Thursday, December 10, 2009

LDS Women's Book Review

You can read about my Christmas traditions and books I plan to read or buy in the article posted on LDS Women's Book Review today.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Somebody's Watching Me

Once again my son Chan is at it, directing film with his brother and his friends.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Did You See Oprah?

The Herrin twins and The Osmonds were on the same episode of Oprah on Friday. It was this surreal moment for me, seeing two separate parts of my life converge on the TV screen.

Many of you may not know this, but I've worked for Alan Osmond on one project or another since 1983 when I first moved to Utah from Indiana. I used to go places to take photos of his sons for him when The Osmond Boys were just starting to sing. Then in 1988, I began working on the staff of Stadium of Fire, eventually working my way to Associate Producer. I also became the promotions director for 2nd G, writing newsletters and magazine articles, developing merchandise, and sometimes going on the road to sell it. Even now I am the editor of the Osmond Family blog, help with both Nathan and David's blogs, and I'm working on a biography with Alan.

Of course, my assocation with the Herrin family is much more recent. Two years ago I heard Erin Herrin, the twins' mother, pitch the idea of a book about her girls. At the time I thought, "Wow! I'd love to write that book," but they already had someone else in line to write the book. As fate would have it, several months later I was approached to see if I'd be interested in helping Erin tell her story. The rest, as they say, is history.

The next book I'm working on is a biography with Rob Joseph. He's already been on Dr. Phil, but now I wonder if his next stop could also be Oprah. . .

Friday, October 02, 2009

Oprah and Famous Family Nights

I just found out late last night that the Herrin twins (When Hearts Conjoin) will be on Oprah this afternoon as one of Oprah's Favorite Families. Check out the show, then if you want to know more about the family, I hope you'll buy a copy of the book.

Also, we heard yesterday that Famous Family Nights (I'm a contributor) is #1 in the Family home Evening category at You can buy a copy at their site, or get one here from

I'll be posting a few photos from my son's wedding on the blog very soon. Thanks for all of you who sent your well-wishes to the new couple.

Monday, September 07, 2009

World-Wide Distribution!

The other night I was checking my online ordering cart for the direct sales of When Hearts Conjoin. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the most recent sale was sending a copy of the book to Russia! A quick scan of addresses let me know that copies of the book had already been sent to Canada, England, and Australia, as well as to many states across the U.S.

Wow! Sometimes I think we as authors tend to forget that our books can speak to the hearts of people all the way around the world. It's amazing to me to think that someone sitting in a state or a country where I've never been is reading the very words I typed into my computer at home.

Because of the internet, I've also come to see that I have readers for my newspaper and magazine articles from all corners of the world. It's awe-inspiring to consider. What a responsibility that places on me to always put my best work out for others to read.

Of course, this has also made me appreciate more the work of others who I enjoy reading. What if JK Rowling hadn't continued to write despite all those rejections? Or if Laura Hillenbrand hadn't researched, written and submitted her book despite the agorophobia she suffered from? What if no one had ever thought to trasnlate Cornilia Funke's books from German to English? My reading work would have been a much different place.

The older I get, the smaller the world seems to become, and as a writer, I'm glad that people can find me, just like I've found so many of them and made their work a part of my life. I hope I'll someday hear from my worldwide fans, and I'm hear to say, my book publication career has just begun.

If you'd like to purchase one of my books, I'm excited to announce that they are now available at

When Hearts Conjoin, the true story of the Herrin family, including conjoined twins Kendra and Maliyah can be purchased at the following link:

am also a contributor in Famous Family Nights, a collection of essays by ninety-one well-known members of the LDS church about how to make your family nights more meaningful. Also included in this volume are stories from Alan Osmond, as well as many LDS writers my readers probably already know.

Also, used copies are still available of Teaching Ideas for 7-12 English Language Arts: What Really Works. I was a guest contributor with the chapter Recipe for the Reluctant Reader: Add Young Adult Literature and Stir. My chapter includes much of the information I present when I speak at educator conferences.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thanks for the Nod, Annette

As I sit in my classroom, watching my 7th grade students devouring books, I marvel at the belief that kids no longer like to read. I have long known this to be a fallacy. Kids DO like to read, but only when they are given books that speak to them.

Sure, kids spend time with video games, athletics, and even texting their friends, but kids who are given choice and quiet time will also spend quality hours reading, IF they have had positive experiences at some times with books.

One of the first activities I do in my English classes is a presentation I call "Important Books." I spend a class period talking with my students about books that have played an important role in my life. I talk about those warm fuzzy moments of childhood when my mother read to me; I talk about my favorite books of childhood; I tell them about books which inspired me to action, taught me a lesson, and changed my way of thinking--all positive memories about books, something kids would expect me to do because I'm an English teacher.

But then I do something kids don't expect. I tell them about books I hated, books I abandoned, books I had never read yet still wrote reports about. I share my absolute worst reading experiences, reasons why I was frustrated with either the book or the teacher.

I have a really good reason to let them see this negative side to reading--kids who are reluctant readers have the mistaken impression that kids who like to read like to read--EVERYTHING! They believe all reading is created equal, and that the reader loves it all the same--textbooks and novels alike. Since the reluctant reader once found something they didn't like to read, that must mean they don't like reading--PERIOD.

But the next day in my class, we discover this isn't true. That's when they become the teacher by bringing in a list of 3-10 books they have read or had read to them that were important in each of their lives. The kids are anxious to stand in front of the class and share their reading experiences. They often discover they were not the only one to feel a certain way about a particular book. They hear about other books they might also like to read, and they find out which books to avoid.

