Monday, November 25, 2013
This year has been full of many bumps, bruises, and twists and turns so far. I have found myself wallowing more than I should in the "What ifs" and "Somedays" of life. It is embarrassing how much time I've wasted regretting the past, and worrying about the future. But I am determined not to waste another moment of the "Nows" of this month.
While life will never be all sunny days, easy pitches, and soft landings, it does hand me lots of laughter and joy to balance the tears and frustration. Some of the greatest "Nows" of my life, thus far, have happened this year.
Every struggle of life is a reminder of the blessing of a wonderful, patient husband to weather the storms with.
Midnight giggles with a sister about to leave on her mission are the best kind.
Coaxing a dying car to live one more day makes every outing an adventure.
An acceptance letter to graduate school is especially sweet after a bitter rejection.
A baby's heartbeat is the best sound in the world.
Time to write and research is a precious, treasured commodity.
A book enjoyed under a warm blanket as the wind howls outside the shelter of a cozy apartment is the most wonderful story.
Words of comfort and encouragement during a time of despair are the sweetest words ever spoken.
Each day of life is a gift beyond compare.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of laughter, family, and gratitude!
What are you most thankful for this holiday season?
Monday, November 18, 2013
Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.
This was a great new find to add to my tween fantasy books! White captures a twelve-year-old girl's voice perfectly with Sara. She is spunky, full of life, and looking for adventure. I enjoyed her frequent travel back to Ancient Egypt, and an interesting new perspective on the life of Cleopatra and her people.
Sara doesn't expect her desire to travel to distant lands to be fulfilled in her grandmother's attic. But when an old emerald ring transports her back to Cleopatra's Egypt, as a cat, she finds adventures can be a bit more dangerous than she thought. Sara's zest in chasing after the thief terrorizing her neighborhood, and her desire to help her new friend from Africa make her a likable character. I found myself holding my breath a few times with her narrow escapes and near misses. Tweens and their parents will enjoy this history and magic-filled tale of ancient cults and brave new heroes, and felines.
My name is Dorine White. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Humanities. I am a member of the SCBWI, ANWA, LDS Storymakers and the PNWA. I write middle grade and YA fantasy. My first book, The Emerald Ring, was published May 2013 by Cedar Fort Books.
Author Website- http://www.
Blog- The Write Path- http://www.dorinewhite.
Twitter @Dorinewhite- https://twitter.
Facebook Author Page- https://www.facebook.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I once attended a writer's workshop that compared writing to running a marathon. The talented, and super fit, Ally Condie presented on how she approached writing with the same mentality she trained for marathons. You start by running a mile, or writing a few words, and then work you way up to completing a marathon, or a novel.
Her words are true, but I'd like to add an analogy of my own. Writing is also like hiking.
Sometimes we march right up the mountain without breaking a sweat.
Sometimes we plod up that mountain and reach the top winded.
Sometimes we can only manage a few steps at a time, and the peak seems to never get closer.
Until one day . . .
It doesn't matter if we are the first to the peak, or not. What matters is putting one foot, or word, after the other, strengthening those writing muscles, and then finishing victorious.
Good luck to all NaNoers and non-NaNoers this month!
Monday, November 4, 2013
A Light in Dark Places In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case. For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews. In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.
The phone rang at midnight on September 22, 2011. I shot up in bed, my heart pounding. Who would be calling at this hour? Unless—
I grabbed the phone. It was Chuck. Maybe this was it. “Hello?”
“Hi, sorry to call so late, but I thought you’d want to know. Your dad has been arrested.” Not Josh?
“My dad?” I’d always expected he would be arrested, but along with Josh, not instead of him. Kirk looked over at me with questioning eyes, and I waved at him to be patient.
“It was for voyeurism and child pornography. The boys have been removed from the home.”My groggy brain fought to take it in. My stomach churned at the mention of the charges, but the other, glorious fact outshined that darkness.
“Kirk, the boys are out of that house!” I stage whispered. It was hard to keep my voice quiet, to not wake the kids.
Chuck went on to explain that the boys were in foster care until the court could sort things out. My mind was spinning. Were they frightened? Did they know what was happening? I ached for the fear and uncertainty they must be experiencing, yet I knew they were safe. That kind of emergency foster care meant that Josh wouldn’t even know where to find them. He couldn’t get to them now. And soon, they would be under their grandparents’ protective care.
