Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I actually wrote something last night. Gasp! Choke! Breathe deeply!

And it wasn't a synopsis or query. It was actually a MS.

Even better? It was my Nano project from last year! I have pulled out Latent and am getting it ready for a new round of critiques and editing.

Still not freewriting, but at least my muse isn't long gone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blogfest! (even if its late.)

Of course I sign up for a blog fest and my baby gets the tummy flu and I have spent the day taking care of him.

So without any more delay here is my Christmas decorations!

My tree:

My house. (note this is the first house where we have had outdoor lights so we are building our supply)

Lastly a favorite Christmas dessert. Sugar Cookies:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening or butter*
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl cream the shortening and the sugar. Add the eggs, extract, and milk. In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl. Mix with mixer until well combined. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll half or 1/3 dough at a time, keep the rest refrigerated. For crisp cookies, roll dough, paper thin. For softer cookies, roll 1/8 " to 1/4" thick. With floured cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll trimmings and cut.

Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. Decorate Bake 8 minutes or until very light brown. With pancake turner, remove cookies to racks; cool. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Sorry about the lateness of the hour enjoy. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

mmmmmm chocolate . . .

Happy National Covered in Chocolate Day!

Oreo Truffles

1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted
1.Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
2.Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
3.Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

How to How to Easily Dip Truffles Place truffle ball in melted chocolate to coat; roll if necessary. Lift truffle from chocolate using 2 forks (this will allow excess chocolate to run off) before placing on wax paper.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I love this song, interesting interpretation

Caution . . . construction ahead . . .

I am revising my blog. I have been looking at what people like and what draws readers and keeps them. I am also thinking in terms of what I myself like and will allow on my blog within my comfort zone. Or what I will allow on my blog before I feel like I'm selling out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life is Short

This is your life.
Do what you love and do it often.
If you don't like something, change it.
If you don't like your job, quit.
If you dont have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.
Stop over analyzing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our diferences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your isnpiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost helps you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them so go out and start creating.
Life is short.
Live your dream, and wear your passion.

author unknown.......

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The cure for what ails ya. . .

I have been in a rut. A long creative sucking as well as soul sucking rut. There are many things that contributed to it.

One of the major things is: I let myself stop writing and creating. I also let the stress of my life overwhelm me. Needless to say I sat here feeling empty and wondering why.

I am actively doing something about it.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a site where there were many pictures of wonderful things. Places and things that stir the imagination and soothe the soul. I browsed the site for hours writing down things I saw that inspired me. It was then that I realized that I am a creator regardless the medium. I must create to be happy.

I used to love to cook from scratch yet lately it has been a mundane chore because I had to. I love to sew but the blankets and things I made for Eli were because I had to. I love to draw but have had no time, caught up in the mundane world of life. The same goes for writng.

This little sight stirred emotions and a desire to create that havn't been present in years and I walked away feeling as little refueled. Granted not completely whole again but now I knew what and why.

I have forgotten how to take true personal quiet creative time for me.

This is going to change starting this week. :)

It's time to dust off those teacups I collect, and have a creative brainstorm session that gives me a list of things to make and create that makes me happy.

What about you guys? What creative outlet do you have that makes you happy?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why I stopped writing all those years ago.

Back when I was young and newly maried I took my hand-written novel (the 189 page one finished my junior year) and began to rewrite it. I had matured since then and had plenty of time. I worked, kept house and had only one kid. I also had time to watch TV.

One morning I was watching some morning news program and they interviewed a bestselling author. I of course was interested, they were an author and I wanted to be one. I should have turned the blasted thing off. I would have saved myself some serious pain and many years of doing nothing.

That author said one thing that stopped me in my tracks and my MS about half way done.

They said something to the effect of, "being so completely origional that every sentence and every word must be unique, origional and creative. That you would never publish a book if you couldnt write like that." Well I heard that, and my muse, which is a fickle little thing, just rolled over and died right there on the spot.

"What the heck?" I thought. "I can't write a whole 300 pages with every sentence so origional that no one has ever written it like that before. There's no way, I'm not smart enough to to that," and with that thought, I put my MS away and didn't think of it for years.

Well time went by and I had more kids and I got side-tracked by becoming a breastfeeding counselor and that kept me busy for years. (Not that that is a bad thing I'd like to think I have helped many people through my years of service.) I know my kids apreciate(d) a mom that is at home and involved in their lives.

Years went by before I pulled out my old writing and started to read it just for fun. When I happened upon an old story I got chills and turned to my computer. "I love this story and I think I could finish it now." was the thought. Within a few months I had written about 106 K words and was feeling pretty good about it.

It was at that time I started to really look at the world of writing and realized that, that one author was WRONG.

Say your character has run into a gastly demon, and if they are to live, they must get out of there. Your sentence is going to sound alot like this:

"He ran."

Now putting a little twist on it, you could say:

"He bolted."

OR "He rushed from the area."

OR you could add a little detail to the origional "He ran." by adding something to the effect of "He ran as if the devil himself was after him."

Still no matter the words used, the cadence created, or whether you add metaphors or description, the sentence is still "He ran."

THAT is part of what I didn't understand about writing. And I had no confidence in myself to tell that TV where to go and that frankly I didn't believe it. I wasted years of time I could have spent writing believing that it was too hard for me to do and I wasn't smart enough.

Thank heavens I know better now.

Have you ever run across something that kept you from doing what you should do? What obstacles have stood in your way in achieving something you want to do?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Epic NANO fail

So It's November again and that means it's National Novel Writing Month.

It's the month in spite of the hollidays and Thanksgiving around the corner you are expected to write a 50,000 word novel. Well, in my insanity I signed up thinking that with the baby being fairly new I'd be able to sit in front of the computer for a couple of hours a day and at least get something written.

No one told me in advance that my 5 of my 7 kids were going to go through a horrible coughing/puking virus one at a time. Or that after weeks of cleaning up puke I'd get the virus myself. Or that once that had run through my family my 13 yo would end up in the hospital with apendicitis.

The nerve of my crystal ball!

Needless to say, I have only prodouced about 2,500 words, and only 306 of them were in the hospital. Last year I typed 2,700 words the first night!

Oh well, there's nothing I can do about real life. My control exists only in my books.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The C. Michelle Jefferies version of Project Notebooks.

Okay here is my disclaimer. I am not the origonal crerator of these notebooks. I saw them on Nancy Campbell Allen's blog and went gaga over them. I am one that NEEDS and uses my notes as I write. In these notebooks, I saw a way to keep organized and keep all of my projects seperate.

I am also not the creator of the Story Structure I use for structuring my books, or the Dramatica style of plotting or any interpretation of it. However I will shamelessly tell you that these two styles are what I use to organize and create my stories.

So back to the Project Notebooks.

When the local huge super store had their spiral notebooks on sale at back to school time I grabbed two 25 notebook packages of them. I use these notebooks all the time, and at 15 cents a piece it was a steal.

Now, because I am sort-of craftsy, I took some scrapbook paper and covered the front of the book by cutting a piece and gluing it on the cover. This makes them more appealing. :)

Next I glued into the inside of the cover my Table of Contents. Mine consists of:

1 general outline/story structure
2 character pages
3 brainstorm
4 chapter summaries
5 running edit
6 research

Second I glued in the Story Structure outline I created from Larry Brooks Structure lessons. Since this is mymain plotting tool and the one that i rely on the most I put it in first.

The pages after that (in the general outline/storystructure section)I glued in my prompts I created from learning about Dramatica. While it has some amazing questions and things to prompt and make you think, it isnt the steructure I like so I decided that I could use this more for character arc and character development.

What this does is prompts me to think about my story and work things out before I sit and just start hammering the keyboard. Even if you are a seat of the pants writer, I suggest you at least have some idea of where you're going.

The next thing I did was section off each section according to the Table of Contents using a piece of scotch tape folded over the edge of the page. that way I can get to the section easier.

