Posts Tagged: deseret book

Author Interview with Brent L. Top + Signed Book Giveaway

24 Sep, 2012 by in What's on the Other Side?: What the Gospel Teaches Us about the Spirit World 6 comments

Many people wonder if there’s life after death and what it’s like after we die. Brent L. Top seeks to answer these questions, and more, in his newest book What’s On The Other Side? published September 14, 2012 by Deseret Book.
Modeled after his audio CDs, this book is meant as a gift. With so many of his readers wanting to know the sources from his original audiobook, he notes that much of the content is taken from his original audio CD with additional new content. He says “it’s an easy read and meant to be a comfort to someone who has lost a loved one.”
Brother Top gave an education week broadcast at Brigham Young University which is one of the most popular downloads BYU has had. It generated so much interest, he realized that people were hungering for more on the topic. “Near-death experiences (and TV specials about them) are things people are naturally interested in. We want to believe. We want to have something to hold onto, and the things in this book will ring true.”
“Some of the cited ideas in the book came from Swedenborg, an 18th-century mystic who talked about heaven being made up of three degrees of glory. In his book Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg talked about the ins and outs of the spirit world; he was viewed as a heretic by his Church but my wife and I find his teachings fascinating. People such as Helen Keller and Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke very highly of Swedenborg.”
Another cited story in the book is about Norman Vincent Peal who, having lost his mother, believed there was a life after death. He, intellectually, believed in the idea, but was still seeking comfort. He described how he felt his mother’s hands touch lightly on the back of his head soon after her funeral. From this experience and others, Top believes that Heaven is close around us.
“There is a connection of families that transcends the veil. If the Lord were to send us messages from beyond, who better could He use than our deceased family members. They don’t become disinterested after death — our family members continue to love us.”
Top’s favorite part of the book is a quote by Neil A. Maxwell found on page 33. He said: “On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps 70 billion people. They need the same Gospel, and releases occur here to aid the Lord’s work there. Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this. Therefore, although we miss the righteous departed so much here, hundreds may feel their touch there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help bereaved there. And God ecology, talent, and love are never wasted…. A mortal life may need to be shortened by 20 years as we might view;but, if so, it may be done in order for special services to be rendered by that individual in the spirit world — services that will benefit thousands of new neighbors. “
“One of the nicest things people can say about What’s On The Other Side is that ‘it helps me to deal with my grief it brings me peace and comfort.’ The book is meant to be more inspirational than informational .”
“Most people have a diagrammatic type of knowledge of the spirit world, but when we get beyond the diagrams and beyond the categories, we start to learn more. It’s a subject we ought to study day and night. The Lord has given us many more precious morsels than we thought.”
“Sometimes we grieve so hard that we can’t be comforted. Our loved ones have a different perspective and they want us to move on.”
Top hopes that the book will allow people to better see the whole picture. There are so many greater things in store for us, and the grief should be swallowed up in the absolute adventure that awaits — as well as the service that will be rendered.
Q & A With The Author Brent L. Top
How did you first become interested in writing about life after death and the spirit world?
I think the first time that it really hit me was in the 1980s after Raymond Moody’s landmark book, LIFE AFTER LIFE, was published. I was particularly interested in how the NDEs that he described and the concepts contained in his book corresponded to LDS doctrines. I was more interested in doctrine rather than just the experiences themselves. The study of near-death experiences received much attention in the 1980s and 90s—with television shows (like Ripley’s Believe it Not, Dateline, A&E network) that examined the question of life after death. There were several very popular books at the time including Betty Eadie’s EMBRACED BY THE LIGHT. There was a lot of talk even in the Church—in Sunday School lessons and quorum meetings—about these experiences. I found it interesting that there were two camps, or ends of the continuum: those who embraced the near-death experiences of others , LDS and others, as the definitive word on what we believe and what the spirit world must be like and at the other end who totally dismissed the experiences, viewing them as either misguided or fabricated at best or Satanically-inspired at worst. I rejected both camps. My approach was to focus on what we absolutely know—the revealed doctrines of the Gospel and then let the experiences of others “highlight” those doctrines. I became particularly interested in what those not of our faith who had had NDEs said about the experiences because they were usually just describing, not defining or interpreting a preconceived doctrine or belief. The more I researched the more parallels I found. I decided that a book needed to be written that would address the doctrine and then use the NDEs to help inform or illustrate our understanding of the doctrine. That resulted in a book I co-authored with my wife, Wendy entitle GLIMPSES BEYOND DEATH’S DOOR. In the years since that I have written articles and given numerous presentations on the subject. I was a member of the International Association of Near-death Studies for many years and attended conferences.
My book WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE? focuses primarily on some of the inspiring things that LDS Church leaders have taught about the doctrine coupled with interesting experiences and comments from others. My primary motivation is to inspire and comfort those who have lost loved ones. I guess I could also say that I (and probably all of us) are interested in the subject because we all know we are going to die. I guess you could say that for all mortals it is “the last frontier” and we all want to know more about it. We know it isn’t really the “last frontier” but I am convinced that all of us wonder at times. Some wonder if there is a life after death (even if they are convinced there is none). And others who believe (or at least hope) that death is not the end of our existence, wonder what it will be like. Those “wonders” have motivated me to learn as much as I can.
You emphasize the importance of studying death and what lies thereafter. Why do you think it’s so important to ponder?
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Plan of Salvation in general and death and the spirit world in particular ought to be a subject we study more than other. He said that we should study it “day and night.” At first glance that admonition sounds rather macabre or morbid, but I think what he is saying is that that knowing that we will continue to live, love, laugh with our loved ones and serve our fellowmen not only gives us a hope for an eternal future, but also enriches and guides our lives on earth. President Harold B. Lee once said that “What you do here after will determine where you are hereafter.” I like to paraphrase it to say, “How I live my life HERE and NOW determines what I will be like THEN and THERE.” Just as we “die to live” in an eternal sense, we can “live to die” in a meaningful way every day. The popular song, “Live like you are dying” captures that thought. However, it is more than just “skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and riding a bull name Fu Manchu.” It is indeed loving deeper, speaking sweeter, forgiving, and enjoying the moments we have. Each and every one of us is living moment to moment and we need to focus more on the things that really matter to us than just having a “bucket list.”
One of early brethren that spoke so much on the subject (and I quote him liberally in my books) is Elder Orson Pratt—perhaps the greatest theologian of the 19th century (of course, after Joseph Smith). He said it best:
“And do not forget to look forward to those joys ahead, if we do forget, we will become careless, dormant, and sluggish, and we will think we do not see much ahead to be anticipated, but if we keep our minds upon the prize that lays ahead—upon the vast fields of knowledge to be poured out upon the righteous, and the glories that are to be revealed, and the heavenly things in the future state, we shall be continually on the alert. . . . Let these things sink down in our minds continually, and they will make us joyful, and careful to do unto our neighbors as we would they should do unto us. Lest we should come short of these things is the reason I have touched upon the future state of man the two Sabbaths past, to stir up the pure mind of the Saints that we may prepare for the things that are not far ahead, and let all the actions of our lives have a bearing in relation to the future.” (Journal of Discourses 3:105.)
How would you describe heaven or the state after death to a non-believer?
I am not sure that my explanation would be very satisfactory to a non-believer, unless they have, as Alma said, even “a desire to believe.” Then I think D&C 77:2 would help us to understand that “that which is temporal is in the likeness of that which is spiritual.” Death is just a transition—a continuation of life in a little different setting. In some ways like moving a new city—new environment and experiences, but things are pretty similar in other ways. President Brigham Young taught that everything will appear natural to us. I like to say that it will just be in “super high definition.” The Prophet Joseph Smith likewise taught that we will have there “the same sociality that exists among us here”–except it will be intensified with great glory and power. I like to think of it as a continuation of our family and friends without a lot of the baggage that comes with the mortal, fallen world.
Are you planning on teaching another class about it at BYU or elsewhere?
As of right now I don’t have any plans to teach another Honors Colloquium or interdisciplinary class on Death and the Spirit World like we did over a decade ago. The main reason is that I am so busy with being department chair and just trying to keep my head above water with all of my administrative, teaching, and research responsibilities. It was a lot of work to organize the course. I loved working with Dr. David Busath of the Biology department and learning from his scientific background, but we both have a lot on our plates right now. I do lecture on the subject at Education Week every few years.
Favorite bookstore or place to read?
On my bed. I know it is terrible “sleep hygiene”–I think that is what doctors call it. You are not supposed to have mental stimulation, like reading or watching TV right before you go to sleep. You are supposed to program your brain to shut off. But I can’t help it. My life is so busy with all of my responsibilities that it is usually the only time that I have to myself. So I love to read right before bed. I usually have four or five books at time on my nightstand. I love to wander through bookstores, but I really don’t like to read there. Its in the quiet and solitude of my bedroom where I love read.
What other related works would you recommend to those who are interested in your subject matter?
I have read so many books on the subject that it is too hard to recommend one or two (other than my own books, of course). From an LDS perspective I like THE MESSAGE by Lance Richardson. From a non-LDS viewpoint, Dr. Kenneth Ring is considered one of the “pioneers” of the field and his work LIFE AT DEATH is considered a classic. I really like his LESSONS FROM THE LIGHT. Raymond Moody’s books are classics. There are also some relatively new books that are quite fascinating including, SCIENCE AND THE NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE by Chris Carter and CONSCIOUSNESS BEYOND LIFE by Pim von Limmel. I was also intrigued by the personal account of Dr. Mary Neal in her book, TO HEAVEN AND BACK.
Who is your hero and why?
My wife Wendy is my hero and inspiration. She has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an intellectual curiosity that I envy ( even though it can be annoying at times, because she peppers me with questions all the time—thinking that I might know the answers). More than her intellect, I admire her goodness, faith, and love for the Lord.
About The Author:  Brent L. Top is a professor and the chair of Church history and doctrine at BYU, where he has also served as associate dean of Religious Education. Brother Top has written numerous books, including co-authoring LDS Beliefs: A Doctrinal Reference, and is a popular speaker at BYU Education Week. He served as mission president of the Illinois Peoria Mission and is currently serving as a stake president. Brent and his wife, Wendy, are the parents of four children and live in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Find out more at Deseret Book/ Goodreads/ Amazon
The Giveaway: We have three signed copies of What’s On The Other Side from Deseret Book to give away! Must be 13 or older and ahve a U.S. mailing address. Fill out ht e rafflecopter form below to enter.





