Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sharp Edge Of A Knife by D. N. Giles

Following is a copy of the review that I wrote on February 12th.

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 they had missed their bus and would have to wait outside in the frigid weather. This book will make me rethink my actions.

INTERVIEW with D. N. (Nichole) Giles - Author of Sharp Edge Of A Knife and co-author of the book Mormon Mishaps and Mischief

Q: How much research did you have to do to write Sharp Edge Of A Knife?

A: I started out with a handful of newspaper articles and about two pages worth of journal accounts from my grandpa, and somewhere in the mix there was a court subpoena. From there I called the police departments involved, but because the case was so old –fifty years–they referred me to the national archives in Denver. From there, I was able to get someone to help me track down the case and all the evidence and court documents. Interestingly, the knife used in the kidnapping, as well as some of the other evidence, is still there, and will remain there forever. Or at least, that’s what I’m told.

Q: What else did you do?

A: I did some more digging and tracked down one of the kidnappers. I wrote him a letter, asking him about the situation, and not really expecting a response. So, I was completely shocked when a week later this guy called me and talked to me on the phone for about an hour, telling me his side of things. He was very remorseful and teary. Very apologetic. It was probably the most profound conversation I’ve ever had.

Q: Is there anything else that no one has asked you, that you want to make sure everyone knows about your book?

A: If you look at the cover--really close--there are watermarked newspaper articles in the background. Those are the actual, real articles that I dug out of my grandma's basement in the beginning of my researching stage. Also, the full articles are printed on pages at the end of the book, including a real-life family picture.

Q: Was this an easy book to write or is it easier to just sit and let things come out of your head?

A: No, it was very difficult to write. You'd think that because I already knew what happened before I wrote it that it would be easier. But it wasn't. Because it's based on a true story, I felt so much more obligated to stick to facts and how things were, and how they happened for real--even if something seemed way off base to me. I think the hardest part was writing the beginning.

Q: Thinking about the writing that you have done, which has been the easiest? And which has been the hardest book to write?

A: There is no answer to that question, really, because there is no such thing as easy writing. And every project I've worked on has had different levels of difficulty and different challenges. My young adult fantasy is right now my biggest challenge, but only because I've rewritten it about 15 times. My other two books are already finished, so looking back, I don't always remember problems and issues that made me want to quit. But I will say that when it comes to producing the finished product, Mormon Mishaps and Mischief took the most dedication and work.

The Sharp Edge of a Knife is a completely different project from Mishaps, and from my YA book, and was so difficult when it came to research. I had to track down a kidnapper! And the court case is fifty years old. Even the national archives people were stumped for a while. So yes, there were definite challenges. But in the end, it was definitely worth it.

So there you have it. A non-answer. None was the easiest because there's no such thing. They've all been hard work and completely frustrating. And I loved working on all of them.

You can read the first chapter of this book at her website,
This book is great and I would encourage everyone to attend her official book launch promotion this coming Saturday, March 27th from 1-3:00 pm at Eborn Books in the Provo Towne Center mall in Provo, Utah.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cleansing of America

W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006) was a popular teacher, lecturer, and author in the United States for over 40 years. He spent the majority of his life researching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the U.S. Constitution, the founding of America and writing several books and articles on the topics. He wrote this book in 1994 and it is now being published for the first time. It deals with what has caused our country to come to a state of moral degradation. Skousen discusses what both modern and ancient prophecy tells us will happen in the last days.

I’m fortunate to be one of those chosen to review and blog about this book prior to its release on April 1st. Books are available for pre-order with a 10% discount, on the Valor website, People who pre-order will receive their copies at least a week before the book hits stores.

Included in the book are the events and stages the Lord has predicted, through his servants, and the winding-up scenes of this world. It helps the reader understand: the nature of prophecy, the known chronology of prophetic events, and the importance of staying close to the Lord and his prophets during the difficult and challenging years prior to the Second Coming. We are fast approaching those prophetic events. Some are upon us even now. Skousen points out that if we are prepared and obedient, we need not fear these events, but should embrace them for the blessings they will bring.

