My newest novel is now available! I’m so excited for this one.
This project started years ago with a girl who popped into my mind and didn’t want to leave. Even as I worked on other stories, Gisela was never far away. She was looking for love, acceptance, some humor, and peace for her country—things most of us hope for in one form or another.
Princess Gisela of Steinland was born without color. Albino. To add to this curse, her betrothal to Prince Jerrik of Kronga ends in his death and starts a ten-year-war her father is determined to win, even if it means bringing her out of hiding to do it. Now the savage Krongon war commander, Bloodless Kristoff, seeks the hearts of the entire royal family, especially Gisela’s.
Desperate, her father agrees to another alliance that involves her marrying an old brute of a king. Unwilling to be the sacrificial lamb, Gisela goes on the run. Thrown into the center of a battle between three kingdoms, she finds herself fighting for her life and the right to be truly loved.
Can the girl who started the war find a way to end it?
As part of this project, I’ve combined my two great passions, music and books. The idea to compose a “soundtrack” for my novel came a while ago, but I credit my daughter with being the one to help me see that not only could I do it, but I should. It’s been a blast. So I’ve written 11 original piano solos to go along with the story. Songs include: “The Betrothal,” “Ryder,” “The Battlefield,” “Vengeance,” “The Village,” “Tranquility,” and more.
I also need to give a quick shout out to five students at BYU. Four of them helped edit this book as part of their English language editing capstone course: Emily, Rachel, Erica, and Ashley. They have been awesome!
Along with them, Alyse Myers, provided the artwork at the beginning of the book. She did such a lovely job of envisioning Gisela!
So check out the book and music and let me know what you think! And if you want to give a signed copy to your favorite readers for Christmas, order it here by Friday (US only).
Sometimes things get so messed up you have to pick up and get the heck out of Dodge. That’s what Liz Ruthersford does. Memories can be weapons, and hers have become incoming missiles. Fleeing home and her parents’ pity, she seeks refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows her tragic past. When she meets Bentley and Rawson Law, brothers with wounds of their own, life veers off course. Embers of hope flicker to life, but will bias, bitterness, and misunderstanding smother them before they burn bright enough to warm her heart? Or will she hit the highway and run once again? For readers who crave a clean, yet heart-pounding romance and redemption story, this one’s for you.
Side note: my book LIFE is free this weekend on Kindle.
Today my friend Charity Bradford is here to discuss book clubs. Charity and I have met a few times at the Midwest Storymakers Conference. She’s a fun, talented, sweet person, and she writes great scifi and fantasy (check out her books below her bio). So here she is:
I live pretty far from my dad, Gerald N. Lund. I’m in Michigan and he’s in Utah. That’s 1677 miles of a very long, very boring, very torturous I-80 drive through Nebraska and Wyoming. That’s a lot of Kum & Gos.
I love getting his advice on writing, books, and pretty much anything else (like how to survive 3 teenagers). But we aren’t able to do many book signings together because of the distance. So I thought it would be fun to do a book giveaway. I don’t remember my dad doing a giveaway like this in his forty years of writing, but when I asked him, he said, “That sounds fun. How many books do you want?” Love him!
Back in the spring, Emily Hope approached me about designing a cover and doing some formatting for a book she was working on. We’ve been working together ever since on this lovely, inspiring project.
What a privilege it has been!
(Emily also asked me to arrange a hymn mentioned in the book, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” This is a companion to her book and has become my new favorite hymn. The words and melody are gorgeous! More info below the interview.)
Emily’s book is now published and available. It’s called:
REBECCA: What is this book about and who can it help?
EMILY: Restoring Virtue is about how I was able to access the Atonement as a way to recover from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. How I changed a traumatic experience into a life full of blessings, happiness, and service. Essentially, this book is my testimony of God’s love, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and every other good and correct principle.
This book is not about standard treatments such as counseling, medication, or other common resources. It could be for someone who has explored standard treatments, but still feels like something is missing. Really, my book is for anyone who contemplates their relationship with God and is open to hearing how someone else experiences His presence.
REBECCA: I felt this as I read your story–that it is for more than just those who have been haunted by childhood abuse. It’s really a story of growth and spiritual healing. It’s beautiful.
What prompted you to tell your personal story?
EMILY: Two years ago, a combination of events aligned perfectly causing me to see my life with more honesty and clarity. My book describes these events in detail and how writing my story influenced the final step in my healing process.
