Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spinster's Folly by Marsha Ward

Marie Owen yearns for a loving husband, but Colorado Territory is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors, so a future of spinsterhood seems more likely than wedded bliss. Her best friend says cowboy Bill Henry is a likely candidate, but Marie knows her class-conscious father would not allow such a pairing. When she challenges her father to find her a suitable husband before she becomes a spinster, he arranges a match with a neighbor's son. Then Marie discovers Tom Morgan would be an unloving, abusive mate and his mother holds a grudge against the Owen family. Marie's mounting despair at the prospect of being trapped in such a dismal marriage drives her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
This fourth book in the Owen Family Saga is infused with potent heart and intense grit.

You can purchase online at or

About the Author
Marsha Ward was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and currently lives in a pine forest in central Arizona. She is an award-winning poet, freelance writer and editor whose published work includes four novels, two collaborative non-fiction books on writing, a collection of prose and poetry, and over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. Her novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and the brand-new Spinster’s Folly have received rave reviews from both readers and reviewers.

To learn more about Marsha and her books, check her out online.
Author Blog:
Character Blog:

Check out a sample scene from Spinster's Folly and then order today! I congratulate Marsha on another excellent novel!

Marie turned and stalked off toward the plank tables set out under the oak trees nearby. When Ma had found out Carl was rising from his bed to get married, she had bustled about—with the aid of Rulon’s Mary—and put together a special wedding dinner. Well, special, if you count honey drizzled on corn cakes as special. Add the meat pulled from the bones of a few roasted chickens, gallons of milk, cold from sitting in stone crocks in the spring, and the meal could pass as special.

No matter what irritating things Julianna may say, Marie couldn’t take the time to tussle with her. There was aplenty of work to do today. Even so, she felt burgeoning anger consuming her good sense as she eyed a washtub full of tableware sitting on the grass beside the table. Which of her brothers had left the dishes on the ground instead of putting them on the table? Inconsiderate clod! She bent over, pulled a stack of tin plates from the tub, and slammed them onto the table. Her ears rang with the cacophonous sound. She retrieved a second bunch of plates, dropped them onto the first pile, then grabbed a double handful of tin cups, which she banged down on the planks, not caring if she dented them.

After a few moments of rebellion, reveling in the clinks and clanks of the tinware, she straightened up, put her hands at her waist and stretched her back. Then she blew an escaping lock of hair out of her eyes and twisted the kinks out of her neck. Remembering that—despite Carl and Ellen’s hasty withdrawal—there were still plenty of folks to feed, served to pull her out of her misery and helped her transform back into sensible, responsible Marie.

The Spanish priest robed in brown was the first to enter the shade under the oak trees, wiping sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. The Texas cowboys followed, discussing the possibility of a shiveree that night. Mr. and Mrs. Bates came along with Ma. Pa was nowhere to be seen, but the rest of the family pressed forward, intent upon taking nourishment after the arduous work of getting Carl wed.

Marie hurried to get behind the food-laden table to serve as her younger brothers pushed and shoved to position themselves at the head of the line in order to grab generous portions. Marie smacked the backs of their hands with the bowl of the honey spoon.

“Ow!” howled Albert. “There’s no call to beat me.”

“Guests first,” she replied, pointing with the spoon. “Get yourselves to the back of the line.”

Clay licked honey off the back of his hand and glared at Marie, but obeyed without a word.

Mr. Bates escorted the priest to the head of the now-orderly line, accompanied by many polite gestures on the part of both men. Marie smiled at the priest, racking her brain for something to say, then, as she heaped his plate, remembered a Spanish word she’d heard recently. “Señor,” she said, and made a bobbing sort of curtsey.

Muchas gracias, muy amable,” he said, smiling back at her and making little crosses in the air over the food table.

“Muchas grachius,” she parroted back, wondering what she’d just said as the priest moved on.

By and by, everyone who had crowded around the table had their plates full, and all were engaged in seeking places to sit to devour the comestibles. After consolidating the leftovers, Marie picked up a plate and fork.

Just then, an excited voice called from the woods, “Hey, James is riding the mustang!” The Owen brothers and the cowboys abandoned their plates and cups on the grass and hurried off to see the spectacle.

