Friday, June 12, 2015

GREAT PLACE TO FIND GREAT BOOKS!



I just have to recommend this wonderful new opportunity for people who love to read . . .

I want to let you know about a meeting place for authors and readers where you will be able to enjoy the best reads. A young community in continuous growth, it provides a service different from that of the rest, and some of its proposals deserve highlight.
To begin with, you can obtain your reader membership absolutely for free, in a single step and only using your email. This will allow you to access our special newsletter with free Kindle books and quality ebooks that are a deal. You will even be able to read an excerpt of the titles you like, to get a feel for the book and see if it aligns with your preferences. But that’s not all! This site will permit you to access hundreds of good books to read, which must normally be paid for, as a gift! You will be able to read the book and give your honest opinion, providing you access to the best reading at the same time you help spread the author’s work.
Finally, you will have access to hundreds of articles and news, ensuring that you always have good books to read. And, if you wish, you will be able to participate in the Facebook page of The Books Machine, sharing the community’s benefits and updates with friends.

We hope you enjoy. Click this link now to assure your free membership, giving you access to the best reading right now: http://www.thebooksmachine.com
--


Anita Stansfield aka Elizabeth D. Michaels (All of Anita Stansfield's books, and The Horstberg Saga by Elizabeth D. Michaels, are available at amazon.com)


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life's Temper Tantrums


A while back one of my sons sent me a short video of his one-year-old 
son throwing a temper tantrum. Accompanying the video he wrote, “Here’s 
just a taste of what happens when we don’t let baby play in the toilet.” 
In the video my adorable grandson is rolling back and forth on the 
carpet, crying as if he’s been mortally wounded. He pauses as if to see 
if anyone is paying attention, then he pounds his feet against the floor 
over and over and continues to howl. Of course, I’m the grandmother, so 
I laughed and laughed. I don’t recall feeling that amused when my own 
children threw tantrums, but I was fairly naive when I first began my 
adventure of parenthood and I don’t think I handled their tantrums very 
well. I’d like to think I’ve helped my children be better parents than I 
was.

The first time I watched the video, which was very small on my cell 
phone screen, I could see my son’s foot in the frame at what appeared to 
be somewhat of an awkward angle, but I didn’t give it much thought. When 
I viewed the video on a bigger screen, I realized that he had his foot 
over the corner of an end table to keep his child from bumping into it 
and hurting himself while he got the tantrum out of his system. I 
actually felt moved to tears. As I considered why it made me emotional, 
a mixture of insights came to mind. I could clearly see now that while 
my son was patiently waiting for his own son to calm down and accept the 
situation, he was making certain he didn’t get hurt in the midst of his 
absolutely ridiculous infantile behavior. At least infantile behavior is 
expected when you’re barely one. When you’re one, playing in the toilet 
is fun. There’s no comprehension of the germs or the possibility of 
falling and bumping your head on hard porcelain. Knowing my son and his 
wife, it was likely one of the cleanest toilets in the world. Still, 
playing in the toilet is one of the first experiences this child will 
have of being kept away from harmful behavior by his parents. He’ll have 
to learn about hot stoves and sharp scissors and crossing streets. In 
his one-year-old brain, he only sees the chance for discovery and 
pleasure. It’s up to his parents to keep him safe. And they do.

Some days later the tenderness I’d seen in the tantrum video (which I 
have dubbed it) settled into me more personally. I consider myself to be 
fairly mature emotionally and spiritually, and I only say that because 
I’ve worked very hard to become that way and I try to be mindful of my 
behavior and attitudes. However, there are facets of my life that I am 
not very happy about, and I’m struggling to understand. Metaphorically, 
am I kicking and screaming because I want to play in the toilet because 
it’s fun and it’s what I want? Am I simply not trusting that God can see 
the bigger picture of my life, that He has a perspective I can’t 
understand? Maybe he’s protecting me, refining me, teaching me. Or all 
of the above. Is He figuratively keeping his foot over the corner of the 
table to keep me from bumping my head until I get my current state of 
emotional unrest out of my system? Is he just waiting for me to be still 
and accept that things are not the way I want them to be, but the way 
they need to be? I don’t know the answers to all those questions, but I 
do know God is in charge and my gratitude for that knowledge is deep.