If you are interested please follow my links and create your own notebooks and study out and create your own plotting style/recipie. The least I can tell you is it has worked for me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.......

If all of the books and authors that I love and inspire me are urban fantasy/paranormal. Then why am I writing tech suspense?

Probably because the tech suspense genre is really small and new acording to some people.

Most likely because hard core sf intimidates the heck out of me.

Definately because the characters in my head won't stop talking to me.

Such is the life of an author.

BTW my NANO is a paranormal. I had to see if I can do it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Story structure and NANO

Yeah I'm insane. I joined NANO with a three month old. Its going to be a ball of yarn fun tho'.

To be honest I couldn't even do it if I didn't have the knowledge of Brooks' story structure and a great story idea. I know where this story is going and have the basic story facts firmly on paper even if they're not in my head. (blame mommy brain for that one)

The main reason I love story structure is it's like a recipie for baking muffins. Hang here with me as I get all domestic on you. It gives me what to put in the story/batter in exactly the order and amounts I need it. If I follow the recipie I know the story/muffins are going to turn out great. The cool thing about this recipie/story structure is the variety. If I want to use whole wheat flour instead of white I can, if I want to use applesauce instead of oil I can do that too. I can add chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, or whatever I want because the recipie tells me I can. I can sit and write by the seat of my pants, (my muse's preferred style) as long as I follow the structure and still get an awesome plotted story out of it.

There has been no other writing help I have found that has changed the way I look at writing as much as this. Granted there has been a TON of things I have learned about writing from my friends and the internet. But this story structure has freed me from the "I have a great idea now where do I go" plot problem.

For those of you who are interested in what I am talking about go to my sidebar and click on the story structure links. If you are in Utah and/or are interested in going to an awesome LDS writers conference where Larry Brooks will be teaching about structure in a master class then click on the LDStorymaker conference link in the side bar too.

Speaking of great writing ideas, I am finally putting together my project notebooks that Nancy Campbell Allen talked about on her blog. I of course have altered them to my own needs but thought I'd show them to you when they are done. I hope to get the NANO one done before Monday. Thanks for the awesome idea.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What I learned from pitching my novel.

A few weeks ago my hubby gifted me a writers conference as some much needed stress relief.

It was a rushed drive to American Fork and a late registration, but I made it. Let me tell you as a side note, that this "little" three conference strong event was simply amazing. It was well organized. The teachers were great and every class was exactly what I needed to hear. I also won the grand prize (a 2011 Writers Market) which I am so stoked to use.

That isnt the real reason for this post tho.

The very last class of the day was open to "pitches" to the newly formed "AF Arts Council Press". I wanted to go to the "How to Write a Series" class but decided to see what an open pitch session was like. I'm glad I took that chance even if nothing comes of the pitch, I learned some valuable stuff.

We were invited into a nice office and asked to give our concact infromation.
Then one by one asked questions about our manuscripts. "What is your book about?" etc.

I only attended the afternoon pitch session so I don't know what the other session was like. But I will tell you what I saw and learned from my hour.

First, finish your book before pitching it. Stories and characters change as we write the book and might morph into something completely diferent before you type the end and then edit it.

Second, know all the "info": genre, targeted audience, word count, etc. Do the research it's worth the time.

Third, have an all ready established web presence (website/blog/facebook/twitter etc.) and know what goes into modern day marketing of books. Have marketing ideas thought out and a marketing plan in place. If you're going to have a platform, have it ready and know your subject.

Fourth, bring your stuff with you. I knew that pitches were happening at the conference but I thought they were reserved and an extra cost, which they usually are. I was also taking Eli with me and in the interest of "stuff" (baby, stroller, sling, diaper bag, and my pack) I only carried a notebook for notes and a few pages incase I found time to plot or had an idea. I was asked if I had any of my MS with me and I didn't. I gave my pitch from an old paper that had my old pitch paragraph from my query on it and I had to think hard to alter it to resemble more of what my current "rocking" query sounds like. I did at least have my business card with all of my web addresses (blog website facebook etc.) on it. From now on I will probably have a manilla envelope in my bag with the first three chapters, a synopsis, query letter, and business card. You can't be too prepared.

Fifth, be calm, drink some water (not too much) before the pitch, eat a few mints and relax. It's only your baby you're presenting to someone who has the potential and audacity to say they might be ugly. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Amie Borst and Free Critique Friday

You guys know all about my query success. And you guys know I owe alot of the success to my friends. Pendragon is the one who I worked with over and over to get the query to a decent state. She's an amazing plotter and what if player.

I heard about Amie through a friend's blog and heard about a contest she offered on her blog. For the first ten people that posted thier query in the comments on her blog she would give them a FREE critique.

Well of course I clicked straight over hoping that not all of the ten spots were gone. Well I was blessed, there were only five (I think) other querys posted. I posted mine and in a series of email conversations with Amie we polished the query until it shined. If you guys were wishing you'd seen this offer and sad you missed it........

Well you're in luck. Amie is offering a free query or first page critique every Friday. All you have to do is be brave enough to post material in her comments and hope she chooses you.

If you guys want to see what Amie did to my query go here and scroll down to my name (Michelle Jefferies). I promise you its worth the nerves to stick your neck out there.

Go on guys, Amie is really nice and she doesn't bite.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First 250 words blogfest.

I'm so totally late!!! So Sorry! I've been up since early morning with fall allergies and I forgot to post.

This blogfest is from Elle Strauss. I thought it would be good to participate.

This is the first 240 (the next ten words would have made no sense w/o the next pararaph.) words from my WIP it is the second book to the one that is pollished and being sent out now.

The working title is Latent as in something lying latent within someone.

The blown sand stung at Antony’s exposed skin and imbedded itself in his shoulder-length brown hair. He stood at the top of the pyramid of Khufu; the wind howled and buffeted him like it didn’t want him standing there. As if it policed the area, and knew, just the act of climbing the pyramid in the middle of the night, was not allowed.
Five years ago, it wouldn’t have mattered. The former assassin would have balked in the face of the laws of the land, but that was a long time ago. Now, the Speaker, the Head Elders mouthpiece, wasn’t in the habit of breaking the rules. This is different, he justified as he pulled an old piece of paper out of his pocket.
Elite’s list was now worn and tattered. The folds almost ripped through, keeping the paper in his pocket for years made it dirty. He read it again; her delicate handwriting graced the page.
Be bound together forever. He smiled at the memory of the top item on the paper. Kneeling on the cold stone floor at sunrise, he held the hand of a woman who took the place of his deceased wife Elite. The High Elder, Sori Katsu, pronounced that Antony and Elite Danic were bound together forever with their son Lucius. The bonding performed the morning Antony left Natani, a confirmation that after five intense years as Katsu’s student, his time of penance was over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My thoughts about rejection.

It's going to be a time of rejections for me. I have submitted and even pitched my novel to various publishers.

In the last few days I had one friend see a bad review of her book that paralyzed her and kept her from working on her current book. Another submitted an experimental query and was rejected in ten minutes, and she laughed about it.

Are either of these people better than the other? No. One is newly published, one will have her book out next year.

Am I speaking a little hypocritical? Yes. Because I've been in both of thier places. I've had that rejection that I brushed off with a smile and I've had that devastating critique that could have paralyzed me. Actually it did for about an hour. Then through talking about it with a friend I realized that I had done my best on my MS and that it shouldn't matter to me what thay thought.

I kept the business card of the critiquer and on a quiet morning I burned that card into a pile of ashes, put the ashes in a baggie and tacked ot to my wall. Why? Because after that period of time where I bemoaned what they said and after what I learned from the experience I needed a reminder of the lesson.

Yea rejection is going to hurt, it's how you let it either spur you into action or let it keep you from working that matters.

I definately won't be perfect, I'll still have my moments of doubt. I'm a writer it's my nature. However whenever I get those future rejections I hope I will remember the lessons learned and move on.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Academy and the query part 2.

