Tuesday, 24 March 2009

20 Years

That's right. Twenty years ago I was shopping for a grad dress, worried about having a date for the big night and wondering if I would pass my departmental exams. I can hardly believe it's been so long. In so many ways, I still feel like the shy, nervous teenager I was then. Then there are the days when I wonder where that girl has gone.

I've been looking forward to our twenty year class reunion for some time now. As much as I wouldn't want to repeat high school, the kids I graduated with were somehow like family to me and I love to get together with them and hear how everyone is doing. What I didn't expect was to be put in charge of the reunion. I wasn't the class president, or even popular. To find me you would have to look on the fringes of the group - not disliked, but not noticed very often either. I certainly wasn’t the girl planning the parties.

A few years ago I ran into one of the guys I graduated with. I probably hadn’t seen him since high school, but I stopped and said hi, reminding him who I was. He gave me a blank look and finally confessed that he didn’t remember me. For most people that isn’t a huge thing, but my graduating class had 44 kids in it. That’s right, 44. How do you forget someone when your group is that small and you were in the same class for six years? Like I said, I was the invisible girl. He must have gone home and checked the yearbook, because the next time he saw me it was like we were old friends.

Anyway, a few months ago I started asking around about plans for the reunion and offering to help. No one seemed to know anything. Our class president passed the torch to someone else, who promptly passed it to me. That’s what you get for being the squeaky wheel. I don’t mind actually. It makes me crazy when I know something is coming up and nothing is being done. I’d rather be in charge and get things accomplished than wait for someone else to get around to it.

So the shy girl who still struggles with those invisible moments is now the girl organizing the party. I’m not sure how that really happened, but it’s a good thing the person I am now likes a good challenge. I also like knowing what’s going on and organizing things, so it should be fun. I’ve been spending my time trying to get others interested in working on the details with me. So far I’ve recruited two volunteers and dragged in another. I’ve been working hard at getting addresses for everyone. Forty-four graduates is a good thing now – I can’t imagine trying to find three hundred!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tower of Strength by Annette Lyon

"It was 1877 when Tabitha Hall Chadwick left Manti as a young bride. Now, nearly seven years later, she returns as a widow with her young son to make a new beginning. Tabitha’s strained relationship with her mother-in-law adds more difficulty to her life as a single working mother. Yet with a stroke of courage, Tabitha makes two purchases that become her passions: the local newspaper business and a traumatized horse.

"As she struggles to meet the challenges of her new roles, Tabitha welcomes the friendship of Samuel, a recently widowed British immigrant. Working together to train the abused horse, the two discover a second chance at love. But when Samuel is critically injured during the construction of the Manti Temple, Tabitha faces the pain of old wounds and the risk of new ones."

This is an enjoyable book with interesting and complex characters. The story of a single mother trying to find the balance between holding on to the past and moving into the future was well told. Tabitha must make decisions about whether she will has room in her life for a career and love or whether she is better off staying away from Samuel entirely. Some of my favorite characters were Jeremiah and Mother Chadwick. It would have been easy to write these background characters flat, but they have such life and depth to their emotions they add real color to the story.

Annette Lyon's temple books are full of little bits of information about the building of the temples. Her research is meticulous and the anecdotes included in the novel make the story that much richer and believable. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Tower of Strength can be purchased here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Tower of Strength Contest

Annette Lyon has just released her new book Tower of Strength. I'll post my review on it in a few days but here is the book trailer. Go to her blog for a chance to win some great prizes.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Forgotten Warrior by Kathi Oram Peterson

"Sydney Morgan is no wimp. A black belt in karate, her defensive moves help keep her tough, even when her mom is diagnosed with cancer and her long-lost dad shows up to play nice guy. But when an unexpected gift transports her through space and time to the land of Zarahemla, Syd just might be in over her head. Accused of being a spy, she has to prove she’s no threat to the locals—including Captain Helaman himself!

As war quickly approaches, Helaman calls on Syd to help his stripling warriors prepare to fight. Torn between concern for her family and for her new friends, Syd musters her wits, strength, and faith to face the coming battle—but her feelings for Chief Warrior Tarik put her heart on the line. Who will survive the Lamanites’ fierce onslaught? And will Syd ever make it home again?"