My the time I turn them over to independent reading time, even my most reluctant readers are ready to give the experience one more try. I do everything I can to help them find the right book, the right mode (audio books are a great way to hook reluctant readers), or the right place to read (kids love the couch in my back room). I teach them to abandon a book early if it's not interesting, skip words they don't know, and always have a book handy to read when there's a free moment of time. And If they need help finding just the right book, I always have about a hundred suggestions in mind to give them. I don't ever let them STOP the process of reading, because as soon as they do, they STOP reading.

And as Annette Lyon mentioned in her blog today, using these strategies has helped me change the mindset of many a non-reader in a short period of time. If you've got a reluctant reader at your house, try talking with him or her about your important books and see what they come up with about themselves. You may learn a lot about why they stopped reading in the first place, and lead them to discover a new joy for reading that will last them their whole life long.

(Lu Ann Staheli was named Utah's Best of State Educator 2008, Nebo Reading Council Teacher of the Year 2007, Utah's English Language Arts Teacher of the Year 2000, and Utah's Christa McAuliffe Fellow in 1999 for her project on Literacy)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Days Down and Counting

Yesterday was the first day of school--and what a day it was.

Less than ten seconds after the tardy bell rang to start the school day, the fire alarm went off. No kidding! Kids had hardly made into into their seats before they were filing out again. New teachers and interns were at a loss as to where to go and what to do once they got there. Of course, none of the teachers knew the names of their students to call roll and most of the kids didn't know what their teachers looked to find them once everyone assembled in the right place anyway.

I didn't have a class first period, and I've been here long enough to know there likely wasn't a fire anyway. Instead, anytime the water pressure drops either at the school building or in Payson's south end, the fire alarm goes off in our building. But no announcements had been made so I began to wonder. At last, one of the counselors--and Payson's former Fire Chief--told a few teachers to stay in the building and ignore the alarm. Someone figured out how to silence the obnoxious sound that accompanies the flashing strobe light signal.

The volunteer fire department was already of their way, but they knew enough to bring a small crew just in case it was yet another false alarm. Maintenance people from the district office drove in from Spanish Fork and lots of adults stood around, staring at the gages and saying, "Yep, I think it's the water pressure."

Eventually someone realized half the school was standing around outside, waiting for the all-clear to come back and start school. Several announcements later, and teachers from inside the building going to open doors for interns and new teachers who didn't think to take their keys who were locked outside, and soon everyone was back inside with five minutes left to take role before it was time to move to second period classes.

Of course, by then, the bells had topped ringing loud enough for anyone to hear them. That's okay though. They had been set to the wrong times anyway, and no one had informed the new teachers that second lunch gets out at the third bell instead of the second one. Another round of announcements finally got kids back into class in enough time to get let out for the real start of second lunch.

We made it through to the end of an early day. Wednesdays are early-out because of teacher collaboration in Nebo school district.

Day two brought excitement all its own. Today was PICTURE DAY!

Our principal likes to do pictures right away so the kids get student ID cards and so the administration has current photos of all the little darlings in case they need to locate a person who breaks a rule. ( I threatened to take a phone away from a cute little 7th grade girl already.)

So, through most of the morning, classes were interrupted with more announcements--"Would all students with last names beginning with the letters A through B, please come to the cafeteria to have your picture taken?" Why is it that these announcements go on forever, yet in the end, we still have students--and teachers--who suddenly realize while the photographer is packing up that they forgot to go down and get their picture taken for the yearbook?

But the over-riding question is, after two days of chaos like this, will we be able to make it through the next 178, or will they be more of the same.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to the Torture Chamber

Like most kids, I couldn't wait to graduate from high school, finish college, and get on with my life. Although high school wasn't too bad,and elementary school had been tolerable, junior high was the worst torture I could ever imagine for someone. I wouldn't have wished my junior high school experience on my own worst enemy (I had a few whom I've since forgiven for making my life so miserable.)

So here I am, an adult, spending year 31 in (where else?) a junior high school classroom! What am I thinking?

In all honestly, I'm thinking, "Okay, another year. So what?" My lessons are planned for the week. Handouts for are copied and ready. I've made two slide presentations to accompany my lessons. I've even cleaned out my desk drawers.

Today was 7th grade orientation. My classroom was filled with students and parents for most of the morning. They seem like a pretty good group of kids. Tomorrow I'll really find out. I'll be teaching two 7th Honors English pods and two 9th grade English classes. I'm excited to have the 9th graders again. I've taught 9th grade for 29 years, so not having them last year felt really strange.

I know--some of you are thinking I'm strange. Despite the fact my own junior high experience was crummy, I still sort of like these guys and this age group. The idea of being in an elementary school and coming home with little hand-prints all over me is creepy (not to mention the number of germs those little kids spread around!) I taught Seniors once and they might as well have been AWOL from school since their brains were already of graduation the first day of school.

Junior high kids are great. Still trusting enough to be interested in what you're saying, independent enough that I don't have to wipe their noses, and becoming savvy enough about the world in general that you can talk with them like they might possibly understand what you're saying.

Torture chamber or not, I'm back. Now if I could only find where I put that switch to the electric chair . . .

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Turning the Page Interview for Confetti Antiques

Here's a link to the entire interview I did with Confetti Antiques owner Donnie Morris. The program ran on Spanish Fork cable a couple of weeks ago. It's 17 1/2 minutes long.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turning the Page Interview for Cenfetti Antiques

I had a great time last Monday at Confetti Antiques and Books on Main Street in Spanish Fork. Owner Donnie Morris interviewed me for his show, "Turning the Page" that runs on Spanish Fork Cable. I saw the episode last night, and it looked great. I know SFCN will run the episode again, but I don't yet know the times, etc.

As you can see, Confetti Antiques has my book on the shelf, so people can buy it now, or they can come down on Monday, July 20th from noon to 4:00 p.m. to meet me, buy a book, and have it signed. You can also pre-order books that are "autographed" by the Herrin twins.