Marie watched them go, then forked up a bit of chicken, put a corn cake on her plate, and drenched it with honey. She found a place to sit by herself on the grass, and bit into the sweetened breadstuff. The bland corn cake reminded her of all such dry mouthfuls she’d endured in the years since Lincoln’s Northern soldiers had come marching into Virginia. As she chewed, she wished she’d thought to get a cupful of milk. Eventually, the honey helped ease the ground corn down her throat. She dearly hoped Pa would trade a beef cow or two for part of Mr. Bates’s wheat crop after harvest time. Wheat bread would be such a welcome change.

Young Roddy, Rulon’s boy, came galloping under the oaks astride a stick Pa had fitted with a stuffed horse head made of burlap. “The horsie bucked,” he announced in a high, shrill voice. “Unca James fell off.” He pranced around his mother. “Mama, he said bad words.”

Marie didn’t fight the chortle the boy’s comment brought upon her. I reckon he did, she thought, covering her mouth. James don’t like blemishes on his reputation as a horseman. She watched Mary bend over and exhort her son about sticking close to her. That baby’s growin’ up. Good thing Mary’s got a new wee one to dote on.

Her good humor faded as her heart constricted. She had empty arms and no prospects for a man to help her fill them with a babe of her own. She wondered if Julianna’s words about her being an old maid had any truth. She was eighteen years old, after all. She closed her eyes and felt a chill move up her spine.

Rulon had taken Mary to wife years ago, just before he went to the war. Roddy had come along in the due course of time. Now Carl had wed Ellen. When was her time to marry and have a family? Had it passed her by when Virginia got tangled up in that cursed fight? Marie shivered as the chill enveloped the rest of her body. So many young men had gone for soldiers. So many hadn’t returned home once the fighting was done. Now she was way out here in Colorado Territory. Her chances for finding a suitor weren’t showing any more promise than they had during the Unpleasantness.

Marie opened her eyes as she heard a murmur of male voices and a few laughs. Evidently the show at the corral was over. The cowboys drifted back to the serving table and piled their plates a second time.

She shook off her somber thoughts and wondered if she should take Carl and Ellen a bite of dinner. Surely, with Carl so sorely wounded, the two of them wouldn’t be in a romantic frame of mind.

But what if they were? She wouldn’t dare interrupt their honeymoon.

“Oh claptrap,” she muttered. “If Carl’s hungry, Ellen will fetch something to feed him.”

“I reckon that’s so,” a male voice said. “May I refill your plate, Miss Marie?”

Drawing in a gasp of air and jerking to attention, Marie almost spilled the food remaining on her plate to the ground. Bill Henry!

It took her a moment to recover from her surprise at his overture, but she eventually replied, “I . . . reckon I have plenty to eat here, thank you, Mr. Henry. You’re most obliging to ask.”

“Not even a cup of milk?”

“No. No, I’m real content.” She smoothed her woolen skirt, brushing at a wrinkle.

“Well then, would it be amiss if I joined you here while I ate?”

“Ma might need me,” she said, trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to get to her feet in a ladylike manner.

“I reckon she’s otherwise occupied, bidding folks good-bye,” Mr. Henry said, looking in Mrs. Owen’s direction. She stood near a cluster of horses, talking to Mrs. Bates.

“Suit yourself,” Marie murmured, wishing she didn’t feel so flustered. Bill Henry was a mighty good-looking man, with those deep blue eyes sparkling in his broad, tanned face. But if he had courtship in mind, he was wasting his time talking her. Pa wasn’t likely to give his consent to a match of his daughter with a cowhand. Except it’s very likely Pa hasn’t given me much thought at all. He has always worried first about setting his boys up in life. Be that as it may, all the world knew that sooner or later, Mr. Henry was heading back to Texas. Marie’s stomach began to ache.

Now he sat beside her in one smooth movement and tucked into his food. After chewing up a bite of dark chicken meat, he swallowed and looked at her. “Surprising doin’s today.” He gestured in the direction of Carl’s cabin. “Your brother’s got pluck to stand up on that leg and get married.”