I knew months ago that the Book Academy conference at UVU was coming up in September. I also thought that because I'd have a newborn and medical bills I'd just go next year. I felt really bad because I loved last years conference, but hey what do you do?

I saw a contest on Facebook where you could win one of two tickets to the conference and I entered. I thought, I can't win if I don't enter.

Well I won! I was so excited I screamed and woke the baby. LOL

After the heart palpitations slowed I had the distinct impression that I was going to make a connection or two there and that is why I won. I have been praying that I would work my butt off if I was just pointed in the right direction. I didn't tell anyone though because I didn't want to jinx it.

I found a babysitter for Noble and Thursday my hubby drove me to Orem and Elias and I went to the Book Academy Conference. I registered and then found my friends Cheri Chesley and Melissa Cunningham and sat by them. Well about 10 minutes later Lisa Mangum from Deseret Book and BRANDON MULL of "Fablehaven" fame sat at our table. I was so excited.

After a great opening message I bought one of a few "Chocolate Never Faileth" books by Annette Lyon and went to my first class which was a workshop on query writing. The night before I had recieved a message from a friend that the class was going to be a workshop and to bring your query letter. Well as you know from the last post I have been working and pulling my hair out over my query. So I printed it off and put it in my bag for the next day.

After a short lesson on how to write a query, by Lisa Mangum from Deseret Book and Kirk shaw from Covenant. They asked for victims and I raised my hand. Lisa read MY query out loud to the class and after reading the pitch (three paragraphs) she stopped and said that she wanted to see the book. (I hope shes not kidding because I'm sending her a submission on Monday.) They suggested a few small cosmetic changes which I have done, but otherwise they liked the query. When I talked to Kirk Shaw after the class just to clarify the genre he also asked me to submit it to Covenant.

My heart pounded the rest of the day and I couldn't wait to share the good news with my friends. I had the feeling that I was going to make some connections and I was right. I am so blessed.

While I am bennifiting from being at the right place at the right time doing the right thing, I must thank those who helped me with this query, and MS.

Paulette Inman, best friend forever and plotter/what if extroidinare, for being my sounding board for the re-write of the query and the MS.
Tristi Pinkston, editor extroidinare, for the grammar edit on the blurb.
Amie Borst, new friend and awesome critter, for the outside "don't know a thing about the book" query critique.
And lastly my anonymous editor and good friend (you know who you are) for the undying, completely unselfish, editing work you did on my MS. Not only does it shine, it ROCKS!
P. S. Angie Lofthouse, my bloggy and Facebook friend, thanks for watching Eli for a few minutes too! What a lifesaver.

I had a blast and I came home reafirming that I work in an awesome career with awesome people.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How about this?

I have been working on pulling my hair out, I mean my query. (did I say that out loud?) While the old one was subtle and vague but had voice I needed to give more information. So here is the new version hopefuly with a little voice remaining.

Corporate assassin, Antony Danic, has never killed an innocent man—until now.

During a dinner with friends, Antony realizes that his last assigned hit was a mere preacher. When his assignments start to resemble personal agenda, instead of corporate espionage, he realizes what he thought was reality, is a lie. Just weeks before, while on vacation, Antony received a death threat from a fellow employee. It appeared that the corporation was unhappy with his performance on his previous hit. Even though he hoped it was just posturing from corporate, he began to re-think his safety, and his employer’s integrity.

When Antony botches a hit, by causing the destruction of an international space cruiser filled with a mysterious cargo, his carefully woven security net begins to unravel. And as he scrambles to find a safe way out of his employers "till death do us part" contract, he faces the decision of his life: continue with business as usual and kill another innocent man—or do what's right, even if it puts his family in jeopardy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some links for you

I dont normally provide a post with a list of links but I have found two places you need to visit.

First, if you are in the market for an EXCELLENT editor I have just the one for you.
Tristi Pinkston is a frelance editor and is an expert at it. I have had the opportunity to have her look at a few small pieces of work for me and I have been completely pleased with her work. For her info and prices go here.

Second, Nancy Campbell Allen has posted about how she does her "Project Notebooks". I love her ideas and plan on usung her formula from now on. Imagine, everyting you need for one book in one notebook. (And I just bought a TON of spiral notebooks at the back to school sales) Here is that link.

Third, I am at 49 followers!!!!!! I need ONE MORE FOLLOWER to make it to fifty! If you havn't followed me yet and want a FREE SIGNED BOOK (Key Lime Pie by Josi Kilpack) become my 50th follower. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

moving on . . . moving up?

With the last rejection I recieved, I have exhausted all of the little indie publishers in my area. I'm really sad about this, I was seriously hoping to make it in this little niche market. Something homey and safe. Someplace that would understand my specific cultural needs and expressions.

What is bothering me the most is what is left for me to choose.

The national market.

To be honest it scares me literally out of my boots. Am I good enough? Is my book good enough? While my last rejection said my MS was promising they passed on it. What does that say about me and my writing? The next move for me is to send the Ms out to the few places that still accept unsolicited works and then try to find an agent. There are thousands of them out there, but less then 200 that represent my genre. What if i submit this MS to all of them and no one likes it? Where do I go from there? Do I start another story? Do I even bother?

I have discovered I have a yeller streak a mile wide across my back and it disturbs me. Scared enough that I have literally sat on my polished MS for weeks and not done a thing. The query process is daunting to me and quite confusing. I want to just run and hide. So much for being brave and adventerous.

Yet, I want to see this book series in print its a darn good story if I have any say. I have had a professional Editor look at it and they like it, my readers like it and I have worked darn hard on it. I guess what I am saying is if its worth anything at all I'll just have to get over this streak and do what needs to be done. Inspite of being yeller.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Try your hand . . . pen names

Okay I admit that my reason for this topic is probably going to offend someone.

I don't like my name and havn't since I was a teen. Sorry mom and dad, I just don't like it. Enough to consider a legal name change at one point in time. One of the appeals as a writer has allways been the fact that I could write something and use a pen name. That I could literally be "some one else".

I have played with many pen names through out the years and either kept them for a while and or discarded them when it was time.

I even created a pen name that I ended up liking so much that I eventually used it as a character name. Oh well so much for that one.

So. . . . . I bet you are wondering if I disliked my name so much why my blog, twitter etc. uses my given legal name and why I don't change it.

Well to be honest I'm a chicken and didn't want to offend those two people that gave me my name. Second, I was writing for the LDS market at the time and they don't like the idea of pen names so I established my presence on the internet using my legal name. Besides, I guess it's not such a bad name afterall. :)

My question to you is do you use a pen name or have you considered it? If so, why?

Friday, August 13, 2010

My current distraction

His name is Elias Teancum Porter Jefferies. He was born on Wednesday August 4, at 5:27 pm. Baby is perfect. I am recovering.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wow I'm a slacker,

I've only posted three times this month? Wow. I know life gets crazy but still.

Its been a hectic month. With the baby due next month things have gotten busy. Still there's no excuse.

The edit is done, me and my BFF have worked for days on a query and I am hoping to start researching agents editors and publishers and start sending this MS out.

Its been so nice to see that the MS is finished. So cool. I honestly wish I had the energy to throw a huge celebration for finishing the edit and getting ready to submit maybe after Eli is born.

Either way I am still here and I hope to have good contractrual/publishing news for you my readers soon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I suppose it's the journey . . .

That makes you stronger. Yes I know I am waxing philosophical, but such is the day.

While my writing journey started when I was young, the serious "I really want to get published" mode hit me about 3-4 years ago. Since then I have written many things and edited many more.

Last May (2009) I submitted a re-written MS that was actually "story worthy" to a publisher. They rejected it and asked for revisions. (Which is actually a good thing) At that point in time I also had a friend offer out of the goodness of their heart to help me edit this MS to get it ready to re-submit.

It's been just over a year now and the LAST edit came in my email over last weekend. I downloaded it to my computer, (I swear I saved it) moved my laptop to a nice brightly lit quiet place and started editing it. I was 2/3 of the way done and when I came back to it that night I somewhow erased, deleted, overwrote it and it was "poof" gone from my computer.

