiiiiii a Snow Day

Wooooo hooooooo. We're snowed in. Can't get into or out of our driveway. It's 1/8 mile long and we've been stuck before and my brother-in-law had to pull us out with his tractor. Unfortunately, this tractor that he also uses to plow out our driveway is not working at the moment so we really don't want to get stuck. We're homebound until 1) someone else can plow our driveway, 2) the snow melts enough to drive on it, or 3) it's spring. Until then, it's like a free vacation day: sledding, playing in the snow, playing games, watching movies, etc.

Since we're all home, my daughter decided to set up a profile for me on a Wii game, "Your Personal Coach." It's fun but a little weird working out to a cartoon. I've been working out with Gilad on FitTv, you know, a real person. But, this Wii game is supposed to be a workout specifically made to meet your own personal goals. I'm going to do it for a few weeks and see how that goes. I'll miss Gilad and his funky pronunciation of abdomen.

I've been on Phase 2 of the South Beach diet which is super easy for me. Fruits, vegetables, lean meat, cereal, wheat pasta, cheese, etc. I can even have popcorn on this phase. I have cheated by drinking hot chocolate, but decided that snow days=hot chocolate.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Author Interview: Anna del C. Dye

Anna, what are your books’ names?
The Silent Warrior Trilogy Book one, "The Elf and the Princess," Book two, "Trouble in the Elf City," and Book three, "Elfs in a Conquered Realm."

What was your inspiration?
Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"

What is the setting of your books?
A medieval fantasy land.

Who are your main characters?
Princess Adren: the last survivor of her massacred mankind kingdom.
Prince Paletin: The prince of Adren's kingdom sister city. He discovers the dead realm and takes her in.
The Silent Warrior: Adren's champion and mute companion.
Dellin: The Elf captain archer who falls in-love with Adren.
Tadren: The elf commander and Dellin's father.
Tahitans: Bloody and lazy people.
Orks: A wizard's dark inventions.

In what ways do you think you are like them?
Adren lost everything she knew and has to start over with new people, customs and language.I left... grant you by my own will... everything I knew, including my family, thirty years ago for a new people, customs, and language.

In what ways are you different?
I'm much less athletic than she is. lol

What is your favorite scene in the book?
When Adren and Dellin discover each other. An 8' tall man with a 5' girl. That has to be a sight. (lol) But they say love is blind.

After you wrote book one, how long did it take you to get it published?
Four years.

Do you consider your work fan-fiction for Tolkien?
No. I consider my work inspired by Tolkien but not fan fiction. I don't use the same characters he has. I do use Orks, Elfs, dwarfs, trolls, gnomes and many more... but they are universal characters and used in many books besides Tolkien's without being fan fiction.

Is there a book trailer for any of your books?
Yes, two of my first book and one of the second, none for the third yet. They are on my website, Youtube and also under my profile in Facebook.

Book #1 The Elf and the Princess

Book#2 Trouble in the Elf City

Do you have any advice for authors trying to break into the industry?
NEVER give up. Find the writers' group closest to you and join. They are a fountain of wisdom and ideas at your fingertips. Also get your name out... start blogs and participate in forums-- especially the genre you write for. Enter short story contests and do online magazine reviews.

What are your plans to write next?
The Silent Warrior Trilogy is just the doorway to my elf series. You can expect in the future at least four more titles in that series. All of them will have new characters and plots that are not related to the Trilogy.

Where can we purchase copies of your books?

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Reminder

I sometimes get very caught up in emotions with my writing and my books. I'm thrilled when someone writes me an email and tells me she likes my book and I'm sad when I get a two-star rating at Goodreads. I work hard trying to figure out how to market my books while squeezing in time to write new ones. It's quite a balancing act on all counts.

Today, though, I was reminded of what truly matters and brings me the most profound joy besides the gospel: my family. My youngest son (who is 3) was playing a game that his older sister received for her birthday. You hook it into the TV. It's similar to Wii games, except for young kids. For this particular game, he had to recognize shapes and then touch the corresponding shape on a mat. I showed him how to touch the shapes so he'd know how to play the game. I then watched him and was completely amazed that he correctly identified shapes over and over again. He won the game several times and clapped his hands. I jumped up and down. Seeing him understand that game gave me such joy. I'm so thankful to see him learn and grow. I know that no matter what, Heavenly Father will bless him to do exactly what he needs to do despite what doctors may say. I'm so grateful for all of my kids and my wonderful husband.

For me, it was a reminder that while my writing is imporant to me, my family is more important. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Save the Child by Margaret Turley

Over the years, I've learned that while most doctors and those in the medical profession are well-meaning and sincere in their efforts to provide the best healthcare possible, they don't know everything.

When my youngest son was born he failed the hearing test several times. We took him to an audiologist for further testing and she concluded that he was deaf. No doubt about it. He couldn't hear any consonants, she said. He couldn't hear any soft sounds, she said. The only sound he could hear was a jet engine, she said.

She told us to get right in to have him fitted for hearing aids. Her diagnosis didn't sit right with us. It didn't feel right. My husband gave him a blessing that he would hear the beautiful sounds Heavenly Father had created. We saw him respond to sounds, even soft sounds across the room. We took him to another audiologist in another city and she concluded that he could hear, though he may have a mild hearing loss in one ear. We then took him to an ENT that concluded that the equipment used to test his hearing was not made for his unique ear anatomy and it was impossible to tell at that point what his hearing might be.

He's now three-years-old. He says consonants, he responds to whispers across the room, he says words, and I've heard him say almost every sound in the alphabet. If we had listened to the first audiologist instead of our own feelings or putting faith in the blessing he'd received, he'd be wearing hearing aids for no reason and possibly would have damaged his hearing.

As parents, we have the right to make decisions for our children, especially when we have access to the priesthood and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that may not agree with a doctor's diagnosis or prescription for treatment. No one, not even the most caring doctor, cares more about the welfare of my children than I do.

This is the premise for Margaret Turley's book, Save the Child. In this novel, Nancy Johnson, a married mother of three, learns that her daughter, Sharon, has been diagnosed with leukemia. Since she believes chemotherapy will poison her daughter, she seeks alternative medical care. Child Protective Services intervenes and removes the child form the Johnson home. Of course, this throws the whole fammily into turmoil.

Save the Child examines parents' rights and how those balance with the child's right to be treated. It's a difficult balance. As a parent, I would want my rights to be respected, but I also understand that those in the medical profession, unable to rely on faith as a means of healing, want to use medicine and technology to treat patients.

Save the Child will be available in March. You can learn more about Margaret Turley here. I think it will be a thought-provoking read.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Altared Plans Giveaway

Cami Checketts is doing a huge January giveaway at her blog Cami's Books to beat the winter blahs. If you're interested in entering a contest to win a copy of Altared Plans you can check out this blog post. Be sure to check her blog throughout the month for a chance to win some great prizes.

Hope in Our Youth

Last night I attended a stake youth fireside introducing the Mutual theme for 2010. We saw clips from a video produced by the Church that included a talk by Melvin J. Ballard. I didn't know his great-grandfather was Joseph F. Smith. When Joseph was a young lad he'd been orphaned and life was rough. Elder Ballard said he thought Joseph's leaders probably wondered how to best teach him and keep him in the gospel. There was still hope for this young man and as we all know, he grew to serve as the Prophet and President of the Church. His leaders didn't give up hope and the result was a great leader.

There were also clips of youth all over the world bearing testimony and singing. One such clip was of a large group of youth and the camera zoomed in on a young African man who was singing with such zeal, you could see his love for the gospel all across his face. The message of the gospel is truly for the world. The Savior reaches out to all across this world. We have a worldwide message of hope.

We then heard talks from youth in our stake. I was impressed by the young man who shared the story of going to collect fast offerings from a family that wasn't active. He kept going to collect fast offerings, even when he was told they had none. Because of his willingness to do his duty, that family came nback into activity. I was also impressed by the young man who was on a baseball trip and some of his friends gave him what he thought was an unopened bottle of soda pop. As he grabbed it he had a bad feeling. As soon as it got close to his nose, he realized they had replaced the soda with alcohol--tequila. He refused to drink it even after they strongly encouraged him to do so. Two young men exhibiting the strength and courage to do what was right.

