Sunday, October 12, 2014

Water Colors

I know I have shared a number of drawings I have done on this blog, but did you know I also like to do water colors? I am not that good. Above is a water color I did recently depicting my home. I am considering doing water colors of some of my neighbor's homes as a Christmas gift. What do you think? Good idea or not?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review: Gone for a Soldier

I am honored to launch the opening day of a blog tour today for Marsha Ward's latest book, Gone for a Soldier. There are a number of great prizes you can win by entering in the Rafflecopter below. It looks to be a great blog tour!

If you are not familiar with Marsha (you should be!), she is an AMAZING woman. Here is a quick bio I have adapted from her website: Marsha Ward is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She works with other writers as a mentor, creative consultant, editor, workshop presenter, contest judge, coach, and teacher. In 1986 she founded American Night Writers Association, Inc. (also know as ANWA), a network for women writers of the LDS faith. Other books by Marsha include 1-The Man from Shenandoah, 2-Ride to Raton, 3-Trail of Storms, and 4-Spinster's Folly.

From the back of the book:

"Rulon Owen loves two things more than life--his country and Mary Hilbrands.

"When Virginia secedes from the Union, Rulon enlists, and finds himself fighting foes both in battle and in his own camp. He struggles to stay alive against all odds, with a knife-wielding tent-mate and a Union army that seems impossible to defeat. It will take every ounce of vigilance he has to survive and, with a little luck, he might make it home to his wife and the son he's never seen.

"Forced to live with her parents for the duration, Mary faces a battle for independence. With a mother whispering that her husband won't come home to her and a son who needs her to be both father and mother, Mary has to dig deep for strength to overcome her overwhelming loneliness and the unknown future ahead.

"Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue."

Gone for a Soldier is a prequel to The Owen Family Saga books (listed above). It tells the stories of two brothers, Rulon and Benjamin, as they fall in love, fight in the Civil War, and heal from mental and physical injuries. Although Rulon and his wife, Mary, are the main characters, Ben and Ella Ruth also feature prominently. The story reveals the deep sacrifices families made to fight the war. Although the nation was temporarily torn apart during the Civil Wat, the Owens family was permanently scarred from the four-year ordeal.

The family/interpersonal relationships were my favorite part of Gone for a Soldier. (Yes, I will forever be a Communications professor!) I loved how the Owen parents sacrificed for their children and how they pulled together in times of difficulty. The pregnancy (and ensuing motherhood) Mary goes through while her husband is away at war was especially touching as she had to reach out to her mother-in-law for assistance. And the love and brotherhood the Owen men had for each other while on the battlefields was heartwarming.

Although technically Gone for a Soldier is historical fiction, it could also be categorized as a romance. Marsha's research on the various battles of the Civil War adds amazing insights I wish my high school American History teacher would have taught (e.g., the use of conscription by the Confederate army). While the family plot lines kept me reading (I particularly loved the character of Mary), the historical research added a level of depth I greatly appreciated.

At 308 pages, Gone for a Soldier is Marsha's longest book yet (I believe). It was published by WestWard Books.

To see additional reviews of Gone for a Soldier, drop on in to the other sites participating in the blog tour!
October 6
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October 7
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October 8
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October 9
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October 10
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October 11
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October 12
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October 12

Full Disclosure: I was issued an ARC of Gone For a Soldier in exchange for my honest review and participation in the blog tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 5, 2014

In the News

Life has been crazy busy, but that doesn't mean I have not been writing a lot. In fact, I have been quite busy this past year working on a novel. It is 99% written--I don't consider it 100% completed until it has been fully edited. But I am excited for that process to be finished.

Additionally, I have written a number of articles for Deseret News and this past year. Here are links to a few of them:

(See above photo)

There are a few others, but these are the most well-read articles I've authored this past summer. And I promise to do better at posting what I am up to more often here!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

LDS Author Blog Hop Winner

Congratulations to Kristi Quist 
for submitting the winning comment!

Kristi, Be sure to let me know if you prefer a copy of my new book or the $10 Amazon gift card.

Thanks to all who participated :-)!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop! 
  for co-hosting this hop!

There are over 50 blogs each signed up to host a giveaway.  This hop runs from October 8th to 15th.

The winner of the giveaway on my site will receive their choice of a copy of my Family Home Evening lesson book Follow the Prophets (Covenant 2013) or a $10 gift card to Amazon!

To enter:

1. Follow this blog
2. Like my author page on Facebook (here)
3. And leave me a comment about one of the topics in one of my books that interests you most (click on linked titles below to read more about my books - see under book description for some topics listed):


Thanks for participating! Good luck!

Monday, October 7, 2013

ANWA Writer's Conference

I am gearing up for next February's writer's conference in Mesa put on by the American Night Writer's Association (ANWA). I have attended two of these previously and have so benefited from them. From the first one I had a manuscript accepted, which was eventually published (Follow the Prophets). I have so much to learn about a writer and the classes offered are incredibly helpful. In particular, I am looking forward to hearing from the keynote speaker, Sarah M. Eden. I am a big fan of hers.

I could use a friend or two to hang out with at the conference. Let me know if you will be there too!

Lear more about the conference here:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Temple Coloring Pages

I saw these coloring pages, originally published in the Children's Friend in 1923, on Keepapitchinin and fell in love with them. Aren't they darling. I think I will print them out for my youngest to color during church. Back in 1923 there were only six temples in operation; the Mesa one was included here even though it was still under construction.

Ardis Parshall, notes on the post I stole these from that "these pictures were intended to be colored and mounted by Primary teachers and used as visual aids during their lesson that month."
The Arizona Temple (Foundation)
The children are all glad to help
To build the temples new,
They save and give their pennies and
They cheer the workers, too.
The St. George Temple
Oft times the little children
Are to the temples led,
And there, in water, are baptized,
The living for the dead.
The Manti Temple
Here ordinances can be performed
That last beyond this life.
The child is to its parents sealed,
The husband to the wife.
The Logan Temple
Young couples go up to this house
That they might married be,
Not only for this life alone,
But for eternity.
The Temple in Canada
A keeper is inside the gate,
You’ll ever find it so,
For only those who serve the Lord
Can to the temples go.
The Temple in Hawaii
Not only here at home, but on
The island’s distant shore
The work in temples is performed
As in days of yore.
The Salt Lake Temple
Great throngs of people young and old
Arrive by night and day,
To do the work for kindred dead
In God’s appointed way.