Monday, June 27, 2011

"Oh dear" GIVEAWAY

          July is coming and Summer is finally in full swing! With the 4th of July, Heritages Days celebration, camping, and family picnics, we are planning on staying very busy. July is also a big month for our family! It's my anniversary, my mother's birthday, and July 8th marks the 3 month anniversary for my new book The Alias. I've decided to celebrate by featuring a short excerpt from The Alias and offering a fun little GIVEAWAY!!!
Jacey relished the taste of her warm, buttered muffin as she sat in Helen’s cozy kitchen. She had never tasted muffins made from scratch. She was afraid between the cookies, bread, and other treats Helen was preparing, she would be waddling by the time she and Blaze left. Pushing down her sudden guilt, Jacey swallowed the last bite and reached for another.
“These are heaven,” Jacey commented between mouthfuls.
“I’m so glad you like them. I invited Kale over to have some, but he said he’s too busy with the farm and all his paper work. He’s got another business trip next week. I’m so sorry you haven’t had a chance to meet him yet,” Helen commented, bending down to place a pan of bread dough into the oven.
“Oh, I met him,” Jacey replied. “He found me exploring the barn.” She tried to keep her tone neutral, but as far as she was concerned, Kale was an arrogant brute. Jacey wasn’t sure what she had expected, but she certainly hadn't been prepared for the way he'd treated her and she was, more than ever, determined not to let another man intimidate her again.
“Well that’s fantastic,” Helen replied cheerfully.
“Can I help with anything?” Jacey asked quickly, hoping to change the subject. “I’m not much of a cook, but if you show me how, I’d love to learn.”
Helen smiled. “Well, if you want to, I suppose I could use the help. Have you ever made bread?” she asked.
Jacey shook her head.
 “Well then, I’m going to teach you. Nothing tastes better than home-baked bread.” Helen smiled, turning into the pantry to pull out another sack of flour.
Jacey joined her in the kitchen. “I have to admit, I’ve never baked anything that didn’t originate from a box."
           “Oh dear,” Helen breathed.........

So... I am giving away 2 boxed "Oh dear" muffin kits!! I've never made muffins from scratch, but I love baking! One lucky winner will receive a Raspberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Kit, and another lucky winner will receive the Strawberry-Pistachio Nut Muffin Kit!!  Just follow one or all of the 4 easy steps listed below to enter and I will announce the randomly chosen winners on July 8th!! (If you complete all 4 steps, you get 4 entries!!)

1. Follow me on Facebook (+1 entry)

2. Follow this blog (+1 entry)

3. Share with friends(+1 entry)

4. Leave a comment(+1 entry)

And follow along for more random, sort-of-crazy Giveaways each month!!

Check out The Alias @ Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deseret Book or a Book store near you!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Mom, I'm A Man Now...."

My husband and I have always had a long-standing disagreement when it comes to how old our children need to be before they can safely enter a public restroom without  parental supervision. I'll be the first to admit, when it comes to allowing my children out of my sight while in public, I'm a tyrant and my answer has always been an absolute, no-arguing, "NO!" However....while shopping today, my 6 year-old son needed to use the restroom. Normally I take my children in the family bathroom, but today it was occupied. Trying to save some time, I moved toward the women's restroom. When I realized that he was no longer behind me, I turned to find him hovering near the door..... His little mouth was twisted into a thoughtful grimace, and then he looked me, ever so solemn and said, "Mom, I am a man now, and mans use man toilets. I can't go in here." Now how do you argue with that solid bit of logic? So in honor of my boys'leap into manhood, I've posted this song to help them celebrate!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Simple Blessings

Lately, things have just seemed hard. This year I've really struggled with the changing dynamics of my family and my life in general. I have struggled with the loss of my mother, and it has been heart-wrenching to watch my father suffer. I feel lonely. I've lost my very best friend, and it's hard knowing she is no longer just a phone call away. I would give anything to hear her voice again.

Not only has this year brought separation, it has brought a whole melange of health problems. I've been "diagnosed" with everything from RA to Early-menopause to Pre-diabetes, with no real answer in sight. I've always been a very healthy person and this new world I find myself in is often times very difficult to accept. As I was contemplating all that was "wrong" with my life today, a song popped onto the radio. I don't know the title of the song or even who performs it, but I immediately felt as though its simple, yet profound, message was meant just for me.

