Monday, October 25, 2010


Perilous by Tamara Heiner
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
price: $14.95, though it's available for pre-order on her website for $12.95.
available: and B& for now

Small town Shelley, Idaho. Four friends. A trip to the mall and a jewelry heist. Only three of the friends make it out alive....and kidnapped.

Tamara Heiner has written a fast paced thriller about a group of innocent teens in small town America. An ordinary day turns into a nightmare and keeps getting worse. Heiner skillfully takes the girls into scary situations that don’t have that soft edges we might hope for in a teen novel. Bad things don’t just threaten to happen, they actually do happen. One of the girls finds a surprising tie to a town all the way across the country. And another girl is plunged into a deep, possibly dark and dangerous secret about her father.

Even though I had to read this book from the computer screen, I enjoyed it enough to keep reading and keep reading. (I know. People pay good money to read books from electronic screens, but I’m not quite there yet.....maybe with a good beach thrown in...?) The pace didn’t let up. My only regret about this book is that I didn’t have time to form much of an emotional attachment with any of the girls. I hope that in the sequel, Ms. Heiner will take a little more time to let us become acquainted with the players.

Good Job!

I asked Tamara how she came to write this book and she sent me a link to her blog that explained it all. It seems that as a twelve-year-old she had much too much time on her hands. After trying everything else she could think of to relieve the boredom, she decided to write a book. She decided to write about four friends and a shopping mall adventure. The book was finished and typed up (by a very kind father) by the time she was 13 years old. Wow! Talk about focus. I think that she has revised it a bit over the years, but the concept has remained the same. To read in more detail, go to:
It's a fun story.

Tamara also has two fun contest going with her blog tour. You can win an autographed copy of her book or a Kindle. Really. A Kindle. Below, direct from her own website are the rules and her blog tour schedule. Good Luck.

1) There will be two book giveaways. Signed copies of Perilous, of course. All you have to do to get in on that action is make a comment anywhere in the blog tour. The drawing will be completely random. Of course, the more comments you make, the more chances you have of winning.

2) There will be a Kindle giveaway. This WON'T be random. Kindles are kind of a big thing, so I'm going to make you work for it. The giveaway will be point based, in other words, whoever has the most points at the end of the blog tour wins the Kindle. The contest will run until Dec. 15, at which point all hopeful winners will email me at tamara at tamarahartheiner dot com with their points and their proofs.

Here's how you get points:
+1 for each comment on the blog tour
+1 be a follower on my blog (old or new)
+1 retweet
+2 blog about the blog tour
(You prove all of those by emailing me the links.)
+5 purchase the book; ebook or paperback, doesn't matter
(Email me the confirmation number of your purchase.)"

Oct. 15 David J. West
Oct. 18 Nichole Giles
Oct. 19 Talli Roland
Oct. 20 Guinevere Rowell
Oct. 21 Mary Gray
Oct. 22 Frankie
Oct. 25 Lluvia (maybe, if her computer is working) and Mary Greathouse
Oct. 26 RaShelle Workman (interview)
Oct. 27 T. Anne Adams
Oct. 28 Valerie Ipson
Oct. 29 Ann Best
Nov. 1 Christy Dorrity
Nov. 2 Chrstine Bryant
Nov. 3 Rebecca Blevins
Nov. 4 Kathryn Magendie (guest post)
Nov. 5 Annett Lyon (interview) and Jaime Theler (review)
Nov. 8 Jennifer Daiker
Nov. 9 Carolina Valdez
Nov. 10 Elizabeth Mueller
Nov. 11 Christine Danek
Nov. 12 Elle Strauss
Nov. 15 Niki
Nov. 16 Lynn Parsons
Nov. 17 Danyelle Ferguson
Nov. 18 Elana Johnson
Nov. 19 & 20 Sarah McClung
Nov. 22 Suzanne Hartmann
Nov. 23 Marsha Ward
Nov. 24 Tara McClendon
Nov. 29 Diana Miezcan
Nov. 30 Tristi Pinkston
Dec. 1 Cheri Chesley
Dec. 2 Karen Gowen
Dec. 3 Melanie Jacobson
Dec. 6 Kristie Ballard
Dec. 7 Melissa Cunningham
Dec. 8 Arlee Bird
Dec. 9 Debbie Davis
Dec. 10 Taffy Lovell
Dec. 13 Sheri Larsen
Dec. 14 Joyce DiPastena

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guest Blog for LDS Writer's Blogck

I was asked to be a guest writer for the blog LDS Writers Blogck ( and I thought I would share it here as well.

