Thursday, February 28, 2013

Saved By The Bell

Saved by the bell...what does that phrase really mean?

I saw a post not long ago on Facebook, entitled "Life in the 1500's", that talks about the origin of several (now) cliche phrases and traditions, such as the bridal bouquet, or it's raining cats and dogs.  I found the post interesting, and at moments, subtly amusing.  I even read parts to my husband.  A lot of the information seemed solid and reasonable, and I took it as truth at first glance (even though there were some parts that begged me to question their plausibility).

I read Anna's great post earlier this month, entitled Errors In Translation, and it got me to thinking more about the topic of research.

I decided to research more about the origin of different phrases, and I found the following article that totally debunks the info I had read, in such a humorous way that I can't believe I ever took a single part of it at it's word.

I guess it just goes to show how important research truly is.  Because if you don't have reliable and credible sources, and you don't do the proper research, you'll just end up looking foolish or fraudulent. And no bell is going to save you from that.

Oh, and I guess I've learned I can't believe everything I read on the Internet....right?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Selling with Due Humility

Following on from Amber's superb post yesterday, I have to admit that I hate marketing, and I'm rubbish at it. In fact, one of the main reasons I prefer traditional  publishing to self-publishing is that all most some of the marketing is done for you. At the very least the book does end up on bookshelves where the fabulous professionally-designed cover make it stand out and persuades people to buy it without me having to do anything.

I think it may be down to my British reserve. Over here it's really not de rigueur to boast, sell yourself or big yourself up in any way. (It's most evident when watching programmes like The Biggest Loser or America's Next Top Model. In the US version the contestants always say "I'm the greatest, I'm going to win!" and in the British version they are more likely to say "It's really tough competition, I'm not sure I've got a shot at all.") We're a self-effacing bunch and tend to come over all embarrassed and tongue-tied whenever we do anything that's actually quite good. So it goes completely against the grain to say "I'm a great writer and my book is amazing, buy it!"

In fact I have a seriously hard time trying to persuade people to buy my books. The best I can manage is "It's not everyone's cup of tea but you might like it," and then apologising for the price. It doesn't help that I'm really embarrassed at the idea of anyone actually reading my books, and well aware that there are some pretty fabulous books out there which are much, much better than anything I could ever hope to produce.

Little wonder, then, that British authors (well, me) don't do well submitting to American agents and publishers. You don't get far when your query letter says "I've written this book, I'm not all that good at writing but I hope you'll think it's OK enough to represent/publish." My standard query letter was generally just factual about the book (hook, plot, target audience) and me (moderately successful author of twee middle-aged fiction for a niche market).

I don't know what changed, but earlier this month while preparing a fifty-eighth submission for my YA/Crossover sci-fi novel I decided that, actually, I really believed in this book. I even liked it. I might go so far, in my query letter, as to suggest that it was good. I threw all my natural humility to the winds and wrote to the biggest publisher in the world telling them that I was a great writer and this was the best thing I had ever written (oh, the shame!) and I really thought they should take a look at it. I sent it off with the required 1,500 word sample, and prepared for my fifty-eighth rejection.

The punchline: they replied to ask me for the full manuscript. Random House liked my "partial" (writer speak) enough to ask for the "full". 

So maybe, just maybe, it's worth forgetting humility once in a while.and, if you read your own book and enjoy it, admitting that it might just be pretty darn OK. In the end, though, whether I think it's any good or not makes no difference whatsoever. It's what Random House think of it that matters.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Talking Tuesday: An Author's Work is Never Done

I confess; I did not get my degree in creative writing. I did not get my degree in English either.  I did not go through college pursuing my desire to write.  My years in college were spent learning about marketing and advertising. 

After college, life took me down roads that led me back to my love of creative writing.  At first, I was very disappointed that I had wasted used my college years studying marketing instead of the art of crafting stories.  There are still moments that I regret the opportunities I missed to take courses from writers I admire.  However, I have realized that my education holds more worth than I originally allowed.

Marketing does not always come naturally for many of the creative types.  Marketing plans, query letters, and pitches can be scarier than a bed full of snakes.  It is comfortable to focus their thoughts and energy on creative.  But a little knowledge of marketing can go a long way when it comes to getting your work out there.

Technology has come a long way.  The publishing industry is changing. Still, I am yet to hear of a book that jumps off the shelf and sells itself.  It isn't enough to write an amazing book.  To get your book in the hands of the readers takes work.  Whatever publishing path you choose will require work.

You have to be able to turn your book as well as yourself into a "product" you can promote.  You have to have a brand of your own.  You are unique, your book is unique.  It is your job to tell others why they should care.   Truth: not everyone will care.  Rejection is part of the process.  However, through hard work you will find the right audience.  Then you will need to build that audience. 

Do you have marketing questions or topics you would like to see discussed on Mormon Mommy Writers?  
Email us at

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Recipe For Success

     Living the Gospel is like learning how to cook a professional 5 star meal.  We are given a list of ingredients and exact instructions on how to cook a specific meal. This meal is perfectly balanced for our health and well being. We are instructed to prepare this meal to the best of our ability every day. At the end of the day, we are able to eat and enjoy the meal we have prepared. If we have put forth our best efforts it will be yummy and satisfying, even if it isn't perfect.
      At first, possibly even many years, this may be a struggle for us. Cooking the meal is not easy.  There are complicated techniques and ingredients we might not be familiar with.  But as we practice and work at it, parts of the meal preparation become easier, and the finished product at the end of the day becomes better and more satisfying.
     The catch is, we can only benefit from the meal if we prepare it in the way we have been instructed.  If we try to take shortcuts, substitute ingredients, or skip instructions, we do not gain the nutrients and well being that we need from the meal. Sometimes, we may not have a meal at the end of the day to eat at all. Just like our diets in life, if we fill our plates with unhealthy food, our bodies get sick. It is the same with our spiritual health, if we feed it with unhealthy spiritual foods, we will get sick. We may not think so at first. The spiritual junk food may smell good, it may taste sweet or succulent in the beginning. But over time we realize that there are toxins building in our spirits, taking up residents. These spiritual toxins, like fat cells, are much harder to rid ourselves of than they are to acquire.

