Aug 15

She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland

She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland

She Stood for Freedom by Loki Mulholland

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a white teenager in the South during Segregation who put herself on the front lines of the Civil Rights struggle. This is the first biography about her experiences, published simultaneously in picture book and middle grade editions, detailing the many events she participated in. She attended demonstrations and sit-ins and was one of the Freedom Riders in 1961 who was arrested and put on death row for months at the notorious Parchman Penitentiary. She was the first white person to join in the 1963 Woolworth s lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi, and that same year participated in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965 which contributed to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act that year. Her willingness to stand up for justice has been an inspiration, ”Anyone can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don’t have to change the world . . . just change your world.”

The edition for readers ages 8 and older uses collage art and blends photographs from the period with the text, and features sidebar commentary from Joan, reflecting on those years. It also includes riveting primary source documents from Joan’s personal archives like the letter sent to Joan’s mother during Joan’s arrest at Parchman Penitentiary. On official letterhead of the state, the warden exhibits the deep racism of the time by admonishing her mother for permitting a ”white minor girl to gang up with a bunch of Negro bucks and white hoodlums.” This edition of She Stood for Freedom unforgettably and insightfully conveys the turmoil and tone of the Civil Rights era.

My Review:

I think this is a great and important book. Too often, I believe, we view the history of Civil Rights as something that belongs to African Americans. This book reminds us that the battle for Civil Rights lifted us all.

The story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland erases the line between “us” and “them.” It teaches children that they, too, can stand up for what’s right. Through this book, they learn that they can make a difference in the world. And it helps them to see that we are all brothers and sisters in the human family, regardless of race or anything else that seemingly divides us.

The story is presented in small chunks of information, perfect for teaching children. The original photography and images of historical documents add interest and enhance learning. The artwork of Charlotta Janssen is stunning and evocative.

This is an excellent book for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents to add to their libraries.


Aug 09

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast in this Steampunk Proper Romance

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border.

Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Could Miles be to blame for the deaths?

Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Also includes a bonus prequel novelette entitled Marie’s Story.


I really enjoyed this book. Allen does a great job avoiding the flaws of the original Beauty and the Beast story. Her Beauty is not only beautiful but also brainy. Lucy is a strong woman with determination. She is not captured and held against her will; rather, it is her will that keeps her in the castle. Likewise, the Beast in this story is not truly a brute, but a man who believes that others see him as a monster. Instead of changing Miles, she reflects the truth of who he is that leads him to accept himself. The result is a pair of characters that are engaging and that we care about.

I also enjoyed the way Allen seamlessly weaves the steam punk elements into her setting. Those elements are not only entertaining but are used as an integral part of the story. This is the first steam punk book that I’ve read, and it was a great introduction to the genre.

About the Author:

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of 12 published novels and several novellas, which encompass a variety of genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. Her Civil War series, Faith of our Fathers, won the Utah Best of State award in 2005 and two of her historicals featuring Isabelle Webb, Pinkerton spy, were finalists for the Whitney Award. She served on the 2015 LDStorymakers Conference Committee and currently serves as the marketing coordinator for The Teen Writers Confrerence. She has presented at numerous conferences and events since her initial publication in 1999.

Aug 03

$5 Family Fun by Meggan Spicer

$5 Family Fun e-Book Cover jpg versionDoing fun activities with the family gets expensive, but now with Meggan’s $5 Family Fun, you can make, bake, and do incredibly fun things with your young family for under $5. Using dollar store finds, free local services, generic bands, and common household items, you can make every day an adventure. Gather your whole family together for inexpensive family fun activities and memories that last forever.

My Review:

As the mother of six kids, I was always looking for ways to engage them in fun activities. This book includes 50 different activities all in one place. I liked that the book was organized first by holiday, with additional activities following. I also appreciated that there was a nice variety to choose from, and I found the instructions easy to follow. Two of my favorite activities are explained below.

Easter - Carrot PatchCarrot Patch – $4

You don’t have to have a green thumb to make this garden grow. Let the kids help you make this tasty and adorable carrot patch dessert. You can make your garden bed(s) as big or small as you like. You can make one larger one for the whole family or you can each make your own individual carrot gardens.


Vanilla or Chocolate Wafer Cookies from dollar store – $1

Chocolate Crème-Filled Cookies from dollar store – $1

White Icing from dollar store – $1

Mike & Ike® boxed candy from dollar store – $1

2 Household Baggies from the kitchen – $0


Fill one baggie with white icing and then snip one corner to create a pastry bag.

