Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Believe in Yourself

(photo found on Bing)

Did you ever notice that getting to your destination is a whole lot longer than arriving back home? Whether its by plane, car or foot. Have you ever wondered why?

I thought about that as I walked over to a friend's house. It took longer arriving there than getting back home. How is that if its the same exact number of steps?

I believe it's all in in the mind. A person has a certain mindset of anticipation as s/he travels to the place. Anticipation is like suspense. Suspense makes things edgier and a bit harder to bear. We are yet empty, waiting to be filled.

Once we arrive, we can relax.

The journey home is shorter, I believe, because we are no longer hit with the feeling of expectation. We are filled with what we had set out to do. Yes, even if its from a dentists chair (Bleh!). Our minds no longer dwell on the suspense so the traveling time seems much shorter.

I'm wondering how I could apply this writing.

At first, it starts out as something whimsical. A word here. A word there. Then a poem, maybe? Or a short story? A book . . . Then sometime along the way, we decide to we want to be published. From the starting point, the pathway seems long and impossible. Even trying.

There are constant road blocks. Nay sayers. Rejections. Sharing with others. Critiques. Editing. Revamping. Learning curves. Applications. Finding a good critique group. Finding worthwhile writing friends. Being able to attend writing conferences. There is much more that should be added, but that would make this post way too long! ;)

I can see how writers become so very needy after all this!

I understand that some of the things I've mentioned wouldn't be considered road blocks, such as giving or receiving a critique. I feel it all depends on which stage of writing we're at.

I attribute our readiness to our thoughts. The mind is a powerful thing. We can make it happen or not. We can let others drag us down with their critiques or let it build us. We can say it's their loss when a certain agent rejects us. We can use our growing pains to reach out and help newer writers, even older ones who still face doubt.

I feel that now is the time for writers. Karen told me that when she started out, she hardly knew any writers. There are so many now. Have you noticed? I have!

I believe that the Lord is inspiring an army of us to take the lead and become what the world needs--published authors. Trust yourself in your abilities and believe that you are meant to write, no matter the nay sayers and rejections and discouragement.

What stage in writing are you at? How have you overcome some hurdles in your writing career?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Way to Write

In Barbara Kingsolver's, The Poisonwood Bible, one of the characters is born crippled. She walks with a limp all her life. Then she meets a doctor who tells her, essentially, "There's no physical reason for you to walk with that limp anymore. Stop walking for six weeks. Crawl instead. Then try walking again. The limp will probably be gone."
In the book, it works! After taking a break from her habitual way of walking, the character learns that she can walk normally. But she had to stop walking for a while before she could do it.

Several years ago I had some bad typing habits. For a long time I tried without success to break those habits. At last, I switched my computer to the Dvorak keyboard layout and made myself learn to type from scratch. It was a leap backwards at first. I went from being able to type at a reasonable clip to a slow, pained tap...tap...tap. But a few months later, my fingers could fly! I was typing faster than I ever had before. After a couple years I switched back to Querty, learned to type all over again, and now I can type fast enough to take down my grandpa's life history by dictation.

A little while back I learned something new about my writing---as much as I love to write by discovery, the kind of stories I love best don't happen to me by accident. Some authors seem to be able to do it, but now that I've finished three manuscripts I can see that story is the aspect I struggle with the most.

So I'm learning a new way to write. I'm outlining first.

There are some things I like better already. I am so excited about my story I can't wait to finish the book and share it with other people. In the past it has always been the characters I adored, and the premise and the setting, but this time I know my story rocks. On the other hand, I feel like I'm crawling around on my hands and knees, feel like I'm typing on a keyboard where someone has mixed up all the letters.

I'm hoping that I can learn this new way to write, and then something marvelous will happen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Spirit--Unplugged

Last Sunday, I was able to attend our Stake's Standards Night with my 13 yr old daughter. The main speaker talked about all the electronic distractions of the world. He talked about the spirit being blocked by our busyness. The distractions aren't always bad, but we need to limit them. I found a conference talk by Elder Quentin L. Cook. He talked about having the joy of the Spirit in our lives. Then he went on to tell us about how to stay away from distractions that block the joy of the Spirit:

What do we need to do to have this kind of joy? In addition to attaining saving ordinances and following the living prophet, we need to live in accordance with certain fundamental spiritual principles, such as prayer, scripture study, righteous living, and service to others. It is well understood that if we engage in sinful conduct, we must repent. Let me suggest three other areas or distractions we need to avoid in order to maintain joy and rejoice more fully in the Savior’s gift: (1) avoid distractions which keep us from doing what we ought to do, (2) avoid the magnification of small imperfections, and (3) avoid unfavorable comparisons with others.

We are often unaware of the distractions which push us in a material direction and keep us from a Christ-centered focus. In essence we let celestial goals get sidetracked by telestial distractions. In our family we call these telestial distractions “Saturday Morning Cartoons.” Let me explain.

