August 04, 2012

So...I wrote a book. (WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN)

So…I wrote a book.

We all have our “lists,” either an actual list on paper or computer or a list that is stored in our head,  on the things we want to accomplish before we die. Lady Hiva and I both have our own list—actually written down. On my “Milestones to Accomplish” list I have places I want to visit, talents I want to develop, and goals I aim to achieve.  If we all have these lists, it makes me wonder, when do we start crossing OFF the items on the list? Far too often we wait for life to deal us a ‘break’ so we can go on that trip, take that class, have extra time to read/paint/practice. Yet, life never seems to offer that break. When we conclude one task, we catch our breath momentarily and look up for the next big event is coming at us head on.

Lady Hiva and I decided to start NOW, not later, Now when we are in our 20’s still (although neither one of us can say that much longer) to accomplish our lists. My high school yearbook shows that my “Senior Ambition” was to “Travel the world and get paid for it.” I had no idea how that was going to happen nor did I know what the Foreign Service was. But here I am 10 years later getting paid to travel the world.

One of the goals on my “Milestones” list, number 6 in fact, right between “Visit the Vatican” and “Own a Floral Shop” (that is a whole other blog post), is “Write and Publish a book.”

From some of my earliest memories my parents, Madre especially, taught us to love learning and reading books. Madre and Kell would read out loud to us as we drove across country, we always had books in the house. My competitive nature when I was younger drove me to learn how to read at the same time my sister Heather learned to read. All of us gained a love for books.  Heather even used to hide a flashlight under her pillow and read after everyone went to bed. All of us now read and are constantly talking about which books we recently finished. I am thankful Lady Hiva too loves to read. Although it makes a really bad pair when we enter a book store to ‘look around’ and we both leave with three books each! They must love us!

It must have stemmed from that history that I wanted to write a book. My uncle and aunt on Madre’s side loved to write as well and we grew up listening to their stories they hoped to write someday. It is no wonder when I was in second grade I wanted to write a book. It was about my dog, Silver. I still remember being so frustrated that I could not make the red pages stick together perfectly. I wonder where that book ever went.

Several years ago I was told by a wise friend several years my senior, actually she was my grandma’s friend to be honest but I always felt loved by her, to write down all the stories I wanted to remember and soon enough you will have a book. I think that is where my journal writing started. Daily I record my thoughts. (Which made it easier to remember things when I was writing the book).

After some really trying experiences both when I was younger and the most recent after Lady and I were married, there were several people that would hear about our story and say something to the effect, “You should write a book about it.” They meant it in an offhanded compliment way of course, but I took it to heart. I started to write. I wrote down my story.

There were times that I laughed as I recalled memories, times that I literally broke down into tears, and most of all times that I realized how loved and blessed I was. The journey to be published as a first time author is an arduous one. I did plenty of reading and research on the internet and constantly bugged dear friends and family to read my manuscript before I turned it in. (then bugged them relentlessly to hear how they thought I could improve the book) I was so excited to get my first contract offer and then a second too!

Lady Hiva has been so supportive of this whole event. I kept her up late at nights talking about it. She read the book so many times she must have it memorized by now and she gets excited too when we hit another milestone in the process.

After about a year of editing, formatting and discussion with the publisher my book is finished. WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN will be released officially September 1, 2012. (But you can get it now if you order it from the publisher or buy it from me) 

It is a memoir/autobiography. It is not complete (partially because life is still happening day by day and new chapters could be added) because I wanted the book to be a book that inspires people that are struggling. Life is hard. But I wanted WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN to prove that it does get better. There are downs, but there are also a whole but of UPS! One of the chapters the editor and I took out because we thought it did not fit the theme of the book is when I was hunted down by an angry guy with schizophrenia for a few weeks during college—that was literally a nightmare come to life! (If you want to know that story let me know, it is a really crowd pleaser! Haha)  

It has been great to hear all the comments of people that have read WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN already. I hope that many more of you read the book too. I hope that it brings hope. Buy a copy! Let me know what you think, the feedback is priceless. It is a scary thing to put your writing out for the world to critique…it is even more vulnerable when you write about your own life. Share your thoughts with friends so they will buy a copy too!

So…yes, I wrote a book and hope to write many more in the future. I can cross it off the “Milestones” list and move on to the next goal. I hope that you too don’t wait until tomorrow to start on your list. It is far too exciting to enjoy the accomplishment while you can!

Here is the link to my author's website:

You will find links on that website to buy the book or like it on Facebook!


  1. Congratulations, Dust! Save a copy for me.

    When you swing by my desk next week, tell me the story of your schizo stalker. Hahaha! :)

    - Judie

  2. Dustin,

    How do I get a copy with your biograph?? :P


  3. Very impressive! And you're listed on Amazon! Cool! Congrats! :)

  4. I remember you being hunted down and stalked by that guy in Laie; that was SO scary! I'm purchasing the book and look forward to reading it. Some of my best memories of BYUH were being at the desk next to you in classes. I also remember you stopped over and brought me a little note the night before I took the LSAT. I was feeling so scared and having support and encouragement made a world of difference.

  5. This is so cool! Good job on crossing this out on your list, and I can't wait to read this book.