Monday, June 1, 2015

Operation Awesome: Operation Awesome Reads: June's Books 2015 #amread...

Operation Awesome: Operation Awesome Reads: June's Books 2015 #amread...: Happy June! Here's what the OA ladies are reading this month: Katrina  is reading The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley, and  ...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Operation Awesome: Operation Awesome Reads: May's Books 2015 #amreadi...

Operation Awesome: Operation Awesome Reads: May's Books 2015 #amreadi...: Happy May! Here's what the OA troops are reading this month: Katrina just finished Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner, and is read...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Operation Awesome: O.U.R. Mission to Fight Child Sex Trafficking

Operation Awesome: O.U.R. Mission to Fight Child Sex Trafficking: Join the fight to free children from sex trafficking, the worst form of slavery in our modern world!

I'm an abolitionist because INNOCENCE IS PRECIOUS! What's your reason?

On Human Sacrifice and Slavery (which are one and the same)
by Katrina Lenay Lantz
Girls seven; of boys, the same,
to feed the insatiable appetite
of a monster of treacherous fame.
Eyes red like the fire that razes,
horns sharp like the bull that destroys,
it looks like a man but it isn't.
Half beast, but all brute in its ploys.
A hero discovers the horror
while walking his kingdom's bright shore
and balks at the terrible whisper
that his father could ever ignore--
And placidly send off our daughters,
our sons, to their torturous demise.
What falsehood could sanction this outrage?
What marvelous, gilded, proud lies?
For surely as good men do nothing
the evil that simmers will boil!
And no one can cool it or hinder
once over the cliff side it spoils--
When villages, houses, and people
are swept in its current of fire,
and mankind has turned the cup over
and earned all the wrath and the ire--
who sits not idle but sure,
and sends out His heroes to rescue
each fair son and daughter so pure.
Black sack cloth if King Minos wins
and the brute with his hunger unending
has sated himself on our sins.
Will you become one of these heroes
who conquers the beast in his lair?
Or sanction the unholy tribute,
condemning the slave to despair?
Black sack cloth if King Minos wins
and the brute with his hunger unending
has sated himself on our sins.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What I Read When I'm Not Reading Fiction

If my blog looks like a ghost town, it's because LIFE!

Neighborhood kids singing You're a Grand Old Flag, Fourth of July 2014

I'm not really making an excuse because I firmly believe my time has been well spent. As a homeschool mom who dabbles in politics and takes every spare moment to read, whether it's current events or a really tasty bit of speculative fiction, it isn't that I don't have time to blog/write/read/review/whatever. When we're honest with ourselves, we know our "I just don't have time" excuses really just mean "I'm doing other things that I deem more important." That's true even if we don't want to admit to ourselves that obsessing over our sock drawer or 'everything' drawer or that highly addictive new facebook game is a value choice of one activity over the others we also claim to value. Luckily, I haven't been tempted by a facebook game since about 2007. :)

As a recovering perfectionist, I have to be careful how I spend my time or I end up writing until 3am or "sorting papers" (read: reminiscing over high school essays) for an entire day. This natural obsessive tendency, which is very much genetic, is what allows me to crank out first drafts in pretty good time when my heart and soul is in it. It's also what leads me down other paths that are equally riveting. 

So here's some insight into my Soul Stretching Out (hint: that's my blog title these days):

I read NDE's (near-death experiences) like they're going out of style. My most recent read in that category was this:


These books are a great supplement to the backdrop of intense scripture study I find myself doing, especially when it has to do with the beginning of life, the purpose of life, the end of life, and the end of days. While I don't believe everything I read from those who claim near-death experiences and visions, I do find these types of books about visions of the afterlife or future to be soul-stretching. They give me an opportunity to ponder and pray for my own answers, and those periods of quiet meditation are necessary reprieves for a mom of tiny tots. 

That brings me to something else I study somewhat obsessively:


I read about pregnancy and childbirth. You'd think after four pregnancies and births I'd give up my study, but I ALWAYS, always, always find new bits I didn't know before, or am touched by reading somebody else's completely different birth story, or find healing in a birth story a lot like one of mine. Every pregnancy, birth, baby, and child is different. I can't imagine abandoning my study or thinking that I've finally learned it all. 

Of course, since I do homeschool, another topic I obsessively study is education. 


This book, between twenty and thirty years old, has some of the greatest insights on education I've read yet. It's a bit of a thick read and heavy on the technical language in parts, but it also includes scriptural and apostolic guidance about the way human beings learn. Since I believe learning never stops until you die, I also like to read a bit of history and classic literature.