I kept putting off writing this blog because there was always tomorrow. Then I ran out of tomorrows.

`I finally came up with something that I thought was fantastic. I had it all planned out in my head.....stories, details, witty little analogies.

Then I lost my mind.

Well, not really lost my mind. I am still capable of giving someone a piece of my mind. But I did lose my train of thought. Totally.

I am the writer of non-fiction, specifically local and personal histories. Actually, I think that history is NOT non-fiction. After my writing experiences, I believe that all history has an element of fiction.

After gathering stories and facts for my histories, I began the work of putting them together in a logical, complete written form. That is when I discovered that the stories had holes in them, sometimes very large holes.

When a person tells a story, he puts it in his own context. He knows the background well but he keeps that part in his head. The listener (or reader) probably doesn’t have the same background so he fills in the blanks with his own experience. And thus, history becomes a mixture of true history and created history.

That brings me to the subject of writing your own history or memoirs so you can fill in all those holes with the facts as you remember them (not always accurate either.)

A memoir is “a person’s written account of his own life; an autobiography.
Will Rogers put it a little more pithily: "Memoirs means when you put down the good things you ought to have done and leave out the bad ones you did do."
[Marshal P├ętain "To write one's memoirs is to speak ill of everybody except oneself"]
Mary Greathouse “A history book gives dates and facts, but a memoir evokes memories and emotions. It connects us to the reader.

In days of yore, only generals and prostitutes wrote memoirs. I don’t know who read the general’s memoirs, but the prostitutes had a vast audience eager for their exciting tales.

Today, anyone can write a memoir. Movie stars wishing for a few more seconds of fame, politicians seeking a bigger voting audience or an ego boost, and everyday people just wanting to tell their stories.

I think most of us ordinary people write our memoirs so that we can connect with our families and friends. We want to pass on to them who we are and what we value. Mostly, though, we think our lives are not important enough to write down, so the next generation is left with the job.

They go about it with the best of intentions, and the worst of knowledge. Bits and pieces of stories that they remember Mom and Dad telling, differing greatly from the stories their siblings remember. That makes my case for writing our own stories. Who do you want telling your story? (The answer isn’t as obvious as it sounds. I have avoided telling my kids about my early dating years so they have come up with a pretty amazing romantic life for me. My version is truer, but theirs is funner.)

Why should we write our memoirs at all? Here is a short list
-To connect with those around you including your descendants
-To relive the memories
-To pass along your heritage
-To pass along your values
-To give your posterity a firm foundation
-To leave your testimony in words and acts
-To iron out differences

The son of a WWII veteran talked his father into writing his autobiography, The father had been emotionally distant for all of his son’s life. In writing the memoirs, the son learned of his father’s horrifying experiences as a prisoner of war in Japan. Finally he understood the emotion pain of his father and why he had not been available to his son for all of those years. They were able to become closer as they worked together and discussed those long lost years.

-As therapy.

Sometimes we just need to get things out of our systems and the only way to do it is to write it down. This is valuable purpose for writing a memoir, but it might not be something you will want to share. Someone reading these entries may not understand the background and circumstance and may misconstrue what you say.

There is more to writing memoirs, but this is enough for one blog. Thanks for listening.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Marking the way

I just got back from doing one of the drop-everything and come-right-now farm jobs (which is about 80% of the jobs here.) I did a very important job. I was a "marker." We just leveled a field which meant that all of the dikes and ditches were gone and we had to replace them. Greg likes them to be straight. Silly person.