The lyrics, "Whenever life gets so hard you're barely hanging on....keep hanging on.", touched me. Through all of the trials and heartache this year has brought, I feel closer to my Father in Heaven than I have at any other time, and I am grateful for the simple blessings in my life. I can feel His presence and I know that He has not left me to face these new challenges alone. There are times when I'm stubborn and refuse to acknowledge His hand, but I know that He is there, still blessing my life. He sees the bigger picture, and I am reminded that we don't know His plan. Our job is to keep faith, and with faith comes hope. And hope is what keeps us hanging on.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meet Chas Hathaway....Author of "Marriage is Ordained of God, but Who Came Up with Dating?

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting author Chas Hathaway. Immediately, I was impressed with Chas's multifaceted talents and cheerful personality. Chas is both an author and a talented musician. A collection of sheet music, including original works and new arrangements of familiar hymns and inspirational music, can be found HERE. Not only does Chas find time to compose music, he has also written Giraffe Tracks, a true account of an LDS Missionary in Post-Apartheid South Africa, and his first industry published book, Marriage is Ordained of God, but Who Came up with Dating?, a humorous guide to help you succeed in dating. I really enjoyed getting to know Chas Hathaway better.

What inspired you to write your first book?
When I got home from my mission to South Africa, I couldn't shut up about how cool it was. I think I probably wore my family out for a few weeks telling them everything. It wasn't until after I got married and had been home a few years that I toyed with the idea of writing the story of my mission in a novel-like format (at the time I didn't know what a memoir was). By the time I finished the first draft, I was so in love with writing that I had already started two more WIPs, one of which was an early version of  Marriage is Ordained of God, but Who Came Up with Dating? , which will be my first industry published book.

What books have most influenced your life?
By far, the scriptures and words of the living prophets have had the greatest influence on my life. I suppose that's why my first books have been LDS nonfiction. I do enjoy YA, as well, especially fantasy, speculative fiction, mystery, and historical.

What are your current projects?
What aren't my current projects? I'm working on another LDS nonfiction book on scripture study, a YA sci-fi adventure, a MG fantasy, a family history memoir, and an LDS doctrinal book on the second coming of Christ—and a few other ideas mulling around in my head.

Did you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I've got a long way to go before it can be a full-time job to support my family, but that's the goal—with writing music as a co-career.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I had a favorite author once, but I've discovered so many awesome ones now that I can't narrow it down. It's just not possible. I do really like Chris Heimerdinger, James Dashner, Gerald Lund, Rick Riordan, JK Rowling (yes, I'm a Potter fan), and like 50 others.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Tons. First, that it's possible for anyone with a love of writing to write a book. Second, that writing a book is a fabulous experience. When I first thought about writing a book (Giraffe Tracks), I was terribly intimidated, thinking it would take twenty years, and I had no intention of ever publishing it. It was lifetime project, intended for posterity. But by the time I finished it four years later, I was kind of sad to be done. I didn't want to stop, even though the story was over. So I continued writing more books. Writing is almost as fun as having the experiences about which you write. You might say writing is the safe way to have an adventure, and when you're writing fiction, the writing becomes an adventure of itself. You become attached to characters, and feel much of what they feel. It's something of a voyage of discovery, and even after I write the book, I feel like one of the audience, wondering what's going to happen next, or what's going on behind the scenes.

Thank you, Chas, for stopping in today! 

Pre-order your copy today!

You can visit Chas today at 

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Dad, My Hero....

