Monday, June 27, 2011


    Apparently, you can die more than once.  At least that's what happened to a woman in Russia.
  According to a report on Fox News  ,  a woman in Russia was pronounced dead and while her relatives were holding an open casket vigil, she woke up screaming, shocked by the fact that she was at her own funeral.  This shocked her so much that she ended up having a heart attack and dying...again!  This time for good. 
This story actually was not the first one of it's kind I've heard of.  There's this urban legend in Argentina that surrounds this Beattles-like rock band from the seventies called Sui Generis.  The lead singer Charlie Garcia, wrote a song about a girl who suffered from a rare illness that made her go into a death like coma. 
The story I heard said that she would come out of this coma after a few days, but one time she did not and eventually doctors pronounced her dead.  She was buried, but at her funeral her boyfriend (Charlie Garcia) heard her sream. 
No one believed him, but eventually he had the body exhumed.  When they opened the coffin they found her indeed dead, but...the lining of the coffin was ripped to shreds from the inside and fragments of the fabric found in ther hands. 
This is the song he wrote.  It's called "Rasguna Las Piedras" (Clawing the Rocks)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Beth Thomas~Fighting Cancer one step at a time.

“Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind to achieving.”

   As some of you know I've been interviewing people who I think exemplify the quote "Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance." By James E. Talmage.
Beth Thomas is one of these people who I admire greatly.  Beth and I actually go back a ways... she is an old former college friend of mine.  We found found each other though Facebook a few years ago and that's when I started noticing that she is very committed to a very important cause.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. My childhood was spent watching my three brothers play sports. Whether it was hockey (complete with our own backyard ice-rink), football, baseball, or basketball – I was always attending some kind of sporting event. I tried to get into dance at a young age, but having three very masculine brothers didn’t help in that cause and I was very bored with dancing (still am!). I always wanted to do what the boys were doing! Since I obviously couldn’t try out for the hockey team at the time (HA!), my energy was directed on being a good student and not causing too much trouble for my parents (they had their fill with my brothers…;) ). I didn’t have a lot of hobbies when I was younger. Unless you consider watching my brothers play sports a hobby?? ;)

Years later I graduated from the University of Utah promising myself I would never end up in a field that was business or financial related. Where did I end up? In a financial related field. “Expect the unexpected”, right? While I have worked in several financial related jobs since I was about 20 years old, I didn’t find my true passions in life until about 2006. It was at this time that my “Bucket List” wish to run a marathon collided with my parents both being diagnosed with Cancer. If you have ever had someone that you have cared deeply for diagnosed with Cancer, you know that it rocks you to the core. I felt helpless. I didn’t know how to direct my energy or how to help them. It was then that I started running miles upon miles on my treadmill. No particular goal in mind (having no clue how to train for a marathon), but to tearfully run out the stresses of life. I connected with running. It cleared my mind; it helped me to cope with the world that seemed to be collapsing around me. Running became an outlet and a necessity in my life. I never have been a fast runner, but I always could go for long periods of time.

How did you get involved with Fundraising?

Within a few weeks of my parents being diagnosed with Cancer, I received a letter in the mail from Team in Training for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It felt as if that piece of mail was specifically meant for me (although it was not addressed to anyone). It was as if it was hand delivered by a higher power, as weird as that may sound. The letter was an invitation to attend an informational meeting to talk about what Team in Training was, and so it all began. I attended the meeting and joined the Team a month later. For those who don’t know, Team in Training is the World’s largest endurance training program. They train you to participate (and finish) endurance events, in exchange you fund raise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was a way for me to connect with my running as well as a way to do something about a disease that was affecting both of my parents. Since first joining in 2006, I have participated in (and finished) 4 events with Team in Training and 2 events with Huntsman Hometown Heroes (another endurance training program that raises money for Huntsman Cancer Foundation / Institute), as well as numerous events on my own. Fundraising all along the way, between the two teams I have managed to raise close to $18,000 for the fight against cancer, and I have no intention of stopping in that fight any time soon. While I don’t know that this is my “mission” to fulfill, I do feel that I was destined to be a part of this cause. I feel very passionate about the quest to find cures for cancers. I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what my parents have had to experience. Cancer is such a horrible disease and it will affect virtually everyone at some point in life. I can’t sit idly by, knowing that I can help in some small way. The funny thing is…through all of this, I have benefited the most. Through these two teams I have made numerous close friends who are in the same situation that I am in. They all have either fought cancer themselves, or are watching loved ones fight Cancer. We share a common bond that has been the best support system I could have ever hoped for. I am a happier and healthier person for being involved in this cause. I can’t imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn’t received that piece of mail at the exact right time. I know with every fiber of my being…..that was no accident.

How do you balance your home life and your training schedule?

