Monday, May 20, 2013

Whitney Awards 2012

While they may not have won their categories, we are just so proud of Theresa Sneed and Tanya Parker Mills for being Whitney Finalists! They were in some very elite company. 
Congratulations to all the 2012 winners! 

 Linda Prince, Tanya Parker Mills (Finalist), Liz Adair

Tanya Parker Mills (Finalist), Kelly Nelson, Theresa Sneed (Finalist),  Marsha Ward, Liz Adair
Christine Thackery, Liz Adair, Tanya Parker Mills (Finalist), Kelly Nelson, Michelle Jeffries

Kelly Nelson, Michelle Jefferies, Linda Prince, Liz Adair

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Question--Dave Johnston

From the West comes the industrious  Dave Johnston


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
That's a tough question because so many great characters have to endure some very difficult things before they achieve success ... there's a lesson to be learned there, I suppose.  Maybe Atticus Finch.  A good dad and a great example of someone who stands up against evil when others won't. 


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I'd love to co-write a book with Sister Jo some day . . . maybe a travel guide!


How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
On average, I write 2-3 hours a day.


What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Write a little bit every day, and write for yourself in words you like to hear, using good grammar of course.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
It took six months, but I think that's rare.


Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Yes.  A few, actually.   One of them is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I know the music is corny, but Gene Wilder 's performance is amazing.


Do you write in your PJ's?
Not very often.  I find that my best writing comes when I'm wearing a shirt and tie . . . perhaps it's just that I'm more focused when I'm dressed up.  (That's my advice for taking tests, by the way:  dress up; it makes a difference.)

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
Laptop.

What is your favorite cereal?
Quaker Oat Squares.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
Winter; I look forward to Christmas for 364 days. 

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
I'd be an orange crayon.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
Finish two more books!

The world would be a better place if . . .?
The world would be a better place if people took the troubles of others more seriously and their own troubles less seriously.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
Stunt driving :  pursuit and evasive escape manageress.  And I'd be good, too!



The Johnston family in the Christmas spirit.


The Johnston Family at Disneyland

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Walnut Springs March Madness Sweet Sixteen Questions--Theresa Sneed

From the Eastern bracket, comes the sensitive Theresa Sneed.




If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
The wise and beautiful Galadriel from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, because she faced absolute dominion over all and chose to shrink into the background and allow others to make their own choices.  

If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
You didn't say if they were living or not, so if I could chose any co-author, it would be JRR Tolkien, but if it was limited to someone still living, I'd chose Steven King. 


The funny thing is that I'm not a horror writer or even a horror reader. I just think Steven King has a genius level of writing and would love to learn from him, plus he's a fellow-Mainer!

How many hours do you spend on writing a day? 
When I'm in the zone, which is more times than not, I spend between 8-10 hours of writing a day.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
If someone looks down on you as a writer, don't let them influence you. Later in life, they may turn out to be one of your greatest fans! My advice would be to never give up and to glean all you can from books, conferences, classes and other authors about the writing process. 

How have your personal experiences affected your writing? 


My writing tends to be highly influenced by my personal experiences. I write about angels, because I've had some pretty interesting experiences with the spirit world. Check them out at http://theresatalks.blogspot.com

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
I haven't published the first book I wrote, Together At Last and Forever, but maybe someday I'll take it out and look it over. As I remember, it was pretty sappy. It's buried in a filing cabinet. I haven't published my second or third book either, but have revamped the second book, Sons of Elderberry and hope to have it published soon. No Angel is the fourth book that I've written. After writing it, it took about a year for me to find a publisher and to have it published. Earthbound is my second published book. It's the second in the No Angel series with a third book in the series coming out in May!

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
No - never.

Do you write in your PJ's?
No. Because, if I put my PJ's on that will make me way too comfortable to stay alert.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing? 
Laptop - but I need a new one!

What is your favorite quotation? 
As man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

What is your favorite cereal? 
Raisin Bran. 

If you were a crayon what color would you be? 
Light Yellow - the color of the sun.

Do you prefer summer or winter? 
SUMMER!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year? 
I want to publish multiple books!

The world would be a better place if . . .?
Christ ruled the world.

What is something you've always wanted to try? 
Parasailing ~ I think.

Speaking at a Greenfield Ward book club

Theresa with some of her favorite writing friends: Betsy Love, Aimee Morgan, Kari Pike

Theresa with Jenni James and Betsy Love

Signing with Betsy Love

Signing with Joan Sowards


At the Grand Canyon with friends

Elder Issac Sneed


Four generations of Sneeds


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Announcing our Spring EBook Sale

We're thrilled beyond measure that spring is here and we want to celebrate! 
For a limited time, until April 15th, the following ebooks will be on sale at Amazon.com. 
We know you want to get one, or two, or three . . .