On a plate, build your raised garden bed by bonding the wafer cookies together with the icing.

Lay more wafer cookies down to create a floor to your garden bed.

To create your dirt, fill the second baggie with chocolate crème-filled cookies, seal and crush with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Liberally fill the garden bed with the crushed cookies.

Make the carrots, first by taking green Mike & Ike candies and snip them into smaller pieces with kitchen shears or thoroughly washed household scissors to create the carrot tops. The now exposed inside of the candy will be sticky in texture and you can just press it firmly onto the top of orange Mike & Ike candies that will serve as the carrots.

Gently insert your finished candy carrots into your crumbled cookie dirt.

Marbelized Eggs6

Marbleized Eggs – $4

These marbleized eggs are both pretty and pretty easy to make. Plan ahead though as this project needs to sit overnight.


Dozen Eggs (generic brand) from grocery store – $2

Shaving Crème from dollar store – $1

Liquid Food Coloring (4-pack of red, green, blue & yellow) from starter kit- $0

Toothpicks from dollar store – $1


Boil eggs in a slow rolling boil for 10 minutes until hard boiled. Immediate drain hot water off eggs cool down eggs with a combination of cold water and ice.

Marbelized Eggs2

Fill a cooking dish with a thin layer of shaving crème. Place drops of food coloring in a variety of colors mixtures into the shaving crème and then swirl the colors into the shaving crème with a toothpick. For additional color options, see color guide at the bottom of this chapter.

Marbelized Eggs4With kitchen tongs, roll the now cooled and dried eggs in the streaked shaving crème until thoroughly covered on all sides.

Place on a wire cake rack or if you don’t have one, use a sheet of wax paper.

For a different color combination, wash out your shaving crème dish and start over fresh.

Let finished eggs dry overnight and then wipe off remaining shaving crème the next day with a paper towel. Handle with care though as color from the food coloring can wear off slightly onto your hands.

Marbelized Eggs5Blended Color Guide:

Purple – 3 red drops + 2 blue drops

Lime Green – 3 yellow drops + 1 green drop

Orange – 2 red drops + 3 yellow drops

Sea Green – 1 yellow drop + 2 blue drops

Peach – 1 red drop + 2 yellow drops

$5 Family Fun the e-Book can be found on iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books & Things. Connect with Meggan at:
on Instagram @megganspicer


Jul 18

Artist Date: Into the Wilds

Artist Date: Into the Wilds



To finish off my 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way, I treated myself to an extended artist date. My husband drove me into the wilds to his family’s cabin at what is fondly known as “The Ranch.”

The Ranch

The Ranch

The weather was beautiful, and I was surrounded by wildlife. Robins hopped around all day, every day, flirting with each other, teasing me by staying just out of reach. Butterflies, yellow, pink, orange, white, and blue, flitted from wildflower to wildflower. The swallowtails were particularly attracted to the American flag that fluttered in the breeze. The cabin sat among blue bells, and yellow, white, pink, and purple flowers I wish I had the names for. Deer came to visit, fearlessly, watching me as I watched them as if daring me to do something threatening but knowing I never would.

I enjoyed three days all to myself, soaking in that solitude that artists crave. Each morning, I greeted the day with sun salutations outside. Yoga outdoors is quite different than indoors; I really liked it.

I was able to write several times during the day. Inspiration flowed like fresh air. Following a writing prompt, I wrote a poem about the things I love. On its heels, I wrote a simple haiku:

Aspen leaves quaking

Tiny summertime jazz hands

Dancing out of reach.

Was it a great haiku? Probably not, but it was playful and fun, and that is what has been missing from my writing, from my life.

Suddenly, I found myself ready to try editing. Now, I’ve tweaked my short fiction here and there, but I’ve never attempted to edit something really big. Like a novel. At the ranch, I found myself drawn to The Empathy Project. I took it out and reread it. It was good, and with a bit of elbow grease, I could make it better.

I hiked nearly every day. I wandered around the cabin and visited those of extended family members nearby. I took a wrong turn and got lost in the marsh, and I discovered this beautiful lace-winged moth. The sound of the river beckoned, and I followed the trail to its shores, took my shoes off, and dipped my feet in the icy water.