We all hope that we might someday qualify as a steward in a Zion society, but the probability is that not more than one out of ten of us will make it unless we undertake additional preparations. This is a powerful book, and one that I want to encourage all my family and friends to read. It has certainly changed my life and the way I think, and act.

One of my favorite parts was in the seventh chapter, “Developing Godly Qualities For A Zion Society.” One of my favorite founding fathers was John Adams who was familiar with the bible and knew what it would take to set up a country under God’s laws. He said:

“Suppose a nation in some distant region, should take the BIBLE for their ONLY law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited.

“Every member would be obliged in conscience to temperance and frugality and industry, to justice and kindness and charity towards his fellow men, and to piety and love, and reverence towards almighty God.

“In this commonwealth, no man would impair his health by gluttony, drunkenness, or lust—no man would sacrifice his most precious time to cards, [TV?] or any other trifling and mean amusement—no man would steal or lie or [in] any way defraud his neighbor, but would live in peace and good will with all men—no man would blaspheme his Maker or profane his worship, but a rational and manly, a sincerely and unaffected piety and devotion, would reign in all hearts.

“What a paradise this would be.”

I agree with John Adams, and I honestly can’t even imagine what it would be like to live where this is possible. I wish I could trust people to not lie or steal from me. I would love to live in total peace.

This book has made me stop and think about the way I’m conducting my life. I know that I’m not good enough to live the law of consecration, but if I work hard, I think I can be ready. Included in the book is a long list of commandments that we all need to follow. If we follow the counsel given to us by our prophet, and other general authorities, as well as our local priesthood leaders, we will be guided in knowing how best to prepare for the days ahead.

When I find an author I trust who has written about the things I hold dear, such as the LDS gospel, the founding of America and the U.S. Constitution, I can hardly wait to read what they have to say. I loved this book from the first page until the very end. I wanted more and I’m glad that Valor Publishing has agreed to publish more of his books.

This book provided all the references, as well as discussion questions, at the end of each chapter. I’ll be glad to have my copy of this book nearby as a constant reminder of what I need to do to be ready. All that I can say is – this book is for everyone. You need to read it now, not next month or next year, but NOW!

Monday, March 22, 2010


I would like to pay a special tribute to my parents - Robert Ellison and Elva Emily Koyle Smith. They have both passed on to live with their Heavenly Father. Today would have been their birthday. They shared the same birth date. My father was born five years before my mother and they chose to be married on their special day seventy-one years ago today.

These two people raised me in the LDS church and taught me to obey the commandments. They always taught me the difference between right and wrong. I was given many opportunities and they always looked out for my welfare. I could not have asked for more loving parents. These are the two people that I owe my life to, and I will cherish my memories of them for many years.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Am I Not a Man and a Brother?

Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story
By Mark L. Shurtleff

I won this book last fall in a writing contest, Call For Freedom. The author is amazing and I enjoyed the book he wrote about a man who would not rest until he found justice and freedom in the courts. Although I’ve read many books about slaves, I had never studied about this man before. I strongly believe in his crusade for equal justice for all.

Mark made the characters come alive. I could almost see them as they walked in the cotton fields and rode riverboats on the Mississippi. Tears actually slid down my face as I read the account about the cold steel of the shackles closing around his wrists and ankles.

If I had to choose a section of the book that I liked best, it is Part XI – Once Free, Always Free. It covers the period from 1840 to 1850. The song – Am I Not a Man and Brother? - touched my heart and once again I shed some tears. Many people came forth and helped this man gain his freedom.

It’s sad that Dred didn’t live long enough to know that his courage led to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. This true story is one of courage, love, and friendship that eventually lead to freedom and equality for all men. If you love history as much as I do, you’ll enjoy this book.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Office Box Giveaway

The Office Box was created as an addition to the line of incredible scrapbooking furniture The Original Scrapbox has to offer, such as The Workbox and The EZ View Craft Desk.

Cindy Beck is hosting a preliminary giveaway with some awesome prizes: $10 gift card, plus a 20% discount on any of her books or on books that feature her non-fiction stories: Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors, Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, or Mormon Mishaps and Mischief.