     If we prepare the meal that has been given to us, we will get all the nutrients we need to be spiritually healthy, strong, vibrant, and full of life. Whenever we have questions about the meal preparation, we only have need to refer back to the instructions. And a bonus: We have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to inquire of the teacher what He would have us do. All we have to do is ask. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday do re mi fa So What

I was on a radio show, giving an interview about my book, not too long ago. Off air, the host said she felt she had received a personal revelation about me. In several chapters of my book, Finished being Fat, I talk about how I used to compose music. I went to special camps, auditions, you name it. Not many 13 year olds I knew in West Virginia could compose a 5 movement opus. So I went to BYU, ready to blow them away -- and got trounced. Suddenly my specialness wasn't so special anymore. The little voice in the back of my head got the best of me, and I gave up.  I went from 6 hours a day of music practicing and composing to nearly nothing for 13 years. It was too painful. I had something God given, was meant to do something, but I turned away.

Fast forward back to the radio lady's revelation. She told me she felt I was not done with music and I had things left that the Lord wanted me to do.  I thanked her politely, while in the back of my head saying, "When the devil and Nancy Kerrigan go ice skating."

Apparently I was wrong. The Lord, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that it is time for me to dip my toes back in. Or he wanted to throw me to the lions. Either way, I'm the new Primary Chorister.

So now every Sunday I am expected to confront my two biggest demons -- music and mass quantities of small children.

I need help.

My first two weeks went alright, but I need ideas to entertain, teach, and maintain order. 

So What do you have for me, oh wise and wonderful readers? Don't be shy. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Kid on the Block

Hello Mormons, Mommies and Writers!  And anyone else who pops in!

I'm happy to be joining the team here at MMW to share my thoughts twice a month, and I thank this group of talented women for welcoming me into the club.  I'm not Mormon (I'm a very ecumenical Catholic), but I am a mom and a writer, and I love to ruminate about family, writing, and faith. 

I have a good friend who is Mormon, and when she lived close by, we talked about faith often.  Doctrinal differences never mattered.  She attended a Catholic Mass once and said, "It was beautiful.  They didn't give me the biscuit, but that's OK."

I feel the same way.  People of faith don't have to be aligned on every point.  God reaches out to each of us where we are and with whatever "biscuit" facilitates a closer relationship with Him.  That's one reason He's so cool.

I discovered my love for writing in 9th grade when an English assignment required us to rewrite the ending of Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  I don't remember what ending I wrote, but I remember being intrigued by the possibilities, the freedom to craft characters and a story line that could take any path.  I do believe, in my ending, Charlie lived.

I've been writing since, some years more productively than others.  I have short stories and a novel I've not looked at in a while.  In 1997, while working for a crisis pregnancy center, I wrote a high school curriculum on character education.  With a team of educators, I taught that curriculum in our public school system for twelve years. 

In 2010, I started a blog - Adventures in the Ballpark.

Blogging is sometimes viewed as silly and self-absorbed, but I'm often both those things, so it works for me.   

I'm married to a very generous Air Force retiree who is now an operations manager for Home Depot.  We have three children, all young adults now, but they will always be my babies in my heart.

I'm currently helping my partially disabled parents (89 and 92) who live close by in an assisted living facility.  I thought I was a pretty capable cookie until my dad's stroke in 2007.  I've since learned I must rely on God's strength and direction every day.  Whatever I think I know about life, it will be challenged tomorrow.  As soon as I learn the new thing, that will be challenged next.   God certainly keeps me on my toes.  And on my knees.

I've lived in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Idaho, Italy, Sicily, and Germany.  I currently reside in the Sunshine state, where I can live on fresh salmon, mangoes, and the best oranges in the world.  If I could just get my sweet tooth yanked, Sandra Bullock and I could probably share clothes (hey, a girl can dream.)  

Thanks for reading!  I'll see ya' March 8!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Why I Object to Swearing

"Profanity is the attempt of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully."

I love words. I'm pretentious enough to enjoy calling myself a wordsmith. I like the way a collection of carefully chosen words, when printed, can move people to tears, or anger, or change lives. There are some very beautiful words in the English language which convey meaning both with their sound and their associations: effervescent, tributary, elegant.

But there are also some very ugly words used to shock and offend, to convey the meanness or toughness of the speaker, or to be controversial. Most of them have four letters, and I can smugly say that I know that I have never uttered most of them.*

I have a policy of removing from my friends list anyone who swears on Facebook. I am personally offended by swearing, and I don't need to be brought down by switching on my computer to catch up with news of friends and family, and being confronted with vulgarity. There are several reasons why I object to swearing:

1. It is intended to shock and offend.
Anyone using these words must, therefore, be someone who is insensitive to the feelings of those around them, or doesn't care about the effect their words have on others. I prefer not to be friends with such people. Their language says a lot about them, and I do judge them by it.

2. It is poor use of language.
The words used generally refer to sexual behaviour, private parts or faeces. In most cases, these are not relevant to what is being said. I accept that maybe these words do have a context in which it is acceptable for them to be used–when describing the behaviour or things they relate to (although I personally would choose alternative words)–but this is not generally everyday conversation. Using words such as the F-word, or the S-word to describe the weather, or a sports match, is using them seriously out of the correct context.

3. It is less effective than using more appropriate words.
Swearing does not add to our understanding of what is being said. When describing, for example, poor service and food in a restaurant, saying "the food was *!$~@ and the waitress ~@+$%&!" is far less effective and descriptive than saying "the food was cold and undercooked, and the waitress was lazy and offhand."

4. It's unnecessary.
People have asked me what I say when I need an expletive to express my pain, outrage or otherwise vent my frustration. I have thought about this, and in theory I welcome it as an opportunity to get creative and have my choice of expletive say something about me. I have chosen to use "Belgium" (which was the ultimate in offensive swear words in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) or "Smeg" (which was the expletive of choice in Red Dwarf) because I am a sci-fi geek. (That's the theory. In the heat of the moment I generally say something very dull, like "Poo" or "Rats".)