“There’s no shortness of pluck amongst my brothers, Mr. Henry,” Marie said, measuring her words. “Every single one of them is stuffed full of it. You’d think it would run out their ears, they’re so plucky.” The last word almost exploded from her lips. Exasperation unexpectedly rose up like gall in her throat. “Pa built it into them from the time they were in short pants.”

“Whoa there.” Mr. Henry held up his hands. “What did I say to cause you hurt, miss?”

She picked at a stem of grass beside her skirt, pulling it to pieces, playing for time to settle her voice into more suitable tones. She glanced up, saw that the Bates family was riding off with the Spanish preacher in tow. “Nothing, sir,” she finally said after taking a deep breath. “I’m right pleased to see my brother wed. Nothing gives me more joy than the happiness of Miss Ellen, my good friend.” She knew she was enunciating her words carefully, but she couldn’t help the brusque note that had crept into her voice. Somehow, it went well with her stomachache.

“Is it your brothers’ pluck or your pa’s heavy-handedness that has you in a dither, miss?” Mr. Henry softened his critical words with a quick smile that briefly lifted the corners of his moustache.

“My pa? Heavy-handed? Oh, yes,” she said, her voice sounding sarcastic to her ears. She gave a little shudder, and tried to remember herself, tried to beat back the great ache cramping her midsection. She finally managed a more moderate tone, saying, “I’m speaking out of turn, Mr. Henry. My pa is an honorable man.”

“He is that,” he agreed. “He’s also a commandin’ figure of a man who wants every soul to do his will.”

She didn’t reply. There was nothing to debate in his words.

“Aside from that,” he said, a muffled snort escaping his throat, “he’s my boss, so I reckon I’m speakin’ out of turn, as well.” He lifted his hat and smoothed back his light brown hair before he carefully replaced the hat. “Beggin’ your pardon, miss, I’d best get back to my work.”

Marie looked around. The cowboys had drifted away and the glade was empty of guests. Only Albert remained, still stuffing food into his apparently bottomless maw. “It appears our weddin’ party has come to an end,” she said, rearranging the utensils on her plate. “I reckon it’s time for me to gather the dishes and such.”

He helped her to her feet without further comment, and walked her over to the tables. “I’m grateful for our talk, Miss Marie, even if I am a fair lummox at conversatin’.”

“You have no fault in speaking,” she said, a bit too forcefully. She looked downward. “I must beg your pardon for putting you ill at ease. I haven’t been the best company.” She looked up again, right into soft blue eyes that seemed to see into her soul. “I fear I’ve been a bit, um, cranky.”

He bent his head, accepting her apology. “Next time, I’ll not come up and surprise you, miss.”

She nodded, and he went away, leaving his plate behind on the table. She picked it up and ran her fingers slowly around the smooth rim as she watched him go, her attention fixed on the power in his easy stride. When she realized what her fingers were doing, she hastily set down the plate, pulled her attention back to her chore and made piles of the remains of the meal. Her thoughts buzzed in disarray, crossing one upon the other as she worked.

That Bill Henry! Is he toying with me? Jule thinks I’m ugly. Am I, truly? All the county boys said I was pretty. Why didn’t Pa set me up with a husband when he arranged matches for the boys? I was plenty old enough to get wed. There’s hardly anybody out here. Why did Mr. Henry come to sit with me? He is surely going back to Texas. Is Jule right and I’m ripe for the shelf? Why did the county boys go to war? They left me behind to wither away. What does a handsome devil like Mr. Henry want with a homely spinster? He likely left a sweetheart waiting for him. Who is there left to hold his nose and marry me? A Mexican? Tom Morgan? He never played up to me. Tom always hankered after Ellen more than James did. I’ll wager Bill kissed a pretty young thing farewell when Pa hired him on. Why didn’t Pa think of me?

Afraid she might dissolve into tears and betray her fragile state of mind to her brother, Marie dumped the dirty dishes into the washtub and fled with it toward the house.


Friday, October 19, 2012

The Lost Stones by Paul Rimmasch

Howdy folks,

I haven't blogged for a while. Life's been busy. You know how it is. I read The Lost Stones back in August but haven't shared yet so here we go.

