I have a fiction book coming out in the spring of 2014. Today an illustrator was assigned for this picture book. I’m very excited to be working with her. Actually, I’m thrilled!
One of the wonderful authors I met with yesterday was Marlene Bateman Sullivan. Remember the review I provided of her book Gaze Into Heaven? Here we are at the conference.
I just finished working on a revision of my fiction piece to be critiqued at the conference. I know they will help me fine-tune it.
Friday, May 10th, there will be a bookstore where you can buy books written by many, many wonderful LDS authors. The majority of these books will be discounted for this event. Yes, it is open to the public. And at 5:00 p.m. there will be a mass booksigning. You could get all the books you purchase signed personally by the authors.
Oh my goodness! I am looking sooooooo forward to Friday.
I had the wonderful opportunity to read and review the Life Is Too Short Collection by Connie Sokol. I also briefly interviewed Connie. My book review and the answers to my interview questions are below.
This delightful, easy-reader is perfect for gift giving, especially for young mothers. Connie’s wit and wisdom give us not only ideas for workable solutions, but hope and true I’ve-been-there examples to teach us. She doesn’t send us on a perfect-mom guilt trip, one of the things I particularly liked about the Life Is Too Short Collection. The author provides simple, yet highly meaningful advice on how to enjoy life and mothering.
I’ll mention here a few of my favorite sections in this collection. You will have your own, but these are some of the ones that specifically impacted me.
- The Power of Change
- Keep It Simple
- A Mom’s Sacrifices for the Unknown Olympian
- If You Give a Kid a Cookie, He’ll Want a Lego
- The Foreigner
I loved Connie’s exposing phrases that describe certain things or types of individuals. Here are just a couple.
I asked Connie what she feels are the two most important things for a mother to remember about mothering. She said, “It’s a living, loving, learning PROCESS. We’ve got to allow ourselves to live it—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and to ENJOY the journey. Most of the time we’re furrowed brow and functional, and we miss the cream!”
I said, “Connie, your humor is delightful! What can women do to maintain a sense of humor instead of having ‘life’ get them down?”
“Not take the little things so seriously,” she said, “things like, ‘How did my cupcakes turn out for my daughter’s class party?’ To delight in the daily funnies or foibles, write about them, laugh about them, even get paid for writing and laughing about them!”
“Is there another book in the works?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” she answered without hesitation. “Two nonfiction books—a new version of 24 Days with the Savior, another motherhood tips book, and a fiction series of four tight-knit former college friends who challenge each other to achieve a life dream by a certain deadline and what happens to each woman in their own adventure.”
I’d like to share here a few quotes that impressed me from the Life Is Too Short Collection.
- “The sooner women understand that men will never communicate like our girlfriends, no matter how sensitive and validating they may be, the sooner we will appreciate our spouses (and how patient and verbal our girlfriends are).”
- “We cannot be perfect in mothering, period. But we can take each experience and squeeze the learning out of it.”
- “Ultimately, what matters most with forgiveness is that we attempt it.”
Connie Sokol is a mother of seven. She is a monthly contributor on KSL television’s “Studio 5” morning show and a regular blogger for the KSL “Motherhood Matters” blog. She is a former television radio host for Bonneville Communications and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine.
As Connie’s children get older, leave home, and marry, I’ll be anxious to read her ideas and witty solutions to maintaining close family ties while grandparenting. And as a grandmother myself now, I’d love to make the peppermint scones she mentioned in Life Is Too Short Collection. Yum, I think my grandchildren would love them!
The Life Is Too Short Collection can be purchased at any Utah Costco, Amazon, and on Connie’s website, www.conniesokol.com.
My review of Gaze into Heaven by Marlene Sullivan
This exceptional book is an amazing educational tool. I found it absolutely inspiring, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning where we go and what we do after death. This testimony-building piece of work answered many of my questions and left me without fear of dying.
I asked Marlene Sullivan, the author of Gaze into Heaven, what caused her to devote her time to putting this book together for publication. She said, “I felt a sense of urgency to write this book so that whoever read it would gain a greater testimony of God’s plan and have their faith increased. I was so touched by reading these experiences that I wanted to share them with everyone! I felt a deep desire for people to know that God exists, that He loves us, and that the gospel is true. I wanted people to know and read these incredible stories so they would realize that this life is but a fleeting moment, and we should take advantage of our time here to learn and grow.”
I was curious and asked how Marlene’s own perspective changed while writing the book. Her response interested me. “It didn’t, really,” she stated. “I’ve always had a firm testimony that life continues beyond the veil. The stories were still comforting, however, and I do think they strengthened my testimony that God lives and loves us and is very aware of our needs. I think I also became more convinced that I need to work harder to become better. This life is short and we ought to use the time we are allotted for our best good. It is truly a time of testing and we ought to take advantage of it.”
I thought about how my perspective changed because of this great read. Like Marlene, I’ve always known life continues beyond the veil. But because I am such a visual person, I was fascinated with the descriptions of the spirit world, especially the colors. I felt a great deal of calm as I read, immense peace.
Because I love to do research, I felt an additional kinship to Marlene when I asked her what drew her to writing this genre. She declared simply, “I love to do research. It’s a thrill to walk into the Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City. I love it there. Seriously. If they’d let me, I’d bring my sleeping bag and a cooler of food and live there until my food gave out!
“While writing this book, I ‘lived’ in libraries for quite a while. While I did some research at BYU, the University of Utah, and Utah State, the majority of experiences came from the Church History Library and the Church Archives. I pored through old newspapers, early Church magazines, and in the archives, looked at countless collections of papers, journals, letters, and microfilms.”
So tell me a little about Gaze into Heaven. Why did you decide to write a book on this fascinating topic? Marlene answered, “I didn’t set out to write a book about near-death experiences—I stumbled upon it—and it was the best accident I ever had! I was researching for my first book, Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, when I came across a couple of near-death experiences. I was fascinated and jotted down the references and put them aside, thinking I’d come back to them after I finished my book. Then I began finding amazing stories about angels who came to earth to comfort, inspire, or direct early Latter-day Saints and ended up writing a series of three books about people who had actually seen or heard an angel. Finally, I then started to research and write Gaze into Heaven. It was exciting to find these near-death experiences. The warm feelings that enveloped me while reading them convinced me this was an important book. It’s been such a comfort knowing that life continues on in an absolutely beautiful place and that people there are happy, active, and at peace.”
Here is the book’s synopsis:
Gaze into Heaven is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the spirit world by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration, Gaze into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life—or death—in the same way.
Here is an excerpt from Gaze into Heaven:
There is something innately persuasive about these near-death experiences. As we ponder them, we may feel whisperings of the Spirit of God, giving us a desire to prove ourselves worthy and to increase in light and knowledge. If we will turn our lives over to Heavenly Father, we will grow and progress until the time comes for us to pass through the veil, where we will be able to partake of the glories awaiting us there.
About the author:
Marlene Bateman Sullivan is an accomplished author. She has been published in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, vol. 1; Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, vol. 2; And There Were Angels Among Them; Visits from Beyond the Veil; By the Ministering of Angels; and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the bestselling novel Light on Fire Island.
Where is Gaze into Heaven available?
Gaze into Heaven can be purchased in addition to online sources, like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, at physical locations, such as Deseret Book, Seagull, as well as other LDS bookstores.