Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Themes and symbols


As I peruse the web reading things that others say and do with writing I have found that other writers besides me have themes and symbols for their works. There is a romance writer who has dragonflies on her book covers, business cards book marks etc. I wish I could remember your name sorry, what you wrote had such an impact on me.

I love dragonflies and there are very pretty renditions of them out there but I felt that she as a writer "owned" that symbol. I have thought about it a lot: What is my symbol do I have a theme?

As I wrote Emergence a group of darker brooding songs were repeatedly played on my playlist. One especially, called ironically "Lean On Me" by Limp Bizkit. It isn't what you would think. It is dark and brooding and for the book I was writing at that time it fit perfectly. That song has become the theme song for that book and scenes play in my mind when I hear it. My second book Latent the song is "What I've Done" by Linkin Park. Each strangely appropriate for the work I am doing. I suppose that my other books will also acquire theme songs as I write them too.

As for the symbol, I was writing in Latent and my MC is pondering his past and thinking that no one will be able to see the new person he has become. His mentor tells him that even the most beautiful butterfly was once an ugly caterpillar. THERE it was my symbol the butterfly the symbol of the whole series, transmutation, metamorphosis, evolution. Bad guy going good.

I have lots of butterflies in my house, I like them but now they have special meaning. I chose butterflies on my website on a whim now they mean something deeper than just a pretty insect. What my MC's mentor said to his charge has become the theme for my entire series.

My Muse is truly working overtime and will be justly compensated.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Christmas treat. . . .

Merry Christmas, in lieu of some majestic message I offer you a simple gift. My favorite christmas carols.

Enjoy and may your holidays be warm and full of love.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Next Stop Orange. . .


So I did it. I tested on Monday and had the belt ceremony last night (Wednesday). I am now officially a Yellow Belt. Not only this is my second time at being a yellow belt. This is the hardest belt, going from knowing nothing, (forgot everyting since high school) to knowing all the basics, and two hand one steps, two foot one steps, two long distances, and one form. Also a little self defence.

So next stop orange belt and then orange stripe. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Devil is in the Details

I have written since I was in middle school. I have had stories swimming through my brain even before that. When I was young I had an overexagerated sense of detail. Every story that came out of my head had every minute detail I could think of. If I described a meal you knew every item and descriptions from all senses. Every piece of clothing my characters wore was completely explained to the reader.

As I grew I realized that I was going overboard in the detail area and I trained myself to do the opposite. However that also lead to a problem. I would send a scene to a reader and they would comment "Great scene but one question. . . Where are we? what does your MC look like?" And things like that.

To train myself to find a happy medium between the overly descriptive younger self and the lack of description current self has been hard. I struggle with the guilt that I am writing what we readers call "purple prose", or worried that I don't have enough and my readers are wondering what where who?

I recently found two books by Melissa Marr called Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange at the library. She is really good at weaving great detail into the story with out you pulling away from the story and skimming over many paragraphs of description. (She also has built a wonderful world of Faeries.) In all I have realy liked her books. Ink Exchange is a little dark and I liked Wicked Lovely better, but I loved the deep character Niall in Ink Exchange.

There are many authors I have found that in one way or another I admire and emulate. Melissa Marr is one of them with her subtle detail and world building. I intend to study her methods and see if I can be more like her in the world of detail.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Keeping the bad guy bad.

I may struggle with plot. But I feel I do well in characterization. So I was surprised when in the first book was finished and sent to my line editors. (hi girls) That I was having a hard time pegging the two main characters in the second book. The first book has a dark and conflicted assassin and his energetic and sometimes quirky wife.

Then as I began to write the second book I began to struggle with the characters and plot seeming boring. As I talked with my friend she suggested that perhaps I was trying to write the MC as the calm and self assured character at the end of the series when I still needed the raw dark and conflicted MC. (Just a bit older and no longer an assassin) She was so right and as I pondered the problem this morning I had some very good ideas as to how to handle the MC and make it work.

I should know this by now; however some times I am a slow learner. When I get stuck, or a block threatens to derail me. I need to remember that in the past it was a symptom that something isn't right in the book. Hopefully if I realize it a few more times I'll remember it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving treat. . .

Well tomorrow is one of my FAVORITE holidays. And seeing it is late I am posting a few pictures that I have taken in my home that I thought were funny. Have a good weekend.


Front door typo's, or when your two year old only picked at the letter L.


My two year old thinks he can read. He fell asleep like this. (the book is Inkheart BTW)


My seven year-old thinks he is an airplane.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing what we don't know. . .

You hear it all of the time "write what you know". I'll be the first to agree that for worlds and characters and scenes it is a good idea. However we as humans live BORING lives. I clean the house and kids; referee fights and write stories. There is nothing interesting about me.

I can imagine that for a writer like Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, or Dean Koontz, what they write definitely ISN'T what they live. For Mr. King's sake I certainly hope not.

Anyway, I write Speculative Fiction and the first book in my series is about an assassin. If I wrote what I knew I definitely wouldn't be telling this story. The story consists of a guy, (I am a female) who is a retired military sniper, (never served) turned assassin for a large business. (I am a stay at home mom) He and his wife can't have kids (I have 6) and Travel the world. (my farthest out of the country is Tijuana)

In my book I have my MC do both close hits, and long distance hits, as well as guard people, act as a driver, and steal information.

The key to writing what you don't know is research and then when some reader points out your wrong going back to the drawing board and rewriting it until it is correct. That isn't to say that such a genre as Speculative Fiction doesn't have some suspension of belief it is a branch of sci/fi. But it has to be believable to a point.

Take my long distance hit for example. My MC has to take out a prisoner that is being transported from a small plane to a helicopter. Why? two reasons. I have to have the opportunity to "hit" him, but also in my mind the prison has a hilo pad but not a runway. But to transport a prisoner from Perth to Canberra is too far of a distance for a chopper. So the plane to chopper thing works. Second a private transfer of a prisoner wouldn't happen in daylight on a well used runway. So the scene is set at four in the morning using a little used runway. So this little used runway ends behind a large hangar constructed of metal struts and sheet metal. (I have seen them in real life), My hubby owns a plane. (definitely a know subject)

My MC situates himself on the top of the hangar where he can see the transfer area. I provide a way to get up. He loosens a panel of metal on the roof the night before and steals a uniform and a "tool" to fix it. If anyone sees him he has a reason to be there. Four in the morning? The day shift didn't get to it? So he sits up there his British .338 sighted in. (my hubby was also a firearms instructor) he sees that the guy is heavily guarded and decides to hit him fast and get out fast. Which he already has that planned. His running clothes are under the "coveralls" and his rifle case is open waiting for him to pop the barrel off and shove it in his pack and run.

He uses a silencer because it is a flash suppressor too. He doesn't have to worry about the sound because no one will hear it over the turning rotors of the chopper and the planes engines as it waits to taxi either to a runway to go back to Perth or to a hangar. He hits him twice, pulls the barrel off the stalk of the rifle shoves it into the case in the pack and repels through the loose panel he created, into the hangar, strips off his coveralls and stuffs them and the rope he stole into the cavity where a plane retracts its landing gear and takes off into the darkness.

I am not an assassin, however, I have shot a rifle and been inside a hangar. What I don't know I plan and research thoroughly, (I draw maps, diagrams, discuss it with others, and research along with other things) and when someone tells me it is wrong I research it again and rewrite.

So. . . While writing what you know is a good thing. For those of us who write what we don't know, careful planning, research and a willingness to fix the errors goes a long way. Well an overly active imagination helps a lot too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mastering plot. . .

As I have said before plot is not my strong point. I struggle with it. My friend Paulette at 700blankpages has got it. So with her help I eeked out a great plot for my second book.

When I typed out my scenes/chapters I origionally started with a white page with black text on the left side of the page. Then I added the plot points I was trying to establish, transition notes in necessary chapters, and the relevance of the scene in the basic plot of the story.

On a whim I highlighted the parts where the antagonist is present or antagonizing my MC's in yellow and it looked like this. . .

Please note: by nature of origination, I own these plotlines and they are copyrighted by me.






