I think the fact that I am a single adult helps me in the ability to balance my home / family life with my hobby and my work. . My life is organized around my training schedules and races. I go to bed early so that I can get up early to run before work. I make sure to get in a long run every weekend. I schedule races far in advance so that it forces me to train and to continue to be active. To train for marathons, you really have to make it a priority–otherwise you more than likely won’t finish the race. I am in a happier mental state when I am running regularly—so aside from everything else—it keeps me sane!! Pairing the good cause with the races also helps me to feel more connected. I feel as if I am running for those people who cannot run because they are battling cancers. I think about all the people whom I know with Cancer with every step I take. It keeps me going and propels me forward even when I want to quit sometimes…and it gets me out of bed when some days I really just want to sleep in!

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

The one thing I have noticed through participating in these events and being on these teams is that anyone can do what they set their minds out to doing. It may take time and hard work, but it can be done. Endurance runners come in all shapes and sizes. They run at all different speeds. But it is the “Steadiness and toil” that will get you across the finish line in fundraising, endurance events and in beating cancer! If you want something bad enough, work at it. Never for one second of your life ever waste time thinking that you “can’t” do something. Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind out to achieving. A negative attitude in life will get you nowhere.

If you find yourself lacking purpose, I recommend the following: appreciate the world around you (show gratitude), do things for others (service in the community), learn new things, set goals continuously, be part of something bigger than yourself, focus on the positive and surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and all your want to achieve!!

Beth, thank you so much for coming over to my blog today!  I admire what you do so much.  It's the simple things that we do each day that change our world!  I too feel very passionate about fulfilling a purpose in this life and people like you inspire me greatly.  Love you Babe!

(Oh boy!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ghost Encounters and Vampirish Experiences.

Join us today all day and swap ghost stories and weird vampirish experiences (Chupa Cabras count). 
We have a few of our own to share, some are true...some are can come, read ours and find out which is which.  There will also be many giveaways, so your chances of leaving this chat with something are high. 
Join authors Deanna Jewel, Teric Darken, Elizabeth Muller, Robin Renee Ray, Krisi Keley and myself TODAY in the LATTE LOUNGE

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My New Blog--Chicks in Lit.

I would love some visitors over at a new blog that I'm contributing to.  Chicks In Lit. is a brand new place where writers can "shamelessly" promote and network. 
Today, I thought I'd share some of my newly acquired knowledge about the history of writing.  I base all my learning form "The Story of Writing" by Andrew Robinson (a fun textbook that is recommended for the Montessori curriculum, I use it for my home school.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


It is my honor to feature today a great book. Honor by Jaimey Grant

Lady Verena Westbridge would rather die than marry. When her father accepts the depraved Percival Winters on her behalf, flight seems her only option and entering into menial service the perfect hiding place. Resigning herself to serving her own kind for the rest of her life, she naively believes she is safe.

Lord Connor Northwicke arrives at a house party and rescues a young housemaid from the unwelcome advances of a brute. Feeling the need to be near her, he offers her friendship. But her disguise is undone and he must save her from her own father by doing the very thing she fears most. He must marry her.

But as Verena's past emerges in bits and pieces, fear threatens to overcome love. Verena must fight for her marriage...and her sanity.

While Jaimey writes what I consider to be "clean" romances, she also infuses her stories with what she calls an "edge".   This is usually in the form of a social or personal tragedy that though existed back in the Regency years of England, it was considered taboo and unspeakable.  You'll love how the characters deal with these issues in a time period appropriate manner.

Honor is the third book I've read from her, and I have to say, the stories are all fabulous and different.  The characters intermingle in each book, so once you read one of Jaimey's novels, you'll be eager to read the next and the next and the next! 

If you are a fan of Victoria Holt, you'll be a fan of Jaimey Grant.

Monday, June 13, 2011

100th Follower Winner

Congratulations to Jill Hathaway, for being the random winner from my pool of followers! Your copy of Veiled is on it's way!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Agatha Escaped!

Oh dear! I have no idea how she did it,

but one of my main characters has escaped

and has been spotted at

Hurry over, Elizabeth might be in trouble.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'll be over at Joyce Di Pastena's,

JDP News Blog today!
Please come by and say hi!

Also, help me get 100


for a chance to win

a signed copy of


Thursday, June 9, 2011

SheKows Magazine Reviewed Veiled

SheKnows Magazine Book Review--VEILED

"I have always existed, not just me but all of us, the un-embodied spirits who wait to live." Dive into Veiled and you are suddenly thrust into an amazing world of life before life that you never knew existed. This thrilling supernatural fantasy novel by S.B. Niccum breathes life into a mythical realm which asks powerful questions about the nature of mankind and existence.


A unique twist on a popular theme, Veiled transports readers into an extraordinary world where spirits exist before life on Earth. But it is not what you might expect. The unborn spirits struggle with their pre-existence in the same way we mortals do. They laugh, they cry, they get depressed, they fall in love, they have arguments, they get in trouble and they even become involved in a war that endangers the future of their new planet.

Tess is an unborn spirit chosen by the Eternals for an important mission. During her training, she grows close to the kind and quirky members of her clan and falls in love with one special soul named Alex. But when she is tested by dark spirits, her own fears and insecurities rise to the surface and it is unclear whether she will be able to live up to her responsibilities and rise to the challenges set before her.

