Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Undaunted – The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers

by Gerald N. Lund

I just complete reading this book last night and decided I should post a review of what I thought about it.

This is a true story of a group of Mormon pioneers who undertook and completed what many thought was an impossible journey. This time, they were not running from persecution or trying to find a place where they would have religious freedom. Some of these people had a successful business, or a well-established farms, nice homes, and they were enjoying a good life. Why then did they leave? They believed that the call was from the Lord and it was necessary for the safety and good of the entire community. Each one of them thought it was the right thing to do.

After seeing what lie ahead with the Hole-in-the Rock, a former handcart pioneer, Jens Nielson said, “We must go through, even if we cannot.”

And, that is exactly what they did. There is plenty of adventure, romance, and sacrifices in these 800 pages. The pioneers sacrificed much to go on the San Juan Mission.

The Hole-in-the-Wall Pioneers had to face many problems. I enjoyed reading the details of each of the hardships they endured as they built a way through the Hole-in-the-Rock, blasted out perilous trails over slick rock and through desolate cliffs as they made their way through the Cottonwood Hill, Grey Mesa, The Chute, Slick Rock Hill, Clay Hill Pass, Salvation Knoll, and many others. Some of the cliffs were treacherous and difficult to get around. The slick red rocks and clay hills made it hard for the animals to get their footing, and still pull a wagon.

I agree with G. N. Lund. It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read adventure stories along with romance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear Lucky Agent Contest

Today I learned from my friend Darvell about a middle-grade/young-adult first page contest called the "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest. I love contests, and decided to submit the first 200 words from a couple of my middle-grade novels. He tells me that one of the requirements to enter is to tell others about the contest.

You don't have long, because the contest ends on Sunday, February 21. Of course, if you choose to not enter, that gives me a bigger chance to win. If you want to enter, all you have to do is go to the following link for details.

( or

Don't Wait, DO IT NOW!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Sharp Edge of the Knife

Today I want to tell you about a new book coming out by my friend Nichole. It is available on Amazon now and because it's such a good book you may want to order it today.

This suspenseful story is amazing. Make sure you have plenty of time to read because once you start you won't want to stop. I promise you that this book will keep you turning pages right until the very end.

When Mel Petersen leaves for work on the morning of February 7, he has no idea what awaits him. A few miles from his house, Mel picks up a pair of young men who appear to be college students, hoping to prevent them from having to walk in the cold. What Mel doesn't know is that the men are actually convicts on the run from the law who are desperate to get away by any means necessary. When one of his passengers holds a knife to Mel's throat, he has no choice but to submit to the demands of the criminals. Mel hopes he has what it takes to talk his captors into letting him live so he can return to his wife and children, but fears they will kill him before he has the chance. Based on a true story, The Sharp Edge of a Knife follows Mel and his captors on an unforgettable ride that will have you questioning the depth of your faith and sitting on the edge of your seat as it grabs your attention from the first sentence and keeps you riveted until the very end.

Many times I've stopped to pick up someone because it was cold or I saw that they had missed their bus and would have to wait outside in the frigid weather. This book will make me rethink my actions.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Contest

As most of you know, I love contests. I'm going to tell you about one - although I hate to do it - because if you enter it then it takes a chance away from me.

It's a contest to kick off the release of "Secret Sisters," the first installment in, "The Secret Sisters Mysteries."

Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low and she learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods, well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

I can hardly wait to read this book, even if I don't win it, I will buy it because I love the author Tristi Pinkston. I've read all her other books and enjoy all of them. I wanted to post a picture of the book, but I couldn't find one.

To get details about the contest you will have to go to

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mormon Mishaps

Today, I'm going to be a part of a blog tour for the humorous book, Mormon Mishaps & Mischief by D. N. Giles and C. L. Beck. At the end of my blog I will tell you how to win a $20 Gift Card to Barnes & Noble!

This book contains about two-hundred short stories, and it’s a quick read. One thing I like about this book is you don’t have to read the entire thing at one sitting. After one short minute you can put it down, that is if you want to. I didn’t want to and I read the entire book in just a short time. While preparing a talk for church, if you’re looking for something short and humorous this book will help. Almost anyone would love to receive this inexpensive gift for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

I am including three short anecdotes that I really liked.

Swimming Stress by D. N. Giles
At the baptism of a family member, six-year-old John became overly agitated when the divider was opened and the full baptismal font was revealed for all to see. When his mother south out the reason for his distress, he cried, “I didn’t even bring my swimming suit. Why didn’t you tell me they had a pool at the church?”

The Plea by C. L. Beck
Tired of sitting, a bored little girl began fidgeting and acting up during sacrament meeting. Seeing a potential for disaster on the horizon, Mom picker her up, tucked the youngster under her arm- with the little girl’s head sticking out behind-and got up to leave. As they hurried down the aisle, the little girl’s impassioned plea to the congregation trailed behind, “Save me! Somebody please save me!”

