Monday, December 10, 2012

Help Give Faces to My Characters?

This is Ember Shandae, though she doesn't wear jeans in The Wolfchild Saga. Her name in real life is Kaitlyn and she was one of my young women until she grew up and went to college, but she gave me permission to use her face to represent one of my main characters.

I always pick faces first--except in this series. Or I have chosen faces, but they have changed over time, so now I'm begging for your help. There are too many beautiful faces to choose from. If you have read The Sapphire Flute, it shouldn't be hard to tell me which face fits the character you read about for two of the characters. The third character is only in The Armor of Light, but I will take anything I can get. Please help me!

I'm going to post the pictures under a different tab and put voting stuff there. Every picture is numbered. Just tell me which one fits best in your eyes and help make my decision a little easier. It will also make it simpler to keep the characters consistent throughout the remaining books.

Thanks for your help! Just look for the tab above that says "vote for faces!"

P.S. I couldn't get the polls on the same page as the pictures so they are on the sidebar.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's My Annual Christmas Sale!

It's that time of year again! Time to renew whatever traditions your family carries, but I have noticed that most of those traditions have one of several things in common: gifts!

Now, most of you know, or at least would assume, that with my being a writer I am a big promoter of literacy, and that brings me back to the point of this blog.

I'm having a sale! Everything I've got has been marked down to make Christmas a little easier for everyone.  AND (thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful friend Konsantz) you may also pre-order copies of The Wolfchild Saga: Book 3-The Emerald Wolf, and The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard: Attack Of The Zombie Roadkill. For your pre-orders, I will mail out a beautiful gift certificate to give your loved one so they have something tangible to hang on to until I mail out the books, both to be released in 2013.

I am also opening up a few more spots for anyone who wants to buy a place in one of my books. I have openings for seven adults and five children in The Wolfchild Saga: Book 4-The Amethyst Eye, also to be released in 2013, and space for fifteen children OR adults for The Misadventures of a Teenage Wizard: Attack of the Zombie Roadkill. They make an awesome gift! You will have your spouse, your sibling, your child, your best friend--whomever you choose--eternally memorialized in a book. You can even make it fun and say "turn my crazy brother into a nutcase." They may be good or evil characters (your choice) or just plain weird. In some cases they may even be of another race. It's a heck of a lot of fun, both for the reader and the writer (me!).

All books will be autographed and include matching posters, bookmarks, and buttons-and you just never know what else I might toss in the bag.

If you want something EXTRA special, I've got the very last five hard-cover, original copies of The Sapphire Flute, autographed and numbered, for sale. Hard cover is always more expensive, but they sure do last longer!

And very last, I have fourteen mugs with my book covers and autograph on them. Something a little extra special for hot cocoa on a cold day.

I'll post the purchase links below and please, if you are confused, have questions, or just want to say "hi!", please send me an e-mail at the address listed in the contacts section. I always love hearing from you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


                                           Pre-Paid Books (Gift Certificates)

Become a Character!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: Nightingale by David Farland

Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories. 

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards.

Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.  Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

Those who have followed my blog over the years know my daddy died when I was only four. I was raised by a single mother who gave my younger brother and I all the love she could, because most of the time that was all she could give us. Love and time. There wasn't a lot of money to go around but somehow we managed. My mother could pinch a penny until it screamed for mercy.

You may wonder what any of this has to do with this book review of Nightingale, but it has a point, I promise.

When I was a teenager, barely nineteen years old, I got the most awesome present ever--at least it was awesome  for a poor half-orphaned girl who didn't have much.

I got money, and a lot of it. Five beautiful, brand new twenty dollar bills were found in an envelope beneath the Christmas tree and I was ready to run to the store in my pajamas to purchase things. New and wonderful shiny things, but a very specific thing. Despite my mother's admonitions to not spend it all in one place, there was only one place I wanted to go. It wasn't for new sweaters or jeans. It wasn't for jewelry or a makeover (I was a massive tom-boy). No. I wanted one thing and one thing only.


(Do you see where this is going now?)