$2.99 Fiction Titles
Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis
Cold River by Liz Adair
Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston
Earthbound by Theresa Sneed
Easterfield by Anna Jones Buttimore
Emmalee by Tristi Pinkston
Hang 'Em High by Tristi Pinkston
Heart of a Hero by Marie Higgins
Hearts through Time by Marie Higgins
Just Shy of Paradise by Carole Thayne Warburton
The Keeper's Calling by Kelly Nelson
Northanger Alibi by Jenni James
No Escape by Anna Jones Buttimore
Redemption by Susan Dayley
Secrets after Dark by Marie Higgins
The Star Prophecy by Joan Sowards
Targets in Ties by Tristi Pinkston
Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston
Under a Lakota Moon by Deborah L. Weikel
Wild Irish Rose by Deborah L. Weikel
Winning Mr. Wrong by Marie Higgins

$2.99 Non-Fiction Titles
Alone, but Not Lonely by Paul Brandt
Bro. Jo's Guide to Casual Group Dating by Dave Johnson
Make It Happen by Kylee Shields
Messages from the Scriptures by Jeff Baker
Women of Strength by Tristi Pinkston

$4.99 Fiction Titles
A Night on Moon Hill by Tanya Parker Mills
Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards
Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena
Defenders of the Covenant by Angie Lofthouse
Double Deceit by Stephanie Humphreys
Emergence by C. Michelle Jefferies
Finding Rose by Stephanie Humphreys
Haunts Haven by Joan Sowards
Identity by Betsy Love
Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena
In God is Our Trust by L.C. Lewis
The Keeper's Quest by Kelly Nelson
Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
No Angel by Theresa Sneed
Oh, Say Can You See? by L.C. Lewis
Persuaded by Jenni James
Pride & Prejudice by Jenni James
Poaching Daisies by Carole Thayne Warburton
Soulfire by Betsy Love
Sun Tunnels and Secrets by Carole Thayne Warburton

Monday, April 1, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Susan Dayley


From the Southern bracket, comes the skilled Susan Dayley


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." I’m going to assume that most women would choose Elizabeth—and for good reasons. 
But not me. I choose Heidi—mountains, sky, cheese, flowers, yep, I’m part hippi at heart. Though Robin Hood has his appeal—maybe Marian?


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with? 
J.R.R TolkienNeal A. Maxwell, Mark Twain. I guess I have a thing for creative, intelligent and clever dead guys. 

How many hours do you spend on writing a day? 
2-5—but that includes blogging at susandayley.wordpress.com (shameless plug).

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? 
Never stop learning your craft, but never stop enjoying it either. And get a cat—he’ll pull you back to reality occasionally.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?  
As in my next book is set in my home-town, on the street I grew up on, and one scene is in the cemetery I played night games in? I guess a little. But also, having cried over a teenager, yearned for clean energy sources, and suffered a broken heart—yep, that all comes through too.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying? 
I think a year—but I’m not sure. Now days, it takes just short of forever.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version? 
Sound of Music. The book falls short of the scene where the Austrians join in singing Edelweiss. I bawl every time. However, it still bothers me that just when the captain is about to kiss Maria, in a very romantic setting, she stops him while she sings about her wicked childhood. Really?


Do you write in your PJ's? 
Sometimes. But I don’t go to the door so you’ll never see.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
Lap top until two weeks ago when my DH got me the most romantic valentine gift ever for a writer—a new computer. Now I just have to move all my files over and learn to use the latest Word. Wow, big changes in the last seven years.

What is your favorite quotation?
“Climb every mountain, ford every stream. . .”  I’m sorry I’ve got a former question stuck in my head. How about: “To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. These learning experiences must not be misread as divine indifference. Instead, such tutorials are a part of the divine unfolding,” (Neal A. Maxwell). Or else, “Travelling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy,” (Hans Solo). (But next week there will be others.)


What is your favorite cereal? 
Green Smoothie with frozen peaches. . . .What? 

If you were a crayon what color would you be? 
Hot Pink

Do you prefer summer or winter? 
October. What do you mean somebody is not cooperating?

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
Write 2-3 books, get good grades in my school classes, teach in a classroom, and heck, while I’m at it I ought to learn to fly. Seriously, the first three, I mean one.

The world would be a better place if . . .? 
We all read /studied Atlas Shrugged, were vegans, and planted bulbs.

What is something you've always wanted to try? 
Hang gliding. But lately I’ve changed it to: sky-walking through a rain forest canopy, like this one: 



Hiking the Narrow in Zion with her family

Hiking Timp with her Daughter

Sassy Susan

Susan's adorable granddaughter.





