Wednesday, August 27, 2008


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.

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.


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.


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