5. I want my children to be good people.
I don't want my children to grow up being foul mouthed, common and unpleasant, so I'd really rather they didn't hear these words, or see them on the computer screen. I don't want them thinking it's OK to choose to use offensive and base language when we have the richest language with the biggest vocabulary in the world and so many better words to choose from. So I switch off the television if there is swearing on the programme we are watching, and I have been known to remonstrate with people on the street who use swear words within earshot of my kids. (My kids haven't yet thanked me for doing so, but maybe someday they'll understand.)

Really it is all summed up in the quote given above. Those who swear do so because they lack the intellect to use language correctly, and because they want to appear intimidating and offend those around them. It doesn't uplift or help anyone, and so I choose not to use profane language.*

(*Except entirely accidentally on the phone about a week ago when I tripped over my tongue trying to say something else. Mortified.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Time and a Season

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

About this time last year I was in the thick of revisions on my poetry book. I had just received my rejection letter from Deseret and I was bound and determined that the next submission would be successful.

My last chance at publication, I decided, was to try Covenant Communications. They were the only other LDS publisher that would be willing to even look at a book of children’s poetry. After discovering this by checking out the submission guidelines on their website, I downloaded their Author Questionnaire.

For those of you who have looked at, and possibly filled out this questionnaire, you might know what a daunting experience it can be. It asks about your published works, any writing workshops/conferences you’ve attended, professional writing training you’ve received, your ability to market and sell your book, etc. As I looked over the questions and my mind searched for anything that could even remotely make me sound like I knew what I was doing, I began to feel smaller and smaller.

Well, after my first few gung-ho weeks of revisions, and with the questionnaire looming in the background, my enthusiasm began to taper off as I got bigger and pregnanter with my 4th child. The summer came, my kids were out of school, and baby was due any day. She came, we celebrated, I basked in the glow of newbornness (are you loving these words I’m making up left and right?) and I left my poetry book (and that questionnaire) tucked away in a virtual drawer.

After the craziness of the holidays had passed and New Years Resolutions began to be made, I decided it was time to open that virtual drawer and see where I was with my manuscript and that crazy questionnaire. But this time when I picked it up I actually had something worthwhile to put down. Like getting published in the Friend magazine. And attending a writing workshop. And writing a script for my stake. And having a short story scheduled for publication in an anthology book in the spring.

As I began deleting out my old, trying-really-hard-to-not-seem-like-a-total-doofus answers and replacing them with actual concrete proof that yes, I may actually be a real writer, I began to feel buoyed up.  I couldn’t help but feel that the last year had been carefully scheduled by the Lord, and that what I’d thought was a hiatus was really just a germination period. My “career” (sorry about the quotation marks, it just feels weird to call it that) was growing and developing around me, sprouting from the seeds I’d sown the year before.

Granted, it’s still just a tiny sprout, no big leaves or flowers or anything, but at least there are signs of life. And I know that as I continue to plant more seeds and wait on the Lord, eventually it will bloom.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Unopened Gifts

   Some days I am really glad that I share in the Sunday slot.  Days like today for instance, because I heard something in church that got me thinking, and I love being able to share.  So instead of typing up the post I had planned on I'm going to share a little of what I gained from church today. 
  I was in Relief Society when the teacher made a comment that started a chain of thoughts going through my head.  I'll confess that I don't actually know what the lesson was on.  I had spent the first part of the class with my daughter who was experiencing some little trials of her own.  When I made it to Relief Society the class was engaged in discussion.  It was this discussion that lead to the comment made by the teacher.  I'm not sure why it struck me the way it did, or why it brought me to a question that started my inner dialog and discussion.  The question I found myself asking was this:

What gifts am I leaving undeveloped?

    I began to think of the talents I have that perhaps I was neglecting to develop.  My attention was again brought to the discussion in the class.  The teacher told a story about Oliver Cowdry and the misconception he had about a gift that was promised him.  He was told he would have the ability to translate ancient records.  However, he felt that because this had been bestowed on him all he needed to do was wait and his ability to translate would spontaneously come to him.  It was then my mind made the connection.  It is not enough to know we have a gift and think on it from time to time, or even exercise it on a whim.  We must study it out in our minds.  Our gifts and talents are no different from our muscles, if we do not use them on a regular basis they become fatigued.  I realized that even if we are given or promised certain gifts or talents we will not automatically be able to use them unless we do our part to ready ourselves for them.  I suppose it's no different than nurturing a little seedling.  We can't just expect it to become a magnificent tree or flower without first giving it the proper care.  It is the same for our talents. 
  Each talent or gift is unique to the person it is given to, so there can't be some magical formula to develop it.  I think it is this way by divine purpose.  It creates an opportunity to communicate with our Father in Heaven and seek His counsel, furthering our relationship with Him. 

   I think it is a very exciting concept to think that there could be endless gifts or talents waiting for me, for all of us, if only we can do our part.  I encourage you all to ponder throughout this week and think of the talents you have been given and find new ways to strengthen them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday So What: You might be a writer if...

Yes, I'm blatantly swiping from Jeff Foxworthy, but So What?  Writers are a very special brand of crazy, and it's time to celebrate.

If you've ever gotten in trouble for reading under the blanket... at 3 am... for the 10th time -- you might be a writer.

If you've ever looked at the china cabinet and wondered how many books could fit in there -- you might be a writer.

If you spent a good part of your elementary school career with your nose in the corner for telling tales -- you might be a writer.

If you've ever had to make the choice between food and buying the newest book from your favorite author -- you might be a writer.

If your friends and family think your rolling in it like J.K Rowling, and you know you'd make  more money working at McDonald's -- you might be a writer.

If you've ever been accused of being creepy because you take notes while people-watching -- you might be a writer.

If you've ever frantically scoured your house for a pen, then realized you had one in your hair -- you might be a writer.

If growing up, your imaginary friends were way cooler than your real ones -- you might be a writer.

If you have characters in your head, and your doctor has already assured you that you're not schizophrenic -- you might be a writer.

If you already have the entire month of November marked off your calendar -- you might be a writer.

If the words, Dear Author, make you nauseated rather than nauseous -- you might be a writer.

And last but not least
If you've ever corrected the grammar on someone's Tshirt, while they're wearing it-- you might be a writer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our New Cover and New Blogger!!