All 244 pages of the edit I had worked on ALL DAY. I was so in shock I couldn't even cry. All that work gone in a second. I tried everything to find the document and after two days I decided to just reload it and start over.

So yesterday I sat down early in the morning and started to edit again. I finished that afternoon and saved it, sending to some friends for safekeeping too. The edit is done the MS is as perfect as its going to get w/o a contract and an publishing editor.

While I was feeling so sick about loosing the pages I worked on this overwhelming sense of calm was there with me also. This MS has faced adversarial forces the whole time I have worked on it. My friend has lost it, and has lost hours of editing work on it too. This MS has a mind of its own and seems to have some potential that someone doesn't want me to explore.

The journey of the last few years have been a deep learning process for me. I have seen both the hands of God and Satan at work in my life regarding a simple stack of 300+ pages. I hope that most of the time I am running with the good crowd on this endeavor. LOL Timing in this has been perfect even if it was only seen in hindsight. Connections I have made in the last few years and the knowledge I have gained has been amazing. I often stand in awe of the "tour" I have been given this last few years.

The next few weeks, before Elias is born I am hoping to research and send out my MS to many agents and publishers. It's the perfect time seeing that I will have my hands full and not be actively writing or editing.

This journey has made me stronger in ways I never knew I could be strengthened. I have recieved inspiration and interpretations of feelings that I didnt know I was allowed to recieve. I have grown and I am thankful for it.

A freind once told me to "Expect Miracles" I did and this is what's happened.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

As I promised: Series Bible Pictures

Those of you who know me, know my passion for pink. LOL I saw this journal and HAD to have it.

This is the character section I have found pictures and glued them in to give me an idea of thier physical appearence. I will aslo as I go, add details in this section about the characters that I need.

This is my world building section I have information about my cities and worlds. I also have maps in this section.

This is my plot section all of the books in the series are plotted out at least in structure. I also add my chapter outlines as I finish them and my synopsis notes.

This is my random or ETC section. All those notes that dont go in the other sections go in here. This is where I usually glue the short emails I sent to either myself or my writer friends.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My writing tip post on The AI blog.

~by C. Michelle Jefferies

Wow what a difficult decision I had to make in regards to what I should write about. There were lists on the little clipboard in my head for days.

I finally settled on a topic that I myself have been working on and researching.

A Series Bible.
Similar to a character bible, a series bible is a place where you store and record all of the things that happen in your book that will be significant in the rest of the series.

Even if you write stand alone books. I have found in my researching and assembling of my bible, it is still important to have a record of what went on in that book so you don’t repeat things in your other stand alone books. For example I have a penchant of making my male MC or love interest blond and green eyed. I write the character descriptions down in the book and it reminds me that for variety I should choose a different look for the next guy.

Regardless of what your bible looks like, whether it is a spiral notebook or a stack of post-its, it’s what’s in it that’s important.

According to all my research, my bible contains different sections. They are as follows.

haracter section:
What characters look like, what their families are like, what quirks they have. All those little details that make the character unique so your not pulling a blank when you begin the second (or later) book(s).

Worlds, setting section:
What color is the sky? What do the towns, cities, etc. look like? What are the little details? Magic rules, governments, styles etc.

Back-story section:
What happens off the pages of the book that are still important?

Unique things section:
If your world has cool stuff you invented, write them here so you can use them in the rest of the series.

Plotline and arc’s for the series section:
This is where you store the plotlines and structure for your books. I include the character arc’s here as well.

Notes for yourself section:
Have an epiphany about your book? Those go here unless they belong somewhere else.

Whatever else you need sections:
Self explanatory?

As I have created my series bible, I am finding I love having everything in one place. I carry my bible with me in whatever bag I am toting around at the time and have easy access to it when I need it.

Happy Writing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Tang Soo Do update

On Wednesday I tested for my second green stripe. I did everything my instructor asked of me even some situps and pushups. Not many, my body doesn't allow too many right now. As I did my double up front kick my Instructor smiled and said "theres proof that a pregnant woman can do almost anything" I walked on cloud 9 for days after that.

The next Monday I recieved my second green (red) stripe. This last friday I broke a 12x12x1" board doing a jump side kick. WHOOHOO!

I love my class, I am having a blast.

Just a note, the last two "red stripes" on the chart are now midnight blue.

Friday, June 18, 2010

In hindsight

As you know. I have struggled the last few months trying to add emotion to my current MS. The one that I am going to be sending back to the publisher that rejected and asked for revisions.

While I was just adding some internal thought the edits were going well. I got to chapter 17 and began to think that what I had been doing was not enough. I talked to the editor, researched adding emotion, read articles and lectures and blog posts all over the web and tried to wrap my head around the "adding emotion" concept.

The more I read, the more confused I became. The more I tried to insert the ideas and change what I had written, the harder it was to even formulate a coherent thought in regards to the MS. In frustration I closed the laptop and didn't go back for almost TWO WEEKS while my brain tried to decompress.

One thing that frustrated me was I felt that the emotion I had added even if it was in exposition was sufficent for the character.

After the two weeks I went back to the LT and restarted what I had been doing at CH 17 out of desperation and finished that type of edit. When I was done I sat back and felt oddly satisfied. Without hesitation I sent the MS to the editor that is helping me and explained the enormous block that had occured and that I had done as much as I could.

A week later I was sufing some random blogs and ran across a post about not being able to change the manuscript to the specs that the crit group wanted. The reason eventually came out after much contemplation the soul/subconscious rejected the changes because they were not right for the story.

I paused and stared at the screen. Was that why I had so much trouble with what I was trying to do? Were the changes just plain wrong for this story?

Part of the frustration was that the SAME character in the second book has plenty of emotions after changing his life around. And the apparent lack of emotions in the first book seem to fit the current chatracters state of mind and the "feel" of the book. The "new" emotions in the second book seem to reflect the changes that happen to the main character in between books #1 and 2.

As I have thought about it over the last few days I know that this is what the problem was. The lack of emotion in the first book reflects part of the "theme" of the book. The emergence of emotion in the second book also completes the move from lack of, to experincing emotion in the second book.

What frustrates me most is that it wasn't untill after many weeks of self inflicted torture. Then sending off the MS w/o knowing why it had bothered me so much, that I found out why. So in hindsight, whether I knew why or not at least I followed my gut and did what I should have for the better good of the story.

Who knew?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

character interview blogfest

I saw this on the 700blankpages blog who got it from Elizabeth's blog who signed up on Sangu's blog.

The idea is to interview a character and post it on your blog. While Wyan's interview with his author went swimingly well. Teehee! I don't know if an interview with my character Noble would be any better. While Wyan is stubborn and rebellious, Noble is more of the silent type. And to be honest, he isn't the main character of the first book. The main character of Emergence which is the first book is Antony Danic. I wonder which one would give me more info. Probably neither. Hmmmmmmm Sounds like I should flip a coin.

No coins down here in my dungeon of an office. This might be interesting. . . . .

Maybe I should go alphabetically. Antony starts with A. Besides, Antony is the first character you'll meet in Emergence you don't even meet Noble untill the second book Latent. Maybe I'll catch Noble later this afternoon and add him later.

So here we go. I Michelle (M) will be interviewing Antony Danic (AD) the main character of the Emergence the first book in the Prophecy Rising Series.

M Good monring. How are you this morning?

AD I was asleep. And I'm hungry. Got any food? (Rummages through my cupboards.)

M Sorry, I was inspired.

AD Your inspiration gets you in trouble especially when you talk to your trouble making friend. What good is toast if you don't have any butter?

M I have cereal and milk.

AD Bleh, cereal isn't breakfast it's a snack. Elite would have woken me up with a plate of scrambled eggs and waffles.

M I'm not Elite.

AD I know. (Grins.)

