Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wedding Anniversary, Sister Wives, and Marriage

Twenty-eight years ago today, my husband and I knelt across the altar in the Los Angeles Temple and were married and sealed together for time and all eternity. In those years, we have added ten beautiful and talented children, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and a sweet baby granddaughter. I feel so blessed to have this big, happy family and to be married to my best friend who still makes me laugh, holds my hand, and brings me chocolate and roses for no reason. I love him more today than I did twenty-eight years ago and I look forward to an exciting future of loving him even more and growing old together as we watch our family expand with in-laws and grandchildren.

I've been thinking about marriage. I feel so blessed to have such a happy and wonderful marriage to a man who has sacrificed so much to make me, and our children, happy. Marriage is ordained of God and is to be respected and honored. Too many in our society disrespect and dishonor it and I think we see the effects of that more and more. I support and recognize marriage as being between one man and one woman. Until Heavenly Father, through His living prophet on the earth, changes that definition, that is the only union I recognize: between one man and one woman. I believe marriage is not for convenience or experimentation or even just for pleasure. I believe it is to join a man and a woman who have covenanted to pledge their lives to each other and to create a family.

I've been watching some episodes of Sister Wives. It's fascinating to watch them. I had to laugh at one episode where they were talking about how hard it is to be raising 12 kids between them--my sister has 12 kids herself and she and her husband are an amazing example of righteous parenting and they do it together without any extra help. I don't support a polygamous lifestyle and would not be interested in participating in one myself, but I have to give Kody Brown credit for being willing to take care of his women and all of his children. He seems to be a devoted husband and father. Too many men make babies with multiple women and then abandon the women and the children. He's willing to step up and take responsibility and be involved in their lives. I'm not sure how he can balance 4 "wives" but they seem to make it work. And they have similar values to me, especially their emphasis on family and family unity.

If the supreme court rules that homosexual marriage is legal, then I would expect Kody Brown and other polygamists to demand their right to be married. I would also expect other groups and individuals to demand their rights. And if we change the definition of marriage, how can we deny marriage between siblings, cousins, even between parents and children? Many may say that would never happen, but I would've never guessed that homosexual marriage would have been considered. these other unions may sound wrong, even distasteful, but changing the definition of marriage for one group necessarily opens the door to changing it for all groups. And people who currently support homosexual marriage will also have to support these other forms of "marriage."

No matter what the law of the land is, or may become, God's laws cannot be legislated in a courtroom or through a ballot box. We can fight against His laws, we can ignore them and break them, but that does not change them. Whether we believe in God or not does not change the fact  that He exists and that He is real.

People can choose to live whatever lifestyle they choose. We have all been given free agency. But with that agency comes responsibility and accountability. God's gift to us is agency and our gift to God is how we use that agency. I have lived long enough, had enough of my own experiences, and seen enough around me to know, without any doubt whatsoever, that following God's laws and keeping His commandments brings joy and peace. Breaking them brings unhappiness and misery. It doesn't matter who we are or where we live, this is true for all of us.

As I celebrate my anniversary with the man of my dreams who has made me a better person and who loves me unconditionally, I am absolutely convinced that God ordains marriage between one man and one woman and when we adhere to His laws we experience a multiplicity of blessings. We can choose whatever road we want to take, but there is only one road that leads back to God. There is only one road that brings the blessings of peace and joy in mortality. I will be forever grateful for His blessing on my marriage and for being able to find my soul mate.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Blast: David's Song by A.R. Talley

From the back cover:
Annie only ever really loved two men in her life. One broke her heart, the other married her. Four children and fifteen years later, Annie’s marriage is in jeopardy. Money is tight and her husband questions the very foundation of their relationship. 
When Annie is unexpectedly given the opportunity to see the young man who broke her heart — a man who is now a megastar in the music industry — Annie is faced with choices. Choices that will determine what is of more value — a second chance at lost love and unfulfilled dreams or commitment, trust, and love built on years of experience.
A psychologically subtle, yet compelling tale about how the instinct and need for love 
overcomes self-doubt and personal inadequacy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase David's Song at Amazon here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Son's Inventive Solutions

I've been homeschooling my youngest son in hopes of teaching him to read before he enters school, or at least has the tools to begin reading. He knows all of his letters and knows most of the sounds each letter makes. He's been sounding out words he sees. He also spells out the words he sees on packages and signs.

I've been using several methods to help him learn to read, including a set of flashcards with familiar words (like the names of family members and food items). I'm supposed to show him these cards (red lettering on 8.5 x 11 white cardstock) 3 times a day. That gets a little boring day after day. So I started having him stand across the room and then we'd count together and he'd run over to me, say the word, take the card, and then set it on the table. That worked for a while.