Thanks to everyone that voted on the covers last week. We have a winner:

It's still a work in progress but we need to give big thanks to Elise Quackenbush who made all three amazing covers!!

Also, we have a new writer for Fridays. Please give a warm welcome to Mare Ball!! She will introduce herself next Friday. But she won first place in our short story category and will have her story in our new book!

More information about our new book will be coming soon!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

True Love (& a Winner)

Happy Valentines Day!  I thought long and hard about the topic of this post.  I felt like I should pay homage to the one day where Cupid has free reign to wreak romantic havoc, but wasn't quite sure how.  I started to think about defining love, or discussing the importance of romance in literature.

I couldn't quite find the words.  So I decided to get some help - I turned to a few of the authors whose books have recently inspired and impressed me.  I asked them to help me define the meaning of true love.  Here's what they had to say:

True love is caring for someone through their worst moments with the same tenderness as their best. It's loving "because of" rather than "in spite of". 
     ~ Betsy Schow

(Betsy's book Finished Being Fat has become a nationwide phenomenon.  For more information, read her post here...)

True love is the last soldier standing on the battlefield of your life. It is the person who leads the charge against your foes, and when everyone else has retreated or fallen, still flies your colors.
Friends and acquaintances flee, hopes vanish, one by one,people disappoint or disappear.
And when you look over the battlefield of your life, the casualties and the costs, you see the silhouette of one person who will not surrender your dreams, or accept defeat. You see one person who will always believe you are worth the fight.
That is true love.
     ~ Regina Sirois

(Regina won the 2012 YA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for her book On Little Wings, which is being released late May, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon)

February is a good time for love stories (but really, is there ever a bad time? I will have to test that hypothesis). There are your own, of course, but fiction is usually more reliable--who doesn't have at least one dismal Valentine's day in the chapters of their life? And even though I am exceedingly happy with my own Dearest Love, sometimes I still like to escape to Thornfield. Dearest Love doesn't quite understand why I love Edward Rochester. "He's horrible! He lies, he's always sulking--what's wrong with St John Rivers? He's a nice guy." 
Don't get me started. I suppose there are many reasons why one shouldn't fall in love with Edward Rochester, least of all that he isn't real (I can't believe I just said that. Is it pathetic, that the words seem to sting just a little?)
Yes it is. But I'd rather be pathetic than deny myself Jane Eyre. It is a Book with a capital B, the kind I can open it at any place and tumble into without a backward glance. I have a small stash of books like this, with dog eared pages and shredding covers. (Quite a number of them are romances). 
Love is a wonderful thing, whether it's your own, or pressed onto pages. Scarlet and Rhett, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Maxim de Winter and his unnamed wife, Anne and Gilbert . . . I have loved reading them all. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks true love means Theo and Mickle, Harriet and Rom, or Freddy and Kit. Who means true love to you? 
     ~ Jaima Fixsen

(Jaima's debut YA novel Fairchild is a Regency Era retelling of the classic fairytale The Princess and the Pea.  You can find it here on Amazon).

I'd love to hear from all of you!  Leave a comment on this post, and tell us what you think.

True Love Is....

Also.... Before I forget....

Last week, I announced a giveaway for an Ebook of Fairchild.  Jaima handpicked a name, and the winner is....

Christie Wright Wild!

Congratulations!  Leave a comment letting me know how I can get in contact with you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Errors in Translation

I seem to have read a lot of books set in England, or other parts of Britain, and written by American authors, which have a simple error or two which rankles with British readers. Well, me.

To cite a few examples:
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith is a really fun bookAll the elegance and romance of the original classic, with added violent zombie mayhem. During one scene, the Bennett sisters are making their way to Meryton when they are startled by a sound they suspect might be "unmentionables" (zombies). But Lydia is able to reassure them when it turns out to be nothing more than a chipmunk. And so they continue on their way. A chipmunk? In England? Zombies crowding round Netherfield I'm prepared to accept, but chipmunks are just a step too far.
  • In English Trifle by Josi Kilpack, the irrepressible Sadie, chef and sleuth, hides in a pantry in an English manor house where she finds rutabagas and acorn squash. I think some major detective work is needed to discover where such unknown and alien vegetables came from.
  • In Pursued by Lynn Gardner two of the (good) characters own handguns, without any mention of how they managed to be in possession of something which has been illegal since 1996. Characters also use the verb "to visit" in the American sense (in Britain it only means "to go somewhere" and never means "to chat or spend time with someone"). And a British character says something disparaging about the NHS. He even refers to it as "socialized healthcare". I have never met anyone British (and I've lived here all my life so I've met a few Brits) who doesn't love the NHS.
  • Michelle Warren's Wander Dust is only partly set in London, but several times refers to the "Thames River". Her British character, Bishop, even calls it that. In fact, othe very last page Bishop says "I wish you wouldn't have given the sundial bracelet to Terease". I've heard this strange unknown tense (which I'm going to call the 'wistful past conditional') on American TV shows, where people say bizarre things like "I wish I would have left earlier" rather than the far clearer "I wish I had left earlier." I think I have uncovered Bishop's little secret: he's not British at all, he's just faking the accent to get the girl.
Any American writing a book set in Britain is now trembling in terror at the possibility of making a mistake which might alienate their British readers, or at the very least interrupt the flow of the narrative. But fear not, help is at hand! I offer my services, free of charge, to read through any manuscript with any British elements in at all (from a minor character to a setting in the Cotwolds) and proof it for UK authenticity. You're welcome. (Phew. I think I managed to make that look as though I wasn't just after free books.)

I think it's very brave of any writer to set a novel in a country they haven't lived in, or perhaps even visited (and I don't mean "conversed with"). I haven't yet had the courage to set any of my books in the US. So I salute those writers who are more adventurous and cosmopolitan than I am.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Talking Tuesday: Records

Photo taken in the Egyptian wing of the Louvre

Through the ages of history, people have used different methods of record keeping.  This past week my grandmother passed and it left me to ponder the importance of keeping a faithful record of our lives.   People always talk about the things we cannot take with us into the next life. We often forget that the knowledge and memories which we do take with us will be lost to those we leave behind unless we have passed it along.  There is so much more I would love to learn from my grandmother, a lot of it just simple things, but I can no longer do that in this life.  As far as I know, other than pictures and a few recorded interviews, there is no record for me to go to receive her knowledge.

