Thursday, June 25, 2009

Candace Salima's Interview

I met Candace Salima and her husband, Alvin, at a dinner party last fall. We sat next to each other and as we talked about various subjects I felt as if I'd known them all my life. Candace is a very savvy woman who speaks her mind. You always know where you stand with her, and that's a good thing. I have grown to admire her many abilities. As you will learn upon reading this posting, she's a very busy woman. I'm honored that she would take the time to do an interview for my blog.

You are a woman of many talents. Tell us what you're working on now.
Kathi, thank you for inviting me to be interviewed on your blog. I greatly admire you and am thrilled to answer your questions.

Right now I am in the final stages of officially launching a traditional publishing house with a 21st century business model, Valor Publishing Group, LLC. As you can well imagine, there are many, many details which have to be worked out. I was published for the first time in December of 2004 after meeting my publisher at the very first LDS Storymakers ( writers conference. Since that time, I've seen, from the author's side, the publishing industry, and I found it amazing in some areas and seriously lacking in others. As the last five years ticked off, I realized that in order to have a publisher who would use a 21st century business model instead of one that is half a century old I would have to open my own publishing house. That is what gave birth to Valor Publishing Group, LLC. I tapped a few peers in the industry to work with me and we will be releasing Valor's first book in September 2009, Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story by Utah's Attorney General, Mark L. Shurtleff. ( I am so excited about this and am determined to make it a wild success. We have already pre-sold 250,000 copies of Shurtleff's book and are looking forward to publishing others. We have also signed Karen Hoover, the next J.K. Rowling. With Karen's ability to draw you into a magical world where good fights evil The Sapphire Flute, the first in The Wolfchild Saga, will engage readers instantly.

On the author side, I am finally writing again and so pleased to have stories pouring out of me again. I hope to have two books released toward the end of 2010 or beginning of 2011. The first The Long Road is an action suspense which takes the reader from the high desert of the Hopi Reservation to the unforgiving mountains of Afghanistan in a story of destiny, revenge, justice, love with heart-stopping action. The second is the sequel to Out of the Shadows.Into the Light (, Dreams Die Hard which tells the story of Sam and Elizabeth who were first introduced in Shadows. The Anquiri are still out for revenge and things are hoppin' in Lost Canyon Springs.

What is your passion?
My passion branches into four areas. My family. My God. My nation. My writing. I write about all four things on a regular basis, and fiercely stand tall for those whom I love and what I believe in. I'm afraid God hard-wired me to fight injustice with the gifts he gave me with the written and spoken word. Wherever I see it, whether in my neighborhood or anywhere in America, I always speak up when I feel the need to defend something.

Many years ago, we won't say how many, the football coach at my high school told my mother he'd observed something interesting in the three of us who were currently in high school. Crystal, my little sister who has a brilliant legal mind, used to start fights. I used to step into the middle of them to try and defend my little sister and my brother Cash, who is a brilliant artist and marketer, used to come in and finish them. We all laughed when Mom told us, but there is a huge grain of truth that. That is precisely what went on when we were in school. I've learned to finish my own fights now but I rarely start them. Meaning, that I am a peace-loving woman at heart and would love to wake up in this incredible nation we call America, work in my garden, nourish my flowers, bake, take care of my husband and just write to my heart's content. I long for the freedom to worship according to the dictates of my conscience without being labeled with vitriolic and hateful terms. I truly desire to simply work every day to be a better person and one day kneel before Jesus Christ and hear "Well done thou good and faithful servant." Sadly, the idyllic world I long to live in can only exist if I refuse to acknowledge what is going on in the world today. Again, the way God hard-wired me makes that virtually impossible.

I am a passionate woman and will not apologize for it. So I live every day of my life knowing that I can say, "I gave it all I had to make the world a better place."

I know you've written many books. Tell us about them.
Interestingly, the very first books I had published were health booklets. I met the publisher of Woodland Books, Calvin Harper, at the political caucuses one year and we started talking. He offered me a contract to write on assigned topics and snatched it up. I had two booklets published through Woodland: Oregano Oil: Nature's Answer to Bacterial, Viral and Fungal Infection ( and Policosanol (

Later that same year I had my first fiction novel Out of the Shadows Into the Light released. Shadows is written in my absolutely favorite genre, romantic suspense.