M So anyway. . . The purpose for this interview is to let my blog readers get to know you better.

AD I'm invisible. (He raises an eyebrow.) Remember?

M This is just for the blog. So where you work, and what do you do?

AD So straight to the heavy hitters. Well lemmese. My Name is Antony Danic. I am a Human Resourses director for a company called Hurst Enterprises. I travel all over the world training employees. (Hides the glock .357 in his waitband.)

M Human Resourses. Right. (I roll my eyes.)

Ad (Stares at me unflinching.)

M Moving on, tell me a little about yourself.

AD My name is Antony Danic. I am a human--

M We allready know that. What about your past?

AD What about it? (He folds his arms and leans back in the chair next to me.)

M Where were you born?

AD Donno, I was found in a basket on the steps of a church in Dunedin New Zealand. Probably Dundein?

M Grew up?

AD We moved to Auckland when I was little. My parents owned a sheep ranch and I lived there untill I moved to Asutralia and joined the Austrtalian Defence Force.

M When was that?

AD When I was 17.

M What were your parents and childhood like?

AD No comment.

M (Silence.)

AD (Smirks.)

M Moving on. What do you like to do in your free time?

AD Free time? Whats that? I help Elite do what she needs to do. We go places and do things. Just took a trip to Tahiti. (Touches the gun in his waistband again.)

M (changing subjects) Speaking of Elite, what do you like most about her?

AD You're kidding. I love everything about her. There's nothing to dislike. Well except that church argument we have on Sunday mornings.

M Church? Please explain.

AD Nothing to it. I am an atheist. (chin reaises defiantly)

M I see. Well I can see we're going to get some deep thoughtful answers today. Favorite color?

AD Black

M Favorite music?

AD As if you dont know it. You chose it for me. Alternative music from the 1980's on.

M More specif--?

AD Ultravox. Period.

M Favorite clothes?

AD Loose shirts, (pulls the back of his shirt over the butt of the Glock.) Jeans. cowboy boots.

M Favorite food?

AD Asian.

M Favorite car?

AD Dont drive a car. Or a shuttle for that matter. Too expensive and Elite gets car sick. Although I did see this sweet Dodge Prowler a few weeks ago.

M Favorite weapon?

AD No comment. (Folds arms again.)

M Any Tattoos?

AD Birthmark. Maybe. Why?

M Nevermind. (Grins.)

AD (Raises an eyebrow.)

M Anything else, you'd like to say?

AD Um. . . . You have something on your shirt. (Points at me.)

M I do? (Looks down)

AD (Smacks my forehead before disapearing.) PSYCH! (He laughs)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am done!!!!!!!!!!

ELEVEN days short of a year and I am done with the line, content edit and revisions that have been requested of me. I have sent the MS back to my friend and I will be preparing to send it back to the publisher that rejected it and asked for the work I have done this last year.

This has been the LONGEST year of my life I think. I am brain dead and mentally exhausted. Yet very happy in the knowledge that I am so finished with it. I know what it feels like to not be able to STAND one more look, pass or edit of the MS. To want to throw the laptop out the window if someone asks one more thing of you concerning the MS.

The MS is great. I have people who can't wait for it to be published because they only read the first chapter. I had a reader that had to read it twice because the first time they were so caught up in the plot and story the forgot they were proofreading it for me. My BFF and I have worked the plot on this puppy to perfection. It is a great story and now it is clean and shiny, I even added emotions to it. :)

This is a major milepost in my writing career. Something I have been working for, for the longest time. Therefore it is a time to celebrate. Since I have nothing to give you my devoted readers I have come up with a unique idea to thank you for the long years of support you have given me.

Those of you who comment on this post will recieve thier first names written into the sequel of this book as characters. Or book #3 if I run out of secondary characters in #2.

So comment away and come celebrate with me. I am pulling out the sparkling cider and eating at least a few brownies tonight. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning writing from other sources. . . .

Over the past few days I have listened as my daughter has watched season one of "Criminal Minds". I don't watch TV and rarely watch movies. But I have learned something as I have "listened" to my kids watch this or that. For example, there are alot of Disney movies that have really strong points in one writing point or the other.

As I was listening to the TV/revising my MS I realized a few things. When a series usually starts they introdouce the characters doing someting that is unique to that character and you remember the introdouction. Also as the series progresses it often has episodes that highlight one character or the other.

Do we as writers do the same thing? Do we introdouce our characters doing something unique? Will our readers remember that character? When we have a MS that has more than one character POV. Do we use scenes or chapters to highlight a character that is in the story?

Have you listened to a movie or episode and realized the uniqueness of the dialogue and howit identifies the character even if you can't "see" who's speaking? Try it sometime. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I KNOW that emotion. I am really familiar with it.

I am at the cusp of sending my manuscript to the publisher who asked for revisions. I have done everything they have asked except adding emotion and internal thought. I even researched adding emotion and putting the MS away for a while to give me some distance.

I feel emotions, the frustration I am experiencing is real and I can identify with it. But my character isn't allways frustrated and that would get quite boring. The guy's an assassin who basically shuts down emotionally when he is on a hit. I'm okay with that. But what about when hes not? I dont know. Why is this so hard for me?

I am so close to being "there". I can almost feel that acceptance in my hands, like standing on the top of a hill ready to take a wild ride down the other side. Yet this hiccup seems to want to rip any thought of success from my hands.

Yeah I know frustration I am living a version of it right now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art verses Craft

My best friend is a writer. She is also a "bookbinder". While she hates anything that has to do with crafts, I love creating with paper and fabric. When I have started a project that involves anything from a craft store we usually discuss her dislike of them. The few times she has decided to "make" something I usually razz her because I know I'm going to get a response from her. Trust me it's fun.

When she started taking book binding classes I was a little jealous, it's something I have allways wanted to learn. Well lucky for her I live in the boonies and she lives in the city. She got to take the class and I got to be jealous of her over the internet.

The discussion of whether what she does is either an art or a craft is a common discussion between us. What is the definition of art versus craft? Is there really a huge diference? When we were little didn't we all take "arts and crafts" classes in school? Didn't those classes involve anything between painting/drawing on paper to creating those little clay pots for mothers day? Just yesterday I laughed about her booking a table at a local "craft fair" hosted by a scrapbooker. She even defended her position by informing me that most book binders are men. Okay. . .

While I consider myself an artist I also consider my self a crafter. I love manipulating things to get the result I want. I love taking a few yards of fabric and turning them into something beautiful. While I insist that what I do whether it's writing, sewing, drawing or papercrafting is both art and craft she insists that things like bookbinding is an art.

I'm fine with the "art" label, I really am. But I also firmly believe that the actual process of making a book is a craft that is learned. I know that bookbinders call it a lost art and I won't argue with them. But taking materials and using tools to make something completely diferent than the raw materials is, in my opinion, craft.

While a clay pot is art, the knowledge of how to spin and fire and glaze clay into something that can hold water is craft. At least that is my opinion.

Writing is the perfect example of both art and craft. While a finished book can surely be called art, I believe its more the way words flow from a writers hand. The picture that they paint in the readers mind is an art. The time it takes to learn a craft such as writing is equal to an artists time spent in creating a masterpiece.

However, I believe that knowing how to construct a sentence, how to write a character that a reader loves, how to plot and then execute that plot, how to do all those things that a writer needs such as formatting, writing synopsis and querys is where we writers use craft. While some writer may have a beautiful story or an amazing character if the execution, or CRAFT, of that wrtiers skill isn't great, the story will completely flop.

A begining seamstress can not create a beautiful wedding dress, a begining writer cannot become a master of words with thier first draft. It takes time and lots of practice to combine both the art of story and the craft of writing to become an author that is worthy of reading. Knowing how to meld the two is I think what all "artists" of any form strive to achieve.

