Monday, October 31, 2011

Not My Holiday

I am not a big Halloween person. My husband loves Halloween like I love Christmas. But I do enjoy the fall, and something about the cool weather always makes me crafty. (But only once a year. That's all I got in me.) So then my craftiness (the good kind) tends toward pumpkins and things...

(The sad cake pops are the ones that turned out lumpy.)

And dressing up is fun, too.

However I hate, oh I really do hate, all the gory Halloween decorations. Maybe it's because my son gets scared so easily, and I hate to see him scared. But I really have this antipathy toward a holiday that has to be so...yucky. And so I will play along tonight, and wait patiently for midnight to strike when the TRUE holidays begin.

So do you LOVE Halloween or do you HATE it? Or do you just go in for the candy that you can hide from your children and eat all year long? And does anybody really want to know how many hours and curses on melty candies went into those cake pops?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I beg forgiveness for being gone as much as I have been.  I honestly thought I could juggle all--but with a new book being released and 10 kids, no, actually.  No I can't juggle it all.

I can barely juggle the kids and book--and that's without sleep.  Lol!

However, Nikki has noticed me doing something on my facebook and has asked I include it here on this blog.  I have been leaving healthy recipes and canning recipes on my FB.  Would you be interested in learning new healthy recipes here too?  If so I can share with you what successful things I am working on.  I am making a Millennium cookbook, with whole foods like those that will be used in the millennium as well as ultra healthy amazing alternatives to sugar.

Like yesterday, I mastered the Heavenly Chocolate Cake.  From Scratch.  Using honey, whole wheat and olive oil.  Yes, I did.  And do you know what?  It's BETTER than regular cake and super easy too! My daughter has asked I bake it for her birthday.  I also make a honey whole wheat bread that is to die for and caramels that 1 1/2 cups of honey replaced 12 cups of sugar!  And they're amazing--better than normal caramels too!  (no lie. and no they don't taste like bit-o-honey, they taste like caramel)  :)

Let me know if you're interested.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Stories, Jane Still

Today's guest for Saturday Stories is published author Jane Still.

Q—Would you please tell us about yourself.
I grew up as the only untalented citizen in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. I couldn’t sing or dance so I didn’t compete in the huge community music festival. My piano teacher fired me. I had no talent for band, but they felt sorry for me when I begged and let me bang on the drums. I was always optimistic however, so when I went to Rick’s College I tried out for the ballroom dance team. I made it only after my dance partner pleaded my case. The dance team went to Europe and I did not make the first string but was the last person picked on the second string. My claim to fame in Europe was being the quickest costume changer, destroying a lift in a room full of European dignitaries and getting the ‘pig award’ for eating the most.

I married a man whose idea of the perfect birthday gift is ear wax candles. We had six children in eight years who had no appreciation for my efforts to have them perform dances I choreographed and who did not appreciate my daily renditions of show tunes sung at the top of my lungs in the shower.
Q—Tell us about your books!
After writing for the paper I decided to try my hands at a book.  My books are full of hilarious stories about the life of my family. One of the things that make them so funny is that everyone can relate to them. My friend Charlotte Lindstrom once said. “Jane everyone wonders what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in someone’s home. No one needs to wonder in your home. It’s all out there.” 
My friends tell me their husbands steal my book. When they can’t find it, they listen for the laughter and steal it back. Mother’s Daze is about being pregnant and all the crazy emotions and changes in your body.

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood is full of stories about life’s little emergencies. 

Q—What sparked your interest in writing stories?
One day I learned that a friend of mine had published a story. I decided that if she could do that I could too. Never mind the fact that all I had written to that point was some really bad poetry. I marched myself down to the local paper and with no clue to what I was going to say. I presented my idea of writing a humorous story with a cartoon for their special monthly edition to the editor. He liked it and I was a published author.
Q—You have a philosophy, and I quote “You’re not doing your job unless your children are worried about being seen in public with you.” Could you elaborate why you believe this to be true, please?
If your children are not worried about being seen in public with you, you are missing out on all the fun of being a mom. What kind of war stories will your children have to tell? You are building memories for a lifetime. How boring for your children to have to sit around and have nothing to brag about. My children will probably be able to write their own book and become millionaires. They are the objects of worship for having had to live through such hardships. We had tons of their friends in our house all the time because they couldn’t believe the stories my kids had. Once I got out of the shower to hear giggling outside the door. I put a towel on and my kids had invited the neighbors in to listen to my full throated show tune concert.
Q—If you had to describe yourself as any fruit or vegetable what would it be and why?
I would have to say a tomato because it can’t make up it’s mind whether it is a fruit or a vegetable. I can never no what I am going to show up as next.
Q—What is the key to finding humor in all faucets of your life? Any advice for those needing some help?
Can I just say that I didn’t always find the situations I write about as funny? But looking back…. I love to laugh at myself. When I find myself getting mad over something stupid, like trying to choose the right kind of baggies at the grocery store, (see my blog) I see how ridiculous it is and it is easy to write about. Most things are not a serious as we think they are. Relax, enjoy the moment. Life is not going to end over spilt milk.
Q—If you had to choose one writer to script the next year of your life, who would it be and why?
The writers of the I Love Lucy Show. Why? Because I love Lucy. I relate to her.
Q—If you were trapped on a deserted island for five years and when you were finally rescued by a fancy yacht with a master chef who, out of pity for your plight, offered to cook you ANYTHING...what would you ask for?
I would order a huge bowel of ice-cream covered with chocolate and over a pecan pie and topped with nachos covered with melted cheddar. That way I could get my nachos fix first and work my way to the pie and ice cream. 
Q—What is one thing, as a grandmother, you wish you had known as you were raising your children?
I would enjoy the small moments and cuddle them more, do home school and realize that every little mistake was not going to be a serious flaw of their character. 
Q—Pretend you live in a magical kingdom and you are like a fairy godmother who has the power to grant to each of your children one magical gift, what would those magical gifts be and why?
No big philosophical things here
•Jason – a wife. He’s 32 for heavens sake and would make an awesome hubby and daddy
•Ariana—a million dollars. She is amazing and would know exactly what to do with it.
•Adam—a little common sense and a little boy just like him, absolutely adorable.
•Garret—I would wish for him a week without brains. He knows exactly how smart and successful he is and a little boy as annoying as him so he would really know how wonderful I am.

