Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!

The Fourth of July has always been a fun holiday for me. It's summer, there's fireworks, yummy food, and spending time with family.

When I was young, our ward would go up the mountains and camp overnight, with a patriotic fireside by, well, the fire. It was so much fun. After a few years of this, they no longer had campouts, but we'd still go up to the church that morning for breakfast and a flag ceremony. I loved it.

Along with that, we'd have a huge pool party that our city pool hosted where there were races to win little coupons for around our tiny town, along with them throwing several dollars in coins into the pool. 

That night we'd either do fireworks at our house or we'd drive to the local college to watch fireworks and have picnic.

Did I mention how much I loved growing up where I did? (By the way, you see a lot of where I grew up in my books. Write what you know, right?)

Anyway, flash forward several years and a trip to Australia. I loved it there. With all the bad things that happened, I still loved it there. But it wasn't home. It wasn't America. Their laws for repairing things, and their medical practices and so on, were not HOME. I wanted to go back where I could have my American flag.

We spent the 4th of July there, and to celebrate, we went to TGI Fridays to get the most American meal we could find. Our waiter was from America and I wanted to hug him. There were no fireworks (They're not allowed for citizens, by the way), but at least we got our steak, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob.

We were home by the 21st of July after getting sick from yet another house. I wanted to cry when I saw our flag again for the first time. As we drove back from LA to St. George (soooo much cheaper than flying those last few hundred miles—even in two cars so we could fit our stuff!), I was thrilled to watch the landscape—MY American landscape—go by. And summer was finally back in the actual summertime. We'd left the winter back behind in Melbourne.

A few days later we went to a show at the Desert Star with some friends. I LOVE that place. The skits are hilarious, and it's just a fun atmosphere. At the end, they normally have a medley of songs that they goof up and it's hilarious. This time, it happened to be patriotic songs.

While people around me laughed, I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks. I was home. And these songs depicted why America is so great. And while the lady sang God Bless the USA in Sarah Palin's voice, I bawled. This is MY country and I'm proud to call it mine.

Our country is going through a lot right now and the majority isn't great. We're set for a historical presidential election and I'm not looking forward to the outcome. But America is still mine. It's still ours.  And I hope we can always remember that.

God Bless America. And Happy Fourth of July!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016


This last weekend was LDStorymakers, and while I have always enjoyed going, this year I hoped for just a little more inspiration.

I wasn't disappointed. The classes were fantastic as always, but something made them just a little more special. Scriptures were used as quotes in one of my classes and in the keynote (both the same teacher). They were verses I needed to hear. 

Both keynote speeches were pretty much written for me. And the cool thing is, I think most, if not all the other writers felt exactly the same way. They were inspired, and for that I'm so thankful.

They focused on family and finding time to be both a writer and a parent. They shared funny insights from their lives and they were just ... perfect. I teared up during both because it helped me see what I did right and what I could do better to give both things the time they need and deserve.

And it wasn't just those speeches. It was meeting people and helping people with their first pages (I had so much fun!!) and seeing old friends. As I walked toward the registration desk the first day, I wanted to jump up and down because I felt at home. These are my people. This is my tribe. 

I also had the opportunity to go to the Whitneys for the first time this year. It was fantastic! Such a wonderful spirit. And how many awards shows do you get to hear people say how much they prayed for inspiration to write, or talk about miracles? Fantastic.  As I announced the winner's name for Speculative Fiction (Dan Wells for The Devil's Only Friend), I got to see his look of surprise and joy as he stood to accept his award. 

Every year, as I left the conference, I felt drained of energy, and I couldn't wait to get home and sleep for a month or so(that much awesomeness is exhausting!). This time, I felt peace. There was a determination to put my new skills to the test, but I was just ... happy. Maybe it was my super happy yellow dress that I wore that day, or the excitement of being able to say "And the winner is ..." at the Whitneys, but I think it was more than that.  

So I want to say thank you. To the committee for planning this conference, my friends (both new and old), and to Dr. Chris Crowe and Brandon Sanderson for their amazing speeches. 

And now, I get back to writing my book so I can wake up in time to get my kids to school. A mother/writer's work is never done! Until next time, LDStorymakers Conference!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Happy Mother's Day! Let's Celebrate With a Big Book Bash

This weekend is Mother's Day and we wanted to help you celebrate!

A group of us came together to offer free and $.99 books for you to share with all the moms in your life. We have several different genres of books, and they're marked by their "heat" levels so you know what you'll find in each book.

Ring of Truth is only $.99 and you'll find that book in the Contemporary Romance section here.

The Luck Series—All SIX books in one!—is only $.99 and you'll find it in the Young Adult Fantasy section here.

Like other genres? You can check those out here:

I hope you have a fantastic day, and don't forget that Fashioned for Love is free this week! You can find that here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Writers of the Future 2016

I had the opportunity to go to the Writers of the Future awards ceremony this year, and I loved it! We went down on Friday night so we were able to spend a wonderful day at the beach. But that's beside the point.

This year's ceremony had a Steam Punk theme, and it was amazing. But first, the Red Carpet!