"Welcome to Lost Canyon Springs, where love, danger and triumph of the spirit await.
Wyoming rancher Caroline Duncan has spent the past few years fighting two difficult battles-maintaining the ranch her family has owned for more than a century, and dealing with the absence of her son Patrick, kidnapped by her ex-husband Todd.
Almost three years to the day of her son's kidnapping, U.S. Marshal Slade Taggart arrives on her doorstep, bringing news of Todd's imminent capture. If all goes well, Patrick will be home within twenty-four hours.
Caroline struggles to remain strong when she soon receives news that Todd had eluded the authorities once again. In desperation, Caroline vows to pursue him herself. Slade joins her, and the pair head into one of the most vicious Wyoming blizzards ever, facing the rigors of weather, nature, and drug cartel assassins.
In the midst of this, Slade and Caroline fight a growing attraction for each other. Caroline isn't sure she needs a tall, good-looking U.S. Marshal to complicate matters, but Slade knows he wants this strong, righteous, beautiful Wyoming rancher in his life.
Will Caroline have the faith to follow the promptings given her by the Lord? Or will she lose it all? "
Purchase link:
My next book 13 and 0: Reflections of Champions was written about BYU's 1984 national championship football team at the request of my publisher. While I was not as enthusiastic about it initially, by the time I was done I felt truly privileged to bring the stories of the men to the public. Very inspiring.
Could a college football team from the Rocky Mountains be crowned the best in the land?
The idea was unthinkable-until BYU's 1984 team took the national championship.
The Cougars' perfect season left traditional college football powerhouses by the wayside, mesmerizing the national media and energizing fans. That year has been the stuff of legends ever since.
What made that year so unique-and where are the players now?
Inside this book you will find:
Compelling summaries of each game.
Biographies of thirty players and coaches.
Dozens of photos, including current ones of players' families .
Players' thoughts on how the season changed their lives .
The positive ripples still seen as a result of that unforgettable experience
Immerse yourself in the magical season of 1984 and meet the remarkable men who achieved a seemingly unreachable goal.
Purchase Link:
My latest book which is Forged in the Refiner's Fire, a nonfiction inspirational book written with my co-author, Elizabeth A. Cheever.
Why do bad things happen? Is there a purpose when we face a severe trial? As mortals, we can be compared to ore, such as gold and silver. Ore that is unrefined is generally impure and undesirable. Only ore that is crushed-and then refined by fire-becomes beautiful, pure, precious and valuable. This book was written to help you see the results of the Ultimate Refiner, the Lord, in your own life. Within these pages, people from all walks of life share their stories of triumph over tragedy. More importantly, they reveal how they were strengthened as they passed through the Refiner's fire. They became more precious, and so can you.
Purchase Link:
So there are my books in a nutshell, Kathi. I'm proud of each one but constantly striving to improve my writing on a daily basis.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
Sometimes it is something as simple as a song or a picture, even a turn of phrase. Other times I'm sound asleep and wake up with the entire story in my head. I have to get it down before it disappears, because once it is gone, it's gone for good. But for now, I'm inspired by the everyday heroes in America who show what strength of character and courage is really about. It makes me want to write literature worth of their sacrifice and strength.

In your many causes is there someone you admire and emulate most?
Oddly enough, it's a tossup between by mother and Patrick Henry. Odd combination, isn't it. But, I admire my mother for her ability to get up every day and keep moving forward. For her love of knowledge in so many different areas and instilling in her children that same love and to pursue the truth no matter what and stand for what I believe. And Patrick Henry, his passion and love for America inspire me on a daily basis.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?
We moved a lot when I was growing up, from big cities to the country and back. We landed in Dolores, CO when I was 12 years old and that's where we stayed. When I graduated high school I went to Ricks College then on to Brigham Young University. When I finished with college I stayed in Utah County and have loved living in this beautiful state. Although I've lived in cities as much as I have the country, I love the country dearly. If I could live anywhere, it would be on a 1,000 acre ranch in a beautiful ranch house and 1,000s of beefalo of a buffalo/Scottish Highland mix. I'd be able to sit on the porch looking out upon the land and write to my heart's content. Or, go for a ride in the mountains on a beautiful horse and just let my spirit be refilled. Sadly, that is not my lot in life. I live in the city because everything I do is centered around the city. I still, however, maintain the code of the Westerner which my mother taught to us from our birth. Work hard, live right, worship God and stand for what you believe. Help your neighbors when they are in need. Always stand with your family and never desert a friend. It's a good code and one I shall live until my dying day.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
I most often sit at my desk, surrounded by shelf after shelf of books and write until my brain gets tired. Other times, like now, I'm using my laptop in bed taking it easy because it's been a difficult day. I write in silence, simply because music distracts me. You see, if a song comes on I simply have to sing the words. Makes writing impossible for me, so no noise for me when I write.
As to where I draw my inspiration? I draw it from the majestic mountains which surround my home, the flowers near my porch and the children laughing and playing in the neighborhood. Sometimes I take my laptop and spread a blanket on the lawn and write under the shade of my Japanese cherry tree, other times I remain in my home library and write until my husband comes home from work. I have a home free of contention and sorrow. My husband and I made a pact when we first married. We were never going to fight unless it was really worth fighting for. Nothing has been worth the contention it would cause in our home. We have made a concerted effort to make our home a haven from the world, as such, it is very conducive to writing.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I absolutely do watch television and movies. I don't know if I draw inspiration from them, but I do enjoy the writing, acting and direction, and I love taking a few hours away from life for short periods at a time.