He decided he'd turn the tables and have me run to him, he'd say the word on the card, I'd say the word, then he'd hand it to me, and I'd set it on the table. After each card he'd say, "Good job."

Now he's invented a couple of new ways. He counts backwards before he tells me to come get the card and he also uses his Nerf gun to shoot at the word cards. Pretty inventive, I'd say.

Last night, he initiated a game of Duck, Duck, Goose while the family was sitting in the living room. We played several rounds and he understood exactly how to play, who he wanted to be the "goose," and where he needed to sit so he didn't get tagged.

Today, he wanted to play again. Unfortunately, he and I are the only two home. After tagging each other as the goose a few times, he invented a solution. He found some inflated balloons we had around the house (we had a birthday party last week) and he set those next to me as part of our game. And, when he tagged one of the balloons as the goose, he squealed with laughter as I took the balloon and chased him around the room.

This probably seems silly, but to me it showed me that he recognized a problem and came up with a solution. He was bored with the way we were doing the flashcards so he came up with a new, more interesting way for him to do it. He also saw that only two of us playing the Duck, Duck, Goose game didn't make sense so he solved it in the best way he could. He thought about it and came up with a solution.

He may not be talking in long sentences, but he's thinking and he's solving problems that exist for him. For me, that's progress and I'll take it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

FREE Kindle Books Today

There are only two ways to kill Unbounded, and fire isn’t one of them—as law school dropout Erin Radkey learns the hard way. By fluke of a recessive gene, she has become Unbounded, a nearly immortal being with paranormal abilities.

Erin’s Change separates her from her loved ones and alters everything she believes to be true. A week earlier she was considering a marriage proposal; now she contemplates the best way to stay alive. Caught in a battle between two Unbounded groups, the Emporium and the Renegades, she is also hunted by a secret mortal society sworn to eradicate the Unbounded gene. 

As Erin plunges into this dangerous new life, she must carve out her own place in the madness, protect her mortal family, and decide which group she should join. Her unique ability is vital to both groups in the race to secure an identification software that spells death for all Unbounded—or enslavement for the entire mortal world. Some will stop at nothing to use Erin as one more pawn in a battle that has spanned centuries. Erin’s undeniable attraction to Ritter Langton, whose family was massacred by opposing Unbounded two hundred and forty years ago, complicates her choices. There are no second chances. Death, life, or love—Unbounded always play for keeps.

Non-stop action, terrifying consequences, and powerful romance make The Change an exciting addition to the world of romantic urban fantasy.

About the author:

Teyla Branton grew up avidly reading science fiction and fantasy and watching Star Trek reruns with her large family. They lived on a little farm where she loved to visit the cow and collect (and juggle) the eggs, usually making it back to the house with most of them intact. On that same farm she once owned thirty-three gerbils and eighteen cats, not a good mix, as it turns out. Teyla always had her nose in a book and daydreamed about someday creating her own worlds. She is now married, mostly grown up, and has seven kids, including a one-year-old, so life at her house can be very interesting (and loud), but writing keeps her sane. She thrives on the energy, inspiration, and daily amusement offered by her children. Grabbing any snatch of free time from her hectic life, Teyla writes novels, often with a child on her lap. She loves guns, martial arts, and belly dancing. Teyla writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction. She also writes romance and romantic suspense under the name Rachel Branton. For more information or to hear about new releases, please visit

You can download The Change (Unbounded) for FREE here.

Visions of death plague Jayne, who thinks watching her boyfriend die is the worst that could happen to her. But when she witnesses a murder, Jayne finds herself caught up in a dangerous world of intrigue and suspense. 

As it turns out, she is not the only one doing the stalking. The killer is on to her, and all of her visions of the dying don't reveal how her life will end. Somehow, she must stop the murderer before he arranges Jayne's own inevitable death.

About the author:

Tamara Hart Heiner lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English. She is the author of Perilous, the prequel toAltercation, and Inevitable. Besides writing, she enjoys all things food, especially baking. Perhaps someday she'll own a bakery and sell her own books inside.

You can download Inevitable for FREE here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Scrivener Evaluation, Part 1

I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener last week. I spent an hour or more reading through the user manual. Though it was good info, it was pretty much useless to me because I'd had no experience with Scrivener so I didn't know what the author was talking about or what features I'd even want to use. It was an info overload for me.

It's been much more useful to figure out exactly what I want to do and see how/if Scrivener does that particular thing.