This is a great little shop--all sorts of cool things to look at inside--and a wide selection of hard-to-find LDS books in the adjoining bookstore. I'm going to have to look around the place more carefully while I'm there.

Of course, I'm also going to stop in on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday to purchase books by some of my friends to have them sign!

If you're into antiques, there are lots of great items upstairs as well as those trinkets on the first floor.

If you can't make it to the store, but you still want to buy a copy of the book, they are available both at and

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Conjoined Twins: Sister Bond


Kendra and Maliyah Herrin were born conjoined, attached at the abdomen and pelvis. Doctors embarked on a groundbreaking surgical procedure to separate the girls. How will they learn to cope with life as two independent people?

TLC listings indicate the following airtimes (which may be Eastern)
Sunday July 12 9:00 p.m.
Monday July 13 12:00 a.m.
Wednesday July 15 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday July 15 11:00 p.m.

Our first big TV show since the book was published!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Golden Idol

My son Chan has always wanted to be an actor, director, and producer. He also has loved Indiana Jones and Star Wars since he was a child. At least, he's combined all of his passions. Here is a glimpse at his film debut.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

Two icons from my youth, have both died today.

I loved Michael's music, and Charlie's Angels was one of my favorite shows of all-time. May they both rest in peace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feels Like Heaven

Long before the Herrin family entered my life, there were The Osmonds. Nathan Osmond is debuting his new CD this weekend in Salt Lake, and he was nice enough to list my name in the credits. Thanks, Nate! I always wish the best for you.

If any of you would like to hear Nathan sings live this weekend, here's a press release about his concert on Friday.

Cottonwood Heights Relay for Life Will “Feel Like Heaven”
Osmonds 2nd Generation member to debut solo album at charity event

(Salt Lake City, Utah) June 16, 2009 -- As part of the Cottonwood Heights Relay for Life 2009, benefiting the America Cancer Society, Nathan Osmond will debut and release his first solo album, Feels Like Heaven, this Friday, June 19th.

“It just feels like an appropriate time to share my new album with the world,” Nathan said. “I hope Feels Like Heaven inspires people to show up and contribute to the cause.”

Participants in the Relay for Life attend for various reasons—from honoring cancer survivors, to paying tribute to those lost to the disease. The Salt Lake Relay is a fundraiser for cancer research and is one of many similar events across the country. Teams participating in the relay camp overnight at Butler Park and have at least one member walking or running from 6:00pm Friday, until 7:00 the following morning when the event officially ends.

Relay for Life events kick off with a survivor’s reception at 5:00 pm at 7500 South 2700 East (Butler Park - behind Butler Middle School) in Cottonwood Heights.

The Relay and Entertainment will begin at 6:00 pm. Nathan will perform pieces from his new album along with other music. He will also be there to meet fans and participants. Feels Like Heaven will be available for purchase with a portion of proceeds going to The American Cancer Society.

Additional activities will include a silent auction, dunk tank, inflatable slides and bounce houses, food, special appearances and more music. Highlighting the evening is the Luminaria Ceremony held after dark to honor cancer survivors and to remember those who have lost the battle against cancer. The luminaria line the track and are left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the incredible importance of their contributions.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has state divisions and more than 3,400 local offices. The ACS works to eliminate cancer through research, education, patient services and advocacy. Learn more about ACS, what they do, and their plans for the future at

Nathan Osmond is an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, motivational speaker and has shared the stage with some of the industry’s biggest names. He is the son of 70’s pop star Alan Osmond. Nathan has appeared on MTV, Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, CBS This Morning, Entertainment Tonight, CNN and other major shows and networks.

For additional information:

Machelle Lake

Friday, June 05, 2009

Literacy Night: In the World, Not of the World

I'm officially part of the group! We found this listing online for the upcoming Literacy Night where members of my writer's critique group will be speaking at the end of the month. This is the first time I've ever been included because my book just came out.

My question is, how does J. Scott Savage fits into the Relief Society? Did someone find out about his impersonation of Stephenie Meyer at the LDS Storymakers conference?

To further the cause of literacy in our homes and communities
Eaglecrest 1st Ward~~Enrichment Night
June 30, 2009
650 W. 2600 North
Lehi, UT

Come and hear from LDS authors who share the concern of literacy in our homes and communities. It will be an evening of fun and learning. There will even be a book drawing at the end! To find out more about these authors, you are welcome visit their respective websites.

Annette Lyon ( Annette is the author of the “temple” series—a set of historical romances set around the building of the Logan, St. George, Salt Lake City, and Manti temples. Spires of Stone was awarded Best of State in Fiction for 2007 and was a 2007 Whitney Award finalist. Her latest book, Tower of Strength, came out April 2009. Annette is a former co-producer of the Utah Chocolate Show. She and her husband live in American Fork with their four children.

Heather Moore: ( Heather is the author of the four-volume Out of Jerusalem series—historical fiction on the Book of Mormon. Her latest book is called Abinadi, winner of the 2008 Whitney Award for Best Historical and was recently named as 2009 Best of State in Literary Arts for Historical Fiction. Her next book, Alma the Elder, will be out Fall 2009. Heather lives in Lehi with her husband and four children.

J. Scott Savage: ( J. Scott is the best-selling author of the YA fantasy series Far World, published by Shadow Mountain (imprint of Deseret Book). Far World: Book 2 will be out September 2009. J. Scott also writes the Shandra Covington mystery series, under his “other” name: Jeffrey Savage. He and his wife and their four children live in Spanish Fork.