Right now my favorite movie is Mama Mia, although UP! is a new favorite. As to television shows: Love the shows like NCIS, The Mentalist, Bones, The Closer, Burn Notice, In Plain Site, just to name a few. The others are escaping me at the moment, but I love a well-written show, be it television or movie. I don't always get to watch them, but I catch them when I can. Thank goodness for TiVo, I'm able to see more that way.

How has being published changed your life?
It's made me be more conscious of how I behave in public. It's widened the venues at which I speak. It's helped me to share my love of reading with various people and encourage others who didn't enjoy reading before take a second look. It gives me a huge thrill to hear, "Is that a Candace Salima? I have to have it." First time I heard that I thought to myself, "Wow. I've said those words about other authors, I can't believe someone is saying it about me." It's a huge boon to realize that what I write inspires, entertains and uplifts others. It gives me a greater sense of responsibility and accountability. Other than that, life's just the same. Yeah, I'm laughing.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I don't have any booksignings currently scheduled. However, I am speaking at the Patriot's Day Tea Party in Orem, UT on July 4th ( I seem to speak more on political and patriotic themes lately then literacy, but since patriotism is the overriding them in my life lately, that's okay.

I don't have any booksignings of my own scheduled until after we have officially launched Valor Publishing Group, LLC and I have a new book out in a year or so. From now until then, all my efforts will go toward the building of my company and writing, of course. It keeps me busy that's for sure.

My author website can be found at

My blog can be found at I write about belief, America, writing, reading, life, cooking . whatever strikes my fancy. It's a fun blog that covers almost every aspect of my life.

Thank you again, Kathi, for giving me a chance to visit your blog and chat with you. It's been fun.
Thank you, Candace!
The following is the trailer for one of Candace's books.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Title of Liberty

As you can tell by my last few blog postings, I’m feeling very patriotic with the 4th of July less than a two weeks away. I love celebrating our country. I love the parades, picnics, and fireworks. I love that I was born in a free land and taught to appreciate all that I have. I hope and pray we can hang on to the freedoms our founding fathers fought so hard to put in place. The troubles we are experiencing now, reminds me of the story in the Book of Mormon about Chief Captain Moroni.

You might remember the story of the title of liberty. Moroni had defeated the Lamanites and peace reigned in the land, but not for long. The people became materialistic and proud and had allowed themselves to be led away from what they knew was right by the flatteries of Amalickiah, an unrighteous man who wanted to be king. “Yea, we see that Amalickiah because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake…” (Book of Mormon, Alma 46:10). When Moroni saw how easily his people had been led away he rent his coat and wrote upon it “…In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children…” (Alma 46:12). He then fastened the rent piece of his coat on a pole and prayed that the cause of Christians and the freedom of the land might be favored. Shortly thereafter he walked among the people asking that whoever wanted to maintain their freedoms to follow. The people rushed to support him.

How does this story apply to us? I hope we will always have our priorities in order and remember how important our freedom is not only to us, but our children. Have we taught our children the importance of freedom? I hope so. I can’t help but think of the stripling warriors and how their parents taught them the importance of religion, faith and country. In a spring posting on my blog I wrote about stripling warrior character traits and patriotism was one I focused on. “Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives…” (Alma 56:47).

I love the stories of Moroni, Helaman and the stripling warriors so much that in my book, The Forgotten Warrior, I included a scene where Sydney─a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate who had been sent back in time─spoke with Tarik─one of the stripling warriors─about the title of liberty. This scene is told through Sydney’s eyes.

