Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Say Can You See by LC Lewis

NEW RELEASE!!! HISTORICAL FICTION!!!

Don't you just love the cover! I think I want fireworks on my book cover...though I guess technically these are "rockets red glare" and "bombs bursting in air."

Here's the backcover blurb:

Although the British raids have left Washington a devastated, blackened city, the battered Constitution has held and the presidency has survived! But the struggling government has no home. The British saw to that.

Gone is the Capitol and her magnificent library, the chambers of the Supreme Court, the President’s House, and every relic and document not secreted out of the city.

Next on the list of British prizes—the rebellious port city of Baltimore! A victory here would assure the Americans’ defeat, but a loss would dilute the importance of the destruction of Washington.

But has the raid on Washington stiffened the backs of the Americans? This is the question gnawing at the leaders on both sides.

The Willows women are mourning their absent men—gone to war, or wounded, or captured—as they await the birth of a blessed child.

Mere miles away, attorney Francis Scott Key embarks on a diplomatic mission that will leave an everlasting mark on America. Proving that a pen can be more powerful than a sword, Key records his fears and hopes—the fears and hopes of his embattled people—as he watches the bombardment of Baltimore while detained in the midst of the British fleet.

What changed in this noble man’s pacifist heart, empowering him to pen the powerful anthem, known today as “The Star Spangled Banner,” an epic poem that rallied a shattered nation to rise from its knees to claim the dream of “one nation under God?”

Experience the personal sacrifice of five families placed in the firestorm of the War of 1812, citizen heirs of the sacrifice of the Founding Fathers.

The first three books in the series are:
Volume 1, DARK SKY at DAWN, introduces the complex story of the six lead families--three American, two British, one slave--and the devastating prelude to the war.
Volume 2, TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, carries readers into the harrowing events at Hampton, Virginia, and illustrates the toll the war takes on civilians--women and children. But through it all, a new tenacity begins to strengthen the young nation's spine as Americans rally to the cause of their nation.
Volume 3, DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, throws our characters into the attack on Washington and the events that prove the mettle of the the Constitution and the Presidency.
http://www.seagullbook.com/lds-products-594646.html

Written under the name Laurie Lewis, the author's most recent release was in April—a women’s novel titled, “Awakening Avery,” which is currently nominated for a Whitney Award. (http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress/about-the-whitney-awards/)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Rogue Shop by Michael Knudsen

"Swear you'll never become a Mormon."

It was more likely I would become a vegan. "Don't be ridiculous, Aunt Jean. I'm not going to become a Mormon."

"Swear it on the Bible."

This backcover blurb hooked me. You know right off something interesting and entertaining's gonna happen. I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this book and I'm thinking it's the perfect curl-up-on-Christmas-afternoon-to-read book!!!!

This is Author Michael Knudsen debut novel (looove the sound of that...say it again...debut novel...debut novel...debut novel...)

More from the back cover: Trying to escape from his Texas Baptist upbringing and a troubled past, Chris Kerry came to Salt Lake City to get an education--and nothing else. But keeping his promise to stay away from the Mormons proves difficult, especially with two cute college girls living across the hall. And when Chris finds a new job at a tuxedo shop, his promise unravels as he discovers new friendships, hidden secrets, and a lost heritage he never imagined he had. The Rogue Shop illuminates how we recognize truth even in the most trying of circumstances. Michael Knudsen's hilarious debut will remind you about the value of faith, family, and friends as Chris learns from his past to move forward into a better future.

"The Rogue Shop stole my heart and expanded my love for fiction… [Its] redemptive message has the power to change, to uplift, and to comfort." –Heather Gardner's Fire & Ice Little Red Reads blog

Go to the author's website here to find purchasing information.

And a shout out for Texas Baptist upbringings--I didn't have one, but most of my friends in high school did.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finding Rose by Stephanie Humphreys

It's blog tour time for Whitney Nominee Finding Rose by Stephanie Humphreys

Three copies of the book will be given away...maybe to YOU!

Want to win? It's easy. Check out the fabulous reviews and leave a comment telling why you're excited to read Finding Rose. Remember to include your email address. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an additional entry.

Here's a snippet from the back cover all rosy-colored:

"You're tired, Papa." Rose pulled the quilt over his thin shoulders and kissed him on the cheek.

"Think about what I said." He gently squeezed her hand. "I wish you would consider giving Miles a chance."

"Miles! I wish Sean had never brought him here. He's so serious. In all the time he's been here, he's hardly ever smiled. . . . He annoys me and I wish he would go home." Still, Rose couldn't help but think of his gentleness when he cared for her father.

On his deathbed, Rose Sterling's father asks her to consider Miles Crandall as a suitor. Then Rose is sent to live with an uncle in Spring Creek, Montana, far from her carefree life with her family in Utah. Miles is returning to his hometown of Spring Creek to set up a medical practice, so Rose is certain her being sent there is a setup. Yet Miles doesn't seem interested in her, and after Rose falls ill in Montana, he seems content to act as her physician and friend. When Rose captures the attention of Miles's younger, flamboyant brother as well as the town sheriff, Miles retreats even further from any attempt at courtship.

How can Rose honor her father's last wish if Miles doesn't even try to court her? Will she have the courage to put her heart on the line and fight for the one she really loves?

So the question of the hour is...Will Rose honor her father's last wish? Read the book to find out the answer to this and other burning questions. And beware the deathbed requests of all dying parents. Just saying.
+++++

Here's the blog tour dates. Get crack-a-lackin on those comments, folks!

Find purchase information here.
 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

my novel on paper


Thoughts: It looks like they reduced my manuscript to fit, probably because I write with zero margins to conserve paper when I print a chapter out for myself. It's double-sided, so that makes up for their crazy margins. For some reason some spacing is off on the first page, but other than that, I kind of like seeing it "in print!"

For the first time ever, I have placed my manuscript completely into the hands of another. Sure it screams ROUGH DRAFT so loudly you have to cover your ears, and I've given the receiver of it a jillion disclaimers about how it's not all there because it was printed without my supervision, and I have so many scenes not assigned to a chapter number yet--like the entire ending chapters since when I wrote them I didn't know what chapter they would be--and it didn't all get copied, and I'm still rewriting some stuff...

But nonetheless, it's out there.

I needed a deadline and she gave me one, so I worked like crazy moving sticky notes around my storyboard and then moving scenes around in the manuscript and spent a good bit of time wondering what the fajita I'm doing.