The Lost Stones is an intriguing, LDS centered treasure hunt in the tradition of National Treasure and Indiana Jones. I always love a good treasure hunt, thus my upcoming December release, Gold Clash. Who doesn't enjoy a mystery wrapped in hidden clues of ancient artifacts? Like any good hunt, the good guys aren't the only ones searching.

Evil assassins and criminal masterminds threaten Ammon, John and Sariah as they search for the lost stones that lit the the vessels that carried the Brother of Jared and his people to the American continent. This wild search may even help Ammon uncover mysteries from his past.

At first thought, the premise of searching for the lost stones of the Brother of Jared caught me off guard and struck me as a bit far fetched, but as I considered the theory and suspended disbelief, I really enjoyed this story. Why not? For Mormon's who believe in the literal history of the Book of Mormon it is fun to speculate about artifacts such as lost stones that may, or may not, hold the key to an unknown power source (how else could they be lit up in the barges). They existed thousands of years ago. Where are they now?

At times the Mormon lore and faith promoting testimony may seem a bit heavy handed, but its all in good fun. I enjoy a book that forces you to consider new possibilities. This is a solid first effort by Paul Rimmasch and I congratulate him on this fun adventure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today is officially the first day of Summer! YAY! Or BOO! Depending upon your perspective, this is a great day or a sad day. Great because it means summer is really here or sad because this is the longest day of the year, which means it’s all downhill from here as we roll back towards winter. Hmmm. Are you an optimist, a pessimist or indifferent? Do you prefer summer or winter? Do you care? What about the characters you write about? Do they care?

So much of what we do and how we interact in the world depends on our perspective and viewpoint. It may seem like a subtle question- The first day of Summer- Good or Bad? But it can reveal a great deal about us as individuals OR about the characters living within the pages of the books we write. In life, it would be improbable to be surrounded by only one type of person. It is much more likely that we are surrounded by complexity of competing values, opinions and even points of view, in the sense that not everyone can view the world in the same way. What a boring place that would be. Even as individuals we may find that we are both optimistic/pessimistic/indifferent depending on the circumstances around us or the subject we face. A mixture of these attributes amongst our characters adds interest and complication to our stories. It adds angst, conflict and depth. Without these qualities, a story will just be words on pages that don’t really speak to or move anyone. So, take a look at your current characters. Are they the same? Different? Are they cheery? Do they have a fatal flaw? Are they optimistic or pessimistic? Can they change? Should they change? Answering these questions and many more will help us to truly know our characters and make our writing more enjoyable and the experience for our readers more meaningful.

Oh, one more thing. Don’t forget about the inaugural Storymakers Midwest Conference on September 15th. Find out more information here.

I had originally planned to attend the Provo Storymakers Conference this year but was unable to attend so I’m thrilled to have a second shot at meeting many of my favorite LDS authors. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to attend a great conference near Kansas City. I am also very excited about this as I will be presenting two workshops: 1) The First 5 Pages and 2) YA genre. It should be loads of fun. Sign up today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lightning Tree by Sarah Dunster

Lightning Tree, by Sarah Dunster is an intriguing and often sad story about the life of a pioneer orphan, Maggie. Set against the political and social intrigue of the "Cedar Incident" Maggie must find ways to cope in a new and often inhospitable environment with a heartless adopted mother and a sometimes indifferent adopted father. Nightmares slowly remind Maggie of the terrible events that have unfolded in her life, events that she suppressed because they are too awful to remember, but her memories are not always accurate which adds to the pain and confusion she feels. Dunster does a wonderful job of exploring Maggie's pain. It really is heartbreaking, but she does it in a way that is exciting enough to keep me turning the pages. While I admit that I found myself most drawn to the political intrigue and secrecy surrounding the "Cedar Incident", Lightning Tree successfully mingles the emotional struggles of the individual with the social struggles of the community. This was a fascinating read, and while Maggie's dramatic personal conflict sometimes overpowers the political I think there is plenty in this book to keep both the male and female reader engaged.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Storm Clouds? Big Whoopdy Doo!

