Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Southern Utah's Toadstool Hike

One of my family’s favorite places to go in Southern Utah is the Toadstool Hike. One Thanksgiving day we took the whole family. There were seven children, the youngest 3, and as we were hiking along they were shouting, “This is the best hike EVER.”

It’s  ¾ mile to the first toadstool. It’s an easy up and down, following a wash. Nothing difficult.

How many toadstools? I don’t know. Part of the fun is in spotting new ones.  There are plenty!

After discovering the first red toadstool, and after exploring the area around it, go to your left and around a point, and you’ll find more toadstools, including a fairy ring.

Fairy ring
I have friends who write fantasy, and I keep telling them that the fairy ring would make a wonderful portal to another dimension.

The whole area looks like something from another world. It would be a great landscape for a science fiction movie, too.

To get to the trailhead, you drive east of Kanab toward Lake Powel.  After you go through the Cock’s Comb and cross the Paria river, the parking lot will be on the left after you pass milepost 20. (If you’re coming from Page, it will be on the right just past milepost 19.) Here are the directions from the BLM web page, but I’m sure there is a sign marking the trailhead at the parking lot.

The trailhead is located on Hwy. 89, 45 miles east of Kanab, 12 miles west of Big Water, or 1.5 mile east of the Paria Contact Station. There are no signs marking the trailhead. A short access road on the north side of the highway leads to a hiker’s gate in the fence line. A power pole near the fence is a good landmark. Visitors should park near the hiker’s gate. This is a moderate 1.5 mile round trip hike. A trailhead register is located a short distance from the fence. Follow the wash and a well defined social trail to view the hoodoos. Exploration in the general area will reveal other hoodoos and balanced rocks. Cryptobiotic soil crusts are prevalent in the area and should be avoided when exploring off trail. Return to the trailhead the way you came.

As I said, it’s a wonderful place to take kids. It’s also a wonderful place to teach youngsters about caring for the environment. There are lots of rocks they can climb on there, but I hope you’ll talk to them about how fragile some of the toadstools are and make sure they don’t climb on them.

Better details about the hike can be found here 

Here’s a link to a web site with more pictures of the toadstools

The beauty of the Toadstools is that they're so accessible. We've met people from all over the world as we've made the hike. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An interview with Pamela France, author of LIFE SOUP - A Memoir

When I moved to Kanab three years ago, I was delighted to find a chapter of ANWA  (American Night Writers Association) was forming. I had been a member of this vibrant LDS women's writers group for ten years and was glad to have a local chapter to attend.

One of my fellow chapter members was Pamela France, and it's been exciting to see her complete her book and have it published. In her book LIFE SOUP she confronts a difficult subject--sexual abuse and incest--in a sensitive and nonthreatening way. Make no mistake, you will feel her pain, but she writes in such a way that you aren't afraid to tackle the subject with her.

I already had someone come to me, knowing I was a writer and knew Pamela, and ask me to tell her how much reading the book helped her. If you know someone who is dealing with the aftereffects of this blight, tell them about Pamela's book. I'll put a purchase link here and at the end, too. This is too valuable a book to miss out on.

I asked Pamela if I could post an interview on my blog to let people know about her book. She graciously consented, and she'd like to host a drawing for a free ebook copy. If you'd like to win a copy of Pamela's book, post a comment below. I'll have a drawing on Wednesday, June 17 for all those people who have commented and award the book.

Here's the interview:
      LIZ: Why did you wait so long to write your book?
PAMELA: The healing process follows its own course. It takes years to understand oneself and when abuse is thrown into the mix, it can take even longer. I have been writing all my life and I found it very beneficial to get my thoughts and feelings out in this way. I wanted to share my testimony of Jesus Christ. My hope is that it might touch the hearts of those caught in the throes of traumatic abuse. Conveying this in a readable and inoffensive way took time.  

