Christmas secrets can be lots of fun. Some are hard to keep. Some are fun to share. As parents, we had Christmas secrets, but it seems our children had secrets of their own.
When our children were young, they had late night Christmas Eve Parties downstairs. We stocked the party room with videos and goodies. We watched a movie or two with them and then went upstairs to wait for Santa.
When we left the party we wrapped the connecting doorway with noisy wrapping paper, so that no one could sneak upstairs to spy on Santa, unnanounced. The doorway would be unwrapped at 6:00 a.m. and the Christmas Mayhem would commence. After all, we needed our rest.
It seemed foolproof enough.
When the children were grown, they told us one unsuspecting afternoon how they cracked our security system, year after year.
One brave child would leave the cozy nest and climb the roof of our house, gaining access to the overhang that bordered our front windows. He would enter through the windows, take inventory, and return with a full report of the goods.
Particularly noteworthy was the year that Santa brought new roller skates for everyone. The courageous one returned to the mostly unfinished basement with the skates in hand, where everyone happily skated most of the night.
The skates were returned to their proper places in plenty of time so that neither Santa or his helpers ever suspected. Because of our strick ban on starting Christmas Morning before 6:00 a.m., they had only to watch the time.
The little darlings managed to look appropriately surprised and delighted on Christmas Morning. If Hollywood had known of their great acting ability, they would probably be big stars today.
The secret's out.
Do you have a Christmas secret you would like to share? It could be fun.
“After an attempted assassination, Governor Lilburn Boggs couldn’t prove who’d taken a shot at him, leaving the identity of his assailant a mystery. Twenty-five years later and after the passing of Gov. Boggs, Detective Calvin Pogue has been hired by the Boggs family to open this cold case and find out the truth about the assassin. From Missouri to California and into the heart of the Utah territory, Detective Pogue relentlessly seeks clues that lead him to the legendary Mormon gunman Porter R ockwell—who still isn’t making things easy for anyone!” Back cover.
Anyone who loves good historical fiction and sleuthing fun will love this book. The characters are well-developed, and picturesque descriptions along with great imagery augment this delicious mystery. Miller’s subplots add depth to the story as he looks at all sides of the somewhat complex issue.
Rod Miller is a noted writer of the old west, and his style brings this story to life. The only things wanting as I read the novel were end notes and original-source references. As a student of history, I’m always looking to primary sources for more information.
This book will make a gift to the history buffs in your family. Happy reading!
It snowed this week and today the roads are covered in a soft mist, making the air feel like a mysterious movie.
I love it.
Weather can change a mood, give ambiance, or (as my daughter tells me) finally makes it finally feel like Christmas.
The same thing is true in writing. Have you ever about a funeral on a sunny day? Or a happy ending during a rain storm? It just doesn't work as well. Having the weather match a mood draws in a reader and gives them a sense of setting. Weird how it works that way.
So, note to self: next time you are writing a spooky scene, don't have it at a wedding. Weddings aren't very spooky. Well... mostly.
What is your favorite weather for setting? Sad/rainy, mad/windy, happy/sunny?
I'm going to go cozy up with my lappy and get some writing done. Woohoo! Have a great week everyone. (Only a few more days until Christmas. Can you believe it?)
Time Travel is a great way to meet a Prophet...unless you get stuck in the past.
Christy Monson and I met at a writer's conference a few years ago, and we formed a tight little critique group with another friend. The focus of our group was picture books, and so I didn't get to preview this book, but I shared her excitement when it was accepted for publication. The book has been out for a few weeks now and is jumping off the shelves. I'm delighted to review it.
Time Travel is always a fascinating journey. A book that can combine adventure with history is sure to be a hit. Seeing the prophet, Brigham Young, through the eyes of a child as though it were happening right now is a lot of fun.
Alicia and Micah are just like your kids. Curious and at times a little contrary. When their dad's experimental phone malfunctions and they get stuck in the past, they want to go home. It takes time for them to get humble enough to pray for help and in the meantime they have a a few adventures with Brigham Young.
You won't want to miss this fun romp through the past. Pick one up to share with the kids you love.
Texting keeps us in touch, but cell phones keep changing. Who knows what's next. Before you know it we may be TEXTING THROUGH TIME.
Where would you like to go? Choose carefully. You could get stuck in the past.
Well, to be completely true. I've been in a few places.
I finished my edits (Yay! Now I can totally eat those cookies that were off limits until I finished. They are so stale.)
And then I was asked to write a Christmas Program for our congregation's Christmas Party (in 3 days). It was a little stressful. (I had to buy more cookies so I could keep up my writing-energy.) But great reviews (which made my week...month). ;)
Now I am finishing my revisions. (Stinkin' Revisions that I wanted done last month. RRRGGHH.)
But to be totally honest. I've been a little down about the writing.
One of my crit groups had scheduling issues and we had to split (I loved them, they were so awesome), my mind has been on shopping ('tis the season for last minute ideas), and my writing shoes have grown too small for comfort (never wash writing shoes in hot water...had I known...).
So I've been a little down and when I'm down, it's hard to write...or blog...or clean...or eat cookies (ha ha ha, that's never hard.)
But I'm shaking off the blues, rewriting my goals, and trying again. *head shaking in determination*
But be honest with me. What do you do when you are down about writing? Eat cookies (be honest, you know they are delicious...and if you try hard enough, you can wish away the calories *wishfully looking up at sky*), run on treadmill, yell at strangers from your car window? (was that you?)
So, tell the truth, what do you do?
p.s. I'm so glad to be back. I missed you guys!!!!!
I believe questions have great power, so I have begun collecting them. Here are a few of my favorite questions. Some are questions we might ask others. Some are questions meant for personal reflection. Most could be used either way. Try them out and let me know how they work for you.
Are you willing to take a chance? How would your life be different if...? How does this make you feel? What did you learn from this experience? What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning? How can I be more like you?
Am I ready to change? What do I want most? How do I see myself? How do I see others? Do I love myself? What quality do I appreciate most in myself? What quality would I like to develop? What embarrasses me? What would I like to let go of?
Am I part of the problem? Am I part of the solution? Why doesn't anything change, even when I try so hard? What can I learn from this difficult situation? How big is the problem? What worries me most?
What do I believe? What is my favorite word? What is my favorite quote? What am I afraid of? Where do I turn for answers? What brings me peace? Have I found my true purpose? What brings meaning to my life?
What are your favorite questions?
Many of the questions in the post were taken from the book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Wendy Watson Nelson. Pick up a copy. You'll love it.
We live in an area that had massive winds last week—up to 100 miles an hour. Our neighborhood lost trees, power lines, etc. etc. etc. There is a car down the way smashed flat from a giant tree falling across the driveway. A nearby crunched-in roof bears the weight of a pine tree. Chain saws are running overtime to clear the roads.