I gained a new appreciation for all Nephi did to gain the records of his father.  I appreciate the dedication of the prophets who kept faithful records, and Moroni's efforts in condensing those records.  I admit I have not be successful in my own endeavors at journal keeping.  The diaries I have are more of an embarrassment than a source of knowledge for my posterity.  However, I have gained a new appreciation for journaling and a desire to do better.

Did your ancestors keep records?  How has that helped you?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lessons Learned From the Pinewood Derby

As I’ve said before, sometimes being a mom is hard. Like when your sweet 8-year-old son spends several weeks painstakingly perfecting his car for the pinewood derby, then bright-eyed and eager watches it fly down the track and then watches it end up coming in dead last. His head hangs down. His cheeks turn red. You can tell he’s fighting back tears. You can practically hear the thud his little heart makes as it drops.

Yes, sometimes being a mom is hard. It’s hard to watch our kids suffer, especially when there’s not a darn thing we can do about it, except give a reassuring smile, tell them we’re still proud of them no matter what, hug them tightly and remind them that there’s always next year.

I imagine it’s much like how our Heavenly Father feels about us. There are times when we simply have to lose. Because not everybody can always win. We can do our best, but sometimes we come in dead last, and God lets us have those experiences.

I’m grateful He does, and in the end, I’m grateful my son is having and will have those experiences too. Because just like physical muscles, spiritual muscles don’t grow unless they meet resistance. Just as we lift weights and fight gravity to build muscle, we must lift ourselves and fight adversity to build spiritual strength. We must learn what hurt feels like, because it is only through experiencing hurt and overcoming it that we grow and become more like the Savior. After all, isn’t He the prime example of overcoming hurt?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to compare losing the Pinewood Derby with the suffering of the Savior. Worlds apart, I know. But as difficult as it is as a mother to watch my son hurt, I am glad to see an opportunity for him to grow, and I just hope that he will take that opportunity.

Sometimes being a mom is hard, but sometimes it’s great. Like when your heartbroken son musters a smile and says, “I think the other cars were just scared of mine because it looks so fierce. They all just ran away.”

You know what? I think he’s right. :-)

(But even so, I already have an entire Pinterest board- secret, of course- dedicated to finding ways to make his car faster next year. I’m all for spiritual growth, but a win every now and then never hurts either...) ;-)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Tribute To...

This post is a little tribute to...

My Shower

  I have heard many people say that they do their best thinking in the shower, or they get their best ideas in the shower.  I am no exception.  I have gotten many, many ideas while in the shower.  I kind of feel like my shower is like C.S. Lewis's magical wardrobe capable of transporting me to a magic place away from the real world.  A place where my mind can stretch.  However, unlike the magical wardrobe where once entered the real world seemed to be on pause, my "magical" shower seems to have the opposite effect, time goes by much quicker.  There may or may not have been certain times where I emerged from said magical shower hours later to a family who was starting to become worried over my absence. 

     Last June my family moved into a new house.  After only a couple times in my new shower I discovered something.  These may seem a bit weird or creepy, but on one of the tiles in my shower there appeared a face.  Now, this was not one of those Virgin Mary faces or even a celebrity.  It was just a little face.  To me it looks like a little pixie.  I nicknamed it my muse because I started making up a little story to go with the face.  Since then almost every time I step into my shower I try and find pictures in the swirly lines of my tile.  It's my version of finding shapes in clouds. It has turned out to be a fun writing exercise.  Do any of you do similar things?

Can you see the face?!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday So What: Getting your little book noticed

For the last few weeks, my inbox and Facebook messages have been inundated with requests for tips to anyone looking to promote their book and get good publicity and just plain how the heck did it all happen. In my, So What, mentality, I thought I would do comment about my experience here.

In case you didn't know, my name is Betsy Schow and I have a little book called Finished being Fat. It came out on Jan. 8, and two weeks later it was mentioned in both the Wall St. Journal and on the Today Show. In fact, within a week of my TV appearance, my book was sold out of its print run.  My little book was suddenly not so little anymore. So how exactly did a first time author get such rockin' publicity so fast? Nepotism? No. Lightning struck and I happened to have a bottle nearby.

You can't really predict or force lightning, not unless you have a lot of Tesla coils, but you can start preparing to be in the right spot with your bottle. First off, you are your book's best friend. Nobody else has the blood, sweat, tears and printer ink on their hands like you do. So if you expect someone else to be able to pitch this book as passionately as you can, think again. So write a killer pitch letter sharing your passion on the page. Get the marketing team, sales team, and everyone else at CFI as excited about your story as you are. The enthusiasm will spread.

Next, take every and I mean, EVERY opportunity to talk about your book. Even if you think it has nothing to do with it. That's actually how the Wall St. Journal story came about. The reporter was looking for a source to talk about stress that weight causes in a marriage  My book is not about that, but I still had plenty of experience on the subject, so I gave her a buzz. I answered her questions, but I also told my personal story. I didn't pitch my book and tell her how awesome it was and how your life will change by reading it. I related my experiences and engaged her in my life.  So what started out as a one line quote turned into an entire article focused on my experiences and struggles. Best advice I can give on this subject is to practice talking about your project to everyone and it gets easier. Don't sell, just share. It's sneakier that way.

Keep working it and putting your name out there. Blog, get followers, get anybody anywhere talking about your book. Then they tell their friends and so on until all the monkeys in the jungle are talking about you. You never know who you are going to meet or who might be touched by your story that has a little bit of pull. It's like catching fire. the producers at the WSJ loved my story and wanted to do an on air segment. The producer of the Today show saw the segment and thought we were good on tape so thirty minutes after they saw the interview, they phoned CFI to book me.

Does that mean I can sit back and chill now? Nope, still gotta keep working it. I've given another 3 interviews to print and done 2 radio shows since I've been back and still looking for opportunities for more. It can be overwhelming and seem like a lot to do and take in. But just take it one task at a time and soon or later your project will catch fire. It might be a slow burn or a bonfire, but as long as you keep sharing and putting yourself out there, your story will light up.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Author Interview: Jaima Fixsen (& a Giveaway!)

