Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Fourth Ripple—Lost and Found

The 4th Ripples Effect book is out!!

I thought that this book was cute, fun, and has a super sweet romance. Lydia is the kind of person who is afraid to step out of her comfort zone. She’s living in Cambri’s apartment (from Righting a Wrong) and is supposed to have an adventurous summer, but instead spent the entire time reading about other people’s adventures. Then she meets Blake, who is searching for a box left to him by his grandfather. When their plane is cancelled, they decide to extend their trip and find Blake’s mysterious box—thus propelling them on the adventure of a lifetime.

I met Karey White one year ago at the Storymaker 2013 writing conference. I’d heard her name before (she was a Whitney Finalist) and I had a general idea of who she was, so I was excited to see her outside the pitching rooms, both of us getting ready to pitch our books to an agent. Several hours later, I ran into her and we got to talking about her plans for her book, My Own Mr. Darcy (which is a fantastic book anyway—a must read for P&P enthusiasts). Karey is such a sweet and motivated lady, and it’s been a ton of fun getting to know her better as we work on this project.

Lost and Found is available at Amazon, B&N, and Kobo.

Here’s the books in order, for those just starting the series.

Home Matters by Julie N. Ford
Silver Linings by Kaylee Baldwin
Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson
Lost and Found by Karey White

Coming soon:
Second Chances 101 by Donna Weaver

Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

*If you're at the Storymaker conference this year, we'll have all six books available at the conference bookstore (including the last two which aren't scheduled to come out for two weeks, and four weeks respectively). Also, come find me and say hi!

Friday, April 11, 2014

God Expects Us To Do Hard Things

Raising a child with special needs is hard. Finding the mental capacity to write when I’m burned out is hard. Living in a world full of heartbreaking acts and evil is hard. Standing up for myself is hard. Something I’m learning, though, is that God expects his children to do hard things.

Here’s what Elder Holland had to say about it in general conference: “It is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.”*

A God who expects a lot of us is not a comfortable God. Instead, it’s One who is refining his children. One who knows we can do more than we believe we are capable of. Even when it’s painful. Even when it seems impossible.

In 1831, Edward Partridge was called to teach and preach to the rough, uncouth residents of Independence, Missouri and prepare a place for the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to come. He expected to have great success there, misinterpreting Joseph’s optimism for prophesy. When things didn’t go easy and the way wasn’t as smooth as he had expected, Partridge grew disillusioned for a time. After being chastised in a revelation, he wrote to his wife in a letter: “As I am occasionally chastened I sometimes fear my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of my Heavenly Father.”**

When I read this, it completely resonated with me. I also sometimes fear my station is above what I can perform. Sometimes we go into tasks, believing that because we’ve been commanded to fulfill certain duties or obligations, that things will be easy for us. We want to believe that Heavenly Father will make our paths smooth as a reward for doing as He has asked of us.

This, as many of you know, is not always the case. We are often asked to do the impossible. The question we need ask ourselves is: Will we remain faithful in the difficult times as well as the easy? Or, more importantly, can we remain faithful when things don’t go as we expect?

Edward Partridge remained faithful. He put his faith in God when things didn’t go as he expected, through disappointment, through being tarred and feathered because of his beliefs, through being kicked out of his home, imprisonment, losing most of what he owned, and eventually his death in Nauvoo (1840) from an illness contracted during the persecutions in Missouri. He had learned that God expected him to do hard things. He was a good man, a faithful man, who gave his life for the gospel.

Most of us won’t go through the same sort of physical trials as Partridge.

We may not be asked to forsake “all [our] gold, and silver, and precious things,” like Amulek, who “for the word of God [was] rejected by his father and his kindred.” This after being imprisoned, bound, humiliated, beaten, and forced to watch believers die. ***

But some of us will be required to forgive the unforgivable. To be kind to those who have been unkind. To continue to live and breathe when someone we love has ceased to do so. To repent and avoid sin when it's all around us, everywhere. To accept His will even when it does not align with our own.

Discipleship has never been easy. Life has never been easy.

So, yes. God expects us to do hard things.

He believes in us. He knows our potential better than we can imagine. Not only that, He knows how much more we can grow when we do hard things. This is why, even when things are hard, even when things aren't going the way we expect, we must press forward with faith.

Always remember, even though life is hard, God has promised to share our yoke and make our burdens light. He gives countless tender mercies to His children. He loves us with a pure kind of love that is hard to understand sometimes. And He's promised us that although things can be impossible for us to do or get through alone, nothing is impossible with God.

* Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Cost—And Blessing—of Discipleship” April 2014 GC
**Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman, p162-163

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

If You Felt Bad For Jace...

Then I have some good news. :)

Today on the radio, I heard this song (an oldie, but goodie. And, yes, I listen to a lot of country) and immediately thought of Jace from Silver Linings.

For those of you who didn't watch the video (Why would you NOT want to watch this video. That hair! That tux! It doesn't get much better than this, folks) it's all about a man who sees the woman he's in love with dancing with someone else, and he has this realization that she's completely in love with the man she's dancing with--not him.

If you've read Silver Linings, this may sound familiar.

So, without giving away too many spoilers on my book... I have some good news for those of you who felt bad for Jace at the end of Silver Linings. Or for people who now have this Tracy Lawrence song stuck in their heads.

The third book in the Ripples Effect series is out! Righting a Wrong by Rachael Anderson picks up where Silver Linings left off and is Jace's love story. I absolutely LOVED this book. I knew Rachael was going to write about Jace, and we had to do a ton of collaboration to make sure our stories fit together. It was beyond fun to have a main character in common. I loved Jace, and I wanted--and needed--him to find love. Rachael gave him the perfect love story (and perfect woman) for him.

This (and the first three Ripples books) are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com.

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