Monday, June 30, 2008

A Gnew Post about Gnats

By Terri Ferran

We just got back from taking a youth group to Lake Powell. The camp ground we hoped for was taken by the time we got there (first-come, first-serve) so we ended up in the improved campground that was about a mile from the water. We were disappointed at first, but soon found it boasted a huge plus—flushable toilets! Any who have camped with teenage girls know what a boon “flushies” are to a campout.

We found out that teenage girls aren’t the only ones attracted to “flushies”. When the sun went down and the automatic lights came on in the restrooms; a myriad of flying creatures were attracted to the brightness—gnats in particular. By the time dawn’s early light came, the toilet seats and sinks were covered with gnats.

As I read Rebecca’s post from a couple of days ago about the gnat flying up her nose, I realized that gnats not only penetrate the occasional nasal septum; they also encroach upon that inner sanctum of campsite survival—the flushable toilets.

These tiny insects took on gargantuan proportions as the girls tried to figure out how they would be able to use a toilet covered with gnat masses, or floss and brush using a sink infested with flying insects. They seemed to forget that they were MUCH bigger than the gnats, had access to toilet paper, and were each equipped with opposable thumbs suitable for operating the flushing and faucet mechanisms. Being one of their fearless leaders, I demonstrated how easily they brushed off, flushed down, or washed away. I’m glad I didn’t realize the danger I was in at the time of having one fly up my nose!

I thought boating accidents, rattlesnakes and dehydration were the biggest things I had to fear at Lake Powell. Gnat-urally I will protect my nose by holding my breath—something I already learned at the non-flushable toilets!

Or, in the future, I could only engage in my preferred brand of camping—a condo in Park City!

More Pageant Personalities

by Shirley Bahlmann
Some of the other interesting people I met at Mormon Miracle Pageant were Shirley (good name!) with a halo of blonde hair, laughing blue eyes, and round pink cheeks. Her spirit shone through as she told me about a most amazing experience of accompanying her father when he died, then returning alone to mortality.
There was the always-smiling lady who needed a place to park her motor home because her husband had bad knees and couldn't walk from the city park. We found a good Samaritan in Peggy Layton, who let the couple park at her wellness clinic near the center of town.
When white-haired Dolph Jolley and his elderly wife made their way to the check-out with a copy of my "Friends From Beyond the Veil" tucked under an arm, I had to point out the section of evil spirit stories, even though most of the book is benign. I just couldn't bear the thought of them having joint cardiac arrests if the dark tales were too much for them. They thanked me for the warning and bought the book anyway.
Then there was the toddler in the costume tent, a little girl with tousled blonde hair, dressed in a robe of ancient design. She couldn't keep her round blue eyes off the actor who played the part of the Savior. "Come on," she lisped, grabbing hold of my fingers in a super glue grip. "Go over there." She pointed to the bearded man in white.
"You want to go see him?" I asked.
The little angel nodded and looked up at me with blue eyes full of love. "I want him to come to my house."
Her innocent desire melted my heart, and I smiled down at her. No doubt, He was already there.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hagrid's Baby Brother

by Shirley Bahlmann
The young women flitting about my book booth had charming accents, Bosnian, they told me. There were three of them, bright eyed, eager, chattering over the books on display in lilting languages. "I speak more than one language," a dark-haired beauty told me. "Once you know two, you can easily learn more."
I would have to take her word for it.
Standing among the bright and fluttery girls was a tall pillar of a man, his face made small between a head of long hair and full dark beard that reached the middle of his chest. I kid you not, he looked like Hagrid's (the giant from "Harry Potter") little brother, "little" being a relative term. My visitor was several inches over six feet tall.
When the Bosnian girls bounced away to another booth, Hagrid Junior remained behind. Since he hadn't spoken a word, I didn't know if he was Bosnian, too. So I said, "Hello."
"Hello," he replied, his deep American voice shaking the floor.
I never asked his connection with the girls, and I don't remember how we got on the subject of idols, but even after I expressed my opinion that famous people are just regular folks with recognized faces, he admitted to idolizing John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and Joseph Smith. (That comment gave me pause. Was Joseph Smith musically inclined?)
I was fascinated when Mini-Hagrid told me he traveled all over the world. "What do you do?" I asked, my ears open and eager for the secrets of world travel.
"What kind?"
"Guitar. I just open my case and play."
"And you make enough money to travel?"
Shrimpy-Hagrid's eyes crinkled for the first time during our entire conversation. He tipped his head toward me as if sharing a confidence. "Oh, yeah," he said with a reassuring nod.
After Hagrid-Half-Pint left, I found myself daydreaming of International travel. Hey, I've got an old saxophone in my basement, complete with case. All I have to do is put heavy duty magnets in the bottom, and visit countries with magnetic money...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mary Ann

by Shirley Bahlmann
One afternoon a beautiful dark-haired young lady was rolled into my booth by a tall, blond young man who turned out to be her brother. The young lady was Mary Ann. Her mother explained that a semi broadsided Mary Ann when she was driving with her cousin. Her cousin didn't survive. Mary Ann escaped with a bruise on her brain, which left her unable to walk.
"They gave her three hours to live," Mom added.
Mary Ann waved her hand to get my attention, then with slow speech, said, "Sil-ly do-c-tors don't know an-y-thing."
Her brother hovered protectively above her, watching our exchange. Her sister stood nearby, and her mother translated for her daughter, even though I understood everything Mary Ann said.
Later, I met Mary Ann's father. He's a writer who published his own book, and he shared a piece of poetry he wrote that inspired the book. He's got some interesting things going on, and is ready to pick up writing after spending so much time caring for Mary Ann during her recovery.
I was impressed with a family who seems to have turned tragedy to triumph. They helped me appreciate life as it is given, and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Shine on, Mary Ann.

David and Goliath & Co.

by Janet Jensen

I'm back from our weekend in LA . . . it did involve playing at the beach and rock and roll - we spent some time at Venice Beach and saw a great production of "The Who's Tommy." I'm still humming,

"Listening to you, I get the music, gazing at you, I get the beat, following you, I climb the mountain, I get excitement at your feet . . . "

Anyway, speaking of mountains, here's a creative suggestion submitted following the 6-7-8 writing workshop session on book promotion:

"I wrote a historical novel with scenes about David from the Old Testament. For book signings we want to dress up my husband - - - who is a big guy - - - as Goliath, and have my ten-year-old son dress up as David. We'll have sling shots so people can learn to sling with marshmallows (this happens on the sidewalk outside the store). "

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wheat Muffins

By Marcia Mickelson

I just moved on Saturday, so we're still in the process of unpacking, getting settled, and stocking the kitchen. We moved here with two boxes of food. We ate or threw out most of what was left in our old fridge & cupboards. I've gone grocery shopping twice while here, but not one of those good stock-the-cupboards one yet. Little by little.

Tonight is Enrichment Night at church. Everyone was asked to bring a dish made from food storage. We basically have no food storage because we'd been using it up as we prepared for our move. I didn't want to move a bunch of food. So, I looked & looked for a recipe, but I was missing key ingredients to almost every recipe. I don't even have sugar or white flour. I know, sad, but I plan on stocking up in the weeks to come.

I really wanted to make something. It's a new ward, and I didn't want to show up empty handed.
Luckily, I was able to find this recipe for wheat muffins and happen to have all the ingredients. I found this recipe in a small cook book put out by our local cannery in San Antonio. Here it is. They're actually really good and very moist.

Wheat Muffins (makes 12)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup milk (1/3 cup powdered milk & 1 cup water)
1 cube (1/2 cup) melted margarine
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together in medium-sized bowl (If you are using powdered milk, mix dry milk with dry ingredients, water with liquid ingredients.) In small bowl, combine liquid ingredients. Pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

A Gnat Up My Nose

By Rebecca Talley

Can someone please tell me the purpose of having gnats on the earth? Why do we have to endure these almost invisible pests?

I was outside yesterday with my kids when a gnat had the audacity to fly up my nose. Yes, it was actually in my nose and, even worse, it started biting me, inside my nose. I had to run into the house, get a tissue, and remove a gnat from my nose. Now, it's all itchy inside my nose and everyone thinks I'm doing something other than scratching a gnat bite! I hate gnats.

My kids, especially the boys, have gnat bites all over their heads. The poor kids scratch their heads constantly trying to find some relief, only to have more gnats bite them.

We can't even enjoy sitting outside playing in the kiddie pool because there's a gnat force that swarms us. I hate the buzzing in my ears, too. Having a gnat in your ear is almost as bad as having one up your nose.