Considering what I know of human behavior, I think tantrums come in many 
forms. Is it emotional eating? Getting angry with someone over something 
stupid? Refusing to let go of a misunderstanding in a relationship? You 
get the idea. The possibilities of adult tantrums are limitless. I’ve 
now paused to consider what ridiculous behavior I might be preoccupied 
with while my Father in Heaven is just watching and waiting patiently 
for me to get over it while He tries to keep me safe.

While this very thought was strong on my mind (because it was for 
several days) I went with one of my other sons to see his sons play 
soccer. Two boys of different ages were competing in different sections 
of the same field, so I was able to watch them both a little bit and let 
them see my face with the hope that they would know I love them and care 
about what they’re doing. While my son’s wife was coaching the game of 
their younger son, I walked over to that field to observe. For the 
record, trying to coach four-year-olds playing soccer is like trying to 
herd cats. It’s very entertaining for the onlookers, but nothing much is 
getting accomplished. My daughter-in-law deserves a medal for getting 
out there and trying to create some order in the chaos just so her son 
can be part of a team

Back at the other field, where my nine-year-old grandson was playing, 
the game was actually a game. I sat with my son and the two-year-old 
little sister of the athletes while the game progressed. With the 
exception of keeping an eye on his daughter (who is the reason the term 
“terrible twos” was created) my son kept his eyes tuned perfectly to his 
own son playing soccer. He cheered him on and shouted encouragement and 
never stopped watching. He wasn’t pretending to be interested; he really 
was. For me, little in life has felt as fulfilling as seeing my own 
children being good parents. So, my heart was warmed and I was so glad 
to be there—even though it was cold and a little rainy.

When the game was over, my son put the chairs and the big lawn umbrella 
in their carrying cases and we headed toward the parking lot. This was 
when his little daughter started crying to see Mom. He explained to her 
that they were going to put the stuff in the car and then find Mom, but 
she wasn’t listening. Finally she just sat down on the grass and refused 
to move. We were quite a ways ahead of her before it became evident she 
wouldn’t be talked out of moving. Then I watched my son patiently walk 
back, and with cases already hanging from one shoulder, he gently picked 
his daughter up by her shoulder, and with masculine strength and the 
evidence of much practice, he efficiently swung her over his free 
shoulder like a little bag of grain and held tightly to her to keep her 
safely there, and on we went.

Again I saw metaphors of life in this simple act. She was being stubborn 
and difficult because she wanted what she wanted and she didn’t have the 
patience to do things in the right order. But her father just lifted her 
up and carried her with patience and tenderness. He didn’t get angry or 
frustrated. He just did what he had to do to watch over his child. And I 
watched and wondered how often my Heavenly Father has lifted me up from 
my stubborn declarations of “I’m not going any farther” and just carried 
me over his shoulder until I’m ready to walk on my own again

I wrote last time about the wisdom of waiting, and of being still. I 
feel a sense that part of my need for stillness is to learn to recognize 
whether or not I’m being stubborn or ignorant or naive, and to trust 
that God is watching over me even if I don’t feel it in the moment. The 
youngest of my three sons is expecting his first child this summer. I 
see the precious waiting and anticipation in him and his wife as they 
make preparations and try to imagine how dramatically their lives will 
change. I love this baby already and can’t wait to meet her. And I 
wonder what she might teach me about waiting and being still and not 
throwing my adult version of tantrums. Perhaps waiting can be compared 
to being in a womb. It’s dark and crowded and we’re squirming and 
kicking and just waiting to be ready to come out, which is not unlike 
the butterfly in the chrysalis. Funny how life is full of lessons, 
everywhere we look. We are born and we learn and grow and we are reborn, 
sometimes again and again as we move toward the person we came here to 
be. For now, I’m going to try a little more to act like an adult and 
stop kicking and screaming. But I’m going to continue to be amused as I 
observe my grandchildren try to figure out this world, and eventually 
realize just how loved they are.




