Wednesday, August 31, 2011 Jennifer Hurst

Publisher's note: Women and construction shouldn’t mix. At least, that is what the client, Mr. Blackwell, thinks when Twenty-one year old Julia Dayle Halstead is promoted to project manager to remodel a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse into a bed and breakfast. However, the schoolhouse contains a secret. And it wants out.

My review: Julia has spent her whole life surrounded by her grandfather's construction business. She knows the business as well as any man and when she is suddenly promoted to site manager, she can't wait to prove her worth. She travels to Torrey, Utah, a small town near Capital Reef National Park in eastern Utah, where she is in charge of  renovating an old schoolhouse into a bed and breakfast. Right from the start, the project is riddled with obstacles. Julia struggles to keep her cool as tensions mount. She hires Mathew Rigo, a handsome cowboy, who is head of demolition. Together they discover an old box with unique carvings hidden in the wall of the building. Soon, strange things begin to happen. The site is targeted by vandals, unexplained noises, and frightening disturbances, and as Julia's relationship with Mathew progresses, she is left wondering if he is really what he appears to be. This book was filled with romance, intrigue, and suspense. I liked the story line and I thought the plot made for a very interesting story. The characters were well developed and I enjoyed the descriptions of the area. I thought the end wrapped up too fast and I would have liked a little more closure, but overall, I found this novel a fun, enjoyable read.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome August Blog Hop...

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

On my blog, you can win a copy of my new book The Alias.

To enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Like my book on Amazon

3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things. If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!

Awesome August Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys
25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson

Friday, August 26, 2011

Snake Canyon....

As part of #100blogfest, I was asked to write a childhood memory.....

I spent the majority of my life in Emery County, Utah; a beautiful area with the mountains to the west and the majestic desert to the east.  My parents were avid outdoorsmen. My dad was a fisherman and a hunter. My mom loved archeology and she spent years volunteering at the local museum. Together they shared a passion for collecting rocks and fossils.  Needless to say, we spent the majority of our time outdoors. I have many wonderful memories of the time I shared with my parents and some of my very favorite recollections are the times I spent exploring the desert with my family. We often picnicked on the high ledges, we hiked the deep gorges, and we explored the trails and roads that weaved between the giant mesas and stretched across wide valleys. 

However, one “desert” memory stands out among the rest. When I was twelve, my parents took my sister and me camping in the desert for a weekend. We were hours from civilization. We'd spent the morning hiking, and decided to break for lunch before heading back to camp. The area was flat and desolate. The only shade was provided by sparsely growing junipers and stubby shrubs. Seeking better shade, my sister and I struck out on our own. We walked for a few moments and soon discovered a shallow gorge cut into the flat landscape. 

Curious, we explored the twisting ravine only to discover a beautiful, deeply-carved canyon below. Excited by our find, we raced back to where our parents rested and led them to our hidden gorge. We followed the ravine, and once we reached the bottom of the canyon, we were excited to discover ancient Fremont Indian petroglyphs carved into the stone ledges. I remember studying a coiled snake depiction carved into the stone and several trapezoidal figurines. The petroglyphs were unspoiled by graffiti, and hadn’t been riddled with bullet holes like so many other panels in the area.  High above the canyon floor was an old Fremont ruin built under an overhanging ledge. These ruins were called “Moki” huts. My parents were ecstatic. It was an exciting find. Deciding we still had a few hours of daylight left, we hiked further into the canyon, hoping to discover more ruins.  I ran on ahead, jumping from stone to stone. Then, just as I was about to leap from a particularly high boulder, my dad suddenly yelled. His voice filled the canyon, his hand closed about the neck of my t-shirt, and I was jerked, mid-air, to the side. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement and heard the unmistakable sound of a Great Basin rattler. 