When our children were small, my wife, Mary, and I decided to follow a tradition which my father taught when I was a child. He would meet with us individually to help us set goals in various aspects of our lives and then teach us how Church, school, and extracurricular activities would help us achieve those goals. He had three rules:

1. We needed to have worthwhile goals.

2. We could change our goals at any time.

3. Whatever goal we chose, we had to diligently work towards it.

Having been the beneficiary of this tradition, I had the desire to engage in this practice with my children. When our son, Larry, was five years old, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a doctor like his Uncle Joe. Larry had experienced a serious operation and had acquired great respect for doctors, especially his Uncle Joe. I proceeded to tell Larry how all the worthwhile things he was doing would help prepare him to be a doctor.

Several months later, I asked him again what he would like to be. This time he said he wanted to be an airline pilot. Changing the goal was fine, so I proceeded to explain how his various activities would help him achieve this goal. Almost as an afterthought I said, “Larry, last time we talked you wanted to be a doctor. What has changed your mind?” He answered, “I still like the idea of being a doctor, but I have noticed that Uncle Joe works on Saturday mornings, and I wouldn’t want to miss Saturday Morning Cartoons.”

Since that time our family has labeled a distraction from a worthwhile goal as a Saturday Morning Cartoon.

As a writer, the Spirit is very important in being able to produce quality written words. But I am often distracted by what Elder Cook would call "Saturday Morning Cartoons". Over reading of blogs, too much time on Facebook, too many good tv shows. I spend alot of time distracting myself from the fact that I am not working towards my goal of becoming a published writer. I pray every night that the Lord will help me reach my goal, but then I don't give Him the quiet time needed to answer my prayers. I don't know if I'm afraid of success, or afraid of failure, or just complacent in my goals, but I do know that I am the one blocking the Spirit from working in my life.

This week I made an effort to turn off the distractions in my life. I turned off the radio when I drove, I allowed myself moments to just sit still and resisted the urge to check my emails. There were some things that I have realized have a huge pull on my time and I plan on making a bigger effort in the weeks to come to unplug myself more from the world and plug in more fully to the Spirit. This will help me in all aspects of my life, not just writing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Muse vs My Scale

I am pretty sure my muse is a teenage boy.  Or at least he has the appetite of one.  Every time I sit at my computer to work on my WIP I feel this overwhelming desire to have something on hand to snack.  I had this same habit when I would be writing papers in college. 

I have a complaint about this habit of his.  I'm attempting the whole lose weight thing.  If I eat my scale reflects this.  So I try to avoid the extra snacking.  My muse does not agree with this process. 

Do you have to feed your muse?  
What is his/her favorite foods?  
How do you curb his/her appetite?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Developing Strong Female Characters

When I went to LTUE,one of the discussions was on creating strong female characters. One of the women on the panel talked about her pet peeve in some books, mostly sci/fi or fantasy, where the female characters are just men in skirts. In other words, the women dress like men, act like men, and fight like men. This is the same message the world sends us today. If we want to prove we’re as good as men, then we need to act like them, right? As the discussion went on, the only man on the panel, Paul Genesse, talked about the strong women he works with on a daily basis. He’s an author, that is also an ER nurse at a hospital. He said that it never ceases to amaze him to watch as a small woman nurse gets a grizzled veteran cop to go back to his bed with just one look. That is the power of a woman! We discussed how the strength of a woman really comes from her divine qualities; her kindness, her faithfulness, and her maternal instincts.

Here's some thoughts that came out of the discussion:
* Strength in a woman can be shown through her thoughts. The reader finds out what she wants and what she's willing to sacrifice for her goal. This shows her internal strength to make strong decisions.
*You must balance gender roles with the proper historical/social stigmas. If you write historical romance for example, the roles of a woman were pretty strict. If you stray too far from those roles it becomes unbelievable. But you can show that the woman is a rebel by having her touch someone without a glove (I think that was the example???) and show the reaction of people around her to show that this simply wasn't done. You can also show their ability to control the social restrictions.
*Motherhood is a strength! I can't tell you how many YA books I've read lately where the main character is trying so hard to be as strong as the men that she says she never wants to have kids. Motherhood is portrayed as a weakness, but that is not true! Our maternal instincts and our feminine traits are what make us strong in our own way.
*Stay away from the cliches
-Don't make women strong by making men stupid.
-Don't make protagonist stupid.
-Strong women don't need to witches to be strong.
*Make sure your female characters have ambition, passion, and talent.
*Another way to show your character's strengths is to show her moral values that she would never cross. There could be a struggle with her values, or a moment where she needs to stand up for something.
*Give character problems to overcome that provide growth.
*Compel the character to be strong, strong characters make things happen.

I really enjoyed this panel, I wish I could remember all the names of the panelists, I think Lisa Magnum from Deseret Publishing was there, and of course Paul Genesse. There were several others, and I can see their faces, but I lost my program and can't remember their names!! If anyone else who went remembers please let me know!!

Also, let's continue the discussion. What things do you think help to make strong female characters?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Night of Writerlyl FUN!

Book Launch

From left to right:
Sheila, Michelle, Tristi, Shanda, Daron, Kim, Karen, Hillary

Karen Hoover's first baby, The Sapphire Flute!

She did so wonderfully playing the real thing with Paulette!

They played "Watermark" by Enya. It was so beautiful! *Sigh...

Daron Fraley, The Thorn (Book One, the Chronicles of Gan)
one proud daddy of his newborn baby book ;)

Michelle Ashman Bell, and Summer in Paris!
Congratulations! :D

Last, but never least, Tristi Pinkston with her way-out FUN Secret Sisters!

Here are a fun shots I got with a few of the coolest authors hanging there! :D

That's me with Suzette Saxton! (can you see Karen in the background, left?)

Elana Johnson
, she's such a cool friend.

Jenn Johansson
, the girl with the prettiest smile! :)

I had so MUCH fun! I really love love love coming to writerly gatherings, it's like a family reunion every time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Author Interview: Dene Low

I met Dene Low in 2008 at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop. Back then, she had just signed a contract to publish her first book, and now she's a multiple-award-winning author! See, you should go to this workshop. You meet really cool people there.

Anyways, here's Dene-

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?

Thanks for asking, Rebecca. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in the fourth grade. I wrote the beginning of a book about a mermaid, so you can see that I was always interested in fantasy and science fiction. In sixth grade my principal asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him I wanted to be an author. Since then I’ve written and had published hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, several short stories, some poetry, and one novel: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone. That’s the only one published so far. I have written over ten other novels and am currently working on three more.

I understand you found your agent after you signed your first book contract. What’s different now that you have an agent?

I have a great agent, Eddie Schneider of the JABberwocky Agency. Eddie keeps track of my book, its sales, awards, and reviews, and he tries to sell other books for me. Another great thing Eddie does is help me with the books I’m writing.

What have you done personally to market your books?

I’ve gone to book signings and conferences and sent mailers around to schools for author visits.

You have really wonderful, funny characters. Where do you get ideas for those characters?

Yes, the Petronella books do have very funny characters. I got the ideas for those characters from my imagination and from reading other books, especially books by P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Sayers, Jane Austen, and plays by Oscar Wilde. Some of my books are very serious, however. Often I think up a character and the story grows around that character. More rarely, I think of a concept and come up with characters to go with the concept.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

First, it is holding that book, newspaper, or magazine in my hand that has my published work in it. Second, it is interacting with people and talking about books and writing. But other than that, the best part about actually writing is being in the zone and having the words flow and knowing it’s good—really good.

What was the best moment of your writing career?

It was the phone call from Kate O’Sullivan of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt telling me they wanted to buy my book. Now that experience is all jumbled together with the times I found out that my book had won various awards, including being a finalist for the Edgar Award in the YA category. The Edgar is presented by the Mystery Writers of America and I will find out if I won on April 29 at the Grand Hyatt in New York—pretty fancy schmancy.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write tons and write something every day, read tons (especially in the genre you want to write), get your work critiqued in a writers group or at conferences, go to conferences and network with the people you meet, and learn how to market. Submit. Submit. Submit. Be patient and keep on writing and submitting.

Thanks for the interview, Dene! We wish you the best of luck on the Edgar Award! Be sure and let us know.

Dene's first novel, Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone, has won the following awards: The Children's Hour Best of 2009 in the 12+ category; Literary review bloggers, Nominated for Cybil Award; Historical Novel Society Editor's choice for Fall 2009; Junior Library GuildTop pick for July 2009; Flamingnet blogTop choice; and others! I've also reviewed it on Rebecca's Recommended Reads.

You can find out more about Dene and her books at

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore

I was priviledged to read "Women of the Book of Mormon" by Heather B. Moore. The thing that struck me as I read this non-fiction book was the overwhelming feeling of strength exuded by the women she speaks of. The first woman she talks about is our first mother, Eve.