Right now I'm reading this:


So now you know what I read when I'm not reading fiction. For an example of the awesomeness I read when I'm craving fiction, check out the moving book carousel in the right sidebar. I'm lucky enough to know those authors, and every one of their books is an adventure.

What do you read when you're not reading fiction? 


Friday, March 7, 2014

BLOG TOUR: CURED by Bethany Wiggins!

Yesterday on Operation Awesome, Michelle featured and interviewed Bethany Wiggins, author of the new and exciting STUNG companion, CURED! 

Blurb: Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers. -from Goodreads

Bethany Wiggins's website

Today Bethany is here at my little blog to answer a few questions. But first I just want to say a few words about the world of STUNG which Bethany has created. When I read STUNG, I was floored by the fast pace and the intense conflict. Lots of that conflict surrounds a sweet boy Fiona has known from childhood who suddenly treats her like she might go zombie apocalypse on him at any moment and she doesn't quite understand why. There's a gritty, raw quality to the dystopia Bethany's created, and it continues in CURED. Fans of THE MAZE RUNNER will find tons to love in STUNG and CURED. I'm very excited to have Bethany with me today. Here's that interview:

Katrina: I always have to ask, will there be a SHIFTING sequel?

Bethany: I won't say no, because there is always the possibility that I will write a SHIFTING 2, but not any time in the near future.  

K: Your books always have unpredictable twists. Are these all plotted out in advance or do you sometimes surprise yourself?

Bethany: Some of them are thought out in advance (but not really plotted) and others surprise me just as much as they surprise the reader. I'll be sitting down, writing a scene, when something totally surprising hits me and I write it down. It's like the story takes on a life of its own. 

K: The truly terrifying thing about these books is the reality in which they are based, the idea that they could really happen. What do you think is the most realistic or true-to-life aspect of STUNG and CURED?

Bethany: I think the most true to life aspect of STUNG and CURED is the possibility of a natural disaster (earthquake, flood, extinction of bees etc.) drastically changing the way we live, and us having to all of a sudden start living our lives in a totally primitive way. Where would we get food and water? How would we stay warm? Who would we trust? We see this all the time around the world. Hopefully it will never happen, but you never know.

K: What's next for you? Any exciting new projects you can tell us about?

Bethany: I am taking a short break from writing because I just had my fifth baby, but there are a few story ideas brewing in my head right now. It is only a matter of time before I start writing one. 

K: Congratulations on the new baby! 

What's one thing you must have with you when you write? A certain snack, music, or a mascot?

Bethany: Music! Music is my most important inspiration.

K: Thank you for answering my questions and for writing books I love to read!

If you all haven't gotten your mitts on either of these books yet, I highly recommend you hightail it to your nearest bookstore or e-reader and get started. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down.

Katrina's blog pic

Saturday, November 9, 2013

News and New Books!!

My first post on Operation Awesome in months went up yesterday and you can find out what I've been up to here.

It involves this ...

Isn't she beautiful?

Between paperwork and meetings for our buying/building project and baking a bun in the oven, I vacillate daily between Cloud 9 and Garbage Pail 5. It's a roller coaster-y time. But I find that to be true generally when my life is filled with blessings.

With every blessing comes a lot of work to make it worth it. New babies? Poopy diapers! New house? Unexpected expenses! New job? Awkward adjustment period!

While I've been hopping between clouds and garbage pails, so to speak, my blog partners have been very busy pumping out novels. Check them out:

Over the summer, Michelle McLean released ...

Amazon  Goodreads

A woman with a past…

Widowed mother, Brynne Richardson, gave up her bandit activities when she left California to make a fresh start with her young daughter in Boston. Working for a handsome doctor fulfills her need to be useful and independent, but he creates another yearning she can’t deny. 

A man with a purpose…

Dr. Richard Oliver assumes Brynne is just another debutante hunting for a rich husband, until she intrigues him with her steady hand for stitches…and guns. He can’t put her out of his mind, but the young widow has mysteries he’s determined to unravel. 

A love in danger…

When smugglers raid the much-needed supplies from the clinic, Brynne must resurrect her bandit persona for the good of the sick and the poor. Her secret life threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to protect…her life, her family…and her heart.

and more recently ...

Amazon Goodreads

Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancĂ© Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.

Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as the second zombie uprising threatens them all.

And Angela J. Townsend, through Clean Teen publishing, released ...

