Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Road Show by Braden Bell

I always wanted to write a novel that included an original song, and Braden Bell has done it with his debute novel The Road Show.

I expected The Road Show to be about a corny road show, but it is no typical ward production with humorous lines. It is a story about the healing power of Jesus Christ, repentance, and understanding the true love of Christ. Bell wrote with such insight of Christ's love for us and our responsibility to care for each other that it brought tears to my eyes. He portrayed so well the incredible spiritual experience of the cast members.

Bell developed his characters well, made me feel uncomfortable enough with Scott's pornography addiction to feel the pain he was going through, but yet care enough about him to want to pull him away from his computer in his moments of weakness. I related to Eula and Ed, grew with Curtis and Stephanie as they come to understand the power of a loving Heavenly Father.

Here is the blurb:
Scott Jenson hates everything he knows about road shows especially the cheap costumes, silly songs, and bad acting. So when he finds himself agreeing to be the road show specialist, he wonders how he can do it without becoming the biggest fool in the ward. From miscues to missed practices, Scott directs his crew of amateur actors all while hoping that no one finds out about his secret.

Is there any way that this trivial road show can have a healing effect on the lives of five troubled souls? A pornography addict, a depressed young mother, a sick older woman, a lonely outcast, and a spiritually numb elder's quorum president are about to find out. Braden Bell gives a five-star performance with Road Show: Beauty for Ashes. With true-to-life characters, humorous situations, and tender realizations, this book is guaranteed to make you smile and applaud for more.

You can buy The Road Show here.
Hear the original song here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

First review of The Star Prophecy

Tina Scott has posted the first review of the Star Prophecy on her blog, "Totally Tina."

"Mrs. Sowards tells the account of Enoch and his friends as though intimately familiar with the era, and weaves her tale through both the Book of Mormon and the New Testament’s scriptural accounts of Christ’s birth in such a way that, as a reader, I was convinced it could have happened just as she told it."

Come and read her impressions of The Star Prophecy.

Thank you, Tina!

Buy The Star Prophecy at LDS bookstores and Amazon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meg's Melody by Kaylee Baldwin (and Interview!)

Meg's Melody is Kaylee Baldwin first novel and is now available on Amazon. I very much enjoyed ready this compelling story of a young woman who shortly after her husband leaves her, discovers she is expecting her first child. Going through the ailments of the first trimester, facing the prospects of being a single parent, slowly becoming active in the Church again, Meg finds the strength to carry on . . . "and an unexpected friendship to see her through. This touching story combines romance with real conflicts to remind you it's never too late to find love - if you know where to look."

Back Cover blurb:
She paced the small confines of her bathroom as she waited the obligatory two minutes for the result. Yet, part of her sensed the truth. Not only did Austin take her self-esteem and plans for happiness, but he also took her get-out-of-this-marriage-free card.

The plus sign glared at Meg from the white plastic frame of the pregnancy test. The test fell from her hands and clattered into the bathtub as Meg’s back slid against the wall until she reached the floor.

“I’m pregnant,” she said into the quiet.

Meg never imagined she'd end up like this. With nowhere else to turn, she's forced to rely on the family she pushed away, the church she abandoned, and an unexpected friendship to help her find her forgotten melody. Meanwhile Matt is still mourning the loss of his wife. But determined to keep things together for his daughter's sake, he decides starting over in a new place might be just what his family needs.

This touching story combines romance with redemption and real conflict to remind you it's never too late to find joy. Kaylee Baldwin's capable hand renders a sincere, heartfelt story of rediscovery and hope. Perfect for romantics of all ages, this book will captivate your heart and rekindle your belief in the magic of music.

* * *

Joan: Hi, Kaylee, and thank you for visiting my blog today! I like that you set Meg's Melody in Arizona. It adds to its unique storyline. Please tell us how you came up with the idea for Meg's Melody, and about the process you went through to get published.

I started writing Meg’s Melody about three years ago. Not wanting to shave my legs. There was this one night, mid-winter, when I didn’t want to shave my legs because it can be a real time-eater. While moping about this, I started feeling the voice of a character build up inside of me. So I pulled out a pen and a spiral notebook and wrote down a whole story about my character going on a shaving strike after her husband leaves her. It went through all of the stages of hairy legs (from prickly to soft), until she finds out she’s pregnant and decides she should shave before going to the OB. Thus, Meg’s voice was born.

I tried to write a little bit every week, but life kept getting in the way. Finally, about two years ago, I got serious about writing, joined a critique group, and finished the bulk of Meg’s Melody in about six months. It took about ten months of submitting and revising to get accepted by a publisher. Now, seven months later I finally have a copy of my book!

Joan: Why did you choose Meg for your main character's name?

Kaylee: Meg is one of my all-time favorite girl names, but it is also the name of my husband’s ex-girlfriend (you know, the one right before me, that we don’t really talk about.) So, naming a child Meg was nixed, but I can name my characters whatever I want.

Joan: I understand. My son has the same name as one of my last boyfriends, but my husband chose it. :-)

How does “Melody” in the title fit into the story?

A: Music is a big part of Meg's life. For as long as she can remember, she has felt connected with music in a way that mirrors her moods. She is also a high school music teacher. When her life spirals downward after her husband leaves, she feels disconnected from everyone and everything, including the melodies that have shaped her life. Before she can heal, she needs to let her love of music back into her heart.

Joan: After reading Meg’s Melody, I can tell music is also a big part of your life. How so?

I enjoy most music, but I especially love the piano. Growing up, my family couldn't afford a piano until I was seventeen, but I used to love listening to my friends play or tinkling around on our electric one. When we did get our old upright, I immediately signed up for lessons. Even now, when I write, I love to have music in the background (Jim Brickman is my favorite), to help me to relax and focus. I also play the violin and love making up songs and melodies to sing to my children. I can't imagine life without music!

Joan: What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Kaylee: Just keep writing! It can get really discouraging at times, but just keep revising, learning, growing, and trying. There were many times you may want to give up, but a walk around the block, a pep talk from someone who believes in you, a personal deadline, and rewards for meeting that deadline can give you a lot of motivation to keep pressing forward.

Joan: Okay. Something off the subject of writing. How about telling us your most embarrassing moment?

Kaylee: Oh, man. I thought I wouldn’t have to answer these questions anymore once I got out of school. I have too many moments to list! The most recent one, though, was the last time I went to get a massage. I took big, white granny panties with me to wear for the massage. When I left the spa, I threw them in the backseat of the car because I was going to a church activity and didn’t want granny panties to fall out of my purse. Well, about a week later, my husband comes in the house after being at a scout activity all morning, my granny panties dangling from his finger. Apparently, the boys (about 15 years old) found them in the backseat of the car on the way to the activity, and wanted to know why their leader had a pair of women’s underwear in the backseat of his car. *waggle eyebrows here* Oops.

Joan: That is embarrassing. What are you working on now?

Kaylee: I’m editing my 2nd novel right now, a contemporary YA. I’m also working on another LDS romance that follows a minor character from Meg’s Melody.

Joan: Oooo! I can't wait to find out who it is. Thank you for the interview and best wishes for the success of Meg's Melody.

Kaylee: Thank you!

To learn more, visit Kaylee's blog.