Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Watchers - Knight of Light - Audiobook

Last year The Watchers, Knight of Light broke sales records and held its place on the Amazon Bestseller List almost the entire month it first released.

More books sold in the first 10 days than, statistically, what most authors sell in a lifetime.
The Watchers got picked up by Costco and other retailers and was nominated for literary awards.

Amazon contacted us and gave us a grant to produce The Watchers, Knight of Light into an audiobook.

We had access to New York talent and the same quality production as the big five publishers.

Auditions flooded in. My book manager listened to many voice actors then passed the best on to me. My husband and I listened to so many great readers, but when we heard Julia Farmer, we knew she was the one.

I hope you love her as much as we did.

Available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes,

In England, 1270 A.D., Aura flees her village after being accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death. Pursued by creatures of darkness, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity and choose what side of an eternal war she will fight. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, and epic villains, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

 Deirdra Eden's, The Watcher's Series, is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl's discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why Serving in the Nursey is Awesome.

When we moved to our new home, the new ward of course wanted to get to know us.

I'm sure the elders knew there was something different about our family when they helped us unpack more weapons and Zombie Apocalypse gear than furniture out of our moving truck.

Then the Relief Society comes to visit and asks about what callings you've had in the past and what your talents are.
Its almost like a job interview.
For people like me and Leif, we very diverse and don't want to be stereotyped into a category or church calling.

Since I have experience with just about every auxiliary in the church, I told them I would be happy to serve anywhere - EXCEPT the nursery.
I explained that I am kind of a germaphobe and can't stand the sight of buggers, then gave them a list of reasons why I wouldn't be good in the Nursery.

My kids are born Celtic Spartans and progress really fast. Avalon was not a normal 9-month-old. She is super tall for her age and was already learning sword fighting and gymnastics.

She ran around the Relief Society room, doing somersaults, digging through sisters' purses to find their phones and look for apps, standing at the table and pretending to teach the class ..... etc... etc.... etc....

Leif and I switched off, but it became clear to us that she needed Nursery and there was no way I could do this for another 9 months, not even with quiet books, snacks, electronics and all the other tactics parents use to entertain their kids during three hours of church.

A friend saw me following Avalon through the halls during class. She was subbing in Nursery and said she could take Avalon in there to play. After asking her, "Are you sure?" a dozen times, I enjoyed class while Avalon enjoyed nursery.

Of course I did what all new nursery moms do and checked on her a billion times through the "parent peep hole." Each time she was interacting well with the other kids and having a good time.

I wanted her in nursery every Sunday.

I knew there was only one way I could get my 9-month-old into nursery. I found a member of the bishopric and told them I took back what I said about not wanting to have a calling in nursery.

In fact, I was begging and pushing for them to put in me in there and came up with a list of reasons why it would be a good calling for me right now.

Since I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy I know I'm probably not going to be in nursery much longer so I thought I would write up a "review" on my church calling so that others with a phobia of nursery will see its actually pretty good.

1. You get to be a teacher, but lesson preparation is easy and your students are all munching on snacks while you teach.

2. The kids spend the first half of the time playing and having fun while you get to visit with the other parents and teachers in the room about how cute your kids and grand-kids are, what you did that week, what diets are working for you, what books you are reading, dream vacations. Its pretty awesome.

3. The parents are so grateful to you and you get to see other members of the ward not as bishop, teacher, or chorister, but as mommy and daddy. They beam so proud when they pick up their kids and you tell them what a fun time they had and show them the picture they colored.

4. Fast progression. You know how kids are. They can completely change in a year so you can see the rewards of your work almost instantly.

5. Art. Seriously. There is so much good zen when you sit down and just color with crayons.

6. No diaper changing. Yep. All the perks of being a grandparent. You get to let them play with cool toys, feed them snacks and send them home. If they get fussy or need a diaper change you give them back to there parents.

7. Comfy rocking chair. The bishop doesn't even have as comfy of a chair. You can kick your feet up or sit on the floor in you prefer.

8. Most accepting ward members. My ward is awesome and very accepting of everyone, but the kids don't care of you did your makeup or not, if your dress has a hole in it, or if you shaved your legs. They just care that you are there.

9. Lots of help. Very rarely is there mass chaos. There is plenty of toys, play dough, books, puzzles etc. to keep the kids entertained. Most of the time they just play quietly. There are plenty of parents and other nursery and primary leaders backing you up so no one feels overwhelmed. They even have the primary chorister come in and help entertain the kiddos with songs and musical instruments.