I'll have to admit though when I read my opening paragraphs I got a bit emotional...then about halfway through the chapter I was so tired of it. I've read this chapter a thousand times before, people. I had to skip ahead, but I'm hoping when you get the chance to read it, you won't want to skip ahead. You'll want to be there with Taryn every step of the way.

I thought after the grand printing of the manuscript I would lay off writing for awhile. Maybe get a spa pedicure, read the stacks of books on my TBR list, and make toast with abandon. My daughter's getting married two days after Thanksgiving, so with all of that and then Christmas, it's a great time to take a break.

But, no.

I haven't written since I dropped off the manuscript a week and a half ago and last night I had another baby dream. You don't know how much I was priding myself for not having any baby dreams since the Baby Terror Dream Weeks of August--Ha! I thought. I'll show you who's nurturing her creative self! And then, boom, it shows up again, and it's hungry and needs nurturing. (Click on "babies" in the archives to see my baby dream history)

So today I wrote 1172 words.

Take that, creative self/baby person in my dreams! I'm going to go make myself some toast.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, Say Can You See by L.C. Lewis

NEW RELEASE!!! HISTORICAL FICTION!!!

Don't you just love the cover! I think I want fireworks on my book cover...though I guess technically these are "rockets red glare" and "bombs bursting in air."

Here's the backcover blurb:

Although the British raids have left Washington a devastated, blackened city, the battered Constitution has held and the presidency has survived! But the struggling government has no home. The British saw to that.

Gone is the Capitol and her magnificent library, the chambers of the Supreme Court, the President’s House, and every relic and document not secreted out of the city.

Next on the list of British prizes—the rebellious port city of Baltimore! A victory here would assure the Americans’ defeat, but a loss would dilute the importance of the destruction of Washington.

But has the raid on Washington stiffened the backs of the Americans? This is the question gnawing at the leaders on both sides.

The Willows women are mourning their absent men—gone to war, or wounded, or captured—as they await the birth of a blessed child.

Mere miles away, attorney Francis Scott Key embarks on a diplomatic mission that will leave an everlasting mark on America. Proving that a pen can be more powerful than a sword, Key records his fears and hopes—the fears and hopes of his embattled people—as he watches the bombardment of Baltimore while detained in the midst of the British fleet.

What changed in this noble man’s pacifist heart, empowering him to pen the powerful anthem, known today as “The Star Spangled Banner,” an epic poem that rallied a shattered nation to rise from its knees to claim the dream of “one nation under God?”

Experience the personal sacrifice of five families placed in the firestorm of the War of 1812, citizen heirs of the sacrifice of the Founding Fathers.

The first three books in the series are:
Volume 1, DARK SKY at DAWN, introduces the complex story of the six lead families--three American, two British, one slave--and the devastating prelude to the war.
Volume 2, TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING, carries readers into the harrowing events at Hampton, Virginia, and illustrates the toll the war takes on civilians--women and children. But through it all, a new tenacity begins to strengthen the young nation's spine as Americans rally to the cause of their nation.
Volume 3, DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT, throws our characters into the attack on Washington and the events that prove the mettle of the the Constitution and the Presidency.
http://www.seagullbook.com/lds-products-594646.html

Written under the name Laurie Lewis, the author's most recent release was in April—a women’s novel titled, “Awakening Avery,” which is currently nominated for a Whitney Award. (http://whitneyawards.com/wordpress/about-the-whitney-awards/)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner & don't forget the GIVEAWAY, people

*CONTEST details at the end of the post!!!*

This is my Perilous blog post where I see how many times I can use the word perilous while I blog about Perilous author Tamara Hart Heiner's book Perilous and don't forget the Perilous Giveaway of a Perilous Kindle. I guess the Kindle is not necessarily Perilous, it would all depend on the sort of books you download.

Here's Tamara Hart Heiner (THH), looking all not perilous, unless that's a roof she's sitting on, then I would say "Be careful, that's a perilous situation, THH."


I wish I would have asked her what perilous things have happened in her life, but no matter, my novel is about a student body president who loves Flamin' Hot Cheetos--two things I cannot relate to. I only hope THH has not faced anything as perilous as the girls do in her book. Kidnapping and other intense and scary things--totally perilous. YIKES! I think that's where she got the title.

Here's the backcover blurb:

Jaci Rivera has plans for her sophomore year: Go to regionals with the track team, make the honor roll, and eat too much pizza with her best friends, Callie and Sara. Her biggest concern is Amanda, the pushy girl who moved in a few months ago.

What she doesn't plan for is catching a robber red-handed, or being kidnapped.

The desperate thief drags her and her friends 2,000 miles across the Canadian border. They escape from his lair, only to find that he has spies and agents watching their path home, waiting to intercept them and take them back.

Then Jaci finds something out about her family. Something which irrevocably connects her to their kidnapper, and makes her question their chances of escape.


There's enough twisty-turny events and who-are-we-going-to-trust situations to keep you hooked till the end. It ties up neatly, but I hear there's more to come. A Perilous sequel, perhaps?

Here is the ebook link: www.amazon.com/dp/B0045JLQCI

Here are the pre-order links:
http://www.amazon.com/Perilous-Tamara-Hart-Heiner/dp/0979607086/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285706174&sr=8-1

http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?WRD=perilous

http://tamarahartheiner.com/books.html

Visit THH's blog HERE to read an excerpt from the book. AND check HERE to find all the stops on her blog tour. Why, you ask? Because she's giving away a KINDLE!

!!!Here's how YOU can win it:
The contest is point-based and begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 15. Whoever has the most points wins the Kindle. There will only be one Kindle given away.

Here how the points add up:
1 point: blog comment (can comment on all the blogs, multiple times on the tour)
1 point: follow THH's blog (again HERE)
1 point: retweet
2 points: blog about the blog tour
5 points: purchase the book (ebook or paperback, must email Tamara, the author, the confirmation email)

Add up all your points as well as your proof (links, etc) and email it to THH at the end of the blog tour (tamara at tamarahartheiner dot
com)

You can earn an infinite number of points!

That's anything but Perilous!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WIN A KINDLE!


I'm part of the Perilous blog tour that is already underway. I'll be blogging about Tamara Hart Heiner's novel on Thursday, but till then you can start racking up points to win a KINDLE! Go to the author's blog HERE to find all the spots along the blog tour. It's basically a Perilous Kindle Giveaway!

Kindle giveaway (sponsored by Tamara Hart Heiner): The contest is point-based and begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 15. Whoever has the most points wins the Kindle. There will only be one Kindle given away.