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Interview + Giveaway with Paul Gustavson- Author of Running Into the Wind

30 Aug, 2012 by in author interview, book giveaway, Heather Gardner Photography, paul gustavson 6 comments

Paul Gustavson is most well-known for his work with Fortune 500 companies, helping them to reorganize and strategize to excel and improve their performance as a team and as an organization. Perhaps one of his most rewarding assignments came in 2005 when Bronco Mendenhall called on him for help in reigniting the competitive spirit of the BYU football team. Bronco had a tough job as a brand-new head coach of a team that was failing and was looking for a way to rebuild the image, character, and success of the team.
During my face-to-face interview with Gustavson, he shared some of the reasons he went into the field of organizational behavior in the first place. His father was an engineer at AT&T and his mother a nurse in the suburbs of Kansas City when Paul was growing up. He told me “I recognized as a child that whatever happens at work carries over into the home. When things weren’t that great at work, my parents would come home and ask why hadn’t the lawn been mowed or why hadn’t you been good to your brothers and sister? If, on the other hand, my mother had a good day at work, she would come home and bake the best apple pie; same parents, different type of day at work different result at home. In high school, when I saw the guidance counselor one day, I simply said ‘I want to create great places for people to work.’ “

“I attended Ricks College for one year, then served a full-time mission for the LDS church to Brazil. I had played football before serving my mission and had a desire to continue playing upon returning. When the school wanted me to come home early from my mission and restart football training to retain my scholarhsip, I decided instead to serve the full two-year mission and give up my hope of playing football.”
“I had a wonderful and motivational mission president (George A. Oaks) who taught me D&C 82:10 and told me that because of my faithfulness in serving a full mission, that if I had the desire, I would be given that opportunity to play BYU football. So in 1972 I was the first player to walk on to the football team under the new Head Coach LaVell Edwards. I did so at the suggestion of Keith ‘Mad Dog’ Rivera, who encouraged and befriended me and later a great blessing in my life was that he joined the church.”