 The snake struck the bottom of my boot as I was propelled through the air and I landed, startled, in a nearby cactus.  The giant snake coiled, and my dad quickly stepped from its path while my mother, sister, and I huddled together near the cactus patch. It took several terrifying moments, but he was able to scare the nearly 5-foot snake away. Later, after we’d all managed to gather our nerve, I asked him how he had known that I was about to land on a snake. He said he hadn’t known, but he had felt something wasn’t right and he had decided to catch up with me. Then just as I’d jumped, he’d noticed the snake, coiled and camouflaged beneath the rock. Amazingly, my dad reacted fast enough to save me from a deadly bite.  From that moment on, we called the canyon “snake” canyon (for obvious reasons) and it became one of my family’s favorite places to hike and explore. I learned a lot that day; I had a deeper respect for nature, and of life, and I knew a greater power had prompted my dad’s actions and had kept watch over me and my family.

*Written by Mandi Slack author of The Alias, fiction suspense, available on Amazon kindle for $3.99
To read my "Tornado" memory and others, visit  

These blogs are all about fun and sharing. Thank you for reading a
‘#100blogfest’ blog. Please follow this link to find the next blog in

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sleight of Hand...

Publisher's note: Is it possible to con your way out of hell? Fifty-two year old Daniel Cabrero thinks so and why wouldn’t he? That’s how he spent his entire life. But Jonah his spirit guide has reasons of his own for making sure Daniel pays for all the suffering and misery he’s caused others. Still sometimes people can change, even in hell. And maybe Daniel can keep his son from following the same path.

My Review: Sleight of Hand by Deanne Blackhurst is a story about a middle-aged man named Danny, who has led a very baneful existence. He is a con man and a thief. The story begins in the middle of a con gone wrong. Danny unexpectedly suffers a heart attack and dies. He is then transported to a place called "Wasteland" where he meets his spirit guide, Jonah. At first, Danny is impressed with "Wasteland". He is given everything he could have hoped for; his dream cabin nestled in the majestic forest, all the food and beer he can consume, and a comfortable spot to rest overlooking a beautiful lake. He is smug and very self-assured until he realizes that the food does not fill, the beer does not satisfy, and he is completely alone (except for Jonah). He soon learns that in order to leave "wasteland" he is required to pay for all of his sins and misdeeds. He is forced to feel the pain of those he hurt and swindled. Guilt, sadness, despair, and physical pain are emotions Danny never expected. As the story unfolds we learn more about Danny and his wrongdoings. We follow his journey of remorse and his spirit-battle to atone for his sins.

When I first began this story, I was immediately hooked. The story-line and concept of Danny's journey through "Wasteland" was intriguing and unique. It kept me turning the pages long into the night. Danny's story wasn't a happy story, but it was a story that made you think and reflect on your own life and misdeeds. I liked Blackhurst's approach and although the story countered my belief in the afterlife, I thought it was a fun book. Blackhurst's ability to vividly describe the landscape and accurately depict the particular mood of a scene was impressive.Some mild language was tossed in throughout the story, but overall, I found Sleight of Hand a very interesting read. This book is available through Smashwords.

To learn more visit about the author visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daughter of interview with Misty Moncur

I was always a very imaginative child. When I was young, a giant globe willow tree grew in our backyard. That tree was the portal to my creative world. I traveled to exotic lands, fought my way through dense jungle, conquered high mountain peaks, and won fierce battles with my trusty sword (a sword my dad fashioned from a stick) all from the comfort of my own backyard. The stories my mother read me fueled that creativity, and many of my favorite stories centered around The Book of Mormon and the heroic Nephite warriors. So today, I'm very excited to introduce Misty Moncur and The Daughter of Helaman

Meet Misty Moncur...
Tell us about your book.
Daughter of Helaman is a fictional story based on one of the best examples of faith in the Book of Mormon.  It is about a young Ammonite girl who wants to go into battle with her brothers and the boys from her village, the boys we know as the stripling warriors.  Keturah begins training secretly with one of the young warriors, and when Helaman arrives to lead the boys, she’s ready to show them all what she’s made of.
Daughter of Helaman is the first novel in a coming of age trilogy.  Personally, I think of it as a romance.  But it’s a romance that is not resolved in the first book, and romance is certainly not the only theme in the book.  It can be read as a religious story or just an entertaining one.  It will make you laugh, it might make you cry, and you (probably) won’t regret taking the time to read it.