…Tarik nodded, and I could tell by the smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth that he was a little impressed.
I continued, “He prayed that liberty would rest on his brethren. He said, ‘Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions. Or something like that.”
Terik scratched his brow, and I thought I saw the flicker of admiration in his eyes again. He asked, “And what did the title of liberty have written upon it?”
“Oh, that’s easy.” Then suddenly my memory failed. “Uh…I know this…I do.” I stared at the ground as if the words were written there. Nervously, I glanced up at Tarik. He was patiently waiting. And then the words came to my mind with the full impact of their meaning. With conviction in my voice, I said, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children.”
“Maybe…” he paused, his eyebrows raised. “Maybe you are not a spy. Are you a believer?”
“I am, “ I replied…

Copyright © Kathi Oram Peterson

I hope─if a time ever arises─that we, too, can stand up and say I am a believer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our National Anthem Part 2

Last week I did an interview with author, Laurie Lewis, who has written several books about the War of 1812. Did you know that it was during that war that Francis Scott Key wrote the words to The Star Spangled Banner? As I listened to the seven-year-old and three-year-old singing our national anthem on my last posting, I thought you might like to learn more about the circumstances that led up to Key putting pencil to paper and writing such a stirring poem. I found this wonderful video that explained the event very well, and I thought you would like to watch it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our National Anthem

In a little over two weeks the United States celebrates the 4th of July. This last year has been tough for our country in many ways and the future looks uncertain. Though Americans are strong! Our ancestors were people with diverse backgrounds who were drawn to this country for various reasons: the need to provide for their families, religious freedom, and the promise of a better life in a land of promise. Sometimes it helps to go through hard times by looking at our children and the hope they give us to carry on. With that in mind and with our national holiday so close I thought you might like to take a look at the videos below.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laurie Lewis Interview

Last April I met Laurie Lewis at the LDStorymakers conference. I've long admired her patriot books, so it was a thrill to finally meet the author. Laurie is a dedicated writer. I saw her many times working away on her laptop in between sessions. I will review her new book which will be released in the fall, but in the mean time I wanted to introduce her to you with an interview.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Thanks for hosting this interview, Kathi! I really wanted to be singer. I pursued that dream for a while performing in an annual program. So much fun! But I’ve loved to write since I can remember. When I was young, I fancied myself writing TV episodes rather than books. I think I was intrigued by the idea of getting to go on set to see my work come to life. To some extent that’s still a part of my writing style. I like to envision what I write. I don’t know if other authors do the same thing, but I need to see it in my mind’s eyes to feel I’ve hit a scene properly.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
Well, my new book, Dawn’s Early Light, is the third volume of my historical fiction series, FREE MEN and DREAMERS. It’s scheduled for a fall release and I’m so excited about the subject. The series is set against the backdrop of the War of 1812, a fascinating period that connects to the Gospel in ways many people have never imagined. This is the first fully American-born generation and the very generation being prepared to receive the Restoration. When you put American history into that context, you begin to see the hand of the Lord in remarkable ways. Dawn’s Early Light specifically touches on a sliver of history that is quite timely. It tells the story of the attack on our Capital as understood from the perspective of five families—two are white American, two are British, and one is an American slave family.

Tell us about your other books.

They are all very character-driven novels. My first novel was a family story about love and forgiveness published in 2004 and titled Unspoken. FREE MEN and DREAMERS illustrates the turmoil in Europe and America by introducing characters caught up in the period’s political, social and religious tumult. Book one, Dark Sky at Dawn, (2007) illustrates the hypocrisy that plagued America. Class distinction and slavery continued to separate people who were struggling to become “one nation under God”. The war adds new tension to a nation at the breaking point. The primary characters are Jed Pearson who inherits a large plantation from a grandfather with a tainted past; and Hannah Stansbury, a spiritual young woman from the gentry whose family has its own secrets. In Twilight’s Last Gleaming, (2007) the couple struggles to answer the demands of nation and family when both cry for their devotion.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
So many things can spark a new story. Current events, a question, a place. Several settings have inspired books. Unspoken was the result of two places I loved—a Christmas tree farm and an fruit farm in Smithsburg, Maryland. FREE MEN and DREAMERS was born during a trip to Wiliamsburg, Virginia. And music . . . Music greatly influences me when I write.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
No one specifically, but many do indirectly. What I mean is that whenever I read someone else’s work I find elements I admire that I know I need to improve upon. Some create characters that are so real they stay with me after the book is closed. Some have a way of driving tension that makes me so anxious I have to walk away for awhile. I do love Nicholas Sparks’ work, but our styles are very different.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I live in a small town in the same county where I grew up. It’s a good mix of rural/suburban community less than an hour from Baltimore and Washington. Where would I live if I could live anywhere? The place wouldn’t matter to me as much as the people. People are what make any place exquisite. I’d want to live as near my children and grandchildren as I could.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
Haha! My kids would tell you my office has the ugliest floral wallpaper in the world! I have a nice window that looks into the front yard and next to it is a portrait of our children and grandchildren. I’m surrounded by a big wrap-around desk stuffed with research books and scriptural material. It holds my computer, a dying plant, a portrait of two of my children kneeling by a poster of my first book, and one of those filing cubes from Staples with a small American flag sticking out of the top!