LIZ:   What is your background that allows you to offer credibility to other people?
PAMELA: I survived my father's abuse. Throughout my life I have taken many opportunities to read, study and experience what I could that would help me to deal with its effects. Along the way, I learned much and wanted to help other in similar circumstances.

LIZ:  How did you gained your love of writing and your desire to write?
 PAMELA: I must admit that reading and writing in my teen years became an escape. Reading especially took me away to other places and helped keep my mind off my troubles. I love most genres of literature and have immersed myself in everything I read. My favorite categories are mystery and historical fiction. I believe writing is a wonderful way to heal wounds of the heart.

LIZ:   What gave you the confidence to write a book on this controversial topic?
 PAMELA: Frankly, my confidence was in the Lord. I hope that my writing my book helps repay some of the debt for the blessings He provides in such abundance. Sharing my story was not easy for me. Fortunately, I have a very loving family and friends who care. These people encouraged me to continue. I believe I had more determination and hope than confidence. Mia Angelo's quote says it well - "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

LIZ:   Did you ever feel sensitivity towards those in your book whose names you included?
When I shared my manuscript with my beta-readers, I ask if I should use real names or fictional. My sister Paula, a major character in my childhood and healing journey, said, "We are who we are." I am so appreciative of her attitude and support. My topic is sensitive, but it is my story to tell.

LIZ:   Who has this book benefited and why?

PAMELA: Since writing this book, I have been surprised at the unexpected benefits. One friend shared a wish that she could have read it many years ago. She felt it would have helped her better understand and love her own mother, who was also a victim of incest. Many have told me that they shared the book with a friends dealing with similar circumstances such as: the mother of a child victimized, a woman dealing with effects of abuse perpetrated on her during childhood and now trying to raise her own children. Other victims also shared support and appreciation that I had a voice when they had none. Abuse can make one feel so isolated. I needed to tell my story to let others know that they are not alone and that someone cares and understands.

LIZ: Thanks so much, Pamela, for sharing your story. As promised, here's the purchase link again. Don't forget to comment for a chance to win an ebook copy. This is a valuable book, folks.  

Monday, June 1, 2015

Promotional Sale by Indie Authors

We're having another FANTASTIC sale on different genres!! If you have friends who love to read, please let them know about this sale!


Imperfect Love
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $3.99

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp. 

But then a devastating test result changes everything. 

Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life. 

Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe. 

When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone? 

Imperfect Love is a story about sacrifice, healing, second chances, and discovering that although love isn’t always perfect, sometimes it’s the imperfect love that’s the sweetest of all. 

Spinster's Folly
Marsha Ward
SALE Price $0.99
Regular Price $3.99

Marie Owen yearns for a loving husband, but Colorado Territory is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors, so a future of spinsterhood seems more likely than wedded bliss. Her best friend says cowboy Bill Henry is a likely candidate, but Marie knows her class-conscious father would not allow such a pairing. When she challenges her father to find her a suitable husband before she becomes a spinster, he arranges a match with a neighbor's son.
Then Marie discovers Tom Morgan would be an unloving, abusive mate and his mother holds a grudge against the Owen family. Marie's mounting despair at the prospect of being trapped in such a dismal marriage drives her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
2013 Winner of the USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction.

A Portrait for Toni
Annette Lyon
SALE Price $0.99
Regular Price $2.99

Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? When Toni’s father lands in the hospital, Carter, as always, is there for her.

That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, the hot new guy at the studio, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away—then instantly regrets it.

Toni tries to mend the hurt between them, but instead of finding Carter, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

Purchase A Portrait for Toni on Amazon

Grounded for Love: A Reunion Romance Novella
Rebecca Talley
Price $.99

After being burned by her college boyfriend, Graham, book editor Serena Johnson believes the only dependable men are the ones found between the pages of a book. Her life in San Francisco is thrown into chaos when her father suffers a heart attack, and she books a flight to her small hometown in Colorado.