“As a senior in college I took a class from Dr. Keith Warner in complex organizations and he pointed me toward the Organizational Behavior program at BYU to fulfill my dream of learning how to create great places for people to work. Later I worked with Bill Dyer as a teaching assistant and research assistant and learned about building successful teams and workplaces.

It was this love of both BYU and football that led Paul Gustavson to work with Coach Mendenhall and to capture their experiences together with co author Alyson Von Feldt in the new book “Running Into the Wind.” The book, from Deseret Book, which hit shelves today, is a unique backstage look at Mendenhall — a very rare view into his thoughts and feelings.
Gustavson said “Bronco believes you play football not just for the football, but to increase the exposure of the Church. By playing well, the players become role models. Coach Mendenhall teaches that first comes faith, second family, third friends, fourth education, and that last on the list is the football. Paul taught Mendenhall the principles he has been using in organizational behavior and team-building. As a result, parts of Bronco’s team-building activities have integrated one of Gustavson’s concepts: that ‘strong facilitators of long-term memory include emotional experiences, metaphor, and music.’ ”
In one such metaphorical and emotional experience, Coach Mendenhall took the brand-new team to the Provo River. He had the players take an hour to write down, on large sheets of paper, everything they didn’t like about the current BYU football team. Once they had it all on paper, these lists of past grievances was thrown into a giant bonfire and the team watched them burn. Mendehall then said “that’s the past. Now, what do you want in the future and what are you willing to do to fix it?”
In another act of exceptional leadership, Mendenhall had all the football players run to the top of the Y, painted on a mountaintop overlooking BYU in Provo. Once they got there, Bronco pointed out that “the view is different from the top than it is from the bottom.” Perhaps the one of the most significant emotional experience that Paul and Alyson write about in the book is when Coach Mendenhall took all of his players into LaVell Edwards Stadium, had them lay on the grass and close their eyes. He then played, on the stadium sound system, sound bites from BYU’s most impactful past games. These and other powerful stories — told through the perspectives of Bronco, Paul, the players, and the coaches — are shared in the book’s 11 chapters and its 23 different video clips. Readers get a first-hand visual experience by using a QR scan code. With a phone or other electronic device, they can watch video footages of Paul and Bronco that correspond to the sections they are reading.
While Section 1 of “Running Into the Wind” introduces the reader to Bronco Mendenhall, Section 2 is a reader’s coaching session that “reveals a bit more about the ideas and research behind each of Gustavson’s “smooth stones,” which are metaphors for five sets of principles and practices.
The first smooth stone, discussed in Chapter 13, is that “organizations can craft a sustainable competitive advantage through differentiation. Create competitive advantage by figuring out what is your uniqueness. What is it that makes you special? What do people say you’re really good at and what are you passionate about? We weren’t all made alike so what is your uniqueness.”
The second smooth stone is that “organizations are perfectly designed to get the results that they are currently getting. We have to ask ourselves if we don’t like the results that we are getting — what is it that we’re going to change? Ask ‘what are the choices I am making and how does that drive the results? ‘ “
The third smooth stone is that “organizations are made up of processes, and not all processes are created equal. Not all work is created equal. What is the most important work? Of all the things you do have you focused on, what’s the most important thing?”
The fourth smooth stone is that “knowledge is the purest form of competitive advantage.” It’s about the discovery of new ideas, sharing of new ideas, and tacit versus codifiable knowledge.”
The fifth and last smooth stone is “effective leaders capture hearts and minds; how do we capture hearts and minds?”
Running into the Wind captured my heart and mind as an interactive, spiritual reading experience. Meeting one of the authors, Paul Gustavson, and hearing him explain the five smooth stones through personal stories brought them to life. Thanks so much to Dave Kimball at Deseret Book for facilitating our interview.
Q&A with author Paul Gustavson
What legacy do you think Bronco Mendenhall will leave behind?
A legacy of great leaders he developed who are making a difference as husbands, fathers, in their faith, community and businesses.
If you had to describe him in one word what would it be?
Friend
You teach the use of emotional experiences, metaphor and music in your principles, what music moves you most? Do you have a few favorite hymns or songs?
My favorite performer is “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen and I love music by Enya (Paint the Sky with Stars) and Ray Lynch (creativity inducing)
My favorite Hymns are “Because I have Been Given Much”, “Families Can Be Together Forever” and “How Great Thou Art”
What are the three most influential books you’ve ever read?
The Book of Mormon— especially the story of the 2000 stripling warriors. I see the football team as the sons of Helaman, as role models.
Insight to Impact: Strategies for interpersonal and organizational change by William G Dyer
 
