September 22, 2014

COUNTING CANDLES Nominated for a Whitney Award

 Photo: Dustin Bradshaw look what came into our pharmacy in Santaquin
One enjoyable aspect of being a writer is hearing comments from readers. I continue to receive emails, texts and comments about WHITE LILES IN AUTUMN and COUNTING CANDLES. There are a few book clubs that chose COUNTING CANDLES as their book to read and a friend sent a photo of COUNTING CANDLES on the bookshelf of the store where he works!

This week I was in a business meeting and one of my staff was trying to explain something and she said, “You know, just like Shamanda…” She had picked out on the characters from COUNTING CANDLES that she related to and used that as an explanation for her point. Now that is internalizing the book. I had not realized she even read the book!

Other comments lately include one reader’s note, “…I loved the story and message. Seems we all go through life never knowing whether the things we do and say have any effect on others. Too bad we don't think to let others know when they touch our lives for good instead of waiting until they are gone to express our appreciation. Your book has helped me realize I need to be better at letting others know when they touch my life for good.”

The biggest news of the past month is that COUNTING CANDLES was nominated for a 2014 Whitney Literary Award! The results will not be released until early 2015, but it is an honor to even be counted among the other books nominated! 
As always, thank you so much for the continued support and if you have comments about the book, I would love to hear from you.

September 15, 2014

Juliette and Venetian Breezes

After our stay in a castle, we went north. Our first stop was Modena for some balsamic vinegar. Lady Hiva found out that it was some of the best balsamic in the world. We went to one of the small family distilleries and were sad to see that it was closed. That did not stop us from finding some random small town to buy some balsamic. There was not more to see in Modena (it was a bit of an industrial town). We went straight to Verona.

We had originally not planned to go to Verona, but it was literally on the way to Venice from Modena. Neither Lady Hiva nor I are fans of Romeo and Juliette so we were not drawn to the home of Shakespeare’s famous play. We were, however, really excited to see how wonderful it was. It had the ancient ruins of Rome and the charm of Lucca and Florence. The ancient amphitheater in the center of the city still has nightly shows. We wandered the streets and eventually made it to “Juliette’s House.” I say that with quotations because the house was built years after the Montagues and Capulets ran parts of the city. We still thought it was great to see the overlook where she supposedly stood. There is a statue of a woman outside that people take photos with…they all rub her right breast for luck. Next to the statue there are several gates with hundreds and hundreds of locks to represent couples from all over the world. There were also notes from people with their names and the names of the one they love. We added ours to the list—hey, a little superstition could not hurt!
Amphitheater in Verona

Juliette's House

As we made it back to the car we realized that Lucky Dragon was missing his right shoe. I ran all the way back to Juliette’s house and could not find it. We spent the next few days in Venice looking for some different shoes.

We stayed just on the mainland, one train stop from the city center of Venice. We went right in and walked the amazing, iconic streets of Venice. Tau’aho loved chasing the pigeons throughout San Marco’s Square. Other than the many bridges we had to stop and carry the stroller over, it was an amazing place. We ate dinner at delicious places and stopped all the time to take photos.

We rode water taxis up and down the Grand Canal and Lucky Boy was enthralled with all the movement of the boats. On the second day in Venice we went to tour the Basilica at San Maro’s square. It was there we realized the truth behind Venice being the “sinking city” as the tides came in the water around the square slowly spread. Within a few hours all of it receded again. Next to the Basilica is the Doge palace—the home to the many rulers of Venice before it was part of Italy. It was interesting to see the connection Venice has to Istanbul from the days when Constantinople was the heart of Christianity. The palace in architecture and design was nearly identical to some of the old buildings here in Istanbul.

High tide in San Marco Square


Venice was our last city on our tour of Italy. We spent our last day, by birthday, in Rome. Keeping up traditions of years in Utah, we found a Mexican restaurant under the shadow of the grand Vatican wall and had my birthday dinner. With a night tour of the city we said goodbye to Rome and Italy. We truly enjoyed our trip!
Sharing Daddy's birthday icecream...a new style of gel