Writing judges
Illustration judges

Sergey Poyarkov

Kellie Gerardi

2016 Writer Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA (l to r Row 1 kneeling)
Jon Lasser, J.W. Alden, Stephen Merlino, Stewart C Baker, Matt Dovey, Ryan Row and Christoph Weber and (l to r Row 2 standing) Krystal Claxton (a 2015 Contest Winner), Sylvia Anna Hivén, Rachael K. Jones, Julie Frost and K.D. Julicher on the Red Carpet at at The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA – 

2016 Writer Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA (l to r Row 1 kneeling)
Brandon Knight, Paul Otteni, Jonas Spokas and Preston Stone and (l to r Row 2 standing) Maricela Ugarte Peña, Christina Alberici, Adrian Massaro,
Camber Arnhart and Killian McKeown on the Red Carpet at The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA  

Members of Star Wars Steampunk Universe on the Red Carpet at
The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA – Photo by Bandon Faust 

And on to the Awards show! We got great seats up in the balcony, and I'm so glad we did. The view was amazing, and so was the show!

The show started out with the Steampunk body percussion,  and they were fantastic! The performance was mesmerizing!

Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director for Fiction Affairs for Author Services, Inc.

Sergey Poyarkov won the Inaugural L. Ron Hubbard Silver Star Award for his excellence as a science fiction and fantasy illustrator for the last 25 years.

 Kellie Gerardi, a Space Science Strategist and Media Specialist of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, served as the Keynote Speaker.

Jon Lasser won an award for The Star Tree

Killian McKeown illustrated The Star Tree

Stewart C Baker won the award for Images Across a Shattered Sea

Paul Otteni illustrated Images Across a Shattered Sea
Christoph Weber won the award for Möbius, illustrated by Talia Spencer

Stephen Merlino won for The Jack of Souls
Maricela Ugarte Pena illustrated The Jack of Souls
Matt Dovey won for Squalor and Sympathy
Adrian Massaro illustrated Squalor and Sympathy

 This was one of my favorite performances of the night. The performance depicted scenes from Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure and it was so well done!

Rachel K Jones won for Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure

Preston Stone illustrated Dinosaur Dreams in Infinite Measure.

Camber Arnhart illustrated Last Sunset for the World Weary, Written by H.L. Fullerton

Ryan Row won the award for The Broad Sky was Mine, and the Road

Jonas Spokas illustrated The Broad Sky was Mine, and the Road

Julie Frost won the award for Cry Havoc
Vlady Monakhova illustrated Cry Havoc

See that person hanging there? He kept doing that. It was fantastic! I've seen aerial performances, but he went higher and dropped lower than I've seen before. Amazing!

J. W. Alden won the award for The Sun Falls Apart
Christina Alberici illustrated The Sun Falls Apart
Sylvia Hiven won the award for A Glamour in the Black
Brandon Knight illustrated A Glamour in the Black

K.D. Julicher won the award for Swords Like Lightning, Hooves like Thunder, illustrated by Eldar Zakirov

Krystal Claxton won the award for Planar Ghosts in 2015, but was unable to attend the event until this year.
  John Goodwin, President and Publisher of Galaxy Press, unveiled the 32nd Volume of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future featuring the work of 24 award-winning new authors and illustrators from this year’s contests.  Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Sergey Poyarkov, the book also features stories written by renowned writers like Tim Powers, Sean Williams and Brandon Sanderson.    

Adrian Massaro was presented with the Golden Brush Award and a $5,000 check by distinguished illustrator Sergey Poyarkov and the Awards Show Keynote Speaker, Kellie Gerardi.Adrian Massaro said, “I didn’t plan to win.  I was surrounded by equals in this contest.  All of the other stories were so vivid; I never thought I would win.  I tried to put the emotion into my illustration for ‘Squalor and Sympathy.’  I find it difficult to find words to express the profound feelings I am experiencing at the moment.  It’s beyond words.”

 Matt Dovey’s story, ‘Squalor and Sympathy’ was illustrated by artist Adrian Massaro.”  Matt Dovey was presented with the Golden Pen Award and a $5,000 check by distinguished writers David Farland and Orson Scott Card. 
  Matt Dovey said, “Moments like this are unique and life defining.  Write without shame.  Do what you do with confidence.  Ours is the greatest genre, that of science fiction and fantasy.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Speculative fiction is what we tell our children.  If we are the writers of the future, it is up to us write the future.”

After the awards show was over, a reception was held where attendees were able to purchase Writers of the Future Volume 32, and then have their books signed by the writers and illustrators who had won the contest. It was fun to meet each of them and learn more about who they are. The show and reception were both wonderful events, and I'm glad that I got to be a part of the evening. 

A little more about Writers of the Future: 

     Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, Battlefield Earth, written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created The Writers of the Future writing contest ( in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break.  Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

            The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful.  The 368 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,050 novels and over 4,000 short stories.  They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.  The 298 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 5,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 623 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 68 television shows and 46 major movies.

            The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction.  Since inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 31 anthology volumes and awarded a cumulative $930,000 in cash prizes and royalties.  Last year’s anthology, L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future – Volume 31 was recently selected by Publisher’s Weekly as a National Bestseller; in 2016 the volume received the Benjamin Franklin U.S. Award.  For more information please visit and