Friday, November 25, 2011


In this economy it is easy to become downtrodden, discouraged, and think that perhaps the Lord has forgotten us.
Life is hard. Sometimes it tests me to my very limit. But I’ve noticed something lately. Everyone struggles with something.
At my work alone, there are two examples. One woman, after her husband was in an accident that left him with brain damage, is the sole provider for her family. Another woman has a similar problem—her husband has developed some type of neurological problem that has left him unable to use his muscles correctly, and he isn't able to work. Her job, that used to be for personal spending money, is now their main support. One woman at my church is struggling while her husband is slowly dying of cancer.
These women are good examples to me. They face each day with courage and a good attitude about life. Whether we like it or not, life was meant to be hard. We were meant to be tested.
In truth, it is easier to develop a bad attitude, become cynical, and to forget the things in our lives that are going well. Developing a grateful heart is much harder. It takes daily—hourly, focusing on the good things in life, and remembering the blessings that we do have.
Husband under employed?—at least he has a job.
Husband doesn’t have a job?—now he can spend more time in the scriptures developing a relationship with Deity, and he can strengthen his relationships at home, develop talents, go to college … sitting at home being bored is a copout.
Health issues in your family?—at least you have a family to love.
Wayward teens driving you nuts?—some families aren’t able to have children.
For any trial, we can if we try, flip it over and turn it into a blessing.
My challenge for the day is to mentally locate the thing that is bringing you the most discouragement, and to flip it over. Turn your trial into a feeling of gratitude and have a happy day.
Happy people live longer so this holiday season remember to have an attitude of gratitude.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Today I’m announcing the winner of a free historical novel, THE ASSASSINATION OF GOVERNOR BOGGS, by Rod Miller.
Thank you to those who participated.


Joyce DiPastena!!!

I’ll be contacting her by email, and then mail her the novel.

**I thought this was fun, so check back in because I’d like to give another book away in a couple of weeks**

Friday, November 18, 2011


For all the historical fiction readers out there, I’m offering a copy of Rod Miller’s novel, The Assassination of Governor Boggs. All you have to do is be/become a follower on my blog, and leave a message explaining why you'd like this book. Don't forget to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win. It's as easy as 1-2-3. Follow my blog. Leave a message saying you'd like to win. Leave your email address. I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Here’s the back cover blurb:
After an attempted assassination, Governor Lilburn Boggs couldn’t prove who’d taken a shot at him, leaving the identity of his assailant a mystery. Twenty-five years later and after the passing of Gov. Boggs, Detective Calvin Pogue has been hired by the Boggs family to open this cold case and find out the truth about the assassin. From Missouri to California and into the heart of the Utah Territory, Detective Pogue relentlessly seeks clues that lead him to the legendary Mormon gunman Porter Rockwell—who still isn’t making things easy for anyone!
Join Detective Pogue as he steps into this hair-raising mystery and tracks down Gov. Boggs’s enemies and friends to a finale you won’t believe.

If you would like a copy of this historical novel, and don't end up winning it, click this link to purchase a copy:

Friday, November 11, 2011


Some of you may wonder why an artist is presenting at a writers conference--so today I am interviewing author and artist, Deirdra Eden Coppel, who will teach a class at the ANWA writer’s conference coming up in February 2012.

The temptation is to do an Author Inquisition, but I have to be serious once in a while, and the conference is 1st rate. I wouldn't want to give the wrong impression by attaching thumb screws to one of the presenters, now would I? No. Definately not.

Tell me, Deirdra, how long have you been an artist?
Deirdra: I’ve been an artist my whole life. I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t creating something.  Granted, I’ve improved over the years as I’ve taken lessons and practiced.
I like to paint just about anything and try out new subjects and styles as well.  If I’m painting for a pure creative release, I tend to draw thing that are earthy, mystical, or ethereal in nature. I have a soft spot for drawing eyes, galaxies, and trees.
What is your experience, or particular qualifications for teaching at the conference?
Deirdra: I taught private art lessons for a while, so I’m familiar with just about every art medium out there. I’ve also won a prestigious art award, though to tell you the truth, I think a lot of it was luck because when I looked at the work of the hundreds of other art contestants, they were all superb and any one of them could have won the award.
I started branching out into graphic design in 2001 when I worked for a small publishing house. It was actually out of their desperation that I was asked to format a cover. I was able to learn the complex software in a short time. They liked the cover so much, I had a new job. Word spread quickly and soon I had theaters, authors, and other businesses asking me to give estimates on their projects.
Because of my ability to use diverse mediums and styles, along with keeping my prices competitive, I have created a successful home-based business in this field.
I love working with authors. They are the only ones who cry like a first time mom when you place their new book cover in their arms. And then I start to cry too.