Here are the points:
1 point: blog comment (can comment on all the blogs, multiple times on the tour)
1 point: follow THH's blog (http://tamarahartheiner.blogspot.com)
1 point: retweet
2 points: blog about the blog tour
5 points: purchase the book (ebook or paperback, must email Tamara, the author, the confirmation email)

Add up all your points as well as your proof (links, etc) and email it to Tamara at the end of the blog tour (tamara at tamarahartheiner dot
com)

You can earn an infinite number of points!

Way exciting!

Monday, October 25, 2010

WIN-A-T-SHIRT-DAY CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCED!

YOU! YES, YOU, Sheila...
YOU ARE A WINNER OF A T-SHIRT


Please email me your address, plus your specs for a t-shirt--like, size, color, phrase wanted (and even vinyl color and font for the phrase if you have a preference). Email is in my profile.


Thanks everyone for playing and visiting my daughter's blog.
It was fun to read your comments and it made my daughter's day.


Now a t-shirt is nothing.
I'm part of a book blog tour where you (yes, you) can win a KINDLE!
I'll get some info up about the tour tomorrow and then Thursday
I'll be reviewing the book right here on my blog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

wRitinG iS FuN?


Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

when we attempt to write a novel!

I've been moving a few things around in my novel during the revision stage, but the thing is, when you somewhat innocently move one scene to another spot because you decide it will make the story better, it affects all these other scenes, and then you have this big tangled mess. Now my story board is looking like this...

and my brain is looking like, well...yeah... Let's just say when I'm done with this I can stick my brain in a giant pickle jar and loan it out for Halloween parties or psychiatric study.

Despite pickled brains I'm SO excited to update my current word count--now appearing on the sidebar: Da, da, da da... 74,696!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

IT'S WIN A T-SHIRT DAY!

Just for fun and following my blog and because Fall Break is over and the kids are back in school and because I want to and actually said on this blog a couple of times that I would do it, YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A T-SHIRT! It can be this one, which I love love...



OR, it can be one of your choosing...meaning you choose the phrase you want on it.

Here are the guidelines:

1. BE A FOLLOWER! I know that goes against what your parents and Sunday School teacher taught you, but humor me. It's okay when the crowd is doing a good thing like following my blog, right? :D

2. VISIT MY DAUGHTER'S NEW BLOG here (yes, my daughter's now a blogger...*TEARING UP*) and tell me something interesting you learned there. Feel free to comment or follow her--that will really surprise her.

3. LEAVE A COMMENT stating the above two things.

Easy enough. And if you want to Tweet or Facebook this opportunity-to-win, please do and mention it in your comment...I'll tack on an extra point for you towards winning.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Save the Child--new release by Margaret Turley


From the back cover:

"You are not going to pour poison straight into her heart!" Nancy's determination to protect her daughter from the chemotherapy doctors insist she needs is fueled by boundless fury. She has seen cancer patients successfully treated with naturopathy. She wants the right to do this for Sharon, her eight year old child suffering from Leukemia.

Cancer is the enemy. Love is the remedy and Grandma is the angel who glues the family picture back together again.

Author Margaret Turley says:

While I was traveling to work one day the news broadcast a story about a mother who was refusing chemotherapy treatment for her son. Because I am a nurse I asked myself why would a mother decide against the best that medicine could offer. The doctors insisted the boy had a virulent cancer that needed immediate attention. Even when threatened with jail and loss of custody the parents did not want him to receive chemotherapy. After they were charged with kidnapping their own child because they crossed state lines [with him] a judge listened to the parents and halted the medical community and government forces.

What the parents wanted was an independent, out-of-state medical work-up for their son. The judge allowed them to seek this consultation. The result was that the child was discovered to be free of cancer. I sighed with relief. The judge saved this boy from the horrible side-effects of chemotherapy which include nausea, pain, sores, compromised immune systems, sterility, major organ damage, secondary cancers, and even death.

One of the most important roles of a nurse is to be a patient advocate. During my thirty-four-year career I have observed more than one situation where a patient and/or their family were not listened to. This can cause grave problems and errors, not the least of which being patients and families enduring procedures they do not understand or agree with. It is my hope that the medical community and the law can expeditiously come together to serve the best interest for the child and family.

Purchase Save the Child at Amazon.com.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adverb's Revenge

I don't know if you non-writers out there realize that adverbs = bad.

I know. Your high school English teacher never told you. You probably received high marks for beautifully decorating your verbs with all those -ly wonders.

Well, it's something you pick up on the street when you hang with the creative writing crowd. Beef up your verb choice and then who needs an adverb. Ran quickly becomes raced. Cried loudly sounds better as wailed. And glitters brightly is just plain redundant. And repetitive.

It's beautiful in its simplicity: Kill the adverb.

But wait. Don't sentence it to death row just yet. (At least not till you read this blog post.) Adverbs don't only modify verbs, people. They have other reasons for living.

In Spunk & Bite-a writer's guide to punchier, more engaging language & style, by Arthur Plotnik, he devotes an entire chapter to fresh adverbs. He talks about "adverbs of manner [that] reveal the way in which a thing or quality is distinguished." For example:
"hugely boring or minutely entertaining." (Those don't even remotely describe (most) blog posts found here at Of Writerly Things...right? Right? :/)

Adverbs can become fresh when they modify adjectives. And though they are called "fresh," they have been used in this way (as Plotnik points out) long before Nixon's "perfectly clear" speech, in fact their usage dates back to as early as 1570 with phrases found in literature like "curiously dainty."

Here's a match game taken from Spunk & Bite, pgs. 40-41. See if you can match the actual adverb-adjective pairings taken from print. The subject of the sentence is shown in parenthesis. (See answers below.)

[Note: I added the second list in green to differentiate it, so choose an adverb from the list on the left and pair it with an adjective from the green list--Blogger wouldn't let me separate the two into columns. If anyone knows how to do that, let me know.]

1. dormantly a. ordinary (plot structure)

2. gloriously b. fervent (devotion)

3. scarily c. naive (conviction)

4. militantly d. Mormon (guy from Philly)

5. incongruously e. hostile (speech)

6. juicily f. unclever (writer)

7. resolutely g. ridiculous (role as pirate)

8. wittily h. intricate (dance step)

9. inflammatorily i. prosaic (men's fashions)

10. metaphysically j. uproarious (doings)

ANSWERS:
1. d (Patricia Marx, The New Yorker)
2. j (Kirkus Reviews)
3. b (Sarah Miller, The New York Times)
4. i (Judith Thurman, The New Yorker)
5. a (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
6. g (David Denby, The New Yorker)
7. f (Bruno Maddox, The New Yorker)
8. h (Richard Eder, The New York Times)
9. e (John Updike, The New Yorker)
10. c (Lydia Davis, Granta)


Now wasn't that fun? I loved trying out all the adverbs with Mormon, just to see the different images they conjured up. Suddenly (since 1570, anyway) adverbs are crazily fun again. And surprisingly useful. And blazingly fresh... okay, I guess I don't need to overdo it. One must still choose wisely. Not all adverb-adjective pairings will be gloriously, resolutely, or wittily fresh.