Playing Cards

Playing Cards

After my three days alone, my family came up to join me. As much as I thought I loved the solitude, I was grateful to have them with me again. I missed them! Together, we hiked, swam at the swimming hole, played card games until it was dark and cold, and laughed, laughed, laughed. My goodness, I had forgotten how to laugh like that.

I was ready to come home by the end of the week. It wasn’t so much that I missed the internet as that I missed my hot baths and my comfy bed. But, my artist date did what it was supposed to do: it filled my soul and reminded me that I’m a writer, and I love to write.


Jul 15

Delicate Things

Delicate Things


I spread my legs

And I spread my wings.

I remind myself they’re not the same thing,

But I can be a whore

And a butterfly

At the same time.

I’m far away,

A tiny speck of yellow against

A cloudless sky

Dipping down to drink from

Daisies, desert roses,

Queen Anne’s lace and


I quench my thirst.

I wonder who I am this time,

His first love,

The one that got away,

His mother,

Or his wife,

Waiting for him at home.

He finishes.

I take a shower to wash him away.

This growing stack of bills

Will pay the cable for another month.


Jun 10

Consequence by C.R. Langille

Consequence by C.R. Langille

Consequence by C.R. Langille

Consequence: A Novel in the Dark Tyrant Series

What started as a hunting trip for Tobias Evard Warner II and his friends turns into a fight for survival during a supernatural storm which kicks off the apocalypse. The storm awakens and frees seven powerful creatures who were locked away at the beginning of the world’s creation. The Seven turn nightmares into reality and leave nothing but chaos and death in their wake. Tobias fights his way through a nightmare infested wilderness to get back home to his family. With the unleashed terrors come newfound magical powers for Tobias, but at a cost. Will he sacrifice everything to ensure his family’s safety, even if it means his own soul? Angels, demons, ancient cosmic beings, and even a dimensional-traveler clad in a trench coat made of duct tape come together in this fast-paced novel of magic, darkness, and consequences.

About the Author:

C.R. Langille spent many a Saturday afternoon watching monster movies with his mother. It wasn’t long before he started crafting nightmares to share with his readers. An avid hunter and amateur survivalist, C.R. Langille incorporates the Utah outdoors in many of his tales. He is an affiliate member of the Horror Writer’s Association (organizer for the Utah Chapter), a member of the League of Utah Writers, and received his MFA: Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Purchasing Information:


Barnes & Noble:

Jun 08

WIP Wednesday: Cocoon

Inspired by my friend, Mercedes M. Yardley’s post, I decided to do my first ever WIP Wednesday. For those of you wondering if WIP stands for Rest In Peace for those with a lisp, the answer is no. It means “Work In Progress.”

Now, that could describe a lot of things going on in my life right now. I’m learning how to live my truth as a Type 3 in the Dressing Your Truth (DYT) program. I’m hiking to improve my health, and it’s going super fantastically well. I’m on week 10 in The Artist’s Way program. And I’m doing a lot of emotional healing through The Presence Process by Michael Brown (which I’ll review in a future post). However, the WIP I’m going to tell you about today is my current writing project.

Cocoon by Shelli Proffitt Howells

Cocoon by Shelli Proffitt Howells

Cocoon: My journey of healing sexual abuse through the gift of chronic illness

“There are two kinds of pedophiles. I know, because I was molested by both.

“I used to believe I was broken and nothing could fix me. I believed that my experiences had changed me in irrevocable ways. I would always hurt. I would always be vulnerable to triggers. I would always bring my molesters to bed with me. I would always live in a dissociative state. I would never be able to really love life, because after all these years, death was still the more appealing choice. I still wanted to go home.

“Then, in the fall of 2006, I became sick with a puzzling illness. It stripped me of my life and my identity, leaving me isolated in my cocoon. My chronic illness broke me down in ways that allowed me to rebuild my life. It opened me to healing resources that I don’t believe I would have found any other way.

“Now, you don’t have to become sick to be able to heal from sexual abuse. Thankfully, we have the opportunity in life to learn from others’ experiences. It is my hope that by sharing my story, you will be able to find what you need to heal yourself, too.”

I started this project as a secret. It was going to be just for me. How else could I have written the words that spilled onto the page? However, the more I’ve written, the more I realized that I’m tired of keeping secrets. If I truly want to heal, I need to share my story.

This post is the first step to sharing my secrets. It’s pretty scary. It makes me feel vulnerable. But it makes me feel powerful, too. I want to feel powerful.

So, tell me, are you a work in project? What are you working on today?

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