Thursday, December 31, 2009

GOAL doesn't have to be a four letter word

Well, actually, goal always has to be a four letter word, but it doesn't have to make you feel bad. Obviously goals are important. From the time we are little we are encouraged to make them. In primary the children are asked to make and keep goals, to learn something new, to challenge themselves, to help others, etc. The youth are encouraged to make goals that help them develop talents, think outside themselves, grow spiritually. I don't think as an adult we are supposed to suddenly stop giving ourselves goals that promote our growth. I don't necessarily think that we should only make these goals at the beginning of the year, but since it is that time of year, why not think about goals?

Are the goals we're making something we have control over?

Being in this industry, I have heard a lot of writers say: My goal is to sell a book this year. I don't necessarily think this is a bad goal. But one we have absolutely no power to control. Sure, we can hope our book is going to sell, but we can't force a publisher to buy it. A better goal would be: I'm going to edit my book until it's beautiful and shiny. Or I'm going to write another book so that if my first one doesn't sell, I'll have other options.

Are our goals attainable?

I once made a goal to give up chocolate, cold turkey....all of it. For me that wasn't an attainable goal. The next day, while stuffing my face full of Junior Mints, I felt horrible about myself. I realized that the goal wasn't a good one for me. I should've allowed myself a small amount of chocolate every day. So make goals that are reasonable. If you write 500 words a day and make a goal to write 5000, that might be too lofty of a goal. Don't set yourself up to fail.

Are our goals bringing more balance to our lives?

I personally don't need to make any writing goals this year. I already do enough writing/obsessing over my projects. It would only feed my obsession if I made yet another goal about writing. I need goals that get me away from the computer. I need goals that might help my messy house or neglected gym membership. :)

I appreciate all the other posts this week about goals and the New Year. For me the New Year is a time of reflection and hope. I look forward to the new year and a future full of possibilities.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The New Year

Wow, I am flabbergasted at how fast this year has gone. I remember it went by at snail's pace when I was still in high school. After I graduated, that's when I realized that the world spun a whole lot faster than I could've ever imagined.

I decided to do some research on the history of the new year and its celebration. I was not pleased with what I found. It has to do with an ancient pagan holiday, Julius Caesar, later on an anti-Jewish campaign among other things . . . *Sigh.

I was actually hoping on something spiritual, uplifting, inspiring. The only way I think I can get all those elements down is to pray.

Bringing in the new year is very personal. It is the time when many of us set goals for bettering ourselves. A fresh start like a fresh day.

Though Easter is the celebration of life, Christ's resurrection, I don't think it would be wrong to liken Christ's atonement to the new year. The Atonement is a fresh start. It is a chance for us to repent of our sins. To shed the darkness from our spirits. To look to the future with hope and love and happiness.

I feel we should think of the same thoughts that cross our minds during Sacrament Meeting (a time to review our faults the past week and how we could improve upon them). These are mine every Sunday, depending on my struggles as I think to renew my baptismal covenants: I will practice better patience with my children, I will do my best to NOT suppress a generous thought, I will work harder on reading my scriptures on non-school days . . .

The most desired thing is to be charitable. Anything you can think of that reaches out to others is charitable. Saying hi to someone in church, especially someone you don't talk to on a normal basis. Sitting by someone you never had before in Relief Society or Priesthood (for our fellow brothers who read MMW), putting yourself on the substitute list for the Primary, volunteering in cleaning out your ward house, volunteering in school for your kids--if you are a grandparent, I don't think the school will turn you away. Bringing in someone's garbage can after pick up day. Smiling at someone. Making your child's bed as a surprise.

To throw in a few writing aspects maybe dedication to helping others with their manuscripts, query letters and/or synopsis with total honesty? Being a mentor? Reaching out to aspiring writers and help them understand that there is always hope in becoming published?

Going out of our comfort zones is one of the hardest things I know any one of us can do, but that is what being charitable is all about--if we are complacent in our lives, we need to reevaluate it.

This one of my favorite quotes by Souza:

DANCE--as if no one is watching you,
LOVE--as though you have never been hurt before,
SING--as though no one can hear you,
LIVE--as though heaven is on earth.

What are your goals for the year 2010? I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy to be Here!

Hi everyone! I feel very honored to be a part of this blog. It champions many things I firmly believe in. Good friends. Good writing. Mothers striving to develop their talents while in the midst of their greatest work - that of nurturing children.

To introduce myself, I live in Henderson, Nevada with my husband and five children. I love hats, sandcastles, kites, Renaissance music, animated films (especially Pixar and Miyazaki), and literature for young readers. My favorite authors include Eloise McGraw, Susan Cooper, Natalie Babbitt, Christopher Paul Curtis, Lois Lowry, Linda Sue Park, Richard Peck, Megan Whelan Turner, Louis Sachar, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, and many others. In a few weeks, I plan to start looking for a literary agent to represent my post-apocalyptic novel, Earthcrosser, which I have been working on since summer 2008.

Thanks for having me! I look forward to sharing our thoughts with each other as we all work to be the best moms and the best writers we can be!

-Rebecca J. Carlson

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years Resolutions

Every Year we make a huge ginormously long list of things we would like to improve in ourselves...lose weight, finish our book, read scriptures daily, etc., etc., etc. Well I am here to tell you that this is your year to succeed!
Lists be gone!
Rip them up and pick just one goal!!
Just one thing that you would like to achieve and focus on!
You are less likely to fail if you have just one goal to focus on. It's better to succeed at one thing than to fail at an entire list that's been breathing down your throat all year. And besides that, you'll never forget what you were suppose to be working on.
It's just one thing!
One day at a time.
I plan on losing this much gained baby weight (Why do we call it baby weight. None of it went to baby!! It all when to me!!!). If I can be successful at that then I'm sure other successes will fall in line.
Success Breeds Success like Failure seems to breed Failure.
So out of the depths of the failure list and into the spotlight of THE SUCCESS you are going to have this year. Be it one thing!
You are going to shine :) !!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Did You Get What You Wanted For Christmas?

Last week I posted this picture on Facebook and told everyone what I wanted for Christmas. I knew it was impossible, but the dream was to cuddle with my hubby on a cold winter's night, in front of a roaring fireplace, in mountain cabin. I love the mountains, and have always wanted to own a cabin where we could vacation as a family, or where I could go to write. Some place where things were simple and life could slow down. No phones, no internet, no television. Just somewhere I could breathe.

This year, the economy has hit us harder than usual (as it has with most people) and we knew the Christmas budget was going to be tight. In order to make sure our son had plenty of presents under the tree, my husband and I decided not to exchange gifts this year. No big deal, we told ourselves. We felt the desire to get back to basics and simplify our lives anyway and this was exactly what our family needed.

Now this doesn't mean we went all out with Joshua, quite the opposite. We were very selective, purchased clothing items he needed and then a few choice fun things we felt he would enjoy.

Come Christmas Eve, as always, we allowed Joshua to open one gift before going to bed. The one he picked was a very small package and ended up being a plastic snakes and insects we picked up at the dollar store. You would have thought it cost hundreds of dollors by the reaction we got. He loves those things and I truly think we could have taken all the other gifts back and he would have been perfectly satisfied with just having that one gift. He went to bed a very happy boy.