Julie Wright: ( Julie is the author of several books, including romance, young adult and non-fiction. She is best known for her YA novel My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life. Her newest book, Eyes Like Mine, hits shelves June 2009. Julie lives in Oak City with her husband and three children. When she’s not busy writing she manages a store with her husband and works for Ebay.

Josi S. Kilpack: ( Josi has written nine novels, from contemporary romance, to women’s fiction, to suspense. Sheep’s Clothing won the 2007 Whitney Award for Best Suspense. Her most recent cozy mystery is Lemon Tart—which was the book of the month for Time Out for Women, and has been the #1 bestselling fiction title at Deseret Book for several months. Her next book, English Trifle, will be out this fall. In addition to her writing she enjoys reading, baking, traveling with her husband (and sometimes her four children) and amateur chicken farming.

Lu Ann Staheli: ( Lu Ann is the co-author of the When Hearts Conjoin: the story of the conjoined Herrin Twins from Utah. She teaches creative writing at Payson Jr. High and has been awarded as Utah English Language Arts Teacher of the Year and 2008 Best of State Educator for K-8. She has written a column for the Spanish Fork Press for many years on how to help your reluctant readers.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

League of Utah Writer's Spring Conference

My husband finally figured out my new cell phone so I could send my photos from the League of Utah Writer's Spring conference over to my computer. Here I am at the autograph table, signing copies of When Hearts Conjoin, along with my friend, critique group member, and fellow author, Annette Lyon, who was signing copies of her new book Tower of Strength. You'll also recognize New Yorks Times best-selling author Dave Wolverton (David Farland) and Jessica Day George, both of whom were also speakers at the conference. Annette and I were on a panel and served as judges for the writing contest. The event was held at Cedar Fort Publishers in Springville.

Friday, May 22, 2009

2008-2009 Student Book Recommendations

Every year I ask my students to give me the titles of Ten books they have read this year that they liked well enough to recommend to other readers. This list is LONG (278 titles---I listed series as titles), but I thought some of you might find it interesting, especially if you are writing for middle grade students. Maybe you'll want to copy the list and print it out for a reading list of your own, or to share with your middle grade students. The kids who listed their books are all 7th graders. Some of you will find your own books among the titles!