The first night the power was out, I cooked chicken and broccoli casserole on the gas stove. (It isn’t as good as in the oven.) We had a candle light supper and enjoyed the sunset. But by the end of two days, I felt very irritated.
I didn’t mind being without power. We had a fireplace to keep us slightly warm. I was fine without TV. It’s noisy anyway. The silence of a dead telephone was golden. Two things upset me. One was being without the internet. That’s my link to the world. I had no idea how much I enjoyed connecting with others. The other half of my distress came from not being able to write on my computer. Hand-scripting just isn’t the same. It’s slow and cumbersome, but better than nothing.
I was so happy once my computer and internet were working again. I have a new understanding about myself and my feelings, and it took a disaster to bring me this knowledge.
So, my gratitude this week is for the electronic age and the great inventions that are part of our lives. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone.
I love questions. They are powerful tools. They invite reflection. They invite answers. They allow us to expand our vision. They help us to see more clearly.
A good question can improve communication. It can invite a friend to share his/her heart with you. It can invite a spouse to share his/her thoughts with you. A good question can expand a relationship and take it to a deeper level.
Questions can help us evaluate our thinking, our living, our understanding. They can help us focus on our dreams and see things we haven’t noticed before. They can enlarge us, encourage us, empower us.
A writer needs to question everything.
Is the plot working? Are the characters real? Is my title inviting? Is the dialogue believable? Are my words interesting? Is my beginning engaging? Is my ending satisfying? What is the takeaway? Are there unnecessary words or chapters? Does every scene contribute to the story? Is this my best work?
We have a wonderful walnut tree in our back yard. It shades the upper yard, is fun for the kids to climb in, holds my wind chimes in the summer just perfectly, is a shelter for the birds and squirrels and gives us delicious walnuts in the fall! They are so good. (Well, I know some of you are saying that they give you cankers—and they do!) They are great in homemade candy and spice up my granola recipe. They are just all around good!
As you can tell, I LOVE this tree.
Each day as I gather the nuts and peel off the husks, I am filled with gratitude. God gives us so many blessings. Whoever thought up this creation had good ideas! The world is full of so many things that make our lives better—all given us by our Creator.
You are part of those wonderful creations, and I’m grateful that I know a little more about you from your comments. You are all so deserving, but the random ‘draw out of the hat’ revealed number 22 as the winner. Congratulations, Cynthia. I’ll be in touch.
Hey, all you Paper and Parchment fans! Have I got a deal for you? It’s a thankful give-away just for you! You have been so kind to listen to my hopes and fears through the months of this becoming-published business! I really appreciate your support and encouragement.
I love doing author signings and meeting people. This blog hop is a great way to find friends and meet others. Besides, you may win a time travel to visit the Prophet Brigham Young! What fun. Just remember, if you’re going to borrow you dad’s experimental phone, know exactly how it works!
I'm giving away a copy of my new release, Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young. It's a great Christmas gift for kids ages 7 – 13. Enjoy reading it with them just for fun. Thanks for being blog buddies. Click here to see my website. I'm hosting a second giveaway on my website for an Amazon Gift Card. Hop on over and leave a comment to be entered in the Gift Card Giveaway.
To be entered in the giveaway for Texting Through Time, just leave a comment after this post, and tell me why you'd like to win my book.
This contest is part of a blog hop. There are over 300 other contests you can enter. After you enter here, be sure to hop along to the next one. Click the Gratitude Button on the sidebar to hop along. It looks like this.
The contest runs until November 27, which gives you lots of time to enter other contests. What a great way to win cool books. Think of all the Christmas Gifts you could win.
The winners for both giveaways will be selected by random.org.
First, let me apologize for not posting on Tuesday. I had a little mixup with one of my bloggy partners. Watch for her contest later this month. She's giving away a copy of her new book, Texting Through Time. Possibly a great Christmas gift for someone on your list.
Second, I apologize to Carolyn for posting on her day. She'll probably be posting any minute now. Love ya, Carolyn.
Third, I'd like to mention some things I'm thankful for. Here's a light-hearted gratitude list from A-Z. If I draw a blank on any letter, maybe you can fill it in for me.
A I'm thankful for ANGELS. They help me every day. I love the earthly angels, and the unearthly ones.
B I'm thankful for BOOKS. They take me to amazing places. My BODY also takes me to amazing places. She is a great friend.
C I am thankful for CHOICE. Today I am choosing joy.
D I am thankful to be DIFFERENT. Who wants to be the same?
E I am thankful for ELECTRICITY, one of the truly great inventions.
F I am thankful for my fabulous FAMILY and my adorable FRIENDS. No explanation needed.
G I'm thankful for GRANDKIDS. They are some of my favorite people. My favorite person is GRANDPA, because he is my best friend.
H I'm thankful for my HOME. It's a great place to be.
I I am thankful for IMAGINATION. It brightens my days.
J I am thankful for JESUS. What an incredible man.
K I am thankful for KINDNESS. Kindness rocks.
L I am thankful for LOVE. It still makes the world go round.
M I am thankful to be ME. No one else can do it.
N I am thankful for NATURE. What a wonderful gift.
O I am thankful for OMELETS, because they are yummy.
P I am thankful for PRAYER which strengthens me, and fills my heart with PEACE.
Q I am thankful for QUIET, which softens the corners of a noisy day.
R I am thankful for RAIN which washes the earth and waters my thoughts.
S I am thankful for SUNSHINE. Who isn't?
T I am thankful for TODAY, which is always fresh and full of promise. TOMORROW is good too.
U I am thankful to live in the USA. With all our problems it's still the greatest place on earth.
V I am thankful for VIRTUE. It's hard to find sometimes.
W I am thankful for clean, clear WATER. May we always have plenty.
X I don't X-ACTLY know what to say for X, except I am X-TREMELY thankful for the good stuff in my life.
Y I am thankful for YOU because YOU are awesome. YOU totally Rock.
Z I am thankful for the ZIP and ZING in my world. I hope it never goes away.
Isn't that amazing. I made it through the alphabet, and I barely scratched the surface. I have a lot to be thankful for. It's a great day for gratitude.
Picture books rock. Rick Walton rocks. I have borrowed this post with permission. I couldn't have said it better. It originally posted on November 2.
Why Picture Books Are Important, And Why They Are for Everyone
by Rick Walton
Picture books are often seen as literary baby food, the stuff we feed children until they have the teeth to eat real food.
I would argue, however, that picture books are not baby food. They are not just for young children.
In fact, I would argue that picture books are perhaps the most important literary format that we have.
Here are 10 reasons why I believe this:
1. They are the first books that children fall in love with, that turn children into lifetime readers. Lifetime readers become lifetime learners. Lifetime learners become lifetime contributors.
2. Picture book language is often more sophisticated than the first chapter books that children read, and therefore an excellent way for children to learn language. It is here that children, and others, can learn vocabulary, imagery, rhythm, shape, structure, conciseness, emotional power.
