Friday, February 27, 2009

The Forgotten Warrior Virtual Book Tour

Today I have the privilege of hosting a virtual book tour stop for Kathi Oram Peterson's novel The Forgotten Warrior.

Forgiveness has never been an attribute of sixteen-year-old Sydney Morgan's. Loyal and loving to her mother and sister, a crisis forces her to find her absent father, which in turn begins a chain of events leading her to the last place and time she would have ever expected.

The Forgotten Warrior follows Syd as she is transported back to Book of Mormon times by touching a mysterious clear stone. She meets Chief Captain Helaman; nursemaid, Mariah; and the stripling warriors. They believe Syd to be a boy, and worse yet, Helaman's second-in-command, Tarik, thinks Syd is a Lamanite spy and threatens to kill her.

Come follow Sydney as she desperately tries to find her way back home, fights to gain Helaman's respect, and despite herself, falls in love with Tarik.


I'm glad I was asked to be a part of this book tour. I enjoyed reading The Forgotten Warrior. The book was well written and a pleasure to read, and should appeal to both young men and women.

To go along with the book, Kathi is holding a "Latter-day Stripling Warrior Contest." You can nominate a girl or boy between the ages of 8 and 18 to be a Latter-day Stripling Warrior simply by writing down a kind deed or deeds that the youth has done. Entry forms are available on Kathi's website. Click on "Events," then print out the entry form and mail it to Kathi.

Every entrant gets a certificate showing that they are a Latter-day Stripling Warrior, and the grand prize is a $50 gift certificate from Amazon.com.

To purchase a copy of The Forgotten Warrior click here.

An Interview with Kathi Oram Peterson

As part of today's Virtual Book Tour, I am including an interview with the author of The Forgotten Warrior, Kathi Oram Peterson.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? I have always enjoyed reading novels, but the writing bug didn’t bite until after I’d had my first child. My first book was dreadful. I’ve written many unpublished books and with each one I’ve learned more. Tell us a little bit about your book/s. Which ones are your favorites if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book: The first few books I wrote were romantic suspense. I love the challenge of plotting a good suspense and I’ve always been partial to romance. When the time comes, I hope I can revisit those books and make them marketable. The Forgotten Warrior, which is my debut young-adult novel, was a pleasure to write. My son suggested I write about the stripling warriors. I wanted to have a young woman as my protagonist, and I wanted her to be from our time. So, of course, she had to travel through history. The story really took off from there. I loved imagining what Captain Helaman was like. I used Friberg’s famous painting of Captain Helaman with the stripling warriors for inspiration, but a picture really doesn’t tell a lot, so I did as much research as I could and from there I developed my version of Captain Helaman and his warrior sons. I also wanted to use actual events from the Book of Mormon and write the story around the battles and trials the warriors lived through.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon? I turned in a sequel of The Forgotten Warrior to my publisher. They really liked it but wanted to see how well the first book is accepted before committing to another book. However, they did accept a little Christmas story I sent them, An Angel on Main Street which will be out in the fall of 2009. This story, which takes place in 1953, is very near and dear to my heart. I created a small fictional town in Idaho. Eleven-year-old Micah Connors and his little family have recently moved to town. Micah’s father was killed in the Korean War. His mother works as a waitress and his little sister, Annie, is very sick. A few days before Christmas, a nativity begins to appear in the center of town. No one knows who is building it. Annie tells Micah that she believes when the baby Jesus arrives he’ll make her well. Her condition worsens and Micah doesn’t think she can wait until Christmas. He ‘s desperate to find the nativity builder and borrow the Jesus doll for Annie. I won’t spoil it and tell you how things turns out.

My most recent project is again a two book project titled Chasing the Star. It is another YA time-travel adventure. The story is told from three different points of view: Marcus, a Roman Centurian; Rachel, a 19 year-old girl, and Joshua, her 12 year-old brother. It’s Christmastime and Rachel has come home from college. She doesn’t know how she is going to tell her parents that she’s dropping out of school to pursue a singing career. Worse yet, she has kept an even more disturbing secret from her family. For years Rachel and her father tried to prove that there was a real star of Bethlehem. But Rachel’s astronomy professor has convinced her there was no such star. In fact, Rachel has lost her faith in God. Upon her arrival home, she finds that her parents were killed in a car accident and Josh was badly hurt. She goes to her brother, but when she is called to the nurses’ station to fill out paper work, Joshua disappears. As Rachel searches for her brother, she is given a stone which sends her back in time to the belly of pirate ship sailing on the Mediterranean. There will be more to come.