Graham McAllister, now a civil engineer in Phoenix, is dating a woman who has it all—except his heart. As the best man for his brother’s wedding, Graham must fly back to Grand Junction in time for all the festivities.

When a massive snowstorm grounds all the planes in Denver, both Serena and Graham are stranded overnight. Will this storm lead to love or will it simply prove that there are no second chances?

Purchase Grounded for Love on Amazon.

Once Upon Two Kingdoms (A Royal Romance)
Anna del C. Dye
Price $2.99

Freedom to Choose is Paramount for any human.

An arrangement made when Elizabeth was just a babe ties her to someone she has never met, never spoken to, never loved. 

Now she desires freedom—a way to choose her own path—her own husband. The moment Elizabeth meets Patrick she knows he is her soul mate. 

But when you are bound to a crown how is any choice your own?

Ring on Her Finger
Lisa Swinton
SALE price $.99
Regular price $3.99

What happened in Vegas should stay there, not follow Amanda home, newly wedded to the man who broke her heart.

After celebrating college graduation with her friends in Las Vegas, Amanda St. Claire wakes up with a terrible hangover and a ring on her finger. Her day gets worse when she finds out she's married to rich playboy Blake Worthington—the guy she has loathed the past four years. Amanda convinces Blake to legally terminate the marriage and they both return home like nothing ever happened. That is, until Blake shows up on her doorstep and Amanda has to come clean with her family. 

Together for better or worse while the legalities are cleared, Amanda reluctantly plays along, but then the unthinkable happens---she finds herself falling in love with Blake. 

Can they overcome the past? Or will it end their future before it even starts? 

Those who enjoy What Happens in Vegas and The Prince and Me will find a kindred spirit in Ring on Her Finger.

Nourish & Strengthen
Maria Hoagland
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $2.99

Chloe Taylor has the perfect life: a model’s figure, a husband who adores her, three healthy children. So why does she feel so much less than perfect?

After losing forty pounds, Chloe Taylor is finally happy with her body. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s not the one in control. When Chloe is called as the Primary president, she discovers that managing the highs and lows of a chronic illness may be easier than the ups and downs associated with family, friends, and church callings. Consumed by her own challenges, Chloe fails to recognize the issues her friends are facing and is in danger of losing their friendship.

As Chloe strives to develop Christ-like love for herself and those around her, she learns that outer appearances are far less important than inner peace and spiritual strength. But is she strong enough to face her most difficult trial yet?

Family Size
Maria Hoagland
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $2.99

Is it one-size-fits-all, or all sizes fit? A novel about friendships, faith, and fertility by LDS women's fiction author Maria Hoagland. 

Jessica loves being the mom of an ever-expanding family, but when an ultrasound throws her a curve, can she adapt with grace? 

Dragged away from home, Maya feels deserted by her workaholic husband in a land of confusing accents and church cliques. What will it take to acclimate and save her marriage--or does she even want to? 

Sloane is an algebra teacher and runner who would give up both to be a mom, but no matter what she does, pregnancy remains elusive. Can she adjust her thinking and find purpose in her life? 

As their lives intertwine, can friendship and faith help these women hurdle expectations of an ideal family size? 

Vicki Hunt Budge
SALE Price $.99
Regular Price $3.99

In The Darkest Hours of Addiction, A Light Shines 

When Jessica Mobley's husband abandons her and flies off to Mexico to meet another woman, it's the tip of the iceberg. She soon unravels his porn addiction and her financial ruin. 

Jessica tries to keep up an appearance that all is well, but ultimately she resorts to drastic measures to support her three children. She guts part of her home to start a preschool and rents out another two rooms. 

Her life is soon filled with new friends and activities, but the new friends bring problems of their own. Is hope and healing possible as they strengthen one another and rely on the Lord? And will romance find its way into Jessica's heart again? 