•Kristjana—a day without disasters and public humiliation. Only a day though. I would miss the laughter.
•Briana—a week dedicated to thinking and then a big holiday to recover from it and get back to her fun loving, happy little self that everyone loves.
Q—What is your favorite quote from a General Authority?
I love quotes so here are some of my faves.
"We want our women to be well educated, for children may not recover from the ignorance of their mothers."
~Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball
“Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it.”
“Courage doesn’t always soar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
~Mary Ann Radmacher
Q—If you were granted the ability to travel back in time and see any piece of history, what would it be and why?
I would definitely go back to the 1890-1920’s I love the music from back then. It makes me happy. I would love to wear the fashions from the long dresses and parasols to the flappers. But if it was a time machine then I could zip on over to the world war 2 era where Hollywood was doing all those amazing musicals and where it felt good to be an American.

Jane, thanks for stopping by! I love your sense of humor.

If you want to learn more about Jane check out her blog The Crazy Daze of Motherhood.

Friday, October 28, 2011

E-Books and the Future of Publishing

**You all got enough of me last week, with my two posts in a row, so today we at MMW have a treat for you. Sit back and read all about his take on the future of e-book publishing by none other than David Farland.** ~Cheri

**IMPORTANT** The book release has been pushed back to Nov. 4th. Please stay tuned to our blog for details. Thank you!

The Role of Enhanced Books in the Future of Publishing

Right now, the publishing world is in turmoil. People are buying electronic books in huge numbers. In fact, it appears that as of today, more than fifty percent of all sales are electronic. This puts traditional paper book publishers in a bind. You see, most books earn only a modest profit. But if paper books are shipped to bookstores and then returned, they get destroyed, and thus don’t make any money at all. In fact, the publisher then goes into the hole on every book he publishes.
The losses right now are so large in the industry, that as one agent put it, “Nobody in New York wants to be in this business right now.” That’s why bookstore chains like Borders and major distributors like Anderson News have gone bankrupt.

So where do the publishers make up for those losses? By selling electronic books for the Kindle, Nook, iPad and similar devices. The problem is, so many electronic books will come out in the next year, according to Bowker’s Identifier Services (the guys who make the ISBNs that you see on the back of a book), that the market will be flooded with over three million new books.

Why? Because authors who couldn’t find agents or publishers last year are self-publishing their novels this year. I was talking to a bestseller last night who groused that in the past week, he’d run into three different “authors,” none of whom had sold more than fifty books, all of whom were self-published.
That creates a problem for readers. It means that we now have to try to figure out which of those novels are worth buying and reading and which should never have been published in the first place.

Some of those novels may look good on the outside. They might have cover quotes from the author’s friends. They might have gorgeous illustrations. But inside, maybe halfway through a book, you might find that the story falls apart.
In fact, a lot of criminals are out there right now trying to sell e-books which Tracy Hickman has labeled “Frankensteins.” These are novels stolen from bits of other novels and cobbled together in a way to look like a legitimate book. The “author” hopes to steal a couple of dollars from unwary readers. Sure, it’s not a lot of money, but in some countries, like Nigeria, a few dollars goes a long way. If there are no laws against it (and in some countries there aren’t), the thief doesn’t even have to worry about getting punished.

How are we going to combat crummy novels? How are we going to get past the Frankensteins? Ten years ago we had gatekeepers in the industry—literary agents and editors—who made sure that only the best novels got published. It’s true that the system was flawed, but at least there was a system.

So who are our new gatekeepers going to be?