There is something very magical about stumbling upon a gem of a book. There is something unforgettable about the chance to be involved in the evolution of one.

One of my best friends, and critique partner, Jaima Fixsen, just published her first book.

I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this book. Not waiting for the chance to read it (I've already had that unique privilege). No - waiting for the chance to share it! Because, when you believe in something, you want to stand and shout it from the roof tops. You want to pepper the streets with pamphlets and flyers. You want to tell every stranger you meet on the street.

However, that's not exactly standard author behavior, so I shall censure myself, subdue my excitement, and pass on the good news with more socially acceptable composure.

I have invited Jaima over today to dish on some of her writing secrets.  I am also giving away an ebook copy of her new book (see the end of the post).  Her she is folks, the spectacular Jaima:


Thanks Mandi, for inviting me over to dish. If only we could share dessert too . . . I'll imagine a plate of cupcakes. Chocolate? Red velvet? Anyone?

Sorry. That was mean. There's nothing worse than pseudo cupcakes. We'll just have to go straight to the part where I dish.

1. When/Why did you start writing?
After my third child was born I stopped working as an occupational therapist. I'd been working part-time, covering weekends at the nearby hospital. I loved stepping away for a few hours and coming home, feeling like I'd been missed. I knew I would have to replace work with something, but I had no idea what. First I tried a dance class. It was fun, but I'm afraid I was pretty awful. I decided to try writing because it was cheap (no supplies to buy), convenient, (I could pick it up and put it down whenever I needed), and I had a character hanging around in the back of my head that I wanted to get to know.

2. How did you get the idea for Fairchild?
Well, I've always thought the story of the Princess and the Pea is a little odd. It's a fairy tale that doesn't belong. There's no magic, no villain, just a girl in disguise and a mama's boy prince. I thought about these two people--unheroic, passive, even a little boring--and wondered what it's like for them, mingling with the rest of the fairytale crowd, standing next to plucky children who push witches into ovens, dragon slaying knights and the fairest in the land. The characters in the Princess and the Pea don't fit in that club any better than their story. Immediately I imagined a bastard child--a girl who can't fit anywhere. Right away I knew she was my girl in disguise, pretending to be the impossible--legitimate, a person who belongs. An accident brings her to a handsome boy. What would happen, if she's so good at pretending he thinks she's real? A princess even?

I put this story in the English Regency because it's a real time and place, but one where fairy tales belong. Balls, gowns, Mr. Darcy--all the good fairy tale elements are right at home here. I wanted this story to sparkle like Eva Ibbotson's romances, but for the characters to be as nuanced and ambiguous as they are in the original tale--there's a lot making this batch of misfits tick.
3. What was the hardest part about writing Fairchild?

The middle. I got there and I knew where I needed to end up, but I couldn't find how to get there. In my first draft, big chunks of the middle were even in point form. Like this:

-Somehow Sophy and Tom meet at X.

-They say m, n, o, p.

-What are you going to do about Alistair?

-Lady Fairchild doesn't like the dresses Sophy chooses.

It required shelf time, substantial rewrites, and stage dressing. If I hadn't had so much encouragement from early readers, I think I would have left it alone for much longer.

4. What is your writing routine?

Without firm limits I'm afraid I tend to submerge myself in writing and neglect important things like listening when my husband is talking and making sure my kinds have clean socks and underwear. It takes care to keep things balanced, and often I get it wrong. What works best for me is to allow myself one hour when my kids will not need me--when they are in bed, at school or ski lessons, or whatever. I don't answer the phone, I don't check email, I just write. I have a daily word target, and I do everything I can to meet that target within my allotted time. But if I don't, I stop when my hour is up. I'm trying to do the same thing with the publishing/promoting work, but things are still pretty hairy and I'm learning as I go, so it's harder to contain that in a fixed time. I'm working on it. If I'm lucky enough to get extra time, of course I take it.

5. What books/authors inspire you?

Oooh, that's hard. There are so many books I love. I reread my favorites over and over. Fairchild was inspired by Georgette Heyer. I love her Regency novels, but I have particular favorites: Friday's Child, Cotillion, Arabella, and Regency Buck. Heyer is a writer with humor, flair, and the best eye for historical detail I have ever come across. It is hard to believe she wasn't writing during the Regency. I was also inspired by The Secret Countess and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson. I love her quirky characters and her deft use of the omniscient perspective.

6. Have you ever based a character on someone you know?

I don't think so. If I have, it was unconcious and I apologize. I'd like to point out that even though I am a redhead like Sophy, the protagonist in Fairchild, I never intended her to be me (or me to be her). For one thing, Sophy's hair has more curl than mine. And I think I am much more reticent.

The reason I made Sophy a redhead was because I wanted her to have some trait that indisputably linked her to her father. My father is blond and my mother brunette, and I grew up hearing 'So, where'd the red hair come from?' probably every week. So making Sophy and her father both redheaded seemed the easiest way to connect them physically, and was perhaps a quiet joke for (or on?) myself.
Okay, It's Mandi again.  And now I want to give you a chance to win your own copy of Fairchild.  I had hoped to use rafflecopter for this giveaway, but I've been having some issues with it this week, and have opted for a more old-fashioned technique.  All you have to do to qualify for an entry in my draw is:
Leave a comment on this post explaining how you helped spread the word about Fairchild.  You can do this any of the following ways:
  • Share the link on facebook (to this post, or to her book)
  • Pin the book to pinterest
  • Add the book to your goodreads list
  • Tweet about the book
  • post about the book on your blog.
  • Any other creative way you can think (as long as you share what it is)
For each of these things you do (and tell me about in the post), you will earn one entry.  Because this is based largely on the honor system, for each entry you can provide evidence for, you will gain an additional point.  Next Wednesday, I will put all the names (one per point) in a hat, and have Jaima physically draw a winner.  I will announce the winner next Thursday.  (Who knows, there may be more than one!)

Believe me, this is a book you will enjoy reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sustaining Our Leaders

Nine years ago I found myself newly single and signed up to a couple of LDS dating sites. I quickly became disillusioned, not because of the sites themselves (which were, and are, excellent) but with how few people on them seemed to come from the UK, and how difficult it was to identify them among the crowds of Americans.