After detailed instructions given three times, I drove to the county line, walked south to the power pole, counted back three fence posts and stood in back of the wad of white twine hooked to the barbed wire fence. (Greg had such little faith in my ability to find the place that he insisted that we each take a cell phone....which he never carries any other time. I digress.....)

I stood there and held up a yellow and red bag with a peace symbol (which I and many others in my Viet Nam era generation think of as a "chicken foot")and a white garbage bag so I would make a brighter target.
Greg took aim at me with his tractor and headed straight for me. In other words, I kept him on the straight and narrow. My part was quick and easy, but very very important.

I would like to use this as an analogy for life. Sometimes we just need to be there for someone else to keep them on the straight and narrow. It isn't always complicated. We just need to be where they can "see" us, in real life or in their minds. They know where they should be going. Then it up to them. We can be pretty important in life as markers.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trapped review


by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

* Paperback: 293 pages
* Publisher: Brigham Distributing (April 29, 2010)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 193521764X

Earlier, I read Ronda Hinrichsen's novel, Missing and enjoyed it, so I thought I would take a chance on her new novel of intrigue and romance, Trapped. It was a good decision.

Emi Warrin moves out on her own to get a taste of independence, but she is soon back home to house sit for her mother. While she sleeps alone in the house, an intruder breaks in and leaves a bizarre shrine to her. And a mysterious letter that shatters the myth of her father’s death.

Emi’s efforts to untangle the web of her family history take her to the Austrian Alps with her “friend” Daniel and leads her into the arms of charming stranger. Things get really intense when she learns that she is the Firstborn She, told of and waited for over many generations. Now she is in great peril.

Ronda Hinrichsen builds layer upon layer of suspense as she moves from a local scare to international intrigue with a touch of the occult. She puts a relatively innocent young woman to the Austrian Alps and into the middle of a family curse that has gone on for generations. Woven into the plot are a romance or two and some twists that take the reader by surprise. The action builds up to a truly horrifying conclusion that gives one the chills. Find yourself a quiet corner and a good chunk of time to enjoy this new novel, Trapped, by Ronda Hinrichsen. I think you'll enjoy it. I know that I did.

Read below for the blurb from the book jacket, a contest to win a copy of Trapped and a complete schedule of the blog tour where you can enter even more times to win.

A Forged Letter, A Golden Vial, An Ancient

Filled with family secrets, intrigue, and romance
the blog tour (August 9-August 24) for
Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen will have it all.

We will be giving away THREE autographed copies!

All you have to do is leave a comment
(along with your email address if it isn't
on your blog profile)
and answer the following question.

Which Austrian city would you most like to visit?

The more blogs you comment on the more entries you'll receive.
All comments must be left by midnight MST on August 27 to be eligible.

Her expression remained somber, but excitement crept into her voice. You are the Firstborn She...You must go to them.

You want me to act as bait?

Not bait, Emi. A spy. Our Trojan horse.

When Emi Warrin wakes one night to find a thief in her mother's house, she has no idea the intruder has planted a trap - a mysterious letter that will change her life forever. Lured to the Austrian Alps with Daniel, the man she loves, Emi is thrown into a perilous, mafia-like world of feuding families and a devastating curse that spans generations. As the Firstborn She - the only firstborn female in hundreds of years - only Emi can free her family from the curse
that will soon afflict her as well. But for Emi to break the curse, she must delve into evil designs.

As Emi struggles to understand her destiny as the Firstborn She, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences. Can Emi break the curse before it's too late?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tetanus and dirty socks

I almost got tetanus matching sox. I knew the job was hazardous.....probably why I hadn’t matched sox for a long, long time. Or even longer.

My DH now buys a new bag of socks every time he goes to WalMart because that way he will be assured of having clean socks that match each other. Over time, those socks add up. It’s like having little rabbit socks multiplying in the sock bin. OK, bins.

