2005 MAY NEWSLETTER
Greetings!
Movie Update
“Tennis Shoes” Update
“KINGDOMS AND CONQUERORS” NOW ON PRE-SALE!!!
Book and Movie Reviews
BIG Family News and Conclusion!!
GREETINGS FROM THE SOGGY STATE OF UTAH!!!
I’ve been out of town a lot this month, and it seems whenever I come home, the place has been knee-deep in rain. So ya think the draught over yet??? I suspect so. Is anyone else worried about flooding? I still remember well the floods of ’83, and all the sandbags. Hope it doesn’t warm up too quick around here. Just one degree at a time.

LOTS of news this month, so let's get started.

“PASSAGE TO ZARAHEMLA” MOVIE UPDATE
Most acting try-outs are over for the movie. It was a rewarding experience to meet so many of you at auditions. I know there were a few days that we were buried, and I wasn’t able to meet everyone. I feel bad about that. Some got assertive and asked my assistants if you could just say “hi.” No problem! I wish more had done this. Next time, please don’t be afraid of doing so. Auditions can be a grueling process, and a heart-breaking one as well. I know that many of you gave your all hoping for a part. Some traveled 10-14 hours to reach auditions. We had sooo many Natashas, Sherilyns, Colters, Teancums, Tessas, and Skylers that I couldn’t keep track of them. Yet there was only one person I could cast per part.

And then, if things weren't hectic enough, while casting in Las Vegas my casting director, Jennifer Buster, got in a car accident and shattered her ankle. She's doing better now, but still on crutches for the next 10 weeks. Fortunately, most of our work was already done. There are still a couple of parts that I don't feel I have filled. I'm flying to Los Angeles in about a week to find actors to complete those roles. But except for those one or two roles, I'm extremely pleased with the quality of talent that we've found. NOT ALL PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INFORMED that they have been cast. This will happen over the next couple days. I'm getting many, many emails and questions right now from people who tried out, asking if they've been cast. PLEASE DON'T EMAIL! You will likely know by early next week, if you don't know already. About half of our cast are from local talent agencies, and we are still in negotiations. I'm sure by next month I will be able to post a full list of current cast members, along with photos in many cases. But until deals are completed, announcing names would be unwise.

In the meantime, I'm still sprucing up the script, hiring crew personnel, and diving into storyboards. And I also have just one other SMALL obligation--and that's getting "Kingdoms and Conquerors" ready for an August release!

“KINGDOMS AND CONQUERORS” UPDATE
Did you catch that? August release? This isn’t set in stone yet, but this is the goal for myself and the publisher. And we’re quite determined to reach it–SO determined that I actually, finally feel comfortable pre-selling the book and audio book! (More on that later.) I also finally looked at a word count comparison of past “Tennis Shoes” novels, and it turns out that this book is a full 10% LONGER than any other “Tennis Shoes” adventure. So this is my longest book to date. (Maybe just authors are concerned with stuff like that.)

Okay, guys--now for another big announcement. For YEARS I've been getting flack from fans about doing "abridged" versions of my books for audio CD and cassette. Well, I'm now announcing that "Kingdoms" on CD and cassette will be UNABRIDGED!!--the full book, nothing cut out or changed. The only thing missing from the audio will be the research notes, but we will post those on the website for anyone who is interested. Let me just say, I REALLY had to beg, plead, and even sacrifice a percentage of my royalties to convince my publisher to do this. The price (before discounts) will be $39.95. They're worried that it just won't sell as well. This was always the concern, and this is why we haven't gone unabridged before now. So if you want to see my NEXT books unabridged on audio, I guess we gotta prove 'em wrong. I hope for many this is great news. I know that I'm excited. Now if I could only go back and make ALL my books unabridged... 'Guess it depends on how this one goes.