The truth is that there will be new kinds of publishers. Right now, I’m starting a company with my partner Mile Romney, called East India Press. We’re going to published “enhanced novels.”

Enhanced books are text files, like regular books, but they also combine elements like film clips, music, video games, author interviews, audio files, illustrations, and animations. They’re part book, part movie, part game, perhaps. These books are then then sold electronically to be read on your iPad, phone, computer, and so on. 

Are enhanced books the real future of publishing? There is good reason to think so. You see, making a beautiful book in this market will cost tens of thousands of dollars. That’s a bar to most wannabe authors. So money alone will limit the competition.

These new publishers will still have to establish their own credibility. They’ll have to select great books, create superior products, and develop a “brand” presence. In other words, you’ll want to read the books because of who the publisher is and what they represent.

A hundred years ago, that’s the way that books were bought in the first place. If you went to the bookstore, the books were ordered by publisher. You might pick through the piles and find that a certain editor liked the same kind of “science fictional stories” that you did, and that became the place that you visited over and over again.

There will be other ways to judge a book. It might come from an author with a long list of awards, or great cover quotes from independent review agencies, or maybe the fact that the book is a bestseller will give it a lot of credibility.
So I expect enhanced books to become the dominant art form for novels in the next two years, replacing and outselling simple e-books on the bestseller lists, and even outselling hardbacks and paperbacks within a couple of years. As my agent, Russell Galen put it, “Enhanced books are the entire future of publishing.”
Now, I’ve published some fifty books in science fiction and fantasy. I’ve won a number of awards and my books have been translated into thirty languages. I worked for years as the lead judge for one of the largest writing contest in the world. I’ve trained authors like Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, and Stephenie Meyer who have gone on to become #1 international bestsellers.

So I know books. I know a good story when I see one, and I know how to fix a story when it needs fixing. Given this, and my own background as a novelist, videogame designer, and movie producer, it seemed like starting a new type of publishing company was a must.

In fact, I believe in this new medium so much, I’m even putting out my next novel through this publishing company. It’s called Nightingale, and tells the story of Bron Jones, a young man abandoned at birth and raised in foster care. He discovers that he’s not quite human, and suddenly finds himself at the center of international intrigue.

This is a model for the new publishing industry. I think it’s a great book, and I could have sold it through normal channels. But this is the best way to go. So we’re offering the book on our site at You can buy it in hard cover, for your e-reader, or in enhanced mode for the more advanced e-readers, or we even have an emulator so that you can run it in enhanced mode on any computer. It also has a forty-five minute soundtrack, lots of art, optional notes from the author and other features. In the future we may add a game or trailers. I believe this is the way books--good books--will be done in the future. I invite you to check it out, and check out our new company, East India Press.

If you’re a writer, look into our short story writing contest while you’re there. You could win $1000. You can find out about more about the East India Press or the writing contest at as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Big, Big Announcement! Really, REALLY BIG!

If you've ever read fantasy or science fiction, you're probably aware of Dave Farland. Or Dave Wolverton. Both one and the same. Here is his bio:
Known as the “Wizard of Storytelling,” writing sensation and author of fifty novels, David wrote short stories as a child and dreamt of growing up to become a fantasy writer. He gained experience in a number of career paths but never lost sight of his goals. Finally, after saving money for years, he decided to risk it all and go to Brigham Young University to study.
While there, he became ill and feverish started having some fantastic dreams. In one such dream, two futuristic mercenaries were taking shelter in the skull of some giant beast and talking while waiting out a rainstorm. His dreams became so vivid and lifelike that he had to put them in a story called “On My Way to Paradise.”

He entered it into the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest and won the grand prize for the year, the Gold Award. He was immediately contracted by Bantam Books to turn the short story into a novel of the same name, along with a contract to write two more books. The novel, My Way to Paradise spent several months on the Locus Science Fiction Best-seller list, and won a Phillip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for being one of the best science fiction novels of the year.

He wrote science fiction for ten years under his given name of David Wolverton, during which he wrote several best sellers. After having mastered science fiction, David decided it was time to take another risk and try writing fantasy, hoping to realize his childhood dream. So as not to confuse his readers, he writes fantasy under the name David Farland.

He had to work hard to achieve notoriety in two genres, but eventually his fantasy books started hitting the New York Times Best Seller’s list right out of the gates, beginning with the third book of the Runelords series entitled Wizardborn.

He had not only achieved his childhood dream, but in doing so, became popular in two genres and has amassed many awards for his short fiction in particular, and set a Guinness Record for the world's largest booksigning–a record that he still holds. In 1991, David became a judge for one of the world's largest writing contests, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and for the next several years he read thousands of stories each year, edited an annual anthology, and taught writing classes to new writers.

To date, David has written and edited fifty published books. These include novels for adults, young adults, anthologies, middle-grade readers, and picture books.

