Monday, July 28, 2008

The Uncomplicated Life

A young man sat in the break room talking to his boss. The man pondered where he was in life and all the experiences he had gone through. He looked at his boss and asked, "Why is life so complicated?"

His boss answered in a matter-of-fact tone, "Life is not complicated. We make it complicated."

The man let the answer sink in and realized his boss was right. That one simple statement rang truer than anything he had ever heard.

Life really isn't complicated. We complicate it with our choices-and sometimes it is complicated by the choices of others. Life is meant to be enjoyed and we can best do that by making choices that produce good consequences, thereby claiming for ourselves an uncomplicated life. It is that simple.

Thought For The Week

An affirmative thought is a hundred times more powerful than a negative one. So think positive!

Suggested Reading

Book: Enjoying the Journey: Steps to Finding Joy Now
Author: Jaime Theler & Debbie Talmadge
Publisher: Cedar Fort

As Latter-day Saints we strive for joy in eternal life - but many struggle to find joy during the journey there. Let this book help you learn to rejoice and find more joy right here, right now. Clearing away the clutter, staying in touch, and living with purpose are only a few of many tips this book provides to help you enjoy your journey through life. Specific steps in each chapter will guide you through important principles and help you apply them to your feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Reach for your full potential as a child of God and find the joy the Lord intends for each of us during our journey back to His presence. Jaime Theler, author of Parenting the Ephraim Child, has provided this delightful and heartwarming message for any who need a lift!

This is now one of my favorite positive thinking books and it is one that everyone should read. It really helps to put this life in perspective.
Enjoying the Journey can be purchased by logging on to or

Book: A Modest Proposal
Author: Michele Ashman Bell
Publisher: Covenant

All my life I had dreamed of changing the ordinary girl's world of fashion by designing modest formal gowns-ones that you'd actually want to wear. With my super-hero stitching I would save you mothers and daughters crying in dressing rooms over yet another "the straps are just too small" prom dress. Don't worry, I even thought of a catchy tagline for my brand: "Modest Is Hottest." I told you I was good!

So I moved to New York and am finally living that dream . . . Well, almost. I am at one of the top fashion companies, and my designs are definitely modest-but let's face it, when it comes to outerwear, would you want to buy a skimpy trench coat? Didn't think so.

Even though I don't have my dream job, my family is a mess, and my love life stinks, I have a feeling things are going to change. I mean, they have to soon, or I'll be forced to marry Jace. I did promise to become his wife only if I turned thirty and was still single, but I honestly didn't think it was possible. Now twenty-nine, I'm cutting it way too close. Right now I'm flying back to Utah for our Butterfly Girls reunion. And since it is the Mormon Mecca, I might find myself a modest proposal. Utah engagements can take mere weeks. Never mind, I'm not that desperate. Really.

But maybe the girls can help. We've been best friends since high school. We Butterfly Girls are not the typical Pink Ladies, although we've definitely had our share of drama. We'll laugh and cry over memories, from pageant glory to tragic endings, but the ones stored inside our butterfly box will surprise you most. We only open it when we're all together, and our lives never seem the same after.

I really enjoyed this story and I look forward to the next book in the series. Michele, write faster!:o)
A Modest Proposal can be purchased at any LDS bookstore or by logging on to

Order your copy of my new YA fantasy The Journey by logging on to

Monday, July 21, 2008

Interview With J. Scott Savage

On July 7th I had the opportunity to review J. Scott Savage's new YA novel Farworld. Today I have the privilege of speaking with him about the book that kept me from getting any housework done because I couldn't put it down:o)

1. Thanks for hanging out with us today, Scott. Tell us about yourself.

Well, I randomly burst into song, (kind of like bursting into flames, but less painful) even though I can’t sing. I apparently have a very recognizable laugh. I like just about every food except tomatoes. And I have had over seventy jobs in my life. How’s that?

2. Well, I'd say you're my kind of guy. And as for bursting into song, you would fit right in at my house. The kids sing show tunes at all hours.
When did you start writing and what got you started?

I’ve written on and off for most of my life. In fact, my earliest memory is of copying letters form a book to a piece of paper. I couldn’t have been more than two or three. I was so excited because I thought I was writing a book. I didn’t get serious about it until I was in my late thirties though. And even then, it was mostly because I was traveling a lot as the CEO of an internet startup and I needed a stress reliever.