Anderson - Maybird series
Anderson - Peaches
Anderson – Speak
Anderson - Teacher’s Pet
Anderson – Twisted
Anderson – Wintergirls
Armstrong - The Summoning
Avi – Wolf Rider
Baillet - The Calder Game
Balliet - The Wright 3
Banks – The Indian in the Cupboard series
Barklem - The Secret Staircase
Barry & Pearson – Peters and the Starcatchers series
Baxter – Sunstorm
Bellow – Michael Jordan
Benz – Grey Griffins series
Bettes – Where the Heart Is
Bierce - Civil War Stories
Blume - Superfudge
Bosch – The Name of This Book is Secret
Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
Brown – Angels & Demons
Buckley – Chickens in the Headlights
Buckley – Sisters Grimm series
Burnford - The Incredible Journey
Byng - Molly Moon series
Cabot – Aithead
Cabot – The Princess Diaries series
Carter – I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You series
Cashore - Graceling
Cast – Betrayed
Cast – Marked
Chima – The Warrior series
Choldenko - Al Capone Does My Shirts
Clements – Frindle
Clements – The School Story
Clements – Things Not Seen
Clements - Room One
Colfer – Airman
Colfer – Artemis Fowl series
Colfer – Benny & Oman
Colfer – The Supernaturalist
Collins - Gregor series
Condie – Reunion
Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Creech – Bloomability
Creech – Heartbeat
Creech – Ruby Holler
Creech – Walk Two Moons
Crichton – Airframe
Crichton – Jurassic Park
Crutcher – Iron Man
Curtis – Bud, Not Buddy
Dahl – George’s Marvelous Medicine
Daley - Star Wars: Han Solo trilogy
Dashner – The 13th Reality series
David & Draper - We Beat the Street
DavisGarfield series
De la Cruz – Bluebloods
De la Cruz – Masquerade
De Mari - The Last Dragon
Delaney - The Last Apprentice series
Dessen – Just Listen
Dessen - Keeping the Moon
Dessen – Lock and Key
Dessen – The Truth About Forever
Di Camillo – The Tale of Despereaux
Dickens – David Copperfield
D'lacey - The Fire Within series
Elliott - Under a War Torn Sky
Evans – The Christmas Box
Fairstein – Entombed
Farmer - Sea of Trolls
Ferris – Once Upon a Marigold
Fitzgerald – The Great Brain series
Fletcher - Stoneheart trilogy
Forman – Adventurer’s Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold
Frank – Diary of a Young Girl
Friend – Perfect
Funke – Inkheart series
Gardner - Stone Fox
Gibson – Old Yeller
Gies - Anne Frank Remembered
Giff - Pictures of Hollis Woods
Goldman – The Princess Bride
Haddam - Cheating at Solitaire
Haddix - Palace of Mirrors
Haddix – Running Out of Time
Haddix – The Missing: Found
Haddix – Turnabout
Hale – Austenland
Hale – Book of a Thousand Days
Hale – Enna Burning
Hales – Goose Girl
Hales – The Princess Academy
Hansen – Macady
Heimerdinger – Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series
Heinlein – The Final Frontier
Hiaasen - Scat
Hiaisen – Hoot
Hickam – October Sky
Hinton – Rumble Fish
Hinton – The Outsiders
Hobbs – Far North
Hobbs – Ghost Canoe
Hobbs – Jason’s Gold
HobbsWild Man Island
Holt – Part of Me
Holt – When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
Hopkins – Burned
Hopkins – Crank
Hopkins – Glass
Horowitz - Groosham Grange
Horowitz – Alex Rider series
Horowitz – The Gatekeepers series
Hunter - Warriors series
Ibbotson – The Great Ghost Rescue
Johnson - 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Jones – King James: The Real Story
Jordan – The Eye of the World series
Kadohata - Kira – Kira
Kehret - The Blizzard Disaster
Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Klein - Con Ed
Koonz – Velocity
Korman - Kidnapped
Korman - Schooled
Kostick - Epic
Landy - Skulldugery Pleasant series
Lasky - Guardians of Ga’hoole series
Levine – Dave at Night
Levine – Ella Enchanted
Levine – Princess series
Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia series
Logue – Dancing with an Alien
London – White Fang
Lord – A Night to Remember
Lubar - Hidden Talents
Lund – Fire of the Covenant
Lund – The Alliance
Lund – The Work and the Glory series
Lupica – Heat
Lupica – The Big Field
Mac Hale - Pendragon series
Mangum - The Secret Journal of Brett Colton
Martin - Missing Since Monday
Martinez - Parrot in the Oven
Mazer - The Missing Girl
McCormick – Cut
Meyers – Twilight saga
Mikaelsen – Tree Girl
Montague – Fireweed
Moody - Best Friends
Moore – Out of Jerusalem series
Mull – The Candy Shop War
Mulle – Fablehaven series
Myers - The Mouse Rap
Naylor – Shiloh
Nichols - A Walk Out of the World
Nimmo – Charlie Bone series
Nimoy – I Am Spock
Nix – Keys to the Kingdom series
O’Dell – Island of the Blue Dolphins
Osborn – The Magic Treehouse series
Palahniuk - Haunted
Paolini – Eragon series
Patterson – Maximum Ride series
Paulsen – Soldier Heart
Paulsen – The Car
Paulson – Hatchet
Pelzer – A Child Called It series
Peretti – Monster
Perez - Dead is the New Black
Peterson - Jip
Petterson – Max series
Pfeffer - Life as We Knew It series
Pratchet – Going Postal
Pratchet – Thud
Qualey - Hometown
Raskin – The Westing Game
Rawls – Summer of the Monkeys
Rawls – Where the Red Fern Grows
Reeder - Foster’s War
Rees – Pirates
Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Rodgers - Freaky Friday
Rottman – Stetson
Rowling – Harry Potter series
Roy - Yellow Star
Sachar – Holes
Sachar – Tales from the Wayside Schools series
Sachar – The Boy Who Lost His Face
Sage – Magyk series
Sanderson – Mistborn series
Savage – Far World series
Schreiber - Vampire Kisses
Selznik - The Invention of Hugo Caret
Sewell – Black Beauty
Shan – Cirque du Freak series
Shan – The Dementor series
Shreve – Light on Snow
Shrieber – Teenage Mermaid
Shusterman - Everlost
Shusterman - The Schwa Was Here
Skye – Leven Thumps series
Slaughter – Indelible
Smith – Elephant Run
Smith – Everest series
Smith – I.Q.
Smith – Island series
Smith – On the Run
Smith – Peak
Smith – Sasquatch
Smith – Tantalize
Smith – Zach’s Lie series
Snickett – The Series of Unfortunate Events
Somper - Vampirates series
Soto – Taking Sides
Sparks - The Wedding
Speare – The Sign of the Beaver
Spinelli – Milkweed
Staheli – When Hearts Conjoin
Stansfield – Christmas Melody; The Three Gifts of Christmas
Stansfield – A Promise of Forever
Stansfield – Barington Family series
Stansfield – Gables Face East series
Stansfield – The Eternal Bond
Stansfield – The Miracle
Stansfield – The Silver Linings
Stansfield – The Sound of Rain series
Stansfield –Stansfield – Towers of Brierly
Stansfield – Where the Heart Leads series
Stansfield –First Love and Forever series
Staub – Lily Dale series
Stine – Goosbumps series
Stine – The Evil Moon
Stine – The New Boy
Stine – The Overnight
Strasser - Help! I’m Trapped in Obedience School
Tarkington – Penrod
Taylor – Walking Up a Rainbow
Temple - Grab Hands and Run
Timlonson - Extreme Sports
Tolkien – The Hobbit
Traditional - The Arabian Nights
Trueman - Inside Out
Turner - Hard Hit
Updale - Montmorency series
Van Draanen - Runaway
Van Draasen – Flipped
Van Draasen – Sammy Keyes series
Various – The 39 Clues series
Wallace - Trapped in Death Cave
Warner - The Box Car Children series
Waterson – Calvin & Hobbes series
Weeks - Jumping the Scratch
Wells - Chance Encounters
Wells – The War of the Worlds
Westerfeld - Uglies series
Weyland – Ashley & Jen
Weyland – Charley
Weyland – Emily
Weyland – Megan
Weyland- Brittany
White - Surviving Antarctica
Wilhite - Bright Blue Miracle
Wilkinson - Dragon Keeper
Wright – Christmas Jars
Wright – The Eyes of the World
Wright – The Mine with the Iron Door
Wright – The Printer of Udells
Wright – The Re-Creation of Brian Kent
Wright – The Shepherd of the Hills
Wright – The Wednesday Letters
Yancey - The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
Yorgason – Charlie’s Monument
Yorgason – One Tattered Angel
Zevin - Elsewhere

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There, Their, They're

Okay, this is crazy to admit because I've been an English teacher for 30 years, but there are times that I still get confused on rules. When that happens in my writing, I breathe a sigh of relief because I know that the self-proclaimed word nerd herself, Annette Lyon, will tell me what I did wrong and how to fix it. Heck, half the time she can tell me exactly why what I've done is in error because she's already studied the problem or looked up its history in the OED she got a few years ago.

When Annette doesn't make it to critique, we all fret over those really technical points of grammar and usage, and a flurry of emails go back and forth the next day as we discuss the question and wait for Annette to respond.