Intercession is a story of love and friendship loaded with drama, inspiration, loss and the tenacity of one woman who finds her strength in the Lord

Begin Again
Brittney Mulliner
SALE Price $.99

Escaping her past, Aubrey Tate moves to Southern California for a fresh start with her older brother, Brandon. Starting over at a new school seems easy with her cousin, Mckayla, and her two best friends at her side, but handling the new guys is another matter. Aubrey ends up in the middle of three rivals that each wants her to themselves. 

Mike claims her first and declares himself her friend and protector. Luke is the school heartthrob that stops Aubrey in her tracks, speechless. Gage is the mysterious, dark outsider that Aubrey can be herself around. 

How will she navigate her new life while she's still haunted by her past?

Valerie Ipson
Price $2.99

There’s no way I’m taking Blake’s place as president of the student body. As soon as the memorial for him and six of our friends is over, I’m resigning as VP. Really.
Except people say the fire was no accident.
(I say it’s way too easy to blame someone who’s dead.)
When I read the writing on the wall, literally, the bathroom wall, I know what it means. To get to the truth I have to come out from under my paisley comforter.
But, seriously, what stage of grief says I have to be the one to fix what’s wrong at Ideal High? Maybe I’m the one who’s broken.

What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters
Rachelle J. Christensen
Connie E. Sokol
Price $1.99

Is your daughter asking questions about friends, peer pressure, school, and even her weight?

As a mom, are you wondering how to answer them?

Welcome to the club.

But you can relax. Because we’ve asked real sixth-grade girls to dish on their top secret questions. And, we’ve provided time-tested real-life answers that work.

Add to that an enjoyable format. The “Just for Girls” section speaks right to your daughter in words and ways she understands. The “Just for Moms” section talks straight to moms, giving you information, resources, and easy-to-share answers. We include tips for how to start, handle, and enjoy the conversations no matter the situation.

Create connected conversations with your daughter as you explore these life questions together. Get plain facts and jumpstart questions. Discuss the provided scenarios so she can practice responses to use in real-time. Download decorative cards with positive statements and fun fill-in sentences.

Use What Every Girl Needs to Know About 6th Grade to make it happen. Together, answer questions and create connection.

You got this.

Interlude at Cottonwood Springs
Liz Adair
Price $2.99
Audiobook: $21.83 (or free with Audible trial)

Ruth Reynolds moves in wealthy New York circles. Heck Benham rides the range in the high plateau of New Mexico. 

When she comes west during the Great Depression chance throws them together, and they fall in love. But she's a married lady, and he's an honorable man.

The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Cassandra Jones (MG)
Tamara Hart Heiner
SALE Price $.99

What's special about Cassandra? Absolutely nothing. She's as ordinary as any other fifth grader. And yet her ordinary life is riddled with hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking mishaps as she guides herself through the world of pre-teens on the brink of adulthood. 

Cassandra Jones is the new girl at school. She's been uprooted from her beloved state of Texas and relocated to the hillbilly Ozarks of Springdale, Arkansas. She wonders if she will like her teacher or if she will have any friends. She can only hope school won't be harder than it was back home. 

She doesn't expect to have two close friends, and even worse, two friends that don't like each other. As she tries to make a spot for herself, will she keep her friendships intact? 

Best Kind of Love: A Reunion Romance Novella
Rebecca Talley
Price $.99

Brynn Sawyer is a successful project manager in Houston. When her best friend from high school convinces Brynn to attend their ten-year reunion, Brynn hopes she’ll have the chance to reconnect with Troy Richards, the guy who stole her heart back in middle school. 

Craig Dawson, an attorney in San Diego, is in a relationship that’s going nowhere and wonders why he can’t seem to commit. When he sees Brynn at their reunion, he thinks he might finally understand why. The only problem—she’s still infatuated with Troy what’s-his-name. 

Will Brynn find the love she seeks with Troy, or will she realize the best kind of love has always been right in front of her? 