Her story is so significant that Lehi refers to it a few times in the Book of Mormon. She was an example to the women of that time. Women, who didn’t have a very high standing in their society, could find strength in knowing that Eve made the most important decision this world has ever known.
Quoting from Heather’s Book:
One of the universal truths taught time and time again has been
that there must be “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11), and
that the existence of the human family was dependent on choosing.
The prophet Lehi knew Eve’s choice was courageous and that it led
to freeing the powers of life (see 2 Nephi 2:11–13). To understand
Eve is to understand her decision. Of all the events in the history
of mankind, the Fall single-handedly “affected the entire earth and
everyone in the human family”29 in one of the most powerful ways. In
essence, we might think of Eve as a heroine, and that “Eve’s supreme
gift to mankind, the opportunity of life on this earth, resulted from
her choice to become mortal.”30
Eve understood the consequence of eating the fruit. She knew it
was correct and that it would lead to further knowledge (see Moses
4:13).31 In fact, “when [Eve] saw that the tree was good for food,”
the word saw was akin to God’s “acts of seeing,” meaning that in that
instant, Eve had godlike clarity (Moses 4:12).32
Eve knew a hard decision had to be made and she did it. We too have her strength to make the hard decisions. The world would have us think that we can make choices and they only affect us. But Eve has taught us, that though our choices probably won’t affect the world for the next thousands of years, our choices do have widespread effects. Not only that, but most of us have the same gift to "see" what needs to be done in our lives. I think most of us have had the experience of not knowing an answer, then after much prayer and thought we suddenly "know" what we have to do even when it's a difficult path we will be choosing to take. This is only a piece of the legacy of women that we can learn of as we read this book. It inspires you to read more of the book of mormon and more of what the prophets have said about these great women. It definately left me feeling empowered and strong.
This book comes out the beginning of April. It would make a great Mother's Day gift as it gives the gift of inspiration and the strength of women.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wholesome Nourishment

 "Does it ever seem impossible to find a source of entertainment that is both interesting and in line with your standards? Today TV networks, movie producers, and even book authors continue to push the edge of appropriateness to create more shocking material. Never before in history have violence, bad language, and pornography been so pervasive in our media. So what do we do? Do we avoid all forms of media and entertainment altogether?" - Christa Skousen 

We are like the grapes in vineyard, we take on the qualities of our nourishment.   However, unlike the grapes we have a choice of what we put into our minds.  However, it can be hard to find those beautiful morsels that are both interesting and wholesome.  

This fall I was running low on reading material (don't ask me how that happened now I have a never ending reading shelf)  so I bought two books out the YA section.  The first book I read was Boy Crazy and the second was Dreamland.  Both of them greatly disappointed me.  They were filled with bad language, fortification, violence and drug use.  One of them was by a best selling author.   This is what the world is putting out there for our youth.

Needless to say, I no longer by books without first reading some reviews unless they are by authors I trust.  Since this experience I have read many great books that have met both standards of interesting and wholesome.  

The world is not keeping up with the standards that we want our children to maintain.  This is why I know that there is a call of good writers.  Those who have the desire, talent, and faith are being called to provide books.  It is a good cause worthy of being anxiously engaged in.  The more you rely on the Lord to guide you through this journey the better he will be able to use your talents to shape the world around you.

"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Got any good books for me to add to my reading shelf?   
How soon until I see yours there?

Amber Lynae

Catch my Wednesday post on the craziness of writing a novel over at Seriously Amber Lynae.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Links for Conferences:

There are many, MANY conferences available for writers. I have been where I felt like a grunt. A nothing. As if the writers hosting the conference were divas. It was horrible. How would you know which conferences are the good ones and will actually help you GROW and not feel like it's the impossible dream???

I am still learning where to find them, but I know of a stalwartly trusted source that will always provide those worthwhile ones to attend. It is Valor Publishing Group. Click here to find out which conferences are worth your salt!

Because ALL writers are worth it!!

Before I go on, I need to mention Nichole's post in her blog about networking. She has some helpful links for you! Come by and read it. So very important! :)

Links for Writers Groups:

ANWA: a wonderful network of LDS mothers who care for each other and nurture one another

Romance Writers of America: Romance Writers of America. It helps hone your interest through networking and support as a writer, especially in the Romance genre.

Links for Networking: A wonderful site where it unearths new talent. You can submit your unpublished, or self-published works for others to read and help you grow. You create your own site to host your WIPs.

Blogger: A site where you can share thoughts, photos, ideas! The more blogs you follow, the more you are spotted by others!

Facebook: a wonderful place where you can find long lost friends, make new ones and post thoughts and ideas and even 'advertise' your personal blog post.

Goodreads: A place where you can find book recommendations from friends, keep track of what you've read and what you'd like to read, create a book club and discuss your favorite books.

LDStorymakers: This is a place where published authors hang. If you are LDS, you may apply within!

LDS Publisher
: A wonderful place for networking, contests, author booksignings and launch parties--explore it!

LiveJournal: you can blog about anything you want here. It provides software, email and websites.

NaNoWriMo: or National Novel Writing Month. It a non-profit organization holding a creative writing project once a year during the month of November. They have forums where other writers can connect!

social network for writes and illustrators. I've just joined it and it's a great way to get to know other artists like you!

A place where you can find and make friends and show your recent blog posts.

It is an online community where you can "write, read and live YA." ;D

I know there is a wealth of information out there. Which ones are the ones you depend on for your writerly passions??

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When I Get Stuck

Sometimes when writing time rolls around I just can’t do it. I would rather go fold laundry. Seriously. At times like that, I sit down in my chair, turn on my computer, put my forehead on the desk, and listen to this song.

It always picks me up, inspires me, and then lets me dream my way back into my story. By the end of the song, I can’t wait to feel that keyboard under my fingers.