So, please, someone tell me the purpose of gnats.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nair Hair

by Shirley Bahlmann
Okay, if no one else is going to write, I'll tell you about another person I met at my Pageant booth. He wore a goatee, a baseball hat, and an elbow band of some black, stretchy material that he kept tightening as he talked to me at length about his family, jobs, places he'd lived, and even about his hair.
"My wife shaved my head this morning," he said, lifting his cap to show me a bald scalp. "I used to use Nair on it. Then I went to the doctor and he told me to stop it."
I thought he was going to say something about how Nair is formulated for legs only and is too strong for sensitive scalp skin. I was only partly right.
"The doc told me that Nair was restricting the blood vessels in my scalp," he explained. "If I didn't stop it, I could die."
A headline flashed through my mind, "Man Dead From Nair Head." It was tragic.
Finally, I told my visitor I needed to fill my water bottle. He accompanied me out of the craft fair. As I headed for the ladies' room, I felt a shudder go down my back. Who would have thought that an innocent pink bottle could carry something so deadly. One thing's for sure... if I ever use a bottle of Nair again, I'm not going to be brushing the hair back out of my eyes until I've sanitized my hands.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Curler Head

by Shirley Bahlmann
After filling my water bottle, I walked back to my book booth at the Mormon Miracle Pageant and saw the back of a lady who was looking at books. I don't know how old she was, but she's been on earth longer than me. She was a petite thing, just over five feet tall, and her gray hair was rolled up all over her head in cheerful yellow curlers.
"Hello," I said.
She turned and looked up at me with the roundest, bluest eyes I'd ever seen. Although she had a few lines around her mouth and the corners of her eyes, she had the smoothest, pinkest cheeks of any grandma I'd ever seen.
"Hello," she answered. She held up one of my books. "This looks so interesting." Then she lowered the book and thumbed her check book with her other hand. "I've only got one check until I get home, though," she explained, her eyes tight with worry. She turned my book over and read the back again. "It looks so interesting."
"A lot of people said they've enjoyed it," I said.
"Is there any other place I could get it later?" she asked, turning it over to read the back again, reluctant to put it down.
"Yes, but it won't be at the sale price."
"I see." Her yellow curlers bobbed as she nodded, and I could see a disappointed little girl inside the wrinkles.
"But I'll tell you what I'll do," I said. "You can take the book now and mail me the money later."
Her eyes flew up to my face. "Really?" she asked. "You would trust me?"
I smiled at her eagerness. "Of course," I said. "Anyone who loves books is trustworthy."
So I gave her a card. She insisted on writing her address and phone number down in my planner for me. Then she held the book in the crook of her arm and walked away, turning back once to wave before her yellow curlers and sparkling blue eyes disappeared behind a partition.
Her check arrived yesterday. As I said, she is a book lover, and book lovers are some of the most trustworthy people I've ever met.
David J Stitt

A Weapon Against Deception

Recently, I was reading in 3 Ne 28. It is about when the Savior was speaking with His disciples and asked them what they desired of Him. Trying to imagine the events of 3rd Nephi is completely out of the realm of that which is normal. It is like trying to comprehend the life we will live during the millennium. Those experiences are utterly beyond anything that most of us will ever experience in this life. I have tried to imagine being with a multitude of people, or in this case 12 men, with the resurrected Son of God. In this instance they were probably gathered in a circle around Him. The scripture says He came and “stood in the midst of them” 3 Nephi 27:2. How does one, as a mortal, imagine a conversation with the Lord that is as real as having guests to dinner? Consider the Creator of the universe, He who atoned for us, standing next to you and after speaking to the group of 12, looking at you directly, individually (3Ne 28:1) and asking you what you desire of Him. That is how aware He is of each one of us, of you.

When Satan tries to deceive you with feelings that make you think that the Savior does not know you, or is too busy for your problems, think of this event and try your best to imagine being there. It will help to bring the truth into your heart and destroy this deception.

BYU Writer's and Illustrators Conference For Young Readers Review

By Kimberly Jensen

Last week was the annual Writer's and Illustrators Conference For Young Readers at BYU that brings together authors, illustrators, agents and publishers. I had the honor of meeting some of the best illustrators and writers for children in the market and talk with them one-on-one. Here are some of the highlights;

-Wow an editor with a fabulous first page, hook them in the first few paragraphs.
-Find out how to write for teenagers without sounding like an adult, trying to be a teenager (they'll call you on it!)
-Read books on writing and read books like a writer
-Write your first draft, put it away for a while, then rewrite!
-Join a writer's critique group
-Write what you love
-Those who make it in the publishing world learn how to break through the brick wall of rejections, again and again.
-Learn how to market yourself, don't depend solely on your publisher

I would highly recommend this conference for anyone who writes for children. And I must give a plug to the fabulous children's authors who attended. Please check out their websites and their books:
Rick Walton
Kathy Appelt
Claudia Mills
Jeannette Ingold
Jeanette Rawlins
Brandon Sanderson

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Assignment Almost Missed

By Christine Thackeray

I heard an interesting story today. Brother Brooksby was waiting in the car for an associate who had run into a convenience store to pick something up when the man hurried out again empty-handed. Bro. Brooksby asked what was going on and the man just said, "We've got to go." He turned the car around and began driving down the street when they came across a car accident. The man jumped from his vehicle to run to the assistance of a critically injured woman and they called 911. After it was over, the man got back in the car and said, "I almost missed that assignment, it's a good thing I listened."

Often we are called to places without the explanation of why we should be there. Like Nephi returning the last time for the brass plates or Elijah waiting in the cavity of the rock or Parley P. Pratt heading out on an unknown train, it is imperative that we answer the promptings we are given with strength and promptness. I've always believed that but I've never given those feelings the label of being an assignment- still, I guess that's exactly what they are.

Under Son

by Shirley Bahlmann
I just finished a week and a half long stint at the Mormon Miracle Pageant in sunny, mosquito-infested Manti, Utah. My routine was pretty much get up at 6:00 a.m., clean the alternative high school in readiness for Summer School classes, feed and water our pets since that's the only way I could be certain they'd remain alive, then be in my Craft Fair booth by 10:00 a.m. (I didn't have to go except when it was my turn to take the till, but more people bought books when I was there to threaten them with paper cuts if they didn't.) I stayed among the paper and glossy covers until it was time to do my part in the Pageant, which started at 9:30 p.m. (I was a wicked Shaman who led people astray from Third Nephi.) Home by 11:30, I was in bed soon after, unless my restless 8-year-old made it later.
Later, rinse, repeat.
I met some interesting people in my book booth. One fellow who appeared deceptively young had a double super hero cape velcroed around his neck. On one side was the Superman symbol, the other side showed Batman. One lady who shared my booth asked the young hero which super dude he was. "Are you Batman or Superman?" was her innocent question.
The boy fixed her with deadly laser beam eyes. "I'm Under Son," he declared, clearly irritated that she did not recognize him by sight. (How could she have known his real cape was at the cleaners?)
"Under Son?" the lady asked, unaware of the mortal danger she put herself in by questioning his identity. Her life was saved by the lad's older sister, who obviously had super powers of her own. She grabbed Under Son's shoulders and held him fast.
"It's like Under Dog," the girl explained. "Only he's Under Son."
That boy has a big future. I could tell by his cape-swaying swagger as he left us without a backward glance. (Under Son never glances backwards.)
I'll tell you what... if I'm ever in danger, I'll run to the nearest kindergarten class and call for Under Son, the hero of limitless creativity.


by Shirley Bahlmann
Some of you need to put your byline on your post, or else we don't find out who you are until we get to the end and we're wondering all the way through.
Please and Thank You.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Remedial writing tip #1

by Lee Ann Setzer
I did it! I made a mistake that no one ever covered in a list of Things Not to Do If You Want to Impress Your Publisher.

I live in the same town as CFI, and the day after the writers' conference, I needed to stop by there for a vanishingly short errand. After telling the kids to wait in the car, I dashed in, did my (extremely short) errand, and dashed out again—only to find all the kids piled out of the car. And the keys locked in the car.

Doug kindly volunteered to jimmy the lock. The receptionist—Jennifer Fielding, who's stepping into the job Kammi just left—kindly let me phone AAA. We sat down to wait for the AAA locksmith, and my kids proceeded to put on The Hyperactivity Show outside CFI’s big plate-glass windows for the next hour. Everyone was very kind at CFI...but I’m pretty sure no one was very impressed.

