SALT LAKE CITY — When her youngest child turned 13, Colleen Helme decided it was time to "go for it" and put the stories in her head onto paper.
She had always had little stories in her mind that she felt would make a good book, but it wasn't until she took a community education class in writing novels that she held the tools to do so.
She wrote "Flame of Destiny" as a direct result of that class. "Flame of Destiny" is her second fantasy novel, published in January.
"The class was great. It was so helpful," said the Salt Lake City resident who is also a faithful Mormon who works as a part-time LDS Church receptionist and attends the Rosecrest 1st Ward, Canyon Rim Utah Stake.
"But once you learn the craft, it ruins you for books written by people who don't know what they need to do."
Helme said throughout her life she found a lot of fantasy novels that didn't quite have the romance she wanted in them, something she's remedied in her own novels, evidenced by the story of Callister and Justin in "Flame of Destiny."
Helme is taking what she now knows to do and making a name for herself as an author. She already has three books published (the first two by Mundania Press out of Ohio and the third self-published) and plans for at least two sequels.
Another fantasy novel, "Songbird," was released in paperback in October 2010.
"Carrots," a lighter, quirky story about the adventures of Shelby Nichole, also released in early 2011, is doing surprisingly well on Kindle, even though "Carrots" is self-published and Helme has had to do all the marketing for it.
Her books are aimed at young adults and married women readers, but she's found her husband and her children like them equally as well.
She's pleased with the response and keeping busy speaking at local high schools and to book groups and appearing at book signings.
She plans to release the sequel to "Flame of Destiny" in September and another Shelby Nichols adventure by the end of the year.
"My goal is to keep writing. It gives you a little break (from real life). It takes you away," Helme said.
If you go ...
What: Local author showcase, book signing
When: Tuesday, July 12, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 30 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com. Email: email@example.com