Then I had an awesome idea, what if I highlightd the other parts in diferent colors? I asked myself, so I did. Anyway here is what I came up with. . .






















Here is the color code so you have an idea what this post is about.
Light blue- MC's moving from average guy to better guy.
Pink- MC's romance with the girl, and the girls actions.
Yellow- the bad guys actions.
Green- MC's best friend and his part in the book
Red- MC's normal life
Grey- MC's past
Purple- times and seasons (marking time)
dark blue- secondary characters
No highlight- writing notes

If you notice the three main plots: MC's progression, (light blue) the romance (pink) and the antagonist (yellow) are the most seen colors. Then the others are nicely interspersed throughout the body of the book.

Judging by the colors, I think the plot appears well rounded and pretty evenly interspersed. What do you think?


Please note: by nature of origination, I own these plotlines and they are copyrighted by me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Marking time in your writing


I love fall, I love orange pumpkins and red maple leaves. I have a permanent display of pumpkins in my kitchen. When the weather turns cold I retreat to my kitchen and begin to bake cookies cakes pies and bread. I love wearing long skirts and sweaters. Those things I can't do in the summer because it is too hot. I love to buy holliday baking supplies and orange sprinkles. This year I found orange glitter frosting on clearance and I am going to bake pumpkin shaped sugar cookies for my kids to decorate.

My love of fall transfers into my books and has become my main characters favorite season too. It has become the "marker of time" in my series. Life changing things happen on or around Halloween, the family gathers for Thanksgiving and Christmas and you as a reader know that another year has passed for the Standing family.

I can't think of a better way to inform my reader of the passage of time in my books.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

To blog or not. . .

Okay, I was psyched and ready to write for Tristi's book in a month challenge. I sat at my lap top and tried to write. The wall however was too tall for me to climb.

My brain is fried. I had to remind myself that I did just write 70,000 words in four months. (Actually it is approximately 116,000 words since July.) My BFF reminded me that I was going to reward myself with a reading reward for finishing my novel. So, in response/reward I shut my word program down and have taken a break. However taking a break has meant that my writing brain which includes my Blogging brain is somewhere on some island sipping non-alcoholic margaritas. So in desperation I have tried to think about what I should blog and nothing amazing has popped into my brain.

Never fear my blog friends, I have been mulling book #2 over in my head; even though my writing brain is on vacation I guess my plotting brain missed the plane.

Perhaps I will have some amazing totals some time before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Found: one main character. . .

I'm so relieved, because how are you supposed to write a book when your character has repelled out of your head in the middle of the night.
My friend at 700blankpages sent me a cool video:



And as I was watching it my missing Lyris appeared in my head and informed me that she knows how to do this. It was then I had an epithany. I have assumed that although my male MC changed and has a different past my female didn't. Boy was I wrong. Not only is Lyris an agent. She is a sword master and is teaching at the school that my never been officially trained as an agent Noble comes to teach at. Of course with years of training and agent work she is going to be better than he is at alot of things. I was assuming she was still the shy demure Lyris in the old book. She isnt; she is a kick butt woman who is sure of herself and packs a powerful round-house kick.

Welcome back Lyris I am glad you're so patient with your author.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Working the ab's in writing

Working your abdominal muscles is an important part of most exercise programs. Especially when you delve into the types of exercise that deal with your whole body and mind such as Yoga Tai chi and Karate. A lot of focus is placed on the warming up and stretching out/strengthening of those abdominal muscles which these exercise regimens call “THE CORE”. Every kick or hand movement in Tang Soo Do uses those core muscles. Every pose or asana in Yoga uses them too. The same with Tai Chi. The Core is something essential and I know it, often times when I laugh after Karate class I feel the work I have been doing on my core.

Using your core in writing is important too. I know exercise and writing they have so much in common. What I mean is another word for Core or abdominals is your gut. And when writing you must use your gut. It is an essential writing tool.

You know I revised my first book, and the rough draft was finished. Well I exaggerated a little; even finished it still sat under 70,000 words. I fretted and worried about it until I had two clear scenes come into my head and a way to fix one chapter that was missing ”something” so I fixed the chapter and added another scene involving my assassin in a long distance hit which I hadn’t done before. (another post: how to write an assassin when you aren’t one.)

Adding that scene pushed my MS over the 70,000 goal by a hundred or two and I stopped-- staring at the number feeling pretty darn good. Then as I began to ponder the next chapter I had a feeling that the MS was good enough without it. I filed the idea away and worked on dinner. The more I thought about the more my GUT told me that the MS was really finished. I don’t need the extra chapter and it would just drag my MS down in excess.

Like typing the end of a sentence and knowing that it is the end of a chapter; or knowing the perfect words to open the next chapter. Trusting you gut is as essential in writing, as working your abdominals is to Karate.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

If found, please return.













Name: Lyris Trinity Jaimes
Hair Color: dark auburn
Eyes: Blue
Height: 5' 5"
Occupation: Agent

I have lost my second main character. She went missing about three months ago and was last seen in her living room in her house in book three.

You see I have an eight book series in the works. A story about a guy who was bad and turns good. He meets Lyris and falls in love and the books are a record of their exciting adventerous life together.

I went to revamp the plot of the first one AGAIN and decided to take the story back a few years to answer some questions that my readers kept asking. And in this revamping I gave "Noble" a first wife. For me this was totally unexpected. And for my gentle Lyris I guess it was too because that is about when she went missing. In creating this quirky exciting female my sturdy, constant, dedicated Lyris disappeared.

I feel awful, Lyris is opne of my favorite characters and the series is moot without her. I know I will find her eventually but I have a feeling that I must edit and let my "Elite" go before I find Lyris again. AAAHHHH the pains of writing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

McKensie Rae Gwilliam 6/2007-10/2008


My niece passed away this morning. She was suffering from chemotherapy resistant lukemia. (AML) She had many tumors in her brain area and suffered in constant pain. Today a beautiful angel rests at our Heavenly Fathers feet. Pain free. May God bless those of us that are mourning her loss today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By George, I think I got it!

K if anyone ever tells you that writing a book is easy and they could do it in a small amount of time, DON’T BELIEVE THEM!

Writing is the hardest thing I have ever done and when it hits you like an obsession like it does me, the pain in inevitable.

I feel I am a good writer, I create believable characters, I am good at writing dialogue even if I struggle to punctuate it. But plot? Forget it. Half the time I can’t figure it out. I understand the basics of plot. I know I have to have a beginning middle and end I know that I need not just one story but a few to weave and twist through the book. But to sit and create a plot? The thing evades me.

Take my last book, I had good scenes, good characterization and a whole bunch of CRAP that wasn’t needed for the sake of a good scene. When I was rejected a few months ago I asked my friend to look over the rejection and synopsis to help me out.

My very bestest friend Paulette has studied plot for over a year as she had worked on her own awesome book. She took my idea and we created a completely new plot taking my MC back a few years.

Now I am working on the book that gave me the trouble to begin with and I have struggled again. Over the weekend I stared at my few line idea of where the book was going and pulled my hair out in clumps. Late Saturday night I went down in my basement and found a small article called “A Hero’s Journey” that I liked and printed off a while ago. ( See link in the side bar) I sat and answered the prompts and Eureka! I had a basic but flawed plot.

So I worked on it and then sent it to Paulette and she called me and suggested one thing that made the plot perfect. (funny Wendy suggested the same thing. Boy when I am wrong I am wrong aren’t I?) Now the plot is looking good and I am ready to resume writing.

I am thankful for my Crit group, They rock!

But most of all I am THANKFUL to Paulette, who I now have dubbed “THE PLOT QUEEN” who without her, my books wouldn’t, exist.

Friday, October 3, 2008

some inspiration. . .

EVERYTIME I start a new writing project the adversary hits me with a whammy. Whether it is family, personal confidence, illness or whatever. It is so obvious that this series is not what he wants me to do. There is a message in it and I am sure that he doesn't want me to tell it.