For a grand finale, when the lock man made it into the car, the car alarm went off, just in case one or two people back in the warehouse hadn’t known we were there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Facing Yuckiness with a Smile

By Christine Thackeray

Yuckiness is a part of life. We all face situations that just don't turn out the way we have planned or dreamed. Recently we moved to Oregon where the housing prices are insane. After the closing of our beautiful home in Minnesota, we were feeling antsy so my husband and I looked at a few properties. One stuck with us but it wasn't what either of us wanted. It is on a lot the size of a postage stamp, has a ton of bedrooms that no one with less than seven kids would even consider and is in a mixed, cramped neighborhood. It's been vacant for over a year but both of us couldn't stop thinking about it- it was even in the other ward- sad.

In the next few days I prayed and went over the hill to where Greg works to look in neighborhoods in that area (gas prices) but felt gray inside all day and when I crested the mountain back to Newberg, I suddenly felt this huge lift like I was coming home and I started to cry. Not out of joy- I did not want that house! But my husband and I figured the market was going down so we didn't do anything about, hoping that maybe we were both imagining it.

The next Sunday my Bishop called me in and released me. I looked at him in disbelief and asked who told him about the house. Nobody, he said, he had just felt inspired that there were other things I needed to be doing. I was shocked because I was YW's pres. for only one year. We went to the temple and then agreed to put in a low-ball offer, still hoping for some reprieve, but we got it. (Can you say "bad attitude"?)

For the last two weeks I've been up to my elbows in contracts and financial statements (Yuck!), my husband's project has been delayed at work and he's a grumpy bear, my graduated son is trying to get his eagle project done and a job amid my encouragement (ahhh!) and with all the children home from school, I'm feeling like I'm drowning. (My the unrest at CFI and my mother's passing hasn't helped much.) In short, it has been no fun.

So this morning I went swimming with a friend who told me frankly that I had been a "poo-poo monster" for the last few weeks. She said she was tired of watching me always look at the worst and live by pulling my hair out. Funny, once she said it I had to agree (I'm usually the wise-cracker on the back row or the silly woman laughing till her sides split) and as I walked away, I decided that I was going to shift. I know I am greatly blessed but maybe the greatest blessing of all is that I get to feel inspired to do something even if it wasn't what I thought I wanted to do. Faith is believing that Heavenly Father knows more than me about what's around the corner and trusting in his inspiration rather than grumbling about it. Our family motto is "Yes, Lord, I'd be happy to." It's time to buck up and live by it. See, I'm smiling.


By Rebecca Talley

When I attended the LDStorymakers' Conference last year we had quite a discussion on voice. Tristi Pinkston gave an excellent presentation that made me stop and think about it.

What is voice?

To me, voice is the particular way in which a writer strings together words, phrases, and communicates his or her ideas. It's the way in which we create our stories or our non-fiction works and it distinguishes us from one another. Some authors have such a distinct voice, it's easily recognizable.

If ten writers were asked to describe a sunset, ten different versions would emerge, each with it's own unique handling of language. None of the descriptions would be wrong, only different.

Voice is the inherent way we use words to communicate what's in our minds and in our hearts. It may be difficult to pinpoint our own individual voice simply because it is so inherent. Rather than worry about what our voice is or is not, we should concentrate on creating our stories or relating our knowledge and experiences in the way that seems the most natural to us. We will then find our voice.

The Last Day

This is it: my last day at CFI. Actually, make that my last hours at CFI. Right now I’m living in that weird world of in-between where I’m not really here or gone, just…almost. It’s a very strange feeling.

I really will miss a lot of things about working here. I’ll miss working with everyone here—they’re all so much fun to be around and I have a lot of great memories. I’ll miss the author conferences and talking with all of you, and having the opportunity to work with your books. And I’ll really miss just reading your manuscripts. The very best part of this job is when I read a book that I can’t put down, a book that keeps me here late or that I have to finish over the weekend—the kind of book that sends me running to Lyle to demand we send a contract immediately. I’ll really, really miss that.

The final thing I want to say as an acquisitions editor is this: keep writing. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed working with each of you and fully expect to see many books from each of you in the future. I know you’ll enjoy working with Jeff Marsh, and with Jennifer Fielding, who will be taking over my position. They’re both very talented, and I can leave CFI knowing that Acquisitions is in capable hands.

Well, the next time I get on the blog, I’ll be just plain old me, and not an all-powerful editor. But that’s okay, because after all, who knows—I may get a chance now to write a book of my own now. ☺

Card: Heyborne in the Age of Purity

Orson Scott Card has some great commentary on the Kirby Heyborn "controversy." You can read it here at

keep blogging . . .

Passing on a message to everyone:

I love this blog. The reason I started this blog is because I believed so much in each of you. Now, it is your jobs,to post here, and to keep this thing alive. I will be reading it, and I will be encouraging each of you, just as if I were still there bugging each week for each of you to keep it up.

Just consider me on to different things, but I am still behind each of you, following your careers.

The original wannabe.

Haven't Felt Much Like Posting

by Shirley Bahlmann
I'll admit it, I haven't felt much like posting lately. Since Doug Johnston invited me to join this blog in the first place, to blog without him here has almost felt like writing on his tombstone with glow-in-the-dark permanent marker. (Whoa, do they even MAKE those things? I'll take a dozen!)
But I've gotten wind of the idea that Doug may just want us to keep blogging. In this case, perhaps the captain doesn't have to go down with the ship. Maybe he can just be floating alongside in a pair of bright yellow water wings, shouting encouragement up to us less-experienced sailors. So I'm thinking I'll follow Janet's brave and talented lead and begin posting again, to be a voice for Doug's efforts that pulled us all together and got us so many hits that Marcia (wasn't it you, Marcia?) won a FREE BOOK!
And who wouldn't want that?
Oorah, Doug.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Those Boots were made for Hiking - er, Promoting

I thought this was a terrific idea: For a book entitled 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Salt Lake City (catchy title) the author proposed a full-color insert that would go inside boxes of hiking boots throughout Salt Lake, Cavis, Weber, and Utah Counties. Stores targeted would include sporting good, camping, shoe and general merchandise stores.

The flyer would read: "Now that you have your boots . . . get the right book: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Salt Lake City."

What a creative idea - - and with some ingenuity and footwork (pun intended) it's very possible to accomplish. And they should have a sample of their book in every story that sells boots. If the employees read it and recommend it, there's your target audience!

I am headed out for the weekend and I won't be hiking but I'll be doing something connected with rock and roll and I may be barefooted at a beach -- anyway, everybody have a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Promotion Ideas from 6 7 8 workshop

I promised to post some of the suggestions that resulted from my workshop on book promotion. I won't identify these by name unless I'm sure the person wouldn't mind (i.e. Shirley). Here are a few of my favorites:
One writer plans to submit her book straight to Oprah!

Comment: This writer has chutzpah. Wouldn't we all think we'd died and gone to heaven if our book made it to Oprah's book club?

Here's another suggestion:

Contact a local airline and have them place a copy of your book (or an excerpt of it) in the back pocket of the seat in the plane! You'll have a captive, book-hungry audience!

Comment: this even came with a charming illustration of an airplane, with quotes surrounding it - "Wow, this is a great book!" "Love this book!"

While I don't think this is possible, airlines being airlines, I thought it was a great idea!

Future suggestions will be posted - - - stay tuned!


Monday, June 16, 2008

My Last Post

The wannabe is done, finished, gone. On Saturday Jeffrey Marsh, acquisitions editor, left Cedar Fort. On Monday morning, they fired Jeremy Beal, one of the graphics designers and then gave me the option of signing a two year non compete contract or they would fire me. I am here writing this from my kitchen. I was fired because I wouldn't sign a contract that would keep me from making money for my family if I ever quit or got fired from Cedar Fort.

Next they told me that this blog, the blog I started and got going, and found the authors, is no longer available to me. That this is Cedar Forts blog. Guess what, it has never been Cedar Forts blog. It has been a blog of Cedar Fort authors, non paid blog. No one gets paid from this blog. So, after I post this message, I will leave this blog. It is a sad day for me, Jeffrey and Jeremy, but it is most sad, because I am leaving the job that I LOVE. I love working with the authors on a daily basis. I loved setting up events, signings, reviews, television and radio spots, and a writers conference.

