Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Stellar Review

by Marsha Ward

Trail of Storms
got another review that made me jump for joy. In fact, the reviewer, Jennie Hansen, who writes for Meridian Magazine, included her thoughts on the first two books in the Owen family series, as well.

Hansen begins by saying, "
Trail of Storms by Marsha Ward is the third book in a western series featuring the Owen family that takes place during those first years following the conclusion of the US Civil War."

In between, she says some very lovely things, then ends thusly:
"Historical and Western fans of either gender will enjoy this series from the compelling covers to the last word of this third volume. It's a series I'm glad I had the opportunity to read."

My reaction?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Happy, Joy Joy!

by Marsha Ward

I've had a busy May. Not because I have children finishing up school, since I'm beyond that in my stage of life. It's because of the craziness related to having a new book come out, plus life in general. You can read about some of my adventures last week here or here.

Um, about that last link. Yes, I've taken on another blog. I've been asked to be a perma blogger at The Millennial Star. The Administrator joked about nepotism, since my nephew, Ben Pratt, already blogs there, but I don't think Ben lobbied to get me the post.

On Sunday evening I got word that a review of Trail of Storms had been posted on LDS Fiction Review. To my great delight, "Erin" (all the reviewers on the site are anonymous) gave me 4 1/2 Stars. The awesome thing about that is she doesn't even like historical fiction. Besides that, it's the highest rating she's given since she joined the site! The news made this week a very happy one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book Signing Fun

First, a shout out to Cy Tymony, who commented on my last post. Thanks! Six books in the series!

Next, I had a solo book signing yesterday at the local library. It was four hours of fun talking to folks, checking my email, tweeting a bit, and selling a few books. Am I disappointed that the book sales were in the single digits?


Many authors mistakenly think book signings are about selling loads of books. Wrong. Book signings are about making contacts, sharing smiles, building friendships, directing people to the restroom, and getting to know the personnel in the location--in this case, librarians. They are about networking, building your brand, and reaching out to people to encourage them to read.

Too many people these days don't, you know. Read, that is. Too many other activities whirl them away in this fast-paced life of ours. They don't have time to sit down and relish living another life, perhaps another time, within the pages of a book.

That's really too bad, very sad. Humans need the recharging time, the relaxation and getting outside their own troubles for a while. I recommend reading for that respite.

Next time you see an author at a book signing, share a smile with them, even if you don't buy their book. They may not yet know that you can be friends for that brief moment, that they can enjoy the process of getting their name and their books known.

Monday, May 11, 2009


By Marcia Mickelson

I don't like doing research. I just like to start writing even though I don't have all the information. That's probably why I could never historical novels. They require too much research.

Even with contemporary books, there is still research to be done. Thankfully, we have the Internet which makes research a lot easier. Even there, you can't find all the answers.

With my latest manuscript, I've had to research several aspects of the story. The Internet has played a large role, but I've also had to talk to people who have specific knowledge. Thanks to Facebook for helping me reconnect with a friend from high school who is now a doctor. He has been so kind to answer many medical questions I have. He has taken time to respond, very quickly, I might add to my questions.

There is a man in my church who is a police officer and he recently took the time to answer a few questions I e-mailed him. A friend of a friend of a friend took time to respond to an e-mail I sent her about Scotch. A sister-in-law of a friend answered some questions I had about Child Protective Services. The list goes on.

All of those e-mails, facebook messages, phone calls to people with extensive knowledge about certain subjects count as research. I'm thankful all of these kind people have taken the time to answer these questions. Doing the research is part of writing, no matter how undesirable the task is. Making sure you get it right as you write will make the story believable and stronger. So, research on.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things

by Marsha Ward

I frequently get books on tape from the library, since the tape player in my car functions while the CD player doesn't. I like audio books. They help me while away the time that I have to spend in my car to reach civilization. I also "read" them at bedtime.

Sometimes, though, the cassettes can jam, or stall, and necessitate winding from one mini-reel to the other by hand. This process is slow using a little finger. It goes a bit faster using the handle of a spoon or fork, but it's not really fast. I've longed for a manual audio cassette rewinder to tuck away for these

Last night was such an occasion. I'm "reading" Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, the unabridged version read by Martin Jarvis. It's a masterwork, but it comes on 120-minute tapes, and they are notorious for causing problems. If your tape player is underpowered, it can chug slowly along when it gets past the midpoint--slowing and distorting the reproduction, or lose power entirely. If you need to rewind the tape, forget it!

The tape stalled and needed to be rewound. I decided it was time to find my desired manual audio cassette rewinder, so went to my computer and googled the term.

The search came up with plenty of DVD cassette rewinders, and several for small video recorder cassettes, but the only options showing for audio cassettes were commercial products for up to six cassettes, running between $330 and $550.

Not exactly what I had in mind.

However, on page three was a reference and link to a book, Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, which promised that a manual audio cassette rewinder was within my budget. I clicked on the link and arrived at Google Books.

Complete instructions--with illustrations--ensued about how to turn a large paperclip into the device I longed for. I immediately got up, found a paperclip and a pair of pliers, and made the item. It works GREAT! (Notice the turned ends? That's MY innovation to prevent pokes!)

Then I clicked on the Amazon link to the book, by Cy Tymony, and put it on my wish list. The volume has two follow-ups: Sneakier and Sneakiest Uses, etc. I highly recommend these books for interesting reading and for following your inner MacGyver.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ahh...Women's Conference

by Elodia Strain

Ahh…Women's Conference.

If you’ve ever known an LDS woman, you’ve probably heard of this hugely fun and uplifting event.

This year I was able to do a book signing on the last day of the conference, and it was AWESOME! Here’s why, in a nutshell:

First, I shared a time slot and table with Josi Kilpack, whose interview with Nancy Campbell Allen precedes this post. It was so fun to get to know Josi, who I realized I had only met electronically before. She’s as sweet and cool as her new book, Lemon Tart!

Second, I was able to meet so many of my readers—who hailed from everywhere from Spokane, Washington to Mexico! It was an absolute honor to meet you! You make what I do worth it. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

Third, I was able to think about the wonder of books. To think about my friends who have books coming out this month: Fellow Ink Lady Marcia Mickelson’s book Pick-Up Games is out this month, and it is FABULOUS. Really, I flipped through the pages of the thing like you wouldn’t believe. To think of those whose new books I’ve finally been able to read: I picked up a personalized copy of Ink Lady Marsha Ward’s, Trail of Storms and am falling in love with historical fiction again. And mostly, to think about how in an age when news headlines are almost too much to bear, there is no shortage of good books that can remind us of what’s good in our lives, in our world, and in ourselves.

Thanks, BYU, for another amazing conference!