Sunday, March 31, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Stephanie Humphreys

From the Northern bracket comes the accomplished Stephanie Humphreys.


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
Anne of Green Gables. She was smart, imaginative, feisty, and she lived in a great era.



We all know what comes next. :)


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I would love to co-write a book with Mary Higgins Clark. I love the way she tells a story I think it would be fascinating to spend the time working with her.





How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
It really depends on what else is going on in my life. Right now I am directing the play our high school is putting on, so my writing time has been limited. Anywhere from fifteen minutes when I'm busy with family or community things, to five hours when I'm on a roll.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Get to know other people in the writing community. No one understands the excitement and frustrations involved in being a writer more than other writers. They are the ones with the best advice and the most enthusiastic encouragement. They are also the best resource I have. Writers tend to know the weirdest things!

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Without personal experiences, I couldn't have written anything. I think all my writing starts somewhere in my own life, whether I use an incident that has actually happened to me, or whether my experiences colour my character's viewpoints. The fun comes when I seek out experiences that enhance my writing and give my stories depth.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
From the time I sent out the first submission to the date it hit bookshelves, it was almost exactly three years.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
I can't think of one. I don't watch a lot of movies.

Do you write in your PJ's?
Only when I am writing late at night. I'm always cold, so usually I write wrapped in a sweater or two and a blanket.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
I use a laptop. My husband gave me one for my birthday one year when I commented that it was hard to get writing time on the family computer since I had to share with children doing homework. It has made writing so much more flexible since I can write curled up on the couch, or at my desk, or anywhere else I want.

What is your favorite quotation?
I have too many favourite quotes to pick just one. I keep a journal with quotes to read when I need a little encouragement. This one hangs on the wall in my office.


"The man who follows the crowd, will usually get no further than the crowd.  The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before. Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt.  And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along. You have two choices in life:  you can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct.  To be distinct, you must be different.  To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be . . ."   - Alan Ashley-Pitt   

What is your favorite cereal?
I don't enjoy many cereals. I guess my favourite would have to be granola.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Turquoise.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
I like winter. More time to read and drink hot chocolate. (I'm not a huge fan of gardening in the summer.) I just wish winter wouldn't last quite so long!

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
My goal this year is to finish the cozy mysteries I am working on.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
The world would be so much better if everyone would be more patient with each other, and less judgemental of others.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
I've always wanted to be more of a world traveler. There are so many interesting places and things I would love to see.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Kelly Nelson


From the Western bracket comes the creative Kelly Nelson.


If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
I haven’t really thought about this in my adult life, but as a young teenager I always dreamed of being Alec in The Black Stallion books.


If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
 I’d love to work with Gerald Lund on a historical fiction project—what a fabulous writer he is. The Work and the Glory and The Kingdom and the Crown are some of my all-time favorites.

How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
 I’m all over the board on this. When I was writing The Keeper’s Saga there were days I spent 12 hours on it and other days when I spent only a few minutes, although writing was all I wanted to do. Lately, I’ve been spending more time marketing and selling than writing. I am looking forward to delving into writing again and hope to soon spend at least 3 hours a day on that aspect of being an author.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
If it is your passion, don’t give up. Carefully listen to anyone who is willing to give you feedback, because if one reader thought it, there will probably be others with similar concerns. Read what you want to write. There is so much to learn from simply reading. And lastly, take some writing classes. It will be well worth your time.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
It is the easiest to write about things you know. Nearly every aspect of my life has worked it way into my novels in some form or another.  Horses are my first passion; hence every book I’ve written has a few horses in it.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
I wrote a three-book trilogy during 2009 and I received a publishing contract for it in the fall of 2011. For me it took two and a half years.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Dear John. I like the movie ending much better than the book version.


Do you write in your PJ's?
Okay, I’ll admit that yes, I do.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
Definitely a laptop—I love the portability of a laptop since I’m always running kids around to their activities.

What is your favorite quotation?
“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, he will hear our prayers.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley.


What is your favorite cereal?
Crispix, with Honey Nut Cheerios as a close second.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Hot pink—I think that is such a happy, confident, and spontaneous color.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
I LOVE the summer—the warmth, the sunshine, and the long days. My favorite thing is to saddle up at twilight and go for ride through the nut orchards as day fades into night.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
I want to write another book. I’m never happier than when I’m immersed in writing a good book. I’m dreaming of a companion book to The Keeper’s Saga featuring stories from Garrick’s life.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
 . . . everyone was simply kind to each other.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
 This is strange, I know, but I’ve always wanted to try driving a Ninja bike.


Kelly riding her horse on the stake Pioneer Trek.