3. The picture book is the most flexible of all literary formats. You can do almost anything in a picture book. This flexibility encourages creativity, in both writer and reader. It broadens the mind, and the imagination. And given today's challenges, we desperately need more creativity, broadened minds. Imagination.
4. The picture book, with its interaction between text and illustration , with its appeal that the reader analyze that interaction, helps develop visual intelligence. It helps us look for meaning in the visual. And since most of us are surrounded by, and inundated by visual images our whole lives, visual intelligence is an important skill.
5. Some of the best art being created today is found in picture books. Picture books are a great resource for art education.
6. The picture book appeals to more learning styles than any other format. It is read out loud for audible learners. It is written and illustrated for visual learners. It often asks you to interact with it physically for kinesthetic learners.
7. In fact, the picture book, of all formats, is probably the best format for teaching an idea, getting across a point. Because picture books are short, all messages, knowledge, ideas expressed in a picture book must be boiled down to their essence. They must be presented in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. If you want to learn a difficult subject, start with a picture book. If you want to express a powerful message, a picture book is one of the most powerful media for doing so. Many middle, upper grade, and even college instructors have recognized the value of using picture books in their teaching.
8. The picture book does more than any other literary format for bonding people one with another. As a child sits on a lap and is read to, as a parent, a grand parent, a teacher, a librarian reads to a child, extremely important connections are made, bonds are formed, generations are brought together.
9. The picture book also has the broadest possible age range of audience. Few four-year-olds will appreciate a novel. But many grandparents enjoy a good picture book. I have read picture books for upwards of an hour to groups including toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents, where all were engaged.
10. The picture book is short, and can fit easily into the nooks and crannies of our lives. Five minutes here, 10 minutes there, plenty of time for a complete literary experience.
Picture books are poetry, adventure, imagination, language, interaction, precision, and so much more.
Picture books are not books that children should be encouraged to "graduate" from.
For picture books have something important to say, to give, to all ages, all generations.
Picture books are not just books for young children.
My Book "Texting Through Time, A Trek With Brigham Young," is now available in book stores and on Amazon.com.
I just have to share with you my wonderful weekend. I did a book signing at Hastings in Harrisville on Friday night, November 4th. It was wonderful. I met a lot of great people and sold 20 books!
My real book launch party was at Deseret Book by the Ogden Temple on Saturday, November 5th. What a turn-out I had. I sold over a hundred books for the weekend. I was treated like royalty. The people at the store were so kind and accommodating. What a wonderful experience for me.
I also had a lot of friends and family come. It was a great day to be with friends and meet new faces.
It is fun to see kids eyes light up when they try on the Brigham Young costume I have. They stand tall in the high hat and hold the cane just so. What fun!!
I didn't think I would like doing these signings, but they really are a good time. I'm going to be on the Ogden Costco on Wednesday and Friday, November 9th and 11th, during the day. I'm really looking forward to doing this. (Where, you all remember my last post about this. I was really dreading it. But I'm not now.) I having lots of fun.
Which shows, I should never make up my mind about something until I've tried it. The "try it, you'll like it" phrase has truth in it. And I willingly admit it.
Stay tuned next week. I'm doing a book giveaway.
Take care! Happy reading and writing. Christy Monson
I’ve traveled a magnificent road from writing to publication and loved every minute of it. But I’d like to share my experience of building my website. I’ve had such a fun time with it.
First of all, I don’t have the skills to build the actual site myself, so I found someone who has done a wonderful job with that part. I just told him what I wanted, sent him the information and pictures, and he provided.
Since my first book is about Brigham Young, I decided to give my website a pioneer theme. Researching children’s pioneer games, crafts, cooking took me back to my childhood. We have a cabin in the Tetons where my father grew up, and I had done many of these things as a girl. I wanted pictures of kids on the website, so I orchestrated craft and cooking sessions this summer when we were together with the children in Idaho.
The girls loved making paper dolls. They colored them and kept them together in chains at first. Then they ripped them apart and spent the afternoon playing house with them. I didn’t think they’d have much fun making forest creatures, but they LOVED it. They spent a couple of hours finding twigs and leaves and pinecones they could tie together with string, etc. I purposefully didn’t use little eyes and other craft materials of today because I wanted to be true to the pioneer period. Gathering wild flowers also appealed to the crafty kids.
Cooking was also fun. Shaking the cream jar to music until the butter formed, energized them so they continued the dance fest with dress-up clothes long after the butter hardened. Fishing was the boys’ favorite. They sat by the stream for hours casting and recasting.
I was also surprised at the games. We started playing hide the thimble outside. I thought they’d only play long enough for me to snap some pictures, but they continued for almost an hour. Jack Straws was another activity they loved. Each of them made their own set of straws, and that was as fun as the game itself. I wanted an activity for the smaller children, and follow the leader was the one they enjoyed. (Maybe tromping around in my cousin’s grain field added to the delight—they stayed on the edge so as not to damage too much wheat.)
I walked away from it, and exercised instead. About time. I did yoga and 104 sit ups. It felt great. No one reads this stuff anyway.
I could tell my computer wasn’t happy, so I took a quick peek at my email, and then hurried to the kitchen. “Just having breakfast,” I said loudly. “Normal people do that, you know.”
My computer didn’t argue, but I could tell she was upset.
“I’m having a normal day, today,” I said. “Normal people don’t spend 5 hours a day in front of their lap top. Normal people don’t check their email every five minutes. I’m going to be normal. I’m going to get a life.”
My lappie rolled her eyes at me. I swear she did.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me,” I said. “Agents don’t like me. Publishers don’t keep their promises. And besides that nobody buys books anymore. Didja ever hear of the public library?”
“Are you, like…humming at me? What’s up with that? Don’t hum at me, okay. I have nothing to write, okay? I’m out of ideas. Watch me be normal. Watch me…sweep the floor. Normal people sweep, okay.”
That floor was awfully dirty. Maybe I should sweep more often. What else do normal people do? Oh, yeah. “ I think I’ll make my bed.”
The bed was worse than I thought. I tossed the sheets in the washer. “Just act normal,” I thought. “Whirrrrrrr. Click. Click.”
“Hey, don't whirrr at me. Remember last week when the doorbell rang and I wasn’t even dressed. It was almost noon and I was in front of my computer in my pjs. Normal people get dressed in the morning. I’m hopping in the shower. I can’t hear you.”
This is great. I'm clean. I'm dressed. I’m having a normal day. If somebody knocks on my door, I’ll be ready. Normal people don’t write every day. They don’t.
“What? Whatever? I mean, I can’t hear you. I’m running errands, just like a normal person. I’m out the door. I have two, six, maybe seven errands. I may be gone all day.” Slam. “Who does that computer think she is.”
Whew. Quiet at last.