Amid the beautiful other-worldly landscapes of Veiled, the book addresses profound spiritual questions such as: Where did we come from? Do other worlds exist? Are our spirits eternal? And is death just another form of life? But it never comes close to being didactic or forcing the reader to swallow unsavory spiritual ideas. If anything, it opens up a world of fantasy that gives readers the opportunity to think about provocative questions and come to their own conclusions.

Step into the ethereal world of S. B. Niccum's Veiled and join Tess in her journey through pre-mortal existence. What will happen when she crosses the Veil into the next world? Will she remember the work she needs to do? Will she be reunited with her love? Will she remember who she really is?

I am so honored for this review!!!

Thank you SheKnows!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Romance Author, fitness instructor and Super Zumba teacher Michele Ashman Bell.

“It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way!” Michele Bell

S.B. – Michele, tell us a little bit about yourself, your career and your family.

M.B. - I grew up in St. George, Utah. When I was a kid it was this small, dusty, tumbleweed sort of town, and now it’s amazing and beautiful (and crowded) and I’m so proud to be from there. I went to college at Dixie State College and Southern Utah University, then served an LDS mission to Frankfurt, Germany but ended my mission in San Jose, California. I married my college sweetheart (we served missions at the same time) and now live in the Salt Lake City area. We have 4 children, an amazing daughter-in-law and 2 adorable granddaughters. I’m a fitness instructor and thought when I turned 50 I would retire but I discovered Zumba and now I teach anywhere between 8 – 14 Zumba classes a week. My other hobby is collecting Steinbach nutcrackers and Doris Day movies.

S.B.- Okay, so I had to look up Zumba, because I actually have never heard of it! After watching this video, I want to do it!
(This is not Michele's class)

S.B. -So Michele, do you believe that we all have an intended purpose, destiny or mission to fulfill in life?

M.B. -I believe that we have all been given gifts and talents and will be held accountable for how we use them to bless the lives of others. I’m also positive that there are things in this life that we were meant to do and we need to live our lives so that we will receive guidance and direction to accomplish those things. I feel like if I put my family and faith first, and always fulfill my obligations there, everything else will work out the way it’s supposed to. I don’t really know if being an author was my “mission” but I always felt compelled to pursue it, even though it took me ten years of rejections before it happened. I get so much joy and fulfillment from being an author; I can’t imagine not having it in my life. When I receive a letter or email from someone who tells me my books have touched their life in some way I am reminded at how blessed I am to be a writer. How would my life be different? Well . . . I’d have a heck of a lot more time on my hands.

S.B.Tell us about your work, what have you done? What are you working on right now?

M.B. I have been so blessed in my writing career. Even though I’m categorized as a Romance Author, my books usually have a bigger issue driving the plot. I feel like Women’s Fiction is a better description of what I write. I love to write stories about women in difficult situations who fight their way through all the obstacles and emerge stronger. Having said that I am actually jumping genres and am working on a horror story and also a science fiction story. I’m excited and nervous.

S.B. How do you balance your home and family life and your work?

M.B. This is probably the biggest challenge I have in life. I always try and put my home and family first, but it gets tough with deadlines or when I am passionate about a project I am working on. I find though, that my days flow better and life goes more smoothly when I keep my priorities straight. I am a planner and a scheduler and first thing every morning I plan my day and then get to work.

S.B. What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose? How does the quote “Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance” helped you?

M.B. If I’ve taught my children one thing, it is that quote. Each of my children has excelled in different areas (basketball, dance, pageants, etc…) and I have told them over and over that success comes from hard work and persistence, not talent. I have seen so many wonderfully talented people not learn the strong work ethic that comes from having to acquire a specific talent or skill. Having a desire and a passion for something is a starting point, hard work and persistence can turn it into an accomplishment (i.e., talent or skill). I wouldn’t be published today if it depended on my talent, that’s for sure. Also, teaching Zumba did not come naturally. I have no dance skill or training, especially in Latin dance, but I wanted to learn so badly that I worked my tail end off to learn it. It’s amazing the power we have inside of us if we don’t let our fears stand in our way! If someone is trying to find purpose in their life I would suggest several things:

1) Get outside of yourself and volunteer somewhere. Put your efforts in helping others and YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF!

2) Focus on developing a talent or skill. The joy that comes from accomplishing something difficult will give you great fulfillment as well as great self-worth!
Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.

S.B. Thanks Michele, that is very good advice. I agree with you whole-heatedly in that service and growing our talents are one of the most important factors in happiness. I admire you very much and I did want to mention that Michele's latest book "The Perfect Fit" is available to purchase. I just finished it myself, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was one of the best contemporary romantic stories I have read in a while!

Thanks Michele for stopping by!

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! I feel passionate about this topic and I’m certain that we all have a special purpose to fulfill in this life, thanks for sharing yours.