[This post is a rerun of my Tuesday post at anwafounder.blogspot.com]

Monday, October 4, 2010

READ MY SHIRT

Check out my other blog for information on ordering writer tees. They make great personalized Christmas gifts for all your crazy writer friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Are you doing what I'm doing?

So I had brain surgery today, well, okay, it was on my head and it was minor.

So minor I could even drive myself home afterward.

So minor that the doctor had me sit in a normal doctor room chair for the procedure and not on the examination table. (That's a bit demeaning, isn't it, to the purpose of my being there?)

So minor the nurse stuck one of those small circle bandaids on it when it was done.

What? No "Go home and take it easy?"

No resting on the couch with propped up pillows and clear liquids?

No "Can you bring me some ice water and jello, please?" offered up in a pathetic voice?

He said I can wash my hair and, get this, I can swim.

Again. What? I am not submersing my cut-open-head in water, chlorinated or otherwise. I very specifically washed and straightened my hair this morning so that I could go a few days without shampooing.

Sheesh. Surgery these days.

Sorry, but I'm still going to take advantage. I've got a frozen lasagna going in the oven for dinner and at exactly 3 PM, I'm going on the couch with the ice water and propped up pillows. Oprah's interviewing author JK Rowling and I'm not going to miss it.



Yes, I overcame the whole must-watch-Oprah thing a while back when I determined that if I was going to finish a novel I had to give some things up, but I make an exception for authors and especially this one. How 'bout you? Even if a scalpel wasn't taken to your scalp today, I'm sure you can think of a good excuse for plopping yourself in front of the television for an hour. Call it research.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amazing Prizes For Writers

No, not here. Over at The Bookshelf Muse blog.
http://tinyurl.com/32jw66q

But stay tuned. I did say recently that I would offer a contest where you could win a t-shirt. Well, not ALL of you personally. One of you personally, or maybe two.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Post wherein I interview said author


It was less than a year ago I was interviewing Author-with-a-capital-A, Kathi Oram Peterson, about her recent release Angel on Main Street. (Read that review.) Now here she is with another recent release, The Stone Traveler. I should have asked her HOW DO YOU DO IT? But I didn't, so we'll have to make due with the questions I did ask.

And keep in mind that something big is at stake here, the KINDLE. You can win this baby by following Author Kathi's blog tour and commenting on every blog along the way. There is room for repentance if you've missed any of the stops, just go here to find the blog list and play catch up before September 30. (My tour date was yesterday, but I didn't have room to include the interview. Return to my previous day's blog to leave a comment for the contest. AFTER you comment on today's!)


Now here we go...

Tell me about the moment you got the story idea for The Stone Traveler. What inspired it specifically? There really wasn't a single moment. This book was made up of many moments in my life and was inspired by my parents and my son. My parents owned a cabin at Palisades Lake. In the living room of the cabin was a picture of Christ talking to the twelve apostles on the road to Jerusalem. Dad and Mom had served a [church] mission in Cali, Columbia and they were always telling Book of Mormon stories, thus the reason for the grandmother in my book telling Tag, the main character, those stories as well. The inspiration behind Tag, was my son. No, he's not an artist and his father is still here, but my son has had some of the same struggles as Tag. (Tell him to beware of shining stones.)

Is Samuel the Lamanite and his story a particular favorite of yours?* Oh yes. Picture it: he's preaching to the Nephites and is run out of town. And as he's finally on his way home, the Lord asks him to go back and preach to them again. They won't let him into the city, so what does he do? Climbs up on the city walls and preaches. The courage and devotion that would take I can't imagine. (Personal fav, too.)

Besides this one, what's your favorite time travel book? Well, if I can't say The Stone Traveler, how about The Forgotten Warrior (see, another book she's had published!), but I have the feeling you want a book that I haven't written. Well, I've read my share, but my favorite time-travel story was Somewhere in Time the movie with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. Yes, I'm a big romantic. (Yeah, that darned penny! I'll never forget it.)

What time period would you most like to travel back to and why? There's so many time periods I find fascinating: Colonial times, Civil War era, and Biblical times. I've been working on a time travel that takes a brother and sister back to the time when Christ was born. The sister finds herself in the belly of a Roman ship, the brother ends up with a shepherd family. The political atmosphere in Rome and Jerusalem were both amazing and scary at that time. I'm so grateful for Mary and Joseph and the great courage they had. The moment in time I'd most like to travel back to would be in the stable after Christ was born...for me that has to be the ultimate moment to witness. (Ahhh...I love that answer.)

Give me a line from your story...no context. This is tough. Asking a writer to do this is like asking a parent to pick her favorite child. Well, maybe not that bad. How about this: Then he walked away, leaving me standing in the garden of Blood Flowers wondering whom I should trust. (That is a very nice child, I mean line. Garden of Blood Flowers sounds just plain facinating, doesn't it? Despite the trust issue.)

Thanks, so much, for the interview, Kathi! I'm off to give the book to my teenage son who is always on the lookout for a good read. My husband read it (he snagged it before me) and enjoyed it. It's definitely a book that can be recommended for the whole wide family.

*If you're unfamiliar with Samuel the Lamanite's awesome story, go HERE to get a free copy of The Book of Mormon. His story starts on page 397.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Compelling Characters and The Stone Traveler


Triple duty today, kids.

I am part of The Stone Traveler blog tour and my stop on the tour is today.

I also signed up for The Great Blogging Experiment where over 150 bloggers will be sharing their thoughts on Writing Compelling Characters and today is the day of the experiment! (Find list of other bloggers here.)

Also, I must point out that I was interviewed at Sarah M. Eden's website today at I Need Friends Friday. (I don't know how to make this picture smaller...sorry.)


(I vow to consult my calendar a little more closely next time.)

Maybe we can roll the rest of this into one big ball of blog fun. Let's get started...

I'd like to talk about the compelling character I just read about in The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson. (See how I smushed the topics into one mass right there?)