This is an interesting fictional look at the strippling warriors through Syd Morgan's eyes. Syd is fun character to read about with problems she can't do anything about, so she just has to learn to survive. I enjoy reading Book of Mormon fiction and trying to get a picture in my head of what things may have been like for the people I read about in my scriptures. I was a little disappointed in the time travel part. It seemed too abrupt and too convenient. And her first few hours with Captain Heleman, I didn't quite believe. But once I got past that, I got into the story and enjoyed the book. I especially liked the character Lib and his efforts to prove he could fight with his big brother and the rest of the strippling warriors. The cliffhanger at the end caught me by surprise, so now I have to wait for the next book to find out what happens to Syd and Tarik.

Kathi was kind enough to answer a few questions:

Have you always wanted to be a writer? I have always enjoyed reading novels, but the writing bug didn’t bite until after I’d had my first child. My first book was dreadful. I’ve written many unpublished books and with each one I’ve learned more.

Tell us a little bit about your book(s). Which ones are your favorites if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book: The first few books I wrote were romantic suspense. I love the challenge of plotting a good suspense and I’ve always been partial to romance. When the time comes, I hope I can revisit those books and make them marketable. The Forgotten Warrior, which is my debut young-adult novel, was a pleasure to write. My son suggested I write about the stripling warriors. I wanted to have a young woman as my protagonist, and I wanted her to be from our time. So, of course, she had to travel through history. The story really took off from there. I loved imagining what Captain Helaman was like. I used Friberg’s famous painting of Captain Helaman with the stripling warriors for inspiration, but a picture really doesn’t tell a lot, so I did as much research as I could and from there I developed my version of Captain Helaman and his warrior sons. I also wanted to use actual events from the Book of Mormon and write the story around the battles and trials the warriors lived through.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most? I don’t believe it is one thing. I have to have the beginning and ending of a story firmly in mind before I start a book. The middle seems to take care of itself as I write and do research. So I guess to answer the question for me a good idea with a beginning and ending inspires me most.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor? For years I adored Mary Higgins Clark. The first book I read of hers, Where Are The Children, grabbed me from page one. I even met her once in Omaha, Nebraska at a writers’ conference. Very inspiring woman, who has paid her dues for the success she now enjoys. I’ve also admired Francine Rivers’ novels especially her Voice in the Wind saga. I have many mentors. I belong to a wonderful writing group with many authors. We’ve been meeting for over 20 years. They are all my mentors.

Currently who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read? I enjoy YA books. Mainly fantasy YA. I don’t have to worry so much about coming across offensive words or pornographic scenes and they always have wonderful adventures to share. Some of the YA authors I’ve enjoyed are Sharon Creech, Karen Hesse, Lloyd Alexander, Madeleine L’Engle, and Lois Lowry to name a few.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)? I worked on The Forgotten Warrior a little over a year. Midway into writing I realized I had two books when it felt like the story climaxed just after the Battle for Cumeni, so I thought that would be a good place to stop book one. Book two could then climax with Syd fighting in the Battle for Zarahelma alongside Captain Moroni. I think it worked out for the best that way. And there’s the possibility for a third book that would follow Tarik coming to our time for a while then going back to help Moroni capture the City of Nephihah.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing? My deepest wish is to inspire young adults to believe in themselves, have faith in God, and to read, read, read!

Is there anything you want your readers to know? Wow, what a set up…to say anything I want my readers to know. I’d really like to write something profound…something that would inspire them. However, the only thing I can think of is a very old, cliché saying that rings so true: believe in your dreams.

Anyone who wants to find out more about me and what I’m up to can go to my website: For those who want to read more of my writing, you can go to my blogsite: The Forgotten Warrior can be ordered online at,, and

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

There and Back Again

It's funny how the best laid plans can change in a moment. I intended to work on my first chapters and read for the Whitney's on Saturday. Sunday I'd hoped to do some proofreading on the emergency preparation manual my dad is putting together for the sake. Monday and Tuesday would be back to the reading and writing or subbing at the school.

Instead I spent the weekend driving for fourteen hours to the B.C. coast for the funeral of my great aunt. The main reason I went was to be an extra driver for my aunt and uncle. I didn't know my aunt well but is was nice to reconnect with some cousins I hadn't seen in years and meet a few new ones.

It also provided me with the opportunity to do a little research for my WIP. Most of the story takes place in Alberta, but there are a few scenes that take place along the highway we took and on the coast. I appreciated the chance to get a good look at the scenery. I also had lots of time to sit in a car and try to think about plots and character development - didn't come up with a lot of answers, but I was traveling on little sleep and skipping meals.

Anyway, I did manage to get one Whitney book read during the trip and another read today. There were a few more from the library waiting for me when I got home. So now I plan on curling up on my couch for the next few days and catching up on my reading. It's the best kind of work.
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