What one thing are you the most proud of in your life? My family. As life has given us highs and lows we’ve clung together. My husband is the rock in my life. My children, who are all adults now, are kind and caring people. Last year my husband was away on my birthday, but my children brought me dinner, cake and ice-cream and celebrated with their mum. My son-in-law takes such good care of my daughter and grandson. I truly feel blessed to be a part of their lives.


What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing? I have two girls and one boy. They are grown now and are very supportive of my writing. My brothers and my sister have always encouraged me to write. My parents did as well. They have both passed on, but I’d like to think they’re proud of me. I miss them every day.


The main characters of your stories - do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you? Sydney Morgan isn’t anything like me…except I’d like to think I have her faith. She is short tempered, holds a black belt in karate, and is very courageous. I could never do what she does. I think that is why I liked her so. She can do things I can’t or wouldn’t even attempt. Tarik, a stripling warrior and second-in-command to Captain Helaman has nothing in common with me, except I’d like to think that someday I will have his loyalty and ability to always do what is right.


Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor? For years I adored Mary Higgins Clark. The first book I read of hers, Where Are The Children, grabbed me from page one. I even met her once in Omaha, Nebraska at a writers’ conference. Very inspiring woman, who has paid her dues for the success she now enjoys. I’ve also admired Francine Rivers’ novels especially her Voice in the Wind saga. I have many mentors. I belong to a wonderful writing group with many authors. We’ve been meeting for over 20 years. They are all my mentors.


When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book? I remember two books that made impressions on me: The Wizard of Oz and Lassie Come Home. In the book The Wizard of Oz, one of the characters becomes stuck in the middle of a river. That scene scared me so, but I couldn’t put the book down. And who could read how Lassie finally made it home without crying?


Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I grew up in Rigby, Idaho. I was very fortunate to experience a small town. My father owned a Firestone Store on Main Street. For a few years we lived in an apartment over the store. I could peer out our living room window and watch people milling about the sidewalks. The main highway ran right through the middle of town, so there was a lot of traffic: diesels, farm trucks and cars. The town had a great influence on my book An Angel on Main Street. While living there my mother suffered a heart attack. I was sent to stay with my parents’ friends who owned a farm. I loved playing in the barns, watching the kids milk the cows and jumping around on the haystacks.

I now live in the Salt Lake area. A big theater complex is a block away as well as restaurants and grocery stores. In many ways my neighborhood reminds of my childhood and growing up in a small town, though children aren’t as free to play as they were in my day. I like where I live, but I’d also like to someday have a cabin in the mountains.


Do you have any pets? Tell us about them. I have a Yorkshire Terrier named Miss Elizabeth Bennett. We call her Lizzie. I have always been a fan of Jane Austin’s. Lizzie is my buddy who follows me around the house all day. She curls up on her pillow under my desk as I write, and she’s always happy to see me.


Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published? Although it’s taken me many years to find success I’m glad my first published novel is The Forgotten Warrior. There were days when I felt as though I was being guided as I wrote.


What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing? My deepest wish is to inspire young adults to believe in themselves, have faith in God, and to read, read, read!


How has having a book published changed your life? The publishing world brings new worries and new demands on a writer, but what wonderful demands. I love having an editor excited to read my work. My editor has been such a pleasure to work with. Plus I’ve met some wonderful people I wouldn’t have otherwise.


Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it? This recently happened as I was writing Chasing the Star. I had to do a ton of research and found the story of Julia, the daughter of Augustus Caesar. She started taking over my story, pushing Rachel aside. As soon as I realized what was happening, I retraced my steps, deleted quite a few pages and started again. The result is a much stronger story.


Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Starting on January 15th I start a book tour that will take me from Rexburg, Idaho to Mesa, Arizona. For details of where and when I’ll be signing please check out my website at www.kathiorampeterson.com under Events. I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Life, the Universe, and Everything

This past week while I was visiting Utah for work, I carved a few hours out of my Saturday morning to attend the annual Life, the Universe, and Everything symposium at BYU. It was very well worth the time and effort. I regret that I only got to spend 4 hours in what was a 3-day event.

L. E. Modesitt, Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland), Brandon Sanderson, and Eric James Stone. It appears that successful SciFi/Fantasy writer guys need to wear black shirts and stare authorially into the distance.

Laura Hickman, James Dashner, L. E. Modesitt, Dave Wolverton, Brandon Sanderson, Mette Ivie Harrison, and Paul Genesse. Someone needs to give the Dashner Dude that black shirt memo. (Apparently girls can get away with turtlenecks)

Tracy Hickman gave the day's main address.

Jessica Day George, Clint Johnson, Laura Swift, Stacy Whitman, Dan Wells, Aprilynne Pike, Julie Wright.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crash! Bang! Boom! Wah!

I think it might have been a mistake to fast on Sunday. I was already wiped out from the trip I took last week, and could barely get myself out of bed Sunday morning. But it was a special ward fast, so I decided to go ahead and participate.

I was very tired all through church, but didn't really have a problem until I was on the way home.

As we get off the freeway a mile from our house, there are two gas stations on the corner, and things can get rather chaotic. This is the situation I found myself in Sunday afternoon. A car was coming out of the gas station on the right, and the lady was rolling and looking the other way. I thought to myself, She's going to hit me if she doesn't pay attention.

Unfortunately, with my low blood sugar and fatigue I wasn't able to process the whole situation as quickly as needed, and I noticed too late that the car in front of me had stopped to turn left into the other gas station.

I stomped on the brakes, but didn't manage to stop in time.

Fortunately nobody was hurt, and neither car suffered a whole lot of damage. It looked like the poor (hysterical) girl in the other car will just need to have the rear bumper replaced - I don't think any of her metal got bent.

Here is a picture of the damage on our van. It doesn't look too bad, but the radiator mount got pushed up inside and cracked the radiator. Obviously the turn signal is ruined and there is a little damage to the grill. The left front fender is pushed back enough to interfere with the driver's door.

Given the age and condition of the van, the insurance company has written it off as a total loss. This is based on the cost of repairing both functional and cosmetic damage. However, the amount they will be giving us is double the cost of making the van functional again, so this part of it might not turn out all that bad.

What happens to our insurance premiums is still unknown. I also don't know if I'll get a ticket for this. Technically, both drivers share some fault, as she was trying to turn left across a double yellow line. However, since that's the exact same thing the policeman did when he arrived on the scene, I doubt he will give it much consideration.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Auntie Jen and the Girls

I got a chance to see my sister Jen and a couple of her girls the other night.

Quincy and McKenna were both very sweet.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dinner at Greg's


Last night my dad took my sister and I to Greg's restaurant at UVU. Greg's is a Culinary Arts Institute student-run restaurant located in the McKay Events Center at UVU. Last night's menu was Creole. I had the breaded catfish. Dad had the alligator.

I was quite impressed. It was a great meal for just $20, and it was kinda fun knowing that the food was all coming from people doing their college work.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dinnertime

We had a family get together last night. Here are some pictures.

My sister Noreen and niece Rachael.

Noreen and I.

Sisters Karra, Marri, Noreen and I.

Some of the cousins.

My mom, the master chef.

Aunt Irene, Uncle Frank, and my brother-in-law, Dale.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Utah Trip Update

The pump truck came to empty our septic tank and bank account. (Sigh.) Oh, well. I got my clothes washed, dried, and packed, and made it to Utah Monday night.

Alyssa cried and cried before I left, insisting that she was coming with me. I was packed early enough to give her nearly an hour of snuggle time before I had to leave, and that calmed her down. However, I'm told that shortly after I left she had another melt down and began stuffing clothes into a bag so she could go with me. Fortunately, Anna came home not long after that and Kara convinced them to make a paper chain counting down the days until I get home.

Wow, do I feel special.

Yesterday was a productive day. The printer people I'm in the office to work with come today. We'll have a meeting and figure out a schedule, and then I'll know what the rest of my week looks like.

During the evenings, my week is booked. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tonight. I'll be sure and post pictures tomorrow.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Most Unusual President's Day

I like President's Day. I have the day off from work, but the girls are still in school. Perfect!

This year, the day is not quite so perfect.

Alyssa has a cold. She's staying home from school.

Kara has a cold, too.

Shari has a cold, too

One of Kara's friends had to leave the place she was staying Saturday. She's been sleeping on our couch the last few nights. She now has a cold, too.

I'm getting ready to leave on a trip to the home office, and I'm all packed except for a few things that need to be washed.

However, we can't run the washing machine (or anything else that uses water) because the septic system is almost backed up. The pump truck is on the way. They should be here in 90 minutes or so.

Yes, this is turning out to be a most interesting President's Day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone is having a great Valentine's Day.

Alyssa invited me to come to her party at school yesterday. She's been talking about this party for weeks! Here are a couple of pictures with her and her friends.

She made Valentines for Kara and I. On my Valentine, she did all of the lettering herself. That's quite a milestone for her.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hide the Camera, It's Time to Exercise

I've been doing a pretty good job at exercising every morning, at least a little bit. I've decided to mix it up a little, and have added the Raving Rabbids TV Party dance numbers to my routine. This has been both good and bad.

For those unfamiliar with these mini-games, the idea is that you are shown a series of dance moves that you need to follow in time, using the Wii controllers and the balance board. The game screen looks something like this:

It's a lot of fun, and really gets me working. I imagine doing the dances I look something like this:

Unfortunately, the other day Anna decided to pull out the video camera and record what I really look like. Talk about a blow to the ol' delusion!

And to make matters worse, shortly after she turned on the camera, my sweaty hand sent the nunchuk sailing through the air. Anna and Kara got a big laugh, and it's all caught on video.

If I didn't look like a fat old man without any rhythm waving his hands in the air, I'd post the clip for you. But as it stands, there's no chance. Of course, it doesn't help that when I work out I'm wearing frumpy sweats and sporting a severe case of bedhead.

I really have very little vanity, but I'd like to keep a tiny shred of dignity in place, thank you very much.

Which is why today when it was time for my workout, I hid the camera.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shackin' Up

Tucker has a new friend. We have reason to believe it's a lady friend, although she hasn't made it especially easy for us to tell. The fact that he doesn't try to kill her is one good indication.

She showed up about a month ago, and now we see her more than Tucker. I'm afraid she's adopted us, although she won't let anyone near her. I think she says her name is Jiji.

Unfortunately, the arrival of a little girl cat in our garage tends to complicate the "unofficial pet" situation somewhat. I fear the complications will probably increase in the near future.

(Sigh)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jumping the Gun

OK, so I'm not as close to 500 posts as I thought. It seems Blogger was counting a bunch of unpublished, abandoned entries, and now that I've deleted them I'm firmly in the middle of the 480's.

However, there still will be a contest at post 500, so watch for it.

I'll see what I can do to post a little more regular like and hurry things along.

Closing in on 41 and 500

Oh, my aching back! And neck, and shoulder, and legs, and butt. This getting older thing is for the birds.

Actually, it's not the aches I mind so much - I earned my latest batch by biking to Alyssa's school to play on the playground, and toasting Anna's cookies at Wii baseball and bowling. Yeah, that was fun.

The growing crop of gray hairs isn't really so bad, either. No, what's making me crazy are the hairs growing in my ears. Double yuck!

I'm bearing down on 41 with great rapidity, and it's showing. But I still have a month before hitting that milestone.

There's another, happier milestone coming up even sooner than my birthday. (I remember when birthdays used to be the happiest day of the year. Hah!) That milestone is the 500th entry on this blog! Isn't that exciting? (Nod your head, please.)

I'm still a few posts away, but I wanted to give you a heads up because to celebrate, I'm going to have a contest! That's right - a real contest with a real prize, right here on Fifteen Minutes of Delusion. Just for you, my loyal reader(s).