Among his numerous other accomplishments, David eventually returned to BYU as a writing professor, for several years. It was getting in the way of his writing, so he ended that and decided to fill his need to share by lecturing, giving workshops and seminars to those who would be writers. He is known for having taught many great emerging writers and had a part in their success, including Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson and Eric Flint. In many cases it was his influence and words of wisdom that caused a new author to sell their first story. Now he has the privilege of helping other struggling would-be writers to achieve their success. He says, “Nobody makes it alone. We each build on one another.”

As part of his continuing desire to help struggling authors with their craft, he sends out periodic (ranging from daily to weekly depending on his schedule) "Daily Kick in the Pants", an article or essay with always interesting and informative things to say about the industry or about writing. I love them. I've learned tons, just from these little snippets. I would love to be able to attend one of his "Death Camps" one day. Go check out his site. There is a lot to peruse.

Okay, now that there is that huge lead up, guess what????? Mr. Wolverton has a new book coming out, a YA fantasy called NIGHTINGALE. On Friday. But...not from a traditional publisher. Mr. Wolverton is self publishing. (For the record, he actually got a SIX-FIGURE offer for this book, but he turned it down because he didn't like the digital rights clause. He saw it as that important.) But he's not just slapping it up on Kindle. He's doing something completely new and innovative. A MULTI-MEDIA E-book. What is that, you ask? just has fabulous artwork. And videos. And a MUSIC SCORE. All part of the new reading experience. He calls them "enhanced books".

So, drum roll part of his blog tour to promote his new book and its release on Friday, October 28th, Mr. Wolverton is COMING TO OUR BLOG!!!!  ON FRIDAY!!!!

That's right, he is posting a great article on our blog on Friday about...well, you'll just have to come back and find out.

Squeeeeeee!!!! Sorry, I know I'm gushing, but I'm really excited, not only to get his amazing insight into the publishing industry right now, but I think that the more writer absorb his information and benefit from his years of experience, the more prepared we'll be when we get the chance to "hit it big".

So stay tuned...very exciting stuff happening around here!

Monday, October 24, 2011

LDS Fiction Reads

Recently, I've read a couple LDS fiction books. First I read our own Jolene Perry's The Next Door Boys. Which, by the way, is fantastic. I finished it in a few days.

Now, I'm making my way through the third book in the Hearts of the Children series by Dean Hughes. I read his WWII (first Thomas generation) books: The Children of Promise. None of them disappoint.

So, now I'm on a LDS fiction reading high, and I'd love for a few new recommendations! Please chime in!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Stories, Betsy Love

Today's guest for Saturday Stories is Betsy Love, published author extraordinaire.

Q—Would you please tell us about yourself?
Besides my passion for writing stories, I love to cook and clean. Oh, did I tell you I lie for a living. My characters love to cook and clean…oh, wait. No they don’t like that either. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, but spent most of my life in Mesa, AZ. I have 8 children, 14 grandchildren, two horribly behaved dogs, one obnoxious cat who thinks she’s too good to join us in the house. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in English and Secondary Education. I’ve taught English and Theater for the past 13 years. I am currently unemployed and couldn’t be happier about it. It means I get to spend most of my days sitting in front of my computer and either writing, editing, or blogging. I’m hopelessly addicted to my computer. 
Q—Tell us about your book Identity and any other books you’re working on.