Thought I’d share.

What's your pick-me-up when you get stuck?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Useful Food Storage Tips

For the past few months I have been using and experimenting with my food storage and felt a strong need to share with you what I have learned. By adding just a few items that can be rotated (because they are used or can be used often in your normal everyday diet), your food storage will be more edible when you actually have to use it.

#1 Powdered milk is really nasty by itself and really REALLY changes the flavor of your recipes when you use it. So if you are making bread/cakes/etc that requires powdered milk I would substitute instant pudding mix. Also, evaporated milk does not work if you are trying to make instant pudding. It tastes bad and does not set (even when I opened the can and put it in another container and then chilled it in the fridge).

#2 If you want milk and have powdered milk then make sure you have plenty of hot coco mix (cocoa powder with sugar can work too) on hand to mix it with to make it more potable.

#3 Molasses for making brown sugar! For every 1 cup of granulated sugar add 1-2(for light -dark brown sugar) table spoons.

#4 Gum is easily consumed and rotatable. This adds variety and something sweet for the pallet.

#5 Canned tomatoes are used in a lot of recipes from soups-casseroles-chili-sauces. Make sure you have a lot of cans and rotate them.

#6 Canned fruit tastes good and kids will eat it. Mine like canned pineapples,peaches and pears the best.

#7 Marinades are great to have on hand for instant flavoring to meats.

#8 Favorite powdered juice mix because your stored water will be stagnant and even with bleach to kill the germs it's going to taste really bad! The soldiers in Afghanistan wanted juice mixes sent with their care packages because their water tasted really bad.

#9 Plenty of: Oatmeal, granulated sugar, flour and yeast (if you actually use it often, otherwise it's just going to go bad and you won't know how to use it what I am trying to say is start making bread or rolls once a week or once a month to know how to use it and rotate it.)

Here is a great site I found while trying to look for food storage pictures .
I know it's a totally random post but I felt inspired to share a few things that I have learned about using my food storage. I hope this helps you think about your food storage and preparedness.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Humility

At the ANWA conference, another wonderful speaker was Aprilynne Pike. Her presentation really hit home with me because she spoke about how her self-confidence always runs in cycles. On the wall, she taped up different pieces of paper that started high and then stairstepped down. From the highest to the lowest, this is what the papers said:

I am the best writer in the world and have a guaranteed bestseller.

I am an amazing but unrecognized talent that needs to be given a chance.

I am a capable writer with an original story to tell.

I could get published if I just know more about writing.

I am a hack writer who is never going to be published.

I am chasing a ridiculous and unrealistic dream. I suck.

I am worse than slime--it should be a crime for me to put words on paper.

After reading them all, I wondered how in the world she read my mind!! I feel all these things! How could she, a NY Times Bestselling Author, possibly know what those feelings are? She proceeded to tell us of her journey to publication. It was filled with highs and lows. Then the thing that really sent the message home, was when she told us she STILL runs the gambit of this never ending cycle. Then she gave us the secret. The secret is to try to stay in the middle of the gambit somewhere between "I am a capable writer with and original story to tell." and "I could get published if I just know more about writing."

I've pondered why we would need to be in the middle. Honestly I've never felt the top one and wouldn't it be nice to have that kind of confidence? Isn't that what we need to publish? Confidence? How could that be wrong? Then it hit me. That's not confidence that's pride. What we need in every endeavor is something we already know. Humility.

In 1 Col 2:18 it says, "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."

Prov 22:4 "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life."

Finally in Mosiah 21:14 it says, "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel."

Our talents are given to us by our loving Father in Heaven. It is our duty to develop them then in faithfulness be able to say as Christ did,"Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

No More Excuses, Just Get it Done!

I seem to be able to find all kinds of excuses lately why not to write. Some are genuine, like taking care of my family and fulfilling important obligations, but then there are those silly little things that seem to occupy my day and turn hours of what could be valuable writing time into wasted day dreaming. Yes, I think a certain amount of day dreaming is necessary, especially if I'm in the creative process of writing, but once I have the idea in my head, I should be filling the page.

Part of my procrastination is laziness and I'm happy to admit that I recognize it and have tried to fix it, but dang if I don't just sit and twiddle my thumbs sometimes, doing absolutely nothing.

Something else that keeps me from writing is my fear of failure. There I said it. Or rather, wrote it. You may say to yourself that you are NOT afraid of failure, and that may be true, but something I've discovered lately is that I may actually be even more afraid of success. So, what's up with that? Are you afraid of success? Of putting yourself out there? The past few days I've seen friends go through a whole gamut of emotions as their books have been reviewed by their peers. I think if it were me, I'd be a nervous wreck, not knowing if my words would be well accepted or just merely tolerated so not to hurt my feelings. UGH!!