Wait a minute. What’s that rustling in the back seat. “Who’s there?”
That’s better. Wait, do I hear whispering?
Oh no. It’s the words. They followed me here. They sneaked in the car and they’re trying to get my attention. This is crazy.
“Shh. No talking. Shhhhhhhh.”
“Whisper, whisper, whisper.”
“I’m turning on the radio.”
Dancing. "You're not dancing." They’re dancing. “Stop that. Don’t dance. I'm telling you, words are not supposed to dance. I mean it. Stop.”
I’m grateful for my husband. Right now he is my proof reader. I have my next book ready to go to the publisher. I’ve been over it carefully, looking for mistakes; and he is my final reader (after my critique group). He’s great to find typos!
He is also great to support me in attending luncheons with other writers, my critique group every week, weekend workshops, and sometimes, just spur-of-the-moment get together with an author who is in town. He never complains, and he’s always happy for me to go. (Maybe he likes me out of the house? Just kidding!)
Anyway, I’m feeling thankful for him.
Do you have support in your writing? Join the gratitude fest, if you like. :}:}:}
Book Signings: November 4th, Hastings Book Store, Ogden
Book Launch: November 5th, Deseret Book Store, by the Ogden Temple
Book Signing: November ?, Wisebird Bookery, Ogden
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.
The Nominations for the Whitney awards are now open.
The Whitney awards were created to recognize quality work and to help readers become more aware of the fine literature being published by LDS authors. They were named after Orson Whitney.
There are seven different categories: general fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery/suspense, speculative (sci-fi/fantasy), young adult general and young adult speculative fiction. A book must get five nominations to be considered.
Last year, was my first introduction to the Whitneys. I read all five nominees in two different categories. It was delightful. I enjoyed branching out to new authors and new genres. This year, I hope to start earlier and read more categories.
If you’re looking for something to read that is clean and well-written, take a look at some of last year’s finalists, or previous years. I’ll bet you’ll like them. Last year's winners are listed here.
Anyone can nominate a book for the Whitneys. All books nominated go through a complex screening process to select the five finalists in each category. Members of LDS storymakers are eligible to vote along with a panel of experts who are invited to participate. We can only vote in categories where we have read all five finalists.
If you have read a book you’d like to nominate, it must have been published in 2011 and must have been written by an LDS author. Only full length fiction is eligible. To find out more click here. To nominate a book, click here.
Right now I’m steeped in the middle of the marketing business. Since my book will be out the first of November, I’m setting up a book launch, writing a press release, and organizing book signings.
Marketing is kind of a fun thing to do. These are all new skills for me. And after I get over being scared, I know I’ll have a good time. People are so kind and helpful. Book stores love to have you come in. All the ones I’ve been to are anxious to put up a poster, let me bring in refreshments and willing to accommodate me in any way. After all, it will bring business into their store.
I’ve come up with a fun idea. Since my book is about Brigham Young, I got a top hat, coat, cane and black bow tie for kids to try on when they are in the store. I think it will be great for kids to have their mother’s take a picture of them in the outfit. They can really try on the persona of Brigham Young and see how it feels. (I’ll let you know when the signings are, and if you’re in the area, bring your kids in :})
Brigham was just an ordinary young boy growing up in the backwoods of New York. He was lonely at times and hungry, just like all of us are. I think kids will identify with him.
I have two weeks to get myself ready. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I’m sure there will be times when I’m having fun and times when I wish I were home alone at my computer writing a new scene.
Keep me in your best positive thoughts!And I’ll do the same for you.
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.
Naming a baby is an important job. We want a name that sounds just right and one that will still sound good when the baby becomes as adult. We want a name that isn’t easy to make fun of. We don’t want our baby to be the brunt of jokes because of the name we picked. We don’t want a name that’s all used up. Different is good, but not too different.
Naming a book is another important job. The title needs to sound just right and tell us something about the book. The title needs to speak to you. It should say pick me up, read me, buy me. We don’t want a title that’s already worn out. Different is good.
Because a book title is so vital to the marketing of a book, most publishers reserve for themselves the final say on a title. My publisher told me that they only use about 5% of submitted titles. Most titles are changed. I have heard that big name national publishers run their titles past Barnes and Noble and Borders for approval. If they don’t like the title, it’s a no go. I guess Borders is out of the running now, so maybe only Barnes and Noble holds such power.
I love short snappy titles. Some that have caught my attention lately are The Help, and Speak. A one word title that is loaded with meaning is an attention grabber. I named one of my picture books I’m Not Scared, and later changed it to just Scared.
What are some titles that speak to you? Have you ever grabbed a book just because the title was intriguing? Did the book live up to its title? Have you ever rejected a book based on its title, and later changed your mind?
Choosing a great title is an art form. What’s in a Name? A lot.
On Thursday night, October 6th, I went to a book signing party at the King’s English Bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. The occasion was a book launch for Robison Wells’ new book, Variant.
Rob spoke at the beginning, telling everyone his story. He experienced times of struggle, times of failure and times of success. We all identify with those who work hard, fail, battle back again and finally succeed. It was nice to find someone who has given his all, fought through hard time and found triumph.
His victory was made all the sweeter because he was able to speak. Rob said that he has suffered from panic attacks and didn’t know if he’d be able to even come to the book launch. He not only came, but was able to share his story with those in attendance. (And that bookstore has small rooms and was full of people. He did great!!!)
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
- Truman Capote
I love this quote. It helps me remember that all is not lost if I don’t succeed the first time. Victory is all the sweeter if there has been a time of trial beforehand.
Share your times of trial and your times of success. We gain courage from each other.
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.
This week I am going over my Beta reads and fixing...well...words.
I had no idea words could cause so much havoc! I had some words added where they shouldn't be and a few sentences that weren't finished. (I have a really funny one that was pointed out to me, but I can't mention it on the blog. Let's just say it had something to do with big ones. Opps, I said too much. It's not what you think Mom...I promise).
Words can really mess up your story. For example...check this out:
So funny. Thanks Rhett and Link.
So next time you are writing a novel, short story, essay, etc..., make sure all those words make sense, or else you'll have a story that is just all over the place.
Have you ever had issues with your words in your ms? Has anyone ever found a sentence that didn't read right (hello, big ones). What was the funniest or scariest one you've found?
I am pleased to repost this message from Betsy Love. I hope that you enjoy it, and that your heart will be touched. I don't know Isaac, but I wish him well. May you be blessed for your generosity. Linda Garner
I know a boy, a very handsome boy,
who happens to be a miracle. His name is Isaac Sneed. He just got his mission call for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My family got to be there when he read the letter that explained where he will be serving. He is going to the Romania Bucharest Mission and reports to the Mission Training Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 14, 2011.
Let me back up about 11 years, a time I remember well. Isaac's mom, Theresa Sneed is my best friend. Her son started complaining about his "tummy". You know, the kinds of complaints all kids have. Only his ache never went away.