Now think about this. It's 1989. Paperback books are anywhere from $2.99 to $3.95 for the most part. Maybe $4.50 for a really thick book. So, say I took my $100 dollars and spent it all on $4.00 books. Do you know how many books that will buy? Twenty-five books. Seriously. TWENTY-FIVE BOOKS! I was in heaven. I picked up the entire Belgariad series by David Eddings. I purchased a book called The Earthlords by Gordon R. Dickson. I got Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series (all 13 books)--and I got a book called On My Way to Paradise by first time author Dave Wolverton. Of course I got others as well, many of which I still have, but Dave's book really stuck with me.

Fast forward fifteen to twenty years and I went to LTUE (a writing conference for Sci-Fi and fantasy lovers.) It was the first conference I'd ever been to and I was a bit nervous. I didn't know what I was doing as a writer, just that I loved to write and wanted to learn more. I went into a panel. I couldn't tell you what the topic was now, but sitting on that panel was an author by the name of David Farland, whom I had heard of, but hadn't read yet.

As the panelists introduced themselves, David Farland introduced himself as David Farland OR Dave Wolverton, depending on what genre you read.

I about fell out of my chair. THAT was a name I knew and loved! It turned out that David Farland writes fantasy and Dave Wolverton writes Science Fiction. They were the same person! Who knew? Evidently everyone but me!

Anyway, when I was approached about reviewing this book, I'll admit to having a bit of an elephant tromping about my belly. I was nervous! Review one of Dave's books? Really? I mean, he's DAVE WOLVERTON! How was I supposed to give an honest review on the work of one of my literary heroes?

Well, I shouldn't have been afraid. Nightingale was every bit as good as On My Way To Paradise and The Runelords books were. Actually, it was phenomenal. I love the direction he is taking e-books, in particular. The interactive book is A-MAZ-ING! The story is fantastic. The imagery is vivid. The characters believable. The world is one I want to live in myself! Add to that all the horrifying stories about foster care and adoption, learning trust when all you've known is pain, and the fragility of emotions--well, having adopted two sons through the foster system, it was painful, and honest, and hard to read, but oh, did I connect with Bron!

So, the best I can do here is say, thank you, Dave, for all the years of letting me live in your awesome worlds, for writing books that are REAL, despite the fiction label, and for encouraging a newbie from afar to never give up the dream.

What others are saying:

"Superb worldbuilding, strong characters, and Dave's characteristic excellent prose."
--Brandon Sanderson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"A wonderful tale of a young man trying to find his humanity, even though he's not quite human.  One of Farland's very best!"                                                   --#1 International Bestseller Kevin J. Anderson

Now, everyone, go out and buy this book!
KINDLE: Amazon
NOOK: Barnes and Noble
IPAD: iTunes

You can find Dave at

Monday, July 16, 2012

Poem for the Hard Times

An empty vessel
A clay pot
A canning jar
A sailing ship
A vein
All void of substance
A shell that holds
But a ghostly mist
Of what could have been
And I
Like those empty vessels
Am drained
A desiccated husk

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Review: Motherhood Matters by Connie Sokol

I think I'm going to be a permanent fan of Connie and her books, which is a bit odd for me as I usually don't read non-fiction. The author has a way of getting into the heart of things and making them easy to understand and definitely easy to relate to.

The description itself is intriguing:

Motherhood Matters: Joyful Reminders of the Divinity, Reality, and Rewards of Motherhood
COMBINE HOMEWORK, dishes, laundry, and carpools. Add in the unexpected, subtract time, and repeat daily until well beaten. Sound familiar? It's a recipe for Motherhood Madness. But life doesn't have to be this way. Find the cure in Motherhood Matters.
THIS DELIGHTFUL LITTLE VOLUME, filled with wit and wisdom, presents a straightforward look at the divinity, reality, and rewards of being a mother. With clarity and concision, Connie E. Sokol shares inspirational messages that will fit famililes everywhere on the road to a better way of life.
WHETHER YOUR CHILDREN are preschoolers or teenagers--or preschoolers who act like teenagers and vice versa--this book is guaranteed to help you find memories in the mayhem and treasures in your to-do lists. Fresher than flowers and without all the guilt of chocolates,Motherhood Matters is the perfect gift for the women in your life who give so much.
I read this book one morning in an hour or two, enjoying each moment and truly relating to the message she shared. There was some wonderful advice on talking to your kids that I needed later that night--when the police showed up at my door in regards to one of my children. 
So, the best I can say is, "Thank you, Connie! You helped me talk to my son and get through a very difficult situation, and I didn't even want to strangle him." ;) 
To purchase Motherhood Matters, (and I would strongly recommend it), Go here