But what if Annette is on (dare we say it?) VACATION and gone off to another exotic location for weeks at a time (like her trip to Finland)? How could we ever live without her?

Annette has just given us the next best thing---There, Their, and They're: A No Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd is Annette's entry into the world of educational writing. I've ordered a copy to keep by my computer at home, and I'm seriously thinking I might use some of my grant money next year to buy a few copies for my classroom. (No other grammar book since Warriner's has taught so much!)

If you'd like to get you own copy, visit the online ordering form at:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Contest - Book Giveaway on Good Reads

I'm giving away three copies of When Hearts Conjoin on Come on over and join the contest at:

If you've already read the book and you're a member of either Good Reads or Shelfari, I'd appreciate it if you leave a rating and review.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Local author pens Conjoined Hearts with Herrin twins' mom

Herald Extra: Spanish Fork Press

People all over the world watched the story unfold in 2006 as the Herrin twins, Kendra and Maliyah, underwent a twenty-five hour surgery to separate their shared lower bodies. And just two years later, in the fall of 2008, a local author was given the opportunity to team with Erin Herrin, the mother of the twins, to help co-write a book to share their story with the world.
Lu Ann Brobst Staheli is an accomplished educator and writer. She currently teaches English at Payson Junior High in addition to being a writer. Staheli is also a part of the Write Wise program founded by Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen. Staheli has been able to teach and edit other authors work with this program. Evans was so impressed with Staheli and her work that he knew she would be perfect to help Herrin write a book about her experiences.
"I have worked with Lu Ann in our Write Wise program," said Evans. "I knew I could count on her and knew that she would be a natural fit in helping Erin share her story."
Staheli and Herrin began working on the project in August of 2008. They started out by sending each other information via the internet and talked over the phone. Staheli began putting together the information into a story form.
"When I was going through all these experiences there was no information about other families who had been through this and their experiences," said Herrin. "I really wanted to have information from other parents. The book was written so others will have that information and also because as time goes on our memories fade and I wanted something to document all of our experiences."
Staheli wrote the book from the notes Herrin wrote down during her experiences and the book is written as if Herrin had written it herself.
"It has been wonderful to work on this project," said Staheli. "The world has known about these little girls for the past seven and a half years and now they can know the whole story and that miracles do happen."
The story shares more than just the twin's experience, it starts at the beginning with the Herrin's dating and ends with an update on what the family is currently doing.
"The book is definitely an emotional book," said Herrin. "From the beginning Lu Ann was right on and worded everything the way I wanted it. The story flows so well. She has been wonderful to work with and has made the story exactly what I wanted."
The book, "When Hearts Conjoin," was released just a few weeks ago and is only available at the website All the proceeds from the books will go into a trust fund for the twins medical expenses. The book tells the families story and shares never before seen photos. It also has a forward by Evans, a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. The twins will also be featured on a TLC special in June and then on the Oprah show to let others know about their story and book.
And now that Staheli has had her first successful experience co-writing a book, she already has three more co-written books in the works. She is currently working with Alan Osmond to share his story about life lessons, David Osmond to share his story about overcoming life's battles and with Jim Karol to share his story about a man with super mind and how he uses that mind to entertain and teach others.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

When is Comes to Best of State. . .

Members of my critique group ROCK!

In 2007, Annette Lyon won the Literary Medal for Best of State Fiction,

In 2008, I won Best of State Educator K-12,

And on May 30th, 2009, Heather Moore will receive her medal for Best of State in Literary Arts: Historical Fiction for her Whitney Award winning novel, Abinidi.

How cool is that? We're three in a row.

Congrats, Heather!!!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

When Hearts Conjoin - Release Party

Last Tuesday was the official release party for When Hearts Conjoin. The party was hosted by Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box) who is our publisher. Here I am sitting at the autograph table with Rick, Erin and Jake Herrin, along with their children, Austin, Courtney, Kendra, Justin, and Maliyah. (I might have the twins' names backwards in both cases.)

We had a great time, did several newspaper and television interviews, and signed a ton of books. So many of my friends and family members came up as well. Thanks for all of your support, everyone!

Let me remind everyone that Mother's Day is this weekend and this would be a great book to get for your mother. Copies can be ordered from or I also have a case of books at home if anyone needs a copy and they are concerned the ones ordered online wouldn't make it on time.

Be sure to check out the links to reviews, articles, or other blogs about this book on my main blog page, and a special thanks to Candi Higley of the Spanish Fork Press for allowing me to use this photo.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Motherhood: Martyr or Mentor

My latest article is in Desert Saints Magazine this week: Motherhood: Martyr or Mentor?.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Icing on the Cake

Chapter one of my MG novel, Leona & Me, Helen Marie is posted on the Utah Childrens Writers blog today. Stop on by if you'd like to read "The Icing on the Cake."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not Entirely British Guest blog

Check out my blog tour stop today at Not Entirely British

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jr. High teacher publishes book about Herrin twins

Daily Herald

On August 7-8, 2006, the whole world watched as a team of doctors performed a miracle at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time, four-year-old twins Maliyah and Kendra Herrin were having surgery--in separate rooms. Born conjoined from mid-torso down, these two angels captured the hearts of millions of people around the world!
Like most Utah residents, Mrs. Lu Ann Staheli was also aware of the birth and eventual separation surgery of the conjoined twins, having seen numerous medical updates as the girls progressed. "Of course, I never anticipated that someday I would be the one to write it," Mrs. Staheli said.

But this past August, that very opportunity came to her. "I was approached by Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box) to work with the girls' mother, Erin, to get their story down in the form of a book. As soon as I met Erin, I knew the story of her entire family needed to be told through her eyes and voice. Hundreds of emails flew back and forth between the two of us, but now we have a book we can both be proud of."