Back to the tetanus. I was dead serious about getting the socks matched (my husband had just been to WalMart). So I searched everywhere in the house and out for socks to match. I was going to get it done, completely. (Until someone wore socks again.)

Back to the tetanus. Anyway, several socks some how showed up outside. My DH swore that he had hung the last pair on the front porch railing but found them later in the middle of the front lawn. After discussion, we decided that Zippy the dog was probably too short to reach the railing so it was probably Gertrude the stray peacock who stole them. She missed her eggs which she had been sitting on unsuccessfully for months. (She’s a single pea hen with no hope of a love life).

Back to the tetanus. The remaining two socks on the FRONT porch railing were stiff enough with mud to hold up a table, if had there been four of them. That happens when a man with a large hole in his irrigation boots is standing in a dirt ditch full of water. I also found a gross of gross socks hiding under exercise machines, tables, floors, clothes hampers.

OK here is the tetanus tie-in. You can get tetanus from dirt and a puncture wound. Those socks had plenty of dirt and those socks were so stiff and if I had not been careful,, I could have punctured my skin with one of them. Not a common small puncture wound, but one about four inches wide....very dangerous. I had to spend about 30 minutes or MORE hand washing those socks so they would be clean enough to put in the washing machine on heavy duty and extra water. Once, the sink water even turned Khaki colored because I was washing khaki out of them. Luckily, being the extremely agile person that I am, I avoided the puncture wound.

I could go on and on with this sock saga, but I won’t. I will just give you a tally of the socks I found and washed....I even washed the ones with holes that I am going to throw away. Going green doesn’t mean throwing things in the trash that have enough dirt to grow green plants in.

Brace yourselves. (I almost put self, but I think I am up to two readers instead of one.)

Treasure trove: Matched socks hidden at the bottom of a clothes basket:

His: (in pairs, unless otherwise listed)
White: 9 Black: 20

1 Spanx White: 11 Black: 10 *Misc: 7 Mittens: 3 prs, 3 lone
Trouser sox: 12 Mom socks: 4
Total: 73 pairs or 146 individual sox

Socks that I actually matched
His: (in pairs, yada, yada, yada....)
White: 67 Black 40 Gray 1 Singles with holes: 55
*Skunk about 8 * black and white, I can’t get clean ...serious farm sox

White: 53 Black: 10 nylon knees highs: 17 reg, 6 black
fuzzy: 7 mixed race (1 purple, 1 green) 1
*miscellaneous 7 * includes, Santa Claus, gophers, reindeer, polka dot, etc. Note: for some reason this category does not exist for the “His” column.

Total: 209 pairs 418 socks individual

6 nylons, 11 black nylons, 15 white, 18 weird (hers) 30 black, Total : 80
Socks with holes: 55 Which leaves 55 lonely mates, now known as miss-mates.
I'd break it down further, but I'm not obsessive.

Grand total of sox which I have handled in the past two days: 699 Socks

HA! Walmart. We don’t need you any more. Unless you sell sock holders....

Least you think after reading this that I have no life, I watched high quality daytime dramas as I worked..

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's a Rebound

Lily is living a dream life. A successful husband, beautiful big house, a young son and a new daughter on the way. Her only worry is a little stress that could be a problem for her unborn child. Then she arrives home and finds her home surrounded by cars. Before she can even exit her own car, a man from the FBI steps up to her window.