Read Your Scriptures by C. LaRene Hall
At stake conference, a speaker told how one night his daughter didn’t want to stay in bed. He firmly told her she had better not get up. Soon, he and his wife heard the youngster asking for a snack. Her mother told her no and tucked the girl back into bed with another warning to stay there. She soon returned, holding a paperback Book of Mormon, and said, “But what about Mosiah 4:14?”
The speaker looked at the children in the congregation and said, “The scripture reads, ‘And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry.’ I want you all to remember this scripture because you might need it someday.”
When the next speaker spoke, he said, “I want to do something similar. Will all the young women stand? When your dates pick you up, I want you to tell them this scripture. It is Mosiah 13:3, and it says: ‘Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me.’”

Click on my sidebar where it says Giles/Beck and you can read a fun blog by the girls who put this humorous book together.

I asked both of them to do an interview with me.

Question – What inspired you to put this book together?

Beck – I love humor. I love to hear people laugh, to say things that make them laugh (although I'm not very good at being a stand-up comedian) and because of that, I'm always ready to laugh. Which means when something funny happens in church, I'm one of those who gets the giggles. It seemed to me to be a shame for so much humor to take place in the LDS culture and for it to be lost once people moved onto the next event in life, so I started writing down the funny things I saw happening. And it's my hope that people's spirits get a lift when they read the stories.

Giles – I love to laugh, and it occurred to me at some point that Heavenly Father does too. It gave me a whole new outlook on church meetings or activities and why they can often be so enjoyable--spiritually, emotionally and physically. If your stomach aches when you get home, you know you've had a great time.

Question – Will there be a sequel?

Beck – Let's hope so, because I need to pay some bills. Oh, you didn't mean for that reason? Okay, well, I already have copious notes and I'm sure Nichole does, too. And we have about 20 stories already sent in by contributors, so that's all there is to it. There has to be a sequel.

Giles – We're ready to write one as soon as the publisher gives us the okay.

Question – I notice you each have several short stories in this book. How did you come up with so many humorous things?

Beck – Observation, my dear Watson. Or is it dear Sherlock? At any rate, my ward sacrament bulletin is usually scribbled full of notes by the time church is over on Sunday, because people do and say the funniest things. For example, the other day during Sacrament meeting, a mom sent her little girl to the bathroom to get some TP, probably to blow her nose. The next thing you know the little girl comes running down the aisle in the chapel, with a long ...
Well, I'll save the story for the sequel, and you can read about it then. (Sorry Connie, I know you hate not knowing the full story. :)

Giles – I either witnessed them all, or had close family members or friends who were party to the stories. The truth is, I have a tendency to find humor everywhere. The trick was figuring out how to share it.

Question – How long did it take you to put this all together?

Beck – Hmm, I hope Nichole's answer and mine match here. Maybe we should have put our heads together before answering this one, huh? I'd been collecting stories for some time, but once we decided to write Mishaps, it took about 6 months to get all the contributors stories edited, our stories written and edited, and the manuscript ready for submission. From there it took almost a year and a half or so ... but it felt like ten ... to go through the publishing process.

Giles – From the original idea, to writing proposals, accepting stories, putting the book together, editing and finally publication--about two years. However, now that we have it down, the next one shouldn't be nearly as long of a process. I hope. Thanks Connie, for the interview and for contributing so many stories to the book. This has been fun.

Now for the good news – GIVEWAY

Giles/Beck will have a giveaway for a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble for one lucky tour commenter. How do you enter to win? Each time you leave a comment here telling me about what you did, I will enter your name in the drawing.

1. For your first entry, you can become a follower on my blog, and leave me a comment. If you’re already a follower leave me a comment telling me.

2. Post about my blog and this contest on Twitter or Facebook.

3. Blog about this contest and link back to my blog or the Mishaps website or humor blog.

4. Leave a positive review on Amazon, Deseret Book, Goodreads, or any other book-reviewing site – then leave me a link.

You may enter as many times as you like for the prize drawing. Just remember to always leave a comment here so I can keep track of all that is going on. You need to do this soon, because the drawing closes on Feb 19 and they will announce the winner on Monday, Feb 22.

You might want to check out the other stops on this blog tour, and maybe enter the drawing on their blog as well.

Feb 5th Rachelle Christensen
Feb 6th Ronda Hinrichsen
Feb 10th Cathy Witbeck
Feb 11th Dan Olsen
Feb 12th Danyelle Fergusen

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two Writing Conferences in February

I’m excited about two writing conference during February. The first one, Life, The Universe & Everything, (free) takes place next week from Thursday, Feb 11th until Saturday, Feb 13th.

I’ve been the past two years, and I’m looking forward to next week. I won’t be able to go to everything, but from past experience, I know that I’ll gain some inspiration from attending, and I’ll be more enthusiastic about my writing. For some reason I need this motivation to keep me going during the blah winter months.

At the end of the month I’m real excited about the ANWA Writer’s Conference, that is being held at the Best Western Dobson Ranch Inn in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, February 27 from 8 am until 5 pm.

I’m registered, have my airplane flight reserved as well as the room at the Inn. J Scott Savage is one of the speakers and from other times I’ve heard him speak, I know my time won’t be wasted. I’m counting the days.