The early reviews have already been positive. Evans says, "It's a great book, a story of faith and the power of a mother's love." Others are also excited about the publication which has a May 1st release date.

TLC recently completed a special about the girls set to air in June, and Oprah can't wait to read the book. She plans to have the family on her show again this summer to celebrate the day the girls receive their prosthetic legs.

Royalties from this book will go into trust funds for the girls.

Copies can be purchased at

Book Launch Party TONIGHT!

If you live in Utah and you watch the news, you might see Erin and daughters Kendra and Maliyah on the news or hear them on the radio sometime today. Tonight is our big media launch party, and the public is invited for the book signing. If you still would like to come, here are the details.

You and a friend are cordially invited to a very rare and special reception to meet the world famous Herrin Twins, hosted by #1 best-selling author Richard Paul Evans.

Come celebrate with the Herrins the release of their new book:
WHEN HEARTS CONJOIN—the miraculous true story of the Herrin twins, with author Lu Ann Staheli

(The Herrin twins have been seen on Oprah, Good Morning America, Today Show, NBC News, Access Hollywood, 20/20, People Magazine, Glenn Beck and many other major media outlets worldwide)

Who are the Herrin Twins?

On August 7-8, 2006, the whole world watched as a team of doctors performed a miracle at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time, four-year-old twins Maliyah and Kendra Herrin were having surgery—in separate rooms. Born conjoined from mid-torso down, these two angels captured the hearts of millions of people around the world!

When Hearts Conjoin is the heart-warming story of Erin Herrin, her husband Jake, and Maliyah and Kendra. It is also a story of faith, hope and the power of a mother’s love.

Excerpt from the book:

At 5:45 a.m. we started getting ready for the big day. We awoke Kendra and Maliya, wanting to hold them for the last time as conjoined twins.
“Is it Cut-Apart Day?” Kendra asked.
“Today is the day,” I said, hoping she wasn’t worried, like I was.
I’m not sure worried was a strong enough word to describe how I felt. Terrified might be better. My nerves were raw, my emotions ready to erupt. I tried to stay positive so the girls wouldn’t see how upset I was and become frightened themselves. If anything went wrong today—if I lost one or both of my precious daughters, I’d never be able to live with myself.

This is an extremely rare opportunity to meet these remarkable little girls, one you will likely never have again. Books are just $12.95 and not available at bookstores. Also available: Special Editions signed by the girls. Author royalties from this book go to the girls’ special medical trust fund.

This beautiful book will make a great gift for your friends, family and loved ones.

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 / 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Magnolia Grove Reception Center
1117 W. South Jordan Parkway (106th South)
South Jordan, Utah

We will be limiting attendance
RSVP to Diane Glad: 801-676-3068 or

Light refreshments
Media will be in attendance

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Wanna Be a Best Seller

Here's alittle video from my awesome friends at LDS Storymakers:

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Baby has been born!

Nine months ago, I was asked to write the story of the Herrin twins, Kendra and Maliyah who were born conjoined. Like most residents of Utah, I had heard a lot about these two little girls on the local news almost since their birth. When I first heard that a member of their family was planning to write a book, the thought went through my mind, "Wow! I wish I were writing that book." And now, nine months later (just as though I was giving birth to a baby), I was not only the one to write it, but I am actually holding the book in my hands while cases of additional copies sit in Richard Paul Evans' Publishing offices, ready to be shipped to people from across the county and around the world who have already ordered them. Of course, I owe this great opportunity to not only Rick, but also to the entire Herrin family. Jake and Erin have allowed me to delve into some very private moments of their life so that the story we told would not only touch the hearts of parents of conjoined twins, but also those who may be struggling in any way and need to see that a bit of hope is always there for them---that miracles do happen every day. If you'd like to own When Hearts Conjoin, visit the website You might want to buy one of the special edition books, autographed by both Kendra and Maliyah or the option to have one autographed by Erin. Royalties from these editions go into a special trust fund for the girls.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Cover for When Hearts Conjoin

This is a copy of the new cover for my book. Every day this past week has provided a new and exciting step along the way to making the publication of my first book a reality. I got tears in my eyes when I actually saw the PDF file showing the layout and read the dedication I wrote myself to my family. Come on! I shouldn't cry when I wrote it, should I?

Anyway, I spent an hour proofreading the PDF yesterday (it amazes me how many mistakes appeared between the final draft I sent in and the one they sent back from the designer. Do they just go through and toss in spelling errors, take out italics, and change punctuation marks for the fun of it?)

The official release date is still May 1st, but pre-orders are going great on the website. If you want a copy autographed by Erin or the girls, you can get those there. If you want me to autograph your copy, we'll have to work something out between us.

Thanks for all the support everyone has been through this crazy process!

Friday, February 27, 2009

When Hearts Conjoin

Pre-Order the highly anticipated book -
When Hearts Conjoin

The complete and true story behind the Herrin Twins miracle.

On August 7-8, 2006, the whole world watched as a team of doctors performed a miracle at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time, four-year-old twins Maliyah and Kendra Herrin were having surgery—in separate rooms. Born conjoined from mid-torso down, these two angels captured the hearts of millions of people around the world!

When Hearts Conjoin is the heart-warming story of Erin Herrin, her husband Jake, and all five of their children, Courtney, Justin, Austin, and, of course, Maliyah and Kendra. It is also a story of faith, hope and the power of a mother’s love.

