There are thousands of books, songs, and works of art out there but here are a few that you might really enjoy. Below are a list of individuals who are not only talented, but have real heart and dedication.
Have you heard of the website, Chicken Scratch N Sniff? For those in the LDS community, especially during this pandemic, it has become a life line for me and my family. It includes fun gifts, fun games, fun Gospel ideas, and so much more. From lesson ideas for "Come Follow Me," to fun projects, this is truly a one-stop shop.
RECENTLY, I was able to interview Camille Gillham, the owner and operator of Chicken Scratch n Sniff. She is a fun loving, cheerful person who has inspired thousands through her writing and work on her website. It was a great joy and privilege for me to work with Camille on this project.
Tells us about yourself:
Four fun facts about me:
1. I ran the Olympic Torch back in 2002 Winter Olympics (it currently resides in my living room).
2. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Recreational Management and Youth Leadership.
3. I live in Colorado Springs with my husband and five kids (9-16 years old).
4. I love to color especially when I have the really big box of crayons.
Tells us about your website, https://cknscratch.com/ or as it's better known, Chicken Scratch n Sniff?
Chicken Scratch n Sniff started because I was a new mom that needed an outlet in a small town while my husband was going to chiropractic school. Once we moved to Colorado Springs, I became a Relief Society teacher with three young kids. I kept losing my additional articles that I wanted to use to teach (or some little hands were helping them disappear) so I decided to put the links on my blog- a place they definitely could be found again. Soon after, I saw the great need for this type of resource. Chicken Scratch n Sniff has definitely morphed through the years. Currently, I focus on providing fun games and activities with a gospel tie in. As my major at BYU may suggest, my passion is having fun while learning a gospel message.
That's a unique name? How did you come up with it? How did you get the idea for Chicken Scratch n Sniff?
Remember that Chicken Scratch n Sniff was born when I really wasn’t trying to do much except pretend to talk to another adult. Chicken is a reference to an old childhood nickname because my friends only knew one other Camilla in the world and that happened to be on a cartoon show. The scratch was for writing but Chicken Scratch was already taken so my husband suggested “n Sniff” and who doesn’t love Scratch n Sniff stickers? I actually carry them around in my purse. Totally weird name I know, but I didn’t start blogging to become a business, that was the path I was led on. Now I tie it back into the gospel with D&C 10:65 which states, “For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts." When a hen's chicks are in danger, the hen raises her wings and clucks wildly. No matter where her chicks are, they come scurrying back and she protects them underneath her wings. The hen may get hurt but the chicks stay safe. As a parent or church teacher, you are the hen. You are calling to your chicks, your family or class members, to stay safe. Dangers are everywhere in this world as we continue to battle against Satan and his army. It is our job to teach and strengthen- to keep our chicks safe. It’s their job to choose to come running or not.·
Were there ever discouraging moments in starting or building upon this website?
Of course, there are! Anything worth doing is uphill, right? As I said before, I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I had to learn a lot and learning isn’t always easy or fun. Then once you learn all the keys for certain social media sites or website rankings, things change all over again. It’s a constant process. There are times you work really hard on something that you think is absolutely great and should go viral and only like 2 people read it or you get that troll with the negative comment. It can be discouraging but it’s all part of the process of learning to be successful. Just because we know what we are doing is right, doesn't mean we will get it done correctly the first time. ·
Have you enjoyed running and maintaining this site?
I love connecting with people and being able to share activities and gospel messages with others. Everything that I make on my site I use with my own family so I love being able to use it at home and on my website. When someone shares a photo of their family using your printable or ideas, it’s totally rewarding. I love that I can work on my website at home. I can write a rough draft, go play a game with my kids then come back and edit it. However, I hate the maintenance part and dealing with taxes, etc. ·
How have you been affected by the current pandemic?
Lots of ways. For starters, when church shut down, so did all my traffic. However, it was kind of a good thing. I’ve been wanting to shift things around but wasn’t sure how to manage that because my main source of traffic was for the thing I wanted to change. Once the traffic disappeared, I could change anything I wanted. I no longer offer weekly lesson helps and now get to focus on making gospel games- fun with a gospel message. One of the main reasons I wanted to change things up was to be able to spend more time with my family. Covid has certainly given me more time for that! Now that my children actually going to a school building is a daily question, it’s nice to have the flexibility that I didn’t really have before. The message you want to get out to your audience is completely different now as well. People need flexibility, things that make life easier, and lots of encouragement. They want ways to get through the crazy of the day as sane as possible. Which is another reason I switched to games. Sure, we have all this extra time with family but often that time goes wasted. Gospel games help families connect with each other and with heaven again.·
What advice do you have to give for other individuals who are trying to launch a similar idea/website?
Always remember your Why. Write it down, memorize it, post it somewhere you will see it often. Once you really understand what your mission is, all the changes and curveballs throw at you don’t really phase you. You learn from them and move on. It’s the Why that will push you when you are feeling deflated and encourage you when things are going well. The Why will direct what and how you write. It’s your Why that keeps you going when everything else feels like it's failing.