Tag is one of the point of view characters in this time travel story. He's the perfect example of a compelling character because though he tries to fool everyone by his unique exterior, we get a few clues into his heart and find him a very sympathetic kid. He's dyed his formally red hair jet black, he wears black eyeliner and black nail polish (and this is Idaho), plus the requisite black attire and chains that would round out such a look. Yet, his mother says, "Tag, you might dye your hair and paint your face, but you can't change your blue eyes." His mother still sees a spark of his real self and so can we as we come to know him through the story.

At the start, Tag shows he's got some oomph when he decides not to join a local gang, the Primes. It's a great reversal after being shown what he's dressed like as he heads out to school that morning. He shows his spark when he feels obligated to rescue the cousin he despises from a gang beating. He doesn't want to, but he does it anyway.

A compelling character is one who despite the way they portray themselves, we see there's a small spark of something good or even great, and we discover it as we read. It's the spark that catches our attention. It's the contrasts and surprising reversals that make them compelling.

Tag pays for his deed when his mom sends him off to his grandpa's for the summer with the despised cousin. Time travel ensues when Tag is thrust back into ancient America and meets up with Samuel the Lamanite's daughter. (If you know your Book of Mormon history you'll be saying, "What daughter?" but that's where the fiction and the fun begins.)

Now for details of the book and amazing prize pack! Keep in mind that I was supposed to announce this tour a long time ago. Now you'll have to play catch up and go comment on all the blog posts to be entered to win the amazing-of-all-amazing Grand Prizes.

The Stone Traveler - Blog Tour Contest

When: Weekdays in September.

Important Rule: Leave a comment on "every" site on the tour.

Monday through Friday commenter names will be collected from the blog tour. On Saturday a name will be drawn to win a prize that includes a very cuddly toy jaguar; a stone necklace; and chocolates with the flavor of South America—real cacao and chili. The winner will be announced on the following Monday.


The GRAND prize for The Stone Traveler blog tour will be a (drumroll, please) Kindle. (Yes, KINDLE!)


The cutoff to be eligible is midnight on September 30. The winner will be announced October 4th. If you find the tour midway through (hmm, like here on my blog?) and want to participate, you can still go back and comment on every blog simply by going to kathiswritingnook.com. Starting in September the sidebar will list each stop on the tour as they are posted, making it very easy to click to any of the sites and leave a comment. AND even if you’ve already won one of the weekly drawings, your name will still go in the jar for the Kindle.

TOMORROW I WILL POST MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KATHI ORAM PETERSON!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TOMORROW!


Check out INFF, but also stop here where I will be blogging my book review for The Stone Traveler by Kathi Oram Peterson. For now check out the tour and prize situation here. I was supposed to be a dutiful blogger and post about the tour and the awesome prizes offered in advance, no less, but I've been organizing my novel's plot.


It was so much fun I went and organized my pantry.


See where the plot thickens around the 3rd shelf? (Oh, and yes, that's my husband's matador apron from Spain hanging there on the left. Ole!)

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I see fictional people

I get into the car to go somewhere and two characters immediately start talking to each other in my head. I don't know how they got in there, but they're there and they're talking, but not to me. They purposefully wait, though, for a quiet moment so I will overhear their conversation. They're sneaky like that. And it's always the same exact dialogue until I write it down, then they'll move on to a new, but often related topic.

They never really tell me what they're doing, like, I'm going over to so and so's house and tell him off and then he's going to... No. They just talk, chat away, carry on their little conversations and then they want me to figure out the whole story around the conversation.

Sometimes now I show them. When I get into the car I say, "Be quiet. I'm not going to listen to you today. I need to ponder what you're going to do next in the story,"--then I'm the one talking to myself (they will not participate in this part-they're ornery like that), so again talking to myself, I'm like, okay, she could go to so and so's house and tell him off, then that would make him...

No one wants to read a story that's all dialogue and they know it--that's why they need me.

Reminds me of Anne Lamott's book on writing, Bird By Bird, where she writes of characters driving the plot and we are just the typists who get it all down on paper. Good typists listen, she reminds us: “Your plot will fall into place as, one day at a time, you listen to your characters carefully, and watch them move around doing and saying things and bumping into each other. You’ll see them influence each other’s lives, you’ll see what they are capable of up and doing, and you’ll see them come to various ends.” She quotes another author, Carolyn Chute, who was discussing rewriting, “Over and over, I feel as if all my characters know who they are and what happens to them… and what they are capable of doing, but they need me to write it down for them because their handwriting is so bad.”

I can see that my characters need to step it up a bit and give me more clues about what they want to be doing. They can't be all talk and no action or I'm going to have to make them start doing the typing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are you failing 4th grade Math, too?



In the fourth grade I was a math whiz.

It's true.

At the front of the room my teacher had a poster of a tree with lots of branches, each one representing one of the times tables. The students had their own owl with their name on it and the owl would move from branch to branch as we passed off the ones, then the twos, then threes, and so on. My owl made it to the top of that tree. And in a very timely manner, I might add.

Now I find that I fail at 4th grade Math. My daughter asked me to check her work and I ended up helping her to change nearly every answer. The next day she came home and said they were all wrong but three.

Really?

I just don't understand the terms they use nowadays--mental math, front-end estimating...I can't even remember the others. I've already had to call my school-teacher daughter twice this school year to ask her what something meant. They just don't teach the same anymore.

Whatever happened to cute owls on branches?

(at least Spelling hasn't changed, right?)
(I was spelling champ in my 5th grade class.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

eat pray write

I made myself a tee shirt.




DISCLAIMER ALERT!! I'm not here to promote the book (which I did read) or the movie (which I didn't see) by a similar name. I just like the twist on the sentiment and thought it fit pretty well with my writer's life. Snacks and prayer are pretty important parts of the equation.

I thought I might wear this shirt when I'm all alone, just me and the computer, but then I happened to follow a link to Elizabeth Gilbert's website (author of Eat Pray Love) and was so impressed with her thoughts on writing I had to share.

She's talking about sharing your work... Find it here.

"...At least try. And when the powers-that-be send you back your manuscript (and they will), take a deep breath and try again. I often hear people say, “I’m not good enough yet to be published.” That’s quite possible. Probable, even. All I’m saying is: Let someone else decide that. Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.

As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “...I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love)."

Gilbert says that most writers think their writing is not up to par. Even when she was writing Eat Pray Love, she thought the same thing. But she says she had a "clarion moment of truth" while writing the book.

Again in her words, "One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.

I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.” Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place."

Yeah. What she said.

(And if you need a pen, you don't have to steal one, I'll give you one of mine.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Quips for a happy writing day


Enjoy...