Identity is my first published book. When I was about ten or eleven years old my mother began reading a novel to me about a princess and her handmaid who were on a small airplane. The plane crashed. The girl who survived and had amnesia was so badly disfigured they couldn’t tell who it was. (That was before DNA testing). My mother never finished reading the book. I’ve searched for it and have never been able to find it. I was telling my daughter about it and she suggested I just write my own ending, and that’s how this book came about. It only took me about 4 months to write, and another 5 years to get it published. I sent it out multiple times, and was rejected almost as many times. Linda Mullineaux at Walnut Springs Press loved it!
The premise for Identity is that two women are on vacation in Mexico. Amelia is there with her fiancé, and Savannah is there with her best friend. Neither of these two women knows each other, but they look very much alike. When their traveling companions start crossing paths with the look-alikes it leads to intrigue and deceit where identity means everything.
I have another book coming out the early part of 2012 called Soulfire, which is the story of one young woman’s struggle to remain faithful in spite of the wickedness around her.
Q—How has your job as an English teacher affected your writing?
I love teaching writing to my students. They say the teacher always learns more than the student. For me this is true! I learned so much about the English language and structure through teaching. So many times ideas have sprung after class discussions. They’ve also been great for feedback. Teens have a way of being brutally honest. 
Q—Which do you prefer: tator tots or french fries?
Actually, I prefer a good baked potato with chili and cheese, chopped green onions and a dab of sour cream on top. But if I had to pick one, it would be French fries. I hardly ever eat them. 
Q—If you had to choose one writer to script the next year of your life, who would it be and why?
Living or dead? Dead—Victor Hugo. He really understands the human emotion. Living—Janette Rallison. She just knows how to tell a story to make you laugh. If I could have one tenth of her humor, I’d be writing some pretty funny stuff! 
Q—As a published author, share one gem of enlightenment you have gleaned along the way.
Writing is hard. Publishing is harder! And editing—the hardest of all.
Q—What is the strangest thing to ever inspire a story idea for you?
My dreams. Sometimes I wake up and think, “Wow, that was really weird.” And as the day goes on, I can think of a way to either write a story around it, or incorporate into what I’m doing. The other thing I do, and it’s probably not odd, but I talk to myself in the mirror as if I am one of my characters. Sometimes my characters tell me some pretty bizarre things.
Q—Which animal in the animal kingdom best exemplifies who you are and why?
Wow, after a lot of thought, okay maybe a couple of minutes, I’d have to say a dog. A really loyal, attention seeking mutt. While I’m loyal to my friends and family, I’m also in the middle of the attention. I’m the dog that runs to the door when the bell rings. The one that barks and growls from time to time when I’m tired or grumpy. I am very much a people person. I love to be around people—except when I’m in writing mode…then leave me alone. 
Q— How do you squeeze in time to write each day?
When I was working I had to really force myself to sit down and write. My goal was 300 words per day. That’s just one page. Often, I’d find that at the end of the page, I just had to keep going, because I’d get on a roll. When my kids were little I’d have to stay up late at night after they went to bed, which of course, made for a grumpy mommy in the morning. But they survived—I think. 
Now I find that I have to minimize distractions. I have a laptop that I do all my writing on. When I sit at my laptop, I know that this is my writing time and I deliberately stay off Facebook, and resist checking email. Most days I can write close to 3000 words. Editing is a much slower process and if I can manage to edit 10 pages per day, I call that a pretty good day. Once in a while I get up to 20 pages edited. That grounds for celebration! Where’s the chocolate?
Q—Was there one book that ignited your love of reading? If so, what was it? If not, what did spark your interest?
The book that stands out the most is Paddington the Bear. I loved those stories as a kid. I used to read by the light from the hallway after my mother had sent me to bed. I place the book on the floor so that the beam would land right on my pages and then hang off the mattress in order to read. My mother caught me about 3 pages from finishing the book. She took my book and grounded me from reading for a whole week. I call that cruel and unusual punishment. I still read late at night…and often my husband will wake up in the middle of the night and ask me to please turn off the light. 
Q—If you could be a superhero(ine), what would your name be and what super power(s) would you possess?
In spite of my love for words, I am a very slow reader. If I could be a superhero, I’d be Madam Reads-a-lot. My super power would be to devour books in a single sitting!
Q—What’s one thing you wish you had known when you first started writing?
I wish I would have known that I should NOT feel guilty for the time I spend writing. My gift for words is a gift from God and He wants me to use them to bless the lives of others. Now, I suffer no guilt from a messy house IF I’ve spent that time using my gift. 

I want to thank Betsy for the interview. It was really fun getting to know her better. I always love hearing how people reach their writing dreams because it makes me feel like I can too.

If you'd like to learn more about Betsy you can find her here:

Friday, October 21, 2011

You're Going to Get Tired of Me

Two days in a row of Cheri? Sorry about that. ;) I was glad to be able to help Nikki out in a pinch.

Yesterday, I found myself inadvertently counting my blessings. It's been an awesome week, as things go. First of all, Bryan is HOME with us finally (and on a job interview right now, so fingers crossed). He got in around midnight Tuesday/Wednesday, and woke up the kids for school Wednesday morning. It was better than when we surprised them with Disneyland, seriously. The oldest was first, since he has to get up early for seminary. He couldn't disengage his "Cheshire Cat grin" all morning. Then he woke up the girls. The youngest hit her head on the bunk bed in her rush to hug Daddy and didn't even notice. He woke up the twins last and ended up sandwiched between them in a big hug. I sent the happiest kids on Earth to school that morning--and not just because they were on the cusp of a 5 day weekend.

Wednesday afternoon we had parent/teacher conferences. I've vented a little in various places about how frustrating it's been struggling with my older daughter and school. A few weeks ago, we had an emergency meeting with her teachers, the principal, her, me and Dad-via-phone. Ever since then, though, she's been a model student and brought all her failing grades up to passing. Her lowest grade is just 2 points away from being a C. Considering she was failing three subjects just a few weeks ago--that's pretty amazing. I'm so proud of her that she's taken the responsibility to improve and try and do all those things she's supposed to do anyway. It's not the end of the solution, but it's a step.

My youngest is also doing fantastic in her class. Straight A's, that girl. She just loves school (I love that stage).

Thursday we celebrated Bryan's birthday. So glad that he was here for it. Since I got my son's cold, he did most of the cooking but everything (except my potato rolls lol) turned out great.

I guess, in all this, I'm trying to say how fantastic this week has been, and how easy it is to feel gratitude and peace when things are going well. It's been a dark time, and I'm happy to see the sun again.