You can enter to win her prize and on March 16th, She'll announce the winner who will then go on for the grand prize drawing of The Office Box and a copy of Wrong Number by Rachelle Christensen.

For Giveaway Rules click on my sidebar under Cindy Beck Write Up My Alley and you'll be able to read her blog about this great contest.

Besides Cindy Beck, there are 24 other blogs participating in this giveaway. Each blog is giving away a preliminary prize and a chance to win an entry into the Grand Prize Drawing. Here's the list of blogs where you can enter:

The Mommy Files
Cricut Christmas
Little Birdie Secrets
Priscilla Styles
Mommy Mandy
Alvor-Dare To Dream
Diony George
Heather Justesen
Queen of the Clan
Scribbled Scraps
Anne Bradshaw
Rachel Rager
Tristi Pinkston
Cami Checketts
Nichole Giles
Wendy Paul
Marilyn Bunderson
Ronda Hinrichson
Christine Bryant
Ali Cross
Jenni James
Annette Lyon

Please go to each and everyone of these blogs and enter their contest.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Thorn

Daron Fraley is having a contest – when you see the rules below you will know why I’m doing this. Of course, you should also do it, but if you don’t then I’ll have a bigger chance to winning.

Contest #1, running until Midnight on Thursday, March 11th: The Prize: A personalized copy of “The Thorn” book one of “The Chronicles of Gan” by Daron D. Fraley, AND a $25.00 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Winner will be chosen randomly ( and announced on Saturday, March 13th.

TO ENTER CONTEST: Spread the word about THIS post in the following ways:

1. Blog – worth 5 entries: Blog about this contest and link back to it. Then see #5 below.

2. Become a Networked Blogs follower – worth 3 entries: Find the “Networked Blogs Followers” section in my sidebar, and click FOLLOW THIS BLOG (it is after the Virtual Blog Tour section, please scroll down to find it). Then see #5 below.

3. Become a FAN on his Facebook Author Page – worth 3 entries: Daron D. Fraley, Author. Then see #5 below.

4. TWITTER – worth one entry for EVERY TWEET: Follow him on Twitter ( @DaronFraley ) then tweet the following text: Win a B&N Gift Card AND a book by @DaronFraley #thethorn #giveaways #contests #authors #books
To be a valid TWITTER entry, all characters after and including @DaronFraley must be present (i.e. @DaronFraley #thethorn #giveaways #contests #authors #books ). You may change the text before my ID, as long as you stay under 140 characters.

5. For all entry types, please contact him at, and tell him that you have done them. He doesn’t want to miss those entries! Please be sure to leave him a link to your blog post when you comment! That doesn’t sound too hard, but the reward sounds fantastic. Daron, please pick me.


The Stranger She Married, is an excellent mystery and romance story. One by one, it seems that someone is out to kill Alicia’s entire family. One evening she escapes a fire, and another night kidnappers try to snatch her. This well written book, by Donna Hatch, will keep you turning pages to see what will happen next.

Although I thought this book was good, there are several bedroom scenes that some Latter-day Saints or others may find objectionable, and that I would have preferred she had left out of the book. Other than a few paragraphs this is a great book, and one that every mystery and romance reader will love.

Monday, March 8, 2010

LDS Ghost Story

I purchased the book, Haven Haunts, from the author, Joan Sowards, while I was in Arizona. It's about a young single woman, Callie Wilford, who inherits a century-old inn in southern Arizona. She doesn't believe there is a ghost although several people tell her that one guards the inn that she wants to turn into a bed and breakfast. She meets a handsome cowboy and a charming rancher, and soon finds her heart in danger.

This book captured my attention from the first page and held it until the very end. Joan has a unique way of combining the supernatural with suspense. There was plenty of mystery, and romance. Just when I thought I knew what would happen next, she did an amazing twist throwing me in a different direction. If you love a good mystery and romance this is the book for you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

ANWA Writers Conference

Last Saturday, in Mesa, Arizona, the keynote address, "What's Holding You Back?" given by J. Scott Savage. If I had only attended this one hour presentation, my trip there was worthwhile. I liked the idea that he focused on the positive as he told us to get rid of the I can't in our life, and to not compare ourself to others.