STORE UPDATE–“KINGDOM AND CONQUERORS” now on PRE-SALE!!!
FIRST ON CHEIMERDINGER.COM!!! We’re giving this a VERY deep discount from the outset I know there are oodles of online stores now, and you have full freedom to shop and compare. Our discount will as much as (and more than) 26% off! (I doubt anyone will match this price. Couple this with a free autograph, free products for orders over $45, and all of our other fun benefits, and I think we have a pretty good thing going. Please forgive the lame mock-up cover that we have up there. We’ll put up the REAL cover as soon as it’s designed. To PRE-ORDER click here.

BOOK AND MOVIE REVIEWS WINNERS FOR APRIL!
Utahans have it in the bag this month! Darryl White has won before, but this month he really went to town with more marvelous reviews than I could even list on site’s homepage. I’m still amazed at the quality of reviews in general on our site. Keep up the great work!!!

1st Place–Darryl White of Sandy, UT
2nd Place–Steffanie Skeem of Oasis, UT
3rd Place–Scott Wright of Oak City, UT
BIG FAMILY NEWS AND CONCLUSION!
So what’s the big news? Okay, I think I better preface this a little bit. I joined the LDS Church in 1981, and anyone who’s a convert KNOWS the pangs that you feel wanting to get family members interested in the Gospel–or if not “interested,” just “tolerant” of your decision. Well, except for my wife and kids, I’ve always been alone in my Church membership. I think when I first joined I was so zealous and excited that I turned my family totally off. I probably believed you could convince people to join with sheer logic and intelligence, and as every missionary quickly learns, that approach doesn’t work very well. Over the years my family’s attitude has pretty much remained the same–no one has been interested in learning about the Church.

That all changed this year--at least with one family member.

Back in Feb. or March my mother surprised me when she said she was taking discussions from the missionaries. Some may remember, last summer my mom had open-heart surgery. As a result, she was forced to quit smoking, and voluntarily gave up drinking coffee. She and I have had various Gospel discussions over the years, but it often seemed like she listened to stories about Joseph Smith with the same interest as a story about ESP or UFOs. I was probably too emotionally involved to be an effective teacher, and I remained prone to over-intellectualizing. Suffice it to say, like the rest of my family, she never showed much interest.

Back in April we flew her up to Salt Lake to see the new baby. My wife and I were both surprised by the change that seemed to have taken place in her. She was full of joy and light and peace. It was almost like one of those sci-fi movies where you want to grab the person and say, "Who are you and what have you done with my mother?" See, like me, Mom was always pretty much a stressed-out over-achiever and workaholic. (Thank goodness for my wife, Beth, who keeps me grounded.) Anyway, she told us that the reason she was so happy was because of her involvement with the Church, the missionaries, and the members of her home Ward in Las Cruces, NM. It was plain that she was beginning to recognize the joys of the Spirit. At first I almost felt ashamed. I felt like she was gaining a testimony completely independent of anything I'd ever said or done. But isn't the way it SHOULD be? Oh, I'm sure things my wife and I have said over the years had some influence, but the testimony she was gaining was all her own.

Well, I'm sure this stuff isn't so original to anyone who's been a Church member for very long. To make a long story short, two weeks ago I flew my family down to Las Cruces and had the incredible privilege of baptizing my mother. She was actually worried that all of this might interfere with my movie preparations, but I wouldn't have missed such an event for all the world. Last week I called her back and she expressed again her excitement about the changes in her life. She told me that she felt like she was "one week old," and that everything in her life seemed different, exciting, and new. When I got off the phone I wept, recalling exactly those same feelings from twenty- four years ago.

So there it is--my big family news. I sometimes brush over family stuff rather hastily in these newsletters; just talk about my various projects, try to sell stuff, or focus on other things really quite trivial by comparison. Not this month. This month my mother joined the Church. And for once, I'm at a bit of a loss to describe how that really feels. It's...wonderful. Or as my mom expressed in a single-word testimony, bourne right after her baptism-- "Wow."

Okay, I better close. This newsletter is already too long. I want to express my love for the Savior, my love for this Gospel, and my love for the people of this Church. To you I owe all that I have. But the greatest debt, obviously, is to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I pray, as always, that I will ever allow Him to be the beacon by which I guide my life.

I hope the same for you.

Stay close to the Lord,