One of my sons once said, in response to the hymn "Count your Blessings," that to do so is impossible, because there are too many. That's a great attitude to have, but a difficult one to maintain. So, just in case some of you are struggling today, my advice--and my son's--is to take a few minutes to think of the good things in your life. Sometimes those things are as basic as getting out of bed, or a hug from your child, but they can be larger things, too.

What are your blessings today?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Couple of Seasonal Poems

I'm pinch-posting for Nikki today. Since we're so close to Halloween, I thought I'd post a couple of darker poems from my "angst-y" years. Enjoy!


The mask would hide his face
from everyone who'd dare to look.
His mind is pained and twisted,
but his brilliance shined beyond.
He fell in love with innocence;
an error most men make.
The love he felt destroyed him,
and caused his heart to break.
Throughout his life they tortured him;
people, selfish and cold.
They failed to find his beauty,
and till the end, he was never told,
"I love you."
'Twas his innocent who said
those precious, simple words.
He fought so hard to keep her,
but he had to let her go
in the end.
For all he tried to do for her
he simply could not give
everything she'd need from him,
and he sacrificed his happiness
in hopes that she could live.
He died loving her.

August 23, 1992


She never turned her heart from him.
'Twas a pity he destroyed her.
She couldn't forsake his love, she said.
He used that love against her.
She never was too strong,
but the fact that he could hurt her,
made my blood turn cold to him.
I could not forgive the pain.
He didn't need her the way
she always needed him.
He used her to satisfy
his needs, and his alone.
Never could he love her
the way she deserved to be loved.
He didn't even know how, I wager,
to say a kind word at all.
For this, I cannot love him
in any way you may.
He is not my salvation;
he is pain, and pain alone.

August 23, 1992

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goals: Why I LOATHE them, but they're Good For Me

I hate to fail. I'm sure it's something I've struggled with since before time began, but I hate it. I am not one of those people who can just pick themselves up and and dust themselves off everytime they fall. I am a lay-down-on-the-ground-kicking-and-screaming-and-having-the-biggest-tantrum-ever kind of person. (Well, at least on the inside.)

I've always had a hard time judging just what I am capable of. I know the Lord knows me better than I do, so as I've matured, I've tried to rely more on the Spirit rather than "the arm of the flesh".

Well, this past week I signed up for a writer's conference in February, the annual ANWA conference. I also (gulp) signed up for a pitch session with Jane Dystel, head of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management (ack! Gasp!) But to pitch you must have something finished. I do not. I need to finish. I need to polish. I need to do a lot more to get this current story ready for the big time.

So now I have to Make A Goal. But what goal, do you ask? I could say, "have Fairy Godfather finished by conference". BUT....that would leave me without time to polish, let it sit and simmer, get it out to beta readers, etc.

So, you say, get it done by...January. Sure, I could, but that would only give me a few weeks to get it out and back and polished. NOT that you take your manuscript to the pitch session. It's like a query letter in person, so they REALLY don't want to haul 20 reams of paper back with them. But it would be nice to be able to send it out right after the conference if she requests anything.

So...I need more than 6 weeks to get it ready.

So, you say, get it done by mid-December. Before Christmas, so it doesn't interfere with anything else during the holidays.  You're getting warmer, but I still think that 8 weeks is not enough time for it to simmer. I wanted at least a month of not looking at it before I did some editing and sent it out to beta readers.

Okay, you reply. How about NaNoWriMo? Finish it using NaNo. Weeeellllll....maybe. If I have to. If I haven't succeeded in my first tier goal. Which is....drum roll please.....finish it by Halloween. Gasp. (I think I might faint just thinking it.) I've never written that much in such a short amount of time. I'm terrified. WHAT IF I FAIL!!!!!?????

But I know this is what the Lord wants from me. I have to do the work, He won't write it for me, but the internal pressure from constant nudging from the Spirit will not let me rest. I HAVE to get this done. On this time frame, or I will be scrambling at the end, and that's not what I want. I want to do this calmly, with deliberate steps, not my usual scraping up the dregs, dragging a trail of toilet paper behind me as a I run around squawking like a headless chicken. I need to become that person that does the right thing when it's the right thing to do. better go get to work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

You Think It's Funny, But It's Not

There is this certain musical named after a certain sacred scripture of ours that is on Broadway right now. (In case you didn't know.) Yesterday, I clicked a link to a performance from this musical because I was curious. The actor dressed as a missionary sang a song. It was a very pretty song, and a little moving in fact. He was singing about believing in Christ.

But then, but then...he sang about a branch of Joseph being called to the Promised Land.

And the audience laughed.

He sang about the eternal progression of souls.

And the audience laughed.

He sang about latter-day prophets who speak to God.

And they laughed some more.

I turned it off because I couldn't watch any more. I felt like I was in that great and spacious musical theater clinging for my life to the iron rod. The mockery of those things so sacred to us was so blatant and...ugly.

It made me sad.

But then I remembered something.