Again just three days into the challenge I have been hit hard with family issues. I am trying to remember that this is par for the course in my writing career. (and some people only struggle with writers block)

I was searching for some song lyrics,(What I've done by Linkin Park). My friend Nichole pointed out they told an eleoquent story with well written lyrics. I wanted to have them as a theme for my second book. After I printed them and they were safely in my plotting papers; I looked up the lyrics to my favorite song at the moment and surprise I have recieved inspiration again.

The song is called Falling On by Finger Eleven here is the video:




And the Lyrics:

When you feel so close to some resolve
And you write the words you were writing for
But your courage gets dissolved
Into what, I don't know...

When you feel that way again
You have to stop your thinking
And think of what you're here for
And let the rest of your feelings go

You've got to find your balance
You've got to realize
You've got to try to find what's right before your eyes
And if you find you've fallen
And all your grace is gone
Just scream for me and I'll be what you're falling on

When you feel so close to some resolve
And you say the things that you're standing for
Don't let your courage get dissolved
Cause it's then that the fear grows

Just give me the word and I'll be there for you

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So, tomorrow is October first. . .


I have again signed up for the Book in a Month Challenge. Since I have not been seperated from Emergrence long enough; I have decided rather than delve into the editing mode, I will begin the sequel of Emergernce called Latent for now.

I know this is the way I need to go. Emergence is still too close emotionally and mentally for me to go back and objectively edit and work on it yet. Latent will be the perfect distraction while Emergence sits on the back burner and simmers for a bit.

Here is to another forty thousand word month like September ehe?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AHHHH the Pain. . .


So I had this bug up my nose and decided at the tender age of almost 40 to start taking Karate classes. I called around and found two classes Kenpo and Tang Soo Do. After talking about it I decided to do the Tang Soo Do. I love my teacher, he is really nice and is conscious of the fact that I am old and overweight. He is patient and kind.

We do a serious work out and then practice hits blocks and kicks. Idid take Tang in HS and was a green belt but I have forgotten mostof it but my body seems to remember it. I was doing round kicks tonight and I was paired up with this 16 yo boy, he got all shocked and stated that I had alot of power in my kicks. It made me feel good. I come home from class on a high. Excited and wanting to bend anybodys ear that I can.

Why do this you ask? Well my MC in my book is a black belt and a bo staff expert. I want to experience it too. Besides I am getting a dang good workout. :)

I saw a window sticker on a car recently that said
"Burn the longboats. Failure is not an option."

That is how I feel I'm not getting any younger and I am out of shape this is going to kick my butt but I'll be better for it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On canning. . .


DEe asked about canning and frankly untill this year I was a canophobe. I'd rather have suffered the humiliation of my husbands grandmother saying "Good heavens you don't can?" than touch a mason jar. Now I am excited about canning. These are the jars of Grape juice I did all by myself Saturday night.

So here it goes. With pictures of course. :)

K you need one small pan, a steam bath canner, a large pan for your fruit, jars, lids, rings, and at least a gripper tool to take the jars in and out of the pan. Fruit, sugar, lemon juice, and pectin.



So we picked and washed the peaches off the tree and placed them in the pan to parboil. It makes them easier to peel. Wash your bottles seals and rings in hot soapy water. At the same time fill your steam bath canner with water and place your bottles in it to warm up.

Then as your steambath canner is heating place your seals in the small pan with water and bring both to 180 degrees.



Peel pit and squish your peaches and place 4 cups of them in the other large pan. Add 7 1/2 cups of sugar if you want it to be really sweet. 1/4 cups of lemon juice and bring the peach mixture to a rolling boil. remove from heat add one package of pectin bring to a boil for one minute. (We used half the sugar for a less sweet taste.) It makes less jam but worth it for the taste I think.




Ladle the fruit mixture into the jars withiin 1/4 of the top clean the edge of the jar and place a hot seal on the bottle and then a ring tighten it and place the jar in the pan. when all of the jars are filled boil the jam for 15 minutes and remove the jars and leave them alone. The lids will "pop" as they seal.




I RECOMEND THAT YOU GET THE "BLUE BOOK" OF CANNING AND BUY THE LATEST EDITION THINGS CHANGE AS RESEARCH IS DONE. THE NEW BOK IS THE SAFEST FOR HOME CANNING.

Hope this makes sense, Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The side effects of buying a home.



These are the actual containers of peach jam, and pickles. I couldn't find the cable to link my camera to my laptop the other day.

We bought this house without me ever seeing the inside. I saw the front as we stopped and stared at it for a moment.

When we moved in it was November and I didnt get to see the yard untill spring time. I am not a green thumb but still love certain plants. I was excited when I found that I had purple Hibiscus and coral white and lilac roses in my front yard, and that I had Peonys, Shasta daisys and Lillys in my side yard along with a golden delicious apple tree and a peach tree. We spent time this spring and summer taking good care of the trees and said plants and were rewarded with a peach tree that is bursting with peaches, and a tree full of apples too.

So as the peaches are begining to drop off the tree I have sent my kids out to gather them up. (They love picking them off the ground.) We have begun to preserve them. So far we have 14 jars of peach jam, and 11 jars of homemade pickles. I was surprised it isnt as hard as i thought and doesnt take as long either. but boy is my kitchen floor STICKY after we are done with the peaches. Next job bottling peaches and making apple sauce.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson


One year ago on Christmas Eve, William died. For Emma, the hit-and-run driver killed more than her husband; he killed her joy in life itself.

Now, as Christmas approaches again, Emma Jensen finds herself sinking into depression that nothing can breach--not her job, not her love for her children, and certainly not the season. Money is tight, and emotions are taut, and this year Christmas will be a meager, empty, and painful experience. Only six-year-old McKenna believes in miracles and the magic of Christmas. The rest of the family knows that Christmas can never be the same.

But when a mysterious package and an ornate letter arrive on the doorstep, things begin to change. Each day, a package and a letter signed "Santa" arrive for the family, and together they come to understand that the joy of Christmas does not have to be lost forever, and that God's love can heal any wound, no matter how deep.

The Santa Letters will take the Jensens on a journey through a Christmas experience that will have the power to heal them all.

To visit her amazing website click on the link in my sidebar.




I will admit that this was a difficult book to read. The book is awesome, and well written. The story is wonderfull. This is my niece McKensie, she was diagonosed at the tender age of 9 monts old with AML Lukemia. She is fighting for her life and has very little chance to survive. Her disease is chemotharapy resistant and she cant remain in remission long enough to get a bone marrow transplant. However small miracles such as her brother being a 10/10 match for the transplant keep our hopes buoyed up. Death and loss is dificult but with the help of our Savior and others; we can survive even the darkest hours of our lives.

To visit McKensies website see the sidebar also.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Is Done!!!!!!

So. . . after two months of writing and plotting with my BFF. Emergence-rough draft is finished. It is short just under 53,000 words and unedited. So my next project is to edit the current work and flesh it out and fix the few plot issues I have in it. I am Excited!!! This has gone as fast and well as my vampire story did.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Well BIAM is over. :(

Sadly I have to report that Tristi's book in a month challenge is over. I love these challenges because I push myself to write more words on my WIP. (And find creative ways to get it done inbetween kids and house.) We were steaming through July and some of us wanted to continue through August so we did. In two months I wrote a total of 56,257 words. (aprox 160 pages.) 28,344 in July, 27,758 in Aug. Now that the challenge is over and I still have half my Ms to write I am adding an entry on my sidebar for current word count. I hope to have this MS done and submitted by the end of the year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

some of you may have noticed. . .

I don't post many links, that is just me. However I have found a few writers links I'd like to share with you because of the exceptional value to writers. I will add a section to my sidebar.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I have a theme.

Sometimes circumstances whirl out of control and there is noting to do but watch as your life becomes fodder in a tornado. Last week was like that. I was the little Dutch boy that kept the entire dam from exploding by sticking his little finger in the hole. And events in my life not caused by anyone just the culmination of EVERYTHING, caused the entire dam to explode. It was a rough week all around. There are many things that I could wrongfully blame it on. Those of you who know me know the circumstances in detail.

I thank every one of you who lent me support in my time of need; (even those anonymous ones). I wish to assure you that in fact I have withdrawn my white towel of uncertainty and I am writing again. Not only have I written over 8,000 words this weekend. I have also found a serious online critique group which is just what I needed. (hi guys) Everything that happened last week led me to where I am this week and I am better for it.

I heard a song Thursday that I have adopted as my theme it is by Natalie Grant I think; the title is:

“I Will Not Be Moved.”

The song touched me deeply and whenever I have rough days I will try to remember that the adversary is trying to discourage me and that I need to say to him.

“I Will Not Be Moved.”

I am a writer and I have a message that needs to be heard.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Comments.


The nice thing about owning a blog is I am the queen. I control what goes on it and what does not. I have been nice and allowed everyone to post what ever on my blog untill now. I have changed my comments to moderated because some people want to get on and ruin the fun.

Belive me I had a hard time opening my blog again. I will tollerate alot of things, but when you as a reader attack my kids or attack me anonomously (especially without knowing the story) and don't own up to your nastiness I will edit and delete as I please.

As for the previous deleted post, I found a scripture I am trying to remember and believe in.
"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D & C 6:36

PS Ski this is for you.

And the winner is. . .


Mouth!!!!! (Ruby)

Thanks guys for the entries, it was alot of fun. Thanks Scott for the interview and the books.

I had 6 entries and my hubby drew her name from the pot. Congrats!

Leave me your email in the comments and I won't post it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Some Ambesol please. . .

I am teething. Yep that must be the explanation. Now before you think that this is a guest blogger or that I simply lied about my age and stole a picture off the internet let me explain.

My regular readers know that I spent the last few years writing and polishing an entire 106,000 word book only to say never mind and start over after a few rejections.

The MS named Dominion Day the title based on a prologue that no longer exists was the first book I ever wrote. I still have the 198 pg. handwritten monstrosity in my filing cabinet. I started to rewrite the book three years ago. And while Dominion Day is a good story and has fans. The plot wasn’t solid and the story left some questions. Serious questions.

So when a personalized rejection said that my synopsis left her confused as to what happens in the book and it seemed to lack a clear “plot arc and goal.” I began to think seriously about the book and story. I love the story I love the main character. The story in my opinion needs to be told. But Dominion Day needed to be better.

A year and a half ago, I handed the first few pages of another story to a friend and she read them but pointed out to me that in her opinion the story started in the wrong place. I was resistant, the wording and description were awesome and I loved it. But after a few weeks I took that story and started where she pointed out because I could no longer argue with her reasons. The story was much stronger having started it there. And I learned a valuable lesson.

Yes, I am the writer. I am the creator; but that doesn’t mean that I know everything, and that readers don’t know what they are talking about. I do listen to my readers and to my writer friends. Ultimately, I decide which suggestions and corrections to use but they can help me make any story better.

Okay, to come back to the beginning of this rather large circle of discussion.
Dominion Day was the very first novel length story I wrote. That said, the story was written in high school when I was naive and didn’t know snap about really writing. While the story is good and the characters likeable the story didn’t have the kind of plot that made the story publishable. It was a series of adventures that was disjointed and seemed pulled together.

While I wrote DD, and re-wrote it, edited it, and polished and even cut it down to 350 pages I was learning some very important things about writing. During the process of writing it I learned to master my passive voice usage, show not tell, actually plot a story with a beginning middle and end. Create lovable characters and believable bad guys, write an action scene, and learn dialogue. I even learned that a talking cat was okay in the shadow of Sabrina, and Eragon. (Yes, Quelix will appear in book # 2.)

I called my friend and talked to her about the rejection and with her I started to rework the plot and finally decided that like my other story, Dominion Day didn’t start in the right place. I decided to take the story back a few years before DD started. A story completely new and fascinating. A story that makes the plot arc believable and the char even more identified with. It answers the questions that DD brought up without resorting to flashbacks. A story that has my readers begging for more. I have been able to work the whole series antagonist into the story and really develop the book. I do not regret this re-write at all. I do not regret making pieces of DD the plot of the second book. I know that the series will be much better, and I will be happy with the results.

As I was talking to my friend a few days ago we talked about my re-re-re write. Emergence. “The original DD has been the same story for over 20 years. Focusing on Dominion Day has stalled me as a writer.” I said. “It is weird.” I say as I glare at my MC “Noble”. He shrugs his shoulders not denying my accusation. “Perhaps this is the story that needed to be told from the beginning, the story that had issues too sensitive for a beginning writer to address. The story too important to let the amateur ruin it with mistakes.

I learned something during that short conversation. I had to give up the old story and begin anew. I had to accept change to make it better. The new story “Emergence” is flowing out of me as if the story has been in my head all along. . . but I had to cut my “writing teeth” on something not so important.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Far World 1 Waterkeep review and a book giveaway.


Well school has been in for just a week and I finally have time this month to post about this really incredible book Far World By J. Scott Savage. I don't normally read YA but I was pulled in almost immediately by the first chapter. Wow I kept saying. We were out to dinner at Joes Valley Marina as a family. Great place,, a must do if you are in Emery County. Anyways I kept reading snippets to my 14 yo daughter. She kept trying to take the book from me.

The story revolves around Marcus a handicaped boy in a boys school in Arizona who has magic powers. And Kyja, a girl who has no magical powers living on Farworld a magical world where animals talk, fish fly and magic abounds. Kyja some how brings Marcus to farworld just in time and they are met and guided by Master Therapass an elderly teacher and wizzard. Dark forces combine to get Marcus and thay go on the run. I won't tell you anything else because then there would be no point in picking up the book and reading it.

My family and I were able to spend some time with Scott and talk about the book. We chose to hike Nine Mile Canyon a local tourist attraction just 30 minutes from my home. So we packed a lunch and took off to see the petroglyphs. my interview follows.



Here we are, in Nine Mile Canyon, just a hop skip and jump from my stomping grounds in Castle Dale. I should be a fantasy writer huh? Castles…dragons…. We are hiking to see the petroglyphs today and thought I'd bring J. Scott Savage along for the trek.
Oh, you definitely need to write a book about a place called Castle Dell. So are you actually hiking nine miles or is that more of a metaphorical kind of thing? Not that, you know, I have any problem hiking nine miles, or anything.

So are you ready? Pack? Food? Sunscreen? Bug repellant? Water? Hat—you need a hat the sun can be very hot here in south eastern Utah… Did you ever worry that Master Therapass would be compared to Dumbledore?

Yep. Got my Mickey shades, my Goofy hat and my Minnie Mouse sun screen. I’m a regular mountain man.
I think that everyone who writes a YA fantasy for the next twenty years is going to have to give at least some thought to whether or not their book is too much like some aspect of Harry Potter. But at the same time, if your story is good enough, people will stop making comparisons and just focus on the plot. With that being said, it’s human nature to compare a wizard in a story to other wizards from literature. Is he more Dumbledore or Gandalf or Merlin?


What is your writing process? Do you plot and outline everything or do you sit in a chair with a blank page and write? What was your process with this book? You seem like a think ahead prepared guy.

I’m a think ahead guy, but not a write ahead guy. My outlining is much more likely to have pictures and maps than detailed chapter notes. I do have some very detailed notes on the specifics of each type of elemental and their magic powers.

How long did the trail head say this hike would be? Did you have inspiration for your bad guys or is your head really that dark?

Don’t worry about me. I always gasp for breath like this. It’s a . . . um . . . relaxation technique. The sweating is intentional too. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you I have a really warped imagination.

Hey kids quit throwing rocks! Oh Sorry. Were you bullied in school? Or were you the bully?

Heh, heh. Those little dickens. I’ll just patch up my head with my Donald Duck band-aids. I was definitely on the receiving end of the bullying. I think that had a big effect on my writing and on how much I read.

It's a a good thing that the petroglyphs aren't at the end of the nine miles. Who is your favorite character?

Oh, I was hoping they were at the end. I hike nine miles every morning. Well maybe not ninemiles. Maybe a little less. Okay, it’s more like nine minutes. With a break in between. It’s a little like having kids. I can’t pick a favorite. I like them all in different ways.

This looks like a great place to stop and have lunch. MMMMMM… Sandwiches, chips and pop, portable but not very nutritious, and we have rice crispy treats for desert, they don't melt as easily as chocolate chip cookies. How do you get into the head of a 13 year old girl?