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I watch a little of both. I fell absolutely in love with the John Adams mini-series. As I watched it I kept saying, “Yes, I got that part right in the books!” I also enjoy Lost, Heroes and a crazy sci-fi show called Eureka.

How has being published changed your life?
Well. . . (I’m chuckling. . .) I tend to impose a lot of self-inflicted deadlines and pressure on myself, so in some ways writing was more “fun” before being published. But there’s no denying the joy I feel when someone enjoys my books. And I love that my family is proud of what I’ve done. The people stuff, that’s what makes it wonderful.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I’m already beginning to run contests to build up my readership of Dark Sky at Dawn and Twilight’s Last Gleaming before Dawn’s Early Light hits the shelves. You can check these out either on my blog at, or on my web site at I will be involved in some virtual book tours and some actual booksignings this fall, and I’ll host a launch party in October. More details will be posted on my web site and blog as the date nears. On September 19th I’ll be joining fellow LDStorymaker Liz Adair and other notable authors at the Annual Western Reserve Writer’s Conference in Kirtland, Ohio, so we’d love anyone who can make it to sign up and come out. I’ll be featured in Anne Bradshaw’s new Family Home Evening tell-all book, (hahaha) Famous Family Nights, due out this fall. In the meantime, I hope readers will begin the journey to 1812 Maryland by beginning the series with Dark Sky at Dawn.

Thanks, Kathi!
You're very welcome, Laurie.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heroes of War

“…The moon shone its silvery glow over a field dotted with torch lights and littered with young men…boys really. Some lay on the ground, some barely stood by themselves, and others leaned on their shields for support. Each guarded crudely-made spears, swords, and bows and arrows. The entire crew appeared worn and battle weary. Every one of them looked as if he were wounded in some way. Some gazed at me expectantly. I didn’t know what to do.
‘You thought your army could kill us,’ Tarik spoke into my ear. He stepped back and said, ‘Behold, the sons of Helaman live. We are strong. We are warriors!’”
Copyright © Kathi Oram Peterson

This is one of my favorite scenes in my book, The Forgotten Warrior. Can you imagine looking down on a battle field littered with wounded soldiers and as you looked closer you realized they were young men…boys really? And, in fact, they were the sons of Helaman! Every time I think of seeing such a sight goose-bumps rise on my skin. Not only because this has to do with a beloved story from the Book of Mormon, but the thought of young men going to war to protect their families, religion, and freedom always makes me teary-eyed.

“Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives…” Alma 56:47. In a previous blog, I wrote about the courage of the stripling warriors. This particular passage took place before the stripling warriors went to war. I’ve wondered if after actually seeing battle and living through the horrors of hand-to-hand combat would they become bitter or turn against their leaders. I have heard stories about young men who were eager to go to war, but once they lived through it they became bitter. So I couldn’t help but wonder how the stripling warriors would have felt. And then I read this passage in the Book of Mormon: “But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in the liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day...” Alma 58:40. If anything the sacrifices they made endeared them to their families, religion, and country.

On June 6th we remembered those who were part of the D-Day mission of WWII. Most of the soldiers in that war were men and not boys...and yet to their mothers they were. I think of the brave mothers of the Ammonites who sent their young men to battle against the mighty Lamanite army and I believe their faith was nothing short of miraculous. After watching the video included, I think we have more in common with those mothers than we think we do. Though many died on the beaches of Normandy, those who died and those who pushed on and eventually won the war were heroes and, yes, part of a miracle.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jewel Adams Interview

Last September I met Jewel at a dinner party. It was hard to talk because so much was going on around us, but I came away grateful to have made a new friend.
She just had a daughter get married and despite her busy schedule she agreed to do an interview for my blog. I thought you might enjoy learning about her and her new book.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Not until I came to Utah in 1989. I met an author who sort of gave me the bug. Before that, I wrote some poetry.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
The Journey is a young-adult fantasy set on a world similar to ours and teaches the importance of choice, and that there is a consequence for every choice we make. The main character has to leave her home and go on a journey. It is on that journey that she learns about how important it is to make the right choices. It's definitely a good versus evil story.