Of course we will be mocked for our beliefs. If we weren't teased, scorned, laughed at, called "not Christian"...then things would be too easy.

With the new Mormon campaign, I really feel this is Heavenly Father's way of getting us ready to answer more questions about the gospel, to smile in the face of increasing derision, and to proclaim our beliefs to an ever shrinking world....a world that is becoming more and more aware of us as a people.

Because this is who we are, what creates our very souls and without which we'd be something less. (So bring it on.)

Friday, October 14, 2011


He's coming home! After six weeks without him, my husband is finally going to be able to move out and join us. This separation has been so hard--being the only parent for 5 children all the time, forgetting important things like dr's appointments because my brain is so full of the day to day stuff. Stressing over their grades and progress and behavior in school. Not having someone here who can physically help out, or to bounce ideas off of.

But Wednesday, all that will end. Hopefully for good this time. We've endured separations in our marriage because of his various jobs, and it's never been fun. A year ago August he was in LA for a month, and one of the first things that happened at home was someone shattered our minivan's back window. It pretty much went downhill from there. Ugh.

**But don't tell the kids. He's going to surprise them.**

When I went back to bed this morning (because it's impossible to sleep with a cuddly 7 yr old taking up the entire space), I started thinking about my dad. Whenever Bryan is gone for an extended time, I'm reminded of the importance of a father in a child's life. It's something I've known since my childhood because of the lack I experienced. My parents divorced when I was 4, my mother never remarried, and my father died when I was 7. He wasn't there to baptize me, which was just the beginning of the milestones he missed. I grew up measuring every father I encountered to a set standard, and the only one who ever measured up to it became my father in law.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about the possibility of writing a book celebrating fathers from the perspective of someone who had lived without hers. Society is really big on making it okay for parents to raise their kids alone. There are some people who have to do it that way, and others who choose it. But it affects the child in a number of different ways. I just wonder if it would be worth putting out there. Fatherhood is not for sissies. But, for the man willing to put the effort into it, the rewards are eternal.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Call to Arms!

 First I want to thank everyone who participated in the round robin story last Thursday.  It was so much fun, and I was impressed with everyone's additions.  I put them all in the post and added an ending.  You can read the finished story here.

The LDS community is coming out of the wood work and are ready to proclaim to the world..."I am a Mormon!"  To me, this media blitz is a call to arms for all Latter-Day Saints.  We are in a war with Satan and we must fight to win the souls of the world...including our own.  That being said, have you noticed the saturation of LDS people in the writing community in the past 5-10 years?  Why do you think so many of us have a sudden desire to write?  It's because the Lord is giving us the desire to arm ourselves with words as we fight the battle we all accepted in the pre-existanse.  This desire to write is the Lord's will.  It is a talent He has given us to use for the benefit of all people, including ourselves.  Some of us will never publish in a national market, some of us only desire to write for family or friends.  What we have to realize is that everything we write is of benefit to someone.  Sometimes, we may be the only person to benefit, but, oh how much sweeter it is to know that Heavenly Father gave us this strong desire to write, not for the masses, but for our own personal sake.  He cares about us so much individually, that sometimes our talents are for us.   Not that I'm saying they are only for us, but the growth we can obtain just by growing a talent is so much more than what one person will gain from reading it.
So writers, let us put on our heavenly perspective when we write.  Let's realize that the feelings of inferiority, or insignificance, or mediocrity are not from our Father in Heaven.  They are from His enemy who uses our own insecurities to destroy us from the inside out.  Because Satan knows what our Father in Heaven knows, that by small and simple things( like words) are great things brought to pass.  As writers we worry that our constant stream of ideas are annoying to others, or that our writing isn't good enough for contests, or magazines, or e-books because a big agent or big editor didn't tell us how wonderful we are.  I have a confession to make, I've almost quit writing on this blog more times than I can count.  It's usually due to my pride getting in the way because I didn't feel I was getting enough "atta girl" comments.  "Nobody cares if I write on the blog or not.  I can find someone better than me and people would be better off!"  Yes, those are usually my thoughts on the matter.  But the Spirit usually intercedes and conquers my pride by whispering of my worth, and telling me that is for my own growth that I write on here.  That I am important enough to take up a whole days worth of a blog post to increase my understanding.  I am worth the work that goes into my writing even if not a single, solitary soul ever reads it!   And I'm here to tell you that you are worth it too!  You are worth putting yourself out there even when you don't think your good enough.  You are worth the trouble it takes to write a blog post, or a contest entry, or a magazine article, or an agent query.  So what if you don't get any comments on your post, or win the contest, or get rejected by the magazine or the agent.  Remember the big picture.  No one is waiting at the pearly gates to say that you can't enter because you didn't get published or didn't win a contest.  Our heavenly rewards are based on perseverance, charity, growth, and reaching our potential.  So let go of your pride, sisters.  Recognize your feelings of insecurity as a very effective tool used by the adversary.  Put your writing and ideas out there and show Satan that you are no longer held back by him.  Show him that you are free from his bonds.  Fight him with all the words at your disposal.  Because every time you write despite your fears, you are winning the battle we have all been sent here to fight!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Lesson in Voice