And then there's my internal editor. I can't seem to get one paragraph written without the guy (yes he's a guy) rearing his ugly head, wanting a piece of my work. I've managed to barricade him in the other room, but his voice is still screaming loud and clear. No way can I get everything in my head down on paper with him yapping away next door.

So, I'm curious. Do you procrastinate? If so, how do you turn things around so you can write. And if you're one of the rare who do NOT procrastinate, please tell me your secret.

Here's a cute video I thought I'd share with you. It made me laugh (while I was procrastinating writing this blog).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Anxiously Engaged?

"Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, " 
Doctrine & Covenants 58:27-­28

Is writing a good cause?  You betcha it is.  However, there are a lot of good causes in a mother's life.  It is almost impossible to choose in which good causes to be anxiously engaged.  Let's face it, life is busy.  There will never be enough hours in the day.

 I have to admit that it was less than a month ago when I turned to my Father in heaven and prayed to know whether I was being selfish and unwise to pursue my desires to write.  I have  Little Princess who is at home with me during the days still.  We moved recently and still have boxes scattered through out the house.  I can hardly find time to breath.  How am I supposed to find time to write?  But this burning desire, and aching need within my very being tells me that it will not be quieted until I write my story.

Well, the answer didn't come right away.  I began to think that my growing to do list was my answer.  I have too much to do, writing just wasn't going to be one of my good causes.  But like a determined child who didn't get her way quite understand, I continued to pray that I would receive an answer that I could interpret as a red or green light on my writing urge.

Then, the answer came right to my inbox.  Did you know that God emails?  Well, He doesn't but He has connections.  That email answered my prayers, it made me cry because I felt it.  This was my answer, I had permission to make writing one of my good causes and it is the reason I am typing here today. 

So, next week and I will tell you how I know that writing is a good cause and why wholesome writers are being called forth to write.

What would you do if writing wasn't your good cause?

        ~Amber Lynae

Announcing Our NEW MMW Yahoo Group!!!

After many requests and lots of prayers, we decided to start a group on Yahoo. This means that we can interact with all our readers. We can shout out our accomplishments, give people a lift when their down, and even arrange for critiques with those that are willing! Here's a good way to network with other writers. It's also a wonderful way to make new friendships!

Be sure to join!! You may want to sign up for the digest version so you don't get tons of emails all the time. Or you can do individual emails if you want to feel like you have a TON of friends! LOL!

Also, I've updated some links on our resource page that is titled "Where MMW's Hang". We would like for this page to be a one stop location for getting information related to writing. If you have any favorite links please put them in the comments and tell me what category they would be under.

Thanks for coming to our blog, I can't wait to meet you all on our new yahoo group - mormonmommywriters!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Networking, part 2

Remember those dark, empty, forlorn days when we obsessively checked our mail box or e-mail for that one letter? How many of us have gray hair from then?? :D How much darker it would have been without the loving support of our friends--especially that of our writerly friends!

Writerly friends? They are wonderful people who understand our crazed mania for the written word, wouldn't you agree? ;)

I've searched for inspiring articles to share with you about friendships, and just how powerful they can be (friends, not articles though articles can be just as powerful!). A great writer is someone who once stood on the shoulders of another great writer.

Here is the part of the article I found in the Ensign that applies to us needy writers:
"When she arrived in the San Francisco Bay area, she was alone and needed to establish herself in a social circle. She weighed her options: meet friends as she had during school—at bars—or go back to church and meet friends there.

April chose church. It was not easy. She still thought the Church crowd was stale and even odd, but she felt an inner pull to reconnect with the Spirit. She gave herself six months to find friends, and if unsuccessful, she would return to the scene she felt more accustomed to."

How many of us have felt that way in the world of writers as we tried to break into it? Or even during the process of finding our place in it?

"April began attending a young single adult ward, sitting on the back row and sneaking out after sacrament meeting. She gradually stayed for all meetings. Almost six months to the day after deciding to come back to church, she realized she felt comfortable there, she had made several good friends, and most important, she was feeling the Spirit again and gaining a testimony of the gospel. She decided to stay."

We can apply April's experience in finding her social life to ours as writers with other writers. Mingling. Sharing. Growing. The best way to do this is to go to conferences.

Be witty. Be resilient. Be bold.

"“Thank goodness I chose the Church,” April says. “It’s made all the difference. I’ve been able to make lots of friends, and that’s helped me get my life back on track and going in the right direction. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and although I have many good friends who aren’t LDS, I still need to have the influence of my friends who are.”"

Heavenly Father wants us to reach out to others. To influence them so that they feel uplifted, loved, cherished. Think about it. Would you be where you are without the support of good friends? How about good writing pals?

On the other side of the book cover ;), is our writing doing the same? Uplifting our readers? Loving our readers? Cherishing our readers?

"As a young single Church member myself, I have often been struck by the power my friends and associates have to influence the choices I make—large and small. Most often I’ve been struck by how that power can be wielded for good. I have been impressed again and again as I’ve watched individuals and groups make good decisions—and as my friends have helped me make good choices too."

