Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Easter is one of those occasions that marks milestones in our lives and is rich in memories and emotions. Christians (and some non-Christians too) will be celebrating Easter this weekend. Some will make their once-a-year trip to Church. Some will go all out for the Easter Bunny and commercialize the day as they do Christmas. Most people I know with small children will find an egg hunt for their children, be it at the city park, some club or lodge, at a church, or in their own back yard and there will be Easter baskets Sunday morning. There are many still who will pause to think about Christ, their Savior, and the events that led up to His crucifixion and His victory over death. Most Christian denominations will hold special services Easter morning to celebrate, not His death, but the miracle of His coming forth from the tomb.

Dying hard boiled eggs has always been a part of my Easter tradition. I've never been too sure what the connection is between fancy eggs and the serious events of the resurrection though I've heard a number of theories. As one of eight children the procedure often got a bit messy around the kitchen table as we competed to produce the most beautiful or most original masterpieces. A few years ago some of my daughters brought their children to my house to color eggs together. That resulted in one of my chairs receiving a dye job too, but it also became a cherished memory.

One Easter we were in Washington DC visiting our son-in-law who was a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital when a veterans organization held an egg hunt for the children of the wounded soldiers. Our two-year-old grandson quickly figured out the object of the game and had a grand time racing all over the huge lawn collecting eggs filled with toys or candy. The event was well organized and included refreshments for the soldiers and their families and stuffed plush animals for all of the children. There was something particularly poignant about watching men and women in wheel chairs, leaning on crutches, or wearing thick casts cheering on their children, laughing, and enjoying this family oriented outing.

As a farm child I always equated Easter with the arrival of boxes of new chicks, new goslings waddling after their mamas, a new colt in the pasture, and a wobbly calf in the barn. Frequently a new litter of kittens took up residence in the loft of the barn. The Easter Bunny didn't play a part in my childhood. Mama didn't believe in mixing this commercial gimmick with what she considered the most important religious holiday of the year. We had Easter baskets which we knew came from our parents and often my sisters and I had new dresses which we watched Mama sew for us. She told us the new life on the farm was a reminder of Christ's new life and the gifts of Easter baskets and new Sunday best clothes were a reminder that she and Daddy loved us just as God loved His Son and each of us.

This Sunday I'll attend church and hear the story of the terrible events leading up to the resurrection of our Lord. I'll listen to the music that celebrates the hope given to all the inhabitants of the earth of eternal life. I'll be particularly cognizant of new life all around me in the green of grass, flowers long hidden by mounds of snow, and the happy giggles of small children. My family will enjoy ham and all of the trimmings along with the love and pleasure just being together brings. There will be a special egg hunt for my grandchildren with eggs filled with a year's accumulation of coins. As I always do I will reflect on a long ago Easter morning when with a group of other young people I climbed a small hill to watch the sun rise over the mountains. I'll remember the testimony of His divinity that filled my heart with assurance that morning that Christ lives. And I will rejoice because He is risen.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Madness Sale

My publisher, Covenant, has placed a lot of ebooks on sale.  They're all $2.99 or less.  The link below will take you to a listing of the books on this sale. It goes to flyer with more details.

One of my older books, High Stakes, is included in the sale.  There are also books by Stephanie Black, Michele Bell, Gregg Luke, N.C. Allen, and many others.  Kindle readers, this is your chance to stock up on some great new and older books!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Signing Schedule

I'm doing two book signings this coming Saturday, March 23, for Celebrating Sisterhood. I'll be at the Redwood Seagull book from 9 to 11 a.m.. Then I'll be at the Family Center Seagull Book in Taylorsville from 11:30 to one. Conference weekend I'll be at the Valley Fair Deseret Book for Ladies Night from six to eight p.m. Because of my recent surgeries and one more coming up, I haven't been able to do many signings for this book, Where the River Once Flowed, so I'm hoping to see many of you, my friends at these signings. Both Celebrating Sisterhood and Ladies Night are a blast with yummy snacks and fun activities. Come have fun and say hello.  I promise there will be chocolate!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I watched the sun rise this morning.  It was lovely, but I'd already been up for almost two hours.  I've no problem with going to bed in the dark, but I really hate getting up while it's still dark.  Getting up before daylight reminds me too much of long ago mornings when I stumbled in the dark to dress without waking the younger kids, making my shivering way to the barn, and too many early mornings picking fruit, berries, potatoes, etc. while the plants were cold and wet.  Early morning cold and dampness is different from winter cold, somehow it feels more miserable.  For those of us who dislike morning darkness, but enjoy the shadowed coolness of evening, Daylight Savings Time is a disaster.  I think some of us come into this life preprogrammed for dawn to dusk; we're not ready to start our day before the sun comes up and we're not ready to sleep until the night is dark and cool. 

