Monday, April 29, 2013

Cleaning out my emails finds famous criminals

I was cleaning out my emails and found a link to the FBI website of famous cases and criminals. If you write mystery or thrillers or anything else where you need to research crimes, this site would be interesting to you:

John Dillinger. Al Capone. The KKK. The Unabomber. John Gotti. Bonnie and Clyde.

The FBI has investigated them all… and many more spies, terrorists, and criminals besides. Listed below, grouped according to our top investigative priorities and related categories, are many of our famous and most significant cases over the past century.

The monographs and write-ups below have been made available for your use. You may download them for any non-commercial use without obtaining permission from the FBI. If you don’t see a case listed here, try our search engine or history story index.

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 Welcome to Gale Sears today! And congrats on your newest book.
Author Gale Sears Gale Sears is an award-winning author, known for her historical accuracy and intensive research. Gale received a BA in playwriting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in theater arts from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the bestselling The Silence of God and several other novels, including The Route, Christmas for a Dollar, Autumn Sky, Until the Dawn, and Upon the Mountains. She and her husband, George, are the parents of two children and reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

Hi reading friends. My name is Gale Sears and I write historical fiction. I'm one of those mad people who love history and research, and I think I've found a way of blending compelling stories with historical facts. My latest novel,Belonging to Heaven, is the amazing story of George Q. Cannon's 1850 LDS mission to Hawaii, and the conversion of Jonathan Napela, a son of Maui royality.

Were you able to go to Hawaii and do research?
Yes. I was fortunate to spend a month visiting Oahu, Maui, and Molokai. It truly was non-stop work. I was only on the beach twice for a couple of hours...really! It was work, work, work. Not that I'm complaining. Even when it rained (which it did alot) it was still 70 degrees. Paradise.

When is your favorite time to write?
I write in the mornings. I begin around 8 am and write until 2 or 3. If I'm nearing a deadline I may put in 9 or 10 hours a day.

What is your favorite snack?
Trail mix. Celery with peanut butter. Pretzels. Raw sunflower seeds. Dark chocolate anything.

What was the first book that turned you into a reader?
Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

What do you never leave home without?
Toothbrush. Paper and pencils. Reading glasses.

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?
Don't worry about publishing. Learn your craft. Work at producing an engaging book. Realize that publishing is a business.

What are your goals for 2013?
Finish my next book of historical fiction. Go down a dress size. Get thirty minutes of exercise in a day. And, visit Yellowstone with my hubby.

Belonging to Heaven Descended from the Hawaiian royal line, Jonathan Napela became one of the first—and most influential—converts to the Church in Hawaii. A man of intelligence, social status, and wealth, he used his considerable position to further the gospel in his native land. He developed a lifelong bond of brotherhood with Elder George Q. Cannon, helping to translate the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian and establish a gathering place for the Hawaiian saints in Laie, Oahu. But when his beloved wife, Kitty, was stricken with leprosy, Jonathan made the defining decision of his life. He would leave his life of privilege to become her caretaker and spend the rest of his life on Molokai, the island of lepers. To those who suffered similar heartbreak and banishment, Jonathan's self-sacrifice became their lifeline. Based on true story, this is an extraordinary novel of a man who chose love in the face of death.  

  Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/5/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 22, 2013

Short Story~ Tattered Photo Album

For the month of March I went through and edited my short stories. One of them is on Utah Children's Writers blog. If you have the time, hop on over and read it. Then leave a comment!

Tattered Photo Album

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writers on Wednesday~ Stacy DeKeyser ~Beehive Nominee

Welcome Stacy DeKeyser today! Stacy's book, THE BRIXEN WITCH, was nominated for a Beehive Award. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

 An enchanted coin. A witch’s curse. And rats, rats everywhere! What’s a boy to do?When Rudi Bauer accidentally takes a witch’s coin, he unleashes her curse. Accident or not, he knows he’s got to fix things, so he tries to return the coin, only to lose it on the witch’s magic mountain just as the snows come. Plagued all winter by terrible dreams, Rudi tries to find the coin again in the spring, but it has vanished—and a plague of rats has descended on his village.

     Then a stranger arrives and promises to rid the village of rats—for the price of the missing coin. Desperate to get rid of the rats, the villagers agree—but when they cannot pay, the stranger exacts a price too terrible for anyone to bear. Now Rudi is going to need all his courage—and some help from his savvy grandmother and a bold young girl—to set things right in this fast and funny adventure.

Doesn't that sound fun? I'm reading it right now and hope to have a review up soon.

Enjoy today's post:

How did you find out about the Beehive Award nomination? Where were you?

I was on vacation in Florida, bored on a rainy day, so I did what anyone else would do in the same situation: I Googled myself. And there it was! (And now of course I'm going to keep Googling myself, because you never know what you might find!)

How did you feel?

Excited! And honored. And surprised. I have to admit, I'd never heard of the Beehive Awards before, but I live in Connecticut, so I hope that's a good excuse. Reader awards are my favorite. I can't think of anything better than being recognized by the kids who read my book.