Long story short--he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. This cancer is almost always fatal, and most children who get this kind of cancer are diagnosed by the age of 2. By the time it is discovered, the cancer usually spreads to the point of no return. Through a miracle, his tumor was completely intact and the doctors were able to remove it. Isaac was 8.
As a result of his treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplant), Isaac's suffers from significant hearing loss.
So why am I writing today? Because Isaac needs hearing aids to be the best missionary he can be. Learning a new language is challenging for a normal missionary with a set of good ears, so you can imagine what Isaac's challenge will be with significant hearing loss.
The cost of hearing aids is approximately $6500. His parents are currently without health insurance and cannot afford to purchase them. If you have a heart, and I know you do, would you please make a donation to get them for him. Every little bit helps. So far $110 has been collected in his behalf. But that's a long way from the total we need. Even small amounts add up. You can go to any Chase bank and deposit funds. The account number is: 2996079725.
Thank you for your generosity and Christ-like love! Your donation may remain anonymous if you'd like.
I’ve been mistaken all along about writing. I thought I could just sit at my computer day after day, create what I wanted and know that everything else would be taken care of. Wrong!
Once I signed a contract with the publisher, my world changed. There are decisions to be made about the art work and proof reading that has to be done. Along with that comes the worry that you may have missed a typo or a period. (I always want things perfect.)
After your book as gone to the printer, then the marketing team takes over a big chunk of your life. What? I have to have a Launch party? Book signings? I have to sit at the table in Costco and meet the public?
Well, this has gotten entirely out of hand. I’m a shy sort of person who loves to be in the background. What happened to my sitting at the computer all day?
Maybe I’m like a rose, ready to explode into bloom. The bud is small and tight at first, but as it grows, the pressure increases for it to break out of its confinement—burst its constraints. That’s not an entirely comfortable process. At times I feel scared; other times I’m shy; but mostly I wish for my background status to return.
I know that won’t ever happen, and it’s really okay that it doesn’t. We all need to keep moving forward creating and making the world a better place. I want to do that more than I want to stay in a tight undeveloped bud.
I can make it. I can do it, but it’s scary. And then everyone around me is loving and supporting and caring for me. Would I miss that time of connection with others? Not on your life! What a blessing! Writing becomes a ‘happily-ever-after’ tale.
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.
I've been experiencing quite a bit of interesting thoughts this week. My main contemplation is on the issue of pride (my stinkin' pride *fist shaking at self*).
This business is a tough one. I've had many friends published (either e-pub or traditional). Some of my friends have changed (not everyone, but some. And I'm not talking about changing from human to vampire or something like that. That would make for a much more interesting story).
Two acquaintances of mine have been published and both have had national successes. But the way they have responded to their success has been so different and at such opposite sides of reaction, that I couldn't help take note.
Not only have I seen it in the writing world, but I have seen it in my person life. Just because someone is skinner than me, prettier, had different responsibilities...does that make them better than me? More important?
But it didn't stop there. I was in a meeting with a group of accomplished women, one of whom kept bringing up her past achievements, who she worked with, how she went the extra mile. I started to feel...well...jealous (and to be honest, a little bit small compared to her). So then I went off, embellishing in my past (honestly, if I was going to go off and feel terrible for it, I should have made it more interesting...like I had super powers or something-j/k It was bad enough).
By the time we were leaving, I felt awful.
This is not the person I wanted to be. My pride and jealousy was getting in the way. Too far in the way.
I spent the next few days trying to sort things out, how to stop my mouth from vomiting such things in times of weakness (Why does it happen like that? Why can't my logical mind say..."Hey wait, if you say that you'll be eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's tonight." I'm just saying).
I'm still struggling with it. I hope it works out in the end (struggling with the words, not the Ben and Jerry's...well, my weight is, but that's a whole different story).
I guess it comes down to who do I want to be in the end of it all? The friend who thinks they are the best or the one who humbly accepts whatever may come their way?
It's a slippery slope, one I hate falling down (And Ben and Jerry's is getting rich off me...curse that delicious ice cream).
So tell me, what do you do when you find yourself tackling tough issue like pride? What do you do when you get into a sticky situation? (Okay, and honestly, I don't eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's...it's more like a gallon of the generic stuff. It's good too. *wink*)
“The most valuable of all talents is never using two words when one will do.” Thomas Jefferson
I think I need to get to know Thomas Jefferson better. Using less words is an idea that I have been working on for a long time. My love affair with words sometimes get in my way. The shortest way to say something is usually the best.
When I think I have said everything I wanted to say in the most perfect way, that is the time to get out the scissors, the knife, the hatchet and start trimming. It’s surprising how many words I can cut without hurting the story.
Still, a hatchet can be a little extreme. You don’t want to lose any blood. Well, not much anyway. Some words are worth keeping. I love a word that adds a new twist or makes you think in a different way. I love a word that opens your mind to a new possibility. I love a word that sparkles.
There’s a balancing act with words. I should know. I’m doing a rewrite of one of my favorite pieces. It’s a picture book on self-worth for girls. A topic that is sorely needed and one that I am passionate about.
The publisher wants it trimmed. I am love with the meaning and the words. Can I do it justice? Can I trim without sacrificing the meaning?
I just finished reading Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. It was written in 1942, and is about Norwegian children outwitting German soldiers during World War II. The children save millions of dollars of gold from falling into German hands.
When I posted it on Goodreads, I was shocked to find that Snow Treasure is still in print. (My copy is from the library, and our library is known to have some pretty old books.)
How would it be to have your book in print for almost 70 years? Seventy years!
Since it was written in 1942, there are some things that wouldn’t make it past editors today. Ms. McSwigan gets on her hobby horse a couple of times. There is some ‘telling’ that could be shown, but as a whole the book is full of tension and keeps the reader engaged.
Chapter endings are cliff-hangers, as they should be. There are adults in the story, but the kids are the ones that save the day. The adults empower the kids to solve the problem and get out of the way so they can do it.
How many children in seventy years have enjoyed this book? I love that magical time when a child is drawn into a story (or even when I’m involved in a story myself). As mothers we see it with little children when we read to them. As a child grows older and learns to read, he engages himself in that magical place by himself. As a writer, my one wish is that I might charm a child into that magical time with one of my stories.
I have this secret wish that I want to be invited into special space and be part of a child’s magic. To me, that’s the ultimate goal of writing.
What’s your secret wish about writing? Do you have one?
Everyone is talking about e-books. They are changing the way we think about publishing. They are changing the way we buy books. What’s next we wonder. Will book stores survive? Will publishers?
As a picture book writer, I didn’t think the e-book revolution would affect me much. I couldn’t imagine that e-books would ever replace picture books, but things are changing. Publishers are reluctant to take on picture books. Agents are hesitant to invest their time on picture books. Picture books are not selling like they used to.
