Thursday, October 23, 2014

SwitchPoint Grand Opening, St. George Book Festival Writing Workshop, and Literacy Charity Dinner.

This Friday (October 24th), a lot is happening in St. George, UT! It's the grand opening of SwitchPoint, a writing workshop, and a literacy charity dinner.

SwitchPoint Grand Opening

First, it is the grand opening of The SwitchPoint Community Resource Center, St. George's primary weapon for combating homelessness in the area. It isn't just a homeless shelter and a pantry, they also provide several resources on-site to help those less fortunate get on their feet, obtain employment, and get into a home.
SwitchPoint Community Resource Center (Artist's Rendering)
It's very innovative; I've heard there is only one other center like this in the country. If you are around, the grand opening and ribbon cutting is at noon. There will be prizes (they're giving away a new car), elected politicians (Mayor Pike and Senator Lee will be there), food, and great fun to be had. Information can be found by clicking here.

If you aren't around, you can still help them out, and it will only cost you a minute of your time. That minute can make a huge difference. All you have to do is sign up for Amazon Smiles. It doesn't cost anything to do this, and it doesn't raise your prices on Amazon or anything like that. Just sign up, and whenever you purchase something form Amazon, a small percentage of it will be donated directly to SwitchPoint.

Click here to learn more about he grand opening and Amazon Smiles.

St. George Book Festival Writing Workshop

The St. George Book Festival is going on right now, but (to me) the real highlights of the festival starts on Friday with its writing workshop. They'll have several classes from 9am to 5pm. The best part is that it is FREE! It is at Dixie State University and they do provide lunch for $15, where you can eat and mingle with the authors.

Most of you know my involvement with The Authors' Think Tank. Two other administrators of the ATT, Mikey Brooks and Jaclyn Weist, will be presenting. Glancing at the list, it looks like it is going to be a full day with some excellent instruction.

For more information, click here.

Literacy Charity Dinner

Dean Hughes
Friday night ends with a charity dinner to benefit literacy. The dinner is $40 with proceeds benefiting the Washington County School District Foundation and The St. George Children's Museum. In attendance will be all the special guests for the book festival; my boss, Mayor Jon Pike, and his family; and the Keynote Speaker, Best-Selling Author Dean Hughes, who will speak on the topic, "What do we need books for anyway?"

Oh, I'll be there too, so please say hello if you go.

It sounds like an excellent opportunity to fill our stomaches with grub, our minds with knowledge, and our hearts through charity.

For more information, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Time Travel Series: Introduction and a Doctor Who Giveaway!!

So, I heard this hilarious time travel joke tomorrow...

Time travel is one of my favorite story premises and I’ve always wanted to write a series around it. Welcome to the start of that series! To celebrate, there’s also a Dr. Who Giveaway (a lot of people’s favorite time traveler) at the end of this article.

On Time Travel

Imagine the implications if time travel was possible! What would you do if you could travel through time? Find Hitler or other serial killers and kill them off? See the future? Stop the JFK assassination? Take the selfish route and use it for personal gain, or the altruistic route and use it to right wrongs, solve crimes, or explore truths?

Plus, how would you get there? How would you get back? What would you learn? What can you change?  How will you deal with paradoxes?

One thing I love about storytelling is exploring the “what if?” questions. Almost every story can be summed up by a “what-if?” question. What if a kid finds out he is a wizard and is accepted into a magical school? (Harry Potter) What if some maniac puts a bomb on a bus that will explode if the bus drops below a certain speed? (Speed) What if a couple of highly trained military troops didn’t catch the droids they were looking for? (Star Wars) What if certain people could gain powers by ingesting metal? (The Mistborn Series)

My favorite "what if"s deals with time travel. What if a teenager went back in time and met his parents in high school? (Back to the Future) What if somebody found a portal to 1958 and the knowledge to stop the JFK Assassination? (Stephen King's 11-22-63) What if a robot from the future is sent back in time to stop the human resistance? (Terminator 1 & 2) What if the peace-preaching-and-producing singers of the future might not form a band because they're about to fail an oral history exam? (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

I'm intrigued because there is no way to find the answers to these questions. Sure, we can probably guess what will happen if we stick a bomb on a bus, but what will happen if I travel back in time and kill my grandfather? Maybe nothing. Maybe the world explodes. Who knows? Without time travel, we could never find out! However, we can still ask... what if?

I just love time travel in general. I love being on the lookout for paradoxes. I love watching the fish-out-of-water storylines of people experiencing culture shock between time periods. If there was any story line from Science Fiction that fascinated me the most, it is time travel.