A single LDS friend and I decided to set up our own LDS dating website and bought the domain We enlisted a few single friends in our ward to populate it, started spreading the word, and set it up as a free resource for LDS singles in the UK.

We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves until the Stake President asked to speak to us. He said that he felt we shouldn't run the site since people might think we represented the Church. We explained that we had the usual disclaimer on the home page about it not being an officially sanctioned site, and that lots of others individuals had set up websites for Mormons. But he was adamant and asked us to take the website down.

So, of course, we did. We didn't agree with his decision, but we did sustain him as our leader.

When we raise our hands to sustain someone in an office of the priesthood, or in a teaching or auxiliary position, we are declaring that we believe that they are called of God, and stating that we will do all we can to support and help them in carrying out their duties. We are saying that we will honour their responsibility in that role, and will respect their right to do what they see fit.

We are not saying that we think they could do a better job than anyone else, or that we will agree with everything they do, or even that we like them, because those things are irrelevant. We are saying that we trust God, who knows the whole picture, enough to support the fallible human He has called.

Some may feel that sustaining someone includes giving them suggestions and advice, or challenging them in their decisions, or pointing out problems they may like to address. I tend to think that if people want my advice (for example, because I held the calling before they did) then they will ask. In the meantime I will not get involved, either on a ward, stake or worldwide level. (I have never been an apostle or prophet, so think it's unlikely they'll be coming to me for advice anytime soon.)

I hope we all think, when we raise our hands to sustain our leaders, about what it is we are promising. And then I hope we will keep that promise to strengthen and support, not criticise and cajole.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vote On Our New Cover!!

It's that time of the year again when we gear up to put out our self-published anthology book. Below are some magnificent covers by Elise Quackenbush. Please vote for your favorite on the poll on the sidebar.
Drumroll please........

Cover 1: Green Fleur De Leis

 Cover 2: Quill and Ink

Cover 3: Wrinkled Paper

Be sure to let us know which one is your favorite!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fast From the World Follow-Up

On January 1st my family and I started a “Fast From the World” at the invitation of our bishop. We managed the entire month of January with no TV, no facebook, no Pinterest, no video games.

And it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.

After the first week, TV wasn’t even an issue. My 3-year-old seemed to forget about it altogether and has learned a valuable skill she has been lacking: how to entertain herself. She and I have enjoyed a better relationship than ever before.

My older two (8 and 7) have learned to get along much better because they have been playing card games and board games together, and all 3 kids have also had massive art-creation sessions (the downside to no TV is you get stacks and stacks of paintings- think of Rapunzel’s home in Tangled).

I have enjoyed finding time to write and read- I finished On Writing by Stephen King, which is a very fun book, by the way (it’s got some language though, so beware), and I finished the book my kids and I were reading also (The Mysterious Benedict Society). SUCH a fun book! (I know I said that before too, but it’s so true.) I also re-read two books on finances to refresh my home finance skills- uh, they needed it!

So here’s my list of pros and cons for our Fast From the World

- more time with family
- more time to write
- more peace in the home/less negative influences
- children developing skills like independent play, problem solving, and cooking (Mom cooking = something interesting to do!)

- miss catching up with friends on facebook
- miss favorite music for working out/running
- miss favorite shows (anyone else love Burn Notice?)
- had to get very creative with our weekly family movie night (watched stuff like Legacy, The Testaments, and Johnny Lingo- LOL!)
- definitely miss reading fiction books- only read the one with the kids, made myself not read any on my own

So where do we go from here? Here are the changes we decided on in our Family Home Evening this week (after making our own family list of pros & cons):

1. Kids’ TV will be limited to 2 shows/day, with the exception of the 3-year-old who gets 1 more while the older ones are at school. That way everyone gets to watch their favorite.

2. New event: Family Game Night! Thursday nights after dinner.

3. I will limit my facebook time to twice a week. I really feel like any more than that is just wasting time.

4. I will limit my Pinterest time to 15 minutes at a stretch and only when children are sleeping (either nap or evenings). Pinterest is pure creative relaxation and eye candy for me, and it can definitely be a time suck.

5. I will only watch TV during the day when I’m folding laundry, and even then I will alternate between TV shows (there are a couple I record that my husband doesn’t care for so I watch them when he’s not around) and the Mormon Channel radio shows. Those things are awesome, if you’ve never listened to them. Gospel Solutions for Families is a favorite, along with Conversations.

6. My husband and I will have our own game nights twice a week.

7. When my husband and I sit down to watch TV, we will only watch if we decide on a show or shows together, and when it’s/they're over the TV goes off. Before we would often just have the TV on just to have it on and one of us would be watching something while the other one ignored it and surfed the internet.

So that’s the plan. My conclusions? A Fast From the World is a worthwhile endeavor. When you turn off the world, you start to remember what life is like without commercials and status updates and likes and shares and all that stuff. I don’t think our family was ever “that bad” with it, but there were definitely signs of addiction creeping in and sometimes you need to stop saying, “But I can stop whenever I want- I’m not addicted,” and actually DO IT! It helps you remember what’s really important and you get the chance to prove to yourself that no, you’re not a slave to worldly media. You are in control of you.

Anyone else think they’ll try their own Fast From the World at some point?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Such A Good Idea...

     Over the last couple of weeks we have had a really hard time getting together to write.  We haven't been able to make any progress on our WIP.  We both have been so busy we just haven't found the time.  Neither one of us has had our minds on our writing.  This week I wanted to focus on coming up with a good topic to write on today, especially since we kinda flaked on our post last week.  In spite of my best efforts my mind has been caught up in the myriad thoughts and tangles of life.  However, last night as I stared into the darkness my mind finally started to work.  I had a couple of thoughts and ideas for our story, I even had a new idea come and start to take shape.  Then as I approached that blissful state where I knew my mind was drifting off to dreamland I had this really great idea for a post.  Normally I would jot some notes down so that I wouldn't forget anything by morning, but for whatever reason, I'm sure it had to do with my desire for sleep outweighing logic, I did not do this.  I figured, "This idea is so clever and fun that I will definitely remember it by morning."  Morning came but I could not remember what this grand idea was, only that I had had it. This is not the first time I've done this.  In fact, I have done this same thing countless times.  I don't know why I haven't learned my lesson.  I can't tell you how many good ideas (at least they seemed like good ideas in the middle of the night) I have lost, never to remember again, simply because I didn't write them down. 