I will miss this job, more than I have ever missed a job, but I couldn't sign a no compete for a few reasons. The turnover is very high at Cedar Fort and my family would need to eat if I got fired or laid off. My attorney said if they were paying me $100,000 that he would have me sign half of what was written in the contract, but never to sign it as it was. Also, Utah is a right to work state. And lastly, if they believed in me like they said they did, they would not have someone that made $35,000 a year ever sign a no compete clause.

So, adios, goodbye and I will be reading this blog, but not participating. I also have a book coming out in September, and it is not with Cedar Fort.

Best of luck to each of you, and my God bless each of you, the bloggers and the readers of this site.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I've been mythed!

I've been mythed!

And so has the syndicated book reviewer who sent the warning (posted below) to me. Talk about a red face!

See the particulars here:

Facebook hacker warning

I received this from a syndicated writer:

If somebody called richard peel adds you to their facebok account/invites you to be their friend DON'T accept it because it's a hacker. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on yours adds them, you get them on your list and he'l figure out your ID computer addesss. So copy and paste this message to everyone even if you don't like them and fast..because if he hacks their mail, he hacks yours.

Father's Day Present

By Marcia Mickelson

For Father's Day, my kids and I bought my husband a GPS (Global Positioning System) and new swim trunks. He has been working out of town the last few months in a new job. We're preparing to move down to Corpus Christi, TX where he is now working. He and his co-workers have been geocaching in the evenings, and I thought he would like a GPS since he has enjoyed geocaching.

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game where you use a GPS to find geocaches. Using coordinates, you follow the GPS to a location and search for a geocache. The geocache can be any kind of container that holds a log where you sign that you found it and sometimes it has small items or toys that can be traded out.

I knew that our family would love to go geocaching, so I thought it would be a fun present for Dad. On his way home Friday, he called me to ask if he could stop and buy a GPS. Knowing that we had already bought him one for Father's Day, I told him to wait a few days. He said he really wanted it this weekend, so we could take the kids geocaching. He knew they would love it, and since it's our last weekend in San Antonio, it might be the only chance we have to do it here. I told him that maybe he could get one for Father's Day. He said we wanted it before so he could take the kids out on Saturday. Okay, so finally, I had to tell him there was one sitting right in front of me. Happy Father's Day! He was surprised, but telling him ruined the surprise. Oh well, try to do something nice.

It was fine, though. We probably would have ended up giving it to him earlier since I knew the kids would want to go geocaching on Saturday. To read about our geocaching adventures, you can go the the Ink Ladies Blog. I blogged all about it. At least, we still have the swim trunks to give him on Father's Day. I think he'll be surprised since he thinks the GPS was the only present.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Keeping Keller Is To Be Cherished-Book Review

By Kimberly Jensen

I purchased "Keeping Keller" because of its subject matter. I have a child with autism and of course I read everything, fact or fiction on the subject. I read the book in two days straight because of its beautiful and poignant writing. Tracy Winegar takes a couple from the 1950's and brings them to life; their raw, honest life. I loved this book as it tells the story of how a couple deals with having a special needs child during a decade where trimmed lawns, high heeled shoes and appearances meant everything. They bucked what was "normal" and fought to include their young son into everyday society. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to love and understand that which is "not normal," and embrace those who love someone with special needs. Bravo, Tracy, Bravo!

If you are a big girl...

by Shirley Bahlmann
If you are a big girl, or even if you aren't, this YouTube clip is fun and kicky and makes you want to dance. (If by some chance the link below doesn't work, click on the picture of the boy with the apple, or just copy and paste, okay? Okay!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Self-management and Writers

For those who attended Cedar Fort’s writing conference, you know that the main speaker, Eliose Owens, talked about the importance of self-management when it comes to be a successful writer.

If you want to read about a writer who exemplifies the kind of self-management Owens was talking about, then read the essay “The Running Novelist” in the June 9 & 16 issue of The New Yorker. This essay is a must read for anyone who wants to know what kind of self management it takes to be a successful writer. Sadly this essay is not available online. So run out and find the aforementioned issue of The New Yorker at your local library or bookstore and read it.

You can also read brief excerpts and my commentary on the self-management facet of his essay here.

Recycling Dilemma

I'm moving next week, and I have a box full of five years' worth of household batteries. I've been hanging on to them because I wanted to recycle them, and the nearest recycling facility for batteries is about 20 miles away. In the five years I've lived in San Antonio, I had never taken batteries to be recycled. It made no sense to drive all the way out there just to drop off batteries. Whatever good I'm doing to the environment by recycling the batteries would just be canceled out by the drive.

Finally, after five years, it seemed worth it. So, I loaded up the heavy box of batteries and a few cans of paint to drop off to the hazardous material recycling facility. We managed to find a library near there to visit to make the trip more worthwhile. My kids love going to different libraries, but I don't always like to take them to ones very far away. They're bored with the three or four libraries close to us. They just don't understand gas prices. So, they were excited we finally were able to go to this library.

It felt good to get rid of those batteries. When I lived in New Jersey, there was a receptacle for recycling batteries right in our library. How nice to just drop them off every time I went there. I love you, San Antonio, but you need to make it easier to recycle batteries. There is only one place in this entire city to recycle batteries, and it is so far away. Despite that, I will really miss you, San Antonio. Who knows what recycling is like in Corpus Christi. Yikes!

The Worst Part of A (Good) Job

I guess I'd better 'fess up, in case some of you still haven't heard: I'm leaving Cedar Fort. My last day will be the 20th (a week from today).

The worst part about a good job is the leaving part. And this job definitely rates as the most enjoyable one I've ever had (it even beats out working in a music store as the clerk over woodwinds and sheet music, which was way fun).

My husband and I are applying for medical school/law school and we wanted to move home to St. George to be close to our families during the year-long application process. About three weeks back, everything just fell into place. We'll both have good jobs there (a huge blessing in light of the economy) and so we decided to take the opportunity.

That doesn't mean it was a very easy decision, though. I was a basketcase the week we decided to move. I'd see a book and break down in tears (yes, I'm a bawl baby). Seriously, I will miss working with you all.

Needless to say, things are pretty hectic right now both here at CFI and in my personal life. My things are halfway packed, I'm trying to sell my apartment and rent one in St. G., and top top it off, I take the LSAT Monday (AAHHH!!) so keep your fingers crossed for me :). I'm trying to respond to everyone who sends me books or queries to read before I go, too, but I can't promise anything.

And nope, I don't have the slightest idea who will be taking over my position. As far as I know, they haven't started interviewing for it yet.

So, if you get a chance, stop by and say hi next week!

They go potty in heaven, don't they?

by Shirley Bahlmann
We're in the middle of "The Mormon Miracle Pageant" here in little old Sanpete County, Utah. The outdoor spectacle of volunteer actors in period costumes is in its 42nd year on lovely Manti, Utah Temple Hill.
One thing that pageant goers probably don't know is that before each performance is a devotional for cast members. It takes place on Temple Hill behind the costume building. There are some wonderful speakers at those meetings, interspersed with those who do the best they can with the talents they've been blessed with.
During one meeting, my 8-year-old came to me with a frown on his face and said, "The man wouldn't let me use the bathroom."
"What man?" I asked, my protective Mommy hackles rising.
"The one who says when we can go get our costumes."
So I went to talk to the bathroom-maximum-security guard. With a voice that could freeze watermelons, I said, "My son told me you wouldn't let him use the bathroom."
"Oh, I'm sorry, when was this?"
"During cast devotional."
"Oh. Well, you see, if I leave the bathrooms open, then all the teenagers go in there and won't come out."
"My son is eight," I said, smoke coming out of my ears.
"Oh, I'm really sorry. Look, if you could come with him next time, then that would really help with crowd control. I really apologize," the man said, looking very apologetic.
"Okay," I said, my hackles smoothing down. I was glad, too, because raised hackles is not a good look for me.
I walked away, reflecting on the lesson that if you really want to reach your goal, it helps to take a parent with you. And there is One who can get through any barrier, from writing block to basic mortal needs. And if I, as an imperfect mortal, love my son enough to push aside my non-confrontational fun-loving yellow personality to confront Bathroom Security, how much more does Father in Heaven love us? I'll bet he even has a bathroom key right there in his pocket.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

by Emily Cushing

Five days before Christmas last year our family still did not have a Christmas tree. So my husband, Travis, and I loaded the kids up in the mini-van and drove down to the local tree lot. With only five days to go, I thought do we really need to buy an expensive tree since we will only be able to enjoy it for a few days?