--


Anita Stansfield aka Elizabeth D. Michaels (All of Anita Stansfield's books, and The Horstberg Saga by Elizabeth D. Michaels, are available at amazon.com)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Anita's Book Notes

I want to draw your attention to the new tab at the top of the blog 
which will take you to my book notes. Some of these were posted on the 
blog years ago, but this is a complete list except for the new Horstberg 
Saga. I simply wrote a little about my experiences, feelings, thoughts, 
inspiration, etc from the writing of each book and short story. I hope 
you'll enjoy them! But . . . as it says at the top of the list, it comes 
with a big spoiler alert. Please don't read the notes for any particular 
story until after you've read it. I want you to enjoy the experience.


I'm working on another blog post of my somewhat crazy perspective of 
life. Watch for that to be posted here soon.



God bless, Anita

Anita Stansfield aka Elizabeth D. Michaels (All of Anita Stansfield's books, and The Horstberg Saga by Elizabeth D. Michaels, are available at amazon.com)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Horstberg Volume Five


For those of you who did not have the date on the calendar, counting the hours, and watching your favorite e-book vendor closely . . . (Come on, admit it. Some of you have been doing that. "My name is Anita and I am a bookaholic.") Volume Five of The Horstberg Saga---Through Castle Windows---is now up and running and available for purchase. 



This is a pretty big milestone for me and I have many thoughts and feelings, which I will probably write about in my next blog entry, so watch for that. 

As for now . . . drumroll . . . here are the links to purchase the books in all formats.

Special note in regard to the PRINT version: The publisher worked hard and often in the middle of the night to get this book out as promised, but there were some glitches at the other end in regard to the print version that were out of her control. She is working hard to get it straightened out and it should be available for purchase very soon if it's not already. If you have difficulty being able to purchase the print version, just be patient. She's doing everything she can as fast as she can. Promise!

Through Castle Windows Kindle

Through Castle Windows iTunes

Through Castle Windows Nook

Through Castle Windows Kobo

Through Castle Windows Google

Through Castle Windows Print

So, this concludes the five-book saga. This book has some difficult moments in the challenges the characters face, but the story is very close to my heart. I hope you will love the journey---and the outcome---as much as I do!

Keep reading and God bless, Anita



Anita Stansfield aka Elizabeth D. Michaels (All of Anita Stansfield's books, and The Horstberg Saga by Elizabeth D. Michaels, are available at amazon.com)

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Wisdom of Waiting

The Wisdom of Waiting 


 This world we live in is full of the need to work hard, to take action, 
to solve problems, to keep moving forward, going, going, going. Of 
course there is great wisdom in all of these things. Work doesn’t get 
accomplished when we are idle, and problems don’t get solved if we don’t 
do everything we can to figure them out. I absolutely know the truth of 
this from vast experience. I have written over sixty books, raised five 
children, served in many church callings, and faced many challenges in 
my life, both personally and professionally. And the more that problems 
came, the more I believed that I just had to keep working to solve them. 
I had to work hard to create income and conquer the ongoing flow of 
stories that kept coming into my head. I had to work hard to take care 
of my home and family. I had to work hard to find solutions to my 
failing health when every avenue I tried made no difference. I had to 
work hard to solve every spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical 
challenge that came up. I just believed instinctively that if I worked 
hard enough, eventually I would across some kind of metaphorical finish 
line and things would be easier, problems solved, life better. Well, 
guess what. I was wrong! Now, let me hurry and clarify before you even 
jump to assuming that I’m speaking out against the value of hard work 
and striving to be active in solving our life’s problems. I’m all for 
it! But through this intensely difficult season of my life, I have 
learned the very hard lesson that it’s only part of the answer, and 
missing the other part can be devastating.



Long ago I heard the little fable about a person in a rowboat with two 
oars; one represented faith and the other work. If the person only rowed 
with one oar—meaning all faith and no work—the rowboat would go in a 
circle and get nowhere. If the person only used work and no faith, the 
same thing would happen except the boat would spin in the other 
direction. It takes using both oars together to move the boat forward. 
The message and imagery has stuck with me, and I’ve always considered 
myself to be both hardworking and faithful. That is certainly true. I am 
hardworking and faithful. But the real meaning in life isn’t necessarily 
found in simple adages; they are just the tip of the iceberg. We are 
here to figure out who we truly are, and to become the person God wants 
us to become. And that doesn’t happen when you’re stuck in a pattern of 
thinking and behavior that isn’t getting you to those goals. I may have 
been frantically rowing with both oars, but I had completely missed the 
point that sometimes you just have to let go of the oars and lay back in 
the boat and allow God to guide its direction. Let go and let God. 
There’s an adage I thought I understood. Now, I’m beginning to see that 
I’ve not yet begun to truly let go and let God.



