Friday, September 26, 2014

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden

Do you love adventure? Fantasy? Medieval England? Fairies? Witches? Pixies? Demons? Mystical creatures with unique personalities; some fun, others dangerous? Just to name a few of the character types you will run into in "Knight of Light" by Deirdra Eden, Book One of The Watchers Series.

This is an exciting tale of an orphan girl, Auriella. "She's not a witch; she's not human either. She's something much more powerful." And Book One, "Kinght of Light," leads you on an adventurous journey of self discovery, with Auriella, to learn who she actually is; someone who has the power to change this world. Don't miss this middle grade/young adult book that encourages the reader to be have courage and be strong. It is fast-paced and a quick and entertaining read; newly released and already a bestseller.

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions

About the Author

"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

Friday, September 12, 2014

To “LIKE” or NOT to “LIKE” . . . on Facebook ~ that is the question!!

Many of you may have read one of several posts that were making the rounds on FB and on various blogs about NOT using the “like” button on Facebook status updates or even on other people’s comments. This post by Elan Morgan prompted me to give this experiment a try:

I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity

So, for the last couple of weeks in August and most of the first week of September I made a conscious effort to resist the urge to hit the “like” button while perusing around on FB. My experience was very similar to Elan Morgan’s. First off, it was dang hard NOT to hit the “like” button. I had become accustomed to using the “like” button on nearly everything my friends posted unless I really took issue with something.

Elan says it best on her post: 

"The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos. I actually felt pangs of guilt over not liking some updates, as though the absence of my particular Like would translate as a disapproval or a withholding of affection." 

That is exactly how I felt. To me, “liking” something on FB meant: 

“Hey, I saw this.”   
“I’m here for you.”  
“I actually DO like this.”  
“I agree.”   
“You’re doing great.” 
“Good for you.”

And the number one message hitting the “LIKE” button sent (from my perspective) was, “You are NOT invisible.”

How many times have you posted something interesting, cute, clever, fun as can be, or even serious and important and your post just sits there?

No. One. Ever. Even. Saw. It. (Or so it seems).

Even if they did, they didn’t have the DECENCY to be supportive enough to hit the “like button.”

Here’s a little poem I wrote about it one day when no one was commenting or “liking” my post on FB and it was making me feel rather insignificant.  

"Timing of Posts is EVERYTHING"

Feel invisible
Even when among my friends
I say clever things
But no one responds to it
Darn that Facebook anyway.
© 2011 Stephanie Abney 

Yeah, I never wanted to be THAT person – so I freely and regularly “liked” just about everything. That’s how I rolled all the years I have been using Facebook.

What was interesting to me during my little experiment, is that NOT “liking” status updates forced me to stop and say something about them instead. And that brought about an entirely different “feel” and experience to my time spent on FB. It didn’t have to be a huge comment, just actually say something more than “like.” The result was one of showing a feeling of support much more so than the rapid-fire “liking” of nearly everything.

I noticed I felt calmer and happier when I was on FB. I had much fewer ads show up in my newsfeed and posts from friends I seldom heard from online started scrolling through a newsfeed that was no longer hijacked by my frantic “likes.” It was quite interesting.

An article, How to makeFacebook work better for you: Quit the ‘Like’ by Dylan Tweney at "Venture Beat" points out: 

"Stop liking things, and Facebook eases off the marketing messages, letting your friends’ updates come to the fore." 

There's another great article about it: The FacebookExperience Without a Like Button which points out: "Disappearing the social network's most-used feature forces us to actually say nice things to each other." 

And there are those who warn that using the "like" button, especially on "stories at large" that "tug at your heartstrings" are started by and used by scammers:

Doug Gross of CNN writes: On Facebook, clicking 'like' can help scammers

However, I have since returned to using the "like" button, because, well, I LIKE it. But I find that I no longer do it automatically. I am now a more judicious user of the "like" button. Now I take the time to comment more often and I am enjoying FB more than ever. 

There is a whole science behind Facebook's algorithm. But in the end, it's still not human. And the human touch is what makes the difference in all of our lives. So, let's be kind to one another. Don't ignore your friends when they are online - MAKE A COMMENT; make a difference! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Through the Years ~ Celebrating 44 Years of Marriage!