Parents are stressed. Overextended. Most are not reading to their kids as much. They are encouraging their kids to read earlier and are more interested in easy readers than picture books. They want a short bedtime read, so they can get to bed. Many are ignoring the meatier, richly illustrated, meaningful picture books I love.
Richly layered picture books are being cast aside. I mourn their passing. Is there a place for picture books on e-readers? I didn’t think so, but I noticed that Barnes and Noble has six new e-board books for $3.99 each, and I have heard that more parents ae buying e-readers with kids in mind.
Is this true? Are parents reading to their kids from e-readers? E-readers are expensive. Are parents letting toddlers use their e-readers? Are they buying e-readers for kids?
I want to know what you think of the e-book revolution. Will it become a vehicle for picture books? Have you bought an e-reader for your child? Do you share your e-reader with children? Have you purchased any picture books for your e-reader?
Has anyone ever told you that your characters were flat, like paper dolls? My critique group is great at helping me see that my protagonist needs feelings. I have to get in their head and figure out what’s going on with them.
I think I already mentioned the Kathleen Duey, in her workshop at an SCBWI said that she interviews her characters thoroughly before writing the story. She said that you don’t just list their likes and dislikes, you get into their head and figure out what their inner most thoughts and feelings are.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get to know my characters. They need to become my friends—tell me what they think and let me know how they would act.
Larry Brooks, in his “Story Engineering” defines character this way:
First Dimensional characters, simply exists. He may choose his or her car, etc, but no meaning is assigned to his choices.
Second Dimensional characters let us know the reasons for their choices. We may learn the back story and agenda of the person.
Third Dimensional characters become “subordinate to more important choices and behaviors made when greater weight and consequences are at stake.” In other words, the protagonist becomes a ‘real’ person or an actor in his story.
I love this concept. I’m probably not very good at writing it yet, but I’m trying.
How have you made your characters three dimensional?
Seriously, only ten. I've written this post twice already, only to erase it. Why?
I don't know. This whole day is little off. I slept through my exercise time, I sat on the couch when I was supposed to be cleaning, and I haven't had anything nutritious to eat (Wait! Does chocolate count. Anti-oxidants...it does. sweet! I'm good on that one.)
I think my day is out to get me.
Oh no...only six more minutes.
Plus I have a long list of things to do (remember the dead washing machine? There's a pile of laundry waiting for me. Curse you stinky socks & smelly towels).
Great...now there's only four. I'd better get to my point.
If you are going to be a writer, time becomes very important to you. You need time to write, time to revise, time for crit buddies, time to communicate with agents, time to eat (mmmm....eat...).
Sorry, I got carried away thinking of food.
So to cure the time monster...you must block out time to get things done. Make your time work for you and remember...don't wait until the last minute to write a post (do what my friend Elana J does and write your posts on one day for the entire week. Brilliant! And have you seen her blog? I bet she's not counting down minutes until she has to throw her socks in the dryer. Just saying.)
If you are going to do it...plan it and do it. That's all there is to it. (Of course, it's probably the hardest thing, but still.)
Okay, I have thirty seconds. Eck! So what do you do to keep yourself on the writing track?
Where were you on the morning of Sept 11, 2001? Do you remember?
I remember. For most of us, that moment will be permanently imprinted in memory: the moment we discovered that America had been betrayed. What did the betrayal feel like to you? Was it personal? Did you feel connected or detached? Were you angry, confused, frightened, sad, depressed, or all of the above?
A friend of mine who works in the mental health field reports that anxiety became rampant in wake of 9/11. She says that anxiety was relatively rare in the days before the terrorist attack and became widespread in the days and years that followed.
Not everyone gave in to terror. Some shelved their worries in a hidden place and buried them for another day. Some chose indifference. Some hardened their hearts. Others turned to faith.
Many chose prayer. A nation that had largely abandoned prayer suddenly became very prayerful…for a time. In a gesture of hope, my neighborhood displayed luminaries. We lit candles, laid them on a bed of sand in a one room paper house, and placed them near the street. A silent glow of unity lit our street against the ugliness of the day, and the shadowy curtain of night.
Things have changed since the day terror knocked on our front door. Security is the new game in town. War is our new neighbor. And for some, a new fear moved in to stay.
Is it a coincidence that ten years later our economy is close to ruin, taxes gnaw hungrily at our paychecks, beefy government fingers poke at every pie, and joblessness lives in the spare bedroom.
We voted for change, but not this change. We hoped for improvement. Government behaves badly, much like a chubby, spoiled, manipulative child. It stamps its feet and cries for its way. It bullies us and kicks us when we’re down.
When I was young, I thought the end of the world was around the next corner. This both thrilled and worried me, for I knew that it would be a great and simultaneously terrible day. Would I grow old enough to finish school? To marry? To be a mother? What kind of world would I introduce my children to?
As a young mother, I stewed about wars and rumors of wars. I wrinkled my forehead over earthquakes in diverse places. I watched for the moon to turn to blood. When I could afford to, I stored food and water and wheat. Lots of wheat. I stored fabric and flashlights. I stored batteries, and candles, and clothes.
I once had a depression coat, a walking to Missouri coat, just in case. It was ugly as sin, but it was sturdy and warm. I knew I would never wear it, unless there was a crisis, yet I clung to it like hope. I knew that it would keep me warm against a dark and sinister nameless storm.
The coat is gone, but I still store food, and also hope, for I have learned that storms are a part of life. The thunder and lightning may frighten me, but I have control. I can choose peace. I can choose gratitude. I can choose faith. The most dangerous storm is the one that rages in my mind. Shall I choose fear or faith? Shall I choose chaos or stillness?
I have learned that most storms pass and that if we are prepared we shall not fear. I have learned that the only true safety lies inside my heart, the hand of my neighbor, the touch of a friend. I have learned that peace lies not in absolute safety but in trust and in my bucket of faith. I have learned to cling to my family, to strengthen my friends, and to share that bucket of faith with those in need.
There are more earthquakes now, and they have moved closer. The voices of war grow louder. Peace is not for sale, but it is abundant even in the growing chaos. Would you like a drink from my bucket of faith? Here, take my hand.
Abundance is mine. Peace, joy, and trust are abundant for those who know where to look.
America has a wonderful way of reinventing itself. We still have a lot going for us. We have a lot to be thankful for. We can make a difference. Be part of the solution. Believe it or not, whining is not a solution. Become the change you long for.
Gather your family. Gather your stores. Gather your courage. Believe. Hope. Trust. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.
9/11/2011. It’s a perfect day for finding peace. Light a candle of faith in your heart and feel the glow of peace. Hold it out against the darkness surrounding you. Refuse to give in to darkness. Choose light. Choose gratitude. Choose abundance.
Count your blessings. Rejoice in abundance. Share your gifts. Strengthen your faith.
I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. My daughter had emergency back surgery. My crisis is over and my daugher is fine. Do you ever feel flawed? Sometimes I feel so flawed! (I guess my characters do, too.)
Are your characters perfect? Sometimes we want them to be the heroes—to be bigger than life and better than anyone else.
When I encounter that kind of protagonist in a story, I can’t really identify with them because I’m so full of flaws myself I know I’ll never be like them. I don’t really find myself engrossed in the narrative as if I were part of the story world.
So, I must give my characters some flaws. What kind of flaws should they have? That depends upon what you want them to learn during their adventure.What is your character arc going to be? Plan the end from the beginning and make your characters real for the reader.
Internal flaws vs. External flaws
I think it’s fun to give a character some external flaws as well as internal ones. For instance, I have a little Polish girl that is always biting her fingers. Sometimes they even bleed. She can’t seem to stop, and it’s frustrating for her. Find a fun way to tie these flaws into the story. They can even forward the plot.
Internal flaws must be more thoughtful. The driving need at the beginning of the story will engage us immediately with the main character. We will feel his or her struggle and make them our own as we read. I just finished “The Traitor’s Gate” by Avi. The hero is thrust into the role of finding out if his father is a spy. What a lonely place to be! He has no one to talk to or help him until he meets a ragged street urchin who cleverly helps him and becomes a friend.
If I study by own needs, I can find those of my characters.
I wrote a whole post about how my dinner spilled under the oven and now my house smells like a warm dairy, my wash machine breaking down (no clean undies is a terrible thing), and how my mouse died (the computer mouse, not a real one).
But then I erased it, because I realized something.
Bad things happen to people.
Bad things happen to characters.
I have a scene where my main character gets into trouble, but her consquences aren't that bad. (have you heard the saying, once your character gets stuck in the tree, start throwing rocks at them...or something like that?) When your character is in a bad situation, make it worse.When your character thinks they are okay, make something happen.
Well, my character got in the tree and there really weren't enough rock throwings. Meaning, I have to make her consequences real. Right now...they aren't so bad. I have to take aim and make the situation...um...worse.
This will bring more emotions to the scene and keep the reader into the story.
So today my goal is to pull out the oven and scrub the floor, buy a new mouse, and get my throwing arm ready to sling some lemons, or rocks, or something like that.
What about you? How do you make the consequences worse for your characters? (Stinkin' smelly kitchen...you are so getting the evil eye!)
Marketing is hard work. I've said it before. You've probably heard me. It's hard to know what's going to make a difference. Blogging? Facebook? Twitter? Book signings?
I don't make much money on my book, so it's not about money. It's about making a difference. Always has been. I've done all the above, but I also write articles. Getting them published hasn't always been easy. Like I said, Marketing is hard work.
A great lady named Susan Rogers runs a fabulous website on preventing sexual abuse. In fact she has tons of material on the subject and gives workshops. She likes my articles and has agreed to feature one each month.
Getting the message out there is super important. Getting my book noticed is terrific too. Do me a favor and check out Susan's website. It's called S.A.F.E. Network. She has some great information. Just click here. After all, keeping kids safe is everyone's job.
When I first started writing, I thought all you had to do was write something and get it published. HA! There is so much more to having a book get published!
Have a great critique group. If you don't have one in your area, there are some online (because sometimes you will think it sounds perfect, when it just sounds like pretty gibberish).
Go to writing conferences. Not only will you meet awesomely-cool people, you learn the tools to have a great book! (Plus you can go to pitch sessions and meet uber-ific agents and stuff.)
Remember you will have to write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite......(why didn't anybody tell me this when I started?)
Get a good writing snack. Why? Because most writers will start eating when they are thinking. I snacked on chocolate chips for years. Bad idea! I'm still working at getting off those last ten pounds (I hate you skinny Pilates instructor. hee hee...Just kidding...please don't kick me off the stretchy team.)
It takes time. This is the biggest newsflash I can give you. It takes time to write, time to revise, time to edit, time to query, time to .... Oh the list goes on and on. So keep yourself busy with new projects and stay excited for those stories.
Wish I had known all these things before. Now I know.
So my writing friends, anything I forgot? Anything you wish you would have known about before picking up that creative bug?
Broken promises stink, but some are worse than others. There are the big kind. The I don’t love you anymore kind. That’s huge. Heartbreaking.
There are the medium kind. The remember that $5,000 you loaned me kind. For me, this felt huge, until I compared it to the I don’t love you anymore kind of broken promises. Really the $5,000 broken promise is I nothing compared to that. It’s more like the I’ll never tell anyone kind of promise. Or the your job is totally secure kind of promise. This kind of broken promise can really put a kink in your life, but at least it won't break your heart. Usually.
And then, there are the small broken promises. Things like I know I promised to pick you up at 5:30, but I ran into an old friend kind of promise. Or the I’ll clean the bathroom before I go to school kind of promise. Or the I’ll have this ready by Friday kind of promise. This kind of broken promise is annoying and irritating, but not exactly life changing.
What kind of broken promise is the I know we promised to publish your book, but…?
Well they didn’t say they don’t love me anymore. And they didn’t take any of my money. So, even though it feels huge, it must be the small kind of broken promise.
Still getting organized, but not only around the house.
I've started to block out writing time, getting around to my bloggy friends blogs, getting kids homework help, and even sneaking veggies into the kids diets. (I have one son who won't eat anything but cereal. Not many veggies in there.)
So here are some tools I've found to help me with the organization:
The Fly Lady - I've fallen off the organization wagon a few times, but her house cleaning plans are the best I've found, especially when you have teenage boys. *cringing at dirt*
The Sneaky Chef - I just started the Sneaky Chef's ways of getting more veggies into my kids meals. They love the brownies ...okay so do I...and I don't even feel too guilty eating them...unless I eat the whole pan.
Google Reader - (if you have gmail and blog, this is a life saver! I can organize all my blogs into categories and see which posts I've missed! Love it!)
Tweet Deck- Those of you who know me, know that I don't tweet well, but I do follow what other writers/agents/publishers/and yes...even family members are up to. Tweet Deck lets you organize everyone into their own group and keeps you informed of everything going on not only on Twitter, but also on Facebook.
Netflex Workouts - I never thought I'd try to exercise with online vid streaming, but working out at home has not only saved me gym costs, (which yes, I have paid for before...can I say ouch!) but also time.Who knew online bootcamp would kick my butt?
As a writer, we borrow and beg for more time to create. These ingenious people and tools are invaluable to me as a writer.
Have I missed anything? What do you use to save time, make life less chaotic?