Lily took the paper, though reluctant to look at it. She was afraid that seeing it would make this become real and not just a mistake. She unfolded the sheet and noticed her address, John’s business address, and both cars listed as being covered by the warrant. A judge’s signature flourished across the bottom. Her hands began to tremble as she returned the sheet. “You’ve made a mistake.” “I’m sorry to say we have not. In addition, although we have no substantial evidence against you at this time, it’s hard to believe you could be completely unaware of your husband’s activities.” He looked around him at the solid mahogany tables and entertainment center, the Tiffany lamp in the corner, and the china hutch filled with pretty trinkets. “You’ve certainly been living well.” In that moment, her life comes crashing down. She loses her husband, her home, her income and puts even more stress on the baby. She is a suspect in a crime that could land her in prison. What will happen to her and her family? Will she lose them over a crime she did not commit? Will she ever trust anyone again?
Heather Justesen weaves a complicated tale of deceit mixed with a good dose of romance and does it very well. Lily is a minor character from Justesen's earlier book, "The Ball's In Her Court." While Rebound is not exactly a sequel because it is complete in itself, it does contain many of the characters from her earlier book, so we get to see how their lives are unfolding. A reader might be a little bit lost in the complicated family ties, but will still enjoy Rebound without having read the earlier book. Justesen keeps the action moving from custody issues with grandparents, to a "is he a boyfriend of is he not" situation, and on through adoption issues. Many layers, but handled well. I think Heather Justesen has a winner here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Midnight Plane to Georgia

"Took the Midnight Plane to Georgia...." (then on to NC) Sounds oddly like I song I once knew. But, it was actually true. My daughter called on Wednesday to say she was having surgery.....then called shortly after to say she had already had it. She couldn't pick up, hold or feed her 2 month old baby, so what's a mom/grandmom to do? Hop on the next plane and make the sacrifice of cuddling with the cute baby for the next two weeks.

It kind of derailed any plans that I had for the next few weeks, but it was worth it. I had a few contacts to make on my book, Family Record Keeper, but they could be done later. I had to change a few piano lessons, and strong arm my youngest daughter into taking the rest of my students for a week or two......but it was good for her. (Isn't that what a mom always says?)

I read a long time ago that "Life is about the interruptions." That meant to me that, in spite of all of the special things that we schedule in our lives, the really important things are really just taking care of the people around us and their needs, when they need to be taken care of. Sometimes it's reading a bedtime story and sometimes it's jumping on the midnight plane to Georgia.

PS I'm glad to be sleeping on a real bed after using the couch for two weeks, but I wish I could get off the baby's schedule of getting up every two hours to eat....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'll Know You By Heart
Kimberly Job
  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Valor Publishing Group;
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935546139
Stephanie covered her head, knowing Mark liked to kick her when she was down. Sure enough, she felt the first kick on her left side, just below her shoulder. She braced herself for another one when she heard Tyson's voice. "Stop, Dad!"
"Uncovering her face, she was shocked to see Tyson holding a huge kitchen knife to his father's back.

Stephanie has been married to Mark long enough to have three children, including 16-year-old Tyson. Long enough to know just what Mark is capable of, even though in her heart she knows that she deserves it all. But the kids don't deserve it and she knows she has to leave and take them out of danger.

Across town, Jared is adjusting the role of single father after the death of his wife, Cheryl. After six-weeks off to help four-year-old Katie through the trauma, he is returning to work and needs a part-time baby-sitter.

Jared and Stephanie meet for the first time at a doctor's office, but each feels he/she has known the other one for a long time. But is either of them ready to let someone new into his/her life?

This tense new novel, I'll Know You By Heart by Kimberly Job, wastes no time in getting into the world of domestic abuse. The author is vivid in her descriptions of the horrors and realities of the abuse that goes on behind closed doors of "good families." At the same time, she makes the passages short enough that the reader can keep reading. The love that Stephanie and the children still have for Mark, in spite of everything, threatens to put the family back into their old life.

I'll Know You By Heart
is listed in the Romance genre, which is hard to believe in the beginning, but out of the chaos and sadness, a romance slowly blooms. Stephanie gets a glimpse of how a man should treat a woman and finds that she likes it. Mark starts to show a kinder side in an attempt to win Stephanie back. I won't spoil the ending here. You'll want to read this one yourself. Just be sure to reserve enough time to finish the whole book.

Order here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Thorn

The Thorn
(Book One - The Chronicles of Gan)
by Daron Fraley
302 pages
Valor Publishing Group; 1st edition

Again, I did prophecy to my sons, saying: And in that day when the three brothers make war with one another, and a great evil arises in the land which threatens to destroy all peoples, the Holy One shall be born upon the footstool of hi creations, and the sign of his coming shall be given in the heavens.

