Monday, June 28, 2010

Got Talent?

This morning I've been thinking about talents and gifts and I came across this neat thought on talents and turning them into strengths.

"We all have natural and innate abilities to do some things better than others. Our genetics determine, to a certain degree, our predispositions and inclinations. We are endowed with gifts from birth that make us uniquely competent in ways that others are not. "Talent is only the starting point," as Berlin accurately points out, and it's up to us to develop our natural abilities into strengths, if we are to truly maximize our potential.

People who learn how to develop their talents into strengths are the ones that tend to stand out. They are the star athletes, innovative scientists, popular artists and successful entrepreneurs. These exemplary performers understand the value of shaping, polishing and perfecting natural abilities."

When we discover our talents, we should magnify them and not let them go to waste or we may lose them, and that would be a shame.

Suggested Reading

This past week, I had the opportunity to read The Road Show, a new LDS novel by Braden Bell. It's a quick read, which I love, and it's a heart-tugger.

The Book
Scott Jenson hates everything he knows about road shows: cheap costumes, silly songs, and bad acting. Being asked to create a road show is his worst nightmare come true. Can flawed but talented artist create a piece of art that testifies of Jesus Christ? And is there any way that something so trivial can have a healing effect on the lives of five troubled souls? A pornography addict, a depressed young mother, a sick older woman, a lonely outcast, and a spiritually numb elder s quorum president are about to find out. Braden Bell gives a five-star performance with Road Show: Beauty for Ashes. With true-to-life characters, humorous situations, and tender realizations, this book is guaranteed to make you smile and applaud for more.

I loved all the characters in this story and came away from the book feeling uplifted with a renewed knowledge of how God is truly mindful of each and every one of us. It's a great story.

Braden was kind enough to answer some questions about himself and his book. Here are his answers.

Me: Braden, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in UT and grew up in Farmington. I have a BA and MA in theatre from BYU and then went to NYC for 3 years to go a PhD at NYU. I now live outside of Nashville, TN with my wife and we have 5 children. I love to garden and read and go on walks with Ginger, our German Shepherd. I teach music and theatre at a small private school.

Me: What got you into writing?

Braden: I have always wanted to be a writer. Since I learned to read and write, I have always been working on some project.
Me: How did you come up with the story for The Road Show?

Braden: About 7 or 8 years ago, I was called to direct our ward's road show. While waiting for our turn to perform, the idea flashed into my mind. It was more of a series of questions, really. "What if the director had a secret?" "What if the leading lady was depressed?" and so on. Within a few weeks, I had a very clear idea of the opening and closing scenes.
Me: Are you currently working on any other projects?

Braden: Yes, I write compulsively! I have several things in various stages right now. The WIP that is probably the closest to being finished is a middle grade novel for a more national audience. I call it a suburban fantasy because it takes place in a small, private school.

I definitely look forward to reading more of Braden's work in the future:-)

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Ebook Release

Today I am excited to announce the release of two new ebooks. Forbidden Portals: The Quicksilver Project is a children's reader written under the name J.A. Lightender, and Of Blessings and Dreams: The Legacy is an LDS contemporary romance.

Forbidden Portals: Thr Quicksilver Project
Renny is your average teenager. He's tall, lanky, and an easy target for the neighborhood bully. But things quickly change when his parents buy him a not-so-average dog. Entering “Ernie's Pet Shack” was an experience Renny would not soon forget, nor could he guess the adventure that awaited him once he took his dog, Lou home. The two were about to embark on a quest that would change the world as Renny knew it.

Of Blessings and Dreams: The Legacy
North Carolina native, Cisely Matthews, has seen and suffered much in her twenty-two years of life and has the scars to prove it. When amazing blessings begin to come to her, she wonders if she will ever feel worthy enough to deserve them.

Ingo Kelly is thrown for an emotional loop when he leaves Australia to go for his semiannual visit with his aunt in Utah and meets Cisely for the first time. But getting her to accept his love is a challenge he is more than willing to take on.

Adagio St. John is Ingo's best friend, and Adagio thinks of him as the brother he never had. When he travels to Utah, from his home in Italy to attend Ingo and Cisely's wedding, he is truly overjoyed that his friend has found happiness with such an amazing woman and hopes he can find the same happiness one day and end the loneliness he struggled with on a daily basis.

But the strong bond that quickly forms between the three will see them through both sorrows and joys none of them had ever expected.

Get your copy of these two new ebook by logging onto
Order both books and receive a copy of the ebook Tears of Heaven free!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Embracing Life's Changes

As I enter this middle phase of my life, I've been seized upon by changes I never expected, both physically and emotionally. I was never warned about these changes and they took we way off guard. Since I'm still ever-learning, I've done a lot of reading and studying and I now know how to better handle my situation. So, instead of concentrating on the negative, I'm focusing my attention on the positive things about getting older. Here are a few neat little thoughts I found and wanted to share:-)

We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. - Anonymous

Age is a matter of feeling, not of years. To me, old age is fifteen years older than I am.

In youth we learn, in age we understand. Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else. (I love that one!)

Suggested Reading

Book: The Golden Spiral: Book Two In the Hourglass Door Trilogy
Author: Lisa Mangum
The Book
His eyes. His touch. His kiss. Dante was unlike anyone Abby had ever met. Now he s gone, and Abby will do anything to get him back . . . The hourglass door has closed behind Dante, sending him back in time to hunt down Zo, Tony, and V. Abby knows that Dante, as a Master of Time, is the only one who can stop them from destroying time itself. She also knows that he will need her help. But almost immediately, things start to change, and Abby s worst fears are realized when Zo begins targeting her past specifically. As Abby s world fractures around her, she must face a terrible truth: either Dante didn t make it through the door, or he is lost forever. So with Dante s blueprints in hand, she begins construction on a new door, a new time machine that will either save Dante or doom him. With each new change that ripples into her present, Abby s life continues to spiral out of control. Her relationships with Jason, Natalie, and even her family are threatened to the breaking point and beyond. Zo s power is greater than Abby ever imagined, but as she struggles to free Dante, she receives help from an unexpected and unlikely ally. The bank is eroding. The barriers are thinning. And time is running out.