Someone must profit from the time change or it wouldn't still be thrust on us twice each year. Every legislative session someone introduces a bill to end the practice, but it never makes it out of committee.  Not many people like it; golfers seem to be the exception.  It costs my state over a million dollars each year, and almost every year some school children are injured or killed walking to school in the dark or pre-dawn hazy light. Farmers hate it--cows can't tell time--it leaves students and employees dragging for a week or two of adjustment, and people like me who never quite adjust, grumble a lot and get cranky. 

Daylight Savings Time is my one complaint about spring.  I love almost everything else about spring.  I love seeing the early crocuses bloom, sometimes before the snow is quite gone.  I eagerly watch for tulips and daffodils to poke through the ground, the grass to turn green, and that faint aura of green that precedes leaves on the trees.  I celebrate being able to wear a sweatshirt instead of a coat. Spring even smells different and I'm so ready for it this year. The past couple of days have been wonderful after such a long, cold winter. I just don't want to force myself out of bed while it's still dark outside.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Character Descriptions and March Wish List Contestt

While sitting in my doctor's office this morning I discovered I'd forgotten my Kindle, so I picked up a magazine and couldn't help laughing.  It was supposedly a men's fashion magazine.  All the male models looked anorexic, still their sport coats were a couple of sizes too small which emphasized their toothpick arms and non-existent chests, making them look silly.  Most had pained looks on their faces like they either had on shoes that were too tight or they needed to find a men's room.  The majority were also in dire need of a shave.  I wondered if the pictures really denoted what is considered fashionable today and what kind of woman would be drawn to a skinny scarecrow wearing clothes better suited to his little brother.  (Writers concern themselves with fashions, trends, and what is considered attractive to the opposite sex.)   

I put the magazine down and picked up another one that appeared more geared toward women. None of the female models in this magazine looked like the skin and bones creatures of a few years ago.  In fact a few showed more derriere than I consider appropriate and that feature was a bit too padded.  I half expected to see a fashion turn-around of these larger women paired with the scrawny men in the previous magazine. The funny thing I noticed was the men pictured with women in glamorous gowns, skimpy swim suits, or tight jeans were not the scarecrow models from the men's fashion magazine.  Instead in the women's magazine the men were smiling, they had well-filled-out but not too small jackets, and they all looked like they worked out on a regular basis.  They were clean shaven too, or had nicely trimmed facial hair. 

We writers try to create appealing heroes,  but sometimes it's hard.  The dreamboat hero I dream up may fall short of my readers' expectations.  The overly skinny guy with a goatee, ripped, sagging jeans, a too small t-shirt, and a minimum  of six facial piercings might actually be someone's idea of wonderful, but not mine. I don't find the bulging muscle man or the guy with a flabby tummy and a crack showing above the back of his jeans attractive either.

A few years back I was a buyer for a library and my responsibilities included purchasing the library's romance novels.  When I first began buying these novels I noticed that they contained very detailed descriptions of the leading characters and the clothing they wore, then later the descriptions became more vague, leaving the details to the writer's imagination.  I spoke with one well-known writer, who happens to be black, at a conference once.  She said when she writes she always pictures the hero being of her race, but she describes him as tall, rugged, muscular, having curly or wavy hair, and a gorgeous wide smile and lets her readers interpret tall, dark, and handsome any way they like. 

Which brings me to the point I want to make.  Describing characters is not as easy as one might think.  Too little description leaves a character lacking realism.  Too much description can spoil the reader's ability to see someone he or she finds appealing.  It's important to make descriptions fit the time period and the action taking place in the story.  That goes for what the characters wear as well.  It's one of the reasons I like books better than movies.  My imagination paints more attractive heroes and heroines than any movie stars, and far worse villains.  

I'm always interested in other people's opinion on character descriptions.  How much is enough?  And how much is too much? 

I'm slow this month kicking of the Wish List contest, but here goes.  Comment on any blog I write this month or on my reviews in Meridian.  Every comment (tasteful) counts as an entry.  The prize is any of the LDS novels I have reviewed and still have sitting on my shelf.  The winner is always asked to submit a wish list of five or more books from which I pick one to send to him or her.  Multiple entries are welcome.

Friday, March 1, 2013

And We Have a Winner!

Mandi Slack is the winner of a signed copy of my new book, Where the River Once Flowed. Mandi, e-mail or instant message me your mailing address. 

And speaking of my new book, Julie Bellon wrote a great review of it for Meridian magazine. Being a critic, I can't do blog tours, and get few reviews (except for one lady whose book I gave a bad review and she writes bad reviews of all my books on various sites to get even I guess).  Anyway I greatly appreciate Julie Bellon's thorough and positive review.  Julie is not only an accomplished writer in her own right, but has a keen understanding of reading, writing, and various aspects of the literary world. I appreciate all of you, too, who make kind comments on Good Reads, book store, and library sites and those of you who read my books and tell your friends and family about them.  A satisfied reader is the best critic of all. 

On another topic, I returned to both of my days at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple this week.  Yes, I got tired, but it felt so good to be back and I appreciate the warm welcome the other workers gave me.