I’ve struggled with health issues that have taken me out of different 
aspects of my life for many years now. And I thought I understood what 
that meant. But now I have spent three years in a place where almost 
every facet of my life that’s important to me has been pulled away. My 
health got so bad that I couldn’t even go to church or the temple, the 
places where I seek spiritual strength and guidance. My inability to do 
things for and with my family intensified greatly. I can’t even go to a 
movie theater. My inability to be the kind of homemaker I would like to 
be also intensified. Without active help from my children, the household 
would not function at all. Relationships with friends and loved ones 
became strained or completely dissipated for various reasons and I’ve 
felt enormously isolated. My doctor summarized my complicated health 
situation and declared me to be “disabled” and he stated kindly “it’s a 
miracle you can do anything at all.” And then—to seal the deal—my 
creativity just flat-lined. I had felt it struggling for a long time, 
but I’d never imagined it would just shut off.



And that’s when the waiting began. I kept waiting, waiting, waiting. I 
couldn’t DO anything except pray and wait. My already flailing 
self-esteem began to beat myself up badly for not being capable of DOING 
something to solve all of these problems. I just kept waiting for a 
miracle to release me from this terrible bondage, for I indeed felt 
bound in so many ways.



About a year or so into my “waiting” I had the impression come to my 
mind of a caterpillar inside of a cocoon. The idea gave me hope and 
understanding. I was being changed into something better. One day the 
waiting would end and I would be able to fly. But months passing made 
the idea difficult to hold onto. More waiting; dark, painful, lonely 
waiting. My husband and children never stopped being a part of my life, 
but they went in and out with their own busyness and I just kept 
waiting. Months have grown into years of waiting.



I’ve been led to many different puzzle pieces that are helping me become 
the new me that I suspect and hope is being created in this cocoon. But 
the tightness and the darkness continue. However, one of the most 
powerful pieces for me was being led to a book called, “When The Heart 
Waits,” (sounds like an Anita Stansfield novel) by Sue Monk Kidd. The 
steps that led me to having that book in my hands are a series of 
seemingly insignificant events that miraculously put it right in front 
of my face at the exact moment I needed it. The book is about her own 
midlife darkness and struggle and waiting, and she uses the metaphor of 
the cocoon, the chrysalis, and the butterfly to illustrate her poignant 
and powerful message, all of which is presented with a strong Christian 
theme. I’m not quite finished with the book yet; I’ve had to read it in 
small increments and take it into my spirit. But I am learning the 
purpose and the art of waiting, not to be ashamed of my waiting, but to 
recognize that God put me on bedrest to get my attention, and he’s 
carefully and quietly teaching me the greatest lessons of my life. But I 
cannot hear His lessons if I’m so focused on the frustration of waiting 
and being idle that I’m not paying attention to the wisdom of divine 
guidance and instruction. I have been shown the many dysfunctions that 
had been a part of my life before waiting. And I am being guided on how 
to change them. I have far to go, but I’m relaxing more in my little 
boat, looking for the beauty all around me that I had been missing, and 
counting my blessings while I take in moments of joy amidst the ongoing 
pain and struggle.



I have learned and am continuing to learn much, but the most powerful 
thing I’ve found is the immensely deep message in one of my favorite 
scriptures. “Be still and know that I am God.”



My little boat is in His hands.

Anita Stansfield aka Elizabeth D. Michaels
(All of Anita Stansfield's books, and The Horstberg Saga by Elizabeth D. Michaels,
are available at amazon.com)


P.S. A note from Anna here! 
Anita (or you know, my mom) has most of the book notes ready to post. There are a LOT of them though. This is essentially a warning that the blog will soon be flooded with posts while we're getting all of those up. 
They'll be organized via a list and links in a tab. 
Carry on! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Waking Up

If you’ve been receiving my occasional emails and/or keeping track of me 
on Facebook, then you know that I’ve had some difficult years. The 
absence of activity on this blog through the last few years is certainly 
evidence of that. But I’m glad to say that a few months ago I felt my 
creativity starting to come back to life, and the writer in me is waking 
up.