So, I'm slow to get this out there but I wanted to share how Jim and I celebrated 44 years of marriage. It's really hard to imagine. That's a VERY long time. It has been full of some unexpected and some unwanted lessons, to say the least. But also full of love and despite some pretty rough spots I would do it all again.

We were married on Aug. 5, 1970 in the LDS Los Angeles Temple for "Time and All Eternity."

 << This is what we looked like THEN

So, 44 years later we set out to celebrate: 

Our first stop was the Mesa Arts Center, featuring 4 exhibits ~ One was Betsy Douglas’ metal work; sleek, modern silver designs & computer circuit board jewelry (no pics). 

The next was Paper Art from several artists - most of it was intricately cut & assembled paper, 3-D structures & some wall hangings. To the right, the pink-looking work of art is by Erik & Martin Demaine - cut out of watercolor paper and painted.

This may look like lace or something but it's cut out paper. 

By Reni Gower - acrylic on hand cut paper. 

 There was also a very intriguing display called, "In/Visible," featured 3-D free-standing translucent figures that are layered with embroidery, silk screen & video projection. Very cool but a tad creepy. No pics.

The last exhibit I have mixed emotions on. Fascinating & disturbing (to me) because it was book art. The thought of altering or damaging books in any way really gets to me. But it was amazing - only front/back pics of one item.

OK, this is the back view - you can see the books stacked up on each other to create the "statue" the artist, Long-Bin Chen, of New York, made using books. He calls the piece, "Renaissance Man."

And this is the front of "Renaissance Man." By Long-Bin Chen. The previous pic shows the books he used to create this by carving it and then painting it. The info card said Chen is actually making a statement about human consumption & waste. It also mourns the pre-digital ear of bound books.

After we went to the Mesa Arts Center, we had dinner at the Blue Adobe Grille. It was the first time we had ever been there. I looked up the top ten restaurants in Mesa. It was on the list - we loved it. Jim had a chimichunga, rice & beans while I had - wait for it - SALMON - of course. Ancho Chile Rubbed Salmon, to be precise. You can't tell from the pic because it is smothered in Chipotle Tomato Relish. It was fabulous!! And the Green Chile Potato (yeah, that ORANGE potato) & sautéed veggies were delectable!! (Jim doesn't like "hot" food but mine was perfection). When they found out it was our 44th Wedding Anniversary - they gave us a FREE Crème Brûlée to share. It was the 1st time either one of us had tried it. Yummy!! Yeah, we'll be back.

And I thought the sink in the ladies room was so cute that I took a pic of it too!!

 The last part of our 44th Anniversary Date was to go to the movies where we watched, "Guardians of the Galaxy." TONZ' of FUN!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meet one of my talented and famous friends - Theresa Sneed

OK - so I am part of a "book blog tour" which is kind of a cool thing done these days to promote books right from the comfort of your own computer screen (or whatever device you are reading this on). I did my write up over at: Stephanie's Book Reviews & Author Interviews: "Elias of Elderberry"

It was especially fun because Theresa Sneed is a dear friend of mine. Here's a pic of the two of us when she flew in from Maine just to attend our ANWA (American Night Writers Association) summer retreat in Show Low, AZ. We took a tour of Coppervale Studio, owned by the famous author, illustrator and motivational speaker, James Artimus Owen in Taylor, AZ. It's very cool. It used to be an old church building; in fact, the one James attended as a child.

When Theresa lived here in AZ we used to teach at the same school for a couple of years and we drove over to the school together each day - talking, laughing, talking, laughing... you get the picture. I adore her and admire her talent. I think you should go check it out: Stephanie's Book Reviews & Author Interviews: "Elias of Elderberry"


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Local Princess Festival Makes Little Girls' Dreams Come True

It's happening here in Mesa, AZ this weekend (July 8-12, 2014) ~ a "Princess Festival."

Cutest thing ever!