Well first you have to drill a very small hole, then exhale and . . . Just kidding. Great sandwiches. Mind if I put some of my chips in the middle? I love that. Okay, the real answer is that you have to believe in your characters. If you try to get into their heads it doesn’t work. But once they become real to you it’s easy. It gets to the point where you know what kind of food they’d like, what kind of games they play, what they dream of.

Boy it is hot out here Probably A lot like your fire keep will be…, Do you know what, if any, element the fifth book will have?

It sure is. Guess I shouldn’t have put a Rice Crispy treat in my pocket huh? There are only four elementals. I think people are going to be really surprised by the fifth book.

Hey look! A lizard just like Rif Raff. Where did the idea for the story come from?

Good thing Riph Raph didn’t hear you call him a lizard.

It is hot. Water? Michelle grins at her stupid joke.

Either you are really funny or we are suffering for some serious heat stroke.

Well here we are at the petroglyphs, perfect timing for the last question, What advise do you have for the aspiring writer?

Wow. Very cool. Definitely worth the hike. It’s probably a cliché, but read, read, and read. Then when you write, write the kinds of stories that hook you. Don’t write a story that’s “good enough.” Write something that would make you sit up and take notice.

Thank you Scott, Hope you enjoy the senic drive back to civilization along Highway six.

Some links about Nine Mile Canyon are listed below.

http://www.utahoutdoors.com/nine-mile-canyon/nine-mile-canyon.html


http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/9mile.html


Now for the contest. Use your surfing/research skills and look up Nine Mile Canyon and tell me in the commment section the name of one of the petroglyph pannels. I will draw a name from the correct answers in five days. The winner will get a personaly signed copy of Farworld Waterkeep before it is available in stores!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ah rejection.

I am 7 for 7. I recieved a rejection from Cedar Fort today. I am a little disapointed, but in a way relieved seeing that I have revamped it and it is much better. I gained a lot of experience from the pitch session and the submissions I have done.
I did have a friends college age so tell me I remind him of Tom Clancy. That is good.

Shhhhhhhh........

Listen. Do you hear that? No? Listen harder. Yep I hear it. it is the sound of SILENCE.

Today is the first day of school, the pictures are taken, the lunch money doled out the backpacks searched for contraband and the new clothes worn. As much as I love my kids and like them home around about Aug 15 I begin to crave the silence that encourages writers to write.

Yep School is in. AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Blue Shoes. . .


Some of you may know that two year olds can be a bit obsessive. Mine certainly is. We went school clothes shopping for four out of the six children at the local supercenter a few days ago. So as we are looking in the shoe section i pick up a pair of crocks for my littlest one. He needs a pair that are easy to get on and we lost one of his velcro tennis shoes.

So I try them on him and then I put them in the cart. He wants his "shzzzzz" so I put them in the seat thingie next to him. When we get to the checkout I put them on the conveyor belt and he sits there watching his shzzzz waiting for them. I placed them closer to the checker and then my oldest put them on him after they were scanned.

This is where the problem started. He LOVES them not just "these are cool thanks mom" love no obsessive love. He danced and played in them all evening after we came home, he would lay on the floor with his feet up in the air looking at them. When I put him to bed that night he cried untill I put his shoes in the crib with him. he gathered them up and laid on them. That next morning I went to get him out of his crib and they were allready on. Night before last, he cried untill I put them on his feet. Last night I didnt bother to take them off. SIGH!

As I post this he is in the bathtub with them on his feet.

My two year old is definately a source of comedy in our house.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The joys of late night typos.


Okay so it's late (11:33)and I am working on my book. I am typing a scene while I am on the phone with my best friend who is allready blaming me for her derailment of her writing career.

So I go back and read what I wrote and this is what I saw.

". . . He wore a satin costume in red and black, his long black hair was braided down his back. ( oh. . . that sounds bad. . .I sound like Dr Seus!) A small secondary brain was tucked behind his left ear." The word was supposed to be BRAID.

I started laughing so hard I couldn't even tell her what was wrong. Then it took forever to fix it because we were laughing so hard.

I guess the lesson is unless you want to fix some really weird typos, dont write after ten.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why I rewrite. . .

Okay, I hit chapter three and 12,000 plus words on my new book. Then I hit a six foot thick, nine feet tall wall. Looking back, I just felt it wasn't right. I tried to add to it and see if that was what was wrong. Nope.

So much to any writer's cagrin; I deleted chapter three. All nine pages and 3100 words. Any of you who write know how many hours that equals. So. . . I sat back and looked at those pages, and analyzed what was wrong. My bigest problem as a writer besides my passive voice. (which BTW I think I have fixed.) Is that I hurry through the scenes and tell the story instead of showing them what happened. That is what I did with chapter three.

So after analyzing what I did wrong with the chapter and plotting a little better I sat back down at my lap top and began to type. I slowed myself down and began to show the scene instead of telling. Meanwhile, as the scene unfolded, a secondary scene emerged, I filled out the scene and decided I loved it. Then I sent it typos and all to my best friend.

A few minutes later she called me panting and yelling. She was so excited with the scene. She loved it. She was so drawn into the scene she was pissed off when I had a paragraph of telling in the middle of the action. I almost made my best friend pass out! She says that scene gives the reader a reason to love my character.

I know why I had to rewrite it. . .the additional scene needed to be in there, the reader needed the scene to see that my bad boy assassin can be cold and uncaring one moment and warm and caring the next. Such is his personal life VS. his occupation. Had I not sat back and listened to what my gut was telling me and deleted all of that hard work I wouldn't have that scene.

So to inspiration or gut feelings, wether they occur in ther shower or not, I tip my hat.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Warning! My opinion is below.


BREAKING DAWN. . . Don't bother.

I was severely disapointed in the last three books of the series. (Even more by "The Host" but that is another topic.)

Stephenie pulled me in and I was facinated with the first book, What an awesome premise and story. There was a huge setup for lots of plot twists and conflict.

Yet, like J K Rowling IMHO she dropped the ball when she became famous. Her writing style isn't bad, she is a good strory teller, but plot? There is none. It was just a story to wrap up the loose ends she created (and could have done much better with) and fulfill her fantasys.

She uses Deus Ex Machina (giving the char, duct tape JUST when he needs it rather than him picking it up days ago.) to solve her problems instead of writing a creative solution to the problems her characters get into. (Yeah I know I used the word problem twice)

By the time that Eclipse (book three) ended I shut the book with a sense of unhknown disturbance, which I later figured out was my reaction to Bella and Edwards dysfunctional and co-dependant relationship.

This is the issue that disturbs me the most. This book is written for teens and distributed and marketed as a YA novel, I don't want my 14 YO DD to think that what Bella and Edward has that passes for a relationship is normal. It is not!

And the ammount of SEX!!!!! in the fourth book has me worried that these young girl fans are getting way more than they bargained for in the realm of ADULT relationships in a book that claims to be a YOUNG ADULT book.

Michelle

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Philips


"If your focus is on peace rather than "happiness," You will set your goals and priorities differently because you truely want something different--something long-lasting, something better. You want peace."

I picked up this book a day ago thinking that with its length and the topic it would be an easy read. Boy was I wrong and right at the same time. The author's voice is nice, almost campy, making it an easy read. He is a bit scattered, on purpose, which I enjoy. But the subject matter is something entirely different. Although I was able to read it in an evening, I will have to go back and read it again and again. There is so much stuff in this thin 104 page book.

The author is/was a motivational speaker and knows his topic and how to present it well.

The premise of the book is that we go through life looking, searching for things like happiness and we are going about it all wrong. In fact we shouldn't be looking for happiness and doing things to make us happy, we should be doing things for our fellow man and that is what will make us truely happy.

Caught in the headlights, 10 lessons learned the hard way, delves into topics such as happiness, pride, freedom, controll, tollerance, forgivness, and sucess. My favorite chapter was the one on self esteem. I am a firm beliver that the instilling of "self-esteem programs" in places like school and workplaces can actually be counter-prodouctive. Making people selfish and afraid to compete or stretch thier self boundaries at all. Think of the "what's in it for me?" generation that is going to be the primary work force in the next few years. Whereas, I think that people need to have a positive image of their self so that they can be sucessfull and go into the world after school and make something of themselves. In my opinion, the author has hit it right on the nail.