J. Scott Savage also gave a class presentation about getting an agent. I also enjoyed a presentation by Pamela Goodfellow who told us that a rejection is just a redirection. She challenge us all to convey to our reader what we mean. Another presentation I enjoyed was by Nancy Turner. She encouraged us to use all of our senses as we write. She also gave us several tips on editing our own books.

I was glad I took the time and spent the money to go to this writing conference. It was worthwhile to me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Son John

Not long ago I won a book, My Son, John - written by Kathi Macias. I finished it last night, and it was a quick read. I would recommend it to anyone that is struggling with a family member who has not always followed the path you would like.

When Liz Peterson’s mother is beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, struggle to make sense of the attack. The police arrest their son John for his grandmother’s murder. Their Christian faith is tested, and stretched to its limits. Can God’s grace bring healing to a family torn apart by a brutal crime?

Kathi Macias weaves an outstanding story about the worst kind of betrayal a mother can ever experience. This is a beautiful story about forgiveness and an unconditional love that surpasses understanding. Most readers will experience a roller coaster ride with their emotions of love, grief, mercy, doubt and faith as this family’s world is turned upside down.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Award

Thank you Rachelle Christensen for this award. I do believe this isn't the first time I've received this, but that okay.

The recipient of this award (me) is challenged to list 7 things about them that readers may not know and then pass the Kreative Blogger award on to 7 other blogs (YOU) the person enjoys reading. I’m starting to think that the number 7 isn’t so lucky any more.

Here are the seven thing -
1. I collect other things – not just fairies.
2. One of those things I collect is pirates.
3. I just purchased a new fairy to add to my amazing collection. Now, can you guess what kind I bought?
4. Every year I catch a bug – the traveling one. Check back here in July to see where I went this time.
5. I have hand fed a kangaroo.
6. I don’t like raccoons that rub against my leg.
7. The sound I hate the most is a pig being butchered.

The lucky 7 people are -
1. Ida Mae
2. Jane Still
3. Marsha Ward
4. Valeria Ipson
5. Joyce DiPastena
6. Sheila Staley
7. Tina Scott

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Anything For Charity

This book was written by one of my friends, Sara Fitgerald. Yesterday she sent me her book trailer. The link for the book trailer is - I hope you enjoy it.

Anything for Charity is both entertaining and romantic. To launch her career as a reporter, Charity Smith must write a story about a shy billionaire, Ryan Foster. Ryan's heart was broken when his young niece died of cancer. Now he dresses up like a clown and performs charity work at the local hospital. The last thing he needs is a reporter invading his privacy, but the moment he meets Charity and her scowling teenage brother, he finds himself falling head over heels in love with her. Soon he wonders if he will anything for Charity?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cleansing of America

During March, I have been asked to review a new book that is being released in April. It is a book written by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen. This great man spent the majority of his life researching the gospel, the U.S. Constitution, the founding of America and writing numerous books and articles on the topic. He is one of the most well-known, respected defenders of America and the gospel the world has ever known. I know I'll enjoy this book as much as his other works.

If you are interested in owning this book you can reserve your copy of Dr. W. Cleon Skousen's, Cleansing of America now by ordering from Valor Publishing. You will receive a 10% discount if ordered before April 1, 2010. Price: $19.95 ($17.96)

Watch my blog page later in the month for my review.

Monday, March 1, 2010

St Patrick's Day Book Giveaway!

Suko at Suko's Notebook is giving away a copy of Linda Weaver Clarke's first book in the series, Melinda and the Wild West (US/Canada).

You can read Suko's review of the last book in this series, Elena Woman of Courage, by clicking on Suko on my side bar under my bloging friends. You'll need to leave a comment on Suko's blog and help spread the word.

Contest deadline: 5 PM PST on Sunday, March 7, 2010.

Good luck.