Cassie Greutman is a great person and an even better writer. This is the first novel in a series (the latest is being released on November 18, 2020) so be sure to pick up your copy! In REGEN, we find ourselves pulled into the story from the beginning. Trisha is in trouble, she's been shot. As she wades through recent memories, the reader slowly realizes that this is not an ordinary teenage girl. Soon, we are pulled into an exciting adventure where Trisha has to make hard choices to protect herself, family members, and a mysterious individual who has a jaded past. Amid monsters, magic, and mayhem, Trisha is pushed to the brink as she struggles to figure out how to walk a fine line of doing what is right, and doing what is necessary.
A desperate kid. A dirty threat. Will a young fae’s hope for shelter get her caught in a deadly snare?
After being left behind by her mom and never knowing her dad, sixteen-year-old Trisha Penchant didn’t think she needed to be part of a family. So when she starts to get attached to her latest human foster parents, she does her best to ignore it. With Dan and Nina growing on her, she hides her magical identity to prevent scaring them off. But her plans fall into jeopardy after waking up in the middle of the woods, regenerated from her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s shocking gunshot.
Backed into a corner by the Faerie Council, the sassy teen is threatened with the loss of her new mom and dad unless she joins in the pursuit of an escaped criminal. But when she uncovers the truth about her blackmailers, the stunning secrets could kill her chance for peace stone dead.
Can Trisha outwit the elders and keep her dream of a loving home alive?
Regen is the first book in the action-packed Penchant for Trouble YA urban fantasy series. If you like engrossing characters and fast-paced quests, then you’ll adore Cassie Greutman’s homebound hunt.
John Payne is a personal friend of mine, but that is not why I am giving a shout out about his book. I really enjoyed reading, The Crown and the Dragon: The Paladin Cycle (although I wish it was an audible book). The cool thing about this novel is that it already is a major motion picture. When I found that out, I immediately went out and bought it. I thoroughly enjoyed both the novel and the movie. Hope to see much more from John in the future!
The land of Deira burns. Two decades of war have laid waste to this once-green paradise . . . but even more destructive than rampaging armies is the wrath of the dragon—an uncontrollable living weapon unleashed by the invaders. Some brave rebels struggle against impossible odds. Others turn outlaw just to stay alive.
Like many of her people, Elenn of Adair has lost family, lands, and possessions to the brutal realities of war. To save her people, she seizes a desperate chance to defeat the monstrous dragon, break the occupation, and see the rightful king crowned. She must protect a sacred relic from enemy soldiers, bandits, creatures of darkness . . . and the implacable Magister Corvus.
Elenn’s reluctant guide is Aedin Jeoris, a bandit escaped from the gallows. These two must rely on each other to survive mortal danger and dire magicks. And both must decide what sacrifices they are willing to make in order to achieve their destinies.
Tells us about yourself and the books you write?
First, I was a minor league baseball player in the New York Yankee organization until my employer found out I couldn't hit a curve-ball; with the draft hot on my trail, I did three years in the army and a tour of duty in Vietnam, where people I held no ill will against tried their best to kill me; and then I spent 31 years as a police officer in San Leandro and Oakland, CA, where murders are so common they're not even front page news. I write police procedural novels primarily, though I've branched out to other genres, such as military/war, post-apocalyptic/Armageddon, time-travel and sports.
When did you start writing?
I was an English minor in college, so I always had an interest in writing, but I got serious after I retired from police work. I submitted my first novel, Days on the Beach, for publication to Oak Tree Press (no longer in business) in 2009 and it was awarded first prize in a writing contest. My 2nd novel written in 2010, Land of a Thousand Dances, was awarded 2nd prize in the Southwest Writers Writing Contest. I just completed my 8th novel titled, Gangsta Story, and I hope I'm able to writing until Alzheimer's kicks in or I croak.
What is your favorite book you have written and why?
Land of a Thousand Dances is a fictional account of my tour of duty in Vietnam. This novel meant a lot to me because my experiences there still resonate even though it's been 54 years since I left. It was a profound ordeal that taught me more about life and death than any other lesson I've learned, even more than the 31 years I spent in police work.
Where do your ideas come from?
The only answer I can provide is an idea pops into my head and I evaluate it to determine if it has enough substance to develop into a novel. One idea for a book, Return to Normandy, was given to me by a friend, who suggested, "Have you ever thought about writing a story where a platoon of paratroopers jump from their plane, enter a time warp, and time travel back to WWII?" As soon as he gave me that idea, I knew I had to write that story. It turned out to be the most successful of all my books, though it was a genre I'd never written about before.
What sort of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read, read, and read some more. It's surprising how much writing expertise devout readers pick up by reading other writers. By reading multiple genres, readers will unconsciously incorporate various writing styles that when they begin writing will develop into their own writing style. Then edit, edit, and edit your finished writing project until you're as certain as you can be that you've done all you can before submitting it for publication. Submit to traditional publishers first, but if the rejections continue to pile up (and they will unless you're the next Stephen King), consider self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing. You don't pay a penny up-front except for the book cover, which can usually be purchased from an on-line cover distributor for less than a couple of hundred bucks.