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.
What has been your most moving experience as an author or working with Bronco that you can share?
As an author taking with Bronco about the title of this book. We were talking about the importance of the title and we had talked about some options and then Bronco said “Running into the Wind” and described how moved he was by President Hinckley’s 60 minutes story where he said having been invited to participate in the program that he could have hunkered down and done nothing or leaned into the stiff wind of opportunity. Bronco felt that he had been running not leaning. It just felt right and that was it.
One week when I was to meet with Bronco, three times I had felt a prompting to ask him a specific question before meeting with him. Once we were about to finish our meeting again the prompting came. I asked what was prompted which had to do with the schedule of the recruiting visit of key recruits and he responded to my question and I then felt prompted to ask about church on Sunday morning for the recruits. He said that they had a list of Church meetings that recruits and their families could attend. I felt prompted to say what about you organizing a Sacrament Meeting for the Recruits and their Families. He pondered what was said for a day or so and emailed me that he felt the counsel was consistent with what he believed even and that he was going to do it. He called me after the Sacrament Meeting and said that it was a wonderful meeting with a strong spirit and that tears flowed down the cheeks of mothers and fathers knowing that their sons would be well taken care of at BYU and by Bronco.
In working with Bronco Mendhenall how do you feel he is an example to his players and what sets him apart as a person/ coach?
He never asks them to do something that he isn’t willing to do. He is a master learner and a master teacher. He is a role model in all of the important areas of how one should live their lives.
Favorite works of fiction?
Dr. Seuss last book “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. With 8 grandkids age 7 and under Dr. Seuss books are a favorite right now
Do you have a mission statement, favorite quote or scripture you live by?
D&C 82:10 “I the Lord am Bound when you do what I say, when you do not what I say you have no promise”.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
That they can apply these same “five smooth stones” I taught Bronco and captured in “Running into the Wind” in their lives and that the application of these principles will enrich their lives, their families lives and the lives of those they interactive with at work, school, community and their Church.
Bronco’s message is that “doing the right things you can be successful in all the areas that are important to you in your life”.
About The Author:  Paul W. Gustavson is a leading management consultant. He received his master’s degree in organizational behavior from BYU and has served for more than 18 years as a member of the Marriott School of Management’s OBHR Advisory Board. To learn more visit his website at www.organizationdesign.com
The giveaway: Deseret Book has generously donated two copies of Running into the Wind for the readers at Fire and Ice, and we had them signed by author Paul Gustavson. To enter to win a hardback copy of your own, fill out the rafflecopter form below.

Book Review- The Winds and the Waves

18 Jul, 2012 by in The Winds and the Waves Leave a comment

The Winds and the Waves (Come to Zion #1)
by Dean Hughes
Hardcover, 444 pages
Published May 2012
by Deseret Book
ISBN: 7816090705
Book source: publisher
4 1/2 stars
Book Summary from goodreads: Will Lewis is stuck. the class system in England in the 1840s seems destined to keep him in his place as a poor tenant farmer who cannot improve his lot and will never be able to marry the woman he loves. But the “new religion” that is sweeping through congregations of the United Brethren, Will’s church, may hold the key to the better life he longs for. As he listens to the preaching of Wilford Woodruff, he almost dares to hope for the Zion the young Apostle describes.


Will’s struggles to believe and to face the rigors of immigrating to an unknown land are paralleled by the modern-day story of Jeff and Abby, a young married couple facing challenges of their own. When Jeff begins digging into his family history, he finds himself particularly drawn to “Grandpa Lewis,” an ancestor whose life was more like his than he would have imagined.


The skillful interweaving of these two stories brings Church history to life while demonstrating how much we can learn from those who went before us. Anyone who has ever faced the winds and the waves, in some form, will love this novel.
Cathy’s review: Will is a young farmer in England in the 1840’s, he’s the oldest son so he stands to inherit his father’s place on Squire Riddle’s estate. The problem is that the system in England was not very pleasant. The squires were taking a lot of the crops that the tenant farmers grew and not really giving them anything in return, they were not allowed to hunt on the estate, the squires considered that poaching and the penalty for poaching was being kicked off their farm and left to wander wherever the could.  Knowing all this, Will set his trap anyway and ended up being caught, he was forced to leave and asked to never return. This caused will to wander to distant cities looking for factory work, but he soon realized that none of the factories were hiring any new people, and had to take a hard back-breaking job of laying railroad track. This job payed a lot more money than a factory job would have but the risks were much higher, being badly injured or even death in some cases. Unfortunately, he knew that the Liz, the girl he was in love with, would not look kindly upon his work and her father even less so. When Will is badly injured, he knows he must go home, if only for a little bit, and there he finds his family and Liz’s family have converted to a new religion. This religion seems to him to not be a good thing, but he himself is unable to doubt when he hears the Apostle Wilford Woodruff’s testimony. But will Liz’s father be able to see the changes he’s making in his life and allow him to marry his daughter?
I really enjoyed this book, I had a hard time wanting to put it down. The story of Will is compelling, it’s hard to imagine just how their lives would have been, the 1840’s in England was not a place that I would ever have wanted to live! I liked too the story of his great-grandson that parallels Will’s. Jeff and Abby too went through many trials. I had no idea that this was part of a series when I was reading it, so I got to the end and was kind of grumpy about the seemingly no resolution to the plot, but now I can’t wait for the next volume in this series to learn more about what happened to Will, Liz, Jeff and Abby.
Content: Clean

About the Author: Dean Hughes is the author of more than eighty books for young readers, including the popular sports series Angel Park All-Stars, the Scrappers series, the Nutty series, the widely acclaimed companion novels Family Pose and Team Picture, and Search and Destroy. Soldier Boys was selected for the 2001 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list. Dean Hughes and his wife, Kathleen, have three children and six grandchildren. They live in Midway, Utah.
Find out more about author Dean Hughes: Goodreads

An Interview and Giveaway With Author Robert L. Millet

16 Jul, 2012 by in book giveaway, robert l millet 10 comments

I had the rare and amazing opportunity to interview author Robert L. Millet about his newest book Coming to Know Christ in his BYU office last month. In his latest work published July 12, 0212 by Deseret Book, Millet explores what it means to worship.
Tell us what you were hoping to accomplish with Coming to Know Christ and a little about the book:
“As a priesthood leader I saw a lot of anxiety and depression from members of the church who are fixated and focused on right behavior… on the exterior- what shows. Those who worry too much about externals or external measure of righteousness serve a mission, get married and then ask what now? They see these actions as ends instead of means to an end to come to know Christ.  So much more than that we need to come to know God and ask “how’s my character doing? To what extent am I embodying Christlike virtues?” Much of the book deals with these questions: what is worship? Am I coming to know the Lord? It is addressing the Old Testament dilemma found in Matthew 7:23  “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.”

