The Secret of Darkwood Castle

Today I’m delighted to be the first stop on the Blog Tour for The Secret of Darkwood Castle,  the conclusion to Heather Ostler’s trilogy that began with The Shapeshifter’s Secret.

Darkwood Castle coverBeautiful cover, right? The Secret of Darkwood Castle will be released on May 21, and I know who will be first in line: my twelve-year-old daughter.  Heather is not only a fabulous writer and friend, she’s also my daughter’s favorite author. Sela is giddy with excitement about this book. Here they are together at Authorpalooza last February.

Heather and Sela

So I asked Sela to tell me what makes Heather’s books her favorite. Here’s what she had to say:

1. I love that Julia, the main character, doesn’t wait around for a boy to save her.

2. Julia has deadly weaponry strapped to her at all times. I wish I had her dagger!

3. Unlike most books I’ve read, Julia balances her love interests and doesn’t let them consume her.

4. I love that she loves her dad, and takes care of him.

5. Action, drama, and awesome reveals in every chapter. What more could you want in a book?

I agree with Sela whole-heartedly (except I don’t want her to have a dagger).  Heather’s books are loaded with fun and mystery, centered around a strong female character, in an exciting magical world where anything is possible.  The Secret of Darkwood Castle promises to be an intense and satisfying ride. Check out the blurb from the back cover:  ”Julia’s vision became completely black. All she saw now was Alexis’s haunting eyes, burned in her memory. She felt the shift as Alexis lowered the sword, ready to kill Julia.”

Julia has embraced who she is. She’s a shapeshifter, a siren, and a princess. But her fate is still unclear. As she runs for ambassador of Ossai, The Guild, lead by Julia’s estranged mother begins attacking and killing those Julia loves in an attempt to overthrow the kingdom. To defend her family, her home, and her country, Julia must stop the Guild once and for all.

But when a mysterious stranger shows up offering help, Julia is forced to trust them in order to solve the secret to the Guild’s whereabouts. Soon she travels to Darkwood Castle, a sinister palace, to confront the Guild—and her mother. If she doesn’t succeed, all Julia holds dear will be ripped away and destroyed forever.

Deadly forests, dangerous alliances, and a hidden fortress—nothing is what it seems at Darkwood castle. Discover the epic conclusion to Julia’s journey in Ossai.

Visit Heather at:




About the author:

Heather Ostler grew up near the mountains with a rambunctiously entertaining family. She graduated from Utah Valley University and soon began composing stories about shapeshifters, sirens, and spooky castles. She and her husband reside in Utah Valley with two remarkably pleasant pugs.

Click below to enter to win a free signed copy!


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Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore:


Hey! Those are my freckles!

“Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore” is a compilation of essays about beauty edited by my friend, the amazing LaNae Valentine, director of Women’s Resources and Services at BYU.  Not only is my essay included, it’s also the title of the book.

I’m thrilled to be part of this terrific anthology, which includes essays that will make you cry, laugh, and think about what beauty really is.  It also includes a poem by my own sister, Elaine Rumsey Wagner, about my grandmother, entitled “Truth Beautiful.”

These short blurbs made me reconsider the power of words, and how we use them to judge or validate each other. These words have lasting effects. Almost every story had a moment where the writer was told that she was not beautiful, and she believed them (mine included). But almost every story also portrays the path the writer takes to reclaim her beauty, realizing that beauty is not dependent on a flippant and untrue remark.It made me want to speak more carefully to my own daughters, and make sure that I tell them, every day, that they are beautiful.

One reviewer wrote: “Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore: Perspectives on True Beauty” is a compilation of stories gathered by LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen. It is a wonderful book that encourages women to see themselves as beautiful daughters of God.”

“Why I Don’t Hide My Freckles Anymore” is available at Deseret Book:

And at Amazon:

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Starchild’s Birth

A friend of mine recently said, “Whenever God wants to change the world, he sends a child into it.”  While this statement is particularly relevant at Christmas, I thought about how it was true in my own life, and how the birth of my youngest daughter transformed my world this year.

I also remembered this statement when I read Starchild’s Birth  by one of my favorite former students, Adam McLain.

Starchild's birth-1

In this serial short story, Adam creates a new technological Eden with the birth of a genetically engineered child. And it changes the world. Drastically. Whether God is a participant in this creation is a crucial question, and we as readers, along with the main characters, must grapple with the implications. It’s an intriguing world that left me eager to read more. And more is coming. Adam plans to release a new story each month.

Right now, Starchild’s Birth is available on Amazon for 99 cents. It’s a great deal for this thought-provoking read. Click Here to find it on Amazon.

Here’s the synopsis from Amazon: “The beginning of an epic saga of short stories, Starchild’s Birth introduces us to a cast of characters that are about to change the universe. Join Nathan Hale, a scientist, as the two most important events of his life happen and Starchild, a creation with the power of a god, is born.”

Here’s Adam’s introduction to his project, Saga of the Starbirds.


This is my first foray into the world of electronic publishing. I’m excited that I’ve been able to share it with you. Yes, it’s short. It’s meant to be that way. Starchild’s Birth is the beginning of an epic saga chronicling the mythos of a universe I’ve created. The Saga of the Starbirds will be published periodically from December 2, 2013 to December 1, 2014, with a story coming out the first Monday of every month.

I find it really exciting. With the creation and mass reception of e-books, we can now return to how books used to be published. Publishing periodically is in the way Charles Dickens and others published their works in a time when magazines and serial publications were a popular medium. I’m not going to do this with all my short stories and novels, but I felt it would be great for this series.

The Saga of the Starbirds follows different characters and the adventures they have in the new universe created by Starchild. Some of the short stories will be fun, others will be thought-provoking or plot-driven, developing characters in the long run. There’s an overarching story to the entire series, which you’ll be able to follow as the stories are published.

I really hope you enjoy Starchild’s Birth. It’s the first of the prologue trilogy. The next part, Starlight’s Sunset, will be published January 6, 2014, chronicling what happens after Starchild remakes the universe, followed by the final part of the prologue, Starfrost’s Sunrise, February 3, 2014. There are some very exciting things to happen in this universe, so stay tuned!

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