With Father’s Day drawing near, I’ve been contemplating many of the wonderful memories I have of my own “daddy” and I am amazed how blessed I am to have such a wonderful man for a father. As a child, I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t think my dad was the strongest man in the world. I can remember placing my small hand in his and finding comfort in his sturdy arms. He was my hero. He protected me, comforted me when I was afraid, and I always knew I could count on Dad to get me out of the awful scrapes I sometimes (usually) found myself in as a reckless tom-boy.
My dad was a hard worker. He worked in the coal mines for years and I was always enthralled with his coal dust-covered lunch pail. I loved to imagine what it would be like in the belly of the mountain. In my youth, I didn’t realize what a tough, back-breaking job this was. I hadn’t realized just how hard he worked to support his family. The coal mines were also very dangerous and he miraculously survived several accidents. Not only did he survive, my dad was also responsible for saving lives. He took care of his crew and he always made certain those men he was in charge of were safe before he left to save himself. I never realized what a risk he faced and what a courageous man he was. I’m just now beginning to understand.
When I was 8 years old, the coal mines laid off for a time and our family struggled to stay afloat financially. Work was hard to come by and Emery County came on hard times. My dad knew he had to support his family. My mother was diabetic and funds were short. He joined the Army. He was 30 years old and I can remember clearly the day he left for boot camp. Those were hard times for our family and I recall how much we missed him. After boot camp and AIT, my dad sent for us and my mother packed our belongings, sold our home, and we flew to Germany where we were finally reunited with our dad.
The days we spent in Germany were wonderful. Our family had many adventures and I remember viewing the castles and palaces from atop my dad’s broad shoulders. Then, not many years later, Desert Storm took my dad away once again. He left for war on Christmas morning. Our family woke early that morning to open gifts, and then we drove our dad to the base. We watched with tear-filled eyes as he left for the Middle East.
Our hearts broke that day. War was something that I did not understand, and as I watched the news with my mother, fear for my dad weighed heavy on all our minds. It was a very dark period in our lives. The Gulf war had a profound effect on all those living in Germany at the time as well. Terrorist attacks against Military bases in Hanau and Frankfurt were frequent, and more than once our school was evacuated for bomb scares.
 Our high rise apartment was also targeted, and I remember spending the night in the school’s gymnasium, huddled on military blankets. My mother kept us entertained with books and games while we snacked on Vienna sausages and fruit rolls. I will never be able to hear bomb sirens without shuddering. My mother’s bravery and strength during this time still leaves me in awe.
My dad was gone for nearly a year, and I can clearly recall the day he returned. His homecoming is one of my very best memories. I was 11 years old, and my mother had just stopped to pick us up from the baby sitters house. We were driving home, when suddenly my mother began to sob. She pulled to the side of the road and I watched her jump from the car. My sister and I were dumbfounded. For a moment I thought my mother had finally lost it, but then, we saw him. My dad, still dressed in his desert BDU's, was walking down the road. Just off the plane, he’d come to find my sister and I. We hadn’t known he was coming home that day. We hadn’t known he was coming home at all. Words cannot describe the joy I felt as our family was once again reunited. My dad had come home.
To this day, I don’t fully understand what my father experienced during this almost forgotten war, but I know he suffered emotionally for the carnage and destruction he saw, and the scenes from the frontlines still haunt him today. Not only does he suffer emotionally, but now, his body suffers. Many of the troops near the front lines were exposed to chemicals, and today, my father suffers from an illness termed “Gulf War Syndrome”. It is a disease that has wreaked havoc on his strong body, and it has been very hard to watch my dad struggle with such intense pain.
When the Gulf War ended, our family returned to Utah. My dad was once again employed in the coal mines, and despite his physical pain, my dad worked long, difficult hours to support our family. In the last few years my mother became very ill. I watched my dad take care of my mom. His unconditional love and his genuine kindness to my mother touch me in such a profound way. I simply do not have words to express. Their tender touches, loving embraces, and their sweet words will forever linger in my mind. Until the very end, my dad never left my mom’s side. His devotion is the greatest example of love. My dad is my hero. I love him, and still, I take comfort in his strong arms.
                                I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.                 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Interview With Michael Young....Author of The Last Archangel

Last week, I had the privilege of attending a workshop for Cedar Fort authors, where I was able to meet an amazing group of writers.  Among that group was Michael D. Young, author of The Canticle Kingdom and the long anticipated The Last Archangel, which is set to be released July 14th. If you haven't read The Canticle Kingdom, then I'd highly recommend it. And if you have, then I'm sure your eagerly awaiting The Last Archangel. I truly enjoyed meeting Michael Young, and I’ve recently had the opportunity to interview him about his latest book and his career as a writer. Michael is a cool guy with a great sense of humor and I was excited for the chance to chat with him. If you like what you've read today, check out his Blog to learn more about his action-packed books. You can also visit Archangel for a sneak peak of The Last Archangel. 

Tell us about yourself…  I’m a very busy man, and very blessed. I design German courses for a language learning company during the day, and divide my time between being a writer and a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at night.  I also have a wife and two great sons who are a great support in all of this craziness.
I grew up with eight younger siblings and with a military father who took us all over the country and the world in the course of his career.  I think some of the things I write about come from the stories I told my younger siblings and the many places I’ve been.
I came out with a YA Fantasy “The Canticle Kingdom” last year, the inspiritational pamphlet “Portrait of a Mother” in March, and I’m releasing a YA Urban Fantasy “The Last Archangel” next month.  

What inspired you to write your first book? I have been an avid reader and storyteller my entire life.  One day in high school I just thought, “I could write a novel.  How hard could it be?” The answer turned out to be “pretty hard”, but over the course of the next year, I managed it anyway.  It was about a time-traveling man who feels responsible for the death of his brother and travels back in time to save him, only to find out when he returns that his wife married his brother instead of him.  (Crazy!) That one has never seen the light of day, but it was great to prove to myself that I could do it.

What are your current projects?   I’m working on several things: an epic fantasy, in which everyone is required to wear a mask 24/7, a book based on the Jaredites journey in the Book of Mormon, and revising a number of young adult and middle grade projects in various stages of completions. 