The still small voice, just a whisper, planted the desire to write my testimony. The more I wrote the stronger this prompting became until it consumed my thoughts. I had to write. I had to get it out. I felt like Parley P. Pratt when he described reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. “I [wrote] all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred [writing] to sleep. As I [wrote], the spirit of the Lord was upon me … My joy was now full, as it were, and I rejoiced sufficiently to more than pay me for all the sorrows, sacrifices and toils of my life.”
Ultimately, I wrote my story so God may speak to another one of His children through my words. So other victims of abuse may experience hope.
REBECCA: And how glad I am that you did. Unfortunately abuse, specifically sexual abuse, affects more people than anyone would ever care to imagine. One statistic says that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. That number is disturbing and disgusting. And yet, I believe it. I know too many friends and loved ones whose lives have been traumatized by abuse. How wonderful that you’re willing to talk about it and share your healing.
Why an orchid on the cover? Tell us about its significance.
EMILY: The orchid on the cover is a symbol of my healing process coming to a close.
I experienced a tender mercy when a spike emerged from the orchid sitting on my kitchen windowsill the same week I began writing my story. It grew as my story grew, as if being fed by my testimony. After a period of blooming, it then died the week my story was complete. Like the orchid stores up its energy to bloom from beneath the ground, my testimony grew from the darkest trials to become something beautiful, something new, and bright.
Traditionally the orchid symbolizes love, beauty, strength, wealth, and protection. The spots are sometimes used to symbolize the blood of Christ and a new beginning.
REBECCA: Can you share a favorite quote/scripture/excerpt from your book?
EMILY: My favorite quote is from Elder Richard G. Scott, may he be at peace. He sums up the process in a few short words. “Love is a potent healer.” When you understand the meaning of true love, you hold the key to the mysteries of God.
“Each time I was blessed with God’s love, whether in small or significant ways, a little piece of my heart was healed. It could have just been a comforting feeling, a blessing, a prompting from the Spirit, a scripture I read, or one of the more significant moments when God’s grace pulled me out of the darkness. With each piece my heart was restored not to its original form, but to a new form God had created. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). I did not become the person I always yearned for, a flawed version of perfection, but the person God wanted me to be, the daughter He had thoughtfully gifted with eternal qualities.
“In each healing moment I learned something new and took another step towards God and towards becoming united with Him.”
REBECCA: Thanks for sharing. (See what I mean by beautiful?) This book is filled with quotes from church leaders and the scriptures, plus Emilisms, little truths Emily has come to know. I love that.
Do you plan to write more in the future?
EMILY: I won’t be writing any more books. However, I will continue writing onmy blog (Restoring-virtue.com)as inspiration strikes. For spiritual insights and growth taking place beyond the pages of my book.
REBECCA: Thank you again for sharing, Emily! I know your book will be a help and comfort to those who struggle!
ABOUT EMILY: I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend. I love cold weather, which is why I live in the beautiful state of Alaska. I love biking, picking berries in the wild Alaskan frontier, discount movies with my best friend, sharing spiritual experiences with my children, and the comfort of my husband’s hugs. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My life is blessed in more ways than I can count.
Do you love dystopian stories? Stories told in the future after a break down in society as we know it? I love dystopians. I’ve loved them for a long time, pondering all the “What if?” possibilities of human survival. Back in 1983, my father wrote a dystopian novel, The Alliance, and I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since.
HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY (notice the green apple?) and welcome to the fifth day of March BOOK Madness. (For a complete schedule and explanation, see below this post. If you’ve missed any days, make sure to catch up! It’s been awesome!)
Today my friend, Charissa Stastny, is here discussing the importance of writing book reviews. Charissa and I have been online writing friends for a few years. She is a sweetheart, a successful blogger, and the talented author of three novels. Check out her info/books below. I’ve followed Charissa’s book reviews for some time now, and have found new favorite authors based on her suggestions, so I really appreciate her sharing this topic with us today.
Here she is.
The Importance of Reviews by Charissa Stastny
Have you ever thought about purchasing a book, yet you’re not quite sure whether the story will be a right fit for you or not? What do you do?
I go straight to reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and start skimming. After reading some good ones, a few bad ones, and some middle-of-the-line reviews, I get a fair idea of whether I want to buy the book. Books with few reviews make people wonder what’s wrong with it. There might be nothing wrong with the novel; it could be brand new or it might not be marketed well enough by the author or publisher to get into the hands of the right readership. But when consumers see few reviews, a red flag goes up in their mind. Without reviews to judge by, it’s hard to get a glimpse of whether a book is good or not.
That’s why EVERY review is important, whether it’s short or long, super funny or very basic.