So, let’s explore! We can explore the methods of time travel, the different time periods to travel from and to, paradox resolution, casual loops, and the different side effects (not just paradoxes) of time travel. I might even try to keep it real and explore why time travel can’t work or the ramifications if it did. There is so much to cover and a single blog post just won't accomplish it.

BUT FIRST!!!! Let’s have a contest themes around many people’s favorite time traveler: Doctor Who.

Doctor Who Giveaway

There are two prizes for two different winners. You can win these awesome Dr. Who soap bars, a Tardis and a Dalek (the color of soap may vary) or a Tardis ring* created specifically for your finger by renowned 3D printer-er Joseph Larson, so you can travel through time wherever and whenever you are (it's bigger on the inside).


I'm teaming up with the Kami McArthur the Magnificent for this one. Kami was awesome enough to let me tag along with this giveaway. If you don't follow her, do it now to get more entries. You might win a nifty prize, and even if you don't, you'll be following Kami's content which is even better!!! Follow us, like us, and whatever else the rafflecopter requires for more chances to win.

Also, Kami has an Attack on Titan giveaway as well. See, I told you she was magnificent! To enter, visit here before October 10th.

Enter the Dr. Who giveaway by using this rafflecopter. Enter now! Tell all your friends!! Climb in your time machine, go back five minutes, and enter again***!!

*The winner of the ring will need to send us your ring size before we can process this.

** No doctors or bowties included.

***Multiple submissions will require proof of ability to time travel, which you can email to us a year ago today… just so you know, we already know who is eligible.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Review: Living Intentionally by Bonnie Aaron (And a contest!)

An Apology

I feel bad, because I promised to do an interview with Dr. Bonnie Aaron to discuss her upcoming book, Living Intentionally. I should have posted the interview today, but I only got halfway through the book and didn't have the time to get my questions over to her. Not that I didn't like the book--I was completely intrigued--I just didn't have the free time I thought I would, and I'm a fairly slow reader.

I'm on a self-help reading kick right now, so I didn't hesitate volunteering when I had the opportunity to get an advanced reader copy. Hopefully, when the smoke settles and I finish the book, I can get Dr. Aaron to return and answer some questions.

Why This Resonated With me

I coasted along in life, just doing what I thought others expected of me, until I was in my early 20's. I'd been this way since birth, so I'd never even considered an alternative existed. When I read "7 Habits of Highly Successful People" by Stephen R. Covey, I realized for the first time that I could actually determine my path in life.

If this book existed back then, it is probably what I would have picked up next (instead, I devoured a lot of Dale Carnegie). Don't get me wrong, this isn't a rehash of 7 Habits, but the principles within the 6 steps from "Living Intentionally" compliment and resonate with Covey's masterpiece.

Here is the back cover, explaining in the author's voice what is to be found within it's pages:

Living Intentionally is the result of implementing the six step transformation process outlined in this book. Following the steps outlined will motivate readers to take responsibility for their lives, stop blaming others, and stop making excuses for their present circumstances. The goal of this book is to help readers experience the joy of living intentionally. 
Here are six simple steps to your transformation:
1. Discover your purpose
2. Identify what is not working
3. Elevate your consciousness
4. Be your own change agent
5. A call to action
6. Assess your progress 
Transforming your life is an ongoing process and this book is designed to be your companion as you embark on a continual process of transformation and breakthrough. This book is designed to empower you with the tools needed to discover your purpose and live intentionally. The tools are only potential power and will become powerful when action is applied. Each chapter offers practical application steps followed-up with call to action. The steps outlined in this book will help you establish a foundation for your transformation and breakthrough. 
My transformational journey arose from the ashes of personal tragedy and failure to a life of clarity and intention. I hope that as you read my story you will be inspired to implement the steps and transform your life. The steps in this book will challenge you to ask questions that only you have the answers to. By the time you have finished the book, you will appreciate all of the failures in your life that can be used to your advantage. You are about to discover what it means to be unstoppable.
I love that last word: unstoppable. It is so apt! In the book, she quoted one of my favorite sayings:
If you believe you can do a think, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right. -Henry Ford
It's true, you can't stop somebody who knows what they intend to do with their lives. It is so liberating to know that the best path to success and happiness isn't the one somebody else paved, but it is the one you determine and create for yourself.

A Contest

Yay, prizes!! I get the privilege of hosting a rafflecopter in anticipation of the book's release. If you're interested in winning an eBook copy for yourself, just enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway