Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Good is a Deadline . . .

If you can't extend it?
That's right.

The deadline for our  Totally Cliche Contest  
has officially been extended until 
Saturday, June 4th, Midnight!

All the other rules still apply. And a refresher for the prizes we are offering:

1st Place--The first place winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and three ebooks in addition to a copy of the upcoming MMW ebook Totally Cliché.

2nd Place--The second place winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and two ebooks in addition to a copy of the upcoming MMW ebook Totally Cliché.

3rd Place--The third place winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card and one ebook in addition to a copy of the upcoming MMW ebook Totally Cliché.

**All other submissions accepted for inclusion in the compilation will receive a free copy of the MMW ebook Totally Cliché.

You know what this means?! That idea you had, but didn't start - or the story you started but didn't finish - there is time! Four more days!! Tell a friend. Get back at the keyboard (or notebook) and write! We'll be looking for your submissions!

Check here for all the details: http://mormonmommywriters.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-contest.html

Guidelines for Submitting
1.  Submissions should be emailed to: mormonmommywriters@gmail.com
2.  The subject line should read Totally Cliché.
3.  The top of the email should look almost EXACTLY like this:
Fanny Price (Your name)
fprice@janeausten.com (Your email address)
fannywrites.blogspot.com (Your web or blog address---if you have one)
Word Count
Cliché(s) you are using
4.  Below your personal information, paste (do not attach) your submission. Please include the title and author name before the body of the story.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memory

It's Memorial Day! Barbeques. Swimming. The beginning of summer.

But...really, it's not those things. It's the boy sent to Europe almost seventy years ago with a gun in his hand only to die on the shores of Normandy. It's the father of small children who fought for his life and lost it in the South Vietnamese jungles. Or, more recently, it's the boy or girl we might have gone to high school with--now one of the honored fallen because they died for OUR freedoms in a middle-eastern desert, thousands of miles away from their home and loved ones.

My best Memorial Day memories are those spent with my grandpa, a WWII veteran, in his small Kansas town. In the morning he'd raise his American flag, planting it on his house right outside the front door. Then we'd walk to the cemetery one block away and join the small gathering as men in uniform remembered the fallen. Taps would be played, followed by quiet as people remembered--especially those like my grandpa who knew those fallen soldiers personally.

Did you know that there is a National Moment of Remembrance today? Even if we don't have a chance to place flowers on a soldier's grave or to visit a War Memorial, we can join with each other by pausing at 3 p.m. and thinking on the meaning of today. And not forgetting the sacrifice they made and why they made it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

United We Stand...


 12We believe in being asubject to bkings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in cobeying, honoring, and sustaining the dlaw.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I offer my gratitude in prayer for those who have passed on protecting our rights, safety and lives. I thank my Father in Heaven who has blessed this great country so that I may worship Him and rear my children according to the dictates of my own heart and not someone elses.

God Bless America!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Stories, Melanie Jacobson

This week I have the pleasure of interviewing published author, Melanie Jacobson. If, after reading this great interview, you'd like to learn more about Melanie and her book The List, check out her website at http://melaniejacobson.net/

Q--Who are you? 
I'm the mother of three and married to a computer programmer with rock star aspirations. I eat a lot, and exercise because I eat a lot, and I cook, because I eat a lot. I love to read, shop, travel, and veg in front of the TV with my husband. 
Q--Tell us about your book, The List.

Ashley Barrett has a list of 25 things she's determined to do before she gets married. She's avoided relationships like the plague and enjoys her single status. She's spending the summer in Huntington Beach to cross #9 off of her list: learn to surf. But when she enlists super hot Matt Gibson to help, suddenly all of her carefully laid plans are threatened--and she's finding it hard to be upset.
Q--What’s on Ashley's list in The List?
She wants to do everything from sky dive to learn to make sushi. She's already scaled a mountain and lived abroad. She's still working on things like being an extra in a movie and running a triathlon. When she made the list at 18, she tried to put down anything she thought she couldn't do after she was married, and her stubborn streak drives her to keep the list intact regardless of whether she's outgrown some of her adolescent daydreams. 
Q--What things on Ashley’s list have you done or would you like to do?
I've traveled Europe, seen a Broadway show, read all the standard works, taken a cruise and tried Internet dating. I think I'd like to get my masters degree someday and possibly be a movie extra, but that's about all I have in common with the rest of her list.
Q--On your website have the “10 Things About Me” list. Let’s talk about a few of these.
1.  #6 Explain your allergy to crafts. It's so sad. My mother was a trained artist and amazingly talented, but I'm totally fumble-fingered. I inherited her creativity but not an ounce of her skill. Just about every time I try to do a little craft, I end up with rage issues. "Why will this inanimate object not do my bidding?"
2.  #8 How did you become fluent in sign language? My parents were both deaf, so I guess it's by default.
3.  #9 Tell us about your camel ride around the great pyramids! I was still single at 30 and so was my best friend. We decided we should do a really cool trip to mark our 30th year and Egypt sounded like a cool place to go. It was!
Q--If you could be a piece of fruit, what fruit would you be and why?
I'd be an avocado because my husband says I'd probably bleed guacamole.
Q--You say you are addicted to Scrabble (#10 on her 10 things list), what is your favorite word to use and how many points is it worth?
I'd love to be able to play the word "quiz" on a double letter triple word score. Suh-weet!

Q--So, let’s go along with the theme of your book. What would your “List” be?
Serve a mission with my husband, travel to Africa, master the art of pastry baking, learn to swim, and go back to classroom teaching. 
Q--Finish this sentence:  “If my children really knew...”
How much fun writing is,  it would probably become "the family business."
Q--I think all writers have some guilty pleasure that they crave when the writing gets tough. You know, when you hit a wall or your MC has decided not to follow your outline. What’s yours?
I keep a two pound box of See's candy in "my" cupboard filled with only my favorite confections. I earn one every time I reach my daily writing goal.
Q--If you could have an imaginary friend (maybe you already do) what would their name be and what kind of things would you do or talk about with them?
Her name would be Sasha and she would be my shopping buddy. She would give me totally honest opinions about everything I tried on and enable every shopping impulse I had. Oooh, dangerous!
Q--What advice would you like to share with aspiring writers?
Just do it. You CAN find the time. Give up a little TV or get up a bit early. If you chip away at it a bit at a time, eventually you'll find yourself with a completed manuscript and that is an AMAZING feeling.
Q--What piece of advice do you wish you had taken seriously when you were trying to get published?
Uh, I have to say, my path to publication was a little easier than most. I took and used every piece of advice that I got, and it worked out well for me. I know that makes me a brat, but I'm super, super lucky.
Q--If you were stranded on a deserted island what (not who) would you miss most?
My laptop. It's my tether to reality and other grownups.
Q--If you could be any character from any book you’ve ever read who would it be and why?
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He is a man of such incredible integrity. I'm more like Scout who has a good heart, but is too impulsive and quick to anger. It makes me a good person to have in your corner.

Thanks, Melanie! Your book sounds amazing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I was Almost on the News

But first, a reminder about our mini contest. Prize will be awarded June 1:

The winner of this contest will get a $10 gift card to Amazon. Sound good?
To enter this contest do one or more of the following—the more you do the more points you earn and the better your chance of winning:

1. Paste the contest button on your blog. (You can find it on the sidebar--to your right.)

2. Become a follower.

3. Comment about the contest on Facebook.

4. Tweet about the contest.

5. Write a post about the contest.

6. Comment on any or some or all of the posts about the contest. (There will be multiple posts throughout the contest period so you have lots of chances.)

7. Like us on Facebook.

It’s simple to enter. But you must let us know in a comment what you’ve done so that we can check. If you don’t tell us, we won’t know and you won’t be entered. If you’re already a follower or you already like us on Facebook that will count in your favor so long as you let us know. At midnight on May 31 we will tally the points and hold a drawing. The winner will be announced on June 1.

Now about that silly "Cheri on the news" thing. :)

Wednesday, I was the keynote speaker for Valley Jr High's Liger Pride Night in WVC, UT. As impressive as that sounds, I had a captive audience of about 20 people. Which is fine--I don't want you to think I'm complaining, because I had a great time. At my 2 min warning (son was there to help me not speak over time) a guy with a huge camera showed up at the back of the room and turned on the camera--right at me. Then he folded it up and came down to the front of the room (in the corner) and filmed the audience. He also interviewed the evening's coordinator, Ann Riding--school media specialist.

We made a special effort to watch KSL 5's 10pm news Wed night, but since Wednesday ended up being such a big news day (think Elizabeth Smart, flooding, and more wet weather), our little "fluff" piece got about twenty seconds and no video. Oh well. I can't expect the first time one of those big, clunky cameras is trained on me to be the first time I end up on the news, right? lol

And just for laughs (because you can feel free to laugh at my expense), I'll share with you what my brother said when I asked him to TiVo the news for me "just in case." He asked, "Hit and run? DUI? What did you do?!"

You gotta love family!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Board Meeting of the Mind

First of all, I want to remind you all that the deadline of our short story contest is coming up fast.  Quit dilly dallying and get writing!  Now maybe you are like me and sit down at the computer to write but stare at a blank screen wondering why you can't write.  I am a firm believer that my ability to write or not to write is all in my head.  So how do we organize our minds and make them work for us?  I think you know by now that I like to talk to myself and assign different roles to imaginary people in my head.  (Yes, I'm crazy, Yes, my husband knows.)  I have what I call my inner writing team which consists of my project manager, my inner editor, my source person (where my ideas come from), and my creative self.  I also have an inner critic which I have fired...many times. Imagining meetings with these roles helps me to see my goals in a new light and to see them as achievable.  Knowing that I have the talent and the know-how inside gives me the confidence I need to move forward and make my goals happen. Now I am going to take you where no one has gone before...The Board Meeting of Nikki's Writing Team!

Nikki walks in and takes her seat at the head of the long table.  Everyone is there so it's time to proceed. 
"I just want to thank you all for coming.  I called this meeting to discuss the Knight of Dreams writing project.  The first draft went really well with everyone here putting in their best effort, but since December there has been no progress.  Now I believe in this story and the abilities of each individual in this room.  We need to work together again to get this novel done and publishable.".
Everyone nods their heads and Nikki knows it's time for the reports.  She turns to the project manager first.  "P.M. how do you see the logistics of this project?".
P.M. stands and goes to a chart at the front of the room.  He points at the bar graph as he begins, "As you can see from this chart, the time spent actually writing is almost non existent.  Work, kids, husband, house, and even time spent on the T.V. and the Internet are all overwhelming the schedule.  Our first task is to manage our time more wisely."
Nikki nods her agreement, "Yes, but how do we do that in your opinion?"
P.M. pulls another chart from behind the first.  "This is a daily schedule for the summer.  There is time worked into each day for writing.  There are several blank spots as well to fill in with spontaneous things as needed, but the writing times must be honored everyday.  There is no reason we can't finish the complete rewrite this summer if we stick to the schedule". 
"Thank you, P.M."  Nikki turns to the editor, "Ed, how are the plans for the rewrite going?".
"I read the whole first draft and was pleasantly surprised.  This story has lots of potential."
Ed looks over at the creative director who blushes at his comment.  He smiles encouragingly at her and continues.   "The first draft however really was lacking in depth and direction in a lot of places, but it is a great start.  I have written several outlines that can be used in the rewrite.  There is a pacing outline, a meet in the middle plot outline, 4 seven point plot structures including a seven point structure for the romance, the real world, the character arc, and the overall plot.". 
"Good job, Ed.  It sounds like you really put a lot of thought into it.  Are the outlines flexible?  We need to allow creative freedom in all of this so that our best potential can be met.".
"Absolutely!  These are only outlines designed to keep the story moving in the right direction."
"Thank you, Ed" Nikki then looked to the other side of the table.  She decided to go to the source next.  Sara "source person" is where the ideas flow from.
"Sara, this story really relys on your great ideas, do you have anything brewing for the rewrite?"
"I do, I shared some of those ideas with Ed and many of them were incorporated into the outlines.  But I do have several other ideas that I am trying to keep off the table so the story doesn't become overwhelming."  she nodded her head slightly towards the creative director, Candy, who is known for getting overwhelmed easily. 
Nikki looks at Candy next who got her name from her short spiky hair that is the pink color of cotton candy.
"Candy, how do you feel about the new ideas and the outlines?". Everyone holds their breath knowing that Candy doesn't always cooperate.
"Well...I guess they're alright."  Everyone exhales.  "I like the story, but I heard some of Sara's other story ideas when she didn't think I was listening."  Everyone glares at Sara who looks sheepish.  "I was thinking it would be fun to play with those ideas instead.  I mean, I already know how Knight of Dreams ends.  Wouldn't it be more fun to start a new story?".
There was a collective sigh of exasperation and everyone looked at Nikki to deliver her worn out speech.
"Candy, we've been over this lots of times.  You are free to write a paragraph or two of the new ideas that come your way to help you remember them, but then you need to focus on the story at hand.  I know focus isn't your strong suit..."
"Ooo, look a squirrel!"  Candy says as she points out the windows.
"As I was saying, Candy, Candy?  CANDY!"
Nikki rolls her eyes and continues.
"Our collective goal is to write and hopefully publish a novel that we are proud of.  Without your creative flare the story will never reach it's potential.  I really need you to commit to the project."
Candy blows a big bubble with her her gum before replying, "Well, I guess that would be alright.  But do I really have to follow some boring outline?"
Nikki looks at Ed to answer that question, "The outlines are just building off of the direction you took the first draft in.  The truth is that the outlines are basically your ideas to begin with.  If you decide to verge off the outlines just touch base with me real quick and I'll make any adjustments needed."
Candy looked appeased...for a moment.  "But SHE says I can't write a good novel and that I shouldn't disappoint everyone."
Candy pointed at the quiet shadowy figure in the corner who slowly stepped into the light.
Nikki was surprised to see Negative Nelly there, "I thought I gave you a permanent vacation."
"Well so did I, but you keep calling me back with you questions and feelings of self-doubt."  Nelly approaches the table now and continues, "It's a good thing I'm here though.  I have to be the voice of reason.  You all talk about this project like it's really going to happen.  How will you all feel when it fails?  Miserable, that's how you'll feel.  And you would have put in all that time and hard work for nothing.  I say cut your losses and find something more useful to do with your time like cleaning the house."  With a satisfied look on her face, Nelly sat back down in the corner.
The board room grew quiet.  Nobody looked at one another.  Maybe Nelly was right.  Maybe they should just quit now.
Nikki took a deep breath and stood up.  "Nelly's right about one thing.  We could fail, we could fail to publish the book, we could fail to make the book as perfect as we would like, and we could end up disappointed.  But even if we don't realize all our hopes, it won't be for nothing.  Because we would have proven to ourselves that we can work together and that we can push through writer's blocks and we can learn the craft of writing and we can learn more about ourselves.  And taking all that knowledge and confidence with us, we'll get right back up and write something else.  And if that one doesn't get published, we'll get up again.  We cannot fail as long as we don't admit defeat. I know that our team can make this happen.  Let's trust in our abilities and write this book!".
One by one each person stands and nods their agreement even Candy feels excited to write.  Everyone is on board again, everyone except Nelly who sneaks out the door unseen. 

So why aren't you entering the MMW short story contest?  Is your own Negative Nelly telling you not to try?  Are you really listening to her??  Fire her now and get your writing team together.  They may have to pull an all nighter to get it done, but they are the best parts of you and they are capable of making it happen.  So who's going to make the commitment right now to try?  Leave a comment expressing your new goal so I can cheer you on!!  Keep those entries coming in!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One More REMINDER!!!!!

Okay, Peoples of the MMW blogosphere. Less than a week until the contest is over. SUBMIT!!!!!!!!!

That being said, the ones we've seen so far have been pretty amazing. This will be a great book, and I'm sure you'll love to take the journey with us as we get it ready for "print".

On a more personal note, I've read with interest the posts by my dear MMW sisters and your responses about what our role as LDS authors should be in writing about different topics in the world. The consensus has been that we should write things that uplift. And I absolutely agree. I'm not into those stories that try to make the anti-hero the hero. I believe with all my heart that good triumphing over evil, not choosing between 2 evils, is what makes a good story and what accurately reflects our beliefs.

That being said, I have to put out there that the spectrum for uplifting stories can go from one extreme to the other. And as I've matured as a writer, I've realized that the stories I have to tell are darker than most in this audience. Not to go into detail, but there have been experiences in my life that are dark. Really dark. And though I'm not in that place, and I've been amazingly blessed with a wonderful life, it doesn't change what happened in my formative years. For me writing is cathartic. It allows me to write about things even more awful than what has happened to me in my past. And the deeper the hole my characters are in, the greater their triumph will be in the end. Because I know from personal experience that though the path is hard and filled with obstacles the size of the Rock of Gibraltar, it's a path worth climbing.

I hope no one feels bashed, because that wasn't my intention. Maybe all I'm asking for is some suspension of disbelief. Or maybe permission. I struggle a lot with not wanting to write the darker stuff, but when I try to keep it closer to what I think other people would like me to write, I get stuck every time. But when I let the story go where it will, I find that the truths I really want to share are there, deep in the conflict, those little rays of light to illuminate the darkness.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Help for Joplin

We've heard and seen so much of disasters, calamities and destruction, this year and in the recent past.
Earthquakes, fires, floods, storms, tornadoes. It's easy to feel shocked, saddened and overwhelmed. Maybe it's easy to become numb to the suffering.
I hope not.

Please take a minute to read Sara's blog and see her pictures.
All of these blog posts have a way to help.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh the Drama!

Oh the melodrama of a four year-old when he doesn't get to stay at Grammy's house to swim! Some parents might listen and laugh when their child goes into a angry rant. Me? I listened and laughed AND wrote it down because that's what writer moms do, right?

I DON'T like eating anymore.
I don't like going downstairs.
I don't like looking at you.
I don't like walls in houses anymore. I am going to go upstairs and stay up there forever and FIRE UP THE HOUSE.
I DON'T like soda pop.
I am going to throw my covers down and break apart my bed!
I am going to go outside and KNOCK out the window. Then I am going to go play with BAD people. I am going to stay on a chair and WATCH them!
When it is summertime I am NOT going to go in the water. I am going to SIT on the chair.
I am NOT GOING TO EAT ANYMORE and I am going to die.

Not the bad people! I love my son. Any melodrama around your house lately?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mormon Writer


What does it mean to for me to be a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint writer?

It means that I have been blessed with the desire, the drive and love to pursue the talent that my Father in Heaven has bestowed upon me.

It means that I have a voice that will reach outside the bounds of my vicinity and I will influence those with my inner strengths.

It means that I will serve the Lord with my might, mind, and heart and I will do all I can to honor Him through the talent He has so generously blessed me with.

Here's something I've found on the Church's website. I invite everyone to read it. It is enlightening!

"“Why did you write this story?” I asked. “Is this the real you coming out, the inner self that just had to be expressed?”

“Oh, no!” she answered. “I’m not at all like that, Bishop.”
“Then why did you write that way?”
“Because I thought I had to write that way to be published,” she said."

What does it mean to you to be a Latter-day Saint writer?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Stories, Heidi Baldwin Ashworth

After a long break from Saturday Stories we're back and I couldn't be more excited!

Let's kick things off with an interview with Heidi Baldwin Ashworth. Heidi is a writer with two published books to her credit. After reading this interview if you'd like to learn more about Heidi you can visit her blog at www.heidiashworth.blogspot.com or her official author site at www.heidiashworth.com

Q--Tell us a little about yourself. Whatever you want people to know.
I love my parents and family, my husband, kids, and my friends. My oldest, who is 21, suffers from a variety of disabilities so taking care of him has been a huge chunk of my life and what I am about. I refer to him as The Big Guy in my blog and the sidebar has quite a few links to posts I have written about him. I am lucky enough to have another son and a daughter who make all of my mommy dreams come true. The Big Guy brings to pass the undreamed ones, the ones you don't think of or even know you want when you are young and just starting out in life. I am grateful for all the things I have learned through the experiences I have had, grateful for how it has made me grow, made me see and made me better.
Q--Would you please give us a brief glimpse of your road to publication? Maybe include how long it took you to get to the point where you were ready to submit and how many rejections/requests you received.

I started writing when I was very young but didn't write my first actual book until I was 26. I have quite a few older sisters who were interested in regency romance, mostly the works of Georgette Heyer (they enjoyed Austen, too, but she was not a regency romance author, she was a contemporary fiction writer) but one of them got me started on fantasy and I read and wrote nothing but that until I finally caved and read a regency when I was 25. From then on, that's what I wanted to write. Regency romance is unlike any other romance genre and I loved everything about it, especially the country of England as a backdrop as well as Regency England "who" appears in the stories almost as a character. I then took a course in writing romance and wrote Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, one chapter a week, as homework assignments. When it was done, I submitted it to one of the two publishers that was still publishing regencies (there had been six when I first started writing them) and a year later, I received my rejection. By then, the other publisher had stopped publishing them, as well, so I put it in a box and forgot about it. 
Fourteen years later, a friend who also writes regencies, convinced me to submit my manuscript to a company that publishes clean historical romances. Intrigued that such a thing as clean historical romance (the term "historical romance" implies smut from the get-go), I checked into it. After toning down the regency-ness of my book for your typical clean historical romance fan (who coudl these be? I wondered), most of whom would not have a clue as to what a beaver is (a man's hat) or a reticule (a purse) or why Prinny (the Regent of England, hence, the regency) creaked when he walked (corset). I left in as much regency flavor as I dared for all of the regency romance fans out there who were going without their fix (since they pretty much had died on the vine). I then submitted it. I got "the call" nine months later but I did have to rewrite the last fourth of the book, so I didn't get off THAT easy. To me, this is an excellent arguement for knowing your market. I was lucky to have a friend who did all the foot work for me on that.

Q--Would you please tell us about your books! Give us a brief bio about them and I'll be sure to post a link to the Amazon page for each of them.

I have two books in print, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and the sequel, Miss Delacourt Has Her Day

MD1 is Ginny, a plain spoken girl in a world rife with social dos and don’ts (speaking your mind being firmly on the don't list) and a young man who is overly concerned with not straying off the path of the social dos and don’ts (sparks fly immediately!). Anthony's grandmother and Ginny's great aunt (in this case, the same woman) loves them both dearly and knows they are born for each other. She concocts a plan to throw them together and they are off on a series of misadventures and romantic interludes. As I said, the book was written for a class and wasn't orignially intended for publication so it is a bit of a caricature of your typical regency romance, an homage to the genre, if you will. 

Readers enjoyed the characters so much, some asked for a sequel. At first, this seemed an impossibility but I thought about it for a while and then came up with an idea that I thought might work. Once I passed it through my editor (Go ahead and try it but we don't really publish sequels, quoth she), I had a great time writing the further adventures of. Now that Ginny and Anthony are happily engaged, a wicked uncle enters the scene to put a spoke in their wheels (so to speak). They are off, once again, on misadventures and romantic interludes. What I especially love about it is that it explores a time period of a couple's life--the engagement--that is generally ignored in romance novels. The two books could easily be one novel and I admit I have dreams of their being publishes as such one day. Currently I'm working on a Victorian-era book starring their children.

Q--What inspires you? Not just in writing but in life. What makes you want to do and be better?
Being inspired to write doesn't take much. It's what I love to do. I have to admit, however, that chocolate is a huge aid in getting my creative juices going. In life, I am inspired by flowers, music, the examples of good people and the constant need to create, to grow to do better, to be better. It's an internal drive that's just always been there. Also, I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally like getting what I want which is a huge motivator for me.

Q--Finish this sentence: "I wish I could..."

I wish I could go to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is one of the few things I want to do so badly my teeth hurt that I haven't, and probably, won't get to do. I did have a one week heaven of a trip in England a dozen years ago but I need to go back and I must see the rest. I'm afraid that my personal circumstances will never allow for it, however. Bummer.

Q--What is your favorite book of all time?

Favorite anything questions are a huge bug-a-boo for me. I am the girl who can never pin it down to one thing. I just can't. Except when it comes to my favorite color (pink) and favorite flower (rose---no surprises there) rather like a perennial bachelor, there's just too much love to commit. However, if I knew I was to be stranded on an island for twenty years and was able to choose books to take with me, the complete works of Georgette Heyer and Diana Gabaldon (see, still not just one) are those that that would make the trip. (Sorry Jane!)
Q--Take the heroine from your favorite book and put yourself in her shoes. How would the story be different if you played the lead?
Again, an unanswerable question. I think there are just too many characters inside of me, both from a writer's point of view and that of a mentally unbalanced person (I have my moments) to even consider an answer to this one. 
Q--What's the biggest lesson you have learned as a writer?

Do not use the name of a famous person or book publishing company in the title of your book. I have google alerts connected to the names of both my books and I get a rather largish list each day of supposed hits that are all about Susan Delacourt (from what I glean, a politician in Canada) and Delacorte Books in spite of the fact it's spelled differently. That and (still can't choose just one) write write write if you want to be a better writer AND being published is wonderful and opens a lot of doors for you. It's like being on the other side of a huge wall or joining a club. Having said that, you're at the bottom of a pretty tall ladder and all the same insecurities, competition, anxieties and moments of despair are just as prevalent. It's not a magic bullet. But it IS a fun ride.

Q--What are the top 3 things you couldn't live without? (Things. Not people.)

Roses. If I had a choice of a garden with all flowers but roses and one that was nothing but, I would just just the roses. I love and adore all flowers A LOT but I am passionate about roses in a way in am not about most other things. So, that's number one. Something to read would be another (thanks for giving me three rather than just the impossible one!) though I wouldn't be terribly picky as to whether it was a book or a blog or in print or onscreen. Years ago I would have just said "books" but that's just not the case anymore. Lastly I would have to go with chocolate. They better have it in heaven or I'm staying here. 

Q--Since you love Regency Romance....would you ever consider living during that time period? Why would or wouldn't you?

When I first started learning about the regency period, I thought it would be incredibly fun to live then. However, the truth is, living now rocks. I would not do well with the odors, the lack of plumbing, good medical care, etc. (plus they didn't have milk chocolate). Unless you were very rich (referred to as the upper ten thousand) you had a pretty grim life back then. Even if I were rich, I think the constant round of parties and social functions that once sounded so pleasant to me, would quickly pall. The clothes, however, would be heavenly, even though, as you might have noticed, I didn't mention clothes in my three things I couldn't live without (just cover me with roses).
Q--What is your culinary guilty pleasure? (Chocolate? Pie? Carmel? What gets you?)


Q--What is your favorite blog to visit and why?

Gosh, I can't do that. Even if I had one, I couldn't say what it was and admit it was my favorite. My favorite blogs are written by people who have become my friends. I love them all very much.

Q--If you could have any super power what would it be and why?
These are such interesting questions. Mine would be physical strength since I don't have much of that. I have fibromyalgia, a muscle pain disorder, as well as hypo-thyroidism, which makes people very tired among other things, and celiac which means I can't eat gluten which is in wheat, barley and rye. The weakness of my body is my main bug-a-boo in life.
Q--What have you learned about marketing (on the author's end of things) since you were first published? What can you share to help other writers gain more success?
Marketing and the psychology of selling has been a really fun aspect of being published for me. Every new writer needs to brand their name. Anything you can legally and ethically do to get your name, the name of your book and the cover of your book out there is worth doing. Having said that, the internet is the way to go rather than physical book tours which publishers aren't paying for very often anymore, anyway. Internet marketing is a lot of hard work but, truthfully, the advance you receive is meant to be spent on marketing your book. It's part of the job. If you do just one thing, make it a book blog tour.
Q--What piece of advice would you like to offer to the aspiring authors out there reading this?

Don't give up. Don't neglect your children. If you don't get published until you're 44 (like I was) it doesn't matter. It's still just as great and wonderful, probably even better. I feel anxious when I see so many young mothers working so hard at it. Their kids need them. If they are writing because they need the money, they should think about a different job. If they are writing simply because they love books and the written word and want to have a part in creating something so wonderful for others to enjoy, go ahead and write but don't stress about not being published or not having made it or whatever--because few writers truly do "make it". Those are the ones we hear about but they are very rare in comparison to all the actual working and professional paid writers out there. Balance is the key.

Q--Tell us about your store.
We have a lot of health problems in my family and the need to bring in some kind of income has become paramount for me. I worked really hard at the writing thing (I was going to be the next Pioneer Woman, oh yes I was!) but even if it becomes a money maker in the future, it certainly isn't now. So, I went to my next best talent/strength/interest, which is making things beautiful. On April 4th opened my store named after my blog (which is named after my home in the custom of the Brits to name their homes) and it is full of all the pretty things I love. There are roses depicted in pretty much every way one can think of. I doubt many of your readers live anywhere near Concord California in the San Francisco East Bay but I hope all four of them come to visit!

Click here to check out the website for Heidi's store Dunhaven Place.

Thanks for the interview, Heidi!

If you're interested in purchasing either of Heidi's books, here's a link....


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