Love being a writer, hate the paperwork.

I love my job. I get to sit around all day making stuff up.

I write, therefore I am.

I prefer to think of it as prepublished.

Don't be jealous of my sweet writing skills.

My weapon of choice...the mighty pen.

What does not kill me makes a great plot point in my next book.

I am, therefore I write.

The voices in my head are plotting against me.

Deadlines amuse me.

I'm in my own little world. (It's okay, they know me here.)

Writers get the last word.

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.

Blank page, I shall thwart thee.

Haiku are simple
But they often don't make sense
Hippopotamus

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

Writing today...if I don't get these characters out of my head they threatened to trash the place.

And finally...

You're an awesome writer, now get back to work.

[many of these seen on cafepress.com]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Prepare to be impressed

I casually followed a link in a blog post Tuesday morning (thanks to Elana Johnson) and fell into a blog post series on story structure [Alexandra Sokoloff, thedarksalon.blogspot.com]. I've read about this topic before, and experienced the resultant epiphanies that improved my story, but this time (because I'm DESPERATE to FINISH) it clicked for me in a big way.

It was time to outline.

Instead of running screaming from the blog post, I decided to face it head on. So Wednesday, armed with a pen and a prayer, I set my entire novel to sticky notes. As I said...prepare to be impressed...and take notes for your kids and grandkids for when they have to analyze my novel in English class...ha, ha...


Isn't it beautiful? Each scene has its own sticky note, each chapter its own color.

You can't read it from the photo, but it's divided into acts--I have ACT 1, then the few chapters that comprise that, then the ACT 1 Climax, then ACT 2, then the Midpoint Climax, then the rest of Act 2--etc, etc. on to ACT 3, the final Climax/Resolution.

You may wonder...can't you just write your story any old way you want? Possibly. But the old way is a structured way. It's the way as human beings we like to hear a story. There's a flow, a growing of the character, there's build up, there's satisfying resolutions. Since this is my first attempt at a novel why not try what's tried and true. I think that's what will get an editor's attention...well, after they're hooked by the unique storyline and killer writing skills...again...ha, ha...

Thursday I began to analyze my story, which I can finally do because I can actually SEE IT. Before it was a jumbled mess in my brain, scattered through 26+ files in my computer. It overwhelmed me. So I moved a few sticky notes around (not too many it turns out) and I added a bunch where I need new scenes. I had major emotional epiphanies about my ending and how to broaden its scope (check out Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas if you don't know what I'm talking about)

Now my storyboard looks like this...all those yellow stickies at the far far right are things I need to add...


I took two pages, front and back, of notes for my book and printed off Alex's story structure list to use as my checklist. I was surprised to see that my story naturally contains the elements she talks about. Like Act 2 is comprised of laying out the MC's plan, the gathering of allies, then the tests (the blocks to the plan) begin and basically never end till the end. She talks about the "Dark Night of the Soul" moment when your character is at their very lowest point and there's no way they can go on, but...OK, getting carried away here... It's so fun, you should try it with your novel!


It inspired me to write on Thursday afternoon and to even clean up my writing area Thursday night--which was to the point of "I can't write in these conditions!" plus I wanted to be able to display the lovely storyboard on the shelf above my computer. Now it's right there in all its multi-colored, sticky note glory! Apparently, I'm a visual person and didn't know it.

Alex's blog series goes way beyond outlining and story structure--you should totally check it out. Thanks for the link, Elana.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Accountability is everything



I did a really dumb thing.

I said I would not read Mockingjay until I finished my novel.

That wasn't the dumb part.

The dumb part was saying it in front of my husband.

Guess who's not reading Mockingjay till they finish their novel?

You've guessed correctly.

Pssst...when you talk about the book, please whisper, as I can't cover my ears right now. I'm typing...

Friday, August 27, 2010

100+ FOLLOWERS



Didn't want the moment to pass without celebrating!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Bookmom Jaime Theler said it better than I can... go here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fear of failure or fear of success?


I have a healthy fear of failure. That's why you don't see me cliff-diving.

But in other areas of life I've decided failure is easy. It's comfortable. It's success that requires work. Success brings expectation. Like writing a book and subsequently having it published. Work, expectation...and people-you-know will read it. I fear that.

First-time author Elana Johnson posted about the fear of success today at her blogspot. She received copy edits and talks about seeing her book in an almost book-like form. We dream of that day, right? But I understand her fear.

On a little bit of a different bent, today I read a blog post by agent Chip MacGregor (posted last March) where he said, "There's this myth in our culture that your mettle will somehow be tested by failure. Baloney. All of us experience some failure, some rejection, some times of being ignored, and we get over it. We have to, since the world keeps going. I don't think our souls are tested all that much by failure...they are tested much more by success." He mentions how the Bible has a myriad of warnings for the rich and powerful, but for the poor and ignored, not so much. (Read blog post here.) So he's saying maybe there's reason to fear it because success will most certainly be a test of our character.

All I know is I'm not worried about my character as much as I'm worried about you reading my book. (Well, not you, but all those other people.)

Which is it for you? Which do you fear more--failure or success?

[and if you missed it, please take a second to view my previous post. I promise it will make your day]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This is taking RECURRING to a whole new level

I woke one morning this week and was relieved, "Whew, no baby in that dream," but no, I was wrong. Right at the end of my dream there was suddenly a baby laying on a bench. I thought it was dead, it looked dead. I looked closer and it opened its eyes.

If you don't know the history of my recurring dream, and you care (important distinction), read this post. [Quick recap--I've had several, well, okay, a majorly huge amount, of dreams involving a baby in need of serious nurturing. I read an interpretation of the dream in a book on writing where the author talks about how the baby is our creative selves. Yay, I thought. I only need to keep plugging away on my novel and the "baby" will be happy and more importantly, it will be ALIVE.]

I updated the whole dream situation in a July blog post as Guest Blogger at LDSWritersBlogck.

Here's part of that post: I've had several baby dreams since I discovered Ms. Tiberghien's interpretation, including one where I even named the baby--definitely a good sign when you consider the baby being my creative self--and another where I actually gave birth to the baby. That one got me excited. It meant I had come so far--no longer was I finding a baby neglected and barely alive, but I actually gave birth to it. I was giving life to my creativity.

I really wish I had written down all the dreams because it's been quite the baby/creative-self journey. The two most recent installments had totally different tones, though. The first was wonderful. I dreamed I brought the baby in and set it in a bassinet. It barely fit, but the baby seemed okay. The latest dream, though . . . not good. I had to change the baby and it was making huge messes all over. I couldn't do anything to stop it. I guess these last two indicate where I'm at in my creative writing journey. I've nurtured the baby/creative-self by writing my novel. Now I'm in revisions. And it's a mess.