Amazon Goodreads
Angus MacBain is unaware that his ancestral roots hail from an ancient sect of Scottish kings. When his dying grandfather gives him a dragon pendant, thirteen-year-old Angus learns of a legacy that will take him across an ocean to the island of Iona and thrust him into a heritage he did not know he had. 

He soon discovers that his mother, whom he had believed dead, is really a seal fairy, in hiding from a dangerous enemy. To save her, Angus must undergo a perilous journey of destiny and power to battle an evil Dacian knight and those who serve him. With only his family shield and the advice of a wizened vampire hunter to protect him, Angus must navigate dangerous terrain and dark enemies, in a land where the past and the present mingle, and sleeping kings wake.

and the day before Halloween ...

Amazon Goodreads
When 17-year-old Dharma Moore moves to Bayou country so her scam artist mother can work as a Paranormal Investigator, she discovers more than ghosts haunt the abandoned plantation they now call home. Centuries ago, a voodoo curse was placed on the swamp waters surrounding the old plantation by a murdered slave. A terrible curse that snares Dharma. To save herself, she must face the terror of the haunted waters, find the dead woman's skull and convince the slave's soul to release her from its torments. However, there is more to this curse for Dharma personally than anyone else knows as she discovers an ancient secret that links herself to the property—a secret kept from her by her own family. To survive, she must accept the help of locals and to learn to embrace the truth—that magic is not only real, but that it can be very, very deadly!

Max Gladstone and Wes Chu both came out with sequels to their big hits, THREE PARTS DEAD and THE LIVES OF TAO:

Amazon Goodreads
The new novel set in the addictive and compelling fantasy world of Three Parts Dead

Shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc — casual gambler and professional risk manager — to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.

But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father — the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists — has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.

From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire... and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry.

Amazon Goodreads
The sequel to The Lives of Tao.

The Prophus and the Genjix are at war. For centuries they have sought a way off-planet, guiding humanity’s social and technological development to the stage where space travel is possible. The end is now in sight, and both factions have plans to leave the Earth, but the Genjix method will mean the destruction of the human race.

That’s a price they’re willing to pay.

It’s up to Roen and Tao to save the world. Oh, dear…

So as you can see, my peeps have been busy bringing the AWESOME to the world of fiction. I'm so proud of them! If you get the chance, any one of these reads will transport you to another world with characters to love/hate and compelling endings. Happy reading!!

Katrina's blog pic

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where I Was and How I Found Peace

Never Forget 9/11

It was my first month away at college, Brigham Young University. The Deseret Towers dorm common area had a big screen TV playing the news when I first heard classes would likely be canceled for the day. I watched the replaying footage of the second plane striking over and over again while reporters cried on air. As a Communications student, I would see the same footage played over the coming weeks as we discussed the way this event had rocked and changed the industry. My RA was a mess, worried about her family in New York. Nobody could get through on the phones. I didn't think I knew anybody immediately affected by the attacks, but I was still in shock. How could this happen here?

On days like this one, war seems inevitable. There's a general sense of doom and unease. So I, along with tens of thousands of BYU students, filed into the Marriott Center for a prayer service--in place of the usual Tuesday devotional--searching for peace to quell the feeling of doom.

President Bateman said, "This morning, as most of you know, one of the greatest tragedies that has occurred on the mainland of the United States took place. Thousands of lives have been lost, and thousands have been injured." He appealed to us not to rush to judgment, not to be afraid, and to remember the good news of the gospel. Then he quoted Jesus:
"Let me turn to the words of the Savior. At the Last Supper, after finishing the meal, the Savior and his disciples sang the Hallel. The words of the Hallel are from Psalms 113 to 118. Chapters 113 through 116 are sung before the meal, in which thanks are given to God for the deliverance from Egypt; chapters 117 and 118 are sung after the Passover meal. I invite you today to read those chapters in Psalms. 
Those chapters talk about being saved from death. They are talking about the Atonement. So, at the Last Supper with His eleven disciples—Judas having left and Jesus knowing where he was going—Jesus is then singing about His own death.
In that setting He went on to talk to His disciples about the most precious gift He had to give them. That gift was the gift of the Holy Ghost. These are His words: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). 
And then He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27).
He knows where He is going, and there is peace in His heart. He knows He is going to the garden, and He is going to the cross. He is telling them He is leaving them His peace.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

FULL SPEECH, quoted above

VIDEO: THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE, October 2001 by President and Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley


Jessica Brooks remembers over at Operation Awesome:
Using Your Words -- Remembering September 11th
Katrina's blog pic