Give us your elevator pitch.

How did you know I need to work on that? Here goes:

The Brixen Witch is the story of a boy named Rudi who brings home an enchanted coin, and a curse along with it. Rudi must confront a mountain witch, a mysterious stranger—and a plague of rats—in order to erase the curse and save his village.

What's your favorite snack?

Hmm...This is hard because I love to eat! I love hot, buttered, salty popcorn. McDonald's french fries. Apples and peanut butter. Graham crackers with peanut butter. Chocolate chip cookies. I could go on for hours.

What do you never leave home without?

My cell phone. It's a wonderful gadget: email, appointment book, and even my e-books are in my phone. I've loaded lots of games onto my phone, but I only play Scramble With Friends and Bejeweled. I'm really bad at most games. I've given up on Angry Birds.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! We have a black-lab mix named Scout, who will be two years old in a couple of weeks. We think she is part jackrabbit, because she has really long legs and can jump really high. She is afraid of ladybugs.

Do have a favorite getaway?

We have lots of hiking trails near our house here in Connecticut, and I love walking in the woods with Scout. This summer we are taking a hiking trip in England and Wales. I'm very excited. And hoping to learn how to pronounce the names of places like Llangattock and Ffawyddog.

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Which sounds like two pieces of advice, but it's really all part of the same process.
Writing well enough to be published takes lots of practice, the same way you have to practice your cello if you want to play Carnegie Hall, or your ground strokes if you want to play center court at Wimbledon. There are no shortcuts.

What are your goals for 2013?

Read, read, read.
Write, write, write.

1. Finish a sequel to The Brixen Witch.
2. Figure out what to do with another (finished) novel, now in a drawer. Is it worth revising, or should it stay in the drawer forever?
3. Learn how to pronounce Llangotock and Ffawyddog.

Monday, April 15, 2013

You Are A Dealer of Words

I love this quote! Thanks to Christy Dorrity for sharing it. It inspired me.

I loved biographies when I was in grade school and learning about people like Helen Keller and Harriett Beecher. There were so many amazing people in the world that I wanted to get to know.
In high school I was 'forced' to read LORD OF THE FLIES. I didn't love those books but they stuck with me. LOTF haunted me and I wondered how I would act in their place. 
But the book that has stayed with me for years-the one I love--is Jane Eyre. Jane resonated with me. She had an inner strength that helped her stay strong and true to herself.
Each of the above examples are totally unique and different from each other. They go from national heroines to brutal human behavior to an orphaned girl who dreams of a love. 
And all of the above examples are writers who are "dealers of words". Which, my writerly friends, is you. You are the only person who knows how to deal out the words in your heart and mind. No one has been through the same experiences as you. There are readers who need your story. 
Please write sit down today and write. 
The world is waiting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Writers on Wednesday~ Tristi Pinkston

Welcome Tristi Pinkston today! Tristi was one of the first in a handful of local authors who I got the nerve up to talk to about the craft of writing. She was kind enough to answer all my newbie questions and not laugh at me. She's very good about giving back time and talent to the writing community. 

Enjoy today's post!

Is there one book or author who changed your life/viewpoint/writing?

One book?  No.  Not even close.  :) But I'll share some of those that have had the greatest impact. Dean Hughes and Ann Rinaldi lit a fire under me for writing historical fiction. Dee Henderson showed me how to write Christian novels that still contain a lot of suspense. Louisa May Alcott and L.M. Montgomery fed my hungry imagination and made it seem so natural for me to become a writer. Elizabeth Peters was very inspirational as I wrote "Targets in Ties." Every author I've read has influenced me in one way or another. That's the amazing about books.

Give us your elevator pitch.

For which book?  :)  Let me know and I'll send it over.

What’s your favorite snack?

Well now ... once upon a time, Tristi weighed 300 pounds. Tristi liked to eat gummy peach rings, chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, and drink Cherry Coke while she wrote. Then Tristi made some major lifestyle changes.  :)  She no longer weighs 300 pounds, she drinks ice water, and rather than snacking, she eats small meals. She also stops talking in the third person.

What is your most memorable high school experience?

I didn't attend public high school - I was taught at home, so I don't really have "high school experiences" so to speak. I did get to go to Russia for two weeks when I was high-school age, though. Does that count?

What was the first book that turned you into a reader?

I don't remember any one book because I honestly don't recall a time when I didn't know how to read. I learned when I was about three and have been doing it voraciously ever since. Some books I remember from my early childhood, though, are "Heidi," "Alice in Wonderland," "The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew," the Bobbsey Twins books, the Tucker books, "Eight Cousins" ... ah, those were the days.

 Are you a night owl or early bird?

Night owl all the way, baby!

What is your favorite meal?

I really like the scallopini de pollo at Macaroni Grill. If we're talking more simple fare, I'm a Taco Time fan - crispy bean burritos dunked in ranch dressing. To eat here at home, I make an awesome zucchini lasagna and also a great pizza meatloaf (both without grain or cheese)

What do you never leave home without?