Okay, that was then...this is now. I have had 6 (COUNT THEM...6!) baby dreams in the past two weeks. I'm getting a little scared. I'm beginning to think it's not book therapy I need (reference to earlier blog post), but actual therapy. Why are these babies so relentlessly appearing in my dreams?!? :/ I'm working on my novel, okay slowly, but surely, and I let some days pass without writing (I know, shame on me), and there's been vacations and summer in general, but c'mon!

One of the dreams was good. I came in and saw my baby and I was so excited. He was as darling as could be (looked a lot like my youngest son as a baby) and I secretly watched him for a moment because I knew if he saw me he would want me and then the person holding him would have to give him up. Then I finally took him and promptly woke up.

Last night I dreamed of twins and it was horrible. I took twins from some kids who were trying to come to my daughter's birthday party, though they were not invited. I was worried the kids (who had pulled up in a truck but were clearly too young to drive) couldn't care for the babies, so my daughter and I took them with us to buy items for the party. As in most dreams, things go crazy and you somehow never accomplish what you need to, so we just couldn't get the party stuff. We tried a couple of stores, but were unsuccessful. Somehow one baby was misplaced and I still don't know what happened to it. The other was strapped in the car seat, but needed serious attention. In truth, it was dying, but I would not stop because I had these other things to do.

We finally decided to go home and give up on buying anything because the party guests had arrived and my older daughter was entertaining them with games, but didn't know how long that would last. Of course, we could not get home. Everywhere we went was a dead end or just circled around endlessly, but I would not stop to help the baby. I had to get home and I told myself I would call 911 and get help for it as soon as we got there.

Like I said, it's a little scary. I'm wondering if there's some kind of time limit out there in the universe and I need to set aside some (more) things and get this novel done or the "baby" will die and not be revived. So far in the dreams the babies do live.

Well, I guess there's that one twin I can't account for.

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Trapped" by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen/BLOG TOUR w/PRIZES!


A Forged Letter,

A Golden Vial,

An Ancient Curse...

Filled with family secrets, intrigue, and romance the blog tour (August 9-August 24) for Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen will have it all.

Her expression remained somber, but excitement crept into her voice. You are the Firstborn She...You must go to them. You want me to act as bait? Not bait, Emi. A spy. Our Trojan horse.

When Emi Warrin wakes one night to find a thief in her mother's house, she has no idea the intruder has planted a trap - a mysterious letter that will change her life forever.

Lured to the Austrian Alps with Daniel, the man she loves, Emi is thrown into a perilous, mafia-like world of feuding families and a devastating curse that spans generations. As the Firstborn She - the only firstborn female in hundreds of years - only Emi can free her family from the curse that will soon afflict her as well. But for Emi to break the curse, she must delve into evil designs.

As Emi struggles to understand her destiny as the Firstborn She, she learns that everything isn't as it seems and that all choices have consequences.

Can Emi break the curse before it's too late?

We will be giving away THREE autographed copies!

All you have to do is leave a comment (along with your email address if it isn't on your blog profile) and answer the following question. Which Austrian city would you most like to visit?

The more blogs you comment on the more entries you'll receive.
All comments must be left by midnight MST on August 27 to be eligible.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards


She's in love...
He's out of reach...
Is there any hope?

The backcover blurb for Chocolate Roses sets the story up deliciously. He's out of reach...what better conflict for a romance can there be? And this guy is so completely out of reach by LDS standards. If you've read Jane Eyre you'll appreciate this LDS parody, but even if, like me, you haven't, then no problem. It's still a very entertaining read. I had totally intended to read the original first, but took one look at it and said...uh, no.

And it's delicious not just because it's set partially in a chocolate shop, but because you get awesome blurbs at the beginning of each chapter from the original story.

I love these:

I had not intended to love him; the reader knows I had wrought hard to extirpate from my soul the germs of love there detected; and now, at the first renewed view of him, they spontaneously revived, great and strong!... (from chapter one)

This was the point --this was where the nerve was touched and teased--this is where the fever was sustained and fed: she could not charm him. (from chapter eleven)

And my favorite from chapter six: Suppose he should be absent spring, summer, and autumn: how joyless sunshine and fine days will seem! [In Arizona sunshine is already fairly joyless. I mean if you buy some chocolate, it's melted by the time you get home. That's just wrong. But looking at the quote as intended *BIG SIGH* it's lovely. I could have written that about my husband, if I could write like that.

Then there's the deliciousness of Joan's own story: My heart must have made it back into my chest, for seeing his hand caused a distinct pain where it had resided before...

The story is first person with a very conversational tone. It's as if the MC, Janie, is speaking right to us and telling the story. I loved that. All of us will be able to relate to having a crush on someone we don't even know and imagining a future with them though they don't even acknowledge we exist. All Janie's coworkers are in on the secret.

Anyway, here's a few quick questions (and my own comments) for author Joan, all chocolate-covered just for this interview!

What's your favorite chocolate indulgence/obsession? Sees dark chocolate covered almonds. Yum!

The chocolatiers of your story offer many designs in chocolate, what would you like to see shaped in chocolate? I put into the story the shapes I thought would be fun—Alice in Wonderland, a great dane, clowns, swans, AZ, Saguaro cactus, roses. Maybe I would now add hearts. [My personal fav is chocolate shaped into Hershey Nuggets! Works of art, those.]

Where did you come up with the wacky cast of characters that work with Janie at the shop?
They all showed up for work and so I had to add them. Each brought with them their own zany story.

Chocolate Roses is a very fun, conversational read and I read it on vacation in one day, but I'm always interested in how long it took an author to write. It took over a year. The beginning and the end came easily, but I fretted over the middle part because to be true to the original Jane Eyre, Janie would have to run away. I couldn’t have her leave for more than a week because she had to run her chocolate shop. [Chocolate is that important!] Janie had to pull away from Roger emotionally only. The more she did though, the more she was pulled into Roger’s life. In spite of the differences, I hope the reader can see the symbolisms in Chocolate Roses that reflect back to Jane Eyre.

Give me one line from the book---no context. This is the theme of Chocolate Roses: “I can’t live with her, but how can I throw her away only because she is hopelessly sick?” Or if you are looking for humor: Flo weighs 120 pounds and Aunt Lucy accuses me of putting Miracle Grow in her water dish. The truth is I’ve given up on water dishes and just fill the bathtub. [I'm not really a dog person, but Flo was definitely an entertaining character in the book and she made me glad I don't have one.]