So while my best friend insists she is an artist, I insist she is also a crafter. Of not only words, but also paper, leather, book board, and glue. Maybe my elementary teachers were right in teaching "arts and crafts" combined because in my head, there's no seperating them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Putting emotions in your writing

As I type this I have been pondering the above title. How do you put emotion in your writing? How do you get your character to show emotion? How do you convince your reader to identify with your character without going overboard? Where is that overboard line? How do you write something painful or sad that you don't want to experience yourself? How do you make good writing great by adding emotions?

What are your thoughts? How do you as a writer add emotion? What do you as a reader expect in a book?

My mind is churning, I hope to learn as much as I can and get back to you guys.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another update.

First sweep of the revisions are done. I have sent it out to readers and will hit the book at least one more time.

I can't believe I am this far. Wow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Revision update

Just quickly before the kids come home.

I am HALF WAY done with my revisions!!!!! I will hopefully finish the revisions next week.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Try your hand. . . . With a twist.

These last few months have been hard on me and my muse. As I have been editing Emergence in hopes that it will get picked up by a publisher, I have realized how much emotion I have poured into this particular manuscript. In moments where I have had the time to draft something new, I have been frozen by the "what if" bug. Not the "What if my character did this". No this is worse, it's the "What if this book is crap and no one likes it?" bug. Followed closely by the "then why draft the sequel if its crap?" thing. Its been a very emotional ride.

One thing I did find that helped me, was a distraction, hense the "try your hand" title.

I am also getting ready for a baby that is due in the end of August. One day when I couldn't stand to look at my computer for one more minute I shut the thing down and went upstairs to the baby's room. I love the room, it is very peaceful in my house of chaos. As I sat there I realized that there was plenty of stuff I needed to do in there. So with no thought about my story I sat on the floor and just started to work on the things that needed to be done.

It was calming and I felt better once I had a stack of things accomplished on that mile long to do list that every mother has. I was actually able to pull up one of my MS that needed work and actually work on it.

Often times we forget that theres a cure in leaving the thing that had frustrated us for so long and in doing something else. I think we get in a rut of doing either nothing or doing the same frustrating thing over and over again that we don't see the option that is waiting just outsie of that "wall of inprisonment" of our own making.

How many times do we only see that one thing that is frustrating us and not see the solution that is right there jumping up and down waving its hands wildly?

For me I leanred a lesson, and I hope I dont forget it soon.

What is your distraction? Do you use it often, or do you let the problem override it? Do any of you use service for others as a distraction? Let me know, I am curious.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just a note. . .

I am looking for a few people to read my MS as I finish the revising period to see if I missed anything. It'd be 1-2 chapters a day/5-10 ch. a week. I want to get this MS done by June, July. Any takers? Please comment and I'll get ahold of you.

Friday, April 30, 2010

And so it Begins

Just two days before the Writers conference I recieved an e-mail from my friend and editor. The final "grammar/content sweep" is done and they sent me a detailed letter as to what they want done in a round of restructuring.

To be honest it freaked me out a little. When I first read the e-mail I was imagining this huge insurmountable second edit. So much so, that the thought of starting a new hobby was entertained. I knew the conference was only a few days away so my best defence was to forget the e-mail even came until after I was home. So I went and tried to forget that there were five things I needed to do to every chapter, all 44 of them. (Well 42 chapters one chapter has been deleted and one was imaginary by way of chapter numbering errors.)

Sunday I started pondering the restructure in earnest because I can't ignore something like that for too long. It was still just as intimidating and I was vacilating between curling in a ball and crying or pulling out all of my hair. Monday I was about the same. By Thursday I was begining to gather ideas and the thought of changing hobbies was begingng to fade.

This morning, with a much more level head I looked at the email more objectively and realized that one suggestion only effects a few chapters, two of the suggestions will only effect minute parts of every chapter and two are going to effect every chapter. But that's okay because the work load has been significantly lowered because reason has stepped in place of the panic.

So starting tomorrow or Monday I will begin this chapter by chapter revising. I know what is needed and I know that I am capable. I have friends who believe on me and people to cheer me on in this process.

I know that my friend who is doing this HUGE favor for me out of the goodness of their heart believes in me and the story. They have taken time from thier family to read my story and tirelessly edit and help me along the way. Although I have given them gifts, I can never repay what they have done and I will forever be in thier debt. Thank you again and again.

I have altered the editing update on my side bar. You can watch it or read my posts as I go through this process.

I am on my way to a beatuiful manuscript.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's all in the head. . .

I went to the LDStorymakers conference this year.

It was a complete blast.

The classes were awesome. The friends were beyond awesome. The food, once I convinced them that I really am allergic to tomatoes, was awesome too. I was able to talk to people I admire and chat with people who I think are so cool and didn't feel like an idiot.

I want to thank Tristi Pinkston, Jaime Theeler and Crystal Liechty for all their hard work in putting the conference together. For all the teachers that worked for hours on thier classes. For the people in AI who also worked many hours to get people excited and involved. Also to Julie Coulter Belon for managing the First Chapter Contest and somehow handling over 190 entries.

I didnt win anything in the contest although I did win a CD from Covenant (door prize). But this year that's okay. I didnt expect to win this year I had much more realistic expectations and entered the contest with the sole intention of getting those crits. Although winning the laptop would have been nice.

I'm glad I took that approach, this conference was so much more enjoyable. Silly me don't know why I was so wrapped up in the contest last year. Maybe since I won the LTUE contest in 08 I was too full of myself. Letting it get to my head. I know, bad me.

Anyway, this year was a blast, I had alot of fun and got alot of books signed and got a coveted copy of "Mr. Monster" (the sequel of I am Not a Serial Killer) by Dan Wells. Next year I don't even think I am entering the contest. Most of the crits for all four chapters I entered were all saying the same thing anyway. I know where my strengths and weaknesses are and I am working on it.

Regardless I had a great time and it was certainly inspiring for me. Thanks Guys!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Right in my lap.

A few posts ago we talked about Author Platforms. And at that time I listed a few things that were important to me, but had no real platform.

A few nights ago I was reading a magazine that my husbands alma matter sends us every few months or so. Opening the magazine I see an article about a former alumn an amazing young woman named Amanda de Lange who lives in China and runs an orphanage that takes abandoned children, often with birth defects like cleft pallate or spina biffida and finds doctors to treat them and takes these emaciated, almost dead children and turns them into rolly polly happy babies.

I have allways been facinated in the idea of foster care, adoption and would love to adopt an Asian baby. Maybe when my house isn't so full? LOL I am adopted myself as well as my brother and sister.

This article inspired me, especially when the main characters wife in my book runs an orphanage and that is her life's work. It never occured to me that it was a totally good idea as a platform.

So I now have an Author Platform. Foster care and adoption.

To see what inspired me go see The Starfish Foster Home

or her blog

Some people may wonder 'why adopt'? With millions of orphans in the world, how can you hope to make a difference? There's so many. This is the answer. . .

"An old man was walking down the beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. As the old man approached the young man, he asked, "Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?"

The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.

"But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish," exclaimed the old man. "How can your efforts make any difference?"

The young man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said,

"It made all the difference to that one."

Amanda takes very little income and has alot of staff to pay for. All she is asking is either 40$ a month to sponsor a child or help support a nanny. If you have the ability please go support this wonderful cause.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time To Celebrate!!!!!!!!!

I honestly planned on posting a few days ago. Really. But then I got an edit from my friend. THE LAST TEN CHAPTERS EDIT. So the last few days have been spent going over and doing a grammar and content edit on 67 pages.

I am brain dead, oozing out of my ears dead. Yep.

I was planning on doing this big celebration as I went through the last ten chapters. This is a big deal to me, I have spent the last year working on this edit.

So we are going to celebrate regardless of the process of finishing this book. To celebrate the end of the first sweep being over. I am giving away a pack of my favorite pens all the way from Rock Springs Wyoming. All you have to do is comment on this post.

Furthermore, I'll be doing a reader participation/giveaways for the ramaining steps of finishing this book. (content changes, restructuring, and final read over.)