Silver Linings
Kaylee Baldwin
Price $.99

Drew Westfall wants nothing more than to forget what he had to do in the name of "smart" business. Cutting off all ties with his parents—including handing over the entire contents of his trust fund to a charity—he takes off for Bridger, Colorado where his best friend has an extra room for him. It doesn't take long for him to realize that his business degree won’t do him much good in a town as small as Bridger, but he's broke and has nowhere else to go. 

Eden Torresi has every reason to wallow. Not only did she have to sell her house to pay for her mother’s medical expenses, but she had to drop out of school and is in a relationship with a guy unwilling to commit. But Eden isn't the wallowing type. Instead, she spends most of her time taking care of the seniors at Silver Linings Assisted Living. When she learns that her boyfriend's new roommate is down on his luck, she reaches out to offer what help she can. But the more time they spend together, the more complicated things get, especially when the seniors of Silver Linings decide to play matchmaker.

Six Days of Christmas
Kaylee Baldwin
Price $.99

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. 

Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children who seem to be multiplying, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother—someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted. 

Life Soup
Pamela Lynn France
Price $6.99 (ebook)

This is a true story told using the memories of a child - my inner child. It is a story of survival - a love story without romance, but hope. It tells of the age old struggle between good and evil, light and dark forces around us.

Jesus Christ has been saving souls throughout human history. Thankfully He is a part of my story...

My Audiobook Odyssey

L to R: Me, Tanya Mills, Terry Deighton, Ann Acton,
Christine Thackeray. Not shown: Bonnie Harris
My audiobook odyssey began a little over 5 years ago when I met Tanya Mills at a writers retreat at Silver Lake Washington. She and I and four other retreaters formed a critique group that’s been going strong for five years now.

As a function of our weekly meetings, we exchange 5 pages of manuscript, critique them, and meet each Wednesday evening for 2 hours to discuss them. (We're far-flung, so we meet by Skype.) We read two passages each time, and everyone has always loved to have Tanya read. She makes your writing sound great, and she even does accents.

About two years into the critique group, Tanya and I both moved from Washington state to Southern Utah. We’ve shared rides to three or four writers conferences, and on the rides we’d talk about goals and even set a few. Several times she mentioned she’d like to do audiobooks. She had purchased some of the hardware she needed to set up a studio, but she needed a sound booth, and she was stuck there.

Heck, I thought. I can make a sound booth. I’ve got this industrial sewing machine that could sew through a Sherman tank, and I’ve got yards of canvas from our erstwhile waterbag manufacturing business.  How hard could it be?

Well, it was harder than I thought it would be. It took me about three times longer than I thought it would. But I got it done and called Tanya to say it was on its way.

Tanya, in the meantime, had fallen and bunged herself up pretty bad, so that she couldn’t go downstairs (where the new studio was) for a couple months.

But, she finally healed enough to do stairs, and she learned the recording/producing process on her own first book THE RECKONING. After that, she was ready to do my book INTERLUDE AT COTTONWOOD SPRINGS.

This book is a rewrite of my award winning book, Counting the Cost. If you’re familiar with it, the new version has three new prequel chapters to it, before Ruth Reynolds comes to New Mexico. Also, I moved the middle section, the one that was set in the Prescott, AZ area, to Kanab UT. I intend to write a sequel next summer. It will be set here in red rock country and be called RETURN TO WILLOW CANYON.

Anyway, INTERLUDE AT COTTONWOOD SPRINGS is now out as an audiobook. You can listen to Chapter One by clicking here. Click here for a purchase link at Amazon. Or, you can get the audiobook free on Amazon if you get a trial membership at Audible. (A membership at Audible is $15 a month after your first free month. For that you get a free audiobook download each month plus 30% off other books that month.) If you’re into audiobooks, that seems like a pretty good deal.

Kanab Library will have the audiobook for patrons to check out, too. If you want your library to carry it, talk to your librarian.