Therefore, we set a $30 limit. How far does $30 go these days at a tree lot? Not far. The tree we purchased was a scrappy little guy who barely reached 5 feet. And on top of that, when we drove into the garage, we forgot that he was on top of the van. When we heard scraping and crunching as we pulled in, Travis and I looked at each other in confusion. And then simultaneously we yelled, “The tree!!”

But a small Christmas miracle occurred and our little tree survived the ordeal. We brought him inside, decorated him, and made him our own. Then eight days later, as we were preparing for a party, I asked Travis to get rid of him. So what did Travis do? He threw the tree in the backyard.

Luckily, Utah had a very bad winter. So before long, our tree was buried by snow and it wasn’t until spring, when the snow had all melted, that our little tree reappeared. Once again, I asked Travis to get rid of the tree. He said he needed to wait until he could borrow his Dad’s truck. That was two months ago.

A couple of weeks ago Travis and I were walking to our kids’ school to watch them perform in their dance concert. We had walked about a quarter of a mile when out of the corner of my eye I saw this huge dead bush:

As we got closer I realized that someone else in our neighborhood is as lazy as we are because there lying in their yard, five months after Christmas, was their brown dead Christmas tree.

But then to my complete and utter astonishment I realized that it was not their Christmas tree, but that it was our Christmas tree! And even more surprising than our tree traveling a quarter of a mile, was that in order to do so, he had dug himself out of a small hole, jumped a fence, taken a sharp right turn, and then tumbled (I’m guessing) the rest of the way, until there he lay waiting for me and Travis to go on a walk and discover him.

I guess we won’t have to wait until five days before Christmas this year to go get our tree. Instead, we’ll just pick him up from our neighbor’s yard in November.

Perfect Timing- almost

By Christine Thackeray

There are quite a few of us writers who juggle children with our passion of putting pen to paper (or clicking keyboards.) The last few days I've been working feverishly on the final edits of my next book that I wrote with my sister Dr. Marianna Richardson. It is called "Latter-Day Truths in Narnia" and goes through C. S. Lewis and how he is used by church authorities. Double checking footnotes, tightening complex concepts and rewriting a paragraph here or there was really tough, especially when you add that I've got two highschoolers, an unmotivated middle schooler and two "trunkie" grade schoolers who all had projects due and wanted help.

After three days of late nights, I finally got the last of the copyright issues completed, the school assignments handed in and this afternoon I got the final reference checked. It was about 12:30 when I sent it off and Camron my son popped in the door singing, "School's out for summer!" Perfect timing. We are going to dinner and bowling tonight to celebrate and we are going to spend tomorrow at an amusement park. Then we will probably be moving into a real house since we are just renting and it looks like we have found a place, (still only 95%.)

I sort of feel like I've flopped from one full-time job to another but what great timing. A full life is a great gift- I keep telling myself.

Black Turns Green?

By Rebecca Talley

I am the queen of black thumbs. Houseplants suffer a terrible fate in my hands. I guess I figure that if they really needed something, they'd scream or yell or cry like my kids. Since plants are, for the most part, silent (except when they whip around in the wind) I suppose I should be more attentive.

Each year we plant a garden. Usually, in our drought-ravaged area, we don't have much water in August. As a result, the garden tends to shrivel up and, well, die. At the beginning of the season I vow to be a better gardener. I promise myself, and the plants, that I will faithfully water, weed, and otherwise tend to them throughout the summer. (Actually, I fibbed. I assign the watering and the weeding to my kids--perhaps that's another reason the garden seems to suffer so).

This year is different. It really is. I've made a goal to go out and weed with the kids every day and oversee the watering. I've even scheduled it in my daytimer to make sure I stick to it. Maybe this will be the year my black thumb turns green.

So far, I've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, a watermelon, corn, and some flowers. The kids planted peas and radishes with my husband a few weeks ago and they are already growing. We even pulled out a radish and ate it.

I'm going to keep at this garden and, hopefully, in a few months I'll be able to enjoy (literally) the fruits of my labor. And, I'll be sure to check my thumb.

Flat Tire

by Tracy Winegar
So I'm just now getting a chance to blog about the writers conference last Saturday. Guess what happened on the way there? My tire blew out. This is ironic for several different reasons. For one, I just wrote about a similar experience in one of my books in the works. For two, I passed a guy the other day that was changing a flat, and I thought to myself, 'Huh, I've never had that happen'. Good thing too because I wouldn't know where to begin if I had a flat tire.
There I am, on the side of the road, unable to even figure out where the hazard lights are, with a flat tire. I immediately called my knight in shining armor, my husband, Ben. He got all four of our kids into the car and drove out to help me. In the mean time, some good Samaritan, AKA Mike Johnson from UDOT happened by, saw my dilemma, and stopped to help change my flat. Just as he was finishing up, my husband pulled up and thanked him. I did too. I gave him one of my books to show how much I appreciated him. Shameless plug, right?
It doesn't end there. Ben followed me all the way down to Springville, took the kids and the van, and replaced my tire. He left the van for me and then headed back home. Oh, isn't that so sweet? So I comfortably enjoyed the festivities, thanks to Doug for putting it on, while my dear husband juggled four kids and getting the flat replaced. I even got a very warm welcome from everyone who attended when I finally arrived, again thanks to Doug. I must admit I felt a little guilty for enjoying myself, knowing what Ben was going through behind the scenes.
By the way, if you haven't noticed from my other blogs, my life is a Soap Opera. But I'm still standing!

Book Addiction

Some people are addicted to chocolate (like me). Some are addicted to computer games (not like me). Some are addicted to books...and, unfortunately, some people, like me, follow through on that addiction and buy lots of books.
How is this bad? you ask. That's easy: have you ever tried to move your book collection? If the majority of your moving boxes contain books, this is probably a bad sign.
I'd like to blame the CFI discounted books store for the bulk of my collection, but the truth is that most of my books just gravitated to me from elsewhere in the universe. I don't know how it happens, but I swear they just show up in my living room. Novels, reference books, health and weight loss books, old school books; they are all combining to make the move to St. George seem impossible.
I'm sure most of you are thinking "Well duh, Kammi, DI most of them." I can't do that! It would be like chopping off a finger. Besides, many of them came from the DI anyway, and so giving them back to the DI would be self-defeating.
So here I sit, facing ten boxes of books (too heavy to lift) and another bookshelf to empty before I go. And somewhere in-between packing books, cleaning, taking the LSAT (Monday! I'm in a panic), and leaving CFI, I've got to find a way to pack the rest of the house.
Maybe I'll leave everything else behind and just take my books...

Cow Pie Pancakes

by Shirley Bahlmann
As I was sitting at the table eating raw vegetables, my stomach complained that those green and leafy things surely weren't the only thing I was going to give it, were they? My stomach added that there was some pancake mix in the kitchen, and pancakes were so gooood. Then my stomach teamed up with my mouth and I heard myself ask my 14-year-old son, "Will you please cook me some pancakes?"
"Sure," he said, and walked into the kitchen. That's when I should have been suspicious. He protesteth not enough.
He came back in the dining room stirring a bowl of pancake mix with a fork. Then, looking in the bowl, he said, "Ew, what is that? Oh, well, I just stirred it in. I'm sure it's fine." Then he went back in the kitchen and I soon smelled the delicious aroma of browning pancakes. A minute later, he brought me a plate with his hand cupped around the edge. "Now, don't panic," he said. "This is supposed to be Mickey Mouse, but his brains squished out when I turned him over." Well, I could eat a mutated Mickey Mouse, and I did, and my stomach cheered.
Then my son brought me a glass of milk, only it was strange because there was a blob of bright red color spreading through the white. "Sorry, but this is the only milk we had," he explained. "George the Farmer was milking the cow when the cow stepped on his hand. George's finger popped off and flew into the milk bucket. Now his finger is in your glass, so when you drink it, leave a little on the bottom to preserve the finger so we can take it to the hospital when you're through and sew it back onto poor George."
After hearing that story, I couldn't make myself drink the milk, even though somewhere in my heart I hoped it was just red food coloring.
Then Brian brought out another plate with his hand cupped around the edge. "I made a culinary masterpiece," he announced solemnly. "I hope you enjoy it." Then he set the plate down with a flourish and announced, "Cow pie pancakes." Four pancakes of varying diameters stared up at me from the plate. They were stacked with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on the top, and by gum, it did look like a cow patty that some bovine had casually dropped in the corral. But I ate it anyway. After all, I couldn't let a masterpiece go to waste.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Do You Keep Him

By Kimberly Jensen

Kids can be so brutally honest, just go and visit an elementary school classroom or meet my 12 year old niece Savanah. This week we are spending a week with my sister in sunny Arizona. My sister and I shared a bedroom growing up and today we share the joys and challenges of raising special needs children. My son has Autism, while her daughter's disability has never received a clinical name. We were driving home from the pool yesterday and my older two children were telling Savanah that their little brother, the one with autism, can sometimes be quite annoying. Savanah quickly asked, "Well, why do you keep him then?" We laughed and my sister and I exchanged glances and smiles that needed no words, because we are part of the special club that gets to visit Holland again and again.