So, comment away. Keep coming back, and I will keep you updated on the last part of this process.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Sapphire Flute - by Karen E. Hoover

It has been a pleasure to receive a copy of "The Sapphire Flute" and peruse its pages. Amazon Purchase Link HERE.

I met Karen years ago when I was looking for a writers group in my old town. She immediately befriended me and another writer as if she'd known us her whole life and just hadn't seen us for a while.

Her friendship has been something I treasure. She is amazing and her open smile and unconditional love for everyone draws everyone in. When she read to us the early drafts of Sapphire Flute I knew she was going to go far. Her ability to draw you in and weave a story around her readers is inborn.

I was able to co-teach a teen writers class with Karen years ago and just like the teenage girls, I sat there in awe of her knowledge and absorbed everything I could from her. The best part of that class was the afternoon we spent listening to Karen read the first pages of her story from first draft to the then finished draft. As we listened to those pages evolve, and why she changed them, my brain got a few more wrinkles. I learned so much from that afternoon. I knew I was sitting at the feet of a soon to be published author.

Karen, thanks for the friendship and love, the lunches, gifts, and hours of talking and laughing. Most of all, thanks for your undying belief in me. It means more than you will ever know.

The Sapphire Flute, Book 1 of The Wolfchild Saga

by Karen E. Hoover

It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother's wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father's secret--a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father's greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C'Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls' paths are set on a collision course...a course that C'Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

The story is rich in detail and plot. The characters are wonderfully deep and well rounded. The most amazing thing, is that almost every chapter is written as a story in itself. With a beginning middle and end all in a few pages. This reader found herself pleasantly surprised at the end of every chapter as she either turned the page or closed the book. I'm not going to tell you anything more about the book, the story is one you must experience for yourself, and thoroughly enjoy.

Valor Publishing Group touts Karen as their own J. K. Rowling. I believe it. I see a grand future for my dear friend.

Price: $19.95 $17.96
Publisher: Valor Publishing Group, LLC (March 16, 2010)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Binding: Hardbound
Pages: 370
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-935546-07-8
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

Friday, March 26, 2010

Try your hand . . . Author Platforms

Have you heard of them?

When an author feels strongly about something they use either a message in thier books or thier status as an author to let the world know about thier passion.

For example Michele Ashman Bell has started the Butterfly Box Series. The first book focused heavily on modest dressing. I don't know whether the other books will focus on the same platform, but I was pleased with the book and "theme" of the book. Being the mom of a teenage daughter this issue of modesty is something we deal with everyday.

Tristi Pinkston's new series Secret Sisters has started a sock drive for the homeless because a character knits in the book. Annette Lyon and Julie Coulter Bellon both have platforms dealing with US soldiers stationed away from home.

That said: my question for you is, do you have a platform? Is there something you feel passionately about, something you would etiher write about or speak about even if your book is completely diferent? Have you ever even heard about a platform? Or thought about it?

I don't think there is anything in Emergence that is platform worthy. However, there are things I am passionate about. I am a breastfeeding mommy and tend to be natural in lots of ways. I have asthma so asthma research is something I am concerned about. I also support the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Humanitarian Relief work. Like I said before, modest dressing is also an issue I believe in strongly.

Who knows, I have thought about it but never long enouth to actually decide on or choose an actual platform. I hope by the time I have a contract in hand I have something in mind.

What is your platform or passion? I'd like to hear it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Introdoucing Pandragons Book Binding

Picture at right is the book I just ordered from them. Isn't it georgeous?

I couldn't be more pleased to introdouce you to my dear friends new business. PENDRAGONS BOOK BINDING. The husband and wife team hand sews blank journals as well as manuscripts and other projects. (Think family histories, old journals, blogs.) the books are amazingly beautiful, and lovingly prepared, for a fraction of the price you will see anywhere else.

For thier grand opening they are hosting a contesd to win a georgeous hand bound journal. The coolest thing is you the winner grets to choose the cover and the bling! See contest rules below.

Grand Opening Contest

It's about time we got this thing rolling! The site is officially registered, licensed and running. To celebrate, we're hosting a Contest Giveaway!

The prize? A book similar to this one:

But since it's a family business, we'll each make a book, making it TWO books to give away! Two chances to win! Both are 8.5" x 5.5" Hand Sewn with Leather Spine Journal The winners get their choice of Standard paper covers (a select "Limited Edition" covers also included) with the Old Style Binding. Also, their choice of any additional Bling items ta'boot! See Website for details.

This is Pendragon's FAVORITE style of binding.

Here's how to enter:

+2 entry: Fan or leave a comment on our Facebook Page to enter. If you don't have access to Facebook, then send us an email to: to enter :)

+2 entries: Become a follower of our blog. Click Here.

+2 entry each (unlimited): For every friend you refer to our Facebook page and They follow us too! (make sure they note who referred them!)

let's see, what else...

+10 entries if you Blog about our contest. A link back to our home page and a link to our Facebook page is required! Please provide a link to your blog in the Facebook comment (or email) to verify

+1-5 entry: Post about the contest on Facebook or Tweet about us--a link back to the website and/or Facebook page required. One per day. Make sure to let us know when you do.

+2 entry: Follow my writing blog :) Never hurts, eh?

Now for some more BIG boys:

+10 Entry: if you buy a book through our site. :)
and +10 entry each if anyone you refer buys a book!

+10 Entry: Be a Host to our Contest on your blog! You can require them to follow your blog too as a entry (wink). a good following on your blog required. Contact us to enter this.

P. S. + 5 points: If you follow my (Michelle's) blog: My Life In A Laptop.

Make sure to leave a comment on Facebook OR Email us to let us know what you've done to enter. We want to make sure you get every chance to win!

One Random Winner will be drawn April Fools Day! AND the SECOND book will be given away to whoever refers the most Fan-Friends to our Facebook page! So, start sending invites! Check back here and our Facebook page for the announcement on April 1st. winning entries must have a USA mail address :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"The Cleansing of America" by W. Cleon Skousen

Valor Autographed copy here.

Amazon link here.

To be honest, I offered to read "The Cleansing of America" because I am a fast reader and they needed to fill their review list quickly. I learned a lesson though, this book is not one that can be read quickly. Not only is it filled with many scripture references and study questions, but the material covered in the book is so amazing you want to take your sweet time reading it and understanding what Mr. Skousen offers. Written as one of four unpublished manuscripts before his death three years ago, “The Cleansing of America” deals with what has caused our dear country to come to the state of moral degradation it is in now. Then goes on to discuss what both modern and ancient prophecy tells us will happen in the last days.

While I tend to avoid thinking about the end days and prophecy because it scares the bejeebies out of me, this book was a source of comfort and helped me understand what is going to happen and why. I would recommend this book to everyone. It should be required reading for those who love this beautiful country.

I believe Valor has, with the acquisition of these last four manuscripts of Mr. Skousen, placed themselves in line to compete with the “Big Guns” of LDS publishing. I commend Valor for this move and look forward to seeing Valor succeed.

Price: $19.95 $17.96
Publisher: Valor Publishing Group, LLC (April 1, 2010)
Genre: Nonfiction
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 185
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1-935546-21-4
Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006), an ardent supporter of God, country, and the unlimited potential for greatness in all people, passed away at his Salt Lake City home on January 9, 2006, of natural causes incident to age, just eleven days shy of his ninety-third birthday. He was lovingly surrounded by many family members, and Jewel, his wife of sixty-nine years.

Dr. Skousen was the author of The Making of America, and was known by millions for his devoted understanding and support of the U.S. Constitution, his love of the gospel of Jesus Christ, his insights into politics, religion, good government, and human nature. He leaves behind an exhaustive work of scholarship created over three-quarters of a century and covering dozens of specialties. Among his 46 books he wrote are the bestsellers, The Naked Communist, The Naked Capitalist, So You Want to Raise a Boy, The Five Thousand Year Leap, and Fantastic Victory about the Israel-Arab war of 1967.