Ah, the powerful influence of networking . . .

"Surrounding ourselves by good people is a principle most of us have been taught since our youth, but finding good associates—especially when we are establishing our own lives away from our parents—can be challenging. Several young single adults have shared their ideas with me about where and how to cultivate good associates."

You can also say this about writing. Surround ourselves by writing people. I know that some of us live in islands of normal people--c'mon, you've got to admit that writers are nuts, aren't we? The voices in our heads never cease! ;) But that's the beauty of the internet! We can connect with writers in Germany if we wanted! Join online writers groups . . . Heaven's the limit! ;)

"Good associates may not ultimately share all our values or beliefs, but they will understand them, respect them, and help us honor them. True friends never ask us to be less than we should be, and they consistently help us to be better. These are the friendships we should honor and treasure."

Oh how true this is! It doesn't matter where their faith is founded so long as they "never ask us to be less than we should be, and . . . consistently help us to be better." And, of course, the same applies to us on how we influence others. ;)

Okay, I thought this would be a wonderful thing to read and think about how we could apply this to ourselves as well.

"The Marks of a True Friend

The scriptures provide the surest guide to finding and being true friends:

Bear one another’s burdens.

“Ye are … willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–9).

Share testimony with each other.

“Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in” (Mosiah 18:9).

Love unceasingly.

“A friend loveth at all times” (Prov. 17:17).

Be a good influence.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27:17).

Be loyal.

“Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands” (D&C 121:9).

Give of yourself.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)."In Good Company, Lisa Ann Jackson, October 2003 Ensign

I find this a very exciting time to becoming an author. We are signing ourselves into God's army as we bravely march into the lone and dreary wilderness.

Tell me how you've reached to others with their writing. How does it make you feel when you know that you are making a difference in their lives?

For my March 17 post, I will provide as many connections to writers as I possibly can come up with!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Very First Story

I wrote my first science fiction story in third grade.

It was about me.

I built a space ship and flew to another planet. There I found aliens with rainbow-colored antlers who were oppressed by this huge yellow monster with black spots and floppy ears. The monster forced the poor aliens to bring it all the gold they could find. Then the monster would gobble up the gold and send the aliens out for more.

So resourceful little me found a very large pin and poked the monster in the stomach. Pop! That was the end of the monster. All the gold spilled out. The grateful aliens gave me some of the gold, then used the rest to pave the surface of the planet. I could see it glimmering behind me as I flew my ship back home.

I wrote a few other stories in elementary school, one about two kids who help an escaped tiger get back to Africa, one about a hasty unicorn who is rude to all his neighbors until he accidentally gets his horn stuck in a tree, and then one about these evil black dust-devils that suck out your life energy if they catch you. Come to think of it, that dust-devil story must have been in middle school.

Can you remember your first story ever? Let’s hear about it. Post a synopsis in the comments.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do Not Wait

Do not wait.
The time will never be just right.
Start where you stand,
and work with whatever tools you may have at your command,
and better tools will be found as you go along.
Author Unknown

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book Review - Wrong Number

Wrong Number
By Rachelle J. Christensen

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Back Cover:

When Aubree Stewart receives a mysterious phone call on her way to work, she doesn't know what to think. at first she assumes it's some kind of prank. But the call isn't a practical joke, and Aubree soon finds herself swept up in a world of danger, intrigue, and murder. With help from the FBI, Aubree races to protect herself and what's left of her family, but the one thing she forgets to protect is her own heart.

By C.K. Bryant

I was privileged enough to receive an advanced copy of Rachelle J. Christensen's Wrong Number about a week ago and I must say it's one of the best "who-done-it" novels I've read in a long time. The only reason I gave it 41/2 stars instead of 5 is because I thought the first couple of chapters seemed a bit stiff. Looking back, I realize Christensen was just winding up, because before I had time to grab hold of something solid, I was on the ride of a lifetime with no desire to turn back. I could NOT put this book down. In fact, I stayed up half the night to finish it.

Wrong Number is a fast paced story filled with mystery, danger, romance and so many twists and turns, there's no way to figure out the bad guy until the very end. I'm usually pretty good at guessing who the real antagonist is in both books and movies, but each time I thought I had it figured out, another element was thrown in the mix and I was left guessing again.



I have a contest going on right now where you can win all kinds of prizes, including an autographed copy of Wrong Number. Hope on over to my blog and sign up. You won't be disappointed.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Who cares what you say?

Bethany at Shooting Stars got me thinking about criticism.  

My first response to criticism is defensiveness.  I pout, I kick, I scream. 

"Who cares what that person thinks?" 
"What do they know?"  

I realize that I can be a bit of 3 year old sometimes.  However, I am not ignorant enough to allow my inner 3 year old to get the best of me.  I've learned that when it comes to writing critiques, the critter is never wrong.  They are telling you what and how they felt about your work.  If you are wise you will take this response, good or bad, and learn how to make your work better-- the best.

