Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exciting Author Event News

I'm so excited for this event next Saturday! I stumbled across the Youtube video on FB, and immediately put it on my calendar. 

Even if you don't write or read middle-grade fantasy books, you can find some great ideas for your own book launches here. Or just enjoy a fun evening with your family.

Hope to see you there!

Tyler Whitesides, author of the Janitors book series, has created an amazing, live show that will be entertaining, educational, and fun for the entire family.

And, it’s FREE.

With help from the “Jammin’ Janitors,” this show includes exciting music, and guest appearances by Chad Morris, and Brandon Dorman. (Morris is the author of the Cragbridge Hall series, and Dorman is the illustrator for Janitors, Cragbridge Hall, and Fablehaven).

Whitesides will also be revealing the cover of his upcoming book, JANITORS 4, and he also plans to do a book signing following this event.

Where: Cottonwood High School - 5715 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
When: Satuday, March 1, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
Tickets: Free. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Here’s a video to share with all of your friends and family! It will give you a sampling of what to expect at the show:

Here’s the official Facebook invite you can join, and share with your friends – to make sure they come to the event, too!

Monday, February 17, 2014

InTune Book Review

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are all teachers. Not only do we have a glorious mandate to "teach all nations" the gospel (Matthew 28:19), we also have numerous charges to "teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77). In formal and informal settings, as parents or leaders or friends, we are constantly teaching and learning.
Not only has the Lord commanded us to teach, but He has taught us what we are to teach and how we are to do it: diligently and by the power of the Spirit. But how do we know if we're "doing it right"? What signs can we watch for that the Spirit is actually present in a teaching setting?
In this insightful companion volume to Hearing the Voice of the Lord, bestselling author Gerald N. Lund brings his decades of experience working in the Church Educational System to the topic of teaching and learning by the Spirit. He discusses common misconceptions, important questions we should ask about our teaching, and the role of the Holy Ghost in the process.
"The Lord has given the responsibility to save His children to teachers," writes Elder Lund. "The charge is clear. It is specific. It is inspiring. And, gratefully, the Lord blesses us greatly when we strive to carry out His will."

About the Author

Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.

During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.

Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.

He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)

My Review:
5 out of 5 stars
I know this isn't the type of book I normally review, but sometimes I read a nonfiction work that both inspires and teaches me so much, I agree to pass my thoughts along. Gerald N. Lund is well-know to Latter-day Saint readers for his inspirational fiction series, The Work and the Glory. This is the first experience I've had with his nonfiction books, and I wasn't disappointed. He has a way of teaching and explaining things that is clear and profound. The book is laid out in an easy to read format that can be read quickly, or a chunk at a time as part of a morning scripture study (as I did).
As a teacher in the Relief Society (the organization for women within the Church), I have often struggled with finding the right balance between teaching, and in turn being taught by the Spirit. Lund offers some great insights into what learning and teaching by the Spirit really means, and ways that we can ensures we are doing so. I know I've noticed a difference in the atmosphere in the room since I've become more in tune with whether or not I've invited the Holy Ghost to have an active role as I study, and as I teach. We are all striving to become better learners, and we all have opportunities in our lives to be teachers. Lund's brief, but powerful lessons in this book can help us all with our goals to increase the Spirit's influence as we do so. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kindle Giveaway

Kindle Fire Valentines
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7" (or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash).
All New Kindle Fire HDX 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
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  Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 3/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Bard's Gift Blog Tour

Sixteen-year-old Astrid keeps mostly to herself, finding companionship in the stories her grandmother used to tell. She's too shy even to talk in front of Torolf, the young man she secretly dreams of. Then the Norse god of eloquence appears in Astrid's dreams and forces her to drink the Mead of Poetry. Suddenly, she's compelled to tell her stories. In public. Even in front of Torolf. 

Astrid is meant to use these stories to guide her people from starvation in Greenland to a better future in Markland. A place legends claim is the abode of dragons. But not all of her fierce and independent people are willing to follow a mere girl, even the chieftain's daughter--especially when she counsels peace. Some have other plans for the new land and want to use Astrid and her gift as a tool. 

Torolf never dreamed that quiet Astrid could choose him. Now he's stranded in Iceland as she sails in the opposite direction. To attain the promise of a future with Astrid, he'll have to attempt the impossible--sailing alone across the North Atlantic. 

Together, they might defy the plans the gods have made for them and change the fate of more than just their own people. 

Today's post is from the author Meredith Mansfield.