Completely satisfied, I told my husband I was headed to bed as well, knowing Joshua would be up at the crack of dawn to see what else he'd received. However, my husband had other ideas. He made me go to my office like a little kid being sent to her room for bad behavior. I was told to stay there until he said I could come out. Several minutes passed until he came to get me with instructions to enter the living room with my eyes closed. I was more than anxious to see what he had planned, for this was not something my husband had ever done before. He's a bit of a no nonsense kind of guy, never thinking ahead and planning, but heading out at the last minute to get a quick gift.

Once in the living room, I was allowed to open my eyes. He'd turned off all the lights except for the Christmas tree, and the TV, where he'd put on a DVD of a roaring fire in a fireplace. I was completely overcome by my emotions, grabbed him in a huge hug and bawled like a little baby. I hadn't even told him about my Christmas wish, he'd just seen it on Facebook and taken it upon himself to get me as close as he could to the real thing. For over an hour, we snuggled on the couch, watching the flames and listening to the crackle of the fire. It didn't take much imagination to wisk us away to that mountain cabin. As far as I was concerned, we were there.

After 23 years of marriage and hundreds of gifts exchanged for all occassions, I have to say that this one single gift meant more to me than all the others put together. It came from his heart in a time when he knew I needed something positive and uplifting in my life. Nothing else could ever top it, not even if we get that real cabin in the mountains some day. It will only be a close second to this past Christmas Eve.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed your family and the true meaning of Christmas. Thanks for letting me share mine with you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From MMW!

I wanted to let you know that we will be having a new MMWriter starting next week. Our friend Kristy is unable to continue due to a stressful work schedule. Be sure to thank her for her contribution to our very successful blog. We'll surely miss your posts, Kristy!

Our new writer, Rebecca J. Carlson, will be starting next Tuesday, be sure to give her lots of comments and a nice warm welcome. I hate losing writers, but I really do enjoy all the many people we get to meet through our blog.

At this time I want to recognize the gift our Father in Heaven sent to earth. Our Savior Jesus Christ is indeed the greatest gift given to all man. But he didn't stop there. Our loving Father blesses us each individually on a daily basis. We have only to look around us to see that this is true. Our talents are just another way our Father in Heaven shows His love for us. We must in turn use our talents. We must not criticize our talents, or lament our inferiority, we must embrace what He has given us, and do our best to increase them. That is our gift to him. A gift that we can't buy at the mall, or wrap in a bow, but a gift that will continue to grow if we let it.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. (There will be no post tomorrow. Enjoy your Christmas, and stay off the computer!!!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Honor of He who gave His life for Us . . .

On Sunday, I helped conduct Sharing Time for the Sunbeams. I had gone through many of my Ensigns and removed appropriate pictures of Jesus Christ. As I prayerfully prepared the lesson, I felt the sweet and tender strength of God's love for His Son. My heart was so full that I cried. I brought my chosen pictures to my team teacher and she played the primary songs I chose to go with each picture. We both felt the Spirit so strongly it brought tears to our eyes.

I want you to know how much I love my Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ. I am so ever grateful that God loved us very much He was willing to show us mercy by allowing His only Begotten Son to come down to Earth to die for us. I have a testimony of the Atonement and am forever indebted to Him for His great love He has for me.

I hope you can feel the Spirit as you watch this special clip. Imagine being one of the people in any one given scene and feel the Spirit touch your heart. It is my prayer that the love of Christ abides you this wonderful time and forever after that.
Thank you for your visit to our humble blog. :)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another FABULOUS Guest Post From Rebecca Carlson!

To Touch Other People

On the way home from the grocery store this morning I began to wonder if this world would be a better place if I wasn’t a writer. I drove past a man in a tattered knit cap, a backpack on his shoulder, his face shadowed with homelessness. If I wasn’t a writer, I could volunteer for two hours a day at a homeless shelter. At a stop sign, a woman on crutches crossed in front of me, headed to the hospital on the other side of the street. If I wasn’t a writer, I could volunteer for two hours a day at the hospital. My heart swelled. The world seemed full of pain, my brothers and sisters in need, and I wanted to do something to help. Why was I wasting so much time typing stories?

When I got home, as I was unloading groceries, a friend of mine drove up into my driveway. She got out of her car and threw her arms around me. “I have to thank you,” she said in a choked voice. “I have to thank you.” For a few moments she couldn’t say anything. “Thank you for that beautiful CD you gave me. Your brother-in-law’s CD. It is so beautiful. I listened to it on the way to the temple this morning. The music is so beautiful. It touches my heart.”

My brother-in-law is an actor and a singer. I would never, ever want him to stop being what he is, even though he had to go on tour this year while my sister stayed home with three little children and one on the way. Yes, it would be easier for them if he had a more ordinary job, but if he wasn’t what he was, then that wonderful CD would never have happened. It has touched so many people, lifted so many hearts.

When I told the story to my sister over the phone, told her how my friend had thrown her arms around me and thanked me for the CD, my sister said with a big smile in her voice, “That’s what we live for.” That’s what she and her husband and family sacrifice so much for. To touch other people with music.

And after I hung up the phone, I thought that there are many ways to help our brothers and sisters in this life, many ways to relieve their pain, and I dream that someday maybe I’ll write a book that will make one friend throw her arms around another and say, “Thank you! Thank you for that beautiful book you gave me.”

-Rebecca J. Carlson

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

For some seasonal fun try this awesome gingerbread recipe with the family!
Works great for making gingerbread houses too!!!
Gingerbread Cookies
You"ll need
  • Parchment Paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Cookie Cutters

and the following ingredients:

3/4 C sugar
1/2 C softened shortening or margarine
3/4 C molasses
1/2 C buttermilk
1 tsp soda
2 tsp ginger
1/2 TBS cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Step 1: Thoroughly mix all ingredients except flour. Once mixed well add flour slowly until well mixed. Wrap dough in plastic or zip lock bag and chill overnight or several hours in fridge to set.

Step 2: Cut parchment paper to fit cookie sheet and tape securely to a smooth surface. Place 1/2 of dough on parchment paper and place another piece of the same size parchment paper on top of dough. With a rolling pin, roll out dough 1/8"-1/4" thick. Remove top layer of parchment and press cookie cutters into dough.

Step 3: Peel away excess dough.
Remove tape and place parchment paper with cut dough on a cookie sheet into pre-heated over for 7-10 minutes.
Decorate with royal icing!Invite friends and family to join in on the fun!Place on tree :) Have Fun and Merry Christmas :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Exciting News!

First off, my new and improved website is finally up and ready for approval! If any of you would like to take a gander on over and tell me if something is wrong, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it!

Secondly, and way more exciting... Jane Austen Today, one of my most favorite blogs--announced Northanger Abili, on its site! YAY! So when you get a moment, could please go give Vic some love by commenting and help a fellow MMW girl out? Check it out
(Also, could one of you MMW's please post a tutorial on how to do proper links on blogs, this week? I've forgotten!)

My blog's contest (for some yummy british chocolate) ends Monday night. I've had some awesome responses and my publisher has been excited to see the results! If any of you have anymore brilliant ideas in the next 24 hours or so, definitely stop by. Who knows, it could be you eating that temptingly glorious chocolate...

In other news...

There is an awesome conference coming up, hosted by Mormon Mommy Blogs, called The Casual Blogger Conference. I've already signed up to be a guest speaker, or teach a class--we'll see if they accept me--but we'd love to meet you gals! So if anyone is in the area at the end of May, here is the info! And if anyone wants to teach, or speak... they're still taking applications!