I’ve thought a lot about the billboard “Jesus is the answer” What are the questions that Jesus is the answer to? There’s a chapter that addresses that as well as the concept of having accomplished a great deal but not having a transformation of the soul.”
Brother Millet left me pondering my own life and character. His book makes reference to several hymns which influence his life. Since his father was a DJ, so a young Millet spent many hours in the studio with him and was exposed to many types of music. One of his favorite hymns is #221 “Dear To The Heart of The Shepard” about those who wander. Interestingly enough, this is the topic of one of his books When a Child Wanders and he’s currently working on a project for what to do when a parent wanders in response to an email he received from one of his readers. Brother Millet often chooses inspiration for future projects by wandering bookstores (which are his favorite place to be) and asking “what is missing?” “What needs to be written?” He also uses past talks which he saves and files away for future use. Among his favorite new books is The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James E. Ferrell.
This authors advice to those going through the process of getting published is to allow the editors to do their jobs realizing that many things may need to be changed. When he is finished writing a manuscript he completely walks way for a while and then revisits it with a fresh eye. Brother Millet expressed appreciation for a wonderful editor who is not afraid to speak her mind and offer advice about how to better his written work.
Brother Millet’s motto in life is printed and displayed in his office…the quote, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words” which is commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. His hero, his father was an exemplary teacher . “He always made everyone about themselves, he had a way with people. More important than the lesson he taught was the way the people being addressed came away feeling.”
I personally came away feeling edified and uplifted after talking to Professor Millet and know he is walking in his Father’s footsteps. I am grateful for opportunity Deseret Book afforded me to meet and interview him. I finished Coming To Know Christ last night. I would recommend it to all as a guidebook with thoughtful chapters about in refining ones character. He teaches us to do more than profess we are followers of Christ in word. Each of us must show we are Christian in our deeds, in who we are at our core. Brother Millet leaves a reader to ask “what about my character?” “Do I know Him?” and most importantly “does He know me?”
Book Summary from Deseretbook.com: Becoming more like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—spiritually more attentive, personally more sensitive, more tender, more gracious—ought to be the desire of every Latter-day Saint. But how can we accomplish that?

In this thoughtful volume and with his warm, accessible style, author Robert L. Millet shares poignant stories and fresh scriptural and doctrinal insights to help us feel our Savior’s love and realize that He stands ready to assist us in coming to know Him.

Brother Millet’s heartwarming reflections on what it means to worship Christ and to trust in Him and in His grace renew in us a desire to stay focused on our Savior through all the ups and downs of daily life. Insights into how much Christ loves us and how He can lift us up to where He is strengthen our commitments to Him.

Throughout, Brother Millet conveys his deep witness of the essential truth that eternal life consists of knowing God and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Coming to Know Christ invites us to experience what it means to know our Lord—not just know about Him but how to come to know Him, our Savior and our Redeemer.
About the Author: Robert L. Millet is Abraham O. Smoot University Professor and professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. He taught with LDS Seminaries and Institutes before joining the BYU faculty in 1983.
Brother Millet has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a bishop, stake president, temple worker, and member of the Church Materials Evaluation Committee. He is a popular speaker and prolific writer whose recent books include talking with God, Men of Valor, Men of Influence, Are We There Yet? and When a Child Wanders. He is a coauthor of the landmark volume LDS Beliefs: A Doctrinal Reference with Camille Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner, and Brent L. Top.
Brother Millet and his wife, Shauna, reside in Orem, Utah. They are the parents of six children and grandparents of ten.
The Giveaway: We have two hardback copies of Coming To Know Christ to giveaway to our U.S. readers courtesy of Deseret Book. To enter to win, simply leave a comment in this post. We will announce the two winners to be randomly drawn from the comments on July 30, 2012.

Author Guest Post with Anthony Sweat and Giveaway

20 Jun, 2012 by in momons and open book 6 comments

Fire and Ice is excited to welcome author Anthony Sweat today to tell us about his upcoming book. To celebrate we are hosting a two book giveaway in connection with Shadow Mountain~
Mormons: An Open Book
by Anthony Sweat
Paperback, 224 pages
Expected publication: June 26th 2012
by Shadow Mountain
ISBN1609088115
Book summaryWith the growth and exposure of Mormonism across the country and world, more and more people are curious about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although most Americans have an opinion about Mormonism, many of them admit they don’t really know what Mormons actually believe. Using scriptures, quotes, facts, engaging visual images, and even some humor, this one-of-a-kind book is designed to openly explain the beliefs, practices, history, and culture or Mormonism. Chapters answer such questions as “Are Mormons Christians?” “What happens inside LDS temples?” and many more. Chapters address topics such as LDS beliefs about marriage and family, the position of women in the Church, and LDS views about politics in America. There are even sections that dispel some common myths and misconceptions about Mormonism.

Written from the perspective of those who know and live the religion, the pages of Mormons: An Open Book invite you to come in, learn about, and better understand a growing body of faith in American and across the world: Mormonism.
Author guest post:

I never thought I’d be a writer (an artist? Yes. Teacher? Maybe. GQ cover model? Dream on man, dream on). In 2007 I had been teaching full-time as a religious educator for the LDS Church’s Seminaries and Institutes of Religion for about seven years when I had a fateful encounter with what has become one of my great friends, John Hilton III. John and I happened to be teaching at an Especially For Youth conference together out in Georgia when we met. At that conference, we both watched and admired each other teach, and together hit it off. John had just recently published a book with Deseret Book and he said to me, “You’ve got to write some of this stuff down that you are teaching and get it out there.” I demurred, and John—with his wonderfully persistent nature—kept pushing and pushing me over the following months to write.