I tried to listen as Chuck described what he knew of the arrest, but inside, I was jumping up and down for joy. Kirk took over the call and relayed bits of information back to me.
“They found stuff in your dad’s house—photos of girls. Chuck doesn’t know the details. The actual charges are unrelated to Susan’s disappearance.”
That was a disappointment. But I couldn’t let it keep me down for long. Surely, this would bring a break in the case. And regardless of what happened there, the boys were safe.
Chuck promised to keep us up to date with any developments, and we hung up. Sleep was elusive then. How could I sleep? It appeared that something real was going to happen after almost two years of waiting.
Over the next few days, we were on pins and needles, eager for any bit of new information. Though I usually avoided watching the news, I started combing through it, looking for details.
As the case unfolded, the child porn charges were dropped, and the focus became the voyeurism. My dad had allegedly been taking photos of his little next-door neighbors while they bathed and used the restroom—all through the blinds over his windows and theirs.
Every time I thought about that, my stomach would churn again. It was another stark reminder of how sick he was, how far he’d sunk.
Another detail came out then that stunned the world, though it didn’t surprise me a bit. There were hundreds of pictures found of Susan in my dad’s things. Many of them were of her in various states of undress, and they were obviously taken without her knowing. Others were close-ups of her buttocks, legs, or breasts. She was fully dressed in these pictures, and, again, it was clear she had no knowledge of his presence. It was physical evidence of his obsession with her.
How guilty this made him look! Of course, the investigators had been seeing the hints of this obsession for months. But now, the media got wind of it, and it started to bring up all sorts of questions. They were the same questions I’d asked myself from the beginning. How much of Susan’s disappearance was just Josh? What did my dad have to do with it? I didn’t know for sure, but that suspicion of his involvement had been there all along, and now others were asking the same questions.
In the meantime, all we could do was watch and wait to hear what was happening with the boys.
A couple days later as I was doing laundry, I caught myself humming happily. The sound was so foreign that it stopped me in my tracks. I put the laundry basket down and leaned against the wall. When was the last time I’d been happy enough to hum like that? I couldn’t even remember. Had it really been since before Susan’s disappearance? Suddenly, I realized what a burden had been lifted. Knowing the boys were out of that house had changed me. My shoulders were straighter. I was smiling. And humming. I closed my eyes and offered a silent prayer of gratitude.
“Thank you for getting the boys to safety.”
I picked up the laundry basket and carried it upstairs. I felt fifty pounds lighter.
It was amazing what hope could do.
I love true accounts of people overcoming challenges and helping others with the lessons learned from them. This story of Jennifer's experiences throughout her abusive childhood, and later the disappearance of Susan and the murder of her two sweet nephews is just that. She shares how she felt God's hand in her life, guiding her to make better choices than the rest of her family did. Though the book had so many sad details, it ended with hope, courage and love. ~D. Raymond
This was a very informative read. I lived in Utah at the time of Susan's disappearance and followed the news every day. This book answered many questions that the news did not. Although it was very sad and I already knew the outcome it was a good read. I admire Jennifer for her part in the whole story and I am glad she had the fortitude to write this book to honor her sister in law. ~Katie O.
To finally read about details that were never shared brought closure for me about this insidious crime. While the book was an easy read, the message shared about breaking the cycle of abusive relationships is invaluable. It truly does take someone removing themselves from their abusive family's presence to stop the cycle. Praises to the author for sharing her perspectives. ~Arlene
Jennifer Graves is the mother of 5 beautiful children, 2 girls and 3 boys. She and her husband have been happily married for 19 years and together have been active in their community and church. Jennifer is the sister of Josh Powell who killed his 2 sons, Charlie and Braden, as well as himself in February of 2012, and is also believed to have killed his wife, Susan Cox Powell, in December of 2009. She is the recipient of the 2013 ChainBreaker of the year Award, given for breaking the chain of abuse and violence in her family. She enjoys homeschooling their children and mentoring in classes for the commonwealth school they attend. She also loves reading, playing card and board games, and learning new things. Most of all she loves to spend time with her husband and children. They currently reside in West Jordan, UT.
♦ ♦ ♦Emily Clawson is an author, a mother and a mentor. She traditionally writes inspirational fiction. This book has been a life changing experience for her and she is grateful to have been a part of telling this story. She resides in Taylorsville with her husband and four children where they run their leadership mentoring programs for youth.
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