3. You couldn't have picked a better way to relieve stress. You're good. Farworld just blew me away. How did you come up with the story?

A little at a time. This story is a classic case of building up over years and years, and then suddenly pouring out in like 60-90 days.

4. How long did it take you to write it?

Two to three months of writing, Easily twice that much editing.

5. The simple truths and messages in the story are wonderful. What inspired it?

I love kids. They are just so dang cool. I love playing with them and making them smile again, and laugh. Seeing a little boy or girl laugh is the most therapeutic thing in the world.

But I hate to see them unhappy or in pain. Not like throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get the last ice-cream (although that can be painful.) I mean feeling like they don’t fit in, being bullied, or teased, or left out. So I wanted to write a book about kids who don’t fit in—who have things that make them even doubt themselves—but who end up being the heroes anyway.

6. Boy, I sure could have used you as a friend in school since I was a complete misfit myself back then:o) Did your family give you any ideas or input?

TONS! My two youngest boys are always giving me suggestions for elementals. And my wife came up with the name Kyja.

7.I like that name too. How many books are there going to be in the series? Are you working on the next one now? I guess you can tell I'm anxious:o)

Five books total. I am just getting to the writing stage of book two, but I have most of it in my head.

8. What other books have you written?

Cutting Edge, Into the Fire, and the Shandra Covington Mystery Series. I’ve also written a couple of others that are not published yet.

You're a very talented guy. I smell NY Times Best Seller in the future. I'll be proud to be able to say I knew you when:o)

I’ll be happy if the NY Times just doesn’t call me the worst hack who ever put pen to paper.

Oh, right, that'll never happen. I can hear the crowds chanting your name now:o)
Thanks for visiting with us today.

Thank you!!!!

Farworld-Water Keep will be in stores on September 8th. To find out more about J. Scott Savage and his books, visit his blog at

More Suggested Reading

Book: Season of Sacrifice
Author: Tristi Pinkston
Publisher: Golden Wings Enterprises

Sarah Williams is a young Welsh immigrant, coming to Utah to join her sister Mary Ann Perkins. When the Perkins are asked to join the San Juan mission to pioneer a trail through Southern Utah, they take Sarah along to help care for the children. But a six-week journey turns into six agonizing months of hard work and toil as the Saints blast their way through a cliff to bring their wagons through what would become the famous Utah landmark "Hole in the Rock."

Finally settled in the San Juan, Sarah's true hardship begins when Ben Perkins asks her to be his second wife. With their faith and testimonies challenged to the core, both Sarah and Mary Ann struggle to find the true meaning of Christ-like love and obedience. Will they make it through?

This is a great book written by an amazing lady. A very enjoyable read.

Season of Sacrifice
can be purchased by logging on to

Also, be sure to order your copy of my new YA novel The Journey by logging on to

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birthday Trek

What's a great way to spend a 44th birthday?
Go hiking!
I spent my birthday weekend with my husband and four of our children going on a pioneer trek up to Martin's Cove in Wyoming. The sixteen mile hike really stretched my endurance level and I arrived home exhausted, but it was truly a great experience. Walking the trail of the Martin handcart company where so many men and women lost their lives was spiritual and surreal, and I will never forget what I felt there.

Thinking about the Mormon pioneers brings thoughts of my own ancestors. They may have come from Africa, Fiji, Jamaica, or the Bahamas. I don't know at the moment. Regardless of where they came from, I am truly grateful they were brought to this country. Yes, they were most likely slaves, and yes, they probably suffered a hard life, but they overcame, and had they not come here, I would not be blessed with the life I have. I would not be in this great state of Utah living among the saints. For these reasons I consider my ancestors true pioneers as well.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said that we are all pioneers in our lives and in our family. I know this to be true. Having broken the chains of a tragic upbringing after being blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ and striving to raise a righteous family, I hope that my posterity will pass down the stories of my life and remember me as a wife, mother, grandmother (someday) and daughter of God who did her best to do what is right.
Thought For The Week

Life is short, so live it!

Suggested Reading

Book: Heaven Scent
Author: Rebecca Cornish Talley
Publisher: Bonneville Books

She'd wanted her father to pay more attention to her, and she'd wanted her family to be like it used to be. She hadn't wanted everything to change so drastically that she may not even survive it.

