Showing posts from April, 2008

Coming Spring 2009 . . .

It's official!

My next book, titled Tower of Strength, has been accepted for publication and will be released next spring.

My fourth temple-related book, it's set in 1884 Manti, a few years before the temple there was complete. Much of the story centers around events (both real and fictional) that took place in and around the city's Temple Hill.

I love the title they picked; Tower of Strength can refer to both the temple (the towers are under construction during the story) as well as the heroine. Tabitha really is a tower of strength, and that plays a huge role in the story.

This book has been an interesting ride. I loved uncovering the story and characters. I struggled with some of the research. I laughed. I cried.

And in the end, I'm excited for my readers to meet Tabitha Chadwick and get to know her for the strong woman she is . . . even if they have to wait almost a year before meeting her!

Orcs Don't Go Bump in the Night

When he was about eight, my son went to see The Two Towers with his dad. Some people thought we were completely nuts to let a child so young see it. He'd surely get nightmares, they said. It was way too intense for a third grader. But we knew our son.

Some time before, we'd gotten The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD. As I left for a commitment that night, my husband started watching it. I was a bit concerned about the scariness level for the kids, but he promised that he'd turn it off if our son showed any signs of anxiety. The girls weren't interested anyway, so they wouldn't be watching.

When I returned that night, I discovered that not only had my little guy not been terrified by the Orcs (creatures that quite frankly freaked me out in the theater), but that he had watched the movie on his feet, jumping off the couch and pretending to slash Orcs right along with Aragon. I should have known; ever since he could hold anything relatively narrow and long, he'd been …

Attack on the Grammar Fascista

My family is out to get me.

It began a few weeks ago when #2 left the piano bench during her practice time and sought me out in the kitchen.

“This song is so easy,” she said. “Can I play it less times?”


Before I could answer, I had to clear my throat and get my face under control. Then I launched into a speech about count nouns versus non-count nouns and therefore the proper usage of less and fewer.

“It drives me crazy,” I told her. “Commercials mess them up all the time. It’s not less calories. You can count calories, so it’s fewer calories. It’s not like time or flour, which you refer to in general quantities—less time, less flour. So it should be fewer calories. Fewer, people! Fewer!”

#2 just looked at me. “So . . . can I play it less times, then?”


(For any other grammar fascistas out there, I don’t hold to the antiquated school of thought that one must use “may” in requests such as these instead of "can." I’m not a savage.)

The song really was easy. Normally the k…

2, 3, Cha-Cha-Cha

My partner on the university summer ballroom team almost didn’t ask me out.

We’d spent every morning for a good chunk of the summer dancing together. I’d gone out once with another guy on the team—a boy that, while nice enough, didn’t exactly impress when he went on about how desperate he was to get married.

Over the course of the summer, my partner and I became great friends, and yeah, we flirted a bit. But I kept talking about how I was going to serve a mission, and he took me seriously on that.

I don’t remember the first time I saw him, but I do remember the first impression I had of him. It was early in the summer before we had assigned partners and instead the guys rotated between the girls every few minutes. He was my last partner of the day, and I remember thinking, Wow, this guy can really lead, and we work well together. We both finagled things so we’d end up assigned together, and we had a ball all summer long.

During that time, the film Strictly Ballroom came to theaters. I tho…

Seeking My Plot

Most successful writers I know have no dearth of story ideas. The majority tend to have so many ideas that they often have to sort through them to decide which book to write first.

There was a time when that described me, too. I had plot ideas swimming in my head all the time, and I have several unpublished manuscripts to attest to that. I worked on them before and shortly after the time that I wrote House on the Hill.

For years I had felt compelled to write something about the Logan temple. I'd had a love of Cache Valley and the temple there for a long time and knew that there was a story I had to write about it. At the time, I had no plans for sticking with the historical fiction genre or for writing more books about temples.

In fact, the next book I wrote was a murder mystery, a sort of sequel for Lost without You, my first book, that takes place ten years later when the daughter, Angela, is a high school senior. I had a ball writing that one (it was totally awesome when my cop br…

Indoctrinating the Younguns

My mother did it for me over twenty years ago, and I'm doing it to my kids, with no apologies.

When I was around 10, and lasting for several years thereafter, Mom made a point of renting videos as a means to creating culturally-literate children. The great part was that in addition to getting a great education, we also had a ball seeing terrific classic films together.

Now when I run across fellow Gen-Xers who haven't seen these gems, I have to remind myself that not everyone had such a great learning experience from their parents in their early teens.

I plan to show my kids all the same great shows Mom shared with me, but at this point, my kids are still a little too young to appreciate the likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, or The Philadelphia Story. Ditto with some of the Hitchcock greats (my personal favorites: Charade and Wait until Dark). My son might be able to sit through something along the lines of The Dirty Dozen, being as there's a lot of guns and fighting i…

I'm Getting There . . .

I've made some progress on my catch-up list from last time:Get a way overdue and much-needed hair cut. Hasn't happened yet. I'm thinking maybe Monday or Tuesday.Cut the kids' hair. It's on today's "Saturday is a special day" list. This way they'll look less like homeless waifs when we walk into church tomorrow.Bake a decent dinner. It's happened once so far, thanks to the crock pot. (I made homemade rolls to go with the beef stew. That counts, right?) But we've had a few unexpected issues that have thrown a wrench into having a great dinner, like an emergency trip to the doctor for DD10's possibly broken arm.Do the laundry. It's now caught up to a reasonable level of completeness. The mountain is gone, and everyone has stuff to wear again. We're back to maintenance mode.Go grocery shopping. Done. Of course, there were a few things I forgot to put on the list, but I DID go. We now have clean clothes AND food.Clean a few toilets.…

Rewrites and Catch-ups

When the writing conference was over and done with, I had two weeks to get my Manti book rewrite done and turned back in to my editor. (The illustrious and rockin Kirk, seen below during his workshop at the conference. The man is my new best friend.)

It was going pretty well . . . until a cold smacked me upside the head and laid me out, well . . . cold. I bought an extra two days, recovered (for the most part), and turned it in late last night.

What I should have done was buy three extra days, see, because when I got the extension until Tuesday, I didn't look at the calendar. Therefore, I didn't realize that yesterday was not only the day I help in my third grader's classroom, but I had a dentist appointment for a crown (and I'd already rescheduled with my dentist several times) AND a birthday lunch with one of my bestest friends ever. And my daughter's choir concert was that night.


To make my promised deadline, on both Monday and Tuesday I woke up at 5:3…

5 Random Thoughts

1) My son is going to grow taller than me in a few months. I'm so not ready for that.

2) The other day, DD5 proclaimed her requirements for the boy she will marry someday:

He must like her.
She must like him.
He must like kissing.
When pressed, she admitted that making sure he's NICE would be a good idea as well. ("Like Daddy," she decided. Couldn't go wrong on that one.)

3) I've been an avid watcher of American Idol since the very first season. It's the one show hubby and I TiVo and then watch together, often when the little ones are asleep. This year the turbo-giant cell phone company, Nokia (based in Finland, my other homeland), is a sponsor.

Now you'll all know what a total nerd I am: I was so pleased to hear Ryan Seacrest pronounce the name of the company correctly; most people don't.

It's NO-kia, not no-KIA.

The stress of any Finnish word is always on the first syllable. Sheesh, people. It's not like it's an insanely difficult language. O…