Thus began the new book, The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley ...and almost ended my reading of it.
Not that it was written badly, but I was almost scared off by what I thought might be a “preachy” type of book. (I have a hard time with books like that.) Not so. Once the pseudo-scriptures were done, the action started. And kept going.
The author paints an almost-Book of Mormon type of picture. Wickedness and warriors. Good versus evil. A people in a world of twin suns, one azure and one aqua, but a world very similar to that in the scriptures.
Jonathan, the main hero , is charged with the task of guarding the Thorn, a symbol which ties in to the coming of the Holy One, as prophesied in the scriptures. The wicked Gideonites want it for their own so that they might rule over all the peoples of Gideon, Uzzah, and Daniel. Wicked King Manasseh and General Rezon and their armies move to take over the throne of Daniel, kill the heir, Jonathan and find the crystal scepter with its embedded thorn.
The action keeps on going from there as Jonathan rescues his old friend Eli and in doing so, makes a new friend out of an enemy. They band together to try and stop the war.

Although I don’t normally choose to read a book of this genre, I was pleasantly surprised that it held my interest and I kept turning the pages, finishing it up late one night. Along with the action, there was a taste of romance. Granted it was a guy’s view of romance, short and with little courtship, not the steamy emotion-packed Harlequin novel-type of romance, but it was enough to make the reader care about the characters, both male and female.

The Thorn was an easy read; the plot was not too complicated and the words flowed. A nice book to read for a relaxing afternoon.

I cyber interviewed Daron and found out some interesting information.

Mary: Why did you decide to write this book?
Daron: The basic idea for the story came from this quote by Neil A. Maxwell: "How many planets are there in the universe with people on them? We don’t know, but we are not alone in the universe! God is not the God of only one planet! I testify that Jesus is truly the Lord of the universe, 'that by [Christ], and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God' D&C 76:24" — Neal A. Maxwell
I thought a long time about this, and wondered what it might be like on another creation. My desire to write a book, and the decision I made to actually do so, happened to coincide with the time I was thinking about these things.

Mary: Have you been writing long?
Daron: I have been writing as a hobby on a very occasional basis since High School. My creative writing teacher got me going. But it wasn't until about 7 years ago that I decided I wanted to write a book. I actually made a written goal to do it. It took me a long time to finish it because I still treated it more as a hobby . . . but I did get it done!

Mary: What is your writing background?
Daron: I discovered that I like to write in High School, and that I wasn't too bad at it, when I placed second in a short story contest at a local community college. It was an event for young writers. But the word "background" takes me back a lot further than High School. How far would I have to go? All the way to the beginning, I suppose. I don't think any person on this planet lacks a heartfelt desire for self expression through the creative process. Some create art or music. Some create a magnificent bridge which spans a harbor. Some create a stunning flower garden to grace a home. Others create beauty in the lives of others through service. It is who they are. But the talents with which we enter this life may not be noticed for many years. American folk painter, Grandma Moses didn't discover her talent for painting until in her seventies. Perhaps there are readers out there who are great writers, but they just don't know it yet. :)

Mary: How did you choose the setting for your story?
Daron: The setting of my story is a binary, blue star system loosely based on Mintaka (Delta Orionis), the right-most star in Orion's belt. According to the astronomy websites I have read, and from what the experts can tell with current data, Mintaka is actually a quad system (a pair of orbiting stars which orbits another pair of orbiting stars). In The Thorn, the two suns for the planet Gan are a class-O and a class-B orbiting pair. I have learned that blue binary star systems are quite common. No, I am not an astronomer. My interest is merely another neglected hobby.

Mary: Tell me some other things you would like me to know.
Daron: Every name in the book is Hebrew, although not every one of them is found in the Old Testament. Some are simply uncommon Hebrew names (like Eder). Coming up with the names was a fun process. A few of the names are indicative of the characteristics of the person named, but not all. I wouldn't think Rezon makes a very good prince, although he does have a secret.

Order here.