The first time I put my work out there for the world to read and comment. I had many cheerleaders, praising my story and the emotions that I touched on.  I was floating on cloud 9.   There may have been some crazy victory dancing, or not.  Then someone reminded me about gravity.  

The critter didn't even put his/her name on the comment.  This horrible person had the nerve to say that:
1. I was telling, not showing.
2. I could develop my charaacter more thoroughly.  
3. I had to readdress my POV discrepancies. 

I sulked, I pouted, I complained.   I was a royal pill.  Then, I was thankful.  Why hadn't I noticed these faults?  I was so stuck in my own story that I didn't see its weaknesses.  We should be grateful for those people who are willing to lay it out there for us. 

I am not saying that we should weight every critique equally, because ultimately it is our story to tell in the manner that we feel is appropriate.  However, approach a critique with gratitude-- even if it takes some kicking and screaming to get to the thank you.  

Amber Lynae

I also wanted to thank you all for your warm welcome last week.  I look forward to getting to know all the readers and contributors. 

If you want to learn more about me or hear more of my crazy ramblings,  hope on over to Seriously Amber Lynae.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And the Winner is.....

The winner of the signed Brandon Mull book is.....
(Drumroll Please)
Congratulations Tiffany!!
Please email your address to
On a sadder note, we need to say goodbye to Kasie West!
She has been our Thursday writer since the blog began. Unfortunately we all come to a point when we must make time for what's important and sometimes give up things we love for the things that are more eteranal like our families. She will still comment and be a part of our community and you can still visit her writing blog to see how she is doing as she continues on her road to success. Be sure to thank her for all her wonderful posts over the past year!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sapphire Flute--A Review

The first time I saw the book cover, I was thrilled with the bright animation and the emotional portrayal depicted. I thought the wolf was something to be feared, as the girls on the cover are staring at it. So I wondered what the significance of the wolf was. The picture portrays each character in her own right, but not a summary of any scene.

It is a story that brings to life two girls whose destinies are shaped and led by the Guardians who watch over their world and keep order to all magic.

Poor little Shandae—given the name of Ember to protect her from the forces that seek to destroy her—is thrown into the depths of peril from the moment she is born. Evil haunts her for the very power she later learns she possesses. Good fights to keep her under strict protection, as well as the order of wolves--the Bendanatu--do. They teach her the ways of her true blood.

Kayla is a talented musician that manipulates magic with the sounds of her flute. She enamors an entire kingdom with her skill. The king seeks her favor, and charges her to guard a very special and powerful keystone of blue magic—the Sapphire Flute.

The first part of this story is not filled with breakneck speeds of action, in your face terror or spine chilling fear. But please don't let this catch you with your book down. Remember, it is important, being the first book of SEVEN, to build the foundation of a world from its political organization, its secrets and most importantly, its magic. This book is a step to a bigger, richer world where the author promises not to disappoint a read filled with passion, excitement and even loss.

Karen E. Hoover is very talented when it comes to bringing life to her characters, like a puppeteer to the marionette. She has a vivid imagination; it is not difficult to follow the artistic weave of her words. I was there when Ember fought for her right of passage with such moving passion that I wept. I could taste the sweet feel of the sapphire flute's touch as Kayla battled against the nefarious C’Tan. The sense to tip the world back into harmonic balance is so well written that I wish I could leap right into the pages to assist their cause.

Be one of the first readers to add a copy to your library of reads!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Are You Doing This?

“I haven’t written in weeks,” one of my writing friends confided to us at our last writer’s group meeting. “When I first started this story it came pouring out. It was so exciting. I loved it. I wrote for twelve hours a day. But now it’s done and... I don’t know. It needs a lot of work.” She sagged in dejection.

“The honeymoon is over,” I said. “Now you have to decide why you’re doing this.”

She raised her head and stared hard at me, then gave a slow and thoughtful nod.

I went on, telling it to myself as much as I was telling it to her, “Now you have to decide, did I write that story for me? Because I needed to get it out, I needed the catharsis? Or did I write that story for my children, my grandchildren, my brothers and sisters, everyone all over the world. If you wrote it for you, then you’re done. But if you’re writing it for others,” I cupped my hands over my heart, then held them out to her, “now you need the discipline and sacrifice to make it into the gift that you want it to be.”

I've thought about this conversation a lot. Over the summer I wrote a book just for me, a fun idea I wanted to try. When I read it again last month I had to admit that it wasn't working as well as I had hoped. I hadn't been thinking about my audience, about what they needed to know to understand the world, the characters, the story. I gave no thought to what they would find interesting, or moving, or exciting. It was a lot of fun to write, but when I became the reader, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much.

If I'm going to make that book work, now I have to apply discipline and sacrifice. I have to revise it so that others will see in it what I saw in it when I first dreamed it up. I have to remember why I'm doing this---so that others can feel the same joy I feel when I read a book that I love.


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