So here is my advice to any and all of you:
If you have an idea WRITE IT DOWN!

One of these days I will take this advice, no matter how memorable I think the idea might be, and write down my thoughts. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday So What Spotlight: Michael Young

Well, I'm off again, to Texas this time. Good thing for me it's a spotlight week. This time I have Michael Young talking about rejection.

Michael is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a degree in German Teaching and a minor in Music. He puts his German to good use teaching online German courses for High School students. Though he grew up traveling the world with his military father, he now lives in Utah with his wife, Jen, and his two sons. Michael enjoys acting in community theater, playing and writing music and spending time with his family. He played for several years with the handbell choir Bells on Temple Square and is now a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
He is the author of the novels THE CANTICLE KINGDOM, THE CANTICLE PRELUDE and THE LAST ARCHANGEL. He is also the author of the inspirational pamphlet PORTRAIT OF A MOTHER, a contributor to the anthology PARABLES FOR TODAY and the author of several web serials through His most recent work is SING WE NOW OF CHRISTMAS, an anthology of short stories with the proceeds going to charity. He has also had work featured in various online and print magazines such as Mindflights, The New Era, Allegory, and Ensign.

You could say I’ve asked for it.
Someone who doesn’t like facing constant rejection should probably not go into writing, acting, singing or missionary work.
I’ve done all of the above. I’m practically a human pincushion. Editors and agents have rejected my writing, directors have rejected my auditions, and, oh, so many people (especially Germans) have rejected my attempts to talk religion. Despite this, nine out of ten people who know me would likely say I’m a happy guy, who continues fighting all of the above battles.
How do I still have a shred of self-esteem?
For starters, I should say that some days are better than others. My self-esteem does go through highs and lows, and sometimes I do feel like giving up on the things I’m passionate about. I have, however, experimented in my life with the best coping mechanisms for me. They may not be the same for everyone, but I’d like to share a few that have gotten me through the less-than-rose-colored days.
1. Allow Some Time to Mourn (But Not Too Long)
 I don’t think it’s to hold things in. Trying to pretend that something didn’t affect you when it did serves no purpose. Feeling a little genuine grief can actually be a cathartic, healing experience. But do put a cap on it. If you languish with a bag of Oreos for a week after every time you get a rejection, you might be overdoing it. I usually allow myself 24 hours to feel bad about a rejection, and don’t feel guilty about mourning a bit. Then, however, I honor my agreement with myself and set it aside.
2. Remind Yourself of Your Successes.
It can be easy to focus on the negative after a rejection. Sometimes, it dredges up all the memories of past rejections, and these start to seem like a mountain whose shadow you might never escape. It does me so much good in these times to remember the things I have succeeded in. A few years ago, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. One of my personal mantras when faced with rejection is “that one success can cover a mountain of failures.” Your successes need not be large things, but I promise you, if you peek out from behind the cloud of pessimism, you will find them.
3. Take Time to Appreciate the Success and Effort of Others.
 Rejections can hurt especially bad when observing the success of others around you. It is easy to forget all the time, struggle and anguish another person in a similar situation had to invest before achieving success. I remember once reading a quote from the famous basketball player Michael Jordan, in which he expressed his regret that at the height of his career that he made playing professional basketball look so easy. So many young boys thought they could be just like him, but didn’t understand all of the practice, the failures and the immense amount of time it took for him to get to where he was. After a rejection, I make it a point to spend a little less time on social media, where people most often display their best news, so that I am not tempted by jealousy. If I do see something, however, I give my best effort to appreciate that person’s effort and to remember that it might very well be me someday.
4. Get Back in the Saddle.
In my book, I believe persistence will take your farther in life than even talent. Talent without persistence is hallow. No matter how hard it seems, you need to launch into your next project and keep revising and submitting. I often remember that Abraham Lincoln ran for many public offices and lost all of the elections until the big one. He’s now so famous that his face gets to be on both a bill, a coin, and a Steven Spielberg movie. Did I mention the big shrine in Washington DC? Maybe that won’t happen for you, but one thing is for sure—you definitely won’t have anything like that happen to you if you quit.
5. Look at the Big Picture. 
The truth is, most books get rejected many times before finding their place. What may seem like a tumble from a cliff may really be only a minor speed bump. Even sore bruises heal with time. Remember how far you have come, and don’t take your eyes off on where you want to end up. And while you are getting there—enjoy the ride.
Above all, I realize that rejection is a part of life. Sometimes, I even find the audacity to smile at them. A rejection means that you overcame your fears of trying. That is so much farther than most people go. For every writer, singer, actor, or whatever, there are thousands who wished they had the courage and patience to be any one of those things. A rejection then, is not a black mark on your record, but a badge of honor.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: "The Heart of the Ocean" By Heather B. Moore

The Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore

A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . . What more could Eliza Robinson want? Except for maybe her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.

While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.

After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.

I like reading historical romance, but lately the stories of gentlemen and ladies and chivalry are all being taken over by forbidden sex and vulgar relationships. I want to read historical romance to escape to a time when morals were high and blushes were frequent. A time when a true gentleman would go at great lengths to make sure a lady's reputation wasn't compromised. I was beginning to think those books were dead. But Heart of the Ocean has restored my faith that those stories do exist. Not only are there real gentlemen and ladies in this story, but I'm also a sucker for a good mystery. Another thing I like about this novel is that it takes place in America in the 1800's. I've mostly been reading regency books that take place in England. I enjoyed seeing the differences in that era between England and America. Plus the story uses a Puritan town as part of the background. I enjoyed the added depth this added to story. It's also less than $5 on Kindle. (I'm a sucker for a good deal)

Heather B. Moore will also be attending the ANWA Writer's Conference this February and I'm excited to see her there.  If you've been wanting to attend a conference this is one of my favorites! Check it out!


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