Kelly and her horse

Signing at Costco



Friday, March 29, 2013

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Anna Jones Buttimore



From the Eastern bracket comes the delightful Anna Jones Buttimore.

If you could be a character from any book, who would you be and why?
Probably a minor character from Harry Potter at the end of the last book. So no Voldemort related horror and carnage to face, but the ability to wave my wand and have the house magically clean itself.

If you could co-write a book with any author who would you co-write it with?
I have already co-written a book with a good friend and it was a lot of fun and resulted in a book which was far better than either of us could have written alone. But I would love to work with Stephenie Meyer on
Midnight Sun, the unfinished Twilight novel. I’m unashamed to admit to being a huge Twilight fan, and the idea of rewriting a bestselling novel from the viewpoint of a different character is an amazing challenge.

How many hours do you spend on writing a day?
Erm… none. I’m lucky if I get fifteen minutes a day – I have a job, three children and I teach Seminary so I just don’t get the time. If I do write it’s generally late at night.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Practice writing. Choose really difficult things to write, like sympathy letters or descriptive poems, or join a writing group where you can learn your craft and be stretched and challenged. Writing is like any other skill – you can get better at it with regular practice.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
I like to think they haven’t, in that I’m very careful to keep real life out of my books.  Having said that, my latest book,
The Saved Saint which is about a Mormon missionary who joins an evangelical church, draws very heavily on my own experiences. Most of the incidents in there are things that happen to me.

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?
Surprisingly not long; I think I was very lucky. I wrote a book and sent it off, and got a lovely letter back from an editor who said she thought my writing style was very good but the story itself was totally unsuitable. She suggested an alternative story for me, I wrote the book in about six months, and sent it straight to her and it was published.

Is there a movie (gasp) that you prefer over the book version?
Actually, several. My favourite film,
The Princess Bride, is much better than the book which is rather slow. 



Every Bond film ever is better than the book, and while The Hunger Games was excellent in both formats, there were some extra details which could be included in the film which weren’t in the book (such as showing the “Behind the scenes” of the Gamesmakers which wasn’t in the book because Catniss never sees it) and added a whole new level.



Breaking Dawn part 2 was better because the ending was so much more dramatic and impressive.  



Do you write in your PJ's? Sometimes, but since I’m usually just grabbing spare minutes I write in whatever I happen to be wearing.

Do you use a laptop or a desktop for writing?
I prefer a desktop, but I have all my novels in Dropbox so I can pick up my laptop and work elsewhere if I need to. My husband bought me the laptop so that I could write in bed, but I’ve found that isn’t comfortable and I tend to fall asleep with it still perched on my knees, which isn’t good for the laptop.

What is your favorite quotation?
There are too many! Scriptures like “Wickedness never was happiness” or “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” I have found to be both profound and true. Then there are lines from my favourite films, like “Never give up, never surrender!” My youngest daughter says lots of funny things. On one occasion we’d driven to Heathrow airport to pick up my husband after he’d spent a month working in Russia. Ceri was then about 3 or 4, and ran up to him all excited and happy to see him again. The first words she said to him were, “My penguin is a secret agent!”

What is your favorite cereal?
Kellogg’s Chocolate Cornflakes. I ate them for breakfast every day for several years, and then, to my horror, Kellogg’s stopped making them. In June last year they suddenly appeared in the shops again after a ten-year absence, so I’m back to eating them every single day. No, of course I don’t get bored of them. Have you
tried them? Once you do, all other cereals can just pack up and go home.

If you were a crayon what color would you be?
Yellow.

Do you prefer summer or winter?
Summer. But you have to bear in mind that I live in England where it never gets above 80 degrees in summer, and it is absolutely bone-chillingly wet and cold in winter.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish this year?
Finally lose the weight. I have 60lbs to lose and I’m giving myself a whole year to do it in, which means just 5lbs a month. Sounds easy, but as at the end of February I’ve lost exactly nothing, so I’ve got some work to do.

The world would be a better place if . . .?
Every child born anywhere could grow up in a nurturing, loving and stable family where they are cherished, protected and educated. It might take a couple of generations but I believe it would solve a lot of society’s problems.

What is something you've always wanted to try?
Being extremely rich. I think I’d be great at it and very kind and generous to my many servants. But maybe a better answer would parascending (parasailing). I’m actually really scared of heights and yet somehow that looks a lot of fun.





Book Giveaway Flash Mob in Trafalga Square
Anna and her husband, Roderick, participated in the Dunmow Flitch Trials. You should check-out the website for information about this 700 year old tradition that awards couples slabs of bacon.





At the baptism of Anna's daughter Ceri
Anna participated in her first book signing this year.