AND one of the coolest yearly writer's conferences, which just happens to be FREE (man, I love that word!) will be going on this year from February 11-13, at BYU. If you write fantasy, or sci-fi, then this is the place you need to be. (or, if you're like me... and just want to learn as much as you can, you can go too!) Brandon Sanderson is the guest of Honor this year, so you know it's going to be amazing! Check it out:

Also: The lovely Jenn Johansson, forwarded this on to me this morning...
If anyone is interested here is the info:

Hey Utah Writers!

Wanna come hang out with other writers in the area? Wanna have something delicious to eat? Then mark your calendars for Friday, January 15 from 4 - 8 PM. Suzette Saxton and Elana Johnson are throwing a writer get-together you won't want to miss! The main dish will be provided, but we ask that if you're coming, you email Elana and let her know so she can give you a food assignment. That way, we'll have many scrumptious treats and good company. The open house will be at Suzette's home in Elk Ridge, and her address and directions will be provided upon your RSVP.

Please RSVP to Elana at (message below with your email addy and I'll forward on the contact info). Or contact me through my blog...

Anyway, please forgive me... this post was going to be an awesome inspirational post all about how marketing and listening to the Lord, will help you with many opportunities to promote yourself. But after blogger ate my initial post into the internet ether... I'm just skipping to the goodies and letting you see how marketing and connections are everything for getting your name, book, and yourself out there!

The Lord really does want us to succeed. Doors and opportunities will open themselves up everywhere. We just have to listen to know where they're at.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog?

This past week I've been trying some new ideas on my blog. For one thing, I changed the background. I've been blog hopping, looking at other blogs and trying to get some ideas on where I wanted to go with mine. In the process I discovered a lot of bloggers out there are still sporting the Blogspot template they picked when they set up their blog. For some that may be okay and exactly what you want, but for me it was down right BORING! While searching for a background that I liked, I came across some fun sites I thought I'd share with you. They are easy to load under customize/add gadget/html. All the instructions are on the sites and are very easy to follow:

Delightful Dots

Shabby Blogs

My Style Backgrounds

The Cutest Blog on the Block


Aqua Poppy Designs

Most of those have a "scrapbook" look to them. There are others like, PYZAM.COM, that offer a huge variety, but installing the code is a little bit tricky for the novice blogger.

Something else you'll want to do when sprucing up your blog, is add some fun stuff to your sidebar. You can get tons of ideas by just clicking around from one blog to another. You'll want a good picture of yourself and a short bio, too.

In trying to create more traffic on mine, I've also come up with some ideas to bring other bloggers on board. I have a theme for most of the days, like:

Music Monday - I post a song and the lyrics along with a brief reason why I like it. Does it fit my mood? Does it go with the book I'm writing? And so forth.

Tagalong Tuesday - I search through all my blogging friends sites who have posted within the past 24 hours and pick a sentence or two to quote on my blog. Then I link it back to their story, so they will get some traffic as well.

Writing Wednesday - I try to put something writerly on there, but not always.

Thursday - Is just a misc. day.

Friendly Friday - I have a guest blogger, post a picture, short bio and their story along with links back to their blog, again creating more traffic for them. This week it was Valerie Ipson. Her post was great if you want to check it out HERE.

Saturday - I usually post the same thing I post here. (okay, I'm lazy, what can I say)

Sunday - Don't usually post anything unless it's spiritual.

So that's it. I know I won't be perfect and I'm sure I'll miss a day here and there, but picking themes will help me know what to write and help create a buzz so when my book gets published I will already have readers lined up. Just in the past 4 days, I've picked up 3 more followers and have had over 100 visitors.

Hope this helps those that are just starting out or who may not have a blog yet. And for those that are pros, leave us a comment about how you blog or where you get your ideas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Split Personalities

Yet another mental disorder that qualifies us to write is a split personality. So let's recap the other mental disorders that make a functioning writer. Schizophrenia or hearing voices. I don't actually hear these voices that many writers attest to, so my sister laughs at me when I lament the fact that I don't hear voices in my head. Let's not forget our God complex over our characters or our grammatical OCD. But the one I'm focusing on today is our split personality disorder. In all the research I've done about writer's block they all agree on one thing. It's the result of our creative and logical sides having a tift. Now some people naturally have the right interaction between their two sides, thus never have to split the two. If, on the other hand, you are like me, splitting and examining the two sides is a very helpful activity. Here is a conversation between my two sides. Nikki is my conscious or logical side and Rae is my unconscious, creative side or my inner 2 yr. old.

Nikki: It's too early to think
Rae: It's not too early, I just wish I could go back to dreaming.
N: Oh? Any good story ideas in your dreams?
R: Yep, it was a very logical woman dr who gets stuck in an alternate reality and just wants to get back so she can tell the man she works with that she loves him. Isn't it great?
N: Already been done.
R: What do you mean?
N: I mean that you just dreamt about an episode of Bones that we watched. It's not original.
R: Why do you always have to ruin everything?
N: I'm just being practical. No use wasting our time writing something terrible.
R: Why does it matter? Why can't we write for fun?
N: Don't you want to fulfill your dream of being a published writer?
R: I don't know. I just want to have fun.
N: How are we ever going to work together on this?
R: Maybe I don't want to work with you. Maybe I don't want to work at all.
N: *Sighs exasperated* I know, but you really are talented. Together we can most definately write wonderful stories. (Long Pause) Look I have some ideas about our middle grade novel, how about I tell you my ideas, then you can take the helm and I won't say a word until your done.
R: You won't criticize, or try to fix it, or tell me it's already been done?
N: I promise, Here's my thoughts...
R: Hmmmm, that could work, ooo I know...

And the creative process is finally beginning...again! I have a feeling this will be an ongoing thing for me, but it really is helping. To be able to sympathize with myself and realize the things that are truly bothering me, is very theraputic. Writing can't be done with only a part of you, it takes our whole selves working together. I'm learning that slowly and learning how to give my whole self.

Hopefully you guys don't think I'm too crazy for talking to myself like this, but I have a feeling you are the only ones that would understand.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who are you?

I just had a good friend of mine pass away. I was so shocked to hear the news this morning at Sacrament meeting. (I write my MMW posts every Sunday). I was devastated to hear that and did my best to keep my wits about me as I led the music during sacrament meeting.

She was a part of our ward choir and a faithful member of our ward. Long before, she was a primary teacher and my children loved her. It was only last Sunday I gave her a ride home after choir and she commented on how she missed being my kids's primary teacher and how fun it would be to be in the primary again.

She had made a great impression upon me. She embodied strength, faith, courage. Those were her qualities that I will always treasure.

Bearing this in mind, I prayed on how I could turn this into a valuable lesson. What kind of impact do you want to have on others? What about as a writer? What kind of writer are you now? What kind of stories are you weaving?

How will your readers remember you? Fulfilling? Thoughtful? Inspiring? Will they put your book down after finishing it and say, "Wow, she is an awesome writer! I can't wait for her other book to come out," while she gazes at her bookshelf lined with your books?

We have a wonderful opportunity and privilege as writers to make an impression with people everywhere. We are leaders in chaos. We are the light in the darkness. We are the voice of the Lord as we create our stories with His help.

