Want a perfect Mother’s Day gift?

Check out Dandelion Summer, a novel about the relationship between a daughter and her mother. Order it using the link below and use PREORDER2019 to get 15% off. (It will ship earlier than the release date so you can have it in time for Mother’s Day.)
Two early reviews:
“A compelling story that captures the nuances and emotions of relationships between the young and old, the parent and the child.”
“A remarkable coming of age novel with a fascinating and intriguing mystery.”


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Look what’s coming!!

My latest book is available for pre-order (use the code PREORDER2019 at checkout for a 15% discount):


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What’s new?

I haven’t posted in awhile … because I’ve been hard at work on the next book! Dandelion Summer will be coming out in May 2019! Watch here for updates and snippets. In the meantime, pick up a book or two for Christmas for your friends (and one or two for yourself).

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What Makes it Your Favorite Fiction?

I was recently challenged to list seven of my favorite books, and that got me thinking. What makes a book a favorite? Here are some of my thoughts (in no particular order) about what makes something my favorite fiction.

  • A book that struck me in a particular way at a particular time in my life. One of my favorite books is Watership Down. I read it as a teen and it was so unusual and captivating that it stayed with me. It’s most fictional aspects (talking rabbits, one with strong premonitions) resonated with me in ways I can’t explain. I returned to this book on a regular basis to read it again. Later, as a mother, one of my children’s favorite books was basically a copy of Watership Down, which I found interesting.
  • A book that makes me think – during and after. Sometimes this thoughtfulness that a book provokes is in the form of a mystery that I can’t quite solve – but almost, sometimes it’s the ideas put forth, and sometimes it’s the sheer creativity of the author in what he or she created. For this reason, I love The Book Thief. Who would have thought of having Death be your narrator? Also, in this category would fit anything by Agatha Christie.
  • A book that makes me smile. In this category I would list books with lovable characters who find a way to succeed and overcome. Some of my favorites for this reason are A Man Named Ove and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. This is probably my favorite category, but it certainly overlaps with books that make me think.
  • A book I can’t wait to recommend to a friend. There are those books we read that disappoint us when they end simply because we’re not ready to leave them behind. I became so invested in the Harry Potter books (I read the last several out loud to my kids), that I didn’t want them to end. I loved how the series ended and found myself rereading the last few chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, just to savor that wonderful conclusion. And when a book does this to you, one way for it to continue is for you to tell a friend about it. When she finishes reading, you can talk about it and savor it together, making it all that much more satisfying.  I’ve done this with Secret Keeper (Kate Morton) and Sister (Rosamund Lupton). These books just have to be talked about and shared.

As a note: I purposely left non-fiction books out of this list. My favorite, oft-read books, are non-fiction – the scriptures. They fit in my life for an entirely different reason – giving me hope and a lift in my life.

So what makes a book a favorite of yours? I’d love to know – along with what some of those books are.


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Pick up a copy today while it’s on sale!

Today When I Was Seven is on sale for $.99!

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What surprises you about people?

For people I grew up with, it’s probably not surprising that I ended up writing books. I started writing short stories when I was 10 and wrote one I was particularly proud of, called The Violet, when I was 14. I shared it with my friends, who loved it. Jumping from short story writing to novel writing is a big leap – one I didn’t take for a few decades – but it still isn’t a complete shock.

What cracks me up is people I know now. When they find out I’ve published novels, they’re surprised. But what surprises them more is that my books are actually good. I think when we know someone, we don’t expect them to have hidden talents. So, I’ve come to accept that people I know read one of my books as a favor to me. They don’t expect much from it. Then I get phone calls, “I just read your book, and I loved it,” said in a very incredulous tone. “Wow, I didn’t know you were such a good writer.”

I decided not to take offense at the preconceived ideas people have, especially because they didn’t let those ideas stop them from actually reading the book. Now, if I could just get the others to read the book they bought …


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Book Signing at Bay Area Book Festival

Come join me at the Bay Area Book Festival https://www.baybookfest.org/.

I’ll be signing and selling books all day Saturday, June 3rd on Allston Way in Berkeley at the festival. Walking around is free. I’d love to see you!


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How Does It End?

You’ve probably heard the mantra, “Begin with the end in mind.” It’s become so cliche, that it’s almost lost its value. We say it, but do mean it? I’ve been thinking about this phrase lately and what it really means to me.