Girls (about ages 3 to 13) dress up in princess clothes. Accompanied by a parent, they head on down to the ClearView Cultural Center near the Superstition Springs Mall in East Mesa and participate in several "Princess Activities" and concludes in the theater room for an original musical, "Princesses of Light," written just for the Mesa event by local talent: Betsy Love, Nancy Genys and Michael Leavitt.

Their first stop is to check in at the front desk where they are sprinkled with a light dusting of glitter (I'm sure it must be magical glitter) and receive a goodie bag with their very own Princess story book that they can keep. The last few pages have room for autographs from the Princesses, Princes and other cast members they meet. They also get a Princess Pin that their name is written on and they wear it proudly. They even get a DVD that shares the story of one of these original princesses, created just for this program (which also reaches out in charity work to include little princesses that might not otherwise get to experience this). See the "About Us" page for more information.

As the children move from room to room they are part of a play or a story about several Princesses and her friends. Many of these activities are interactive and the little princesses are even participants. Here are the highlights of their experience as found on the "Princess Festival" website:

  • The 2014 Princess Festival is a platform used to teach children character values and a new definition of what a Princess is. Our Princesses help classical princesses and others. We also enact our original stories that emphasize what Princess Power is.
  • The 2014 show has 4 Princess Interactive Plays and 4  Princess Quest Adventures where the children can participate with the Princess actors actors in finding clues, solving problems, helping people, and helping the Classical Princesses.
  • There are also a main stage where we will feature Princess Music, performances including talent like the 12 Dancing Princess ‘celtic style’ and much more.
  • Your children will be fully engaged with our cast in various positive story-lines that will teach them the values of caring about others including: kindness, forgiveness, courage and always how to be MORE than a  PRINCESS. 

All of the Princess events rotate throughout the day. Shows and Adventures start about every 20 minutes, beginning at 9am and running throughout the day, with the last session starting at 2pm - check the website for details. It's easy to show up anytime between 9am-2pm and participate in the entire event. And with the other activities, which include face-painting, coloring, making things for our service men and women, etc., your child can easily be involved and entertained for 2-3 hours, perhaps longer. It's all fun. Boys are also welcome to join in the fun and dress up as a Prince. 

The parts of the Princesses and the other actors are played by local high school students. This is a wonderful opportunity for them as well.

The 4 day event (you can choose to attend any of the days, Wed, - Sat.) concludes with a delightful Daddy-Daughter Dinner-Dance, "The Royal Ball of Everly." Of course, our local "princesses" (designed for girls from age toddler age 3-4 to about 15) may also opt to bring an uncle, older brother or grandpa if that fits their situation better. Get details here - Royal Ball of Everly

Tickets for one child and an adult to the Princess Festival is $30 and $15 for each additional child.  TICKETS TO THE ROYAL BALL of EVERLY (the Sat. night dance) are separate and include dinner. Get info and tickets here: Royal Ball of Everley

CHEERS!! (All photos on this post were taken by Katie Wride - used with permission) 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MAY DAY ~ May 1st ~ MORE POETRY? Why not?

So for those of you who followed along during the month of April – whether you posted your poems here or somewhere else or just kept them to yourself, I’m glad you joined us. It was so much fun I kind of hate to see it end. 

So, for MAY DAY, May 1st, I thought I would share a few links were you can go and find some of your own info on poetry and keep exploring other forms of poetry and revisit the poems we wrote during the month and create some new ones!!

Here’s a couple for you to try out that we didn’t get to:

Sonnets – VERY explicit and detailed instructions on how to write a sonnet – after you read it – you will be an expert and be surprised that, YES, you can write one too!!

Personification – A figure of speech where inanimate objects and/or animals are given human characteristics and attributes.

You can get GREAT ideas at “My Word Wizard” ~ dedicated to helping you find the right assortment of words to express any sentiment

Great site for how to ideas on poems – aimed at kids – but anyone can learn from it:

Another helpful site – regardless your age:

At any rate – I’m glad you’ve been showing up at my blog and I hope you’ll check back in now and then and see what I’m up to. As a writer and retired teacher (and a mother and grandmother) I tend to have a keen interest in education, writing and family life, but you never know what I might post on don’t be a stranger. Cheers!!