I was able to put him off for a bit, but eventually he broke me down one day when he stopped by my office and said something like, “Okay, not saying you have to do it, but if you did write anything, what would it be about?” I opened up and said something along the lines of, “Well, I’d write this book that helps give LDS youth doctrinal and logical reasons for our standards and answer their common questions and call it something like WHY?” Before I knew it, John had pitched the idea to his product director at Deseret Book and called me and said they loved the idea. I put the phone down and told my wife, “Well, it looks like I’m writing a book.” WHY? went on to get published and become a Deseret Book bestseller, and the rest, for me anyway, is history. Since then I have written or co-authored four other books, the most recent being MORMONS: An Open Book.

MORMONS: An Open Book, to me, is the most important book I have written thus far. Written to a national, non-LDS audience, it comes fortuitously (even though I began writing it a year and a half ago) on the heels of the “Mormon Moment,” when there is increasing interest in all things Mormon, most notably with the recent nomination of Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for US President. The approach of the book is, as the title implies, open, honest and straightforward. It attempts to answer in an engaging, visual, straightforward, and sometimes humorous way the main questions that most people have about the LDS Church. It is laced with stats, studies, scriptures, quotes, images, graphs, charts, and pictures as it answers these questions. Trust me, you won’t get bored. It is both an informational and visual smorgasbord, but totally digestible for the average person. It has some cool features, such as smart phone QR code links to videos to “Meet a Mormon” on mormon.org, and a section in each chapter called a “Mormyth” that dispels common misperceptions about Mormonism. In my totally biased opinion, it’s a book that all Latter-day Saints and those interested in Mormonism should get. It will better help anyone (artists, teachers, and—yes—GQ models) to clearly, concisely, accurately, and openly understand what people really want to know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Author bio:  Anthony Sweat received his PhD in education from Utah State University and is a full-time religious educator for the LDS Church’s Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. He is a regular speaker at Especially For Youth, Education Week, Time Out For Women, and other LDS conferences, as well as an adjunct professor in the department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He is the author of several books and audio CD’s, including Mormons, An Open Book, Why? Powerful Answers and Practical Reasons for Living LDS Standards, and I’m Not Perfect. Can I Still Go To Heaven? He and his lovely wife, Cindy, are the parents of six children and reside in Utah.
The Giveaway: Fire and Ice has two copies of Mormons: An Open Book to givea way to our US readers! To enter to win fill out the rafflecopter form below.

Book Review- Becoming Bayley

30 May, 2012 by in Susan Auten, young adult fiction 1 comment

Becoming Bayley
by Susan Auten
ebook
Published May 9, 2012
by Deseret Book Company
A SIN B008224CBQ
Book Source: Publisher
5 Stars
Book Summary From Goodreads: Bayley Albrecht’s dream is to play soccer on BYU’s South Field. When she is invited to soccer camp the summer before her senior year in high school, she just knows she’s one step closer to her dream. Things get even better when she meets Matt Macauley, the star of the men’s soccer team. When they decide to write each other while Matt is on his mission, Bayley figures her life can’t get any better. But it certainly can get worse…

After she receives a minor concussion from playing soccer, Bayley discovers she had a disease called alopecia which causes her to lose her hair. As Bayley struggles to deal with the reality of her baldness she finds herself having to make some tough decisions. Can she still play soccer? Does she even want to? More importantly, should she tell Matt? And will he still want her when she does? Becoming Bayley is the story of one girl’s journey through self-discovery, of the definition of true love, and of the realization that as a daughter of God, she is of infinite worth.

Cathy’s Review: Bayley is a 17 year-old-girl. She loves to play soccer and she’s kind of a tomboy, much to the dismay of her younger sister Fin. Fin is always trying to get Bayley to wear things like mascara and lip gloss and to do something different with her hair, but Bayley wants nothing to do with it, until she goes to soccer camp at BYU and sees the awesome BYU soccer player, Matt Macauley. When her roommates at the camp realize that she really likes Matt, they convince her that she’s going to need to look her very best to get him to look her way. They trim help her with her hair and makeup, and just when Bayley thinks that it was all for naught and he’s not going to see her anyway, he catches her on South Field. She’s not supposed to be there, but the gate was open and she thought that no one would ever know. Matt challenges her to a game of PIG and then insists on walking her home, but he doesn’t ask for her address so he can write her while he’s on his mission. Fate steps in and allows her to see his car on her way back to Wyoming, and she decides to be brave and leave her address there. Just when she thinks it must have blown away, she receives a letter from him, and is surprised to learn that he felt the same connection to her that she felt to him. Soon, however, Bayley’s life will change forever with the onset of alopecia, a disease that causes her to lose her hair. Bayley can’t see how anyone, especially Matt, will ever love her in spite of her baldness. 

I LOVED this book! Bayley was such an amazingly strong girl. I loved her at the beginning and I loved her character even more as the book progressed. I was amazed at the way that her “friends” from her high school treated her after she lost her hair. I can’t even imagine being treated the way she was. I loved Matt, his character was amazing, he was the perfect boyfriend for this book. I can’t believe how real the characters seemed to me in this one. I finished this one yesterday, but I kind of still feel like I’m in Bayley’s world, thinking about soccer and alopecia. I loved the way that Bayley relates the women with the issue of blood from the New Testament to herself and her own situation, it made me think of this familiar story in a different way than I ever have before, I love it when that happens.