As Liza proves herself a basketball star, everyone - from college basketball recruiters to the gorgeous Kyle Reynolds - seems to take note of her. Everyone, that is, except her own father. While her father is busy at his law practice, Liza learns about a strange new religion from Kyle. Could Kyle's religion help her family? Or is it already too late for her father to make amends?

When yet another broken promise finally leads to tragedy, Liza doesn't know if she will ever be able to forgive her father. It will take a good friend, a new belief, and a miracle straight from heaven to help Liza see that she still has a choice. The compelling story of a high school basketball star, this is a novel every girl will want, and none will be able to put down!

Great Book. Your teen will love it. Heaven Scent can be purchased by logging on to

Also, order your copy of The Journey by logging on to

Monday, July 7, 2008

Farworld: A Gem Of A Novel

When I was a teenager I thought I had it tough, and in many ways I did, but today's world is entirely different from the world I was brought up in. The youth of today are faced with so many challenges and they deal with tough choices in every aspect of their lives. The world throws thousands of things at them at once and most have to fight to keep their focus. Some youth rise to the challenges while others stumble along this path we call life.

Despite the trials our youth face, there is strength in them. I can see it. It's so important to do all we can to help them to succeed in overcoming the opposition they must confront on a daily basis. That's why I'm so grateful for all the good that is still in the world, and I'm grateful for all the people who strive to make it a better world for them.

J. Scott Savage is one of those special people.

There is nothing so wonderful as a good book and there are a lot of them. However, Scott's new YA fantasy Farworld is one of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I've read in a long time. I love fantasy, but I absolutely adore a fantasy with a uplifting message. Farworld has that and more.

Other people may see thirteen-year-old Marcus Kanenas as an outcast and a nobody, but he sees himself as a survivor and a dreamer. In fact, his favorite dream is of a world far away, a world where magic is as common as air, where animals tell jokes and trees beg people to pick their fruit. He even has a name for this place-Farworld.

When Marcus magically travels to Farworld, he meets Kyja, a girl without magic in a world where spells, charms, and potions are everywhere, and Master Therapass, a master wizard who has kept a secret hidden for thirteen years, a secret that could change the fate of two worlds.

But the Dark Circle has learned of Master Therapass's secret and their evil influence and power are growing. Farworld's only hope is for Marcus and Kyja to find the mythical Elementals-water, land, air, and fire-and convince them to open a drift between the worlds.

As Kyja and Marcus travel to Water Keep, they must face the worst evil the Dark Circle can throw at them-Summoners, who can command the living and the dead. Unmakers, invisible creatures that can destroy both body and soul; and dark images known as Thrathkin S'Bae.

Along the way, Marcus and Kyja will discover the truth about their own heritage, the strength of their friendship, and the depths of their unique powers.

This was a book that I couldn't put down and I took with me everywhere. It's a story that both young and old will enjoy. It is a story of courage in the face of evil and belief in one's self, and it will leave you anticipating the next book in the series.
Farworld, Water Keep is published by Shadow Mountain and will be in stores on August 8th.
Find out more about J Scott Savage and his books by visiting his blog at

The Journey Has Begun! Get your copy of The Journey by logging on to

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Healthy Dose Of Optimism

Today I would like to share something with you that I read each morning after I read my scriptures. It is an amazing, and I think, very inspiring creed. I strive to internalize it and make it a part of me. These beautiful, positive thoughts makes a world of difference to me and how I face each day, and hopefully they will for you too. Come on, give it a try!

The Optimist's Creed

I promise myself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on my side, as long as I am true to the best that is in me.

- Christian D. Larson

Suggested Reading

Book: Tathea
Author: Anne Perry
Published By: Shadow Mountain

Book Jacket
Her husband and beloved son assassinated, Tathea, once queen of Shinabar, is alone and in exile. Numbed by grief, she takes refuge in The Lost Lands, where she tries desperately to find meaning in a life that has robbed her of her family, her home, and her country.

But in her quest for truth, which takes her far beyond the physical world she knows, she discovers that it does not come without cost-terrible cost.

This book is one of my absolute favorites. I've read it many times and it never gets old. It is one of the best fantasy novels about the eternal battle between good and evil I have ever read. Anne Perry is well known for her mystery, but I consider Tathea and its sequel Come Armageddon her best work.

Order your copy of The Journey, my new YA fantasy novel by logging on to