I know without a doubt that if we live the way God desires, He will bless us beyond measure and surely we will touch the lives of many through the written word. Our qualities will leave an impression.

That's how we will be remembered.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fire And Ice

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do, not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My oldest daughter (she's 13 years old) has just finished writing her first book, Fire and Ice. She has completed 272 pages and is ready for her first official re-write! She is so excited about this major accomplishment and has worked really hard to achieve it. When her siblings would play outside or watch a movie (we don't have cable so TV isn't a vice) she was busy on her laptop writing (or creating fabric designs like her mom :). During her 15 minute and lunch breaks from home school, she was typing away. Almost every spare minute was and is spent honing her craft.
She has determination and dedication.
Her goal is to look for an agent before her 14th birthday. I know she will achieve this! I'm telling you all this because she is so excited and would love as much help from more experienced writers when she has finished this re-write and also to inspire you! She inspires me to keep going on a daily basis!
If a 13 year old girl can cast off the shackles of teenage selfishness and laziness and look for time to finish her book, I know that a mature adult can do the same :) You may find the excuse that she is a child and has all the time in the world but I beg to differ. When I , as many of us, were children we found it hard not to answer to the call of playing, movies and hanging out with friends. She does not answer these calls and you can ignore them as well. We all can find time here and there and in no time you too will finish your book for the first time, second, or umpteenth time through!
What a wonderful feeling and sense of accomplishment you will have. Your favorite TV show will not hold it's charms if you let it go (it may even be canceled). Your favorite book that you've read a thousand times will still be their for you. But you will have accomplished your goals little by little.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do, not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Family--Sneaking in post

Please Read Nikki's post below--it's just AWESOME!...

I was hoping to sneak this one in before she wrote. As it doesn't have much to do with writing and a lot more to do with family... Due to my hectic schedule lately Nikki and I agreed, I would write on Friday and she would write on Sunday--well Friday came and went and I didn't post. Was all over Utah with the family...

Last week my mom, dad, 2 sisters and three more kids came to my house. We've just moved into this house 7 weeks ago (in Pleasant Grove) this is the THIRD time they've come in those short seven weeks. (they come again in on Christmas day) And no, with this high risk pregnancy, I haven't had my house completely finished yet. I've spent literally weeks sleeping instead. LOL!

So I was feeling slightly stressed and a little put upon to be receiving guests yet again, so soon after the last time. Especially when the guests showed up 6 hours ealier than planned--right after I'd dropped my kids to school--and I hadn't had a chance to clean up. My mom is the CLEANIEST person you'll ever meet. Just naturally perfectly organized and everything. What takes her 1/2 hour to clean will take me 6. Organization is a talent I struggle with daily... (to say the least)

Anyway, my family proceeded to walk through my whole house and proclaim just how awful it was. And IT WAS. The night before I was finishing a chapter and since the kids had cleaned so well for grandma we let them have a party before bed. That party took place in our two guest bedrooms, along with the living room and family room--all the while I was happily typing away at a new exciting chapter... GRRRRR....

So needless to say I was ready to just lose it. Like tears, anger, frustration--everything. All at once I didn't want them here for Christmas or ever again. I begged them to please leave. Go shopping far away, or something, please. They heeded my wishes and promptly left. I said a long tearful prayer to my heavenly father, took a deep breath and got in the shower. Starting with me, I began to clean. When my family returned, my house was glowing and shining and perfect AND I had somehow managed to squeeze in a 2 hour nap somewhere along the way.

My familiy was shocked and amazed and indeed very impressed by my home and apologized for the way they had treated me earlier...

Just now they have all said goodbye trying to beat the next storm coming through, on their seven hour journey back home. I have a few misty tears starting, and have realized a very valuable lesson. I LOVE MY FAMILY! I need them. And I'm so grateful they have come continuously the past weeks, because my kids need them too. Not to mention the amount of relief my house feels because of them as well. --LOL!

Anyway, I can happily report that already I'm planning exciting and fun adventures for when they come up in the evening on Christmas day. I just hope they don't show up 6 hours early this time! LOL!

Anyway, thanks for letting me sneak this in. I love you all!

NOW Go read Nikki's post below! Please...

God Complex

When I put pen to paper I become as a God to my creations. I create whole worlds and people who must abide within. The worlds become real with creatures, vegetation, rolling hills, mountains, oceans, and, of course, rules. Each world comes with it's own unique rules that govern the creatures and characters that live in it. The characters have attributes and feelings not unlike my own. They are often placed in harrowing situations and adventures, but once I breathe life into them, their free will takes over. I can change the world around them, change the situation, change the tone of the story, but I can't change their will. I never know what they will do. I can give them the tools, family, friends, and resources to overcome their trials, but I can't make them use them. Being as a God to my paper worlds I can appreciate the frustrations of my own maker. I can only hope that he also feels the awesome wonder that I experience watching my creations grow and succeed in the worlds I created for them. I also hope that I can recognize the tools he puts at my disposal as the blessings that they are.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Choosing the Right Path

Last Sunday, on my personal blog, Day Dreamer, I wrote about missed chances. What if while going down the right path, something happens and your journey is cut short? What if you make a mistake or someone else makes a choice that changes the course of your life? That's how I felt when I lost my contract with Valor, like maybe that was my one change to get published and that the right path had been cut short.

As the comments came in, there was one that spoke directly to my heart and made sense to me. Teri wrote:

With trials and disappointments, I have often remembered an article I read in the Ensign, almost 20 years ago. It was an article where a man wrote in about an experience he had with his son, being lost in the mountains. They had prayed at a fork in the road and felt very impressed to take one of the roads. After about 5 minutes of driving, they came to a dead end. When the son asked his father why they would feel impressed to go down a road that dead ends, the father responded something like, "The Lord told us that, so we would know without a doubt which way to go. We could have driven for hours and been doubtful if we had taken the correct road we know exactly which way to go."

While not the same as your situation, perhaps now you know that Valor wasn't the right path for you to take. Now you will never have to wonder if you should have gone there....because you know.

As I thought about what that meant, I wondered if the Lord led me down that path in order to teach me a lesson. Maybe my book wasn't ready for the national market. Maybe all the rewrites Valor had me do was to prepare it for bigger and better things. And maybe now that I'll be on the RIGHT path, I won't ever look back and wonder if Valor would have been better for me. Now as I go down this other path, I can know that the Lord is leading me where I need to go. The hard part is having patience and letting things happen in His time. I was so close to seeing my dream come true, that starting over with query letters, agent research and the nerve wracking waiting game is going to drive me insane.

But even knowing all this, I think having faith in the Lord, that things will be okay, is the hardest for me. I had absolutely NO reservations with walking down that other path. I wasn't afraid, I wasn't nervous, nothing. I knew in my heart that it was the right thing thing to do and I put it in the Lord's hands. Day after day, I prayed that he would guide me in the right direction and I turned it over to him completely. So now . . . I guess I don't trust my instincts. Will I make the right choices in the future? Will I do something that messes up what the Lord has in store for me? Is that what happened this time? All I can do is work my tail off to do everything right and hope He has a Plan B.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Reason for the Season

We saw this video at Enrichment Tuesday night and I couldn't help but want to share it. It is so beautiful and helps me remember to put things into perspective this holiday season. The song, Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven" isn't the music that originally goes with this LDS video, but some genius realized how well they fit together.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making New Friends

I got this from a fun little handout about friends and friendships for my kids. You can print it up and have it for Family Home Evening, think about all your friends in your life and see where they fit. OR, (I like this) you can have this as a checklist for a your main characters as you write. You choose! Here it goes!


Here are a few helpful hints to making new friends:

1. Listen when someone is talking to you.
2. Ask questions to find out more about the person.
3. Give sincere compliments to others.
4. Don't be afraid to speak in front of a group. This is a good way to share with lots of people at once.
5. Share your ideas with others. Don't be afraid to speak up.

Are Your Friends Cool or Cruel?

Cool kids: ................................... Cruel kids:

*Keep secrets.........................Share your secret with others
*Keep promises...........................Don't listen to you
*Really listen to you.................... Talk behind your back
*Stand up for you........................Leave you out
*Include you in a group...........Are jealous when you do well
*Are happy when you do well........Complain about others
*Are fun to be with..................Are not aware of your feelings
*Think of your feelings ............... Want to get you into trouble
*Care about what......................... Make fun of you
happens to you
*Are nice to you.......................... Are stingy
*Are generous

I honestly feel that these traits apply to adults as well. I hope this has been helpful and fun as well! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Post Nano review

For all those of you who participated in Nano this year, I'd love to hear your experiences with it. Even if you didn't finish. Was it beneficial to you?

I participated knowing that I wouldn't be able to pass the 50,000 word mark because I didn't have enough time to devote to it. But I was amazed at how much more writing time I did get in because I knew I had committed to write in all of my spare time. At times when I usually would have put on a movie I chose to write instead, etc. It kept my writing on my brain, which is what it really takes to keep those voices talking to me! It was a great experience. I'm glad Nikki talked me into it!

What was it like for you?

Monday, December 7, 2009

10 Minutes a Day

Are you having trouble fitting in your writing time?
Here is a simple solution to getting your writing back on track!
My daughter recently learned about time management in Young Women's. After the lesson they handed out weekly calendars with slots to fill in your daily activities. Apparently psychologists have figured out that if you write your goals down you are more likely to achieve them. A time management expert suggested that they write down their daily goals and priorities them each morning. If exercising is your goal, he suggested to start out with just sit ups. Then once that was accomplished on a regular basis to slowly add more activities. This same methodology can be applied to writing. If you are in a writing funk and can't seem to find the time. Set a goal each morning for 10 minutes and slowly increase once you have mastered that. You will find yourself out of that slump and fulfilling your dreams in no time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We Are Children of our Heavenly Father

Well, Jenni hasn't posted yet, so I'm going to sneak in here today and post some thoughts I've been having. I've been having writer's block. I know, it's all in my head, but that doesn't make it any easier to combat. In fact it's harder. If it was just a physical deformity I could work around it. But it's much deeper than that. I sabotage my own dream of being a writer. The more frustrated I get, and the harder I dig my heels in to overcome it, the thicker the block wall becomes. I find myself wondering what's wrong with me. Why don't some of my other writer friends have this problem. How did they find the secret to writing obsessively? How are they able to make their dreams happen so easily? First of all, I have recognized that nobody has it easy. We all have difficulties to overcome in different areas of our lives. Mine right now is my block. Another thing I've learned is that there is a fine line between self-contempt and self-elevation. It's called self-confidence, and somewhere along the way, I lost it. I know where to find it, it just takes a little time. But the secret is in something alot of learned when we turned 12 years old. The secret is in the Young Women's Theme. Well now I'm making it my writer's theme, and this is how it goes:

We are Children of our Heavenly Father, who loves us and we love him. We will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. As we strive to live the Lord's values, which are:
Faith-in ourselves and our Heavenly Father to accomplish the things put before us.
Divine Nature-to love ourselves and our writing through the good and bad.
Individual Worth-knowing that we matter, and our writing is unique and it has worth, even when we don't see it.
Knowledge-to write to the best of our abilities.
Choice and Accountability-we are resposible for the choices we make in our everyday lives to write and to reach for our dreams. Once that choice is made we must make ourselves accountable for it.
Good Works-through our written words we can touch others, and through reaching out and encouraging each other we can truly change the publishing world.
Integrity-to face the big, bad publishing world straight on and not waiver in our convictions. To keep our values and standards high in our writing.
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values we will be prepared to stregthen the literary world, achieve our goals, and reach our potential as seen through the eyes of our Father in Heaven.

I'm working on remembering who I am. When I remember and truly believe that, the sky will be the limit!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Looking For An Open Window

As some of you may know already, my contract with Valor Publishing, to publish my book, The Keeper of the Crystor, has been terminated. As this door slams shut, I find myself searching for that open window everyone talks about. I hope it's out there.

There were two Valor authors that received this notice, myself and one other. A third was spared because they had invested money in her cover. The reason given for this termination, was that we were too close as friends.


Yep, that's right. Several authors were being given conflicting information from board members, and when me and another author asked for a simple clarification, so we could better prepare ourselves for marketing, book launch, etc, they said we had to go.

Nothing could have shocked me more. The information we discussed was basic and meant for all authors. They actually posted some of the questioned information on their blog today, which made me very happy. They seem to be working to fix the problem.

I hesitated writing anything about this, because of Jenni's recent news about signing with Valor for one of her books, but she encouraged me to let everyone know, so I hope this is okay. I wish her the best and truly believe, once Valor gets this communication issue solved, it will be a good company to work with.

As I look back at the way things unfolded, I have to say that I don't think I would have done anything differently. I stood up for what I thought was right, left with my integrity intact and have a great friend who did the same. I feel like this was a mere stepping stone on my way to bigger and better things and hope Valor the best. I have no ill feelings toward them, except a wish that they learn from this and set some standards within their company on how to better handle similar situations.

I'd like to thank all the wonderful friends who have sent emails and made comments on my blog. I don't think I realized how much support I had and how many friendships I'd formed while working to achieve my dream of being published. I'll make sure to keep you all informed as I search out an agent and seek publication in the national market. In the meantime, good luck to all of you on your journey to do the same.

Friday, December 4, 2009

ANWA's Writer's Conference

I'm sick today, I had all these plans for great posts, but I just can't do it. So instead I'm going to give you information about a writer's conference coming up in Feb. I think you've heard me talk about ANWA before. It's a writer's group for LDS women. If they don't have group near you, they have online groups that meet in a chat room once a month. They also have message groups through Yahoo, including a critique. If your not already a member definately check them out, writer's group are a great way to network, and to learn more about writing and the writing community. The ANWA Writer's Conference is open to everyone, men, women, LDS or not. I went last year and learned so much. It's very affordable and such a cozy conference. You don't feel lost in a big crowd. I definately recommend attending if you are a writer or ever thought about writing.

ANWA Writer’s Conference
February 27, 2010
“Start Write Now”
Best Western Dobson Ranch
1666 South Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85292-5699

Keynote Speaker: J. Scott Savage, Author of the “Farworld Series”

Also Featuring:
Aprilynne Pike, New York Times best-selling Author of “Wings”
Helen Bair, Counselor and Author of “Finding the Healer in Me”
Sara Fujimura, Freelance Writer, Magazine Writer, Author and Educator
Doug Johnston, Publicist and Owner of Little Red Ride Promotions LLC
Nancy E. Turner, Author of “These is My Words”
Marsha Ward, Author of the “Owen Family Series”
Dr. Pamela Goodfellow, Writing Coach, Editor, and Owner of Goodfellow Publishing Services.

To register and for more information, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Test of Character

"...the crisis doesn't create one's character it reveals it."--Lynn G. Robbins.
Guess what the first thing was when I heard this quote given on Sunday on tithing? I thought writing! I was so impressed by it I pulled out my program and jotted it down. Wow. Isn't it powerful?

How does your character react to crisis? Does she wilt? Does he flee? Does he become stronger? Does she hold fast? Does she weep?

I would be remiss to continue on without mentioning how the quote really fits.

There is an article in the 2005, May Ensign about paying tithing.

Tithing is for the rich as much as it is for the poor. It is not unkind of our Heavenly Father--or leaders of the church--to expect that out of us even with our economic crisis! In fact, do you remember the story of the widow's mite? She gave her all. I ask myself, how can I not? With all the blessings the Lord has so generously bestowed upon me?

Giving the Lord ten percent of our earnings will bless us beyond measure.

Here is the quote again:

"...the crisis doesn't create one's character it reveals it."--Lynn G. Robbins.

Bearing this in mind, what strengths will a crisis bring out in you? Or perhaps even weaknesses? Will you panic or crumble or weaken? Will you be calm, hold tight, and stand firm?

I know one thing is for sure, the closer to the Lord you are, the stronger you will stand during the crisis--I promise.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Help Please

Okay, I'm working out the plot for a book and I could use your help. Which scenario do you think is better:

Super-human Joe loves Sally, but Sally wants to be super-human too and can only do so by giving her love to super-human Bill (who doesn't love her back.) All the while she begins to love Joe and has to fight her feelings of love for him so that she can talk Bill into loving her. She must choose between her desire to follow her heart, or her desire to be super-human.


Super-human Joe loves Sally, but she doesn't love him back, just loves the feeling of being super-human, and only he can give her that. All the while she really falls in love with ordinary, regular human Kenny but she can't believe it's really love because it pales in comparison to the depth of feeling she has with Joe--just not love. She must choose between her desire to be super-human and her desire to follow her heart.

So, basically, either way she's just picking between 2 guys, but in #1 it's between 2 super-guys, and in #2 it's between a super-guy and a regular guy.

My other question is do you think these have been overdone?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Little Inspiration

I've been dealing with some issues the past few days that have cause a lot of depression and tears. I thought about skipping today's blog because I didn't feel like being creative or thinking of anything to post, but then thought I'd share a video. While searching, I found this one. It not only helped me realize that everything is going to be okay with me, but gave me hope. If there are any of you who are having a bad day or feeling a little down, I hope this will help you know . . . you are NOT alone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Review: An Angel on Main Street by Kathi Oram Peterson

My first impression when I first picked up this book was: Is this an inspirational story about a mysterious person doing random acts of kindness?

So I snuggled into bed and turned to the first page and read.

All at once, I was whisked into a boy's world where he struggled with previous life's choices and made the commitment to walk brighter pathways. Suddenly, he is faced with many trials that could possibly lead him into relapses while others believe he has lost his way. It wasn't until I was five pages into the story that I realized that I did not know his name! As soon as that thought hit me, I put the book down, surprised.

Yes, Kathi is that good a writer. I felt as if I knew Micah Conners already without the introduction of his name. I was already drawn into the story, the characters, the setting, the theme. I was hooked.

As I read, I hoped that Micah would make good choices so as to avoid the heartache of consequences that follow from poor decisions. I cheered him when he had the strength to walk away from potentially precarious situations. I wept with him when his heart broke from lost hope. My heart warmed for him when he finally found faith and peace in his shambled world.

I am rather impressed with Kathi's gift of slipping into Micah's head and making him come alive. His emotions and thoughts and feelings remained true and so believable it had me laughing in certain parts and crying in others.

Just as in real life, the closer Micah drew to his goal, the more tangled life became. With the stout heart of a warrior, he fought for his beliefs and grew stronger from them though he felt lost and alone and afraid.

This story is so wrought with faith, courage, and strength, that I am making it a part of my family's Christmas celebration this year.

Kathi is holding fun contest called An Angel in Your Life Contest. The contest ends on December 15th. All you need to do is email her at and share an experience you have had with someone who became an angel in your life! Kathy says "this contest celebrates the selfless, kind acts performed daily, many times unnoticed. If you are like me, many people have helped you through times of trouble. Let's face it, life is tough and the small acts of kindness shown to us by others needs to be remembered and celebrated especially during the holidays. Christmas brings out the best in people and I wanted to give others the opportunity to thank those who have touched their lives in a profound way. Hopefully this contest will remind us of the angels in our lives."

The winner will be announced on her blog. Both the winner and an "Angel" will be given a gift certificate from either Seagull Book or Deseret Book.

Kathy has asked that I share her book trailer with you--I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

So, where does the angel part come into play you ask? Find out for yourself and add this wonderful story to your family Christmas tradition. May this wonderful story warm your heart as it has mine!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Love Rebecca J. Carlson

I am on vacation this week and was going to email Rebecca to see if she would write a post for me this week. (Oh, I'm switching with Elizabeth BTW.) And before I could write her she sent me a funny guest post. Thanks so much Rebecca!! So here it is:

Your Security Certificate Has Expired

I couldn't get Gmail to work on my computer this afternoon. Firefox kept telling me the site wasn't secure. Baloney! I uninstalled Firefox and tried again, just in case something had gotten buggy.It still didn't work! My husband came over to help. In the "Untrusted Connection" window, he clicked on the technical details.
Here's what it told us: uses an invalid security certificate.
The certificate expired on 3/27/2010 3:20 PM."Expired in 2010?

It hasn't expired yet! What's it talking about?" I asked.My husband suggested, "Looks like we have a problem with the computer's internal clock."

"Oh!" I gasped, moaned, and then buried my face in my hands. "That's it! I set the date on the computer to June 2086! That's when my book happens, and I wanted to know what dates went with what days of the week."

So if I didn't answer your e-mail today, it's only because I left my computer 77 years in the future.

-- Rebecca J. Carlson
Looking for a good book?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Self Care is not Selfish

At times I tend to get caught up in everything I have to do. This week I have needed the reminder to take care of myself.

Self-care is a basic gospel principle. Even the common phrase "Love thy neighbor as thyself" denotes that we must first love ourselves, then serve others.

In order to give all we have to give means we must first be whole. In order to love and accept love from others we must first love ourselves.

Here's my suggestion: Take some time just for yourself this week. Away from your hubby, children, and yes, even those voices in your head. Do something just for you. Take a nap. Read a book. Take a bath. Go shopping. It's rejuvinating! And when you come back a happier person all those other little voices will thank you for it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spreading the FLU

***Before I begin I just want to add an update :) It's been 2 weeks since our new edition, Jefferson 7lbs 15 oz. and 21"long, came to our family and things are becoming "normal" again (which really means that things will happily never be the same again and we are adjusting well. For a 6th child he is an exceptionally easy baby.)!
Spreading the FLU
As I write my crafting books, create new designs and fabric patterns (to be soon submitted to fabric houses) I have discovered something amazing in my home and in the homes of those my family is close to!
My Children have caught the creative flu! My oldest daughter (13 yrs), as you have heard, has started writing her own stories (and has written almost 200 pages of her first book so far and is almost ready for a rewrite), she has also created many fabric designs as well (they are quite good), and is sewing up a storm plus creating her own patterns. This creativity has spread to her best friend, who has begun to write her own book and is reading more because of my daughters influence.
It doesn't stop there! Creativity is like a wild fire or better yet..the swine flu! It's highly contagious! My 7 year old daughter is writing her own story, crafting, drawing and even creating her own purse patterns. It has recently spread to my two sons (8 years and 11 years). They are drawing daily and creating homemade costumes of there own design and construction. I have also seen this creativity flu seize my sister!
All of you have contracted your own kind of creativity flu! I call it "Writers Flu".
Symptoms may include but not limited to:
  • hearing voices in your head
  • grabbing a pencil and paper or heading towards your computer at all hours of the day or night
  • an intense need to share your thoughts and feelings or the thoughts and feelings of your characters with a computer/or write them on paper
This creativity flu is highly contagious and is sure to rub off on all who know you. The main thing is that your talents influence the lives of others. You may see it and you may never know it but you touch others lives daily with your talent. You are following and pursuing your dreams with each sentence you write!!! That energy is catching and enlivens people..influences people.. and even gives purpose to those who thought they had none.
It doesn't stop there! When your writing comes out and others read it, their lives will be forever changed. If your words are clean, uplifting and thought provoking; you will again influence and touch lives. So write, create, be free.! That is your God given talent and you will change not only your life and give it purpose but you will change the lives of all those around you!
Our new baby Jefferson, 2 weeks

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dream Comes True!

After much thought and prayer and just weeks before my agent took my book: The Northanger Affect out to NY publishers. ((I bumped Pride & Popularity out, and brought NA up due to the hilarious Jane Austen rewrite of a girl addicted to Twilight theme throughout.)) The Lord reminded me yet, again, to contact Utah's own up and rising Valor Publishing.

Now having just moved my family of 6 1/2 kids from England and settling down in Utah, I was under the impression that I really could've used a large advance, which was the only reason why it took so long to contact Valor in the first place... Yet, deep down I knew that with little or no advance, it meant I would be getting my royalties immediately. Instead of years from now, had a big pub house forked over an advance.

But as of tomorrow, I will signing on with Valor Publishing. And can I just say, that since the very second I hit send on the email, I sent out to their editor Wednesday night, I knew I was doing the right thing. Never had the spirit comfirmed to me so strongly that something was so right.

By Thursday I had an appointment to meet them for lunch on Saturday. By Saturday (yesterday) I walked away knowing as I knew before, that this was where the Lord has needed me and wanted me, with his books, all along.

My release date is set for June 1, 2010--to coincide with the release of Eclipse. I'll be sent on a 21 day/17 city tour to advertise on TV, radio, signings and speaking engagements. It'll be a full schedule. But as they're providing me with a publicist I should be able to keep track of it.

The list goes on and on, with how well they take care of their authors: With Book Trailers, reviews, business cards--even hiring a band for my launch party if I want. LOL! By the way, I'm thinking about doing a Twilight/Jane fangirl bash--what do you think?

Thanks to Christine Bryant (our Staurday MMW writer) who introduced me to the idea of using her publisher months ago, I'm now seeing my dream realized in all the ways I could've hoped--except better!

Yay! To Valor Publishing!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Book Review: An Angel on Main Street

An Angel on Main Street by Kathi Oram Peterson

From back of book:

Micah Connors promised his mother he would be good in their new town. But with Christmas only three days away, being escorted home by the sheriff does not bode well. Can the towering officer be trusted not to tell what happened? Perhaps the ramshackle stable that has appeared on Main Street will sidetrack him from spilling the day’s events — or maybe his interest in Micah’s widowed mother will do the trick.

The last thing Dawn Connors needs is to hear her son is in trouble. She has enough to worry about with her husband gone and her daughter, Annie, ill. Even though Micah has told his sister the rustic structure in the middle of town is simply part of the town’s holiday decorations, Annie is sure that unseen angels are building the crude stable — which means baby Jesus is coming, and he can make her better.

Terrified that his little sister might die, Micah vows to find the baby Jesus for Annie, even if it is only a plastic doll. But as Micah gets nearer to his goal he finds angels are closer than he ever would have believed.


BOOK REVIEW: By Christine Bryant

Unbelievably touching. I found Angel on Main Street to be heart warming, original and a perfect addition to our Christmas story reading tradition. I was surprised to find it told from the viewpoint of Micah, a young mischievous boy trying to be the new man of the house after losing his father. He was skipping school and causing trouble one minute and helping his mother take care of his ailing sister the next.

I was also touched by the faith of a little girl who believed the magic and true meaning of Christmas, the baby Jesus, would save her life. Finding Micah doing everything in his power to bring that to pass was both heart wrenching and spiritual fulfilling. Without giving away too much of the story, including the tearful ending, I just have to say you will not be disappointed.

Angel on Main Street has touched my life and the characters will remain in my heart for quite sometime. Well done, Kathi.

* * * * *

Kathi is hosting a contest through December 15th. “To enter, write about an experience you’ve had with someone who became an angel in your life. This contest celebrates the selfless, kind acts performed daily, many times unnoticed. If you are like me, many people have helped you through times of trouble. Let’s face it, small acts of kindness shown to us by others needs to be remembered and celebrated especially during the holidays. Christmas brings out the best in people and I wanted to give others the opportunity to thank those who have touched their lives in a profound way. Hopefully this contest will remind us of the angels in our lives” (Kathi Oram Peterson.)

You can enter by emailing Kathi here. The winner will be announced on Kathi’s blog, and both the winner and their “Angel” will be awarded a gift certificate to either Seagull Book or Deseret Book.

To purchase your copy of Angel on Main Street, click HERE!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Inner Two-Year Old

I've been doing alot of research on writer's block, and working through the low points. The biggest thing I'm learning is that there is alot of mental work that goes into writing. You have to be in tune with your inner self. Lots of books and writers sometimes refer to thier creative side as the child within. The child loves to play and have fun. But when you try to make them work they suddenly turn petulant or find something else to do. That description seemed to accurately describe my problem lately. I've been so wrapped up in the fact that I need to work, work, work to get published. I'm quite ok with working hard for it. But somewhere along the way I forgot to enjoy it. I forgot to find happiness in it. As a result, writing has been like pulling teeth. My inner two year old has dug in her heels and she's not budging. The more I try to bully her out of the corner the more she hides.

Another person i met virtually at The Muse Online Writers Conference is Tamlyn Leigh. (Don't you just love her name?) She has a blog that helps writers find their bliss. She also had a class where she assigned us all to write about our inner two year olds. She had us describe their reactions to writing, their likes and dislikes. So I'm going to introduce you all to my inner two year old. (BTW, the picture is really me at about age 3, but I couldn't find any pictures of me at two.)

My inner two year old has brown hair and big brown eyes. She even has little dimples when she smiles. She loves to be happy and play. She hates any form of work. She loves to sing and dance to any song with a beat. She doesn’t care that she’s terrible at both. Demands on her time drives her crazy. When it comes to writing, she loves new stories. She loves the twists and turns and gets absolutely giddy when she writes about a side kick to the head (even though in retrospect, it really wasn’t that funny.) She loves dreaming about authordom, and her published life. Reality is no fun to her. Editing hurts her feelings and has her cowering in the corner as her side kick to the head gets cut. Rejection letters cut her to the quick and leave her refusing to jump through all the hoops, cuz that’s no fun. She needs to be taken by the hand and told that it’s ok. She needs a big hug and to be told that I love her.