So untill I can learn the lessons brought to me in this well written book; thanks for a wonderfull read and a book I will go back to again and again.

Caught in the Headlights

Trade Paperback: 116 pages

Publisher: Cedar Fort (June 2008)

ISBN-10: 1599551675

ISBN-13: 978-1599551678

Website: www.barrykphillips.com

Blog: http://www.barrykphillips.com/blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yes Virginia, I am insane. . .

Okay those of you who know me know that Dominion Day the first book in my Dominion Day series is polished and submitted. After getting a personalized rejection I realized that the plot arc in DD1 isn't as solid as I thought it is. I talked with my friend and with her helping me I decided that I should take the story back a few years. To show the reader why he is nervous around women, why, when he goes from assassin to Prophet it is such a dramatic change and why the change happened in the first place, why when he leaves the corps he comes back to it. All of these unanswered questions created by DD1 were never answered, just that is the way the story flowed.

As I was writing the rough draft of # 6 & 7 I had an urge to write #0 which it is right now, cause I am too busy to change all of the numbers. :) So
I guess I am just following my promptings from earlier.

This has been a long and agonizing decision, I have been literaly been sick to my stomach thinking that a book that I have considered finished is going to have to be rewritten. But the plot rings true to me and I feel right in my gut. I am also convinced because the writing coming out of my head is the most complete and gramaticaly correct ever for a rough draft. I love the way this is heading. I know I am doing the right thing, and it feels good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Room for Two by Abel Keogh


The first time I saw Abel Keogh was at the conference held at CFI. His presentation was on websites and blogs. The presentation was amazing. I learned so much from him. However, the information used as his back cover was what interested me as an author.

~~

"Sweetie, I'm home." I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn't want to have another argument - at least not right away.
Silence.
"Sweetheart?"
A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall.
Everything slowed down.
***
When a life is destroyed, when guilt says you played a role in its destruction, how do you face the days ahead?
Twenty-six-year-old Abel Keogh chooses to ignore the promptings he receives concerning his wife's mental illness, and now he feels he is to blame for her choices. If only he had listened . . .
At some point in our lives, each of us face devastating afflictions and must eventually cope with loss. Regardless of how it happens, the outcome is still the same - we are left isolated, alone, wondering what we could have done differently, and where we can turn for peace.
This is Abel's story in his own words. His search for peace and the miracle that follows is proof that love and hope can endure, despite the struggles and tragedies that shape each of our lives.

~~

I was so intrigued by the story that I wished I had money to buy the book that day. Every time I thought about his story I wanted to go out and buy it. When the opportunity presented itself to do a review I jumped on it. As soon as I had the book in my hands I read it that day.
The story is well written and Abel has a voice that is not only easy to read; it draws you in and keeps a hold on your heart. I was not disappointed in this page turner. The story deals not only with his life starting at that fateful moment but through all of the turns and dilemmas that a young widower faces. Living through anger and guilt; blaming himself and his wife for the tragic circumstances. Dealing with dating and the repercussions that his past brings into it.
I was drawn in even more as the story began to deal with a marathon runner and what goes into the training for them, I have sisters in law that run and it intrigues me as to the mindset and the physical ability of someone who not only runs 26+ miles but does it on a broken leg. I think my favorite part was when Abel ran the training distance and kept the training pace. I was rooting the whole way for him.
The book is bitter sweet with more sweet than bitter but there were times I needed my box of tissues. This is a definite feel good book that renews the reader’s faith in the human race. I had a big happy sigh as I put the book down as I closed it for the last time. This is one of those books that I will keep on my shelf for a long time and recommend to a lot of people.
Thank you, Abel.

Room for Two
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort (August 2007)
ISBN-10: 1599550628
ISBN-13: 978-1599550626

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Preparedess Principles By Barbara Salsbury


Okay the geek part of me is coming out of the closet.
I am a food storage nut. I have, from day one of my marriage, worried about, studied, and purchased food storage. When we lived in Logan we had an all day power outage and we were able to dig a pit in our backyard and cook with a Dutch oven and feed us and our neighbors. I also stocked up on food storage every chance I got when we lived there. Every one of my friends over a month’s time said that their leaders had spoken about food storage. I took it to heart and purchased more than I normally would of flour and rice and other things.
When we moved and took all of it with us I was a little confused. I had suspected a disaster because of the feelings I had. It turned out that two years later my DH who had just graduated from BYU this time was laid off and spent 6 weeks looking for a new job. We lived off of that food for those 6 weeks except for perishables. Now with the sell of our old house I have managed to almost finish our food storage for a family of eight.

Do you know how many 45 roll boxes of toilet paper you need for a year for eight people?
21!!!! Where do you put them all? Don’t know, still trying to find out.

If you have EVER wanted a comprehensive book about food storage and emergency preparedness this is it.

Preparedness Principles by Barbara Salsbury.

I was excited to read this book, it is truly a find. There is so much information she has prepared and presented in this one book. Its 356 pages are chock full of information on emergency’s, food storage, water storage and purification, gardening, making storage in the home and 72 hour kits. It has recipes in it to use with your storage, even how to make a simple cottage cheese out of powdered milk.

This book is a well written, easy to read reference. It has a bare bones chart for basic food storage that I have used myself for figuring out how much I need to buy. There are diagrams on how to store your food in a small space. (Think of the movie, The RM, the bed out of boxes and mylar packages. ) How to build shelves on the inside of closet doors. Indoor and container gardens. And lots of other information. The book is also peppered with quotes from people from all over. They are very thought provoking.

In all, it was a pleasure to read. And I will be recommending it to my family and friends. It would be a good Christmas present for those you care about.

You can buy the book by using the link in my side bar.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Decisions...decisions

So I joined the BIAM challenge and I was plowing through my first chapter I got 4000 words in a DAY! then I hit the second chapter and WHAM! I hit a wall.

My dilemma is this, in DD1 Noble has a spirit guide called a Tantra, this tantra is in the form of a talking cat. (think Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch) This Tantra named Quelix bothers Lyris it makes her irritated.

So now Lyris needs a spirit guide and I am stuck. Do I ponder and think about giving her a diferent type of spirit guide since she dosen't like Tantras, or do I erase the few lines about him irritating her in DD1 and give her a tantra of her own.

I am leaning toward editing the few lines out of DD1 and giving her her own tantra, I can see her tantra telling her that she is superior to Noble's tantra etc.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The plight of being overwhelmed...

We hear it all the time... Kids are too busy with lessons clubs etc. Let them be kids, time to prioritize, take less lessons. The experts say.

But what about mothers?

A few years ago I was like that myself. Swimming in the ocean surrounded by sharks trying to keep everything in my life afloat. Trying to be a mother, wife, writer breastfeeding counselor/advocate, scrapbooking, artsy tallented, church going/calling serving woman. (I'm sure I left some of it out) Then I hit a wall of depression and dysfunction. I couldn't keep it up and I began to drown in everythiung that I represented and resembled. I dropped everything for a while (yes even being a mother) and recouped.

At that point I decided that I had it all wrong. I had way too many things in my life and keeping all of them afloat was impossible. I had to realize that I had to be true to myself and no one else, and that when I did it became easier to do what was truely required of me.

I am a Wife and Mother. Those are my most important callings. They are the ones that I will be forever asked to fulfill. But I can't be just a mother and a wife. To do that denies my creative muse any stretching. I have found that when I feed my muse I am happier, and therefore a better wife and mother. So I am a Writer and an Artist also, regardless of what the art is. I am a breastfeeding advocate also but my Heavenly Father has moved me to a place where I am not needed in this calling for the moment and for this moment I am content to let this part of me rest. I have two church callings and they are perfect for me one is a once a month and one is once a quarter. I can deal with that.

I had to learn at a tremendous price to myself my marriage and my family that trying to keep everything afloat was impossible. I steped back and reassessed and pared down. This is a good thing.