I am a fan of great music. I especially love acapella music, that wonderful blend of voices that create an entire symphony at times. NBC has a show called "The Sing Off", and one of songs they had to sing last week was a current hit. One group, Afro-Blue, is the acapella jazz ensemble at Howard University. They usually never do pop or current songs, so this forced them out of their comfort zone. But as part of their desire to stay true to their voice, or their sound, they created something amazing. Listen as they "jazz" up "American Boy" by Estelle:

They took a song and made it their own, using their own "words" if you will, to share the story. No one can deliver a story like you can. Don't try to be anyone else. Use your words and your viewpoint. Even if the "plot" is tired and familiar, the way you deliver it is your voice. As long as your story "sounds" like you, your voice is there.

Don't get discouraged if not everyone likes it. That is subjective territory, and you can't make everyone love you all of the time. So BE YOU! Be true to your own voice and in the end you will make beautiful music on the page.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Break and Other Non-Writing Fun

Maybe if I were still a night owl, maybe if I were an earlier bird
I'd maintain my writing schedule during the week my children are not in school (known in these parts as 'Fall Break')
But I'm fresh out of bird qualities
So I've resorted to having as much fun as I can
with the resident masters of fun.
(known in these parts as my children.)
So far our days have been filled with, but not limited to,
a trip to the library and Wii Just Dance (with the 5 yr old)
Baking cookies, and checking out
the latest performances of Vocal Point (with the older than 5 yr olds)
Oh, and some time outside. We can do that now that temps have dropped to 90! And that might be the best part of fall break. . .
How's your week?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Edit My Life

Don't you wish that sometimes you can go back and delete something you said? Rewrite an entire day?

Every morning we are given a blank document. If we write a terrible scene, we have to live with it.

Or not.

We have an Editor who helps us see where we went wrong when we don't see it ourselves. With His help we can erase our mistakes and improve our manuscript. And at the end of the day we can have a beautiful Story.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Stories Update, Jolene Perry

Way back in November of last year I had this grand idea (at least I thought it was grand) to feature writers on my Saturday posts to help our community grow by allowing everyone to meet everyone else. There's a lot of us out there and we need a platform for introduction: thusly Saturday Stories was born.

At the time I needed my first victim I turned to my friend Jolene Perry. If you don't know who she is you will. Her first book, The Next Door Boys , is out and I thought it would be so fun to let you guys hear from her again.

Just so you know, I don't think I paid her near enough for the nice things she's said about me.

A Looong time ago I was totally flattered when Lisa asked me to be one of her first "Saturday Stories."
An even LONGER time ago, I'd written a few sentences on Mormon Mommy Writers blog and won a crit of my first chapter. It was my first REALLY good critique, which resulted in poor Lisa Turner helping me completely overhaul my manuscript. I sent it to one more reader after that (author Kaylee Baldwin), in to CFI, and now release day is here!!
Since that time, I've started writing in present tense, which took care of LOADS of my earlier problems like "info dumps." I laugh as I write this because Lisa finally just started making comments like - "You KNOW what I'm going to say here, RIGHT??"
And I'd shake my head at her comments, disbelieving that I could see it in other people's writing, but not in my own.
I will never be able to express how many wonderful people I've met while blogging, and while waiting for the publication of my first book.
Since I started on the blogosphere, and since Lisa helped me with The Next Door Boys, I've gotten my offer of publication for that book, an offer of publication for one other mainstream YA, landed an agent, and now have two books on sub (which is a whole new kind of crazy-scary process).
And without learning what I've learned by meeting people on blogs like this one, I'd still be . . . well, I don't know. But I wouldn't be at a point of publication yet, that's for SURE.
I hope people like The Next Door Boys. After writing a lot more stories, I still go back to this one and let out ridiculously happy sighs (why yes, that IS an adverb I just used) at some of my favorite scenes.
So, I guess my point in this whole long rambling post is that our online friendships carry us through a lot, and that the road to publication takes a long time and a lot of different paths.
Thanks so much for having me!!! Again!!! I LOVE what you girls do here :D
Jolene Perry

You can find loads of Jolene's
at the links below:

Official Blurb for The Next Door Boys:
Leigh Tressman has been known as a lot of things – the girl who sings, the girl who sews, Jaron’s little sister, and last year, the girl with cancer. With her body still recovering from the cancer treatments, she’s determined to be independent and convinces her parents to let her follow her overprotective brother, Jaron, to BYU.

With an ever expanding line of young men ready to be in love with her – not to mention physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas – Leigh almost misses the opportunity to be with the man who has been quietly falling in love with her since they met. The Next Door Boys proves that even with (or maybe in spite of) independence, love can be found in comfortable, but delightful places.


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