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This incredible flautist is Rhonda Larson. She is my inspiration for Kayla in The Wolfchild Saga. Every time I think of Kayla playing The Sapphire Flute, I hear Rhonda, so I thought I'd give everyone a treat and let you hear what I hear.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

An experimental Book Review: Retirement Quest

So, my husband is the money guy in our household. I spend it, he saves it. He's pretty darn good at it too. Used to be, he'd get money for his birthday and put it in the bank, so when Tristi asked me to look at this book, he came to mind right off the bat.

Unfortunately life took a few twists that have made it difficult to get him to write this review, and thus, me being the writer of the family, I am doing it for him based on our conversations about this book.

A bit of info about Retirement Quest from the back:
"RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions was written by a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner who has been counseling clients since 1992. Drawing from his twenty years of experience, John Hauserman has developed a unique ability to communicate complex financial subject matter in easy to understand terms. Readers are guided through the basics of financial planning, while threads of politics, history, and psychology are woven together to create a tapestry of deeper understanding into the financial planning world. Complete with hard hitting insight into the practices and sometimes abuses of the financial services industry, John has created a masterpiece designed to help those responsible-minded investors who are seeking to avoid common planning mistakes."

Now Gary (my husband) has gone back to school in the past year or more to get his CPA and MBA. This is the guy who used to tutor calculus in college and teaches teens how to do advanced mathematics and bring their grades from F's to B's. He just thinks in math. (In case you're wondering what a math lover and a writer are doing together, we both have a passion for music that transcends earth.) This book has been totally up his alley and he is already putting some of the things he has learned into practice.

A few of his words when I asked him about the book: "It's awesome! It makes me look at retirement in ways I never did before." "Yeah, I'd totally recommend it to anybody. The concepts are easy to understand and he does a good job with the writing." Unfortunately, being the man of few words that he is, that's about all I could get from him. So--I'm not sure if the experiment was a success or a failure, though if this book helps our future as much as Gary seems to think it will, I'll consider it a success, no matter how little writing he did. What can I say? I love the guy anyway. :D

Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: A Woman's Power by Fay A. Klinger

I have found so often that the Lord brings things into my life when I need them most desperately.

This book is one of those things.

At the end of chapter two, I read the following:

“Live up to the great and magnificent inheritance which the Lord God, your Father in Heaven, has provided for you,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley. “Rise above the dust of the world. Know that you are daughters of God, children with a divine birthright. Walk in the sun with your heads high, knowing that you are loved and honored, that you are a part of his kingdom, and that there is for you a great work to be done which cannot be left to others.” (Color changed for emphasis)

I will admit, I've felt rather powerless and worthless in many aspects of my life for several years now. Many of you know that my children were adopted from a difficult situation and dealt with multiple types of abuse. They are good children at heart, but struggle so much with certain impulses that at times I've wondered if they would end up going on missions and making a difference in the world, with all the good I see in them, or if they would end up in jail, having given in to the temptations that seem to drive them.

That's pretty hard on a mom. I know their problems are not my fault. Not really. In my head I know that, but sometimes I forget. I forget that I am supposed to be a writer and a teacher and feel as if I fail there as well.

Well, according to Fay Klinger and President Hinckley, that simply is not true. I am not a failure.

This book outlines a path to belief in ourselves and our Heavenly Father, and gives us tools to grow closer to him and become empowered through HIS power. It was very enlightening. Though designed for women, I think many men would benefit from this book as well. Truth is truth and remains genderless.

I'm not going to give you a full account of what this book is about, because I want you to read it for yourself and gain the power that only God can give. It is definitely from an LDS perspective, but I would imagine that most Christians would benefit from the reading and would have no trouble wading through the things that differ slightly from their own beliefs.