As they say...forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate...or better yet fall in love with a handsome man who will give you chocolate (chocolate roses, no less.)

Chocolate Roses is a yummy read all around! [You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?]

BTW, this is Joan's second novel to be released in about a year's time, so tell us about your first book, Haunt's Haven. It is a ghost story and a romance. A young woman, Callie, inherits a hacienda inn that has been boarded up for 50 years. When she goes to Cassidy Springs, Arizona to take possession of it, she discovers there is a ghost. The mystery involves why he is guarding the old place. I had so much fun writing it.

Chocolate Roses can be purchased from Amazon, and of course your local LDS bookstore.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Write Like WHO?


I write like
Stephenie Meyer

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




It's true. A website here said so. All you do is paste a couple of paragraphs of your writing into a text box, submit it, and then INSTANTLY it pops up with your analysis...and also a newsletter you can subscribe to with writing tips and links to HOW TO GET A PUBLISHING CONTRACT (probably for $10,000 or less). If you click on the name of the author it surprisingly takes you to Amazon where you can purchase a book by that person. So you can see it's totally legit.

But, hey, it didn't say I write like Rita Writer down the street who never got published because her manuscript is a pile of drively you-know-what. No, I write like Stephenie Meyer. And for now I'll hold that thought.

(Because I have an inkling that Stephenie Meyer did pretty well in her writing pursuits.)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm back...momentarily...

So I went on vacation, but neglected to hire anyone to feed my blog.

While gone I worked on novel revisions while sitting lake-side, fire-side, and on the passenger-side of a van on our family vacation. Next week I'm off again, this time to a writer's retreat in the mountains with 40 or so of my best writing pals. I'm not planning to do much blogging, but we'll see. I do have some book reviews forthcoming in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for those.

By the miracle of modern blog technology, in my absence I was guest blogger over at the LDS Blogck blogspot. If you've been wanting to hear more about my whole baby dream saga (yes, I'm still having recurring dreams about babies)--go here.

And even if you don't want to, humor me...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's come to this

Last night I stayed up way too early rewriting a chapter of my novel and, you guessed it, once I went to bed the old cogs of the writing brain would not stop turning. I was afraid to look at the clock to see exactly how long it took me to finally fall asleep, I just know there were a total of three times I pulled out paper and pen in the dark to scribble something I was sure I'd forget by morning.

Despite my lack of sleep, morning still came, and it started with a six followed by other numbers which is not a big deal to many of you, but in the summer it is to me and especially after last night.

I stirred awake a bit while my husband was getting ready for work and the dream I was in the middle of still lingered. I thought, Now instead of having her say that I could have her act it out and the other person would know what she's talking about.

Then it hit me.

I'm editing the dream I just woke from.

Then I shook my mental fist at the looming lightbulb that's always above my head--the idea I have that I can write a novel--Nooooooo! I say. Let me rest in peace.

But there was certainly no more rest, or peace either, and with the lure of ibuprofen as my guide, I got up. I stumbled down the stairs with my bleary eyes and jammies, the bedside clipboard and pen in hand. My daughter was right there on her way out the door to work, and she said, "Do you always sleep with a clipboard?"

"Last night I did," I replied.

Now I'm going to read my chapter rewrite and all I'm saying is it better knock my slippers off or clipboards are going to roll.

[instant replay from anwafounder.blogspot.com]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SCORE!


I scored two new books today via the postal system to add to my ever growing list of books to read. Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar I won in Heather Justeson's blog giveaway, I guess because of my mad commenting skills. (Translation: It's a good thing these blog contests are completely random, otherwise I would never be winning awesome books.) The other, Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards, was sent by Walnut Springs Publishing because I get to review it right here on my blog in August.

My RE-reading of Hunger Games and now Catching Fire has been keeping me up at night. It's so ridiculous...I've read these books before and still at the end of each chapter I'm sucked in and have to keep reading. I tell myself, "Okay, just one more chapter," but it never is.

I'm a few chapters into Shiver and someone needs to convince me it's worth it to continue. I've heard great things about it (and the writing is good), but so far she's pretty much just been staring at a wolf. I read When You Reach Me which was an entertaining ride, but when I finished I wondered why I had taken the journey. Reading fiction is like climbing into a car with the author and going for a ride. I want the ride to be amazing, but it's also got to take me somewhere. The destination is extremely important.

(I hesitate to say anything because both of these books are very successful, but for that reason, hopefully, my measly little opinion won't matter much and they won't blast me when they see what meager fare I have to offer with my book when it's published)

Now back to HG and CF, the two books I'm obsessed with. I have no idea how it will all be resolved with Book 3, but right now I'm going to have to say TEAM GALE all the way! Wait...maybe TEAM PEETA! I can't decide!

What about you? Which team are you?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I need therapy

Let me clarify... I need novel therapy. I need story structure therapy. I need help!

I can't figure out what my story is about. Like down deep.

When people ask I usually reply its about a girl who wants to change her school and get rid of bullying.

Sometimes I say it's about a girl overcoming tragedy and realizing it doesn't have to define her life.

Other times I say other stuff that is rambly and incoherent. (Okay, most times.)

Inside my own head I don't have a defined theme to my novel. This is a problem.

At a recent critique session I gave my first answer about the bullying, but was met with blank stares, so I quickly added "Her boyfriend was killed in an accident because of bullying." Click, click, click all the light bulbs went on above my critique buddies' heads. Suddenly there was a motivation attached to the story of a girl who wants to rid her school of bullying. The satisfaction was fleeting for me, though, because my MC doesn't really know in the beginning what caused the accident. It can't be her motivation. Sadly, I was still without a viable story theme.

I needed help, so...

With my manuscript crisis in hand, I went to lie/lay (??) on Writer Friend Tamara's book psychiatrist's couch (sat on a chair at her dining room table). She got me digging. Digging deep passed/past (??) the layers of surface story to its very core. She asked me about plot points and themes...it was grueling. But I discovered my story is about a girl and forgiveness.

It was a startling revelation. It changed how I look at my story. I still struggle with structure, but I try to always go back to that one truth about my story. Forgiveness.

And to those of you who have received different answers when you've asked what my story is about or you have read parts of my story and now you're saying "Forgiveness? What the...huh?" Just bear with me.

Book therapy. I recommend it.

[This blog is a total rerun...I posted it yesterday at anwafounder.blogspot.com. Recycle, reuse...right?]

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