I am Michelle, I am a Wife and Mother, I am a Writer, I persue artistic tendencys when I have time or need a creative distraction. I am other things, but they will not detract from those things I deem most important.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Well rejection stings...

I recieved a e-mail from Kirk Shaw this afternoon. I am officially rejected. He said it was an interesting story. And that it was hard to publish Scifi fantasy in the LDS market. OUCH!

Friday, June 27, 2008

July will be busy.

Okay I told you that I had to cut 77 pages, I was wrong—so very, very wrong. I have a tendency to mess up numbers so I transposed or just plain messed up. I had to cut 135 pages. But I did it. So now I have a 474 version and a 349 pg version. I had to cut a lot of fluff, but I feel that the story is still consistent.

However, that is not the reason for this post.

I have signed up for another Book in a month challenge. The idea is to get you rear end in a chair and just write. Seeing that with DD 1 finished to the point of submission and sitting here trying not to go crazy as two editors look at my MS. I decided it was time to really dig my claws into Awaiting (DD 2). I am excited to really get into Awaiting, it is in Dominion Days protagonists wife’s voice. It follows her through some serious trials. The plot is restructured and solid, and I feel really good about it.

So July will be DD2 month. Who knows I might have a pretty good rewrite done by summers end.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wow, I've been slacking....

With the preperation for the conference and other things I have slacked on my blog posts. I wanted to leave the blog tour on for a while but still, I have only posted four posts and June is almost over.

Some times life gets away from you I guess.

So a few days ago I took a shower, some of you know where this is leading..... I had an epithany and I have restructured DD3 Foxproof. It was too similar to Dominion Day so I altered it and I definately like it better. My Protag and the love interest have fantastic sexual tension, so instead of getting them together in the begining and losing the tension, I pushed it back a while, (sorry Kellie you'll have to wait a little bit for the kissing scene.) I had to change some things but it turns out the plot is better. It is interesting that everytime I change things it just gets better, I KNOW I am being guided in writing this series, everything falls into place when it needs to.

With DD1 done I am thinking about Awaiting (DD2). It is taking some time since this book is in Lyris' point of view and I have had to switch from Noble to her in my head. My tendency is to write everything from his POV. You'd think that it would be easy to write from a female POV since I am female but I have had Noble in my head for so long it is hard to switch.

Anyone else? Do you write in your own gender? Or do you write in the opposite?
I'd love to hear your opinion....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Heaven Scent by Rebecca C. Talley


This is a really wonderful young adult novel. About life, changes and regrets. I am not a sports fan but I was surprised when I was drawn into the basketball in this book. It is well writen and Rebecca has definately found her voice. The story of Liza her family and friends will draw you in and keep you company through the duration of the book. Good job Rebecca.

The interview follows.....

1 How did you become a writer?

I think I've always been a writer. I've always loved words and how they sound. From a young age, I wanted to create stories and share them. Though I've written stories on and off for years, I started seriously pursuing writing about 10 years ago when I began writing regularly for the web on Suite101 and BellaOnline.

2 What inspires you?

My children inspire me and provide me with plenty of ideas. My husband is very supportive and inspires me to reach for my dreams.

3 It this your first attempt at a book?

Yes, "Heaven Scent" is my first attempt at a novel.

4 You have alot of basketball in it, do you play yourself or do your kids?

I played basketball in high school, but I didn't play well enough to secure a place on a college team. My kids play sports? Umm, no. They're all performers who love the stage, not a sports lover in the bunch.

5 Was the car accident always a part of the plot? Or did you think of it later?

The accident was always a part of the plot. I lost my father in a car accident whern I was a young girl.

6 Are you a planner ploter writer? or do you just let the story come to you?

I usually write the story all at once in a first draft and then go back and plot it out. The organized part of me thinks I should plot before I write, but the creative side doesn't agree. I do generally have an idea of the story and how it will end before I start the first draft, and I also write out a one-page synopsis as well as character descriptions before I start. I guess I'm a planner-plotter-seat-of-my-pants writer :).

7 How do you get any writing done with TEN kids?

I write whenever I can. I don't have any hobbies or other interests because I devote the little time I find here and there to writing. I don't write as fast, or as much, as I would like at the point in my life, but I'm sure there will be a season when I can devote more time to writing. As much as I love writing, I want to enjoy every moment I can with my kids because all too soon they'll be grown.

Thank you so much, Michelle, for hosting my book today. I appreciate your support.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saturday at CFI

I hope that my previous post entertained you for a few days. I was busy preparing for a pitch session with Jeffery Marsh the acquiring editor of Cedar Fort publishing. Cedar Fort offered a writers conference this past Saturday and along with the conference they offerd 10 minute pitch sessions with the acquiring editor for CFI. So with my MS done and feeling brave I signed up for both.

It was a wonderful conference.

We heard from Doug Johnston, and Jeffery Marsh, both from CFI, Jeffery spoke about what CFI wants in submissions--books that make a difference-- Doug spoke about what a publicist wants to see from an Author. Then Abel Keogh spoke about websites and blogs. He is the author of "Room For Two", about dating after being widdowed. The story sounds poingant I definately want to get this book and read it. Then Janet Kay Jensen author of "Dont You Marry The Mormon Boys" Spoke about publicizing your books and self promotion. I took copipous notes. (her talk spurred an epithany, which I'll get to later.)

We had a wonderful lunch made by a co. I can't remember the name of. But it was good.

After lunch I sat down to listen to Elloise Owen talk about motivation and I couldn't concentrate, my pitch session was in less than an hour. (honestly, I was so nervous I almost lost my breakfast that morning.) I sat and meditated in the lobby to calm myself down. Jeffery took me back to an office and we talked for a few minutes, he asked me about the book I told him how it was clean action/suspence. He asked me how it ended and I told him about the first chapter and then the last chapter. He sounded so enthusiastic when he said he couldn't wait to read it. I gave it to him and he asked me if I could cut it down to 350 pages (a cut of 77 pages and I said yes like a deer in the head lights.) it was a good pitch I think. I was walking on Cloud 9 and probably didnt hear a word Elloise said after the session. I was mulling over what I had said and what he said and then pondering marketing ideas that the other speakers had started train of thoughts in my head.

As I rode home with my DEAR HUSBAND who lovingly drove me there. I had my promotion theme and ideas flow into my head. it was amazing. I love the theme and as soon as I get a contract you will be hearing about it.

Was it worth it? You bet!!!!!!!
Even as nervous as I was? Yes, I wouldn't have been as prepared if I wasn't.

This was a great coinference, sign me up for next years today please.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tagged...

So I have hit a dilemma in my writing. I think I'll distract myself with a blog entry while I wait for my muse to decide to jump the story a couple of months or let it stay. Meanwhile I have been tagged at least three times with the seven unique things about me so without further adieu I will attempt to entertain you.

1)I have a phobia of large glass windows. If they are over 4' square it starts bugging me. I am pretty sure it comes from watching the movie Bladerunner when I was a teen. When the girl goes through all of those plates of glass.

2)I love tappioca pudding. No reason just do.

3)I collect pumpkins, yep they are on top of my cupboard in my kitchen, some people come in and ask why I havn't removed my Halloween decorations.

4) I love Halloween and Fall it is my favorite time of year. I dont belive in the scary decorations or costumes, but I love pumpkins and corn stalks and orange and black lights. I use Halloween as a time marker in my books, alot of things happen on Halloween for Noble and Lyris.

5) with the exception of feeling a little isolated, I love living in Castle Dale, it hasnt taken me a year or more to get used to it like everyone has said it does. I like the more relaxed atmosphere, the safety my kids have here, and the much better schools. (Besides as a part time fantasy writer, what a better place to live than CASTLE Dale.)

6)I collect dishes too, I have a whole cupboard filled with china, stoneware, goblets etc. This is the first house that I have room to put them somewhere besides a box in the garage. I love having people over and having nice dishes and things to use.

7) My boyfriend my senior year of High School introdouced me to my husband.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Love of Writing...