Welcome To Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Article printed with permission of the author.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Is It Just Me Or Is Writing Hard?

Is it just me or is writing hard? It’s probably just me. I’m sure that while I’m still staring at my computer screen, most other writers are feverishly typing page after flawless page, a thought that makes me want to bang my head against a piano. I’ll explain that later. For me, the process is, and has always been, a struggle. Seldom does a paragraph come easy for me. Part of the problem is I weigh words, trying to figure out which one fits best. Do I need empty-headed or brainless? Such a question must be mulled over, and quite possibly while enjoying a hearty lunch. I mean, if I’m going to suffer for my art I might as well do it at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
I have to admit, however, that as day after day spent writing passes, the process does seem to get a little easier. What started out feeling like I’m pushing my diesel Excursion uphill by day five or six more closely approximates a mid-sized sedan. But then comes Sunday. I once had a Bishop who taught religion classes for a living, and his approach to keeping the Sabbath day holy involved not even reading the passages of scripture he planned to cover that week with his students, because that was his work. When he told me that, all I could say was, "CRAP!" Sunday, as a mother of six, is the perfect day to write: My husband’s home, the kids are busy doing shrink art and macrame projects that tell the story of the early history of the church (okay, they’re watching TV) and dinner is in the crock pot. But my Bishop threw down the gauntlet, and so a leisurely hour or so of writing on Sunday (even if I didn’t have a contract) no longer seemed okay, which meant the Excursion that I’d be pushing on Monday would not only be going up hill, but would be packed for Scout camp, beefy teenagers included. For me, even a day off makes it that much harder.
Getting back to banging my head against a piano . . . I realize that Sesame Street with little kids today is a bit passe, which is fine with me since it annoys me reasons I won’t get into at the moment. But, be that as it may, when I’m struggling to write, I nearly always think of Sesame Street character who, for me, best illustrates my frustration: Don Music. As muppets go, he’s fairly good looking, not to mention a classy dresser, and he’s always at the piano writing a song. When he gets to a point in the lyric where he can’t think of what the next word should be, he bangs his head against the piano in front of him. Repeatedly. Over and Over. Smashing his skull with abandon against the keys, until the answer comes, which is usually handed to him by Kermit the Frog, but that’s not the point. The point is, I identify with his need to dent the keyboard with his forehead. Though I’ve never done it (the dog would start to howl, plus the kids would complain they couldn’t hear the TV) trying to write can frustrate me to the point that I’d like to do it, if repairing a baby grand wasn’t so expensive.
So what’s my point? My point is that writing is too hard so I’m taking up shrink art. I’m joking. Besides, all are markers in our house are probably dried up. We’re not the best at putting caps back on. But seriously, my point is that despite the frustrations that come with it, I truly enjoy writing. And one of the best parts of writing is having readers enjoy the book you’ve written. I just did a school visit where all the fifth graders had read Clan Destine, and it made all the moments where I wanted to bang my head worth it. So that’s it, and now I need to get back to pushing my vehicle uphill. At least today it’s not packed with teenagers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Looking For a Good Book

by Shirley Bahlmann
Being a victim of an occasional Bahlmann Boy Prank, when my son announced that someone was "here to see me," I asked, "Are you serious?" Sure enough, Clint was at my door, looking to buy one of my books that his neighbor recommended. The funny thing is, the neighbor didn't know my exact address, and neither did Clint. But Clint felt confident he could follow the directions to turn down my street and stop at the house with the red PT Cruiser parked in front.
But there was a problem. My Cruiser was not parked in front of my house. In a secret agent moment, I'd parked it beside an old church one house away from mine. Why? Because my youngest son was waving the water hose around the front yard like a deranged elephant, and I had just washed the car and didn't want it all spotty.
So Clint went to the house across the street from the church, and then to the next house, and the one after that, which happened to be right across the street from me. Those neighbors kindly pointed him in the right direction.
And do you know what? Once he found me, Clint ended up buying two books. Perhaps the hunt makes the trophy more dear. Maybe it's time to unlist my phone number. I could be independantly wealthy in no time!
By Sidne O’Reilly

I mentioned in my last blog that I am writing a continuation of the Twelve Week Challenge, a 12 Week Challenge to Design a Spiritually Based, Sustainable Healthy Life Style. Here is an excerpt:

A word about physical preparedness -- The ten virgins come to mind. “And five were wise and five of them were foolish.” We recognize the familiar story of how the ten virgins came to the wedding feast. “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” Now, isn’t that interesting. They took their lamps, but no oil? What were they thinking? Maybe thoughts like. “Someone will surely share with me -- Oh, I will have time to get oil later. After all, I do my visiting teaching. I do my calling. I attend the temple and do other forms of service. A way will be provided.” Their actions show that perhaps their thinking was along these lines. The consequences of their lack of preparation are chilling. No one could share with them. They went to buy oil at the last minute and when they got back “the door was shut.” When the five foolish virgins returned they said, “Lord, Lord, Open to us.”

“But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

Many times this example has been used to illustrate preparedness as far as our food supply is concerned. It is an important parallel. Could it not also apply to the physical preparation of our bodies? What if there were an emergency that required physical strength. We couldn’t ask to borrow it from someone else. We couldn’t go buy it. No, we have to bring it ourselves. I am not suggesting that our physical condition could keep us out of Heavenly Father’s kingdom as it did the five foolish virgins. But it could cause us to pay prices higher than we want to think about.

Now is the time. This is the place. We can fill or lamps with oil and in this case bring extra to share as we design our spiritually based sustainable exercise program. Let’s go for it.

I am cheering for you!

My author interview story - punchline

I didn't remember to tell the punchline of my "I interviewed myself for the back of the book" story at the workshop on Sat. This was in regard to The Book Lover's Cookbook paperback edition, when the editors wanted an interview with both authors to include in the back of the book. The reason I couldn't set aside everything else to arrange an interview that was convenient for all 3 of us was that when the editor made the request (ASAP, of course, and out of the blue- we had no idea they were going to do it or we could have been prepared on our own time line) my son was going to be married in three days. Not only were we getting ready for a wedding; the wedding was in Finland.

Then, to complicate matters, I woke up the day before we were to leave with a hugely swollen technicolored foot. It took most of the day to have it examined, X-rayed, and then studied by ultrasound, and it became more gruesome-looking by the hour. They finally determined that it was a ruptured blood vessel. I did not have a blood clot and could fly, though because of the risk that it could go septic due to the excessive swelling, I was given an antibiotic injection. And I was told to keep it elevated. Right. In airports and on airplanes. Anyway, we did go, the wedding was lovely, Finland was lovely, and I even managed one shuffled dance (this was a very traditional wedding) with my husband on my Ace-wrapped foot. It healed. End of that story.

Back to the author interview:

For your next book, or your current book, why don't you publish discussion questions yourself on your website? Book clubs love to use the discussion questions. I plan to do that with my novel soon. Thinking ahead: when your next book is published, in your author bio, mention that readers can find discussion questions on your website, and then give the URL. Wish I'd done that!

In fact, really think ahead and submit those discussion questions with your manuscript! The publisher will know you're really serious, and thorough.

A word that ought to exist

We were sitting around the living room the other night when my husband said he was a "pushover" for something. None of the kids had heard that metaphor before, so he explained what it meant, and where it came from. Then he had to explain that, while it originally had connotations of giving in easily to certain things, he was just using to show that he liked whatever it was he was talking about.

That led to a discussion of how metaphors change over time. My oldest son remarked, "They should call those metamorphors."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Changing the "Baby"

by Terri Ferran

I dressed up my "new baby" (my manuscript) and sent her out on her own last Saturday to face the cold, cruel world of Editing from those wonderful people who have agreed to read it and tell me the truth.

Mingled with the joy of actually finishing the manuscript, is the fear of having someone hate it; or liking it, yet picking it apart.