Through this time I’ve been blessed with a new publishing opportunity 
and I’ve been able to at least manage doing revisions on the five 
volumes of my Horstberg Saga. If you haven’t already been aware of that, 
it’s written under the pen name Elizabeth D. Michaels, and it’s 
available in both Kindle and print format through amazon.com. I’m very 
grateful to finally have these books out there for my readers, and I am 
working with White Star Press to finish the last tiny editing details to 
get the last volume out by the first week of May.


But what I really want to share with you right now is how good it’s felt 
to be writing again. The writing process is entirely different from 
doing editing or revisions. One is a right-brain function, and the other 
is left-brained. In essence, I feel as if my right brain has been 
flatlined for a few years. Since writing is such an enormous part of who 
I am, having it go away has been difficult in many ways. My physical 
health has continued to be a big challenge, and I’ve felt removed from 
my life, so to speak. While I work with good doctors to continue to try 
and unravel the mysteries of my complicated health issues, I have found 
some joy in feeling the writer coming back to life in me. I’m mostly 
homebound, but it’s much more gratifying to sit at the computer and feel 
horrible than it is to be in bed with a remote control.


So, the purpose of this blog post is twofold. First I want to let you 
know that I have just submitted a new novel to Covenant Communications 
(my LDS publisher) and I’ve also given them a Christmas story that I 
wrote six years ago but never finished. I feel like Anita Stansfield is 
back—or at least she’s on her way. And it feels good. With any luck I 
won’t have lost my touch and the stories will be satisfying for you, my 
best fans.


The other purpose of this post is to let you know that I’ve felt 
inspired to start doing more writing in different ways. And one of them 
is to write more on my blog. So, I guess I’m making kind of an 
announcement. For those of you who are following my blog, I hope you 
might find the thoughts I write about here worth reading, and maybe even 
worth sharing with others. Sometimes my thinking is deep and analytical, 
sometimes spiritual or emotional—or both. Sometimes it might just be 
silly, because I’m actually kind of a silly, eccentric person. But I’ve 
spent my life writing, and looking at life through metaphorical eyes. 
And I feel strongly guided now to start sharing my thoughts, feelings, 
and insights more openly here on the World Wide Web. I’m not necessarily 
going to worry about editing or making what I write grammatically 
correct. This is just what comes out of my head.


So moving on to my current thoughts, I want to mention that where I live 
we are just emerging from a few very stormy days. Yesterday—in the 
middle of April—I laid in my bed early in the morning and watched 
beautiful, perfect snow falling. We had a lot of wind the previous day 
(scary wind that rolled over our little bunny house, but the bunnies are 
fine in case you’re wondering) and more wind came later that made the 
snow less lovely. But I love snow when it falls quietly without the 
influence of wind blowing it around. So, yesterday I just soaked it in, 
realizing that this last winter just didn’t have very much snow, and I 
think I was snow deprived. I know we need snow in the mountains in order 
to provide water for the coming months. But when I say I was snow 
deprived it’s more of an emotional thing. I really like snow, and I felt 
grateful for this unexpected burst of it in the midst of springtime.


The last few years I must confess I’ve wanted to hang onto winter; I 
didn’t want spring to come. The world renews itself and wakes up with 
spring, but I felt like another year had passed and I was still having 
the same old struggles: health, finances, inability to write. I almost 
resented spring for coming and preferred the quiet beauty of snow. This 
year I’m feeling better about the coming of spring because I’m waking up 
a little myself, even though some challenges still remain. Still, this 
final showing of winter was somehow soothing to me, and I’m grateful for 
its appearance. I feel less snow deprived, and it won’t hurt the water 
supply either. Next week I’ll probably be wanting to use my air 
conditioning, because my room is always the hottest room in the house, 
and I’m a woman in my fifties, therefore hot days are not necessarily 
enjoyable for me. I hole up with my computer and reading more than I go 
out and enjoy the fresh air. Perhaps that’s part of my creative 
personality, or perhaps I just have a tendency to live like a bat 
because I’m rather fond of Batman.