Did you see writing as a career?  That is my goal, but I’m sure it will still take some years to realize it. If I could just write and promote all of the time, I’d be a happy man.  I feel very blessed that I’ve already gotten my foot in the door and have got to do such author-ly things as signing books at bookstores, and participating on panels at writer’s conferences.  I’m not quitting my day job yet, but in the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to build my writing career.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?  I don’t know that I can say that only one is my favorite, but one of them is Orson Scott Card.  It strikes me how versatile his writing is.  I’m always discovering new things that he has written, and they always break out of the mold somehow.  That’s something for which I would like to strive in my writing.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?  I think writing any book is a great learning experience for the author. Among the things that I learned were that you can always improve you’re writing, no matter how well you think you did.  I also learned that you can’t please everyone.   You simply need to write what you are passionate about and then have the courage to share it with others, realizing that some will embrace it and other reject it.

Thank you so much, Michael, for the interview! I had a lot of fun!

Check Out: The Last Archangel coming July 2011 

Xandir has been exiled to earth until the end of time. But when his cherub trainee disappears, Xandir makes a deal with rogue angels and giants that could restore life to the mortal woman he loves and end his assignment as a destroying angel in exchange for helping them bring about the end of the world and all of mankind.
                 Purchase Your Copy Today                                                   

Friday, June 10, 2011

Father's Day Sport Berries

With Father's Day fast approaching, I've been brainstorming ideas for something awesome and unique to make for my husband. I stumbled on Sports Berries. I can't wait to make these....

Things you'll need:
Fresh Strawberries
White Chocolate bark
Dark Chocolate bark
Orange food coloring (to create the basketball)
White-Gel squeezable frosting
Red-Gel squeezable frosting
Brown-Gel squeezable frosting

To create the Baseball berries: Melt white chocolate bark over low heat. Dip strawberries. Place on waxed paper to dry. Then decorate with thin-tip red frosting.

To create Basket Ball: blah, blah, blah, you get the drift....just take a peek at the pic and there you go!

I doubt mine will turn out as good as these, but it's the thought that counts....right?                  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


When it comes to computers and technology, I'll be the first to admit, my grandmother knows more than I do. My husband, however, is a technological expert. He programs for a living and I have to say, I'm amazed at his abilities. So, when you get the chance, please check out the awesome book trailer he's made for my new novel The Alias.                                    

                                                             The Alias Book Trailer (Click Title)


Monday, June 6, 2011

Tide Ever Rising...

When I was a young girl, my mother volunteered at the local museum. She loved Native American History and our family often accompanied the museum on the various archaeological digs in the area. I grew up digging in the dirt, finding artifacts, and learning about the people who once inhabited the amazing San Rafael area. My parents also spent many hours working at the museum, and my sister and I kept ourselves entertained while exploring the back rooms and playing among the artifacts and displays. The Emery Pioneer Museum in Castle Dale, Utah, was a magical place and its unique and creative displays sent my young imagination into overdrive.
            As I grew older, my mother became fascinated with the old ghost towns in the area. We spent many weekends as a family exploring abandoned mining towns and searching for relics among the brick ruins. These are by far some of my best memories. My father, who is a coal miner, would often bring my sister and I into the old mine shafts to explore (this is not something ANYONE should do unless they are with someone who knows and understands coal mines and safety). I was certain the sound of the wind through the rotting wood pillars and damp shafts were ghosts come back to haunt. These trips we went on as a family instilled within me a great love and respect for the Native peoples, stalwart pioneers, and the early settlers in Utah.
            I’ve recently finished a new manuscript and this love of “anything old” inspired the story. 

Kadence Reynold's favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns. When she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt "Kadie" as she learns more about the keeper of the journal, Charlotte Clark. With her curiosity and good humor intact, Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family. She travels to Bremerton, Washington, where she discovers Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family.  Little does anyone know, the journal contains secrets that will plunge Kadie, Maysha, and Adelaide's family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns……  


Thursday, June 2, 2011

EASY EASY Lemon-Raspberry Poppy Seed Muffins

As many of you know, I've recently started work on another novel. When I write-- I eat...a lot. I'm not sure why. I just enjoy food while I pound out a new manuscript, I guess. So today, I've created a brand new recipe that I just had to share.


2 boxes Jiffy Raspberry muffin mix
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
1 box of instant lemon pudding (1oz)
1 1/2 TBS of poppy seeds

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix muffin mix, eggs, milk, pudding, and poppy seeds 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. Strawberry-Pistachio muffins with the strawberry muffin mix and a box of pistachio pudding. Sprinkle some crushed nuts on top before baking and mm--mmm-good!!