Stay tuned for details - it's gonna be great!

Friday, February 6, 2009

On The Road Again

It seems like there's nothing to blog about for a long time, and then all of a sudden everything happens at once. Here are a few bloggy tidbits from the last few days:

  • I went running today. Outside. It was nice. I ran a mile. My time (13+ minutes) was absolutely pathetic. But it felt good.
  • I got the State Inspection done on the truck yesterday. This is significant, as the truck has sat in the driveway since the sticker expired last May. We just haven't had much need for a second car, and I didn't think it would pass with a cracked windshield, but fortunately it did.
  • We will need a second car the week after next, so I can drive it to the airport. I will be going in to the home office in Utah for a week to work on a variety of projects.
  • This trip to Utah coincides somewhat with Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy at BYU. Since it's free, I'll slip into a couple of the Saturday morning workshops before heading back home.
  • Today we got our replacement Wii Sports disc. Alyssa is even cuter at bowling now than she was last year when the scratches finally took Wii Sports out of the rotation.
  • I got a few dollars back from our electric company, and decided to spend it frivolously. We now own Cookin' Mama for the Wii. It came today, too.
  • I found out that Hormel Natural Choice sliced meats has uncured, preservative-free pepperoni, so tonight, for the first time, we'll be making pepperoni pizza for family pizza night. I can't wait.
And that's about all the tidbits I have for you. I'll try to live a life that's a little more blogable.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Too Pooped to Party

Not me this time. Today it's Alyssa.

During dinner, Alyssa announced that she was tired and wanted to go to sleep. Well, 7:00 pm is a little late for a nap, so we told her no. But I guess she really needed the rest.

She has been sleeping like this for the last 15 minutes or so. I'd move her, but I'm afraid she would get too comfortable and sleep all the way until bed time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wiped Out

Wow - I can't believe how totally wiped out I was last night (and this morning). Granted, it was a busy day, but not so busy as some others that didn't leave me feeling like I'd swallowed a few too many sleeping pills. And I didn't have any sleeping pills or antihistamines or anything else like that.

The only thing I can figure is that it's "that time of the month," the part in the Lyme lifecycle where the little bugs are more susceptible to the antibiotics, and my body gets bogged down processing all the dead bacteria. It's a theory, anyway.

Of course, I was fairly busy yesterday. My main task was for the day was getting Kara's metal sauna hooked up and ready to run.

I needed a few screws to mount the heater, and some little plastic grommets to keep the power cord safe from sharp metal edges, so that meant a trip to Home Depot.

I also needed to try and offgas the power cord, which meant a trip to the liquor store for cheap Vodka.

I also went to the gravel store and the compost store, pricing materials for some raised beds I hope to put in next month or so. And what would Saturday be without a trip to Wal-Mart?

It was a gorgeous day, so I had the girls come out and help me wash the van. The thing was so dirty that when I came out of one of those touchless car washes, the van looked the same as when I went in. I should have taken before and after shots, but I was just too anxious to get the thing taken care of.

The girls helped Shari wash her car, too.

Later that afternoon, Shari and I were on our way to Costco when the van started to make a noise and smoke. Nice. I pulled over to the side of the road, and when I opened the hood, smoke came billowing out from the side of the engine where the belts are located. It smelled like burning plastic.

I could see that the belts were still in place, so decided to try and drive back home slowly. Fortunately, the van didn't give us any problems on the return trip, and we took Shari's car to do our Costco run.

Later in the evening, I did a closer inspection of the belts. To my surprise, they all looked really good, and I couldn't figure out where the problem was. Then I noticed a plastic mud flap below the engine was pretty chewed up. I reached my hand down, and found I could bend the thing up to where the chewed place touched one of the pulleys. How it would have gotten there to smoke and whine, I really don't know.

We'll be taking the van to church today, with a prayer that this really is the problem and not a belt on it's way out.

Then last night we watched Harry Potter #1, and I was so wiped out I managed to fall asleep during the climax. That never happens!

And that's how I spent my Saturday. What did you do?