This book touched me--it moved my soul in ways I can't even begin to describe, and for the first time in ages, I feel a spark of power within me. I can do this. I have a calling that no one else has--several of them, actually--and it is time to fulfill them.

Thank you, Fay. This book was beautifully written with wonderful stories, interpretations of the scriptures, and words of counsel to put me on a path of understanding. You've got two thumbs up from me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: Targets in Ties by Tristi Pinkston

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Tristi Pinkston and her Secret Sisters Mysteries are laugh out loud funny!

Three elderly women: leader, Ida Mae Babbit, who's constantly looking for the best cookie to serve for any occasion; cranky sidekick Arlette, who seems to be constantly knitting; and the ever bubbly (and slightly ditsy) Tansy. And then there is Arlette's sleuthing journalist granddaughter, Eden, and Ida Mae's nephew, Ren (whose name Tristi TOTALLY stole from editing my books! Sorry, Tristi, the secret is out! lol) What's not funny about three sleuthing little old ladies who used to be the relief society presidency until they were released for breaking a few laws in their efforts to do good for the sisters of their ward? (Whew! long sentence!)

Targets in Ties is the fourth book in the series and as fantastic as the previous three. Here the women go to Mexico to to pick-up Ida Mae's nephew, Ren, from his mission and run into trouble while they are there, and of course they have to solve the crime. They can't help themselves. It's just the way they are.

I won't ruin the story for you, but I will say that Tristi Pinkston is one
of my favorite writers. She's funny, breaks my heart, and makes me feel as if these wonderful characters are my real friends (I don't know what that says about me, but it's true.) If you haven't read the series yet, start with Secret Sisters and work your way up. I can guarantee you won't regret it. This isn't just funny, it's laugh out loud in public funny!

Tristi, you're my hero. I hope someday I can grow up and be a writer like you!

As a bonus, Leave a comment on this blog post, and go and visit Tristi's blog at and become a follower. You will then be entered to win this fun scrapbooking pack, including paper, tags, two decals, and metal tag frames. You have until midnight Mountain time on March 3rd to enter to win.

You can purchase Targets in Ties at the following locations:
Most likely your local Deseret Bookstore

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: Become by Ali Cross

I've been putting off this review for a while. Not because I didn't like the book, but actually, the opposite. I loved it so much I've been savoring the reading of it like my favorite European chocolate.

Become is the story of Desolation Black, the daughter of Loki or Satan, who has been sent to this world to do her Father's bidding and turn those with the potential for great good to the dark side. (Sounds a little Star Wars-like when I say it that way, doesn't it?) Fortunately for her and her soul, that is not what happens.

Desolation, or Desi, is a fascinating character, full of conflicting emotions and a journey of self-discovery like none other. I love the integration of Norse mythology with greek myths and Christian beliefs. It was done very well and in a subtle enough way, that I was not at all offended, though I am Christian, and I actually embraced the mythology as believable. That is the sign of a very good writer.

Now, I'll admit, I read early drafts of this book as Ali is a good friend of mine, but she didn't make me like it, and she, of all people, would know that I can only be honest in what I like and what I don't. She's the same with me. Believe me. I just got feedback from her on some of my work, and she's big on tough love.

So, knowing that, let me be honest with you: Become is now on my top ten list of favorite series of all time, right up there with Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, and Mercedes Lackey.

Yes, Ali is that good.

This is the only book I have ever read that when I finished, I wanted to immediately turn back to the first page and start reading again. It is one that will be well read and cherished. As a matter of fact, I wish I could get it in hard back, as I know my paper versions will disintegrate shortly. Thank heavens for my kindle!

Ali, your book is magnificent! Thank you for an awesome escape in a time I needed it most. And any of you out there looking for an entertaining, well written story, please give Become a read. I'm pretty sure you won't regret it.

Purchase Become at:
(Paper copies)--Amazon


I just got the cover for book three of The Wolfchild Saga, and I must say, I am in love! It turned out even better than I'd imagined. Thanks to Deirdre Eden Coppel for being such a fantastic artist!