What inspired you to write Daughter of Helaman?
One day while out with my mom, I was telling her I had come to the end of a writing project and wondering aloud what to work on next.  In that way mothers have, she simply said, “You ought to pray about it.”
Well, of course I rolled my eyes in that way daughters have, but I did it anyway, and within the next 24 hours this beautiful story came to my mind.  It was so familiar to me I actually thought I had seen the movie somewhere. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
When you first hear about the story, it sounds like one of those “girl power” stories.  You can definitely read it that way if you want, but there are a lot more themes running through it—both religious and coming of age. 
For example, in Daughter of Helaman, Keturah learns to recognize when the Spirit speaks to her, and in the next book of the series, The Stripling War, she learns to follow its promptings.  Her father’s weapons represent the gifts our Heavenly Father has given to us.  Ultimately, Keturah can represent each of us and the book can be read as a reminder that the war in heaven continues here on earth.

When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written.  I think most authors will tell you that.  I’ve always enjoyed it.  Grammar makes sense to me; it’s one of the few things that does!  Growing up I always kept a journal, and I think that is why writing in first person (like in Daughter of Helaman) comes so naturally to me.
And why?  The easy answer is that there is no other option; for me, it is either write or die inside.  But seriously, one of my high school teachers told me (a loooooong time ago) that I should be a teacher because he thought I had something to say.  Well, the teacher thing wasn’t going to happen (that is someone else’s calling, no way could I do it!), and I thought I didn’t have anything in particular to say.  But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that everyone has something to say, and everyone gets to say it in their own way.  Writing is mine.

Watch The Daughter of Helaman Trailer:

Do you see writing as a career?
I am just starting out, but yes.  There is no other one thing that makes me feel like myself.

Do you have any advice or tips on writing you would like to share?
What works for me is taking advantage of small increments of time, even five or ten minutes.  It all adds up.
I also voice record the entire manuscript a few chapters at a time as I edit them and listen to it over and over.  Nerdy, I know, but it helps me pick up on errors (like having someone walk away when they are supposedly sitting in a tree) and keep facts and details straight (it’s easier to store details in my head because if I have to look them up I get distracted reading the manuscript). 

What is your favorite hobby besides writing?
I’m laughing at you for even asking this.  Is there anything else?  Most of my favorite hobbies are related to writing.  I like to read and blog.  But I also like to play the piano and crochet when I have time, and I enjoy spending time with my family.

Thank you Misty for joining us today!!  To learn more about Misty Moncur visit Misty's blog today!

                                                             Purchase your copy today

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easy Easy Strawberry-Pistachio Muffins

One of my favorite past times is baking with my children. We like to chose fast, non-complicated recipes to cut back on stress and mess. And one of our very favorite things to bake is muffins. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do....

Strawberry-Pistachio Muffins          

2 boxes Jiffy Strawberry muffin mix
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
1 box of instant pistachio pudding (1oz)
Sprinkle some crushed nuts on top before baking and mm--mmm-good!!

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix muffin mix, eggs, milk, and pudding in a bowl. Pour mix into muffin tin. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Cool and enjoy!!

This works great for all the Jiffy muffin mixes. I've made chocolate chip muffins with chocolate pudding. Lemon-Rapsberry muffins with the raspberry muffin mix, a box of lemon pudding, and poppy seeds.


Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Sherry Gammon, author of Unlovable. Immediately, I was drawn to Sherry's sweet personality and as I learned more about her and her new novel, Unlovable, I was intrigued. Unlovable, the first novel in The Port Fare series, is a coming of age story, filled with intrigue and romance.

Meet Sherry Gammon....

 Tell us about yourself.

I am first and foremost a mom. It is the best job I have ever had, and the hardest! I began writing when I was 11, poetry. In college, I took a writing class and was hooked!

When did you first start writing Unlovable?

Three years ago. I wrote it in 2 months, then I spent a year or two rewriting/editing it.

What inspired the story? 

Unlovable was loosely based on two girls I knew growing up. It was a way for me to deal with their difficult lives.

 Is there a theme or moral that the story tried to convey? 

never, Never, NEVER give up!

Author Sherry Gammon

What is your favorite part of a book and why? 

The ending… because I LOVE happy endings!

What is your favorite hobby besides writing? 

Taking pictures! I'm not very good, but I love doing it and messing around with Photoshop!

How did you develop your characters?