His books on religion, such as The First 2,000 Years, Prophecy and Modern Times, Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times, Treasures from the Book of Mormon, and Days of the Living Christ, reached millions of readers in the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities.

His speech entitled "A Personal Search for the Meaning of the Atonement" is perhaps the most widely distributed CD among members and missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-a fact that made him smile in astonishment. "I've had missionaries tell me that speech has been translated into Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and has been passed around on every continent where missionaries serve."

Skousen served sixteen years in J. Edgar Hoover's FBI as an agent and the communications director during the waning years of the gangster era and WWII. He also was the editor of the nation's leading police magazine, "Law and Order."

He was a popular teacher of several thousand students at Brigham Young University for sixteen years, and a highly respected speaker across the country where he sometimes gave as many as 300 speeches a year. His devotion to America's Founding Fathers and the Constitution led to the creation of "The Freeman Institute," later known as the "National Center for Constitutional Studies," an organization through which his speeches and writings educated and united large segments of voters to elect senators, congressmen, governors and presidents who loved the Constitution.

Known for his untiring devotion to principle and integrity, he served as Salt Lake City's chief of police and created what Time Magazine called "A model police force." After four years of service, the city mayor created a firestorm of protest when he fired Skousen on trumped-up charges, an event the mayor later called the worst political mistake of his life.

Skousen and his wife maintained a modest home in Salt Lake City that became a stopover for any person with political aspirations in Utah and beyond. Friends and visitors included ecclesiastical leaders of all faiths, politicians from each major parties, students of all ages, and of course, the local missionaries, every Sunday night.

Skousen was born in Raymond, Alberta, Canada on Jan. 20, 1913, and was educated in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. He served a two-year mission for the LDS Church at age seventeen. He earned his PhD at George Washington University. He and Jewel are the parents of eight children, 50 grandchildren, and 100+ great-grand children.

Just before Dr. Skousen died, he completed the manuscript of Cleansing of America. He asked his sons to hold on to this manuscript until certain conditions were met. His sons feel the current climate of America meets their father's conditions and are thrilled to release this previously unpublished work of the man who was affectionately known as "a living national treasure."

Release Date: 1 April 2010

Reserve your copy of Dr. Skousen's Cleansing of America now. Each pre-ordered copy of Cleansing of America will be signed by three of the sons of Dr. Skousen and shipped to you one week prior to the release date.

Blog: W. Cleon Skousen Blog
Website: Official Website of W. Cleon Skousen
Facebook: W. Cleon Skousen Facebook Fan Page
Twitter: Follow W. Cleon Skousen on Twitter

As a point of reference, a portion of Dr. Skousen's 46, now 47, book catalog are:

Days of the Living Christ, Volumes 1 & 2
Fantastic Victory
Majesty of God's Law
Making of America
Prophecy and Modern Times
So You Want to Raise a Boy
The 5,000 Year Leap
The Naked Communist
The Naked Capitalist
The First 2,000 Years
The Third Thousand Years
The Fourth Thousand Years
Treasures of the Book of Mormon, Volumes 1-4

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Editor Moment . . . Flesh out your scenes

I am in an online critique group and absolutely love the members of this group. In our crit group lately we have been talking about fleshing out scenes. It's something we all need to do from time to time with few exceptions.

I was pondering a little about fantasy writers and how different fantasy is from things like sci-fi. We were talking about how fantasy by nature is longer than other genres. And how sometimes because of pressure to stay under that "expected word count" the fantasy author strips the scene they are writing to the bare bones in order to "fit" that count. Or that the world/story is worthy of nine books and for fear of not selling the entire series they try to cram 3 books into one by again striping the scenes of the details and richness fantasy especially deserves.

Think about it, fantasy is the one genre where you have the pleasure of building worlds and magics and governments etc, etc, etc, with abandon. What's the point of doing all that world building if you can't use it in your book? Whats the point in introdoucing your reader to this world you've worked so hard on, if you fly past it on your way through the story.

My advise to any writer whatever genre is to write the best story you can. Granted there are rules you must follow. But if you write a wonderful rich book with scenes with a little meat on them you have a much better story and a better chance of getting published EVEN if the story has many more sequels. Don't short-change yourself, your characters, or your readers by writing less of what needs to be told.

Write the book that needs to be written. If it's too long, split it in half. If you have a lifetime of stories to tell, decide what parts of the story need to be told and expound on those and let the rest go. I promise the reader wont miss what you MC had for breakfast every morning or what kind of underwear he wears or if he wears any at all.

While publishing guidelines are there for a reason, there should be no stopping the writer from creating something rich, fleshy, and wonderful. I guess what I am trying to say is, write the story you want to write, the story your reader deserves from you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bear with me. . .

As I posted on my Facebook Status.

"Growing a baby takes alot of physical, emotional and mental energy. Especially when you're 40."

I am finding it hard to concentrate and have enough energy to take care of everything I am expected to do, and take care of myself and the growing babe inside.

Not to use this as an excuse, but my posts might be a little less than the expected three times a week, and less intelectual. At least until my energy and brain come back. LOL

I'm not going to promise anything, but know that this blog and my readers/followers are a priority. I will work as hard as I can to keep it from going stagnant. I just thought you guys should know why my posting behavior has been erratic and odd.

I am doing well just the normal pregnancy complaints and am looking forward to two dates. March 29, I will get a level 2 ultrasound and hopefully see what gender the babe is, and August 20 when the baby is due.

Thanks for being loyal readers and followers. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Emotional response, and the power of our writing.

I participate in a number of social avenues for my writing. I am in a critique group and also talk about my writing occasionally on Facebook. I also work with my local library teaching and encouraging new and teen writers.

To get a point across in the writing group, I will use small snippets of my current story to make what I am talking about clear. I have often posted on Facebook a small idea of what I am writing. My crit group gets three chapters twice a month to crit and my friends, who all know I am a writer, hear all about my story.

Every time I tell someone about my story I get eavesdroppers tellimg me that they want to read it. I guess either the story is really good or my enthusiasm rubs off on them.

At the library monday, I was using Emergence to illustrate the peroid of time between the introdouction with the first plot point and then the second stage of the story until the mid point. The cleaning lady at the library overheard me and asked where she could get the book. I had to tell her it wasn't published yet. I was talking to a reader at a baby shower and the lady next to her asked to read it too. I get this alot.

I was at the local store months ago and I told a friend I figured out the ending of the book and was so excited about it. She'd never read it, and after we talked I gave her the finished MS. She started reading it and loved it. Every time I'd see her, she'd tell me where she was and how much she was enjoying it.

To be honest, I was loving the admiration and compliments. Talk about stoking my ego. LOL

However, about three quarters throgh the book she stopped reading it, TWICE! In the same place. I was frustrated and kept wondering if my story dropped at that point or I became a terible writer between the begining and the end.

Then she told me that she had become so emotionally involved in the story and so invested in the characters lives that she had to stop because she couldn't bear to read what happened to the characters in the end of the book. See if you remember, I told her the whole plot line and what happens at the end. Stupid me. :) I also had a friend who's husband had serious surgery and couldnt bring the MS to the hospital as it was too stressful to read at that point in time.

It was pretty frustrating because she had given me, up untill that time, really good feedback that I allways used for revisions. She even asked me if one character was too good to be real, what an eye opener that comment was, and more but much better revisions.

As I have thought about this dear friend of mine I have come to realize that when something is written well you elicit an emotional response. Whether good or bad. If this story gets published I am going to have people who love it or hate it. I am probably going to have people hate me for the ending of this book. I have joked with my good friends that I'm going to get hate mail for this one, and that I'm going to need a PO box.

I have had to accept that it's okay for her to not finish the book, a thought that had never crossed my mind before now. That as a writer I can't please everyone and that's okay.

That perhaps if I want everyone to love what I write, I should write something fuzzy with fluffy bunnies and butterflies. That I should abandon the high action and plot twisting story with the deeply conflicted MC . . . .