In researching the Greenlanders for THE BARD’S GIFT, of course I ran across their legends about sea monsters. One of those monsters was hafgufa.
Translated as “sea mist” or “sea reek”, hafgufa was a sea monster of the Greenland Sea between Greenland and Iceland. Hafgufa was supposed to lie on the surface to feed. The stench of its belch drew in fish, which the hafgufa would then consume, along with anything else in the vicinity, including ships. Only Orvar-Odd had ever escaped, because he knew the beast rose and submerged with the turn of the tides and was able to get his ship out of range just in time.
Hafgufa was usually seen as only a pair of rocks said to be the beast’s nose. Sometimes hafgufa was equated with the kraken. Others attribute the stories of hafgufa to underwater volcanic activity and the release of methane gas.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 20 of THE BARD’S GIFT. To set the scene: it’s foggy and Torolf is alone in a small boat (a faering, or small fishing boat). A few strange phenomena (attributable entirely to deep ocean volcanism, not sea monsters) start his imagination running wild.

Torolf paused, lifting the oars out of the water. He was closely tuned, now, to the background noises of the sea around him. He'd swear he'd heard a sound that didn't fit. There it was again. A sort of gurgling noise that wasn't like anything he'd heard at sea before. A whale diving? No, he'd heard that before and it didn't sound like this. In fact, more than anything else in his experience, this sound reminded him of a kettle on the boil--which made no sense at all.

The skiff rocked as a wave struck its side. That was wrong, too. The waves should be following from behind the skiff. It wasn't a storm wave; there was still no wind to speak of. The wave came from the same direction as the strange sound.

The air moved slowly in this fog, slower than sound, so the stench reminiscent of rotten eggs reached Torolf last. Magni's wild stories about hafgufa came back to him at the same instant. They didn't seem so wild right now.

Sweat ran down his face despite the clammy fog and his pulse raced. What now? The only thing he could think of was that the monster only surfaced at the turn of the tide and stayed on the surface until it turned again. Orvar-Odd had sailed through safely because hafgufa had just surfaced and he had time to get out before it submerged again, sucking everything in the vicinity down with it. It wasn't so easy to determine the turn of the tide out here in the open ocean. When had it turned?

He clutched the oars hard. Did it matter? He could hope at least that the splash he'd heard was the creature surfacing. Well, obviously. Otherwise, he'd already have been sucked down with the monster. So, his only hope was to get as far away as he could before hafgufa submerged.

Torolf drove the oars into the water so hard he almost lost control of them. He drew a deep breath and set up a steadier rhythm as fast as he thought he could maintain.
After what felt like hours, but was probably little more than one hour, he had to stop to rest a little and eat something, especially to drink water. He flinched at every sound or slightest movement. The fog seemed a little thinner and he thought he felt a breath of air. He hoped that wasn't only wishful thinking. Being able to raise the sail was his only hope of making real distance. The faering could almost fly over the water with enough wind to fill its sails.

Another gurgle sounded off to his left and Torolf grabbed up the oars again, pulling for all he was worth. He rowed until he thought his heart would burst. When he couldn't row another stroke, he shipped the oars and sagged against the gunwale, breathing heavily. His throat felt like he'd tried to swallow sand and his shoulders burned. He fumbled for one of his precious water skins and drank deeply.

He wasn't far enough. Not nearly far enough. He was sure of that, but he couldn't row anymore. Not to save his own life. A breeze ruffled his hair and cooled his sweaty face. Torolf looked up. The fog had lifted and he'd been too intent on rowing to even notice. The breeze ruffled his hair again. He lifted the little pendant that had been his mother's, halfway between a cross and a Thor's hammer, to his lips. It wasn't a strong wind, but it was enough to put up the sail. He could rest for a while and still keep moving.

Torolf raised the sail, forcing his aching arms to the task. Then he collapsed in the bottom of the boat, too tired to move another muscle.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

LDStorymakers 2014

After much internal debate with myself, I finally signed up for LDStorymakers. I realized not eating for a couple weeks was well worth the sacrifice after last year's amazing experience. So excited to attend again this year! For those who are still on the fence, register. You won't regret it.

So what's the LDStorymakers 2014 all about? Here's a brief summary, but you can find out more details on their website. The 2014 LDStormaker writers conference will be in Layton, UT, on April 25-26, with Bootcamp and the Publication Primer on April 24. This is the writing conference you can't afford to miss. 

Keynote: Orson Scott Card

(For those who don't write, but love fantasy and sci-fi, you can buy Keynote only tickets. They come with a chance to hear an amazing author speak, and dinner!)

Melissa Frain, editor at Tor
Eddie Schneider, VP of JABberwocky Literary Agency
Daniel Lazar, senior agent at Writer's House
Josh Adams of Adams Literary
Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary

Other noteable guests: Brandon Sanderson, Brodi Ashton, Carla Kelly, Janette Rallison, Matthew J. Kirby, Elana Johnson, J. Scott Savage, Sara B. Larson, Kristen Chandler, Renee Collins, Tess Hilmo, Peggy Eddleman, Kimberly Griffiths Little, Natalie Whipple, Julieanne Donaldson, Sarah Eden, Chad Morris, Robison Wells and more!

Hope to see you there!