Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review - Defenders of the Covenant

  I’m not a big fan of Sci-fi but the first chapter of Angie Lofthouse's Defenders of the Covenant pulled me in because of the characters. I was curious about the reason McKenzie’s relationship had changed with Hannah and it made sense when it was revealed. I also liked that Hannah didn’t share Derek’s interest in her. Imperfect characters with their own set of problems.
  The world-building was interesting and the use of ‘overskins’ especially effective. I found the pig-like aliens a mixture of too bizarre and familiar for my taste. This probably won’t bother those who read alien stories.
  Lofthouse weaves complex storylines together with plenty to keep track of without becoming confusing. The reader gets to follow four main characters in their separate adventures that mostly reconnect. I did wish for some of the scenes to show more current action rather than using summary. I wondered if this was to cut the word count of a 365 page book.
  The target audience is fairly specific and unique, to my knowledge. LDS young adults and up who enjoy sci-fi will especially like this book. I’m pleased to see the LDS fiction market broadening. You can find out more about Defenders of the Covenant, including reading other reviews, or about the author at or

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Call For Votes and Book Launch

  I don't usually do a mid-week post but I'm calling you to action to vote for my essay (and possibly any other two you'd like) by May 2. I am one of 15 finalists in the "Our Town Essay Contest" and the judges are requesting votes to determine 3 winners for an Apple Ipad. You can go to to read the essays and/or just vote. Mine is also posted Here from my March 26 post.
  What do you look for in an essay? I would say that it is similar to fiction in that you need to feel emotion from the message. Sometimes an essay is meant to spur the reader into action because of this emotion. That's probably number one. I tried to do this through sensory description. I used food and neighborly themes because of the sponser. Essays also need to flow, make sense, and make a point. Hard to do in 200 words. In this case, no rules were specified except the 200 word limit and main topic. When that happens, you never know what to expect, but I'm pleased with the favorable results and hope for your support.
  I also want to get the word out for Josi Kilpack's new book, Daisy. This companion series idea has intrigued me since I learned of it. It would be so fun to write companion books with writer friends. Daisy is the second book with Julie Wright's Olivia already out. Two more will follow. Can't wait to read these. Go to for more info.
  The Launch party for "Daisy" will be on Saturday, April 28th from 1:00-3:00 at the Fort Union Deseret Book Store in Salt Lake City, Utah. Julie Wright will be there signing copies of "Olivia" as well and we'll have cookies--Rolo Cookies, to be exact. The recipe was featured in Annette Lyon's cookbook "Chocolate Never Faileth" and is also included at the back of "Daisy".

Monday, April 23, 2012


I’m sharing a personal message today.
My heart is full. We enjoyed a family celebration in honor of my ‘caboose’, who leaves soon on a mission. Rich blessings have trickled in since my husband’s layoff, allowing his participation in important events such as care of our son after heart surgery. Miracles occurred in both diagnosis and recovery. Now the floodgates have opened and a new adventure begins. The story is much too long and a summary feels inadequate. I wouldn’t call this poetry, but indulge me in a few words to capture a measure of my emotion.

Saying goodbye is made easier
when care is entrusted to the Lord.
Son leaving for missionary service,
gone for two long years
just as husband’s new job, new city appears.
After eighteen dry months,
manna from heaven.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Housekeeping Revisions

  Whose ready for a good spring cleaning?
  The cleaning lady came last week to put the final polishing touches on my manuscript. Armed with a delete button rather than a broom and dustpan, she got rid of extra words without mercy. If there was an “even” or a “just” it got swept away faster than nimble Jack could jump over the candlestick. The maid even found a couple of “started to” phrases. She tisked, thinking I should know better. Maybe she relished cutting 600 words from 76.000 because she left with a big grin on her face. Do you want to know my most common offending word? It’s as simple as . . . that!
  That. Half the time it simply isn’t needed for clarity. Read the sentence through without it while concentrating on meaning. Here’s an example of one I kept, one I didn’t within the same sentence:
Now that the king practiced a gentler rule and believed that all men were equal, he . . . .
Which one can you live without? I deleted the second to read:
Now that the king practiced a gentler rule and believed all men were equal, he . . . .
When you find that preceding a verb, you can often delete it and change the verb to the “ing” form. For example:
The arm that held the weapon moved to strike. → The arm holding the weapon moved to strike.
The priest made a noise in his throat that sent him into a coughing fit. → The priest made a noise in his throat, sending him into a coughing fit.
  Don’t forget to check through your MS for untidy words. You can find lists online. Here’s a few to generally avoid:  a little, almost, anyway, began to, proceeded to, started to, even, fairly, just, probably, really, slightly, somewhat, sort of, that, usually, very.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review - Hope's Journey

Read the first chapterI love this from the beautiful front cover: A life-changing mistake. A soul-changing journey. From the back blurb:
A couple since their sophomore year, Sydney and Alex are looking forward to graduation and a bright future together. Sydney is a straight-A student trying to decide between college shcolarships, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve a mission. Both active members of the LDS Church, their hopes and dreams painfully fade when they learn that Sydney is pregnant. The very foundations of their faith are shaken, as is their relationship. Separately, they venture through confusion, self-doubt, and failure as they learn the value of forgiveness and try to piece their broken lives back together.

  We've all made mistakes of differing magnitudes. This story took me into a situation no one wants to be in but curiosity and good, realistic writing compelled me to learn how it would be handled. I not only enjoyed reading Stephanie Connelley Worlton's book, I consider it an important read for teens, their parents, and leaders of youth. Clues are given about self-worth and spending time alone in relationships, extending our awareness to prevent such situations and of the way we treat those in such difficulties. It was interesting that the same reasons the couple fell into trouble were the things that also drove a wedge between them.
  I loved the realism, bantering dialogue, the perspectives of both main characters, lessons learned, and Sydney's journey in particular. There is so much to be gained by reading this interesting, heartrending yet hopeful book. For me, it drove home the importance of instilling self-worth into the youth. You can read the first chapter, reviews, or order Hope's Journey on Worlton's blog:  She also has some giveaways to check out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review - Promises

Hattie is a curious, level-headed twelve-year-old who wants enough courage to follow through with the promises she makes. This reminds me of the time I taught a group of young women Hattie’s age. I had two sons the same age or a bit older than these girls and the topic came up of what girls my sons were interested in. No spoken promises had been made that prevented me from telling the answer, but it was a matter of keeping confidences. Like Hattie, some promises stay inside you but you know you need to keep them anyway. I told the girls, “Do you think I would be able to keep your secrets if you knew I was telling theirs?” Keeping promises and confidences are a way of building trust.
From the back cover: Promises is a heart warming story of friendship with a touch of mystery and adventure set in the days before Bryce Canyon became a national park. Drawn from the memoirs of Hattie Adair Jolley and her children, it is a realistic glimpse into the past and a delightful story for readers ages eight to eighty.
   What I thought: It took me a short shifting of gears to get into the middle grade language and style, but I found myself enjoying this delightful story. Author Carolyn Frank includes the necessary elements key to a girl of twelve: fitting in with friends, the first flutterings of a crush, internal secret hopes, and more. She includes the flavor of the times and setting in a story that comes full circle as we see Hattie grow into a young woman. There’s also a lesson or two that can be learned. I believe the book is most appropriate for girls 10-14. Eight is a little too young unless they read above their grade level or the story is read to them.
   You can enter to win a full-sized puppet stage and puppets, value of $290 by participating in Carolyn’s blog tour giveaway. Check out her website or blog for more details. In conjunction with Frank’s book tour, check out Cindy Hogan’s new release, Protected, at