Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writing Conference and Whitney Awards were a Hit!

How can I sum up my weekend? WOW!!!! I attended the LDS Storymakers Writing Conference and then the Whitney Awards that Saturday night. I finally found a group of people where I truly fit in! Writers are a very unique group of creative and intelligent people. Not that I am calling myself creative and unique quite yet...but I felt at home.

I loved all of the classes I was able to attend. I wish that I had been able to attend ALL of them that were taught during the two days. They made us choose and I left my time turner at home so I could not go back and take all of the classes.

There were so many that were helpful for a newbie writer like me. Some of the classes I went to were:

-"Jumping in: Where/How to Start Your Story" taught by Crystal Liechty.

-"Grabbing and Keeping Kids' Attention" taught by Rebecca Shelley.

-"What Will Get You Rejected: Mistakes Not to Make" taught by Janette Rallison

-"Show, Don't Tell, for Adolescent Lit" taught by Tamra Norton and Lu Ann Staheli

-"Plot and Conflict" by Rachel Ann Nunes

-"Writing Picture Books" by Kristyn Crow and Sharlee Glenn
-"Creating and Maintaining a Character Bible" taught by Jeff Savage aka J. Scott Savage.

As I said before, there were so many other classes I wanted to attend taught by people I admire so much, but I had to toss a coin. **sigh** That was the only drawback for me, so much to learn and so little time to attend everything.

The writer's conference is such a valuable tool for writers. I could tell that even the seasoned, published authors were getting as much out of the conference as those of us hoping to some day publish. Congrats to author Jeff Savage, (who wrote Farworld, Waterkeep,) who was in charge of the conference this year. He and his committee did an outstanding job!! We could all see the incredible amount of work that was put into putting an event of this size together. I believe that there were almost 300 people in attendance at the conference. I can hardly wait until next years conference.

The Whitney Awards were outstanding again this year. The women of LDS Womens Book Review(that includes me) were very excited and nervous to present the Whitney award for Best Romance Novel of 2008. Of course it helped that we coordinated so well. I think we did Ok and we remembered all of our lines. We didn't use any notes.

It was so wonderful to see so many people there supporting the Whitney Academy. I hope that the Whitneys' continue to grow bigger and stronger every year. LDS authors deserve the recognition for the high quality of writing they do. BTW, anyone can attend the Whitney Awards Gala. If you are interested next year, let me know. It is a super opportunity to meet and chat with some of your favorite LDS Authors. The dinner and the program is also outstanding.

Here are more pictures from this fabulous evening.

Here we are with Authors Josi Kilpack, author of Lemon Tart and Julie Wright, author of My Not So Fairy Tale Life.

Jennie Hansen, author of the Bracelet Series, Shanda, Sheila, Angela Escheler, author of The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma and Jessica Day George, author of the Dragon Slippers series and my favorite, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.

Shanda, Hillary and me with author, Brandon Sanderson, who wrote the Mistborn series. He won the Whitney Award for Best Speculative fiction.

We were excited to meet Gregg Luke, author of a great mystery/thriller called Do No Harm.

We were so happy to finally meet author H.B. (Heather)Moore, author of Abinadi . She won the Whitney Award for best Historical Fiction. She also won this award last year. What a great accomplishment.

Of course we had to have our picture taken with one of our favorite authors and friends, Rob Wells. He stepped down as the President of the Whitney Academy. It is because of him, that the Whitney Awards came about. It is his brain child. We will miss him in this capacity. He did assure us he is not going away from the writing community, but just graduated with his MBA and needs to find a real job...go figure! ;)

This beautiful lady is author, Kerry Blair, author of Counting Blessings and many super fiction novels. She was given the Life Time Achievement award. She also was named the new President of the Whitney Academy. I know that she will do an outstanding job with the Whitney Awards next year.

I will blog more and show you more pictures from the Whitney Awards later. While I have been typing, my clean family room has turned into a haven for Barbies and Transformers. Time to pay attention to the kids and their friends running through the house.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, Book 3) The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a fantastic read! If you are a fantasy lover and have not read the Mistborn trilogy, what are you waiting for? This was brilliantly written and woven together so well. I will warn you, these are not easy read books. There are many things, places and people to remember.

I talked to Brandon Sanderson and he said he wrote the three books simultaneously. This is very apparent as you read the books. The characters in this book are bright, intelligent and unforgettable.Even though this is a fantasy book, there will be some tears shed at times in this book; be prepared.

This third book in the trilogy wraps things up so well. I was very satisfied with the ending. The books in the trilogy are very long, but well worth the read.

The Hero of Ages also just won the Whitney Award for Best Speculative Fiction novel on April 25, 2009. He richly deserves this honor.

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Preserving the Mystery of Reading" and Finding the Joy In It

Tyler+Twitter+pic.jpg (image)

I just read an excellent blog by Tyler Reed who works for Scholastic. He writes on a blog called, "On Our Minds@Scholastic". His blog today was called, "Preserving the Mystery of Reading". His focus was on how now days with our great technology, it is almost easier to find out how a book ends or gathering information by Googling it, instead of reading it ourselves. The fun and "mystery," of reaching a well read conclusion of a book, has disappeared for many people.

Tyler quoted J.J. Abrams, co-creator of the TV show
Lost. It was such an poignant quote I wanted to share it with was about the magic of mystery.
Abrams wrote:

"Perhaps that's why mystery, now more than ever, has special meaning. Because it's the anomaly, the glaring affirmation that the Age of Immediacy has a meaningful downside. Mystery demands that you stop and consider—or, at the very least, slow down and discover. It's a challenge to get there yourself, on its terms, not yours."

On Tyler's blog I commented on the article by saying,
"I love this aspect of reading. I try my hardest, to teach my 2nd graders, that one of the joys of reading is the journey. I have always shared with kids that reading is a wonderful adventure we get to go on. Once children get over, the "have to read" aspect and embrace the "get to read" aspect...they have discovered how to take that journey into reading"

I have never been one of those people, though I have been tempted, that reads the end of the book first. To me that would ruin the whole book for me. Where would the fun or the mystery and especially the reason for reading be? If you haven't figured out yet, I am a serious reader. I have been teaching reading for 20 years to children. To me, this whole idea of reading is to gain something from the experience. We don't learn from the experience if we don't allow ourselves to go through and follow the path that we must walk along the way. This is also another reason that I hate cliff notes. Why only have the appetizers when you can have the full course dinner?

Tyler talked about when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" came out. He stated how most people were good enough to not tell the ending to those who had not read the book yet.

Tyler said,

"It took me two weeks to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after it was released. For two weeks, I avoided reading the reviews and news stories on the book. I could easily have read them and learned of Harry's fate -- something I'd been dying to know for months.

But like almost everyone else, I wanted to experience the mystery of wondering how it will end, and I wanted the story to unfold for me on my own terms -- on J.K. Rowling's terms."

I have to agree with Tyler, I did everything to avoid having my Deathly Hallows experience ruined by anyone else. I wanted to read it on my own terms. In fact, I holed myself up in my house and read it in 11 hours and 15 minutes. Whenever I share this personal piece of trivia with kids, they are so impressed. It just makes me smile.

Getting back to Tyler, his point behind the blog, is the "Mystery of Reading" is what makes books so special. The wonderful worlds that we want to go and explore are waiting there for us. The beauty is, they unfold at the pace we want them too, versus what happens when we watch a movie. I guess that is why they say, the book is always better than the movie.

Feel free to go and read Tyler's blog and the many other great articles that can be found there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Whitney Awards are next Saturday!

I am so excited for the 2nd Annual Whitney Awards next Saturday night. It will be thrilling to be surrounded by the many fantastic authors that will be in attendance. Another exciting thing, is that the women of LDS Women's Book Review were invited to present the award for Best Romance. We were quite honored to be given this privilege. I also was thrilled to see a preview of the program for the awards. Here it is....

I know that it is hard to see, but our names are listed there as presenters!! Woo Hoo! It will be a great night where we will dress up and mingle with the best LDS writers currently out there in the literary world.

I also will be attending the two day LDS Story Makers Conference. I am so looking forward to the many classes where I will learn about being a writer. This has been a dream of mine for so long to be a "real" writer. I have heard often, from many authors who have advised me, that I need to attend as many writing conferences and workshops as possible to learn the trade. I am hoping that this will be the first of many opportunities to attend writing conferences such as this one.

I will report back about both events. The Whitney Awards is the culminating event after the two day writers conference. To me, this is more wonderful than any vacation I could ever go on. I will be counting down the days and I know that it won't get here soon enough for me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Favorite Place...Besides Home

Where is my favorite place besides home...well, it would have to be two places, the library and a bookstore. I had an amazing moment on Saturday. I took my kids with me to purchase a present at a bookstore.

So many times when you go shopping with children it is, well to put it bluntly, a nightmare. You get the common phrases of, "Why do we have to go here?" and "Is it time to go yet?" or "I am hungry/tired/bored" and don't forget, "I need to go to the bathroom". Happily, on Saturday, I heard none of those, except, "I have to go to the bathroom" and that one was easily taken care of. The amazing part of this shopping trip occurred after we had been there for about 20 minutes. Off in my own literary world, sucking in the glorious vibes of the many books surrounding me, I looked over at my children. There they were, in the corner of the bookstore, surrounded with a large pile of books. They both were totally engrossed in the wonderful world of reading. They also were happily sharing with each other pages they had found in the respective books they had been reading.

I stood there with a huge smile on my face. I felt very proud and thought... I am raising readers. They were just as happy as I was to spend a good deal of time in a book store. For me, this is genuine success. If we look around our world we function best if we can read. You need to be able to read so you can shop, drive, pay bills and basically take an active part in society. Most jobs in the real world require employees to read something during the work day. In my job, of course, as a teacher I am teaching children how to read every day.

Another part of reading, is not just reading words, it is the enjoyment of the act. I love to read! There is a quote that I love...

"A reader is not supposed to be aware that someones written the story. He's supposed to be completely immersed, submerged in the environment.
" Jack Vance

Ask anyone that knows the true me, this quote describes me quite well. I become completely immersed in a story and it feels so good to be taken away.

Another aspect of reading that I love is always finding something that is written that is applicable to me or something in my life.

"Every reader finds himself. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. "
Marcel Proust

How can we raise a reader? The most important thing is to read to our children. This needs to be done from a very early age. Make this a nighttime ritual. I was raised with a Mom reading to me and my siblings at night. She introduced us to many wonderful novels in this format. We would all be lying around our living room while our Mother read aloud to us. I have also enjoyed the quite moments at night, snuggling up with my kids on the couch, reading to them their favorite books.

The next thing that is vital to this process of raising readers is, you need to show them that reading is important to you. I don't think that there has ever been a time when my kids have not seen me with a book in front of my face or under my arm. They know that this is an important part of my quiet time that is important to my sanity(and to help them have a happy Mom). If they do not see you reading, they will not see the importance or the value of reading. Our children look to us for guidance: how to dress, what to eat, how to speak and what to do with our free time. Don't be afraid to show your children that reading is important to you.

At school in my 2nd grade class, I bring my novels and read them during Silent Reading Time. It is so tempting to be correcting papers or busily doing something else in the classroom while my students are reading; but I don't. I read, and tell them that I don't wish to be disturbed during my reading time. I have stressed to them how important reading is to me and why it also should be important to them. Since the beginning of the year, when we started SSR (Sustained Silent Reading), you would be amazed at my class. If you walk into my classroom, you will find a group of 2nd graders, not making a sound, deeply engrossed in their own books. Our examples as adults can prove to be a powerful tool in influencing children to jump into the wonderful world of reading.

"It distresses me that parents insist that their children read or make them read. The best way for children to treasure reading is to see the adults in their lives reading for their own pleasure." Kate DiCamillo

Next, make books available to your children. The best place in the world to accomplish this is the public library. You can check out books for free and have a wide variety of books available. Buy inexpensive books through book clubs at school, such as Scholastic Book Club. Find some families in the neighborhood to trade books with. There are many second hand stores that also sell books very inexpensively.

"I had a very wise mother. She always kept books that were my grade level in our house.
" Beverly Cleary

As I started this blog telling you about my children I will also end this blog post the same way: the moment at the bookstore discovering my children reading a pile of books. I finished my shopping and browsing through the many aisles of books and told my children that it was time to go. They both looked up at me and said, "Aw Mom, not yet. I am just getting into this book." I also heard,"I just have a few more pages Mom". I smiled even more, as I recognized the lines they were quoting to me, those are words that have often crossed my lips. They now have become a part of my children's repertoire' in speaking of their own reading habits. A job well done!