Monday, May 28, 2012

My Facination With Graveyards


I have what most people would call a strange addiction. I am fascinated with graveyards. The older, the better. There’s just something distinctive about them. When I walk into an old cemetery my skin tingles, my senses seem to move into hyper drive, and I can practically smell the history.

I haven’t always felt this way. While growing up, other than the fun, spooky allure around Halloween time, a cemetery wasn’t top priority on my places to visit. But when I moved to Carbon County I decided to research some of the local history, and with that came some trips to the nearby ghost towns and their cemeteries.

My first experience in a graveyard which made a lasting impression came when I was studying the 1924 Castle Gate Mine disaster. Inadequate watering down of the coal dust and the open flames in the worker’s head lamps sparked an explosion killing everyone (172 men) in the #2 mine owned by the Utah Fuel Company. I was wandering through the old Castle Gate Cemetery, where many of the victims of the mine disaster were laid to rest, when I was drawn to a tall, chalky-white headstone with a commanding presence. A lily was carved into one side with the faith-provoking phrase: “Rock of Ages”. As I looked at the stone pillar I discovered that it was a marker for two graves--a father and son. Both had died in the mine explosion.

 The air around me felt heavy as I thought about the mother who had buried her beloved husband and son there. The somber feeling was compounded as I moved to the other side of the headstone and read this heartfelt inscription:
 “I little thought when they left home, that they would never return. That they in death so soon would sleep, and leave me all alone.” 
 The statement from a bereaved women almost a century ago had reached through time and touched me. Since then, I've been visiting old cemeteries to "feel" the stories left behind.
Castle Gate Cemetery


For me an old cemetery is a quiet place to think about the world. I’m drawn to the rickety fences that enclose the sacred ground, the art and architecture of the tombs and old headstones, and the inscriptions that hint about fascinating stories untold. But most of all I love the feeling—the history and memories that are there, and the sympathy and compassion that I am able to feel for strangers I have never met.      

My most recent graveyard exploration was at the abandoned Woodside Cemetery. 

Woodside Cemetery


A small marker in a bed of rocks signifies the final resting place of "Henry".

Old, rusted barbed wire surrounds these wooden headstones.
 
Antiquated fence encompassing a small family plot.

The hand-carved names in these weather-beaten wood headstones have long since worn away.



 I hope there are a few other people out there that share my appreciation for old graveyards. I plan on visiting several this year, and I'll be posting pictures on my blog, along with any interesting stories I learn along the way.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Author Event

Before I tell you about this fantastic Author Event, I need to announce that we have a winner from the LDS Author Giveaway Hop. Congratulations to "Books Are Sanity" who will be receiving a signed copy of 
The Alias by Mandi Tucker Slack!  As always, winners are selected by random.

Author Event

This afternoon I am going to take a little drive (2 hours) to the Salt Lake valley to attend the first ever Author Event night hosted by Endeavor Hall and Taylorsville City Arts Council! I am so excited to be participating in this! This is going to be such a fun evening and they are packing it all into 2 1/2 hours.


Check out the line up of participating authors: Clint Johnson, Mette Harrison, Kristyn Crow, Anne Bowen,
Tess Hilmo, Tom Haraldsen, Thal Dixon, Jayanne Sindt, Stacey Williams, Jennifer Clark, Linda Garner, Lesa McCullough, Carolee Griffin, Brenton Barwick, Sydney Salter, and Eric Patten.

Yes, I get to be one of those authors! I'm even giving a presentation on helping kids develop a love for reading, writing, and creating their own stories. It's going to be a lot of fun. Due to time constraints, I have to keep my presentation to 15 minutes, but I can do that. I'll just talk realllly fast! I won't complain because they are fitting a lot into such a short time period. Here's their schedule:


  • 6-7 pm author book signing & mini classes
  • 7 p.m. author panel
  • 7:30 - 8:15 p.m. Literacy Game Show

For more details take a look on their website. http://www.endeavorhall.org/

My presentation will start at 6 in the small conference room upstairs.
If you can, come and hang out with us tonight!
May 18, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Taylorsville City Hall,  2600 West Taylorsville Blvd. (off 5400 S)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

LDS Authors Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the LDS Authors Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Book Bug.

I am giving away a signed copy of 
The Alias by  Mandi Tucker Slack.


From the back of the book: Jacey Grayson is an average, young, divorced mother struggling to build a new life for her son, Blaze. But when the FBI discloses some disturbing information about her ex-husband, Jacey's life becomes anything but average. At the risk of losing her identity, her future, and her heart, Jacey and Blaze flee to Utah, hoping to hide and start over once again. But no matter how far she runs or who she pretends to be, her past is always lurking nearby, bringing old fears with it. Thrilling action and a suspenseful plot make this novel an edge-of-your-seat read.


To enter this win this book:
 1) Be a follower of my blog
 2) Leave me a comment on this post. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.



Monday, May 7, 2012

LDStorymakers Conference

I came to the LDStoryMakers conference in disguise--or so a couple of people told me.
One lady said every time she saw at me she thought I was Stephanie Meyer.
It was a great compliment, but I'm not so sure I share much of a resemblance.
If I don't look like her, at least I can pretend that I can write like her.
Stephanie Meyer

Me

Apparently that's not the only disguise I wore. I was also told that I look like Dana Delany. 


I thought that was pretty cool so I decided to change my disguise and try to look like other people. 
How do I look as Dan Wells?

Don't you see the resemblance?

And here I am as the famous Sarah Eden!

There were some famous people there...
James Dashner and Dan Wells

And there were a bunch of future famous people there...like those in boot camp 
and those who braved a pitch session.
I didn't sign up for a pitch session--I'm just pretending to be like all of you who did.

But all of us together made a GREAT conference!


I hope everyone had a fantastic time like I did!

Sample Chapter

I just thought I'd share a chapter out of the book I'm working on. Drama Queen is the third book in my Middle Grade/YA series. Wha...