Content: clean

Author Bio: I’ve always loved telling stories. My favorite is the one where I sent the wrong letter to the right missionary. We were married the next summer. I attended LDS Business College where I earned an Associate’s in Computer Technology and Brigham Young University where I should have majored in English. I live in a small town nestled in the heart of the Appalachians. When I’m not busy writing, I can be found baking cookies, going to the movies, helping with the homework or catching fireflies with my handsome husband and four adorable children.

Find out more about author Susan Auten: Goodreads/ Website/

Children’s Book Review- I Believe in Jesus Too

05 May, 2012 by in Mark S. Nielsen, picture books 2 comments

I Believe In Jesus Too
by Mark S. Nielsen, Craig Stapley
Hardcover
Published February 2012
by Deseret Book
5 stars
Summary from Goodreads: All around the world, Latter-day Saint children go to church, sing songs, pray, read scriptures, participate in family home evening, and get baptized. We may meet in different types of buildings or speak different languages, but we have a lot in common. Why? Because no matter where we live, we all love and believe in Jesus, and He loves each one of us just the same. Are you like Pablo, Dimitri, Bayani, Junpei, and Shamara? Do you believe in Jesus too.
Heather’s Review: Wow. This book is absolutely stunning. The illustrations are life like and vivid, beautiful and attention grabbing. I enjoyed traveling with children of different nations to their native lands. Readers see what kind of homes they live in and what types of church buildings they meet in on Sundays. From New York City, to Finland, Spain and Taiwan. So many different faces, cultures and ways of life are explored all in a few pages. The teachings simple and beautiful.
I would recommend I Believe in Jesus Too to all ages. As an adult I found myself turning the pages again and again. It would make a wonderful gift for a child in your life or a treasure for your own family to read out loud and pass on. Thanks so much Mark S. Nielsen for sending me a copy!
Heather
Author Bio From Raising Memories : In the spring of 1996 I graduated from high school and immediately started my college career that summer at BYU Jerusalem. That experience in the Holy Land changed my life! After a great first year at BYU I received my mission call in April 1997 and was called to serve in the Barcelona, Spain Mission. (NOTE: The LDS church calls young men and women around the ages of 19-28 to serve as full-time missionaries. These missionaries pay for the entire mission and set aside education, jobs, and dating for 1 ½ – 2 years so they can dedicate all their time and efforts to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.) On returning from my mission I started teaching seminary at a school for special needs children. In the fall of 2002 I graduated from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and a minor in Spanish. Anne, my wife, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. After graduation we moved to Phoenix, Arizona where I was hired to teach seminary full time for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (NOTE: Seminary is a religious class taught to high school age students. It’s a 4 year course that uses the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants as the lesson material.) I love my family, the Church, good movies, BYU football, my mom’s spaghetti, good books, softball, Chufi (horchata drink from Spain), trying to make my students and kids laugh, teaching, traveling, and of course writing children’s books. I lived in Russia and traveled around Europe, Israel, and Egypt. As I have reflected on these experiences I have learned that although everyone has different cultures and is different, everyone is also very much the same. Everyone is a child of God and whether they show it or not, everyone wants to be treated fairly, to be loved, and to be respected. It is so neat to know that there are people all over the world that believe in what I believe. When I hear their stories, I want to be better and I want to be like them. I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ. I know that he loves me and that he died for me and for everyone that I meet on this planet. We are all brothers and sisters because of him.
About the Illustrator: Craig Stapley is an illustrator whose work has appeared in the Friend and Highlights among other popular magazines. He currently lives in northern Utah with his wife, Crystal and their four children: Ethan, Kan, Logan and their newest addition, Emily Jean. As a family they enjoy traveling and any activity that they can do together.
Find out more on Goodreads/ Amazon/ Deseret Book/ Mark’s website/ Facebook

YA Book Review- Invaluable

25 Apr, 2012 by in ya Leave a comment

Invaluable
by Holly J. Wood
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 26th 2011
by Deseret Book
ISBN1609088352
Source: author
4 stars
Book Summary from Deseret Book: help wanted
Sixteen-year-old girl seeks advice on how to reach out to a sister who has become distant; how to make up with my best friend, who spends every moment with her new boyfriend;how to avoid losing my job over working on Sundays; and how to figure out who has been putting love notes in my locker.
Applicants are also required to provide advice on how to handle being head-over-heels for my prom date’s best friend—who happens to be the hottest guy in school.

Math tutoring a plus.

Interested persons may contact Eliza Moore.

Sound like a tall order? Well, that is what Eliza Moore is up against during her sophomore year of high school. But when her great-grandmother begins visiting Eliza in her dreams, everything starts to change. These dreams take Eliza back in time to see extraordinary women who help teach her about eight important values. As Eliza learns more about these women and the values they lived by, she discovers the courage and confidence she needs to face her challenges—and her secret admirer.

Heather’s Review: I met Holly J Black at the Deseret Book Flagship store a couple of weeks ago and right away was impressed without even having read her book. Now having read it, I can say Invaluable is perfect for Young Women in our generation who are fighting to stay true to their values.
Eliza Moore, the main heroine is a sophomore in High School who is going through the transitions many her age do- a strained relationship with her sister, balancing work and a job, figuring out just who she is and getting attention from older boys… but not the one she is hoping for. Mysterious notes start showing up in her locker from a secret admirer during the day, and at night Eliza is being visited by her grandmother in her dreams. Life is all about to change.
Taking the reader through time to meet influential women in history, Invaluable teaches us that there is more to life than texting, gossip, crushes and trying to get to the top of the class the wrong way. Eliza learns to choose a better destiny than the one she is carving out by every day choices, and a long the way an unexpected surprise lands her right where she longs to be.
I loved Invaluable! The plot was a little slow in some places but it progresses the characters well as they mature over the course of the school year. It’s a book I would gladly pass on and wholeheartedly recommend to tweens and teens, as well as adult women.
Content: Clean. Mention of the dangers of underage drinking, pornography, and immorality.
Heather
Author Bio: If you had told me 5 yrs. ago that I’d be writing an author bio for myself—we would have enjoyed a good, long laugh together! However, at this point you could tell me that someday I’ll be living in a hut on the outskirts of Siberia and I’d be tempted to believe you, because I’ve learned that anything is possible! I currently live in Mountain Green, Utah with my husband and two small children. I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life, and aside from the incredibly long winters, I love it here! I am passionate about: travel, reading, enjoying the outdoors (when it’s warm), eating, spending time with family and friends, Disneyland, music, and napping.
Learn more about Holly J. Wood on Goodreads/ her blog / her site/ Deseret Book/ Amazon