For example, I really wanted an index card feature. I needed to figure out how to get all the index cards on the screen (I have an index card for each scene). I went to a tutorial on YouTube and that was very helpful. I learned that I needed to start with the chapter and then under the chapter heading, I clicked on the icon to add  a new folder and a field came up to type in my scene number and a short description of the scene which is tied to an index card.

I decided I wanted to transfer my rough draft into Scrivener. If you use a Mac you can download the whole manuscript and then go through and separate it into chapters or scenes, but the Windows version doesn't allow you to do that. So I copied and pasted each scene (you can divide your text into whatever way works best for you: chapters, sections, scenes, etc) and gave it an index card. I did this all under the first chapter so I could see all the index cards (scenes) at once. (I wasn't sure if I assigned scenes to chapters if I'd be able to see all of them at once).

I learned that I can edit the index card right on the screen without having to go back into the individual screen for that scene, which is cool and saves a step.

I read somewhere to make the heading of each scene/index card a synopsis of the scene, but I'd recommend actually using only a few words and then putting more details under the heading because when you view the index cards screen, you can see the entire index card (I thought I'd only be able to see headings).

At this point, I have transferred my entire rough draft into Scrivener. I can see all the index cards (scenes)on the screen when I choose that viewing option. I will now be looking at it as a whole and see where I left out scenes. I can then make a place holder index card with what I want to include in that scene. Then I'll come back and write the scene after I make sure the overview of the story feels right.

So far, I like Scrivener and I'm hoping it will help me to be more organized and be able to see the story as a whole.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Twisted Tales by Stephanie Fowers

A great new trilogy from Stephanie Fowers.

"With a Kiss" is the first book in the Twisted Tales Series.

Faerytales. They're real . . . they just haven't happened yet. Halley Starr finds out the truth when she loses her heart to a terrible curse. Now she has to get it back from that dirty faery who stole it from her, but first she must fight against the seven rules of the faery kingdom that mortals must never break:
1. No trespassing sacred faery territory
2. Don't ever say thank you
3. Using a faery’s given name is a no-no
4. Resist all faery music
5. Never break a promise to a faery
6. Reject all faery food
7. And never, never fall in love with a faery
But if Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules.

Purchase: With a Kiss.
ONLY $.99

"At Midnight" is the second book in the Twisted Tales Series.

Bridgette has Cinderella complex big time. She has to find true love's kiss to get some weird guy off her back who claims to be her faery godmother. But who is she really?
1. Loser of Omak High
2. Girl who rubs her fingers raw working fast food
3. Victim of the evil stepmother who runs the group home
4. Not-so-proud owner of a hearth where fire-starting goblins live
5. Asylum wannabe with occasional schizophrenic episodes
Not even Bridgette knows. Even if her faery godmother wasn't some guy who knows nothing about romance, how is Bridgette supposed to get true love's kiss if everyone she cares about disappears?
Bridgette must stop the clock from striking twelve or she'll lose everything.

Purchase: At Midnight.

"As the Sun Sets" is the third book in the Twisted Tales Series.

No one bothered to tell Daphne Starr that faerytales are real and now she's stuck in a beanstalk with a beast and a pricked finger. Daphne’s sister and stepsister are in big BIG trouble!
1. It’s the third and final day
2. Rumpelstiltskin plans to suck their powers dry
3. The queen wants them dead
4. The wolves switched sides
5. The world is about to end
6. And did they seriously expect to keep this all from Daphne?
Oh yeah, A LOT of trouble! Halley and Bridgette had better get her out of this—especially since she only has until the battery runs out of her cell phone before she loses her heart . . . to a beast. Will it be Happily Ever After or the end?

You can learn more about Stephanie Fowers here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

No Joke--Win A Kindle Fire Giveaway Contest

No Joke - Win Big April Fools Giveaway
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

Or $199 Gift Card (International)

Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)

Sponsoring Authors

The Breeders by Katie French

"The Breeders is a YA dystopian read that's as gritty and dark as the cover and title suggest. It takes a look at how society might devolve if females were commodities: bought, sold, stolen, and traded to keep the dwindling human race going. Frightening concept. I loved it." --A.G. Henley, author of The Scourge

Dissidence by Jamie Canosa

"An amazingly snarky protagonist, two hot boys, a mass rebellion, and an ending that will blow your mind are the perfect ingredients that will make Dissidence the next big thing in YA." --Beth, YA Sisterhood

The Moon Dwellers and Fire Country 
by David Estes

“Fire Country is an epic start to the Country saga and left me with my heart pounding and totally breathless. Phenomenal"

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Love between humans and androids is forbidden, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen...

The Tale of Mally Biddle by M.L. LeGette

"To say I loved this book is an understatement." --April Holgate

Terra by Gretchen Powell

"This could be your world... but it's definitely Terra's, and she navigates it with determination, and a longing for answers that makes her story engrossing and entertaining." --

After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers

"The book is just breathtaking from the moment you start till the moment you put it down." -- Amazon review

Entanglement by Dan Rix

A YA Dystopian Romance where every human is born with a soulmate, whom they meet on their 18th birthday...and the one boy who's the exception.

daynight by Megan Thomason

“Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story” --Kirkus Reviews
 “Gripping; page-turner” --BlueInk Review (starred review)

Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan

"The novel's take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans." - Kirkus Reviews

Giveaway Details
1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International).
Ends 4/15/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blue Hearts of Mars Book Tour: Guest Post

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.

Book praise: 

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." Amazon reviewer

"The main character, Retta, has a wry, funny sense of humor and is very entertaining. . . . I thoroughly enjoyed the images that the descriptions of the cities, the landscapes, moons, trains and other vehicles brought to life for me, they seemed so real to me that I could really visualize them. The book was hard for me to put down so much of the time, and I was sad when I knew it was ending." Goodreads Reviewer
Author Nicole Grotepas

Author Bio:
Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.


Every writer has a process that helps facilitate the act of writing and creating. This could be reading, daydreaming, watching TV to learn how to write dialogue or to figure out how a story arc works, and a number of other things. I thought it would be helpful to illustrate my process in a list (I love lists).

1. Write every day. It's like physical exercise—if I don't do it daily, I'll just stop altogether, because there's always a reason to not exercise (too tired; didn't get enough sleep last night; feeling bloated; coming down with something; something else came up; my cat looked at me funny; Ellen is on). Likewise there's always a reason to skip a writing session, so I don't give myself room to skip and then it's easier to never skip.  

2. Schedule the sessions. It's important to always have in mind when I will write so that I can mentally prepare. This should be a time when I know that interruptions will be less likely to happen, because for me interruptions inhibit the stream of creativity. And so I schedule writing sessions during my son's naptime. Oh sure, yeah, it's tempting to sit down and catch an episode of Dr. Who on Netflix instead. Or take my own nap. Or read someone else's book. And you can't blame me, because none of this stuff can actually be bad for me. Right? See number three for what I really mean about this.  

3. Keep my mind fresh with writing ideas. I'm obsessed with ideas, and I don't really see how a writer can't be, because a writer needs fodder. Delicious, scrumptious fodder. And that can come from Dr. Who episodes, other books, dreams (naps), conversations, or just driving while suffering from highway hypnosis and listening to music. This goes back to a common question I get as a writer: what inspired my books? Everything. I never know when something I learned once will come in handy. Ideas converge in my head and when I go looking for an answer for some problem that comes up in a story, there it is. The solution. In my own head. Waiting for me to find it. However, I have to write to make use of these ideas (see 1, and also see why I can't always give into what I mention in 2).

4. Create goals. The writing software Scrivener makes it easy to create word count goals and make deadlines—I put in a self-imposed deadline and Scrivener lets me choose what days I write and presto! It calculates daily word goals. It's like beautiful magic. Before Scrivener added this feature, I wrote my goals down in a planner along with other lists (did I mention that I love lists? I also really love crossing out tasks I complete). Three thousand words a day or whatever worked best for me. To start, I made my writing goals small, like 500 words a day. On the days that I get to two or three thousand, I'm pretty excited and I celebrate—with an episode of Dr. Who. Or a bubble bath. Or . . . well, really I don't celebrate. I tend to make my goals even steeper after that. I have a disease. It's called one-uppery. I compete against myself, even, that's how bad it is. I've never been a big goal-setter, but with writing, if I want to get anything done, I have to be. Otherwise the story tends to languish.

5. Mapping. Another thing I tend to do is I map out some aspects of my story. But I'm a mixed bag on this, because sometimes I have a story in mind before I start. Other books that I've written, such a Blue Hearts of Mars, come out of nowhere and I see where it takes me. I flesh the idea out as I go and do research parallel to my creative process.

6. Remain flexible. But I do that while sticking to my guns where it counts. Every writer is different and if other writers are like me, they have to be ready to roll with the punches. I do what I have to do to finish a project, even if that means putting a project aside for a time while I work on something else. Then I pick it back up later and finish it. Sometimes a novella or a short story is begging for attention. Do I give it attention and then resume my novel later? In today's rapidly changing market, authors need to be as flexible as a gymnast. As long as I keep working, I'm satisfied and happy with my achievements. 

Thanks, Nicole, for an awesome post. I always love to read about the writing process of other authors. And I LOVE lists!

Be sure to check out Blue Hearts of Mars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway