Sunday, January 31, 2010

Be Faithful in Your Prayers

I've learned an important lesson in 2009. After I graduated community college with an Associate's Degree I was eager to get a job and contribute to our family financially. I found out about a job answering phone calls at home through my personal computer. It sounded like the perfect job for me! I was so excited and prayed that the Lord would help me get the job. I got the job very quickly and knew that the Lord answered my prayers. Then the job was easy, but very brainless. So brainless that I began to hate it. It was customer service so I began dealing with many unfriendly, rude people and I began to wither inside. I began to dislike people in general, I hated waking up in the morning, and writing??? I couldn't even begin, I was so miserable. I was mean to my family and I cried every night and every morning. I felt terrible because I didn't know if I was being ungrateful to the Lord because so many people were out of work and I had a job. I thought maybe I just had a bad attitude and I would hate any job because I had been spoiled enough to not have to work for so long. It was definately a low point for me. I struggled through the job for 5 months but finally prayerfully decided I needed to quit. I felt peace in that decision. For the past 4 months I've been actively looking for a new job in a school where I feel the schedule will be more condusive to my family. But I changed the way I prayed. I prayed that out of all the positions I applied for, that the Lord would help me get the one that would be best for me, my writing, and my family. At times I felt frustrated that it wasn't happening quickly, but I didn't change my prayers. I had an interview that didn't result in a job and I continued to be faithful thinking that it must not have been the one for me. I recently had another interview that went really well and I really wanted the job, but still my prayers remained the same, not my will but thine be done. I got the job as a reading tutor at a school by my house. BTW, saying that I was a writer really impressed the vice principal. I've been working for 2 weeks and I LOVE my job. The kids are wonderful, the hours leave me time for writing, and they are letting me have days off for LTUE in Feb. I am happy, and even feel inspired to keep my dream of writing alive. The Lord answered my prayers again, but this time I was faithful enough to know that he knows what's best for me.

This week I heard back from a small publishing company that I sent my children's picture book to. They gave me a wonderful evaluation, but said they were still deciding whether or not to offer me a contract. I was very excited, but I remembered my previous lesson and I am praying that I will ONLY get the offer that is best for me and my family and the one that will suit the Lord's purposes. I find I sense of peace in praying this way. I don't feel overanxious, or impatient. I feel empowered knowing that the Lord will answer my prayers in his time and in his way, knowing that his way WILL be best. Jenni is the queen of praying this way and I never understood how she could be so calm about it, until now. Praying in faith that He will answer is different than praying with the faith that He will know what is right for you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Overcoming Limitations & Obstacles

In the past I've made it a habit to post the same thing here on MMW as I do to my personal blog "Day Dreamer" on Saturdays. Today, however, I'm stealing my post from Thursday to share with you. If you are a frequent visitor and follower of my blog, I apologize and if you are NOT a follower to "Day Dreamer" SHAME ON YOU! Get over there right now and become one. I need all the followers I can get and I love making new friends. Okay, I know. That was a little too demanding, but it was better than seeing a grown woman on her knees begging, right? Am I right?

So here's the post. I hope it gives you that kick in the rear we all need sometimes to keep writing.

My niece sent me these pictures in an email this morning and as I scrolled down, taking in each exquisite detail of the artist's rendition of these beautiful animals, I thought how wonderful it would be to be born with such a natural talent. To be able to pick up a simple pencil in your hand and craft something so real, so breathtaking, so extraordinary.

I thought about my own talents and my meager gift as a writer and wondered if I'd ever be at the same degree of excellence, jealous that someone could have an easier time expressing themselves and letting their muse flow out on the page.

I thought about all the limitations and obstacles I have each day that keep me from fulfilling my dream. The mundane day to day chores, children interrupting, church callings, phone calls, errands and all those little things I let get in the way of my own muse.

And then there are the excuses. Writer's block. Too busy. Not enough hours in the day. Self doubt. Listening and believing those that have negative things to say, like you're too old, too young, not educated enough, not outgoing enough, not GOOD ENOUGH.

By the time I got to my favorite, this tiger, I thought of my character, Toran. He's a white tiger. I thought of the scenes I'd put him in and how much I enjoyed creating him, believing in him and loving him. Me--I created Toran. I breathed life into him. I gave him a personality, a voice. And then I thought of how much I loved doing that, how it is my passion and how horrible it would be if I lost my talent and couldn't create anymore. It was then that I came to the last picture, a photograph of the artist. The lead of his pencil perfectly poised against the surface of the paper.

Meet Doug Landis. A man who has let nothing get in the way of his gift, nothing stop him from achieving his dream. A man truly without excuses, without obstacles, without limitations, not because they are not there, but because he chose to ignore them, to beat them. Regardless of the fact that he has no arms, he has overcome those things that held him back, not listened to those who told him he couldn't, and become the best at what he does.

So, to all of us, no more excuses! Keep trying, keep writing, keep submitting, keep believing and keep dreaming. It will come. (Now go to my blog and become a follower.....please) *tip toeing out of the room*

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Secret To Writing Books While Raising Kids or Writing 8 Books in Less Than 2 Years.

Hi Ya'll, this is Jenni James. Nikki and I swapped days. From here on out, I'll be your new Girl Friday & Nikki will be writing on Sunday.

LOL! So it's a long title I know, but so many people have asked me what it is that I do, to crank so many books out so fast, especially since I have 6 kids and one on the way.

Um... Can I say I'm not sure? Is that allowed? Because I'm not really sure. However, I will give you a rundown of my day(s) and maybe you can find my secret--because I'm obviously not seeing it.

First off, I never wanted to be a writer--I always thought it would be boring. No joke. So when I did finally start writing, imagine my surprise when I realized it was actually super awesome! For me, it was so much better writing my own story, than reading a book (which I honestly never thought would be possible). I'm a bit compulsive by nature, so once I start something exciting, I HAVE To finish it. HAVE TO.

Because I started out rewriting the Jane Austen novels, I had somewhat of a storyline/outline to follow --Jane's books. But after that, I just let the characters take control. They could tell a story so much better than I could. And it was really fun to see what would happen next, as I never, ever had a clue. Which is another reason why I just HAD to finish, i wanted to know what was going to happen!

That said, these are some of the things that help me daily.

* I find if I help another friend by editing their story, mine just flows faster afterword. So if I have to know what is going to happen in my book, I quickly spend an hour working on a friend's novel, and then sit down and start typing my own.

* Generally every morning I spend time doing a quick edit and read through of what I wrote the night before. It helps me get back into the story and even if I don't start typing right away, it lets me get into the groove and think about what will come next.

* I pray before I actually sit down and write. Or just say a quick prayer in my head, asking for my mind to be clear and that I will know how the story is supposed to go.

* When I get writers block, I know this means something has happened in my story which isn't right, and the whole thing screeches to a halt. I usually step back, say a quick prayer and see what it is that I'm missing, or what I'd just written that wasn't right. Usually, it's someone else needing to enter right then, or my characters needed to speak about something else--or something completely unexpected was meant to happen, like a kiss or something, I wasn't even thinking about.

* From 5-8pm every evening is family time. It's the only way kids get their chores done, homework done, I make dinner *grins,* baths, prayers, etc... I found before I started a regular scheduled family time, my life was a mess, being controlled by the other worlds I was typing.

* Almost as soon as I started typing my first book, and realized this was going to be a full-fledged novel, I made writing a full time job. I don't do anything halfway, so if I was going to spend days, weeks, months of my life creating and rewriting and editing this book--then it was getting published, period. By the time Pride & Popularity (Jan 2011) was finished May 2, 2008, I was already working on a website, and reading up on famous authors' marketing strategies and learning their secrets, learning the craft of editing, and researching the best way to get an agent.

* I don't give up. Some people call it drive. I call it insanity. Yes, I cried like a baby during the whole process of the *hard* editing, rewriting, querying...and ugh! Don't even get me started about how bad I cried while I wrote my synopsis. That was like death, I'm not kidding--DEATH! LOL! But, my hours of persistency paid off, by August 5, 2008, I had an NY agent who LOVEDLOVEDLOVED Pride & Popularity. And couldn't wait to read Persuaded which I had finished while querying the 50 agents I queried in the month of July.

* I also asked the advice of great editing/book reader friends of mine. Anyone who I knew would give me good, honest advice whether hurtful or not, that would improve the story, I included them in my circle of critique friends--and helped them edit their works in turn.

* I woke up one morning and decided, I was going to LOVE editing. I was tired of wasting my time complaining about something for hours, that should only take me moments to do. Ever since then, my attitude has changed, and now--editing is like school for me. I'm constantly learning and growing from it, and I take the challenge it provides and use the opportunity to fall in love with my characters all over again. The longer I wait to edit, the more I convince myself the book is worthless--yet, I always find when I go back to reread--it's good, better than I imagined.

* Whether you believe in God or not, I truly believe there are always two forces working on you--good and evil. The evil will constantly whisper and tell you what you're doing is worthless, and horrid, and no one will ever want to read it anyway. You become depressed and anguished and disgusted with yourself--giving up, before you've even began the real work of rewriting, or even finishing the book. The evil force is especially good at making you feel like you'll never finish your novel. Once I'm in that sluggish middle part--Ugh--I just chant constantly--come on, Jenni--this is the middle. You know the middle is hard, lets get through it.

* I have always been able to visualize myself as a successful author at book signings and speaking events, school visits, TV interviews, etc. Sometimes I was overwhelmed by the road I had to take to get there, especially the parts that turned dark on my path in front of me, and I had no idea what was to come next. But the excitement and almost scary prospect of seeing my future and where this path would lead me--has helped tremendously in achieving that dream.

* I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. So when an agent turned me down, or a publisher... I just took it in stride and realized that I wasn't meant to work with them. Now, I'm so, so, so grateful for all of the editors, publishers, and agents who turned me away. Because had they not, I would've never found my awesome agent, Kirsten Manges, or THE MOST AMAZING PUBLISHER IN THE WORLD--Valor Publishing.

Anyway, the point is, just because you think it's horrid to get a rejection, just remember, that rejection may be because something more amazing is waiting for you, just around the corner!

LOL! Okay, I think that's it. So did you find the secret? Let me know!


If you want to know more about my series or me and my crazy life you can go to my website:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Few Crazy Ideas

I have been thinking about this for a while now and would like your feedback, please! I would love to start a clipart section for Mormon Mommy Writers. The art will all be done by me and of just about anything (from Valentine's cards to FHE coloring things).

I would most likely need to go over everything with a fine-point marker and scan them drawings all into the cyberworld first. I've never done anything like this and am not too computer savvy. When this goes up, if there is any problem of any kind, please let me know.

I hope I get it right the first time so we can get straight to it! There's nothing more that I love than to share my art with others!

If you have any ideas (as in drawings) of what you might want to see there, please feel free to post a comment here.

Oh, yeah, another crazy thing from me!

I've spoken with Jenni about this and she okayed that I post about it here! (Thanks, Jenni!)

I am so excited about this crazy idea I have for running a
contest. I will draw a book cover or a portrait of any one of your favorite characters (for fun, nothing official) from any book you are writing or have written. All you need to do is become a follower on my personal blog if you aren't already, and post a comment--it is not too late to enter!

You have until
this coming Saturday (the 30th).

PS--don't forget to let me know your thoughts regarding the clipart and what you'd like to see there. Thank you! :)

Becoming Self-Reliant

The visiting teaching message for January. What does that mean to you? Becoming self-reliant. The first thing that comes to my mind is independence. Heavenly Father wants us to take responsibility for the things that He has blessed us with. Our spiritual and temporal living.

Becoming self-reliant is following Christ's footsteps.

Imagine you are a young child still living with your parents. They teach you the ways of the Lord and life. Reading scriptures, attending church, praying, balancing a check book, shopping smart, driving a car. Think about it. If you were never taught those essentials (along with much more in between), would you be able to reach out and help others?

The only time we can serve others is when we have strengthened ourselves. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: "It is important to understand that self-reliance is a means to an end. Our ultimate goal is to become like the Savior, and the goal is enhanced by our unselfish service to others. Our ability to serve is increased or diminished by the level of our self-reliance."

It is my testimony that, no matter how small the steps we make toward becoming self-reliant as we serve others, we will truly be blessed. In application to our writing, if we choose to help others with theirs (critiquing, building confidence, mentoring, batting around ideas, etc.), I have no doubt that Heavenly Father will help us become powerful, influential and yes, even successful!


I have transferred this info below from a handout so you could (hopefully) copy it and print it up. It is food storage for 2 people. You can double or triple, depending on your family size! I hope it helps!

Food Storage for about $5.00 a week

Week 1: 6 lbs salt

Week 2: 5 cans cream of chicken

Week 3: 20 lbs sugar

Week 4: 8 cans tomato soup

Week 5: 25 lbs of flour

Week 6: 6 lbs of pasta

Week 7: 6 lbs of brown sugar

Week 8: 8 cans of tuna

Week 9: 1 lb each of yeast baking soda & powder
Week 10: 50 lbs of wheat

Week 11: 8 cans of tomato soup

Week 12: 20 lbs of sugar

Week 13: 10 lbs powdered milk

Week 14: 7 boxes of Mac & Cheese

Week 15: 20 lbs of rice

Week 16: 5 cans cream of chicken

Week 17: 1 bottle of vitamins

Week 18: 12 cans of evaporated milk

Week 19: 5 cans cream of mushroom

Week 20: 50 lbs of wheat

Week 21: 8 cans tomato soup

Week 22: 10 lbs beans

Week 23: 8 cans tuna

Week 24: 3 lbs shortening 3 lbs oil
Week 25: 25 lbs rice

Week 26: 5 lbs honey

Week 27: 10 lbs powdered sugar

Week 28: 20 lbs sugar

Week 29: 5 lbs peanut butter

Week 30: 50 lbs wheat
Week 31: 7 boxes mac & cheese

Week 32: 2 quarts of Mayonnaise

Week 33: 1 bottle Aspirin

Week 34: 5 cans cream of chicken

Week 35: 50 lbs wheat
Week 36: 7 boxes mac & cheese

Week 37: 6 lbs salt

Week 38: 10 lbs beans

Week 39: 8 cans tomato soup

Week 40: 25 lbs flour
Week 41: 5 cans cream of chicken

Week 42: 20 lbs sugar

Week 43: 1 bottle vitamins

Week 44: 8 cans tuna

Week 45: 50 lbs wheat
Week 46: 6 lbs pasta

Week 47: 20 lbs sugars

Week 48: 5 cans cream of mushroom

Week 49: 5 lbs honey

Week 50: 10 lbs of rolled oats
Week 51: 8 cans tomato soup

Week 52: 10 lbs wheat

You will end up with:

300 pounds wheat, 100 pounds sugar, 20 pounds of powdered sugar, 12 pounds salt,

10 pounds honey, 5 pounds of peanut butter, 45 cans of tomato soup, 15 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 15 cans cream of chicken, 24 cans of tuna, 21 boxes of mac & cheese,

1 bottle of Aspirin (Tylenol), 1 pound of yeast, 2 bottles of vitamins, 3 pounds of shortening

12 pounds of Pasta, 50 lbs flour, 12 cans of evaporated milk, 2 quarts of Mayonnaise, 1 lb baking soda, 6 lbs brown sugar, 50 lbs rice, 10 lbs of rolled oats, 20 pounds beans, 1 lbs baking powder, and 20 pounds of powdered milk.

This is almost a complete year supply for two people of everything that is needed. The things that you might need extra of is rice, beans, milk (canned) and rolled oats, so if you get extra cash buy more or those. They also recommend fruit vegetables, jams and jell-O. You will also need 28 gallons of water.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Find a Literary Agent

For my post today I’ve brought along a friend of mine, Beth Revis. She has a super fun and very helpful writer’s blog, writing it out, and she has recently signed with a literary agent! Hooray! Go Beth go! So, anyhow, here she is to tell you how she did it-

Hi Beth! Thanks for doing this interview. Could you introduce yourself a little to our readers?

Hi Rebecca! I'm a teacher by day and a writer by night. I've always known I wanted to be a writer, but made the economically unsound decision to supplement writing by teaching as well. I write speculative fiction--fantasy and sci fi--for teens and middle grade, and my favorite authors include CS Lewis, Patricia Wrede, and Robin McKinley.

You’ve just signed with a literary agent to represent your YA science fiction novel. That’s really exciting! I’d like to ask you a few questions about the process of finding a literary agent. First of all, I understand this isn’t the first manuscript you’ve submitted to literary agents. What do you think was different this time that led to your success?

Honestly, I think it was a level of readiness. In the past, I sent my work out before it was ready. I didn't know that at the time--experience teaches us so much--but the work I sent out previously just wasn't ready.

Why did you decide to get a literary agent?

I always knew that I wanted to make writing a career--to do that, I also knew I needed an agent. I'm not a business person. I'm 100% willing to find a business person--an agent--to handle that side of my career. Besides, if I didn't have an agent, my chances at publication would be slashed.

What resources did you use to find literary agents?

I used to keep track of my queries and agents I was interested in, and that was my base for all research. It has great tools, and it is much more user-friendly than other websites I've used.
I also subscribed to every writing and publishing blog I could get my hands on. I organized it through my feed reader, and while writing, whenever I got to a blog that mentioned anything relevant--specific books an agent worked on, details about what she was interested in, etc.--I starred it. I did this the entire year while writing my book. When I was ready to query, I just opened my starred folder, and started my work there. Also, I did find that most of my starred feeds, and typically the most helpful articles, came from Casey McCormick's blog, Literary Rambles. She does regular "Agent Spotlight" posts that are some of the most comprehensive, best organized posts on the web.

How many agents did you query?

For my whole writing career? Close to 100. For this specific project? Close to 30.

How long did it take to hear back from them?

It varied. I still haven't heard back from one agent who ecstatically asked for a partial. Some rejections happened within minutes.

What were their responses like?

Again, it varied. But (and I can only say this because Query Tracker kept track of it for me) I did receive about a half-and-half positive/negative response. So, about half rejected right away, about half asked to see something more of my writing.

Can you outline the major steps a writer should take in finding a literary agent?

1. Write a fantastic book
2. Get a fantastic critique group
3. Get fantastic beta readers (I actually used alpha, beta, and gamma readers)
4. Revise--but don't revise blindly. Do what makes your story better, but what still keeps your story your own. I once killed a manuscript by changing too much for everyone else.
5. Submit.
Then, base what you do next on your response. Are you just getting rejections? Then figure out what's wrong--your query, or your manuscript. Revise again. If you're still getting rejection, revise again. Or just write something new. And then repeat the process.

Agents read hundreds of query letters, and reject most of them. What do you think made your submission stand out from the rest?

Luck? Also, the fact that my manuscript was pretty polished. I gathered that one of the number one reasons many authors are rejected is because they query too soon.

How does a writer know when he or she is ready to seek representation?

I knew when every reader I got (and these were fellow writers, not my mom or my husband) told me that my work was ready. I was skeptical even then. But I also knew when every comment that the readers made on suggestions of things to change were things that I knew I didn't want to change, either because it changed the story or it changed my style. When the readers could make no suggestions I was willing to do, I knew it was ready--because I knew at that point I'd either be able to attract an agent as it was, or that book wasn't meant to be published.

Do you have any advice you’d like to give to someone who is looking for a literary agent?

Write more.
Whenever I queried one project, and it was rejected, I'd write something new. And then I'd repeat the whole process. When I first started writing, I thought the first manuscript I wrote would be published for millions of dollars. Then I thought it would be the second. Then the third. It wasn't any of them. I just had to keep writing--and, without realizing it, keep improving at the craft of writing--until I found a winning combination of premise and style.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experience with us, Beth! We’ll be watching for your book to come out.

Thank YOU!

Learn more about Beth and her writing by visiting her blog, writing it out, or her website,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Really Bad Day

Having a really bad day/week/weekend/whatever?
I have no words of wisdom at the moment. I only have a mantra that I am reciting over and over in my head to help me get out of this "really bad day" aka bad attitude.
That is:

Be grateful for what you have!

Keep on keepin' on!

When the going gets tough the tough gets going!

Cherish your family!

I'm going to be repeating these phrases the rest of the day to whip myself back into shape

If anyone else has a motivating mantra..drop a line! I'm sure some of us (Me! Me! ME!!!) could really use it.
***Like the photo I picked! I figured if I picked a pretty lady pulling her hair out it wouldn't look so bad. It kinda makes me laugh.***

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Invisible Woman

A friend of mine sent me this video and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Her message is quite clear, that what we do, we do for the Lord and that He sees everything. Please think about this when you don't feel you'll ever get published or that you don't think you or your writing is good enough. The Lord knows every word you put on the page, every second you spend improving on the gifts and talents He gave you, every tear shed when that manuscript comes back after being edited by your critique group. He knows you and He loves you and it will all be worth it . . . in His time.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Calling ALL MMW's!! We are looking for someone to help us with our resource page called "Where MMW's Hang." Do you like to organize blogs? Are you good at finding templates to fit your needs? Can you find links to writer's conferences, contests, and writing information? Or if you are just willing to help for compliments and high praise, you are our girl or guy! Please email Nikki at or Jenni at We would also love to feature you in some of our posts if you are willing. We love all our followers! We would like to thank you all by providing more comprehensive resources right at your fingertips!

BTW, anyone interested in going to LTUE 2010 (FREE writer's conference at BYU) the schedule is up and it's AMAZING!! A few big names that will be there are: Brandon Sanderson (He's the new writer of my all time favorite series "The Wheel of Time"!) Brandon Mull, L.E. Modesitt jr. (The Saga of Recluse), Jessica Day George, and many, many others!

ANWA Writer's Conference in AZ
2010 ANWA Writers Conference
"Start Write Now!"
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Best Western Dobson Ranch Inn
1666 South Dobson Road
Mesa AZ 85202-5699

Keynote Speaker
J. Scott Savage

On a personal note, I am no longer unemployed! I recieved a job working part time at a school as a reading tutor. I get to help kids learn to read and enjoy it! It also gives me time to write, and still be home for my kids when they get out of school! The Lord has really blessed me with my new job!! He is ever mindful of our needs!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My good friend, Shanna Blythe, has asked me to draw her a cover for her book that she is currently working on, The Middle Princess. I had so much fun! She gave me permission to post it, so here it is along with an excerpt of her wonderful story!

It is a lively story about a princess who detests being the middle child of the royal family and does everything she can to break out of that mold. While Fortuna works hard to earn the label of being clumsy, something awful has happened in the lands near and far.

All princes have vanished!

And Fortuna is just the one to find out why, so she sneaks off on a quest to perhaps even rescue them. Her plans for a true adventure are ruined when her father, the king, assigns the traveling troupe staying in the castle to protect her from any harm.

Aaron manages to catch her while the others struggle to keep up. He follows her into an old woman's home who claims Fortuna as her long lost daughter, through woodlands filled with fairies, and kingdoms wrought with danger. Will the princess ever discover where the princes have gone?

Shanna has a knack for creating tension and a real talent for spinning a true adventure tale. She is full of surprises and is an expert at whipping the reader around unexpected corners. And best of all, she knows how to weave a love story.

I really enjoyed her book and have no doubt of Heavenly Father's plans for Shanna! Thank you, Shanna, for letting me share this with everyone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Try, Try Again

My husband laughed when he saw the cover of one of the binders where I keep my manuscript:

Honestly, I don't see anything funny about this, do you?

Oh, and look! I made push pins! Thanks for the inspiration, Mary!

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's raining outside her in sunny California and it's time for a perk me up Craft Moment! I thought you might be able to use these cute pushpins to brighten up your space as well :) These sturdy little numbers make me happy to pin up artwork, lists and even bills :)
All you need is:
Large Pushpins (I found these over sized beauties at Wal-mart)
Glass stones (buy them by the bag. One side is flat and one is bubbled)
E-6000 glue
Fabric Scraps (I used bandannas)
Step 1: Trace the fat part of the pushpin onto fabric with a pencil/pen and cut out fabric to fit over the top of pushpin and generously glue.
Step 2: Generously glue glass stone onto fabric covered pushpin and let dry (I let them dry by having the push pin lay with glass stone on a flat surface with the pin side up).
I have used these pushpins for years and the stone stays glued on. E-6000 glue is awesome :)
***Note: I also did this same technique on a really thick sturdy magnet that is about the same circumference as the stone (found those at Michael's if you have one or any craft store will do). They work great as fridge magnets :)
Have Fun,
Be Creative,
Look Fantastic!
It's Your Time To Shine!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The importance of service...

My head has been spinning non-stop with promotial/marketing ideas since I first starting writing. I mean if I'm doing something for the Lord, then I better get as many people as I can to know about it, right? It's my constant focus and prayer, to come across great ways to advertise. So do you know when I get my best ideas for advertising? Who am I kidding? I get my best ideas for writing new books, editing my own work, AND advertising... when I'm serving others.

I write best, think best, and work best when I'm helping others period.

So if you're struggling with your writing, editing, or promoting... get out there and request to help other authors on their way, you will be blessed. Very, very blessed for your efforts. The Holy Ghost will enlighten you in many different ways on how to succeed. Don't wait for inspiration to hit you--go out, find someone to serve and help--then the inspiration will come.

I promise. It's biggest secret to writing. Helping others.

So guess what I do every Sunday? Instead of working for myself, I reserve this day for serving others. Now, you'll have to excuse me, I have an awesome book called Oracle written by a friend of mine to finish editing...

Enjoy, Jenni.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Finding Time to Read

READ? What's that? I've tried to read the same book 3 times now and can't seem to find time to get more than a couple chapters into it before it disappears. I found it in the back seat of my car today and wondered if I even remembered what was happening with the characters when I put it down. I see my fellow writers blogging their book reviews, one after another, and wonder how they do that AND find time to write. How do they juggle it with their families and work and taking care of the house and going to lunch with friends and church callings and and and and.....

What am I doing wrong?

I mean, it's obvious (because I found the book in the car) that I took it everywhere with me, in hopes to catch a spare moment to read it. And I don't think it's the book, it came highly recommended by a friend and I do vaguely remember enjoying what I'd read so far. So why am I having such a hard time finding time to read? Isn't reading part of writing?

So, please tell me how you squeeze in your reading time. I'd love to hear how, where and when you find the time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fear: The Biggest Loser of All

Ok, I'm going to admit something. I LOVE to watch the Biggest Loser. I love watching people changing their lives. It's not the physical side that surprises me as much as how they change mentally. While they accomplish great physical feats, they come to know their own potential. I strongly believe that when our bodies and our spirits work together to unlock our potenial, it is indeed limitless.

While watching this weeks episode, (only the second of the season) they had a challenge where they had to walk a balance beam over the pool. One woman was deathly afraid of water. It took her a long time to finally get up the nerve to put her foot on the beam, then she put both feet on the beam, then she looked down. Fear caused her to jump off the balance beam and onto the pavement in such a way that she fell face first onto the concrete. Her nose was bleeding, she had a black eye and she broke one of her fingers. She was so afraid of getting hurt, that she made it happen.

Why do we allow fear to do this to us? Just by acknowledging a fear, we give it power. Alot of times we bring the fear into reality. For example, when I was writing obsessively, I was so afraid of getting writer's block. So what happened? I got writer's block! I did it to myself, then of course, I felt validated in my fear. "See, I knew this would happen." I thought to myself. Well of course it did, I MADE it happen.

So how do we get over our fears of writing, of rejection, of success, of failure? I think a big part of it is making the fear happen then getting through it as quickly as possible. The biggest challenge in our heads are always the ones we haven't faced yet. So face it, write, get rejected, succeed at something, fail at many things. Once we do, we realize it wasn't as bad as we thought it was. The fear becomes smaller in our heads.

Remember fear is brought about by uncertainty. We don't know how we will face certain things so we create a fear so we never will face them, which is exactly what we must do. Face a fear before you allow it to get too big in your mind. Remember what Kasie said, it's ok to fail, but fear is just another form of quitting.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don't Quit before you Fail

I read a post over at Seriously Amber Lynae today that really inspired me. She asked the question: Would you rather quit or fail? And my truthful answer has always been: Quit. The thought of failing at something scares me. In fact, if I see myself on a path towards failure, I bail out before I can be crushed or hurt. But as I read her post, I realized that my answer was my pride talking. If I quit, I've given up before I had a chance to fail (or to succeed). To fail, means that when I didn't succeed I was trying my hardest. By the time I finished reading her post, I realized that there is no shame in failing at something. Because failing doesn't mean you have to give up. Failing can mean you just have to find a new way to do something. Or you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Thanks, Amber, for the pep talk today and I hope that I can keep moving forward and never give up on a dream because I'm afraid of failure.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life is Beautiful

I am feeling solemn as I write this. Our ward has had another death—this time it was one of our Young Men. He was suffering from severe depression and it had only worsened the last 2 months. His mother did everything she could, including home schooling. He had actually begun to show a turn around.

During his funeral, our bishop encouraged every person present to enjoy life. The sound of a baby’s laugh. The smell of flowers. The warmth of an embrace. The joy of a smile. As he said this, I cried because this young man lost his chance to experience the joys of serving a mission, marrying in the temple, having a family and holding his babies as they are born, along with many more pleasures this life has to offer. But we know he is in a happier place.

On Sunday, the topic was on the Plan of Salvation. I am ever grateful for Christ’s love for me and how He sacrificed His life so that I can live with my Heavenly Father again.

In times of darkness, when all seems lost and impossible—remember to hold tight to the iron rod. We are truly loved and blessed by our Father in Heaven and never, ever are alone. If we could only view ourselves as He does, we would stand in awe every moment of the day.

To David

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Creativity Boost

I read an article last week about five things that top innovators in business do to get their creative thinking going. Since we’re all engaged in creative work, I thought we could learn something from this list:

As writers, we can question anything and everything! Questions often give birth to new books. What if a boy grew up not knowing he was a wizard? What if one of your classmates was a vampire? What if there really were dragons? What if nuclear fusion solves all our energy problems but creates other troubles?
Try this: Write down ten questions a day. They could be questions about your book, your characters, your life, the world, anything!

Writers and poets have been described as those who can see clearly the human condition. We must observe in order to understand. We must draw from life to create living, breathing characters who respond in authentic ways to the things that happen in our stories.
Try this: Watch the people around you. Each day capture some small incident in words. Try to write it exactly as it happened.

Try new stuff! If you write paranormal romance, try a rhyming picture book, or a biography. Trying new things makes new pathways in your brain, and you’ll never know what you’ll find when going down a new path!
Try this: Take a small piece of writing, yours or someone else’s, and experiment with it. Change the prose style, write the scene from a different point of view, write it for a different audience. See what happens.

As writers, we can spend our lives cooped up with our keyboards, perfectly content to hang out with our imaginary friends. Pleasant as this is, it can lead to stagnation. Call a friend, go visit a neighbor, join a writer’s group. Go to workshops and conferences. Talk to other writers, learn what they’re doing. Their exciting new ideas can spark your own.
Try this: Seek out writers or other creative people and say, “So tell me what you’re working on right now.”

Now put it all together. Take what you’ve gained by questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking. Look for the connections. Try putting seemingly unrelated ideas together and see what you come up with.
Try this: Take a few of your questions, put them together with something you’ve observed, and use it all to write an experimental short story in a genre you’ve never tried before. Then find a friend who will read it for you. I volunteer!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Make Mistakes

I recently saw an interview of an artist/designer that use to be in my ward and is now a great success! (click on the photo to go to link). In the interview she said a few things that I know relates to authors as well (aren't we artists/ designers of the mind?) The things that jump out to me are:
#1 "Don't say no to yourself... edit later." Just do it and write what comes to you. Have no fear!
#2 Have your fabric out so you will use them to inspire you (in our terms: Have your computer/writing notebook out so when you have a spare moment you will write).
#3 Keep a sketchbook near by (you never know when inspiration hits).
#4 "Give yourself permission to exercise your creative muscle!"
#5 Be in an inspiring space (find a writers nook all your own if possible).
#6 Involve your family in the creativity!

She also has a fun east craft tutorial to watch!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Can you believe it's our first birthday? I'm so excited! This blog has actually survived a whole year and is thriving just as the Lord promised me a year ago, this week, while I was in the temple...

MMW's Story starts with me in the celestial room and the Lord truly explaining why he's called me to write--because I was baffled and unsure, and wanted to be positive I was meant to ignore friends and my life as much as I had... These were some of his words:

Jennifer, you are one of the many of my writers being called to come forth at this time. You are one of the strong ones who stands against Satan. Now is the time for my writers. Now, when Satan has control of everything surrounding the youth of this church--the media, television, songs, movies, magazines...everything. A time when my warriors are being subject to so much of Satan's wrath. Now is the time for my writers to come forth. My brave, celestial writers--to stand against Satan and his followers and write good, wholesome books for the youth to turn to. Strong, valiant heroes and heroines. A chance to fall in love with good faithful boys and want to be as the characters in your books. You have a great mission to fulfill, Jennifer. Just as all of my writers called now--are seeing. You must stand strong. If you do, if your characters are written by me and for me, they will succeed. You will see your work go forth and touch multitudes.

I ask you now, to please gather these writers together. Let them see your success and gain hope and courage from it. There are many young mother's like yourself, drawn and feeling called to write for me right now--gather them. Let them see that you can succeed in this industry, by breaking the mold, and creating good, clean righteous characters. And you will, I promise you, you will change the world one book at a time.

That evening I called Nikki Wilson and told her I planned to form a blog and asked her to help me. She did. And as you say, the rest is history.

My book, Northanger Alibi--the first in a series of modernized Jane Austen books, will be released June 1st. I know the Lord has had a tremendous hand in all of the success I have found in my journey. I promise you, as long as you are writing for Him, you will find success too. Do not doubt. The Lord wants these books read, and these characters come to life. He needs you. You are part of a great mission--a call to change the world, one book at a time. Stand strong. Do not give into the whisperings of Satan. He wants you to give up and fail--but you won't. Not you. You have a mission, and only the Lord can guide your footsteps. Only the Lord can sway your thoughts. Remember, you are choice, you are blessed, and there is a reason why you were chosen to write. It will come. This dream will come for all of you. I know it. The Lord is never wrong.

Below I have the first Sunday post I wrote, 12 months ago:

2 Nephi 25:26

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

I feel as a newborn author that I was called to write. Why the Lord chose me, when it could've been any one else? I used to ponder a lot--especially when i was first starting 10 1/2 months ago and still hadn't learn to balance and juggle my writing and family. I found myself fascinated by the addictive qualities in writing and I couldn't wait to get on my computer to find out what would happen next. But I also resented that it took so much time from me... ei: sleep, friends, family, life! LOL!

Now, I'm resigned. Now I see my purpose as a writer becoming more and more clear every day. I am His missionary. I am spreading what millions of other writers try to do every single day, but can't. I feel strongly that my work is succeeding, because my characters stick to the Lord's values. He needs my work out there to battle against Satan--not to join his forces. Anyone can join Satan and write what millions of others do. I am writing against him, hence I am succeeding.

My characters attend church, they say prayers, they don't take the Lord's name in vain, and a curse word--no matter how vile the character is--NEVER gets placed in my MS. A character may swear without me having to type it. When I think of what an amazing calling (and burden) the Lord has placed on my shoulders, to give the youth of the world another option to read rather than the countless books with bits of Satan's influence scattered about them--when I think of that, I know why He called me. I know why I was meant to become a writer. Because I don't back down. I don't compromise who I am to fit in with the crowd. I NEVER have. I am the trendsetter. People follow me, not the other way around.

I encourage you all to look again through your manuscripts and find places where you can add bits of who you are in them. Add what you know, and what you believe. And when you do, I promise you, the Lord will bless you. You will succeed--and fly above the masses and hoards of writing below you--to Shine.

Take a stand and stand up for what you believe in.
Jenni James

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Had A Dream

I hesitated sharing this with you, because it is so sacred to me, but then I realized that in doing so, I would be sharing what I've learned and that is a good thing. My hope is that reading this will somehow bring you the same kind of peace it brought me. That perhaps whatever it is you are dealing with in your life, whatever burden brings you sorrow, will be lifted or at least lightened in some way.

I apologize for its length.

Most of you are aware of the journey my writing career has taken lately, with its ups of being published and downs of losing my contract. Among all the little things mingled between the normal disappointments of life, I found myself slipping into depression. For many reasons, this past Thursday was one of the roughest days.

As I lay in bed that night, praying to understand the Lord’s plan for me and begging for direction, I suddenly felt peace. It was as if I were wrapped in a warm embrace, as though I were literally in the arms of the Savior. I rolled to my side and curled into a ball, surrendering to the comfort I knew He was giving me. As I did, I continued to pray, this time not holding back the tears I’d managed to suppress moments before.

As I fell asleep, I could still feel the Savior’s presence as I dreamed, and I knew what I was being shown was something I needed to see, but still didn ’t understand. I was in a room without walls, and now that I think about it, I guess that would mean they went on forever, but honestly, I saw no boundaries. There was nothing, just white, but not the blinding kind, just a soft comfortable lack of darkness.

All around me there were beautiful women, some walking in lines, as if they were moving with purpose, and others gliding around in small groups. None seemed lost or confused. In fact, they all stood straight, facing forward, their heads held high. Each one had a peaceful smile on her face and all were dressed in white, yet their clothes seemed to reflect their personalities. The garments were all modest and made of the purest weave of fabric, flowing with the breeze the women made as they walked.

As I stood there, wondering why I was being shown this, I noticed something else about them. Each one held a small box in her hands about the size of a small loaf of bread. Each box was unique and woven with a natural material like reeds or wicker or a variety of grasses, yet were all the same color, a warm reddish-brown with darker grains within each woven strip. The corners were rounded with no sharp edges. The women held them close to their hearts, as if what was inside was precious to them.

Although I didn’t see Him, I continued to feel the Savior’s spirit around me. Questions about what was inside the boxes escaped my thoughts, but instead of getting answers I was given the impression to look into my own arms. There, held tightly in my hands, was my own box. It was at that moment I woke.

I lay flat on my back, something I never do. I can’t sleep on my back, or so I thought. I closed my eyes, hoping that, with the dream still fresh in my mind, I might be able to fall back to sleep and finally get answers to my questions, but sleep didn ’t come. Instead, the dream continued to unfold in my conscious mind, as though I were asleep. It was then that I notice something strange. None of the boxes had hinges. They didn ’t have clasps or individual pieces that made a lid or a base either. I somehow knew they were hollow, but could see the outside was one solid weave, with no way to be opened—at least not by our own hands.

I didn’t understand, and I wanted so badly to understand. Why would I have this dream if it didn’t answer any of my questions? But then I had a sudden understanding and I knew what was inside each box. They were filled with our gifts and talents, our futures and those things we don’t know yet. The things we brought with us to this life, but that we are not allowed to see. If I were to open my box, seeing what lies before me—my future—the precious box would be destroyed, would crumble in pieces to the ground.

Then I looked up at the women again and realized what I was really seeing. They were all walking upright, with heads held high, their eyes forward. Not for a moment did they waver or deter in any direction. They all knew they had a purpose and trusted that the Lord would guide them. They all had faith, something I was obviously lacking in my life. It was not my place to question what was in my box. It was enough to know that it was unique to me and that it was filled with wonderful, glorious things that were promised to me by my Father in Heaven.

I’m so grateful that I was given such a precious gift, that I was shown something so sacred. I know now that I, too, need to walk as those other women were walking, with faith, not wavering. I need to trust the Lord and know that the wonderful things he has in store for me will come in His time, not mine, and that I need to hold that future close to my heart and protect it and honor it by being obedient.

I hope, in some small way, my sharing this dream has helped you to realize that the Lord loves each one of us and has a plan for us. Just because we can’t see it right now,doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. May the Lord bless each of you with whatever your heart desires. And may all your dreams come true . . . in the Lord's time.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I'm a pantser. For those of you that don't know what that means, it means I like to fly by the seat of my pants when I write. An outline isn't really for me. But I have written the same story almost 3 times now, and I'm thinking an outline might be helpful. At my writer's group we had a great lesson by Kristi K. on outlining. She provided many different outlining techniques. My favorite is one that is a list questions you can answer that would give you a basic understanding of your story. Here it is:

Thirty Minute Novel Outlining Exercise
1. At the start of your book, what distinguishes your protagonist from other people? What central strength does he/she have? How does this strength get him/her into trouble?
2. When the novel opens, what is s/he on the brink of doing? Why does s/he say she's going to do this? What does the action represent for the protagonist?
3. What external situation will require the protagonist's participation thoughout the course of the book? How does this connect with #2? Does it help or interfere? Can you build in a deadline for extra tension?
4. What is the protagonist's goal for the time the book covers? How does this connect with the external situation? Or does the external situation divert the protagoinist from his/her goal? Why does the protagonist SAY s/he wants the goal to be? Is there a deeper motivation as yet unknown to him/her?
5. What problem (external conflict) does the external situation present? How can the protagoinist eventually resolve that conflict?
6. List at least three obstacles in the way of her resolving this conflict. Make one an internal obstacle/conflict.
7. How will the protagonist grow because of confronting these obstacles?
8. What do you want to happen at the end of the book?
9. What will have to happen to the protagonist against his/her will to make your ending come about?
To me this is not as overwhelming as an actual outline, plus I think it will help me to firm up my plotline.
Also at our meeting Kristy C. (MMW) told us about FREE software that helps you outline your novel.

I'm hoping this tutorial shows up. If not you can watch it on the link above. It sounds really good. You can make the outline as in depth as you want. I may even give it a try. I will have to let you know if this pantser can actually be converted to outlining!

Do you have any tips about outlining? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How to beat the Publishing Blues

Let's face it. This industry is hard. It starts the minute your fingers touch the keyboard to start your first book. You struggle with scenes and characters and setting and on and on. Then you finish with a feeling of accomplishment and relief. You send your baby off to get its first critiques. You're sure that it will come back with glowing reviews. People will think you're a literary genius. And then you start reading through those first few comments. They are riddled with suggestions about your character's lack of motivation, your plot holes, your grammar misuse. Every suggestion is as though someone is telling you your firstborn is not only ugly but will amount to nothing.

But you power through. You take the suggestions. You evaluate them. You edit. You make your book shiny and new and you start querying your new and improved baby. You say you'll be okay with rejections, but secretly you think yours is going to be the first book ever to get an agent without a single rejection letter. So when the letters start coming in (some as soon as 7 minutes later) you get discouraged. And this is only the beginning after you land the agent, publishers start rejecting you. Even when you are published, the critics are waiting.

So how do you stay positive in an industry that tries to beat you down at every turn?

1. Educate yourself. There are so many resources now for the amateur writer. They range from how to write a query to how to market yourself. Knowledge truly is power.

2. Surround yourself with writers. No one can know exactly the feelings you're going through unless they've been through them as well. Who better than to understand you and help you through it all than other writers? The blog world is full of amazing, supportive people. Get to know them.

3. Keep the right perspective. Nobody gets published overnight. Even the writer's who seem like they came from nowhere have a story to tell about the climb to publication. Remember that everything takes time and prepare to spend at least 3 years from the time you type the first word before you see your book on the shelf. And that's on the low end. If you are mentally prepared for the time it takes, the waiting doesn't seem so frustrating.

4. Keep practicing. While in the various stages of waiting, keep writing. It not only makes the time pass quicker, it also helps to develop your skills.

If you have tips on how to beat the publishing blues, feel free to share them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No One is Perfect . . .

My sister sent me an *email, a motto for her Homemaker's group! I hope this will help a little with the start of our grand 2010! Let's make the best of what we have!

Someone will always be prettier.
Someone will always be smarter.
Some of their houses will be bigger.
Some will drive a better car.
Their children will do better in school
And their husband will fix more things around the house.
So let it go, and love you and your circumstances
Think about it!
The prettiest woman in the world can have trouble in her heart.
The most highly favored woman on your job may be unable to have children.
The richest woman you know, she's got the car, the house, the clothes~ might be lonely.
So, love who you are.
Look in the mirror in the morning and smile and say,

'I am too Blessed to be Stressed and too Anointed, to be Disappointed!'
'Winners make things happen~~ Losers let things happen.'
Be 'Blessed' sisters and pass this on to encourage another woman.
'To the world you might be one person, to me you are special!