I mentioned my fears to my daughter, telling her it was like showing my real baby to someone and having them say "Cute, but it's cross-eyed" or "Did you notice its ears are crooked" or "It could use a little more hair" or "Your baby is ugly".
She explained that I was looking at it wrong; that it was more like a shower, where people might say "Here's a bow to make your baby prettier" and were giving me gifts to help my baby.

I realized that my biggest fear was that someone might say "Oh, your baby stinks! You need to change it!" Or worse, never want to hold my baby again.

Like many writers, I hate the criticism of my creations; yet I know I am a better writer because of it. I value the input from others, but find that I dwell too much on small negatives and not enough on the huge positives. I let the moments of glory be overshadowed by mountains of doubt--my own self-doubt.

My goal for this week--enjoy the shower of gifts and ignore the downpour of doubts!

Thank You

Putting on the 6 7 8 writers conference was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I am happy to say it is over. I wouldn't have taken on such a task, if I didn't think it would help the writers. From this group, we had myself, Abel and Janet talk. We also brought in the powerful Eloise Owens. She is amazing.
We also had the following people from this group there:
Lee Ann
Shirley (and two of her children) Micheal helped me hand out prizes.

We had 123 people there, and a lot of positive comments.

I love re meeting Sidney and her husband every time we meet. They are so happy.
Lee Ann is great, and we are going to have lunch soon and talk about publicity. Do you know she has nine books with us?
Tracy got a special welcome from the 120 + people there.
JoAnn was the person I saw the most in the audience, because she was always smiling at me. It was great, and I loved her post. (see below) I also want to give her a standing ovation for realizing how much it took to get this all together.
Terri, who was on the front row, like all good students are.
Mary and Kimberly were both great. I am glad I met them, if only for a minute though.

Two people I have to thank most of all, Tawna, my lovely wife, and Jennifer, Cedar Fort's receptionist. They both worked non stop the whole day.
Thanks to to the volunteers from work that came part of the day: Jessica, Jake, and Christy.
Thanks to all of the bloggers that helped me get the word out on this, and to all of you that came.

Heaven Scent Blog Tour Begins

By Rebecca Talley

Today begins the blog tour for Heaven Scent. I have some fabulous people helping me spread the word on their blogs. Each day a new person will post a review and an interview with me. I'm very excited for the tour and want to express my deepest appreciation to all of those who are taking part. If you'd like to follow the tour, I'll list all the dates and addresses on the side bar of my blog and keep it there for the rest of the month.

I've answered some interesting questions, too. If you'd like to get to know me better, you can read the interviews.

This will be so much fun. I hope you'll join me on the tour. Karlene Browning will be giving away the perfume we designed to accompany Heaven Scent, it's called Hope.

June 09 Ronda Hinrichsen
June 10 Don Carey
June 11 Stephanie Humphreys
June 12 Nichole Giles
June 16 Michelle Jefferies
June 17 Emily Debenham
June 18 Danyelle Ferguson
June 19 Ali Cross
June 20 Karen Hoover
June 23 Heather Justesen
June 24 Kim Thompson
June 25 Rachelle Christensen
June 26 Andy Lemmon
June 27 Karlene Browning
June 30 Marcia Mickelson
July 01 C. Lynn Beck

I hope you'll drop by.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

6--7-8 Conference

JoAnn Arnold

Oh my gosh! What an incredible, educational, fun experience we had yesterday at the Cedar Fort conference. I don't know if I've ever received more information about what I'm supposed to be doing, am doing and hope to do in the near future,(as soon as my brother gets my website set up).

The only thing I regret is that we didn't give Doug a standing ovation for all the work he did to make everything go so smoothly and so informatively wonderful.

Doug, I am, at this moment, giving you a standing ovation from the desk on which my computer sits. I didn't get to talk to you yesterday, to thank you, because you were one busy man. Today, although it's from a distance, I thank you for all you did to make the conference perfect.

Hey, just one minute - There couldn't have been a conference without the OK from Lyle Mortimer. (Another standing ovation). He stayed in the back ground and let Doug do his thing.

Another thought. Everyone who helped Doug - all the people who work for Cedar Fort, took their Saturday and made it a special day for all who attended the conference. (Another Standing ovation)

Wait! I haven't finished. With my ten minutes sitting down with Jeffrey Marsh, I was enlightened and given answers to questions that I had, but had never voiced. I thank him for his kindness. (another standing ovation)

Can I say enough about the day. Probably not. But I do know that when I came away from the conference, I felt like I had just eaten my favorite desert.


Report of 6 7 8 Writer's Conference

by Shirley Bahlmann
Wow! The first ever Cedar Fort writer's conference was packed wall to wall, row to row, like corn on a cob! There was great energy and information there, and Doug was a terrific MC! He kept the speakers on schedule, and gave a very insightful presentation of his own.
Then there were all the people who got one on one time with editor Jeff, who was still smiling at the end of the day. I got to talk to Lyle about a possible book, and got the go-ahead to send an outline. That always makes an author's day!
As for lunch, well, just let me say I've never had better bread to hug my sandwich! The salads were all top notch, and the drinks were left out so participants could take more as they day progressed.
I also enjoyed reconnecting with other authors, and hearing of the progression of their books and reviews! What great energy!
KUDOS! I can hardly wait to study my free book or read the ones I bought at a discount.
If you missed this conference, you'd better keep your heads up for the next one. I only hope it remains affordable, and that they'll arrange the tables so there's an aisle down the middle. (Doug?)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On characters

(Hey, Doug and CFI: You put on a great writing conference today!)

Had an interesting experience with a book that shall remain nameless, because of being a bit raunchy. I thought it was historical fiction, as in fictional characters in a realistic setting (American history). This was partly my fault, for never having heard of the main characters (I got minor characters Abraham Lincoln and William McClellan okay, though). It was partly the author’s fault for having NO historical notes.

Anyway, I ended up reading a historical novel about real people, all the while believing they were fictional. It made for a weird read. Kept wondering why everyone’s names were spelled weird, and why so many names started with J. On a larger level, the storytelling seemed “flawed,” since it seemed to proceed episodically, with no real structure. The author didn’t seem to have a clear read on the main character’s motivations, and the story ended with him fading off and just dying.

Kind of a lot like most people’s real lives.

I talked to myself about the book for a week or more. Since it was a historical novel, did it fail for not reading like a novel? I decided it was more respectful to tell a real life like a real life, without trying to pigeonhole a complex and interesting character with just a few adjectives, like “proud and ruthless” (though the author should have included those notes!)

It also made me wonder if I should be expecting more from fiction—what I read and what I write. Although I’m not likely to start enjoying or writing stories that fade off and just die, everyone—fictional and real—requires and deserves more than just a few adjectives!

Where are you going?

By Christine Thackeray

This week my mother passed away. She was a wonderful mother of twelve, writer and speaker. As my brothers and sisters were talking about the incredible stories she would tell that would keep us entertained for hours, my brother said he had once asked her how she did it. She said that the key to a good story is to know exactly where you are going and how you want your listener to feel when they get there and then designing every element to feed those two goals.

As I consider my work in progress, I was amazed how much this simple gem helped me find clarity. I deleted a couple of scenes and decided to add a few others to better accomplish what I wanted out of the story. But as we live our lives, this could also be a wonderful motto. Many of us think we want to be with our families forever but if we aren't cherishing our time together and instead constantly crave a few minutes alone so we can get done the real things we want to enjoy, perhaps we will still arrive at our destination, but will our feelings be as poignant as they should and could be?

Since then I've decided to delete a few personal plans and add a couple of afternoons of family fun, a few more date nights with my sweet hubby and a couple of temple trips. So that if I ultimately make it to where I want to be, I'll be more thrilled than ever that I'm there.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Author Website and Blog

by Emily Cushing

My friend just started a website for authors. On the site they share how authors began their writing careers. Each week they highlight a new author and share his/her writing experience. They explain what it was that prompted the author to write his/her books, information about the books, and what helped the author to see his/her books through to completion.