There is a lot of drama when working with an author directly. A lot of times it really is like working with a first time mom in the maternity ward, except women are usually educated about the birth process before they go into labor. LOL.

When an author has their book written and edited and they are ready for a cover or illustrations many of them don’t know what to do. They are nervous about the process, they don’t know what’s involved, how much they should pay for the work, etc.
With publishing becoming more and more independent many authors will have the pleasure of working with an illustrator or graphic designer.

You've done a lot of interesting things. What will you teach at the ANWA conference?

Deirdra:  At the ANWA Conference I will speak about the author/artist relationship, what you can expect during this creation process, common mistakes authors and designers make, how to get the best book cover/illustrations for the right price, and about a whole lot of surprises that come up that authors don’t usually think about.
As an author, former publishing art director, illustrator, and graphic designer I will be tailoring this class to a wide audience of authors, publishers, and artists, so you will learn about this important key marketing element from many different angels.

Thanks, Deirdra! I can’t wait.
To register for the conference, click on the Time Out For Writers button on my blog. To learn more about Deirdra and her work, visit either her website or her blog:               

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Author Joyce DiPastena of JDP News awarded totallytina the lovely blog award. Thanks for thinking of me Joyce!

In order to accept this award, I have to share seven random facts about me. Here they are in no particular order:

[1] I have 7 children and 7 grandchildren.

[2] My favorite TV show is Castle (about an author).

[3] I’ve moved 15 times in the last 35 years.

[4] I strongly dislike moving. Please don’t make me move again!

[5] I really like having a productive garden, but I don’t really like working in the garden. A poor mix, unfortunately.

[6] Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday—there are no gift expectations and there’s lots of food.

[7] My day job is as a one-on-one aide for an autistic kindergartener.

Below is a list of fifteen other lovely blogs. I hope you'll take the time to visit each of them.

Friday, November 4, 2011


What can be better than some good-ol Mormon comedy? Put your work away and enjoy the moment. If you like this bit, it's part of a DVD called Latter-day Night Live.

Now on to Dinner. This is a nice fall stew made in a pumpkin. It's got some crazy ingredients, but it's good.
1 large pumpkin
melted butter
2 lg. onions, chopped
4 lg. garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
3 lb. chuck steak, cubed
1 lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped (canned tomatoes work equally well)
1 TBSP tomato paste
3 1/2 pints beef stock
Boquet garni
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 lb white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 lb raw pumpkin, cut in chunks
2 cans sweet corn (frozen works)
12 canned yellow peach halves, sliced
syrup from canned peaches.

Prepare pumpkin by cutting a lid from the top. Scoop out the inside of pumpkin. Discard the fibers and seeds, and scoop away some of the solid flesh, leaving a sturdy wall of pumpkin, being careful not to pierce it.

Measure out 2 pounds of pumpkin flesh for the stew. Brush the inside with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Replace the lid and set the pumpkin on a baking sheet.

In a large saucepan, cook the onion, garlic, and beef, in a little oil until soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, half the stock, the poquet garni, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until meat is almost cooked (about 1 hour.)

Put the pumpkin shell in the oven at 375 and cook for 30 minutes or longer. Be careful not to collapse the walls.

Add the sweet potato, potato and pumpkin to the saucepan and cover with more stock. Return to a boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender, the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid is thickened.

Stir in the corn and peaches and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste, correcting the seasoning and adding a little of the peach syrup. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Ladle the stew into the pumpkin an dput back into the oven for 10 - 15 minutes and serve. Serves 6 - 8.

OR: cook all ingredients in a crock pot or dutch oven as directed above, using pumpkin chunks, and omit using the pumpkin shell as a serving pot.