10. Learn their tricks.Yep. You can see it.
Mom comes in and drops off little Johnny. The kid screams and cries and act like mom is leaving him forever. Mom is about to cry herself. The kid knows he's torturing her. You assure her everything will be fine, just go to class. Mom hesitantly leaves, but stand outside the door and listens to little Johnny screaming bloody murder. As long as mom stays strong and doesn't come back in, then a few minutes later little Johnny stops screaming, turns to his friends and is like, "Hey guys, what's up?" He joins in with his friends and has tons of fun while mom is worrying about if the kid is okay or not.
Yes, he's okay. If he freaks out or has bad behavior we will give him back to you.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Book Review: Wise Bear William: A New Beginning by Arthur Wooten, illustrated by Bud Santora

From Amazon:

In Wise Bear William: A New Beginning, toys long forgotten in an attic discover that children are coming up to rescue them.

All wanting to be picked, each toy examines their own self-described shortcomings and turn to one another for comfort and advice. But the most important thing they discover is that as much as you fix things up on the outside, it's what's on the inside that really counts.

With an emotional and surprising ending for all the toys, this heartwarming and timeless tale of love and friendship is destined to become a favorite of young and old for years to come.

Kal'el's Review:

It is cool, because it has cool pictures. I liked it when the bear got picked again. It was so cute. I liked that the rag doll got helped to get dressed up pretty again so she could get chosen by a child.

I was surprised by the ending when the bear got chosen and who the grandpa was.

Deirdra's Review:

The story reminded me a little of a vintage style Toy Story where the toys are alive and want to play with children. The toys in this story spent many years in the attic and help each other get dressed up, cleaned, and repaired for the anticipated day when the children will come into the attic and each pick one of the old toys to play with.

There is a good moral to this story as none of the toys were able to reach their goals without the other's help. I love how this applies to economics and business success. We are most successful when we lift each other up instead of shoving each other down to get ahead.

Kal'el asked many good questions and was engaged while we read.

I loved the rich and vibrant illustrations.The illustrations set a mood for the book that is classic, festive and compliments the author's story telling style.

The pages each have a high word count, but the elaborate detail in the illustrations keep the eye and imagination busy while the child is being read to.

The book itself is well constructed and has an heirloom feel to it, as if it is a special book to be read by the fire during Christmas or other special occasions and visits.

You can purchase your copy of Wise Bear William on Amazon.

All Children's books reviewed by A Storybook World are donated to schools after reviews.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bath Training Cats

Bath training your kitty is a LONG process. The younger the cat, the easier it is to train, but this all depends on temperament and breed characteristics as well.
Some hypoallergenic cats and other cats with more water-proof fur tend to freak out a little more when they feel moisture.

Mainecoons cats are usually more relaxed and open to new ideas.
Calicos can be more high strung.

Every cat has a different personality. It could take a year or more of working on this EVERY DAY to bath train your kitty. The key is to be constant, calm, patient, and let kitty take the lead when they are ready to move forward.

The video below is of Riven.
It only took about 3 weeks to bath train him to the point where he jumps into the tub on his own while we are bathing. He has a very laid back personality and he is only a few months old, so it was easy to train him.
It usually takes MUCH LONGER, so don't be discouraged if your kitty isn't fully trained in a few weeks.

Do each of these progressive steps below and don't move onto the next step until kitty is relaxed and comfortable.
Stay calm.
Compliment and reward kitty often.
***Never completely immerse kitty or kitty's face or ears in water!!!***
If kitty is traumatized or pushed too fast then you may need to wait a while and start the steps all over again.

Step #1:Washcloth Bath

This is a lot like a mother cat bathing her kittens with her tongue. Its very natural and comfortable for the cat and most of the time they enjoy it.

Slowly increase the amount of water you use.
Let kitty see you dip the washcloth into the bowl of warm water.
Don't use soap or anything that has a perfume.
Dry kitty and compliment them on how good they look and give treats.

Step #2: Take a long bubble bath and let kitty hang out in the bathroom. 
Kitty may huddle by the door or hide behind the toilet.
She may even howl by the door to be let out.
Talk to kitty calmly. Let them see how much you enjoy your bath and there is no danger.

Take bubble baths with kitty in the room until they do ALL of the following:
1. Lay down and relax.
2. Come stand next to the tub.
3. Look down into the water or drinks from the bath water.

Step #3: Dipping

1. If kitty is sitting next to the tub you can play games with kitty while bathing.
Have waterproof toys that can swim and dip below the water to encourage kitty to stick her paws in the bath water.
2. Dip the end of kitty's tail in the water.

***Make sure the water is not to hot or cold! Kitties have super sensitive skin.***

Step #4: Exploring the Bathtub

1.Put kitty in an EMPTY, DRY bathtub.
She may freak out at first, but pet her and calm her until she sees there is nothing to be afraid of.
 2. Put kitty in a bathtub with a tiny amount of cool water by the plugged drain. Let her explore on her own. Soon she will drink the water and associate the water in the tub with something good.
3. Let kitty see water dripping from the faucet. It will make a noise and the sound of running water might scare her at first, but soon it will turn into a fun game.

Step #5 Wet Paws

1. Fill the bath with just enough water to touch the bottoms of kitty's paws.
Use toys and treats to keep kitty entertained and distracted.
2. Wash kitty with the washcloth while she is in the tub.

Once kitty is comfortable (drinks water, plays or lays down the water) slowly increase the water level more each time kitty has a play time in the tub.

****Never fill the tub so high that kitty has to swim or goes buoyant.****
 Kitty should always feel comfortable with both paws firmly on the bottom of the tub.

Use organic soap and bubbles so not to irritate kitty's skin.

Below is a video of cat bath Level: EXPERT.
In the video Leif is gently washing kitty's ears, face and eyes. (Kitty had an eye infection and needed to be cleaned often.)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Girl from the Stars Book 1: Daybreak GIVEAWAY by Cheree Alsop

Please leave a comment and your email below for a chance to win a free e-book of Girl from the Stars Book 1: Daybreak by Cheree Alsop.

Liora Day, half-human, half-mess with her and you’ll die Damaclan, had been thrown onto a rough path at a very early age. But when she is broken out of a cage by Devren, the young captain of the SS Kratos, she is shown that perhaps humanity does have a heart. The Kratos is set on a mission to rescue fallen surveyors from the Revolutionaries, and Liora is given the choice to follow her Damaclan instincts, or trust Devren’s dark eyes and captivating smile that promise an adventure unlike any she has ever experienced.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Fourteenth Quilt

About The Fourteenth Quilt:

Annie, Celia and Lynn are all that are left of the Relief Society quilting class, but they are still determined to make baby quilts for the new mothers at church. Annie, who is just south of eighty years old, calls the quiltsters (short for quilting sisters) together to ask for more. She wants to make lap quilts to give to some of the “forgotten” oldsters she sings to each week at the nursing home—something to wrap them in love at Christmastime. It’s a good idea, but the trio discovers that life and making quilts don’t always go as planned.

The quiltsters discuss recipes and quilting ideas including a crocheted cat mat to use up their fabric selvage and trim scraps, all of which they share in the book.

Sarah and Brian meet at the university. Their first date is after Sarah’s First Saturday Block of the Month class she attends with her mom at the local quilt shop. Their romance grows, and they plan their future together—a plan that will require them to be separated for six months before their wedding. But, can they bear to be apart that long?

What wraps together this Christmas tale? The Fourteenth Quilt. 

Excerpt #1:          (Getting to Know You)         

“Would you like to go on a date?”
          “No. Oh, no,” Sarah shook her head even more vigorously. “Right now the only thing I’m interested in is getting through finals. I’m not really interested in meeting a bunch of guys and doing the dating scene.”
          “I wasn’t thinking of a bunch of guys. I was wondering if you would like to go on a date with me sometime.”
          Sarah had not expected this. She forced herself to not let her mouth drop open. She looked up again and stared at Brian as if seeing him for the first time. He didn’t have the most rock star handsome face she had ever seen, but he was good-looking. Unlike most of her family who were tall and heftily-built people, he was thin and wiry. She wondered, when they both stood up, would he even be taller than she was?
          With her eyes locked on his, she witnessed kindness as he patiently waited for her answer. Then again, for a second she worried the hint of laughter in his eyes indicated he enjoyed witnessing her discomfort.
          Sarah didn’t know what to say. He looked like a nice guy, but she didn’t really know anything about him.
          “I…I don’t know,” Sarah stammered. “We really don’t know each other. It’s not like Jenna actually introduced us or ever told me anything about you.”
          Brian chuckled.
          “You need to understand, Sarah, I didn’t know anyone on your bench. I was sitting here because I’m Len’s friend, and I’ve met his girlfriend, Terry. Terry is friends with that dark-haired girl. I think her name was Angie. Evidently, Angie knew your friend. What was her name?”
          “Jenna,” supplied Sarah. “I don’t know her all that well, although she seems to be really nice. We share a class together.”
          “But, you know her name,” Brian pointed out. “I suspect that Jenna didn’t make intros because, other than Angie, who was sitting next to her, she didn’t know anyone on my bench.”
          Sarah shrugged. She could see how that could have happened.
          “I don’t want to pressure you if you don’t feel comfortable going out with me,” said Brian. “But, I like you and would like to get to know you better.”
          He doesn’t want to pressure me if I don’t feel comfortable?
Sarah blinked as she thought about his words. It seemed like everyone she knew was always trying to push her out of her comfort zone. 

About Robyn Echols:

Robyn Echols has been writing since she was in junior high school. By choice, she spent most of her evening hours in her "dungeon", as her mother called her downstairs bedroom, writing stories, only joining her family in front of the television upstairs when her favorite programs were playing. She has spent hours learning and teaching family history topics, and focuses on history from a genealogist's perspective of seeking out the details of everyday life in the past.

Now Robyn resides with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite” and has fun researching and writing the books that she hopes will interest and entertain her readers. She writes Young Adult/New Adult and contemporary fiction under Robyn Echols and adult historical romance under her pen name, Zina Abbott.

The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Author Links:

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Quilt Gateway blog (See posts for September 2015)

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