WhoooHoo!!!!!
As much as I love the revising process,

( I know some of you are thinking I am crazy, but hear me out, I love reworking my books, I love making everything better, sound better, be grammatically correct. )

I LOVE writing!!!!!!! As I wait to hear about my MS I needed to do something, so I began to plot the next two books. Then in a moment of inspiration I started the second chapter of the third book and what can I say but WOW! I love that everything just flows when my muse is happy. I have written seven pages of my new book and I love it. I love the new enhanced storyline, I love that everything sounds better.

I love to Write!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Writing and the X Files...

In the last few weeks I have done some major plot revision on book #2. I was hoping to explain the process and in pondering how to put it into words I thought of my favorite old TV show, X Files. Especially since I have heard there is a new movie coming out.
As for the TV series, there were two types of episodes in X Files.
The “regular” episodes and then the “Conspiracy” episodes.
They showed interchangeably sometimes you’d get three weeks of one type and then two of the other but rest assured the conspiracy ones were always interspersed throughout the season. Sometimes I wish I could get the box sets of all nine (I think) seasons and just watch the conspiracy episodes from beginning to end to see if I could figure out what really went on.
So now to the gist of the post.
When I wrote the second book of Dominion Day, the book covered a number of years, ten I think. And I had regular scenes as well as scenes with the main antagonist and his buddies. There was also the story of a minor char intermingled in these scenes. It was a good story, however after the first Storymakers conference, my best friend suggested that the second book encompass just one of the main characters short experience, and leave the rest of the story to the fourth book. I totally agreed and went home. Pulled the book apart chapter by chapter laid them on my gigantic dining room table and separated them like she had suggested. I also altered the first book to end in a different but much better spot.
So as I have sat and stared at the plotlines of book #2, I began to realize that it wasn’t a solid plot; too many holes, too many inconsistencies.
(BTW, Book # 3 is a different character and story line, I never had problems with that book. )
A couple of days ago I realized what was wrong, I had the bad guy in both stories spaced over 16 years. There’s no way Noble would let this guy live for that long, I realized, and it made my story weak. So like I have desired from X Files for so many years, I separated the bad guy scenes from the regular scenes and I condensed the bad guy in the story into one book completely removing him from book #4. With that change it allowed me to create a solid story arc, with a beginning middle and end. I also began to think about my bad guy; who is he, why is he bad, what does he want to accomplish, how will he accomplish said goals? And suddenly it clicked, the bad guy became more of a real character to me and the reasons and other things began to appear. So now with the second book plot firmly in place I am ready to begin the rewrite.
Oh and book #4 you ask… I have ideas already, and plenty of scenes, and this time the antagonist is already firm.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The benifits of not watching TV




I have six kids, these pictures were taken one evening as I was cooking dinner. It grew really quiet so I went looking for my kids expecting trouble. This is what I found, Four of them were in the living room reading, (the ones that can read,) A fifth was downstairs he had fallen asleep looking at a really cool nature book. (He is 4 and can't read yet, but it doesnt stop him, I didnt get a pic of him, didnt think about it I guess...) That night I went into my 1 year olds room to check on him before I started my bedtime routine and I found him with a book in his hands too. I have a family of readers.

First before you think I am preaching, let me explain. About 5 years ago I was cooking dinner as my kids sat in front of the TV watching whatever sitcom was on. I was listening because at that time there were TV shows I liked and watched. As the show came to a close I was deeply offended by the insinuations that were said on a show that up until then I had approved for my kids to watch. I wiped my hands off, came into the livingroom and unplugged the TV, I didn't just turn it off. I had, had enough. Did my kids protest? Yes. Did they whine? You bet. Did my husband whine? Well no, but he questioned my decision at first. Now we happily live TV free and I think we spend our free time constructively.

How I will spend my summer...


This is the stack of books under my really cool bed table I bought at the DI for 15 bucks. That isn't the story tho'. These books are my reading list for this summer. Why? you ask. Because I am teaching a writing class this next school year at the local Jr High. I helped teach the same class in Tooele last year; and I have in my posession some really cool lessons that my friends wrote. This summer I am re-writing the lessons to fit my style, and using books that are young adult and
I am familiar with. Therefore the stack. The only books that are missing are #4 from the Wizzard Series by Diane Duane, #2 The Widow's Revenge, By KL Fogg, The Twilight Series, that my daughter owns by Stephenie Meyer (Breaking Dawn comes out in August), and I guess the new Artemis Fowl. It may look like alot but I read fairly fast, I will probably be done reading by the end of June. Leaving July and Aug. to write and polish the lessons.

I just had an idea, my writer friend is bloging on the writing process from start to finish. I'll post the lessons I am preparing as I finish them. It'll be fun, dont hold your breath though, I won't post anything until probably July.

Friday, May 9, 2008

sisters in arms...


Although writing is a solitary activity, and writers spend a lot of time alone. (not counting the hundred or so characters in our heads) There is one very important thing that a writer needs besides paper and pen or computer and printer. It is writer friends. These writer friends are people who we can send our manuscripts to, share our frustrations with, and celebrate our successes and failures (celebrate failures… don’t you mean cry over rejections?) We bounce ideas off them when we are plotting (ouch that sounds like it hurts) and go to them when we have hit the proverbial writers block (block? More like a 15 foot tall brick wall).
The reason for this post is I have been blessed with some very good writer friends, those members of SCRaWL, my writing group from Tooele, and my best friend who is also a writer Paulette. A few days ago, (few days…I think it was yesterday) we talked on the phone, she wanted a certain kiss to stay in the scene, but the events prior to the kiss had changed so at that moment there was no reason for it except it is so cute and sweet. We talked about it and suddenly I had an idea… “What if…” I said and she thought about it and it worked. Then this morning I had some revisions on the plot for book two and I told her and together we worked on it and made the plot more solid and even better. (except for the part about leaving Noble dead in the snow…) We were both PSYCHED! This is what is so cool about having writer friends.
SO…… To the members of SCRaWL consider yourselves awarded.
And to Paulette, you deserve more than just an award but it is all I have at the moment. 
Thanks guys! From Michelle (and Noble)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I did it.

Dominion Day is finished, it is as polished as it can get without a publishing editor taking a red pen to it.

Even more:

I SENT IT TO COVENANT YESTERDAY MORNING!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only thing I forgot to do is put page numbers on it. I am so lame sometimes. I read the submission guidelines so many times, I knew I hadn't done that one thing but alas in the excitement of sending it to them I forgot. Hopefully it will be a small thing that he can overlook. Hopefully my awesome writing will override the lack of numbers on the bottom right corner. SIGH!
I am excited, this is a real submission. AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

See I am dreaming big.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Finished!!!!!!!!

I have finished reading through my MS. I have corrected every error I have seen. Dominion Day stands at 105,592 words and 362 pages in Times size 12. So Monday I tackle the cover letter and send it to Covenant.

Okay all of you take a deep breath and say with me...
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Found...


My mom is an avid reader, I get the bad habit from her. Now at her age, (she is 22 years older than me)she requires reading glasses to support her habit. She is also famous for taking them off and losing them.

So the gist of the story is that my patrents gave thier older couch to my cousin. When my cousins husband lost the remote in the couch they cut it open and found

16 PAIRS of glasses all belonging to my mom!!!!!!!

She took a picture of them and posted a found post on the family web page. I laughed so hard I couldn't move.

My mom has requested that the glasses be put in a box and mailed to my parents house. I'm still chuckling.....


Mom I love you and your missing glasses.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No your eyes arent playing tricks on you...

I changed my template, I was bored of the pink although don't be surprised if it is back tomorrow. It is my and Nobles favorite color. Yeah I know a guy who likes pink, go figure. Hey, this is the guy that lives in my shower too. I saw this lovely color on a friends blog and had to try it. (thanks Tristi) I like blue it is the color of the Prophet robes that Noble wears.

Janette Rallingson has a post on her blog about theme songs. I have thought about it for a day or so and I have decided that my theme song would be "Dream Big". I don't know the artist but as I prepare to send my MS to a publisher the song keeps rolling in my head.

I am Dreaming Big right now. Perhaps I'll fall flat on my face but it will be a good thing right?

Wendy, I get dibs on the "Vision" title, (already have a character in my head).

Thanks