Tell us about your other books.
My other books are contemporary romance. Mercedes' Mountain is the story of a single black woman living in New York who is successful and owns her own dance studio. She has been raised by a Baptist minister. At forty she decides to change her life. She sells her studio, leaves her family, and moves to a cabin in Maggie Valley, NC, which is right in the middle of Cherokee Indian reservation. Her family thinks she's gone off the deep end, but she knows there has to be more to life than what her father has always preached. She finds it in NC and she finds love, too.Against the Odds is the story of a black fashion model living in Atlanta, Georgia. She divorces her husband after seven years of marriage because he has repeatedly been unfaithful. She leaves her modeling career and go to stay with friends on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Then she meets the cowboy-brother-in-law who is the opposite of every other man she has ever known. Friendship leads to love and they soon face opposition they never expected.
What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
You know, I don't know really. I just love writing. I love escaping my world sometimes and getting into the world of my characters. It's just fun.
Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
There are too many to name and some of them are friends:-) But one of my favorites is Richard Paul Evans. I love his stories because they are all so touching and really pull at the emotions.
Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?
I grew up in North Carolina. We were poor and lived in housing projects most of the time. There was a lot of abuse and that helped to spur my imagination. I was always imagining myself somewhere else. After some poor choices in life, I was blessed with the gospel and an amazing life. I've lived in Utah for almost twenty years and I consider this home. I've lived in West Point for over five years. It's cowboy country and we love it.As for places I would love to live, there is only one other place: Italy! I think I'm Italian at heart because I love everything Italian. We spent a few days in Venice and I cried when we left because I loved it so much. I hope we can go back one day.
Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
My desk sits in front of my bedroom window, which looks out over the neighborhood. I have a laptop and move around the house a lot, but for the most part, I sit at my desk. Sometimes I feel like Gladys, the Stevens' neighbor on Bewitched because I see everyone coming and going, who is visiting whose house, and whose kids are being naughty:-)I keep a supply of orange Tic Tacs nearby to snack on. The neighbors have no idea how much they inspire my thoughts when I'm writing:-)
Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I have a few shows I watch on a regular basis: 24, Lost, Life, Lie to Me, AI and Prison Break.
How has being published changed your life?
I've met so many neat people and made many friends. I love writing stories that make people smile or think, and writing gives me the opportunity to share God's message with others. That is the most important thing for me.
Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
My summer is always super busy with my family so I really don't have anything scheduled. However, my books can be purchased on my website. Right now I am giving free downloads of The Journey ebook. The sequel, Place In This World, will be available in ebook format in July. I'm pretty excited about that. You can learn more about me and my books by visiting my website at or my blog at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ximon, the Great Dane

If you've read my book, The Forgotten Warrior, you have become familiar with Ximon, the harlequin Great Dane. When I first wrote the dog into my book, some writers in my critique group questioned if there was such a dog as a black and white Great Dane. They thought I meant a Dalmatian. Dalmatians are fine dogs, but I knew this story needed a large dog. I wanted a dog that was bigger than life and could become a mythical hero.

This is Ximon's introduction in my book. This scene happens as Syd is crying and sitting on the lawn outside of the hospital.

"...I sensed someone watching me. Glancing out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed what I at first thought was a white angel hovering close to my shoulder. I had prayed for help, but I never expected this. Then the shape moved closer. A large, wet nose nudged my cheek.

I didn't know what exactly was standing beside me, but it was no angel. Fear charged through me, and I lunged to get away. A huge shape blocked my attempt to flee--a massive black-and-white shape. It licked my cheek with unabashed friendliness. I looked up to find a black and white Great Dane standing over me."

Thus Ximon came into being. I loved writing his character. He became more than just a dog, he became an anchor for Sydney, a friend, and a link to home. He plays an even bigger role in the sequel. I can hardly wait for my fans to read it. Some believe Ximon to be symbolic and that he is more than just a dog. But, aren't they all?

Dogs add so much to our lives. They are confidants, family members and beloved friends. We turn to them when we're sick, when we grieve, and when we just need a listening ear. They take us on walks to keep us healthy and perform heroic acts by saving lives and protecting their loved ones.
Please let me know of dogs who have been heroes in your life. I'd love to hear your story.
I found these wonderful videos of dogs that are heroes.


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