Clothing. I might forget everything else, but I never forget my clothes.

Do you have any pets?

We tried that, but for every time we tried, we ended up experiencing some sort of death. It didn't work, obviously.

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?

Sit down, do the work, and take the lumps. That's three pieces of advice. Is three okay?

What are your goals for 2013?

My first goal is to work smarter instead of harder. I will be working to finish three full-length novels and also to finish the shorter volumes in my Write It Right series. I'll also be getting a lot of good work done for my editing clients.

Tristi Pinkston
Bestselling Author, Freelance Editor
Managing Editor for Gospel

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pep Talk by Karen Hoover

My mother spent the first few years of her life in Tucson, Arizona back in the 1930s. She was a precocious child—curious and frequently doing things without thought, once jumping back and forth over a rattlesnake until my grandmother snatched her away.

One day she decided to go for a discovery walk toward town. Unfortunately, the closest route was across the railroad tracks, which she’d been told time and time again not to go near. Now, we’re not talking about crossing the tracks. No, I mean, the tracks formed a bridge that spanned a deep gorge that was nearly a mile across. So, this particular day she started on the tracks, skipping and probably singing, as she jumped between the rails.

She was having a grand time until the ground began to shake. She glanced over her shoulder and was terrified to see a train bearing down on her, horn blasting its warning. She ran as fast as her five-year-old legs would carry her, but even at that young age she knew there was no way she could make it to the other side before the train arrived.

As death raced toward her, getting louder with every passing second, a quiet voice spoke within her. “Climb over the side.” Without hesitation, she lowered herself over the side of the track and hung on to the trellis with all her might. The passing train was inches away and deafeningly loud, but she hung on, fearing her bones would shake to pieces, until at last the caboose passed her by and she could pull herself up and, with shaky legs, make her way home.

And why do I tell you this? Well, aside from the fact that it’s just a really cool story, it does have a purpose—one that has affected me throughout my years.

Things got hard. Terrifying. Life threatening. But she listened to the spirit inside of her and she survived. She made it through the hard and survived to become something more.

Now, if you read my short post last week, you’ll know that life has been really hard for me lately. For a solid year or more I’ve struggled with a rebellious, disobedient, and disabled teenager that I thought was going to put me in jail or a mental institution. I wanted to die, just to make the pain stop.

But guess what? The spirit spoke and I listened. Time after time after time I received peace and reassurance from the other side. You’ll be okay. You can make it. Be patient. There’s a time for everything. So many words and such comfort despite the difficulty, and finally life is getting better.

Let me share something that my friend Regina Sirois wrote to me recently, as I feel it applies to all of us:

“Giving birth to words is like giving birth to people. Sometimes they come with only discomfort, sometimes with a struggle that seems to threaten life instead of give it. Since you know dragons, let me remind you how many you are fighting right now. They are savage and relentless. You fight on, bloodied, tired, wounded, feeling the cause is hopeless. It isn't. I wish you could see the faces of the angels fighting with you. Their jaws are clenched, their eyes are burning with determination. They will not leave you. This is their battle, too. Because you only feel the fire burning over your head, you don't realize how brave and strong you have been. You don't have time to look around you and see how many enemies you've slain. And someday when these dragons fall you will sit down and rest. You will have time to look around you. You will remember what you have done and you will smile. Give yourself permission to fight one battle at a time. Give yourself permission to tend to your wounds. Give yourself permission to feel how loved you are. . . .

" . . . Give yourself permission to fail. And after the first attempt fails, give yourself permission to try again without feeling like a failure. The words will come. Like children, sometimes they arrive late. Sometimes they surprise us. Sometimes they cost a great price. But always, they are miraculous.”

I really can’t say it much better than she did. Life gets in the way much too often, and as parents, especially mothers, it is easy to feel guilty, whether it is guilt for not writing, or guilt that we are writing too much. Guilt that our children aren’t making the right choices. Guilt that we just aren’t good enough, our writing isn’t good enough, nothing will ever be good enough.

Let me tell you right now, that is not true!

My mother told me two things over and over, and though I still face guilt and fear of failure, I remember her words and they make me strong. I give those words to you.

“You can do anything if you want it enough.” And “I have confidence in you!”

Those words have helped me to try things I’d never known. I’ve created useful projects that have helped me move or simplified my life. I’ve built bookcases and laid carpet and tile, painted, and built an entire office in my garage—all because I KNEW I could do anything. My mother told me so.

I’m telling you now. You—yes, I’m talking to you—YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!

Believe it. Live it. Do it.

That’s where you’ll find your joy, and isn’t that what we’re here for? Find joy in the journey each and every day, despite the trains bearing down on you. Because why?

You can do anything.

Anything at all.

Karen Hoover

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Writers on Wednesday ~ Jean Reagan

Welcome today, Beehive Award nominee, Jean Reagan! Congrats!