Either way, I feel more ready for spring now. My beloved irises are 
pushing their way up through the weeds and the dead plant life remaining 
from last fall. (We’re not big on doing yard work around here.) And the 
purple buds are starting to show themselves, even amidst the snow on the 
ground around them. And I’m pushing my way up too, through the storms 
and the weeds; I’m still here. I’m waking up.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Read Volume Four Now!

THE TAINTED CROWN, Volume Four of THE HORSTBERG SAGA is now available!



Here are the links for the e-book version in multiple formats, and the print version from Amazon.

The Tainted Crown Kindle

The Tainted Crown Print

The Tainted Crown i-Tunes

The Tainted Crown Nook

The Tainted Crown Kobo

The Tainted Crown Google


Also, Volume Five (Kindle version only) is available for preorder. 

Spoiler alert! This volume is about the next generation following volume four, but if you read the summary, its implications might spoil your experience in reading volume four. So don't!!

Volume Five will be available in print form as well as the other formats listed above. So don't panic!

Here is the link . . . Volume Five Kindle Preorder

Enjoy! Anita

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PRE-ORDER VOLUME FOUR NOW!

Dear Friends and Fans,

Having survived all of the complications of life once again, I am thrilled to announce that Volume Four of the Horstberg Saga, THE TAINTED CROWN, is now available for pre-order on amazon.com....

Pre-Order Volume Four

The book will be released April 6th, which is when you can pre-order volume five, which will complete the saga. THROUGH CASTLE WINDOWS will be released May 4th. I don't know about you, but I'm so excited to think of having all five volumes available at last for my readers. 

Also, here is a link to a great deal on a number of wonderful books, including a couple of mine. Note that the sale price on the first two volumes is temporary and the publisher does this to try and help promote the whole series. I hope no one will feel disgruntled over having paid full price back whenever you bought the book. Just know how grateful I am for the much-needed income. And those of you who are my most devoted fans are so dearly appreciated. This link will take you to the blog of Rachel Nunes where you will find all the information for these great deals.

Great Book Sale

As it mentions on her blog, one of these books is authored by Lu Ann Staheli, a longtime writing associate and friend who just passed away from cancer.

Moving on, I want to share some personal news, because you are, after all, some of my dearest friends and supporters. My husband has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. We had many weeks of tests and appointments preceding a major surgery a week ago. He is doing well and his prognosis is good but he has a long way to go with radiation and other treatments, and it will still be unpredictable and need close monitoring. We've been blessed with many miracles, but it's still cancer and it's tough. Combined with my own ongoing health issues, I would simply ask for your prayers on behalf of our family, and thank you for all the prayers and support that many of you have already given. You're the best!

The good news is that my muse seems to have reawakened after three dormant years. I've been doing revisions on the The Horstberg Saga during this time, but haven't been able to write anything new. I am now working on a new novel, however slowly. I will keep you updated on that.

God bless you all!

A
nita 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Windows of the Heart

I'm excited to tell you that my sister has her first novel available. She is the reason I started writing at a young age, and I'm thrilled to see this finally available to the public. And she has more to come. I read this manuscript years ago when it was in rough draft form, and I confess I've not read it since, but I do know it's a great story. So check it out!  Here is the link:

Windows of the Heart

Oh, and my daughter Anna did the cover painting, as she did for my Horstberg books. You can see more of her work at:

Anna's Art

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Every Hope

I hope your holidays were great, and that this will be a grand years for all of us!

My publisher has an exciting deal right now that you avid readers will really enjoy. It's a box set of three books, entitled Every Hope, which includes FOR LOVE AND COUNTRY plus some great stories by two other authors. Beginning Monday it will be on sale for 99 cents. We hope that in exchange for such a great bargain, you will post reviews on Amazon (which help immensely) and that you will spread the word. The publishing industry is undergoing some dramatic changes with all this new technology, and we're all just trying to catch up. Here are the links:

EVERY HOPE:
Purchase on Kindle
Purchase on iTunes
Purchase on Nook 
Purchase on Kobo