My lastest mission is to have fun with my two year old. To let her play, to convince her that even editing is a blast. To find the fun in life.
Feel free to introduce us all to your inner two year old in the comment section. My toddler would love to set up a play date!! I can't wait to meet them all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joy in the Journey

I used to think how lucky certain writers were when they signed a contract and became published authors. I would compare myself to them and even murmur, thinking that they had a timely break and hope that I would have an angel swooping down and magically turn me into a published author over night.

I felt forlorn until I took a look at the marketing plan. I thought, wow, of course one would need to work to promote the book to real success!

Since then, I've decided to take one day at a time. I can enjoy the freedom of writing without a deadline--and after doing NaNo (already done my 50K + words), boy I can surely feel the pressure of that.

Why bite my nails and think, "Rats! I want a contract right now! I want my book published right now!" Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Well, I want to be like the tortoise, enjoying every step of the journey and getting there when I get there. Not to rush the Lord's hand in these things.

That's what it boils down to, is trusting the Lord in all things--even in regards to when I will be published.

Tell me how are you enjoying your journey with writing, where ever it may be?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Crazy Uncle Joe"

One essential thing to good stories are interesting characters. Especially the lead. So, my question to you is: What makes a character interesting?

Is it their profession? Is it their past experiences? Their personality?

What if you want your main character to be an every day, average Joe? Will that, then, not make a good story?

Think of one of your favorite books and tell me: What makes the MC interesting to you?

I'll start. Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" is full of interesting characters. What makes the two main sisters interesting, though, is how they react in contrast to each other. (The one sensibly, and the other not.)

So... maybe what makes a character interesting is the way in which it relates to the story being told? For example, a cop might not be an interesting character in, say, a story about fairies... but would definitely be a more interesting character in a crime-thriller.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest Post -- Rebecca Carlson

The Right Time to Write

Don't mean to complain, but I have five children and I'm the Primary President. I've been trying to simplify my life, so I quit the PTA and sent my one remaining piano student to another teacher this fall. If writing was still just a hobby for me, it would be gone too. No, writing is not just a hobby. Writing is my part-time job that I don't get paid for yet. Two hours a day, whether I feel like writing or not.

So if I went away to live on a remote desert island and did nothing but write and eat cold MRE's, would I be published by now?

Maybe, but I wouldn't be as good of a writer.

My life gives me something to write about. All the experience I gain raising my family, serving at church, and volunteering in the community teaches me about people, about feelings, about conflict, about communication, about love, about life. Everything that happens to me can inspire me, can add a drop to my creative well, give me another fine thread to weave into my stories.

Every day I learn new things. It's painful sometimes, but every day I'm getting a teeny bit smarter and wiser and better. So I don't spend much time feeling bad that I don't have more time to write. I've got time to live! I believe that four hours a day would be my ideal amount of writing time, but I can't have that right now, so I'm content with two.

I know when I'm ready, when the time is right, I'll publish. And my novels will be richer for all the experience I've gained on the way.

I'm just looking forward to next year and KINDERGARTEN!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let Me Have It!

Wow! I've been so busy writing and trying to get my word count up with NaNoWriMo that I completely spaced about posting. So here's the deal. Last week I wrote about what to expect AFTER you're published and the anxiety of being in the public eye. Most of you and those who comment on my personal blog said that giving presentations was the best part and looked forward to it.

So, here's your chance.

Give me a brief explanation of your presentation platform. What message do you want to leave with your audience, both those who read your book and those who listen to you speak. Will you be humorous or serious? Will you use props or just wing it with you and your fans?

Let me have it girls. I'm excited to hear what you've got planned. After all, we know you'll all be published and famous soon, right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Top 10 Ways Moms are like Rockstars!!

I felt silly and decided to write the top ten ways moms are like rockstars! So laugh along with me.
10. As soon as they are spotted, they get no peace.
9. They hear their name chanted incessantly on a daily basis.
8. They often deal with loss of voice due to overuse.
7. Often they have the same set of groupies following them around. (I can't get rid of mine, no matter what I do!)
6. Their most adoring fans usually want something from them. ("Mom, I love you so much...can I have the car keys?)
5. Hectic schedules interfere with regular eating habits. ( I am typing this between bites of a sandwich that is actually my breakfast that I am eating at 11am)
4. Some people mistakenly think they have unlimited supplies of money. ("But mom, it's only $20!")
3. They often have get encore requests. ("Mom, I forgot my lunch/homework/important project please bring it to the school.")
2. Their clothing choices are sometimes questioned. ("Are you really going to wear that in public?")
1. Their autographs are in great demand, especially at the most inopportune times. ("Mom, you have to sign my report card/daily behavior sheet/test grade/homework before school in 5 minutes!!")
That was fun! Do you have any you would like to add? Feel free to put them in the comments!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Writing Sisterhood

Here it is, two nights and two days later Sunday at the Sweetwater Lift Lodge in Park City

and it has been a writer's haven of heaven. I am so very grateful for Karen Hoover's generosity

and love by inviting me along with our most treasured writing group of awesome sisters to come

over so we can reinforce our already strong bonds of friendships by doing what we love best:


My heart is very full as I express my gratitude for my wonderful critique group because we are

so much more than that--we are sisters in Zion who love one another and who build one another

up and who cheer each other on. Talk about major support group. I have to be forthright and

honest, but I wouldn't be where I am right now without them (and I am not referring to Park

City). :) There is a sisterhood here with Mormon Mommy Writers as well, and for that, I am

also grateful--especially with our followers!

Finding that it's a writer's blood life to connect with other writers, how are the dynamics like

with your writing friends and groups?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Get that scream!

I've been thinking a lot about Nikki's post on tension. Like she said, a book doesn't have to be an action-thriller to be a page turner. But a book does need tension. It's what keeps the reader reading. It's what makes a story. Without tension we just have mundane life and, let's face it, no one really wants to read about that. Stories need action-- whether it be physical action, emotional turmoil, or mental change.

James Scott Bell, in his book Plot & Structure, gives good advice on creating tension.

1st- Let your readers know what is at stake.

When conflict arises, how will it affect your MC? The higher the stakes, the greater the tension. Otherwise, the reader is left thinking "Who cares?" and will likely put the book down.

2nd- Stretch the tension.

Milk your reader's emotions for all their worth. If you want them to worry, REALLY make them worry. (And, really, a reader should be worried throughout the book, no matter the subject, to see if the MC is going to be able to achieve his/her goal.) Pause a moment and consider all of the options the scene presents. Then ratchet it up a notch. Consider further possibilities.

Here are some things Mr. Bell suggests to think about when you're writing a scene:

  • What is the worst thing that can happen to my character? (physical/outside circumstance or a range of mental stakes... look to the character's fears)

  • What is the worst trouble my character can get into in this scene?

  • Have I sufficiently set up the depth of emotions for readers before the scene? (We need to care about the characters before we care about their problems.)

  • Have I sufficiently set up the danger for readers before the scene? (Remember they need to know what's at stake before they can start worrying.)

Building the tension throughout the story is what really leads to an ending that your readers will likely not soon forget.

This is what I've been thinking about lately. What do you do to build tension?


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