It's an intriguing title: Ribbon of Darkness. If you’re thinking espionage, terrorist plot, danger, suspense, you’re on the right track. There’s also a bit of romance in the air for those who thrive on a love driven plot. A hint of forgiveness and redemption sweeten the package. Julie Coulter Bellon has a number of books to her credit, but Ribbon of Darkness is the first I’ve read. It was enjoyable and kept my interest. I think I’ll try another book from her list. Julie was kind enough to chat with me, and here is a bit of our conversation.
Me: What other books have you published? Do you have a favorite?
Julie: I've published Through Love's Trials, On the Edge, Time Will Tell, Be Prepared: A Parents Guide to Boy Scouts and the Duty to God Award--What You Should Know, All's Fair, Dangerous Connections, and Ribbon of Darkness. Hmmm...I don't know if I can pick a favorite, that's like asking me to pick a favorite child! I'd have to say my favorite right now is Ribbon of Darkness because it's the newest one and I think it's my best work yet.
Me: What do you hope your readers take away from reading your books?
Julie: I hope they're finding some clean entertainment, an adventure that takes them somewhere they've never been before, and that feeling of butterflies in the stomach that we all get when we first fall in love. I really want my readers to experience the story with the characters--all the ups and downs, and the anticipation of wondering what's going to happen next.
Me: What would you most like your readers to know about you? What do you hope they don’t know?
Julie: That's a hard one! I don't know what I want readers to know about me. I love my kids, I love to read, writing is a huge stress reliever for me because everyone in my books always does what I say, and my perfect evening would be sitting on my family room floor, with a fire in the fireplace, playing board games with my family and eating brownie sundaes.
What do I hope they don't know? Well, when someone was mean to my son, I put his name in one of my books as the villain. And when I needed a good terrorist's name I used the great-sounding name of this sweet older man in my LDS ward. (I did ask his permission before it went to print on that one. He was actually thrilled.) So, if you know me, or if you're mean to me, you might see your name in one of my books. (I can't believe I admitted that!)
Me: Who has influenced you the most as a person? As a writer?
Julie: I think my husband Brian has influenced me the most as a person. He is so supportive of everything I do and has really encouraged me to reach for my dreams, even when they look unreachable.
As a writer, I think I'd have to say George Lucas. I was sitting in a theater watching Return of the Jedi (that probably dates me. Eeep!) and I hated the ending. So I went home and rewrote it (so that the ending was actually the celebration of Han and Leia's wedding) and I knew right then I was going to be a writer.
Me: What advice do you have for wannabe writers?
Julie: I've always said the only difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is that one gave up. I believe that. My advice would be to never give up. Keep going, keep learning, and keep reaching for that dream.
Me: Anything else you’d like to say?
Julie: Thank you so much for this interview! You're a lot of fun, Linda, and I told you all of my secrets! Now can we pinky swear that you won't tell anyone else? ;)
I didn’t pinky swear not to tell, but I might have paid her to say that I was a lot of fun. I can’t remember.
To find out more about Julie check out her website here or her blog here There's a Goodreads Giveaway for Ribbon of Darkness going on right now on Julie's blog. So hurry on over.
You can find Ribbon of Darkness both in print and on the Kindle at Amazon by clicking here.
I'm back from my family reunion. It was lots and lots of fun, but also a great amount of work. I've not recovered from the clean up yet!
Heard from my publisher today. My book is coming out in November and I'll get the proofs the end of this month. They decided not to use some of the pictures I wanted, but that's OK. I'd like some art work in the book, but am waiting to hear on that.
There are so many things that go into this process besides the writing. I just wanted to sign on for the writing, but that isn't how it works. I reflect on DaVinci and other great artists (not that I'm great--far from it). They got paid just to create.
I keep thinking of how well-rounded I'll be when I finish this process. (Maybe I'll never finish it!) I am learning so much about the internet and the computer and social networking.
The journey is wonderful! Even if it's not what I thought it would be, I'm loving every minute of it. (Well, every minute that I'm not worried or scared.)
My curfew was the sky getting dark. My parents called my name, not my cell phone. I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn't eat what my mom cooked, I didn't eat. Sanitizer didn't exist, but you COULD get your mouth washed out with soap. I rode a bike without a helmet. Getting dirty was ok, and neighbors cared as much as your parents did. RE-POST if you drank from a garden hose and survived.
I wish I had written that. It tickles my funny bone. Yes, I drank from a garden hose. Did you? Do you suppose that's why my hair went gray? I did all those things and more. Maybe that's why my memory isn't as sharp as it used to be.
Remember collecting pop bottles for movie money? Remember when air conditioning meant rolling down the window? Remember transistor radios? Record albums? 78 rpm? Penny candy?
Remember five cent stamps? (To tell the truth, I remember four cent stamps...but that makes me sound so-o-o old.)
Take a stroll down memory lane. What do you remember about the good old days? Let's make a nice long list.
My crit buddy and I were talking the other day about cleaning. Lately, I can't just clean, I have to deep clean everything (I know what you're thinking...I've seen your garage...it needs a deep clean. So true).
I haven't really deep cleaned since starting school. So I'm spending each week deep cleaning a different area of my house. Last week was the hall, this week the kitchen (I've already found a weird looking spider and something brown growing under my oven.)
I have a deep cleaning scheduled for my ms in two weeks (and I'm a little bit afraid).
But if there's something I've learned is that every first draft is a mess (like under my sink mess). And that's okay. You have to clean and polish until your manuscript is squeaky clean (because who wants a blob of mess on the bookstore shelf with your name on it? Scary).
So if you've finished a first draft, get in there and clean that baby up! Now I have to get back to that weird bottle of lime-green stuff at the back of the cupboard. I hope it's not living.
There was a time when author's were in charge of writing and publishers were in charge of buzz. Not anymore. Since Some Secrets Hurt was published, I have been learning how to create buzz. Author interviews, blogging, facebook, twitter, word of mouth. It's all good. Time consuming, but good. When do I get time to write?
Some Secrets Hurt has a facebook fan page now. I need 25 people to like it, so that I can get a shortened URL. If you click here, you can like it, and I'll love you forever. Promise.
My latest buzz is going to be on the radio. That's right, you'll hear about Some Secrets Hurt on radio if you tune in. I'm excited. It's an online streaming radio station, and you can hear it here. My ads should start later this week. Be sure to check back.
I'm done! Yes. I am done with school and back to blogger (I've missed you!). My last class turned out to be a little harder than I thought it would, which is why the bloggy break, but I got an A and am finished with all my homework. *happy dancing in the front room*
I'm officially getting my degree this month. I'm so glad to be done and to be able to work on writing!
My good news is that I have a request for my ms (okay, no agent yet, but this is one step in the right direction).
So what has everyone been up to this summer? Did you get those queries out, edit those wips, reading those arcs? What's happening with everyone? I haven't talked to you guys in so long, I can't wait to hear all your news! So spill it. What's happenin'?
In honor of graduation I present:
Ha ha ha. That cracks me up! *wiping away tear*