For Christmas my wife gave me a gift certificate to attend the Storymakers Writing Conference in Provo. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while and my plans were made...but then they changed. A couple of months ago the church scheduled the date for the Kansas City Temple Dedication and guess what, it was on the same weekend. Hmmmm. What to do? . I've been looking forward to the Temple dedication far longer than the writing conference but I still found myself a bit disappointed that I couldn't do both. My children started practicing in February to be a part of the cultural celebration on the Saturday prior to the dedication and I knew I couldn't miss that either so I decided to cancel my plans for the conference. The celebration was fantastic and the kids had a great time, but still I felt a twinge of disappointment that I couldn't go to the conference. . Sunday, as my family and I drove to the Kansas City temple for the dedication, the skies opened up and POUNDED us with rain. We wondered how wet we would get and how uncomfortable we might be in the temple sitting in wet clothing. I found myself feeling a twinge of disappointment that the weather wasn't clear and sunny. As it turns out, the rain stopped at the most opportune times and we didn't get a drop on us, but as soon as we started driving home, the pounding rain started again. . It was at this moment that I realized what a shame it is to let events or circumstances in our lives distract us from the things that are most important. Would I have liked to go to the conference, sure. But going to the cultural celebration and dedication was more important for me. Would I have preferred sunshine instead of blinding rain. Yeah, of course, but I shouldn't allow a small thing like rain dampen my enthusiasm for the amazing experience I had. . This also made me think of the writing, publishing and reviewing process we go thru as writers. We struggle and work to write our manuscript. We shop it around and finally get an acceptance from a publisher and we eagerly await the release of our book. We anticipate the release with such high hopes but sometimes we allow a rain cloud or two dampen our enthusiasm and pull us out of the joy and excitement we should be basking in. . The specific rain clouds I'm thinking of are bad reviews. The release of a book is a thrilling experience after months or even years of effort and struggle, so why should we let one dingdong ruin that euphoria for us by merely saying or writing something critical? Would we like every reader to praise our book as the most intelligent, well written, humorous, touching work they've ever read. Yeah, sure. But it's not realistic. So a reader didn't like it. Big whoopdy doo! They're just stupid heads. (wait- I digress) We WILL get bad reviews but a review on goodreads, Amazon, blogs etc should not make or break our enthusiasm. In some cases we may be able to learn from the review, in some cases we simply need to ignore them because we cannot get caught up in the hype, either positive or negative, about our work. Just say, "darn!" and then move on. . So that was a rambling way of saying, focus on the positive, ignore the negative and focus on what really brings you happiness and fulfillment. Don't let the rain clouds of bad reviews dampen your enthusiasm for writing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Need A Hammock

The last couple of days I’ve intended to spend a significant period of time writing. I even took Monday off work so I could sit at home and concentrate on the story I’m writing. Guess how much I accomplished on Monday. That’s right. You’re so smart. I accomplished ZILCH. So Tuesday I decided to buckle down and get something done. Guess how much I accomplished on Tuesday. Yeah, depressing isn’t it. Zilch…again. Pathetic. It brings me to my question for the day; what conditions do you require to be successful in your writing? As I’ve thought about the last couple of days I have identified a couple of hurdles I did not clear. 1- Exhaustion- Many times I want to write but I. Just. Can’t. Prop. My. Eyelids. Open. Sometimes I’m simply too tired to concentrate and put forth any real mental effort. As interesting and exciting as writing can be, it is still work. It requires energy and if I I’m grumpy and snarly from fatigue my writing (if I do happen to manage a little) is weak and uninspired. 2- Spring Fever- I got a LOT of work done around the house Monday, but no writing. Many things, like finishing the tilling of my final garden plot, were good and maybe even more important for me to work on that day. There is a time and a season and frankly, Spring is a great and exciting season to be outside instead of stuck behind a desk like I am every day at work. By the time I was finished with my manual labor outside I found myself too exhausted to challenge my mental muscles. 3- Stress- Some days, like Tuesday, there were simply too many competing concerns that got in the way of my writing. I need to concentrate when I write and if I’m irritated or overwhelmed with other To Do’s or worries I simply cannot focus on my story. I need a certain level of peace. Not a lot, but some. Again, maybe Tuesday just wasn’t the right time for me to write. Or maybe I’m making excuses. The bottom line is this; we all have obstacles to overcome as we seek to meet our writing goals. I want to write. I look forward to it but sometimes I need to put my writing on the back burner and focus on other aspects of life that are just as, or more important than writing my story. So, I’m curious. Do you face the same obstacles as me, or are your obstacles different? What kinds of conditions are most conducive to your successful writing? Do you require a pile of chocolate to snack on? Soft jazz playing in the background? Or maybe someone rubbing your shoulders and popping grapes into your mouth? I’d love to hear from you. My solution to the three problems I currently face is to reduce these three trouble areas as much as possible and my ultimate solution is found in the picture above. What solutions do you find?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway!

Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island has been out for 1 month TODAY. Happy 1 month anniversary. If you haven't ordered your copy yet...well, why not? GET ON IT PEOPLE. Just kidding. But if you really haven't had a chance to make the purchase yet I'm going to give you a chance to win a signed copy. Click on the link on the side of my blog page to go to the new Goodreads giveaway. Enter to win and tell your friends too. Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Crater Lake: Today is the Day!

TODAY is the official release date of Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard! It's a big day for me and the book. I would really appreciate any internet mentions you'd like to throw my way.

-Linked In
-Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Deseret Book
- Vote for me here in the book battle. I'm paired against Anne Tyler. Yikes. She's good.

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New York Journal of Books- Review

I just wanted to share the last paragraph of this review.

"Crater Lake overflows with descriptive and highly structured prose.
Discussion questions round out the book as a reading guide for groups or questions for an individual to ponder. Mr. Westover evokes pure creativity in this fantasy story of young adults working together for a perilous cause no matter the hazards they face. This is sure to please the adolescent reader looking for excitement and mystery."

I like it! You can read the full review here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Library Giveaway

The official release of Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island is just around the corner. It has received some fantastic reviews so far for which I am grateful. To celebrate, I am going to do a little online book launch by doing a Library Giveaway. This is such a fun Middle-grade book I want to make sure readers know about it and have a chance to get their hands on a copy, whether they buy it for themselves or a child/grandchild or find it in a library. I’ve already donated copies to 10 libraries I’ve chosen but to get it into more libraries I want to make donations to a library of your choosing.

3 drawing winners will receive a signed personal copy of Crater Lake and will also be able to designate a library of their choice where a second signed copy will be donated along with bookmarks and an 8X11 Crater Lake Poster. If you prefer that I donate both copies of the book to a library I would be thrilled to do that as well.

How do you enter the drawing to win for yourself and for your library? There are LOTS of ways to enter so choose the ones you’re comfortable with.

The drawing will run from March 6th thru March 31st and winners will be drawn randomly on April 2nd. Your name will be entered 1 time for each of the following things you do to help me promote the book-

1- 1 entry for each facebook, Twitter @stevenwestover, blog, linked-in mention you post about Crater Lake with the attached purchase URL.

2- 1 entry for following me on Twitter, become a follower on my blog or liking the Crater Lake fan page on Facebook

3- 1 entry for adding Crater Lake on Shelfari, Goodreads etc. or by posting a review on Amazon or goodreads.

4- 1 entry for any other person that enters and references you by name as the way they heard about the drawing.

5- 1 entry for telling your local public or school library about Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island

6- 1 entry for mentioning and linking to this drawing on your blog.

Once you’ve done ONE, TWO, THREE, EIGHT, or ALL of these things, leave a note on this blog post, post a personal message on facebook or send an email to telling me what you’ve done. (Please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you when you win) If you end up doing more things after your initial message, send me another note and I’ll add all your entry points up. PLEASE, share this with your friends and encourage them to share it with theirs.

Winners will be drawn on Monday, April 2nd and the winning books will be mailed the same week. Please share with your friends and have fun. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Joy of Writing

We all write for different reasons and have different goals, but hopefully we all find joy in the work. Otherwise, why bother. Writing can be a hair yanking test of patience and disappointment, so when we have opportunities to celebrate, we should. I thought I would share a few of the things I enjoy about my newfound hobby of writing. Here's the top 5 countdown.