I gave most of them a character trait of mine so I could relate to them better, then tried to think of people they reminded me. I would ask myself, "What would so-and-so do here."

Thank you for the interview!! And don't forget to check out Unlovable today. Available on Amazon kindle for only $1.99!!

                                        Purchase your copy today

Monday, August 15, 2011

All that was Promised

Publisher's note: An encounter with a Mormon missionary and his unusual message of a "restored gospel" leaves Richard Kenyon, a young Methodist minister, questioning his life's work when he cannot deny a growing testimony of this peculiar American religion. But Richard soon finds himself struggling to recognize the promised blessings of the gospel when violent persecutions shakes the fledgling Church in Wales.

My review:
Set among the rolling hills and lush greenery of Wales, All that was Promised is a novel that clearly depicts the trials and persecutions faced by early converts to the Mormon church. Richard Kenyon is a Methodist minister, who lives a humble life with his wife, Leah. They are happy and content with their lot, until one day, Richard happens upon Ben Lachlan, a Mormon missionary. Touched by Ben's message, Richard seeks to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Leah is stunned by her husband's willingness to accept Ben's teachings, and when her husband enters the waters of baptism, she is terribly confused. As the story progresses, Leah begins to feel the stirrings of the spirit and she is deeply touched by the miracles she encounters. She struggles with feelings of doubt and fear, but soon, she can no longer deny the truth of the gospel. However, affliction is quick to follow. Robert Kenyon, Richard's wayward brother, is angered by his brother's choice to join the Mormons. With the help of an evil man bent on driving the Mormon converts from the land, the townspeople are stirred to riot. Persecution is rampant and you are touched by the steadfast faith of these new saints.

When I first received this novel, I was immediately impressed by the stunning cover art. I enjoyed the story and Vickie Hall proves undeniable talent in her ability to vividly describe the setting and characters. Hall's obvious knowledge of the history of Wales and the era in which this novel took place is enlightening. At times the plot moved a little slowly, however, I thought Vickie Hall's first novel was a great read, especially for those who love early Mormon History.  I give this novel 4 out of 5.

To learn more visit or her blog at
To purchase your copy today, check out All That Was Promised

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Huber Hill and Dead Man's Treasure...

Summer is nearly at an end, and with fall fast approaching, I can't think of a better time to stock pile fantastic reading material for those long winter months. As a child my favorite thing to do was curl up under my warm blankets with my favorite flash light and read amazing stories of adventure and intrigue long into the night. I was captivated by lost treasure, brave explorers, and dark, mysterious caves. That is why I'm very excited to feature B.K. Bostick today, the author of Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure! Dead Man's Treasure is set to be released in October and I can hardly wait! 

Welcome B.K. Bostick....

Tell us about your book-

Huber Hill’s best friend is his Grandpa. When he passes away, he’s devastated until he opens up a box left behind for him. Inside are these stacks of old journals, letters, and an old Spanish map that leads to a place called Tesoro de Los Muertos (Dead Man’s Treasure) along with a mysterious gold coin.  Huber ventures off with his sister and friend to discover this long forgotten, Spanish treasure. Unbeknownst to them all, a sinister Spaniard by the name of Juan HernĂ¡n Salazar shadows their every step and will do whatever it takes to find and take Dead Man’s Treasure for himself.

*100% profit from pre-orders and book sales between October 1-16 will go to Treasure for Alyssa                                                                        

What inspired you to write Dead Man’s Treasure?                                      

My Grandpa did. He always told me wild tales about Spanish treasure hidden up in the Rocky Mountains by the Spanish. He was sick when I knew him, so we never were able to search together. However, his stories stuck with me and I figured this would be a great way to keep those stories and legends alive.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That no physical treasure or amount of money is equal to lasting relationships with family and friends.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved to write. When I was in third grade, my teacher used my paper as an example of plagiarism (only I didn’t plagiarize). I took it as a compliment. Since then I’ve written a lot of short stories, but Dead Man’s Treasure  is my first full length novel. The second book, Huber Hill and the Brotherhood of Coronado will be released next October (2012).

Do you see writing as a career?

Probably not. If it worked out to where I could write full time, I can’t imagine any job I’d enjoy more, but I really enjoy my day job, working as a teacher mentor for Western Governors University.