*I've changed a few words to fit!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflective Listening

My twelve-year-old son peeked his tear-reddened face out his door. “Hey mom, can we talk a minute?”
This means I’m in trouble, right?
He had stormed off to his room after a fight that started with me telling him he had to load the dishwasher before he played his computer game, and ended with him saying, “Well, you spend all your time working on your book!”
I sat down in his desk chair, reviewing the reflective listening techniques I’d learned in parenting class. Whatever he said, I had to stay calm and just let him know I’d heard and understood him.
He sat down on his bed, hunched forward, still scowling, “Mom, what’s so good about reading books?”
I leaned back in the chair, digging through my brain for a good answer. “For one thing, when you read a book your vocabulary improves. You learn new words.”
“You learn new words when you play computer games too. Computer games have words.”
Technique went out the window. “Whoa, Ben, listen, if you want to try and convince me that computer games are better than books, then it isn’t going to work. I am not going to have that discussion with you. We have different opinions on that subject. It is no use trying to argue opinions.”
He took a deep breath and let out a shaky sigh. “Okay, but mom, I feel like... well, I want to be a computer game programmer, and you said that computer games are a big waste of time.” Fresh tears dripped off his cheeks.
I closed my eyes, and I was a teenager again, still in pajamas on a Saturday afternoon, with drawings for my science-fiction graphic novel all over my bed, and my mom came in and said, “I can’t believe you have wasted this entire day. Now get up and clean your room.”
It hurt. I felt like she was saying my writing and drawing were a waste of time, something so dear to me that I enjoyed so much was an utter waste of time. Now, as a mother myself, I knew that’s not what she meant. But that’s what I had heard.
So I told my son, “I’m sorry. It wasn’t fair for me to say that. There are good computer games. Some computer games help you learn things, and some computer games are fun and good recreation, and they help you learn to keep trying, and to solve problems. I said what I did because I was frustrated that you spend so much time thinking about computer games and playing computer games, and sometimes you are inconsiderate of your family. I’m sorry I hurt you.”
My son nodded. “I think computer games are way better than books because when you’re reading a book, you don’t get to make any of the decisions.”
I smiled. “There are good computer games, but anything taken too far can be bad, and there are bad computer games. Really awful ones. Same thing with books. There are lots of good books out there, but there are bad books too.”
My son jumped up. “That’s why I want to write computer games! I want to write good games! I want to be a game editor that families can trust, for people who are looking for games that don’t have anything bad in them. I want to prove that I can write a really fun game that has nothing bad in it!”
Tears came to my eyes as I realized that my son wanted the very same thing I did. My heart echoed the thrill of conviction in his voice. “I didn’t know you were so serious about this, Ben. That’s great.”
“I’m serious about it. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get to be a computer game editor. I don’t care how hard it is. I’m going to do it.” He rubbed the tears off his face. “Well, mom, I’m ready to go load the dishwasher now.”
“And when you’ve got a game written, I’d like to try playing it.”


Monday, January 4, 2010

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of "Those" days when you hoped to accomplish so much and in actuality very little happened? Well it was one of those baby powder, toilet paper endless laundry all over the house days for me. I was about to hang my head in frustration but, I remembered that I had not yet written for my Monday spot on our blog! So I racked my brain with something inspirational when I decided to take a dose of my own medicine! So I began writing a list of all of the things that I had accomplished! It may not have been on my list but it was accomplished none the less.

My Achievement List for the Day:

(It may not be a lot but at least it was something and that perked me up a little bit and encouraged me to not throw in the towel)

  • 1 load of laundry washed
  • Changed a bunch of diapers
  • Witnessed my 13 year old change her first newborn baby diaper
  • Got 3 kids to exercise 30 minutes each on treadmill
  • Baby nursed and held all day
  • Helped 3 kids finish a day and a half of home school
  • Dished washed from baby blessing buffet for 40 people
  • House put back together after baby blessing party
  • Morning prayer + scriptures with kids
  • Called and talked to oldest son who went to grandparent's house for the week
  • Organized and got rid of 1 big box of stuff
  • Cleaned up baby powder and toilet paper mess around house
  • Did flash cards of times tables with son (he knows tables 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's and 6's
  • Talked with sister
It wasn't all that I wanted to do today but as I wrote out the list I realized it wasn't "nothing". So if you are having one of "Those" days, write a list of what you have actually accomplished. If it was just feed yourself and the kids and pick up after them..don't be so hard on yourself. If you really think about it there was love and learning in there too. After you write out your list blog it, comment it here or file it away for a future character. Every day counts and every thing you do has a ripple effect on those around you...even if you don't see it. It counts and most of the time it's the little things that are remembered by your kids and others.

So have a great one of "Those" days. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A New Beginning...

Forgive the lateness of this post... but I've been traveling home from Farmington, NM where my daughter was baptized Saturday.

It got me thinking about the wonderfulness of new beginnings.

A new year.

A new month.

A new week.

A new day.

A new hour.

Every moment we're given is precious--and each moment is a new moment from the last. We have in each new moment, the ability to change whatever it is we want to change--to become whoever it is we wish to become. All it takes is one moment to start all over again.

A new chapter. A blank page.

You are the author now... this is your moment to shine...

What will your story be?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

And So the Story Goes

Yep, it's Saturday again and here I am racking my brain, trying to think of something to write about and coming up empty. Sorry sisters (and brethren who visit us often), but my brain is mush. Maybe it's all this talk of resolutions or perhaps I've just eaten too much Christmas fudge. Whatever the reason, I got nothin'.

So, I thought maybe it would be fun to do a little exercise. How about writing a fun short story. Each of you can add a sentence or two and take it in any direction you like. I'll give it a few days and then try to end it with a final paragraph or two (that is if someone doesn't kill off all the characters by then).

Okay, lets go with clean YA romance for our genre, maybe it will get us in the mood for Valentine's Day. (I know. Who wants to think that far ahead, right.) You're limited to 3-4 sentences, so make them count. I've provided a picture for inspiration. Have fun. The first one to comment gets to give it a title. Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Life, the Universe and Everything 2010

In February, there is a FREE Sci Fi/Fantasy writer's conference at BYU, and guess who's going? That's right! ME! Ok, so there will be some really cool authors there too like Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, and L.E. Modesitt, but the important thing is that I'm going! I'm so excited. I live in AZ so even a free conference costs me a plane ticket and guess what Santa brought? Money for my plane ticket! There will be about 5 other MMW's going to the conference. My question is, who else is going? Maybe we could have a MMW meet up! It could be fun. For more information on the conference click here

Our friend Jenn Johanssen went to this conference last year, here's what she has to say:

I've been to several writer's conferences in the last year, but LTUE was my favorite. It was informal and informative. The authors/panelists were entertaining and helpful. They also were incredibly friendly and happy to answer questions and spend time with aspiring authors. They had a very talented group of people participating from a variety of areas. I also enjoyed that they had panels on a variety of aspects of writing. They had panels on Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but also panels on World Building, maintaining Tension, writing a good hook, and many others. It was awesome... I would have glady paid money to attend again--but it's free--which only makes it better. If you are a writer and live in/or are able to visit Utah in February... I highly recommend attending.

Also, there is a contest going on Cami Checkett's Blog be sure to check it out! It's great to get to know more mormon mommy writers! I would love to see you in person at the LTUE conference!


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