Features never before seen pictures. Foreword by #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans. All of the royalties from this book will go to the girls’ medical fund.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPIES NOW!! Book ships April 1, 2009

When Hearts Conjoin Paperback $12.95

When Hearts Conjoin Limited Collectors Edition $19.95
(Actually signed by the girls)

To contact Lu Ann for interviews or speaking engagements, send an email to:

Copyright (C) 2009 Herrin Family All rights reserved.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Updates

If any of you are on Facebook, you might want to check out the new Fan Pages that have been set up for both When Hearts Conjoin and David Osmond, my two current projects.

The Herrin book is getting very close to the release date. I've submitted the final draft to the printer, cover photos of the Herrin girls are being taken this week, and the web site should be up and running by March 1st, ready for pre-sale orders. They believe the book will be ready by the end of March or the first of April. The Herrins are going to Disney World in March to tape a TLC special (maybe along the lines of jon & Kate, Plus 8). I haven't heard a date for an Oprah appearance yet, but that should be coming as well, and Oprah will also link her website to the direct-sale site for the book. The book will credit me on the front cover, so it will say: "When Hearts Conjoin" Erin Herrin at the top, and with Lu Ann Brobst Staheli at the bottom. I'll post the cover, exact release dates, and website info for ordering copies as soon as that comes in from the publisher.

In the meantime, I've started my next book, a biography of David Osmond. Did you see him on American Idol? He had laryngitis and got kicked off the show during group auditions. That was hysterically funny to those of us who know him because he's been singing in a group since he was 4! Anyway, I've been running his blog, helping with his website, and writing some promotional materials about him as well, just like I used to do when he was a kid! Life goes in such circles. He's going to release a single on iTunes February 20th, so he's off on a radio tour for several weeks promoting the song. He performed it on Entertainment Tonight a couple of weeks ago and we've had lots of positive response.

I may be doing some signings of my own soon, but in the meantime, I will be presenting at the UVU Forum on Children's Literature in March and for the Wordcraft chapter of the League of Utah Writers in April. My topic for UVU is "When they STILL Won't Read," and for the LUW, "How Show, Not Tell, Can Help You Find your Voice." I'll also be on a panel for UVU, "Books I Wish I Had Written or Edited."

If any of you have conferences coming up and you need a speaker, please let me know and I'll send a proposal for a topic that could fit your need.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Insanity: Thy Name is Lu Ann

The last six months have been a very interesting part of my life. First, I was enrolled in the final class to complete my Masters' degree in Instructional Technology and Library Media Administration when I took my sons to Los Angeles for a vacation. My husband had been working on a television series there and hadn't been able to get home for several weeks, so we thought going to California to see him would be a lot of fun.

It was until the night we attended the symphony at the L.A. county arboretum, and I took my great fall. To make a long story short, when I got back to Utah and we got past the July 4th holiday, we discovered that what we thought was a sprain and a simple fracture in both of my arms, turned out to be a dislocated elbow and a crushed radial head.

I couldn't do surgery until my two day required face-to-face graduate class presentation was complete, so my left arm was in a sling for about six weeks once all was said and done. Two days after surgery I wrote my final grad paper, finishing the class and graduating with a 4.0, and I returned to my own classroom a couple of weeks later.

But that's not all that I've finished since then, while my arms were nearly non-functional. I wrote a screenplay adaptation of an LDS novel, "Seasons of Salvation", which is in pre-production.

I wrote and published several magazine articles, including "Bringing the Library Back to Life after the Library Dragon is Slain" which will be in the March issue of Library Media Connection Magazine and "Mr. & Mrs.: What's in a Name" in the current issue of Desert Saints Magazine.

But the biggest project of all is the book I wrote with Erin Herrin titled "When Hearts Conjoin". This is the true story of the Herrin family, including their daughters Kendra and Maliyah who were born conjoined in 2002 and separated in 2006 at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City. We're both excited about this project because the family will soon be featured on a TLC special and Oprah will have them on her show again as well.

One thing all of this has shown me is that, no matter what the obstacles, if I just keep plugging away at my writing, good things can be accomplished. Even though there have been times when I thought I was losing my mind, that a project was too hard or taking too much time, I managed to make it through in the end. I think it all turned out okay, despite the stress and pain.

But then of course, the insane usually do believe their lives are normal.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good News for Joey + Rory

Joey and Rory just found out this morning(2/11/09) that they have been nominated for "Top Vocal Duo" at this years Academy of Country Music Awards which airs on April 5th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

There is stiff competition:
Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland.

You can check out all the other nominees online at

Monday, January 12, 2009

From the Typewriter to the Bookstore: A Publishing Story

I found this on Jason Wright's Facebook and had to share!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day: A Time for Goals

The New Year has begun, so it's time for me to talk about accomplishments and set some new goals (or at least let all of you know where I'm heading.)

The biggest accomplishment the past few weeks has been that I finished the rough draft of Conjoined at the Heart: The True Story of the Herrin Family. I know there is much work to be done, but I wanted to be able to say I had finished the all the chapters that were on the outline I was given, and I did. This is a pretty good accomplishment since I started in August and wrote while teaching school and healing from my elbow replacement surgery!

I also wrote and retyped an entire screenplay for Seasons of Salvation at the same time. The last word I hear was that
production could begin in February.

Enough with the updates, here's what's happening in the next few months with my writing and editing careers:

I'll be writing books this year with both Alan and David Osmond. We've started the drafting on Alan's and have David's partially outlined.

I'll be editing Devin Davis's new book in the next weeks.

I'm drafting Fablehaven Teacher Guides for Shadow Mountain Publishers.

I've queried a couple of magazine articles and I'm just waiting to see.

I have future projects already lined up with Deborah Dennis and BookWise Publishers.

That's enough for now. It's wearing me out already just thinking about it!
Hope all of you had a great Christmas and and enjoyable New Year's. I'll be at work on these projects again tomorrow and Saturday, then Monday it's back to the grind of teaching school! (Although the year IS nearly half-way over.)