5- Writing keeps me occupied with a meaningful project and challenges my mind
4- Writing allows me private time to think and let my imagination wander
3- Writing allows me the time I need to articulate my ideas in an intelligible way, instead of rambling incoherently like I do when I speak.
2- It is SOOOO rewarding to hear from a reader who enjoyed the book or who learned a meaningful lesson. This is true whether it is a family member or a complete stranger.
1- It feels GREAT to hold that book in my hands for the first time, thumb through the pages and stare at the cover. It's a sense of accomplishment that is hard to match. In short, writing is one way I have found to magnify a talent.

Why do you write? What about writing is most fulfilling for you and where do you find the most joy?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crater Lake Book Tour- Continued

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the last few days worth of reviews on my Crater Lake Book Tour. Check it out.
The book's audience is not just for kids! I have always been a YA fan and Crater Lake fits the bill. Frankly, I had a hard time putting this book down. It's an exciting read and the ending leaves room for a sequel! I love a sequel! Buy two copies and read it along with your child.
Steve Westover has created a world that is very imaginative and full of adventure and mystery.
Crater Lake is a great book that teens, and tweens will love to read. It is full of adventure, fantasy, and mystery.
Adventure, adventure, adventure. That's how I would sum up this book. Throw in a bit of magic and a common purpose and you get a great book… Swimming through freezing waters, exploring underground, fighting creatures, and near death experiences will keep you interested and entertained all the way through.
Middle-grade age kids (9-12) will definitely enjoy this book as well as teen readers.
Mystery? Check. Suspense? Check. Annoying little sister? Check.
I’d like to thank all those who have participated so far and I look forward to reading the rest of the reviews over the next week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Venom- By KC Grant

From Goodreads-
Samantha Evans is determined to make a name for herself in the cutthroat world of advertising. Newly hired by a prestigious ad agency, she volunteers to work on location in Mexico City as a personal assistant to the beautiful and driven creative director Katrina Edwards. At first the association seems promising. But Ms. Edwards seems preoccupied in a way that makes Samantha increasingly uneasy. In fact, many in the group seem like they are not being completely open about the project including David Ayala, the mysterious and moody photographer for whose attention the two women find themselves competing.

After several strange accidents and numerous appearances by an unknown man, Samantha discovers the truth: not everyone on the team is in Mexico to create a stellar advertising pitch. When her sleuthing leads to her abduction, she is brought to the pyramids of Teotihuacán and comes face-to-face with the venomous evil of the South American crime boss known as “The Serpent.” Now Samantha must not only fight for her life, but she must also discover if she can trust the man she’s come to love.

I’ll mention briefly that as a guy, I like to see people get shot and watch things blow up. I know…I’m a cliché, what can I say. I’m not always as interested in reading about the emotional angst a character is feeling and I want the action to pop and grab me from the start. Venom starts a tad slow for my liking but the characters and backstory really start to come alive. Samantha is a likable and a bit peculiar but the set up at the beginning of the book is critical to the overall success KC achieves in helping us to care about the heroine. So, if it starts a little bit slow, hang in there. You’ll be glad you did.

I love the Mexican setting. Setting is much more than just where action takes place, it is often the heart of the story. Think of Hogwarts or in my new book Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island, the setting becomes another character that seems to live and breathe. KC’s vivid description of Mexico and its competing cultures really add depth to the story. Add to LDS thriller plenty of mystery and intrigue wrapped into a plot that will keep you guessing about the bad guys and you’ve got an interesting and exciting read.

Venom, by KC Grant is a thrilling adventure set at the epicenter of colliding Mexican cultures. Mystery, suspense, betrayal and love: Venom will keep your heart, mind and fingers frantic as you race through to the final, satisfying page.

Visit the Author’s website here.

Or purchase the book here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Crater Lake Blog Tour Has Begun!