As an author, endings are everything to me. At a recent book signing, I was having a short discussion with a fellow author. We were sharing how we plan out the endings of our books at the start, way before much of the main plot is fleshed out. I go so far as to write the concluding chapter or chapters very early in the writing process. Those final images are so vivid in my head that they demand to be put on paper. Then everything in the story leads to that ending.

I’ve heard other authors lament that they’re not sure how to end a particular book. I am no help to them in these cases whatsoever. How can you even start writing a book if you don’t know how it’s going to end? I’m not trying to disrespect my fellow authors, I honestly just don’t understand. By having the ending in mind, I know how to focus and drive the story, with everything building up to the final chapters. It’s where I, as the author, have determined to take you on this particular reading journey.

Life, I’ve found, is much like my writing. If I don’t have an end in mind, then where the journey goes doesn’t much matter. I’m a religious person, so my end goal is a life righteously lived with no unresolved regrets. That ending drives and focuses my behavior. For example, if I’m rude to someone, I make a point to apologize and fix it. And I try to never be rude in the first place. Just like a novel, there are bumps along my path – some of my own making and some not. But to get to where I want to be, I find a way to make it through and over those bumps.

Turning again to books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland says it well when Alice meets the Cheshire cat:

“Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

Enough said. Your thoughts?


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Upcoming Book Signing!

Join me for a book signing:

This Saturday, February 25th
noon – 4 p.m.

Barnes and Noble
5249 S. State Street
Murray, UT 84107

Hope to see you there!

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Unexpected Joy

It’s been some time since I made a post here, and (obviously) my most recent posts have been about my books. As an author, that seems to be an occupational hazard – you always feel a need to market those books. So, today, I thought I’d take a break from that – for your benefit and mine.

This time of year can rush by us in such a hurry. There are so many errands to run, gifts to buy, treats to make, people to visit. For some, this is their favorite time of year, while for others it’s a difficult time for various reasons. I happen to fall into the earlier category, although some current situations threatened to throw me headlong into the later one instead. That’s when I started to find joy in unexpected places.

I’ve begun to notice how easy it is to have joy, regardless of our circumstances. Let me give you a few examples.

Earlier this year, our family made a trip that took us to an amazing museum. As we pulled into the underground parking lot across the street, my husband asked if we wanted to take an umbrella. It had  been completely dry above ground, so I shrugged off the suggestion. Boy, was that a mistake! Before we made it to the museum entrance, we got caught it a downpour of epic proportions (and no, I’m not exaggerating). We took shelter in a child’s play tunnel – until it started to flood. It was at this point that I grabbed my son and we made a mad dash for the museum entrance – not as easy or successful as it sounds. The roadway we had to cross was flooded, and cars did not want to let us cross even though we were in a crosswalk. Once safely across, we picked a pathway to the entrance that was flooded worse than the street had been. Meanwhile, VERY LOUD thunder was crashing all around us. By the time we made it to the entrance, we were completely drenched. (And despite buying dry t-shirts inside, we didn’t dry off until late that afternoon.) We could have been mad, distressed, or any number of things. Instead, as we sat there dripping, I started to laugh. My son, taking his cue from me, joined in. We laughed and laughed, even when my husband joined us – relatively dry, having retrieved the umbrella. It’s now one of our son’s favorite memories of the museum.

A more recent example comes from yesterday – the day I was originally going to write this post. Out of necessity, I replaced my old laptop last week. It was great for a couple of days, at which point, let’s just say – it wasn’t. So, I spent the entire day yesterday on the phone with tech support and in reinstalling everything after we did a complete system restore. But, I’m not upset. I’m grateful for my new computer. I’m grateful for a patient IT person on the other end of the line. Fortunately, while I have deadlines coming up, those deadlines weren’t yesterday. Sometimes things happen – that’s part of life. I’m just glad that they were fixable.

I guess the bottom line is that joy comes from gratitude and a decision to look for those things we can be grateful for. While I couldn’t afford the presents I wanted to give this year, I was able to give presents that were still from the heart. While my life isn’t as ordered as I thought it would be at this time, it does have order to it.

There is so much joy in everything around us. I’ve had several opportunities to walk past a Christmas tree lot in the last few weeks – It smells AMAZING! My children aren’t close around me, but I get to talk to them on a regular basis. I ended up sick on the day we were going to bake one of our traditional Christmas cookies, but my son sent some in the mail that arrived that very day. And for all of these examples, I could list dozens more.

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate this season – or even if you don’t celebrate any – there is joy to be found. Open your eyes and find it!



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