Do you have any advice or tips on writing you would like to share?

1)      Show, don’t tell. I had a great editor tell me that most authors fall into the trap of telling instead of showing. In other words, if I need to tell you how a character feels, then I didn’t do my job as a writer. Write what you know- use your own experiences and memories to perk up a narrative.
2)      Know your audience- Do you have a specific person you’re writing for? Know what age, gender, and crowd your writing appeals to.

Visit my book's site at-

Check out the fundraiser I'm doing for a very special girl-

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Conversation With An Artist....

While browsing a museum or gallery, have you ever stopped to admire an ancient writing such as Greek, Chinese or Arabic? While you are unable to read the language, do the style and artistic lines appeal to you? And even though you are unable to read what is written, you understand there is meaning, emotion, and expression behind the artistic symbols and lines. I believe that abstract art is much like this. You may  not always understand the meaning or emotions behind a particular piece or collection, but the lines and style communicate a certain energy that appeal to each individual on a personal level. Each piece is unique and expressive. Like realism, these paintings can inspire intense feelings of peace, anger, sadness and joy, and can often become the inspiration for a story, song or poem. So today, I would like to feature Jared Slack. I hope you all enjoy the interview...

1.     Where do you work? Do you work from life, photographs, or from imagination?
      I work from home. I have a room set aside as my studio. It has large windows, and beautiful views. I also have a cd player in my room so I can listen to music or books on cd. I have a lot of different ways I work when creating paintings. Usually for my landscapes, I work from pictures, but for my abstracts, I work mostly from my mind. I will often start my abstracts thinking about a specific place, at a specific time of day. I will think about the light, the sound, the colors, the smells, and about how it feels. As I paint, I let the painting talk to me and tell me what it needs. I do that by taking breaks, where I just sit and look at my paintings and react to what I see.
2.     Describe your art?
      I mostly do oil paintings in a modernist tradition. That means I am interested in my materials and letting them show, as well as letting my thought process and the way I work show. It is kind of like craftsmen architecture, where the architects wanted to show off the way the house was built by the craftsmen. I love oil paint and the different things that you can do with it. It can be transparent or opaque. It can be flat or build texture. It is a very flexible paint. I also love color. Color is very enriching, and is one of the main tools to create a feeling in the work. Finally, my work is spiritual. I am looking to make my viewers feel something when they look at my art. It is not about a story or a visual subject so much as a feeling. This is much like instrumental music, where the composition and the notes cause one to feel and understand the piece.
3.     What technique do you use?
      I am a direct painter. That means I work quickly, mix colors both on my palette and directly on the painting, and don’t add a lot of layers. I like the freshness of this technique.
4.     What is your favorite thing to paint and why?
      I love working abstractly because it gives me a lot of freedom. I am influenced by water in all of it's forms. I grew up on or in water. I was a competitive swimmer and played water polo in high school and into college. I also spent a lot of time in canoes with my dad. I have always enjoyed clouds, especially in the severe storms I see here in the Southeast and the Midwest. My paintings are formally influenced by water or clouds, because I love their fluidity and beauty.
5.    What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
The two most important influences in my art are spirituality and the landscape. They are very interconnected to me. I feel closer to Deity when I am in nature, more so than at any other time. Since I was a small boy, I have spent time camping and hiking. My Grandpa and Dad taught me to respect nature and showed me the beauty of it. I see God’s handiwork all around me.  I feel the awesome grandeur of the landscape, in all it’s different moods.
        As far as art movements go-- I am most influenced by early and mid 20th century Expressionism, which attempted to express inner ideas, such as personality and spirituality in their portraits, landscapes, and abstract works.
6.       How important is the subject matter to your artwork?
      Some people would say that my abstract work doesn’t have a subject matter, but that is completely untrue. Subject is important in my work, but often the subject is color, design, or a feeling. If artwork doesn’t have some sort of subject to act as a framework or a guide, it ends up meaning nothing. It is just a messy jumble of visual garbage.

Thank you, Jared. I've enjoyed the interview and don't forget to visit Jared's virtual art gallery today. It is a visit that you shouldn't miss. View more paintings and discover the inspiration behind the work @