As I watched the video clips, listened to the talks, and watched the youth around me I was struck with the great hope we have in this generation. Yes, the world is a wicked place, but we have strong, immovable, and committed youth who will stand up for the right and defend the truth. We have hope in our future because we have such valiant youth.

I am so proud of our youth and the tough choices they make to keep their standards. I hope I can be supportive and encourage them to stay strong as I fulfill my calling with the young women.

We have no need to fear, we have hope in our youth!

Friday, January 8, 2010


The world is in turmoil. The economy in the US is struggling. We have a government intent on passing healthcare regulation that we cannot afford in so many ways. We have corruption all around us. We see news reports of murders flash across our TV screens. Dishonesty abounds. Innocent unborn babies are slaughtered every day. Infidelity seems to be the norm. The list can go on and on and on.

Yet, there is hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for peace. Hope for our world. Hope for our individual lives. That hope is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter our trials or the darkness of the day, the Savior offers the healing balm of sunshine. In Him we can find the hope we need to endure life's tribulations. Of this I am sure.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Interview with Rachel Rager

RT: Welcome, Rachel. Tell me, when did you first start to think of yourself as a writer?

Rachel: An author? Who? Me? I guess that I still don't see myself as a writer. It's more of a hobby. Yes, I have a book published but I started writing just to see if I could do it. When I accomplished that goal, I tried to publish it, just to see if I could. I finally published By Love or By Sea in April of 2009 with Cedar Fort, Inc., six years after I started writing. But am I a writer? I always thought writing was a job but to me it's my release; my escape. So, I guess I'm a writer but I really just create the stories for me!

RT: I know what you mean. And they say to write what you love, so it's clear you do that. So, how do you write your rough drafts--computer, typewriter, pen…? Have you always done it that way? If not, why did you switch?

Rachel: I always write on the computer. However, I have notebooks everywhere – the car, my purse, my bedroom – I just never know when an idea will strike and if I don't write it down then I forget. I have often written several pages of notes or even entire scenes on paper but then I put them in the computer when I get the chance. It's so much easier on my hands to type.

RT: That sounds familiar! What surprised you about being a writer?

Rachel: How much work was involved after the book was written. I had no idea! I thought authors were so talented to fit everything together just right. And many are. But what I never realized was how much work goes into the editing, publishing and marketing aspects. Just the marketing could take over your life if you let it! But what a fun adventure it has all been!

RT: It is something of an adventure, isn't it? Tell me, what was your inspiration for this book?

Rachel: I was writing my second story and was in the shower one day when I came up with the idea for By Love or By Sea. (By Love or By Sea is the third story I wrote. The first and second are prequels to By Love or By Sea but not published.)I wrote down some notes and when I was done with the one I was working on, I began By Love or By Sea. It wasn't until I was part-way done that I decided to use piracy. Of course, then I sat in front of the computer every day for an entire month trying to figure out a way to solve the problem I'd created! All lot of research came into play!

I guess I should fess up to one little secret. Caleb Newman was inspired by my little brother. Though my brother is quite different than Caleb, he has a similar build and attitude. My brother once dropped a plant in his bedroom, spilling soil all over the carpet while he was talking on the phone to a girl he didn't particularly care for. And, not wanting my mother to hang him for making a mess on the carpet, but not knowing how to get off the phone with the girl, he decided to vacuum up the mess while on the phone! That made me laugh so hard and it just felt like something Caleb would do (if he lived in today's world!) So, there you have it!

RT: That's funny! I love pirates, too! Thanks for being my guest today, Rachel.

I reviewed By Love or By Sea here.

By Love or By Sea can be purchased at:
Seagull Book, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Cedar Fort, Inc.

Rachel's Website and Blog -

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cover Contest--Woo Hoo!

My cover for Altared Plans was recently in a contest at LDS Publisher. Although it didn't win the overall contest, it won in the Romance category. My cover won both the Reader's Choice and LDS Publisher's Choice. It was interesting to read the different comments about it. I love the cover, especially the pink accents.

If you voted for my cover, thank you!! I appreciate it.

Because there must be opposition in all things, a reader at Goodreads gave my book 2 stars and then wrote, "A mindless read for New Year's Eve." Ouch.

So there you go--up and down--such is this crazy writing life. Good thing I absolutely love it or I might try to do something far easier, like brain surgery :).

Friday, January 1, 2010