Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Zion Trail Official Nominee for 2016 Whitney Awards

My novel, The Zion Trail, which was published earlier this year, has received the required number of reader nominations to be considered an official nominee for the 2016 Whitney Awards, a literary award honoring excellence in fiction written by LDS authors.

A novel's nomination sent to the Whitney Awards Committee by five or more readers is the first step in a three-tier process of Nomination, Judging, and Voting. The next hurdle for the book to pass is the Judging phase in the proper category, which in this case is Historical Fiction.

Five judges are assigned to each genre category. They read each nominated novel in the category, independently rank each novel, and deliver their rankings to the Whitney Committee via ballot early next year. The rankings determine the top five novels in the category, and these books are announced as the Finalists.

Following the Finalists announcement, final ballots are sent to all members of the Whitney Awards Academy. Academy members may vote in any one or all categories, provided they read every finalist in those category.

The finalist receiving the greatest number of votes will be declared the winner of the Whitney Award in that category. Winners are announced at the Whitney Awards Gala held after the LDStorymakers Writers Conference on May 13, 2017.

For more information about the Whitney Awards, visit

The Zion Trail
Print books $12.99: CreateSpace | Amazon | Barnes and Noble |
ebooks $3.99: Smashwords all formats | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple iBooks Store

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Discovery

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

I'm so relieved to discover that the Characters in My Head are not dead! They're talking to me again.

Maybe they aren't the characters for the book I thought I was supposed to write, but these are just as important.

I've also discovered some names in my pretend genealogy, revealed as I wrote this morning. Finding out the names of Rod Owen's parents is almost as exciting as finding my own ancestors!

Rulon Peter Owen married Nellie Marie Yancey. Their only surviving child is Roderick Owen. I don't know yet if he has a middle name, but his son, Rulon, does.

I knew the name began with S, for that was revealed to me as I wrote Gone for a Soldier, when Rulon signed his name in a letter to his wife, Mary. A couple of days ago, I learned that his middle name is Scow, the surname of his maternal grandmother, Phoebe Scow Helm.

I know. All this sounds really freaky. This is part of the discovery process of some writers when they dig deep into their characters' lives. It's really quite thrilling to us, and not spooky at all.

Now go read a good book this weekend. May I suggest my latest full-length novel, The Zion Trail? Someone just posted on my Facebook profile that she's finishing up reading it. Oh, she said such lovely things that make my knees quake and my heart beat faster! Here's a part: "Great read. Wonderful history. Endearing characters. Better and better with each turned page."

You may purchase The Zion Trail in ebook formats or in print:

The Zion Trail
$3.99 for ebooks; $12.99 for print books
Ebooks: Smashwords | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Apple iBooks Store

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Slow Blogging

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

Oh. That's not a Sample Saturday headline.

You're correct. I'm experiencing Blogging Slowdown. That's a state where I feel guilty if the Sample for Saturday doesn't get written and posted every week, but I'm in over my head and about to drown.

I don't like that heap of guilt, and neither does my body. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the guilt and stress I've been feeling lately is at least partially responsible for the vertigo I'm battling. Of necessity, I have to slow down. Literally! I'm using a cane much of the time (which I hate, because it makes me feel old), but the alternative is pitching over and hitting the floor...or a wall...or a pile of stuff. That's not an especially pleasant thought, so I'm resigned to using the dumb thing as often as is necessary to keep myself upright while walking.

There are a lot of ideas for future works in my brain (except I've now written most of those ideas down, which is a very good thing, because it means I can let them drain out of my head). But if I focus on blogging every week instead of writing those stories, they might not get told before my expiration date. That frightens me more than not putting up a blog post every week.

Therefore, I'm going to become an adherent of Anne R. Allen's Slow Blogging philosophy, and will blog here occasionally--without guilt--probably two or three times a month. That means I can no longer promise a regular Sample Saturday--although I adore the concept.

Simply subscribe to my blog over there on the side, and you'll get some sort of alert that I've posted something again, preferably something worth your time to come check out.

I'll also try to post an advisory that I've blogged on my Facebook Author Page, or on my Profile. I'm sorry I'm so vague-sounding. I continue with the condition of ADHD. It's amazing that I get anything at all accomplished each day!

So, for the foreseeable future, that's the Plan. Thank you for being a loyal blog reader. Now go read a book!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Reading Order of Owen Family Saga Is Changed

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

I have gone ahead and changed the order of the books in The Owen Family Saga. From now on, the suggested reading order for these novels is:

Gone for a Soldier
The Man from Shenandoah
Spinster's Folly
Ride to Raton
Trail of Storms

There will be a bit of a disconnect in book order showing at until I can get them straightened out. It may take a while, so spread the word, please.

In addition, I'm calling a halt to The Owen Family Saga. I've covered the first seven children, including baby John, in the five novels of the Saga.  I have ideas for Clay and Albert, and I'm waiting for Julianna to reveal her tale, but they have to grow older and mature a bit. These future stories don't fit comfortably into the Saga.

The Saga has been continuous, with no time gaps (okay, there is a timeline overlap in two books, Spinster's Folly and Ride to Raton), and I see a gap of several years between Trail of Storms and other novels down the road. Therefore, I'll call those future novels, novellas and short stories An Owen Family Novel... or Novella... or Story, depending on length.

As I envision the next batch of tales about members of the Owen family, they will be stand-alone stories without any particular suggested reading order.

Other stories about all those neighbor families from the Shenandoah Valley will be tagged as "Shenandoah Neighbors". I have a multitude of ideas for these spin-off stories. Did Ned ever catch up with Miss Maggie? Will Charity Bingham ever remarry? Will Robert and Hannah go to Zion to raise their son in their new faith? What are George and Heppie up to? Does Max Bingham have an interesting story?

A current WIP, Mended by Moonlight, will fall under this series canopy.

I've even wondered about other characters who have appeared or been mentioned in the Saga. When did Jonathan Helm go to Colorado and what did he do there? What is Don Pedro doing?  Neither of these men are from the Shenandoah Valley, so I'll have to come up with another tag for such stories. Just pray that my health and strength holds up long enough for me to empty the Characters out of my Head.

Thank you.
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