Banana Split Blog Tour and Review

13 Apr, 2012 by in Shadow Mountain 5 comments

Fire and Ice is thrilled to be today’s stop on the official blog tour for:
Banana Split: A Culinary Mystery
by Josie S Kilpack
Published February 1,2012
by Shadow Mountain
Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

Book Summary: Sadie Hoffmiller has survived eighteen months of nonstop adventures filled with murder, deceit, and danger. She could really use some rest—and maybe even some time to heal—relaxing in the tropical paradise of Kaua’i. However, palm trees and sunshine are not as effective a medication as Sadie had hoped. And when she finds herself entangled—literally—with a dead body, she is forced to face the compounding fears and anxieties that are making her life so difficult to live.

Her determination to stay out of danger and to focus on overcoming her anxieties soon takes a backseat when she meets eleven-year-old Charlie, the son of the woman whose body she discovered near Anahola Beach. Charlies has some questions of his own about what happened to his mother, and he is convinced that only Sadie can help him. If only Sadie were as confident in her abilities as Charlie is.

With the help of her best friend and a local social worker, Sadie dives into another mystery with the hope that, at the end, she’ll be able to find the peace and closure that has eluded her. 
I have long been a fan of the Culinary Mystery series by Josi S. Kilpack. Sadie Hoffmiller is a fabulous heroine. She is the quintessential nosy neighbor, yet she makes you love her from page one. Sure, she has to know everything that is going on around her, and that often gets her in trouble. But, Sadie truly cares about her friends and family. 
Banana Split did not disappoint. It begins in tropical Hawaii, with an overstressed Sadie, trying to gain a little inner peace. Unfortunately, peace was in short supply, but she does discover the dead body of a missing local woman. When the woman’s now orphaned son asks Sadie for help, how can she say no? Sadie, being the busybody that she is, gets mixed up in more than she realizes when she tries to help find the cause of this young woman’s death. 

Both the prose and the delicious sounding recipes will be sure to delight. This cozy mystery has many twists and turns that kept me wondering “who dunnit” clear up to the final chapters. 
Content: Clean. There is discussion of drug use and possibly extra-marital affairs, but never in a way that condones the activity.
About the Author (from Author’s website):
Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Her most recent book, Blackberry Crumble, is the fifth book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, four children, one dog, and varying number of chickens. Visit Josi on her website.
 

Ambush Review and Signed Swag Giveaway

06 Mar, 2012 by in obert skye, Shadow Mountain, ya fantasy 3 comments

Pillage, Book 3: Ambush
by Obert Skye
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 24, 2012
by Deseret Book Company
ISBN 1609088913
Book Source: Publisher
4 stars
Summary: “What can happen on an innocent field trip to a museum? In the secure protection of a jail? OR on a simple bus ride? Plenty, if you are a member of the Pillage family and your name is Beck Phillips. No matter what strangeness is going on, Beck still manages to turn things on their head.
When Beck’s personality and behavior begins to change after he makes a fateful, life-altering decision involving–what else?–a dragon egg, there is no one around to stop him from fulfilling his family’s destiny set out in The Grim Knot. And as life in Kingsplot moves unwittingly toward the brink of another dragon disaster, Beck finds himself living a life of deception as he hides information from the people who love and care about him the most.”
Beck is trying to get back to normal after he, Wyatt, and his long-suffering girlfriend Kate drop the last egg in the manor where it, hopefully, can’t be reached again. Beck heads to a field trip with his class to the town museum. Beck is drawn to a Pillage statue. Under his feet, though, mushrooms start to grow and take over. Causing a very bad situation for Beck involving buses and water. When he finds himself in a police car, he says,
“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. Sure, a lot of odd things had occurred since I had moved to Kingsplot. I had raised dragons, discovered my father, and destroyed a few things along the way, but this was the first time I had been arrested.” page 43
Beck is later asked to do something by his sick father. Should he do it? Even though he knows what will happen, and it could risk his relationship with Kate, Beck is tempted.
Mindy’s Review: 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed this series. It’s a great ride! I love how the author writes Beck’s character. He’s a sarcastic little brat sometimes, but he always makes me smile. Beck always has something clever to say. He is written so well, each character is. There are some surprises with the dragon egg that I really liked, and a little twist too. I did want more from the dragon though, but it didn’t “ruin” the book for me. Very clever and creative series. Check out my earlier review of Pillage.
About the Author:  Obert Skye read his first book at age two. He wrote his first story at age four. And he was nearly trampled by a herd of water buffalo at age six. For a short time, he lived on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where he spent time as a candy-taster. Several years ago, Obert Skye says, he discovered the existence of Foo. Publishing his story as a fictional series was not Obert’s first choice. Nevertheless he is content that the “history” is being told. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting old maps, water polo, roller coasters.
Order the book from AMAZON / B & N / DESERET BOOK / SEAGULL BOOK
Find Obert Skye on Goodreads/ His site/ Twitter/ Facebook

                                                                                                                                           photo by Heather Zahn Gardner

The Giveaway: Heather from Fire and Ice had the chance to meet Obert at his Deseret Book signing last week. So, we are giving away a swag pack of an author signed bookmark and postcard! 

Simply comment below to enter.
Open internationally. Ends March  20, 2012.