I am featured on the website this week. They are also looking for more authors to highlight on the site. If you would like to be featured, please visit the sites for more information.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tiny Tess

The newest addition to our family, my little niece Tess, was born on Tuesday at 2:30 in the morning. Refusing to conform to the norm, she came in an unlikely manner. I received a call from my older sister Kelly out in Pennsylvania at about 4:30 in the morning on my cell phone. I attempted to ignore it on the first ring. However, on the second call I managed to pull myself out of bed and answer. I assumed that it was one of my sister's children, unaware that there is a two hour time change between there and Utah.
Instead my sister told me that little Tess had been born at home a whopping two and a half months early. My brother-in-law had delivered her before they were even able to call 911. An ambulance was called after the fact, and Tess and her mother were whisked away to the hospital. Imagine our surprise. I immediately threw on my clothes and was out the door for the two hour drive up to Idaho. When I got there my brother was already there. Half an hour later, my sister Jennifer came. My sister Ashley had been staying with Jessica to help her during a particularly difficult pregnancy and was taking care of Jessica's two other girls when I got there.
It is amazing to me what an inspired unit the family is. I can't name how many times they have helped me through scrapes, encouraged me to follow my dreams, and have shared my happy times with me. But I felt such pride as we all came together during this minor disaster. I got to see tiny Tess, how small, how fragile, at just a little over three pounds, and I knew that she had come to the right place, welcomed by a family that loves her.

Summer Reading Trek

By Rebecca Talley

Over at the LDSFiction blog there's a summer reading challenge. Everyone who participates is eligible for prizes. This is a no pressure reading challenge to encourage people to read LDS fiction. If you'd like to participate go here.

Tell your friends about this challenge. It's a great way to get people reading LDS fiction and we all love to win prizes, right? If you need a little kick in the you-know-what to get reading this summer, go sign up. It'll be fun.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Floods or Clamdiggers?

by Shirley Bahlmann
Now that the weather is gradually growing warmer, my pant hemlines are rising. Yesterday, I pulled on a pair of nice, comfortable stretchy pants and walked out in public. But something felt wrong. With the hemline hitting me just above the ankles, I was an awkward, too-tall teenager again. Halfway through the day, I bent over and rolled the hem up twice. When I stood up, I felt comfortable, fashionable, and, yes, even suave.
I began to wonder what the difference is with pant lengths. I mean, if I feel like a clumsy adolescent in pants just above my ankles (reminiscent of junior high school taunts, "Hey, Noah, when's the flood?") Then why do I feel like I could step into the school lunch room and turn every head with two rolls of the hem? What makes the difference? Is it social conditioning, or are women born with pant-length sensors inside their calves that signal when the him is just right?
And how many names do we need for shorts from the knee to the ankle? Exactly what is a clam digger, in cote hauteur terms? What about capris? Knee shorts? Bermudas?
Excuse me, I need to go put on a skirt.

A Little Lighter request (losing without hunger)

Lyman Rose

Well, I received two comments to my last blog on losing weight and both asked me what I had done to lose 50 pounds in just a little over two months without being hungry.


Monday - Fruits.  Any kind and any quantity.  Watermelon and cantaloupe are the best but you can use any that you want.

Tuesday - Vegetables.  Any kind and any quantity.  Stay away from peas and corn.  Potatoes are not a veggie but you can have one on Tuesday with butter.

Wednesday - Fruits and veggies.  Any and all

Thursday - Bananas and skim milk.  Yes it is only bananas and skim milk.  Not my favorite day but it is doable.

Friday - Tomatoes and Chicken.  Any kind of tomatoes and rotisserie or baked/grilled chicken (no KFC).  The dressing is really good on the chicken and the tomatoes. 

Saturday- Fruits, veggies and chicken.  All you want of all of them but try to limit yourself to no more than two whole chickens (I can only eat about half of one).

Sunday - Veggie soup.

Condiments allowed - salt, pepper, light basalmic vinaigrette dressing (kraft has a good one).  For my cooked veggies - broccoli, cauliflower etc. - I use the I can't believe it's not butter spray.  The spray has no fat and virtually no calories.  It just tastes good.

I have been on it for 9 weeks and it has been good to me (52 pounds worth) but I still need a change so if you have any ideas, let me know of a different plan that  will allow me to continue to drop the weight.


Picture Perfect

Abel Keogh

As I parent, I know that one day one of my kids will leapfrog me when it comes to technology and understand how to work a computer, video game, or some device that hasn’t been invented yet better than their old man.

However, I never thought that they’d be four years old when they did it.

Our oldest is fascinated by cameras. He loves taking pictures with my digital camera (gulp!) or my cell phone camera. And I like looking at the photographs he takes because it’s interesting to see how he views the world.

Our Kitchen Sink

(This is what our kitchen sink looks like from his perspective.)

Usually he’ll take pictures with my cell phone camera until the memory is full. Later I’ll go through the pictures, save the one or two I like, and delete the rest.

On Saturday I was going through the latest round of photos and noticed that they some of them had some special effects added to them.

Cat Special Effects

I called our oldest over and asked if he had taken that picture. With quite a bit of pride in his voice, he told me that he had done that.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“Push seven,” he said.

I pushed seven. Nothing happened.

“It’s not working,” I said.

“You have to start at the beginning,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

Obviously frustrated with his old man’s inability to work a simple cell phone camera, our four year old took the camera from me and in a few moments was pushing the seven button and scrolling through a list of special effects.

“See?” he said.

“Wow. That’s amazing. How did you figure that out?”

“I just learned it,” he said.

He scrolled through the special effects and held the camera up so he could see me.

“Smile, Dad,” he said.

I smiled.

And he took a picture.

Abel's Smile

Entry cross-posted here.

Monday, June 2, 2008


By Rebecca Talley

Saturday was a super-service day in our ward. We cleaned the highway (7 miles, both sides). It never ceases to amaze me what people will throw out the window of their vehicles. I don't understand why motorists won't keep their trash a few more miles and throw it in a dumpster. We pick up plenty of beer cans and beer bottles. Do you think these people are drinking and driving? You bet they are. They finish their brew and out the window the can or the bottle goes.

The scariest thing my husband ever found was a hypodermic needle. Thankfully, he was wearing gloves so it didn't stick him.

After the highway clean-up, we had a blood drive. Donating blood is a great service to those who need it and they constantly need more blood donations (if you can pass all those embarrassing questions). My husband, one of my daughters, and I all donated. I even have a big bruise to prove it.

We also had some humanitarian projects like tying quilts and assembling school kits.

Our high school (located in a city 25 miles away) has adopted a service component for graduation. Students may not graduate unless they've completed 20 hours of service. I think this oversteps the bounds of the school, but illustrates how little service is done in some areas. In my small rural community, we are constantly involved in large and small service projects from moving people to making meals for those in need to donating blood. I'm blessed to not only live in a community that values service, but to be part of a church that provides service opportunities for its members. We are all better people when we look outside of ourselves and serve others.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Goolge Earth

By Marcia Mickelson

My 8 year old is hooked. I introduced him to Goole Earth two weeks ago, and he can't get enough. He's pushing three hours on the computer each day, and I have to get him off to do different things, or I think he'd stay there all day.

He's big into geography and maps. His year old book of San Antonio maps is tattered from hours of enjoyment. But, this is a whole new, amazing adventure for him. He's in heaven.

He has enjoyed finding our house, his school, and just about every place he's ever been. We're moving to a new town this month, and he has already scouted out our new house, his new school. He can already tell me the nearest libraries, parks, and grocery stores. He can already tell me exactly how to get there (with a little comparison between his map and Google Earth), what streets I need to take, and what I'll pass on my way there. He's also taken a great liking to marking the places he finds.

I think it's great that he enjoys Google Earth. It's truly an amazing program. What's funny is that he can't just enjoy it. He has to tell me all the things he finds. I hear "Look!" at least a dozen times an hour. I can only be excited about another McDonald's so many times. But, really, I am happy that he is enjoying this great technology we have today.

Official Porch Sitter

By Kimberly Jensen

I first heard of the "Official Porch Sitters Club" during the end of a newscast one evening. You know, the last story of the nightly news that is full of fluff and good feelings to help you sleep at night after watching previous stories of dread and fear. I haven't officially joined the club on paper but I consider myself a member of this club because everytime my father comes to visit, that is what we do. We sit on the porch. My dad stays with us about once a month for a few nights so that my mom can get a few things done and get a much deserved break from being a full time caregiver to my dad who has Parkinson's. One of my dad's favorite things to do is just sit on our front porch and watch the woods for deer. He sees them often, but they don't always come into his view. But still we sit and visit. Sometimes there are long conversations about his childhood growing up in Pleasant Grove and memories of family vacations. But those long conversations are few and far between and most of the time we just sit in the presence of each other and breathe. I've found peace in those moments of just breathing and sitting beside the man who struggles for nearly every breathe he takes. He is thankful for each one and I am thankful that I am there to witness his gratitude, strength and endurance. Because of my father I have a greater appreciation and understanding of one of the famous "Be's," that being "Be Still."