The blog tour for Crater Lake has begun. Here is a sampling of the nice things people are saying about it. If you want more, check out their blogs or look up Crater Lake on Amazon and goodreads to read the reviews.
Battle for Wizard Island is the first book of the Crater Lake series -
and it was EXCELLENT! I was pulled right in from chapter one and only
put the book down when my munchkins insisted they needed Mom. =)
Steve Westover crafts a great mystery filled with suspense that will
keep youth and adults on the edge of their seat. I loved the
characters, their attitudes, and interactions as they try to unravel
ancient stories and clues. I'm definitely purchasing a print copy of
this book. I know my 11 year old daughter will love it!
The story grabbed me from the start. First, the setting is vivid. The
author does a great job at capturing the beauty of Crater Lake.
Second, the characters are all likable. . . I think there are great lessons to be learned from their bravery and perseverance. I can't wait to see
what happens in Steve Westover's future books.
I found Crater Lake a perfect book for tweens, a wonderful adventure for sure. . . Crater Lake is a wonderful mix of intrigue and adventure. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a book that teaches you about determination, and teamwork.

You can also check out this interview...

and sign up for a drawing for a free copy of Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island on GoodReads.
Goodreads Giveaway

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Today I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about issuing a press release for a new book. There are a few elements that a press release contain.

Urgency of the news- “For Immediate Release” tells them they can run the story NOW.
What is the story? The release of this new book and what the book is about.
About the Author- Help the media outlets get to know you a little bit.
Contact Info- Tell the media outlet how they can contact you or your publisher if they’re interested in doing a story or interview.

Who should you send it to? Work with your publisher as they will likely be issuing a Press Release about the book to certain media outlets. It’s rarely a problem if both the publisher and the author sends a release to the same outlet, but be organized and coordinate your efforts. Is there a specific audience you’re trying to reach? In the example of my Crater Lake book I targeted media in Missouri (where I live) approaching it from the “local author” angle. My publisher has close relationships with media in Utah where they are based so they took care of that market. I also focused my attention on the media in Oregon because Crater Lake is a landmark for the state and there will be local interest there because of the subject.

I’ve contacted newspapers, both large and small, radio stations offering to do interviews, and even TV stations. Not all outlets contacted will run the story, but some will. Target your media outlets strategically but also make sure you spread a wide enough net to catch all the outlets that may be interested. Once initial contact has been made, via email or phone, giving the outlet a copy of your book cover and the Press Release. Then follow-up becomes important, emailing again and even calling the outlets to see if they’ve received it and if they have any questions. This may seem a little bit overbearing, but who cares. It’s the media. They are the kings of overbearing and this is definitely a situation where the squeaky wheel can get the grease.

One last thought. In addition to media outlets, also make it a priority to contact book sellers in the target area who may also have an interest in the book. In my case I’ve targeted bookstores local to Crater Lake and even the Crater Lake gift shop asking them to carry the book. Hopefully they will see that it is a win-win for both of us.

Here’s an example of a Press Release I worked on with my publisher.

Steve Westover’s new book to be released March 2012 - Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island

1/31/12—KANSAS CITY, Missouri—Steve Westover, author of the FBI thriller Defensive Tactics (August 2010), announces the release of his first youth novel, Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island, March 13, 2012, available in hard back at selected bookstores and online at Amazon, Barns & Noble, and WalMart.

Crater Lake is a thrilling adventure about thirteen-year-old Ethan, whose world collapses around him when his parents and all other adults disappear while the family is visiting his crazy uncle at Crater Lake National Park.

Westover delves into the mystical legends of Native American tribes local to Crater Lake to craft his story. Set in modern times, Ethan’s life is thrown into turmoil when all the adults at Crater Lake are devoured into an earthen prison. He must dig deep to find the courage and determination required to face his fears and rescue his family.

“I found myself wondering what would happen if all the adults visiting Crater Lake disappeared, leaving only the children and young teenagers on their own?,” says Westover. “What would happen if the legends of Crater Lake were true? How would kids survive the natural and surprising dangers of Crater Lake, and how would they save their parents?”

Crater Lake, all that is left after the collapse of the once majestic Mount Mazama, holds a hidden secret, a lost colony buried beneath its depths. All that remains of Ethan’s family is his annoying little sister and the hope that he can free his parents.

Ethan must decipher the legends of Crater Lake, rally his friends to find the key to the Prison of the Lost, and free his parents before their captivity becomes permanent.

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About the Author
Steve grew up in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from South Salem High School. He then attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a BA in political science and a minor in psychology. He currently lives in Missouri where he works as a banker but writing is his newfound passion.

For further information contact: